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Islamic World News ( 26 Feb 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Indian Students Stuck In Ukraine: Prayers Offered At Agra Mosques After Friday Namaz For Their Safe Return

New Age Islam News Bureau

26 February 2022


Special prayers were offered at an Agra mosque for stranded Indian students in Ukraine | India Today image


• Pakistan Prime Minister Raises Kashmir Issue With Putin As Russia Invades Ukraine

• Loh’s 14-Year-Old Twin Daughters And 10-Year-Old Son Were “Wholly Immersed” In The Islamic Faith; Didn’t Want To Return To Loh, Says Perlis Mufti

• Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh Reject Return to Myanmar Without Assurances

• Syria’s Assad Says Russia’s Ukraine Invasion A ‘Correction Of History’


• Bihar BJP MLA Says Take Away Muslims’ Voting Rights, Gets A Showcause Notice To Explain His Remarks.

• Pakistani Drone Dropped Ammunition, Ieds In J&K; First Time Chemical In Liquid Form Sent With Consignment: DGP Dilbag Singh

• Four Hizbul terrorists arrested with arms, ammo in Kishtwar

• Two LeT terrorists, villager killed in J&K’s Shopian

• Muslim Attacked, Forced To Chant Jai Shree Ram, At Gunpoint By Hindutva Goons In Gujarat

• RSS Senior Functionary Hits Out At Idea Of Dalit-Muslim Alliance



• In A First, Pakistan Army Promoted Two Officers Belonging To The Hindu Community To The Rank Of Lieutenant Colonel

• Pakistan: Terror attacks on rise since Taliban takeover of Kabul, report

• Pakistan faces public backlash over 'decades of begging' for loans, report

• Senators alarmed over participation of youth in acts of violence

• 35 Pakistani students evacuated to Poland from Ukraine


Southeast Asia

• NTUC and Mendaki sign MOU to help Malay-Muslim workers boost skills and employability

• Thailand, Malaysia aim to boost trade, resume two-way travel ‘soon’

• Indonesia seeks stiff sentence for Christian YouTuber


South Asia

• Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan Calls For Restraint By All Sides In Ukraine

• How an Afghan refugee sexually assaulted a female aid worker in the US


Arab World

• Envoy: Foreign forces’ presence facilitates terrorist activities in Syria

• Envoy: West blocking Syria's reconstruction, looting oil, gas, wheat

• Children Aged 7 And Above Can Now Obtain Permits To Enter Holy Mosques

• Lebanon has wheat reserves sufficient for one month amid Ukraine crisis

• Saudi king gifts Thailand over 50,000 copies of Qur’an ahead of Ramadan



• A Young Secularist Generation Is Emerging In The Muslim World, Turkish Academic Says

• FM: Hungary to Help Transfer Iranians from Ukraine

• Iran To Enrich Uranium To 20 Percent Even After Sanctions Lifted: Nuclear Chief

• Israel allows Ukrainian Jews to migrate amid conflict

• Yemeni forces inflict massive losses on Saudi mercenaries in Hajjah, kill senior commander

• Palestinian rights organization urges intl. protection on Ibrahimi Mosque massacre anniversary

• Yemeni forces intercept, shoot down intruding Emirati, Saudi reconnaissance drones

• Iran-Japan dialogue held on “Environment in Islam and Shinto”


North America

• Afghan, Muslim Groups Call on President Biden to Return Afghan People’s National Reserves

• US Allows Trade With Afghanistan Despite Taliban Sanctions

• Russian invasion not a green light for Iranian nuclear weapon: US State Dept



• EU, Turkiye 'In Process Of Regaining Trust': European Parliament Rapporteur

• Prison attack by jailed terrorists ‘must be wake-up call,’ UK govt warned

• UK Parliament speaker silences MP trying to raise PM’s anti-Muslim remarks

• Russia says it is surprised by Lebanon’s condemnation of invasion

• Turkiye has finalized preparations for evacuation of its nationals from Ukraine: Top diplomat



• Nigerian President's Denial Of Shaikh Zakzaky’s Int'l Passport; A Cause For Alarm

• Ukrainian expats protest in Jordan capital against Russia’s invasion

• Somalia extends election deadline to mid-March

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Indian Students Stuck In Ukraine: Prayers Offered At Agra Mosques After Friday Namaz For Their Safe Return


Special prayers were offered at an Agra mosque for stranded Indian students in Ukraine | India Today image


Siraj Qureshi

February 25, 2022

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine, the Indian students living there are in a state of panic. People living in and around the Aligarh district told India Today that many of their children are trapped in Ukraine and are in grave danger.

Salman Ali, a resident of Sambhal district and the father of a student studying MBBS at Dnipropetrovsk State Medical Academy in Ukraine, told India Today that his son cried on WhatsApp on Thursday, saying that he was terrified by the blasts of missiles.

"There are about 750 Indian students in his university who are panicking. He does not even feel like studying and now Allah is his only support," Salman Ali said.

Ali said that the blasts started at 4 AM. Some people left for Kyiv airport at 3 o'clock in the night but they have been moved to a safe house. Those who were stuck in the middle have been sent back. Indian students are hiding in the bunkers.

Jamir Ansari told India Today that his son Areeb Ansari was trapped in Ukraine. "The government has asked all the students to hide in the bunkers. Areeb had booked a ticket to come to India on February 26, but he could not come due to the cancellation of all flights. Now, he is not sure how he will come back. Hopefully, the Modi government will take some steps soon," he said.

In Agra, prayers were offered for the well-being of Indian students in local mosques after Friday Namaz. Imam Yahya Khan said that the Government of India should immediately make efforts to bring these students to India.

Rescue efforts underway

Sources in the government have said that efforts were being made to rescue all Indians stranded in Ukraine.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had said on Thursday that there were around 20,000 Indians in Ukraine and of them, nearly 4,000 have returned to India in the last few days.

The government is making efforts to evacuate Indian nationals from Ukraine through its land border crossings with its neighbouring countries and they would then be brought back home, official sources have said.

The Indian embassy in Ukraine has been sharing information on the evacuation on social media platforms. In the latest update, the embassy informed that 470 Indian students were set to exit Ukraine and enter Romania through the Porubne-Siret Border on Friday afternoon.

"We are moving Indians located at the border to neighbouring countries for onward evacuation. Efforts are underway to relocate Indians coming from the hinterland," the Indian embassy said.

Source: India Today

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Pakistan Prime Minister Raises Kashmir Issue With Putin As Russia Invades Ukraine


Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, in Moscow on Thursday. | Photo: ANI


Anita Joshua  


Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s presence in Moscow on the morning Russia began bombing Ukraine has raised eyebrows galore with critics back home insisting that he got played by President Vladimir Putin who, they say, used the visit as a decoy to launch the attack that surprised everyone with its intensity and blistering pace.

Khan’s critics claim Putin used his visit to project an image of normality before beginning the sudden invasion.

But the three-hour meeting, including a working lunch between the two without the five-metre-long table that separated Putin from his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron during their meeting earlier this month, brought cheer to Khan’s supporters.

This was flagged by the Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune in its report on the visit: “Red carpet welcome, handshake despite the Covid pandemic, no long bizarre table in between them and over three-hour-long meeting, all these were great optics for the Pakistani prime minister visiting one of the most powerful countries in the world.”

The optics apart, there were no major takeaways, evident from the absence of a joint statement after the first visit of a Pakistani Premier to Moscow in 23 years in a bid by Islamabad to balance its long-drawn tilt towards Washington and expand its foreign policy options.

Even on the North South Gas Pipeline Project (also known as the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline) — for which an inter-governmental agreement was signed between Islamabad and Moscow last year — there was no apparent headway, possibly because both countries are yet to weigh the impact of the new sanctions announced by the US and other countries on Russia over the Ukraine invasion.

While the Kremlin’s readout on the visit was just two sentences long and made no mention of this key joint venture, the Pakistani side said: “The Prime Minister reaffirmed the importance of Pakistan-Stream Gas Pipeline as a flagship economic project between Pakistan and Russia and also discussed cooperation on prospective energy-related projects.”

The most significant part of the Pakistani readout was what Khan is claimed to have said on the Ukraine crisis, almost echoing the Indian position.

Without taking sides, Khan is said to have regretted the latest situation between Russia and Ukraine, adding that Pakistan had hoped diplomacy could avert a military conflict.

“The Prime Minister stressed that conflict was not in anyone’s interest, and that the developing countries were always hit the hardest economically in case of conflict. He underlined Pakistan’s belief that disputes should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy,” the Pakistani readout said.

As is always the case with Pakistan in its engagements with the world, the Khan raised Jammu and Kashmir. “On the situation in South Asia, the Prime Minister highlighted the serious human rights situation in IIOJK (Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir) and underscored the imperative of peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The Prime Minister also highlighted the developments detrimental to regional peace and stability and stressed the need for measures that would help keep the regional balance.”

This was acknowledged in the Kremlin readout, too, which said: “The leaders of the two countries discussed the main aspects of bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on current regional topics, including developments in South Asia.”

Source: Telegraph India

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Loh’s 14-Year-Old Twin Daughters And 10-Year-Old Son Were “Wholly Immersed” In The Islamic Faith; Didn’t Want To Return To Loh, Says Perlis Mufti


Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin says Loh Siew Hong’s three children want to remain as Muslims.


Predeep Nambiar

February 21, 2022

GEORGE TOWN: Loh Siew Hong’s attempt to reverse her children’s conversion to Islam remains a top concern for Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin.

Loh’s lawyer had said yesterday the children’s conversion will be challenged through a judicial review.

In a video message uploaded on Facebook, Asri said Loh’s 14-year-old twin daughters and 10-year-old son were “wholly immersed” in the Islamic faith and wanted to remain Muslims.

“We were told earlier that if the children returned to Loh, they could remain as Muslims. She did not mind so long she could spend time with them.

“Then, in the next few days, she seems keen on changing their faith.

” I am not denying that the children want their mother, but this does not mean they want to revert to Hinduism.”

Asri said the Muslims in this case had never attempted to split Loh with her children. He said a religious teacher named Nazirah, who was caring for her children in Loh’s absence, had first reached out to her on the pretext of getting her reunited with her children.

“We are not so concerned about custody, but as Muslims, we must ensure these children remain Muslims of their free will. If they give up on Islam on their own or feel cheated by their father who converted them, then that is out of our control,” he said.

He said he did not want to see a case where a parent promised to keep their children as Muslims, only to flee to a foreign country, or “watered down” their children’s faith.

He compared the case to Natrah, or Maria Bertogh, a Dutch woman raised by a Muslim family, who was returned to her biological parents when she was 13 and left for the Netherlands shortly after. A racial riot erupted in Singapore in 1950 by those who were unhappy that Natrah had been handed back to her biological parents. A Singaporean archive website showed that the riots left 18 dead and 173 injured

Last week, Asri confirmed that the Perlis religious authorities had registered the three children as Muslims without Loh being present.

The Federal Court previously ruled that the conversion of any child under 18 to another religion needed the consent of both parents.

Asri said his remarks about Loh’s children not wanting her back were based on the series of events on the day she reunited with her children.

“The police had brought the children to the police station to be surrendered to her. So why didn’t she recover her children there?

“It is because her children rebelled and did not want to follow her back. Loh then agreed to have them placed under the care of the social welfare department (JKM), with an order from the Kangar court until March 9. Loh knows this,” he said.

He said the perception that Islamic authorities had blocked her from meeting her children at a JKM safe house was false, as it was out of the jurisdiction of the Islamic administration.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh Reject Return to Myanmar Without Assurances


Rohingya at the Kutupalaung refugee camp in Bangladesh, Oct. 6, 2021.



Ethnic Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh will not return to their home in neighboring Myanmar’s Rakhine state unless they are granted equal rights and freedom of movement, they said Thursday, days after the junta announced that it is preparing for their immediate repatriation.

The junta’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Feb. 20 that it is readying the return of “displaced persons from Rakhine state.” The announcement notably avoided both the use of the term “Rohingya,” a mostly Muslim ethnicity that the military says does not exist in Myanmar, and the term “Bengali,” which the junta favors and implies the group is originally from Bangladesh.

The junta statement also called for a meeting with the secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), saying that after agreeing to the bloc’s initial recommendations on the re-admission of displaced persons in Rakhine state, assistance is needed to implement them.

Rohingya refugees and activists in Bangladesh told the Myanmar Service of Radio Free Asia (RFA) on Thursday that they have no confidence the junta will act on the recommendations and said they need assurances their rights will be protected before they return. BenarNews is a unit of RFA.

Ali Jenner, a Rohingya refugee from the Baluhali refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district, said he and others in the camp “have no trust in the junta at all.”

“If the Rohingya people can get equal citizenship, security rights, equal rights and all our original rights as other citizens there, then we can agree to go back,” he said.

The West African nation of Gambia filed a case at the ICJ in November 2019 accusing Myanmar of violating the 1948 Genocide Convention during the alleged expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya amid a brutal crackdown in 2017.

The ICJ, which is the judicial arm of the United Nations, began hearings on Feb. 21, the day after the junta statement on returning refugees, to determine whether it has jurisdiction to examine claims that atrocities committed by the Myanmar military against the Rohingya constituted a genocide.

The hearings are scheduled to last until Feb. 28 and will include arguments presented by representatives of Myanmar and Gambia

The junta’s defense lawyers — Christopher Staker and Stefan Talmon — have argued that Gambia submitted its case on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and that the ICJ has no jurisdiction because the OIC is not a country. They also argue that Gambia is not an aggrieved country and has no right to sue Myanmar.

Gambia defended its right to sue Myanmar in an appeal issued on Feb. 23. Gambian Attorney General Dawda Jallow says the case was not only brought to the ICJ to protect the rights of the Rohingya, but to uphold Gambia’s rights as a signatory to the U.N. Convention on Genocide.

Response to pressure

Rohingya living in refugee camps in southeastern Bangladesh have said they are hopeful that the ICJ can bring justice for the Myanmar military’s rights violations against the ethnic minority group.

But others are wary of how the case may influence the junta in the near term.

Khin Maung, the founder of the activist group Rohingya Youth Union, who lives in Thinkhali Refugee Camp No. 13 in Bangladesh, said he cannot trust a junta statement he believes was issued as a response to international pressure.

“We welcome the fact that they want to call us home. But did they create necessary conditions for us to return to Rakhine state? That’s what we should be thinking about,” he said.

“[Junta chief Snr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing] is trying to use us for his advantage. He is doing this because of international pressure and not because of goodwill. We are ready to go back, no matter who makes the decision to call us back, but it is impossible to return unless our requirements are met.”

Khin Maung said it is “impossible” for Rohingyas to return home without guarantees of citizenship or security and freedom of movement in the areas where they had previously lived. Discussions about a repatriation should first be held with the Rohingyas themselves, he said.

‘Crimes on a nationwide scale’

However, junta Deputy Information Minister Zaw Min Tun told RFA that the plan to repatriate the Rohingya was created long prior to the ICJ hearings and was not part of a bid to placate the international community.

He said the Rohingya had previously said they would accept the offer to return to Rakhine state, but that Bangladesh had refused to let them leave.

“We have been saying all along that we will accept and let them live as before. Accommodations were prepared,” he said.

“It’s just that they didn’t come back even after we made three or four offers. The other side did not release them … They are working on it with a political agenda.”

Rohingya activist Nay San Lwin told RFA that members of her ethnic group cannot expect that their rights will be respected by the junta when “the military is currently committing crimes against humanity on a nationwide scale.”

In the year since Myanmar’s military seized power from the country’s democratically elected government in a Feb. 1, 2021, coup, security forces have killed nearly 1,580 people across the country.

“Even if the Rohingya return, it will probably be just a handful,” Nay San Lwin said. “Most of them have said that they will return only if they can live in peace with the full basic rights they deserve.”

Source: Benar News

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Syria’s Assad Says Russia’s Ukraine Invasion A ‘Correction Of History’


Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L) at the Kremlin in Moscow on 13 September 2021 (AFP)


25 February ,2022

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in a telephone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Friday, praised the Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying it was a “correction of history.”

Damascus is a staunch ally of Moscow which intervened in the Syrian civil war in 2015 by launching airstrikes to support the al-Assad regime’s struggling forces.

Al-Assad spoke to Putin a day after Russian forces invaded Ukraine on the orders of the Russian president, drawing strong international condemnation.

“President al-Assad stressed that what is happening today is a correction of history and a restoration of balance in the global order after the fall of the Soviet Union,” said a statement from the Syrian presidency.

Al-Assad also said that “Syria stands with the Russian Federation based on its conviction that its position is correct and because confronting NATO expansionism is a right for Russia.”

Russia’s intervention in Syria marked a turning point in the conflict.

It enabled pro-regime forces to wrest back lost territory in a series of victories against opposition fighters and terrorists involving deadly bombardments and massive destruction.

More than 63,000 Russian military personnel have deployed to Syria, Moscow says.

During Friday’s phone call, al-Assad said “Western nations bear responsibility for the chaos and bloodshed,” accusing them of using “dirty methods to support terrorists in Syria and Nazis in Ukraine.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Bihar BJP MLA Says Take Away Muslims’ Voting Rights, Gets A Showcause Notice To Explain His Remarks.

by Santosh Singh

February 26, 2022

BJP MLA Haribhushan Thakur from Bisfi, in Bihar’s Madhubani district, on Friday reiterated the need to take away voting rights of Muslims, prompting the party’s state unit to issue him a showcause notice to explain his remarks.

BJP’s alliance partner JD(U), meanwhile, reacted sharply, with its spokesperson Neeraj Kumar calling Thakur’s comments “preposterous and inflammatory”.

The legislator had made similar comments on Thursday.

On Friday, he told the media: “As Muslims were given a separate country at the time of Partition in 1947, they should leave for Pakistan. And if they live in India, they should live like second-class citizens. We urge the government to take away Muslims’ voting rights.”

Thakur alleged that Muslims have an agenda — that of making India “an Islamist state”.

Thakur, known for making controversial remarks, also said that Muslims MLAs should also face action from the Bihar Assembly Speaker if they refuse to sing ‘Vande Mataram’. “What is the national song (for), after all? It is to worship the Earth, flowers and water. Will they (Muslims) stop drinking water (if they refuse to sing Vande Mataram),” he asked.

JD(U)’s Neeraj Kumar said, “It seems Thakur has no knowledge of Indian citizenship. Who is he to decide citizenship of people living in India? He is not going to get any political mileage; he just wants to get media attention.”

BJP state president Sanjay Jaiswal said, “We have already dissociated ourselves from Thakur’s statement and served him a notice to explain why he said what he said.”

Source: Indian Express

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Pakistani drone dropped ammunition, IEDs in J&K; first time chemical in liquid form sent with consignment: DGP Dilbag Singh

Feb 26, 2022

UDHAMPUR: A Pakistani drone on Wednesday dropped grenades, IEDs, pistols, and ammunition in Jammu and Kashmir, and for the first time a chemical in liquid form was also sent with the consignment, said the police on Thursday.

Speaking to the media, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh said, "Yesterday (Wednesday) a Pakistani drone dropped grenades, IEDs, pistols, ammunition in Jammu and Kashmir, for the first time a chemical in liquid form was also sent with the consignment."

"They (Pakistan) want to disrupt the peace maintained here for a long time. We are analyzing it to see what is it, its uses, and what harm it could have done," the DGP said.

Further, Singh in his statement said that the narcotics and weapons are being sent to the region so that sale proceeds of narcotics can be used to fund terrorism.

Source: Times Of India

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Four Hizbul terrorists arrested with arms, ammo in Kishtwar

Feb 26, 2022

JAMMU: Four Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists were arrested with arms and ammunition late Thursday in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar district.

A joint team of the Army’s 17RR, CRPF’s 52Bn and Kishtwar Police on long-range patrolling in Kishtwar’s Dool Dhar forest area noticed four people moving from Dool towards Dool Dhar forest. On spotting the security forces, the four tried to flee but were overpowered and arrested by the troops.

Source: Times Of India

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Two LeT terrorists, villager killed in J&K’s Shopian

Feb 26, 2022

SRINAGAR: Two Lashkar-e-Taiba men were killed in a shootout with security forces in Amshipora village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Friday, while a villager died of bullet wounds as he was cut down by a volley of shots fired towards a combined team of J&K police, Army and CRPF conducting the operation. An AK-56 rifle, a pistol and several rounds of ammunition were found on the slain terrorists.

Kashmir range IGP Vijay Kumar said the team surrounded the area following specific information about terrorists hiding there, but when people were being evacuated from the houses in the locality, the LeT men started shooting from their hideout. Some of the shots caught villager Shakeel Ahmed Khan and he died within minutes, though emergency medics tried to revive him on the site.

Source: Times Of India

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Muslim Attacked, Forced To Chant Jai Shree Ram, At Gunpoint By Hindutva Goons In Gujarat

25th February 2022

A Muslim resident of Shera village in Gujarat’s Bharuch district was attacked by a Hindutva mob as he drove back home from work on Tuesday.

At least nine men pelted stones at Mohammad Ataullah’s car, thrashed, and forced him to chant Jai Shree Ram, at gunpoint, at Chhabanpur bridge, Godra.

A First Information Report (FIR) was filed by the police based on Ataullah’s report against the attackers. However, now a counter FIR has been charged against the victim, reported Maktoob Media.

“A car was stopped right behind my car. 3-4 men came out and started beating me,” Maktoob Media quoted Ataullah, as he narrated his ordeal. He said that he was hit on the head, punched in the face and his beard was pulled as they abused him, calling him an atankwadi (terrorist).

Ataullah has been admitted to the hospital. He is recovering from a blow to his head as well as an injury to his right foot.

Ataullah’s family has also alleged that the Deputy Superintendent of Police who came to the hospital hurled abuses and slurs at them. They have also alleged that no copy of the FIR was provided to them.

Source: Siasat Daily

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RSS senior functionary hits out at idea of Dalit-Muslim alliance

Feb 26, 2022

Nagpur: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) mukhya pracharak Sunil Ambekar hit out at the concept of Dalit-Muslim unity. He said the backward class must not get disillusioned with such ideas. Adopting or allying with any other religion cannot be a solution to the discrimination due to the caste system within Hinduism. Though such attempts are being made, said Ambekar.Some are comparing the condition of backward classes with campaigns like ‘Black Lives Matter’. Differences due to the caste system are not as worse as the racial discrimination against blacks in America. The RSS is constantly working to bring the entire Hindu community together, irrespective of the caste, he said.

The senior RSS functionary was speaking at the Manoramabai Mundle memorial lecture series and awards for social work organized by Dharampeth Shikshan Sanstha on Friday.

Members of a nomadic caste were also felicitated during the function. Ambekar’s stress was that solutions to problems in Hindu religion should come from within only. “There have been attempts to bring the Hindu society together shedding all the biases of caste since historical times,” he said.

He cited the example of Jogendra Mandal from Bengal, the leader who supported Pakistan and later became the country’s first law minister.

There were two major Dalit leaders during those times, one was Dr Babaseheb Ambedkar and the other was Mandal from Bengal. Mandal chose Paksitan and became the law minister there, but had to finally flee to India, he said in a reference to Dalit-Muslim alliance. Ambedkar was in India on the other hand, said Ambekar.

He said even Marxists and Maoists have brought in violence within the community in the name of class struggle. Though it cannot be the solution.

“When Dr Ambedkar attended the Buddhist conventon in November 1956, he said Dalits have peaceful means of the Buddhist religion and there is no place for violence,” said Ambekar.

Source: Times Of India

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In A First, Pakistan Army Promoted Two Officers Belonging To The Hindu Community To The Rank Of Lieutenant Colonel

February 26, 2022

KARACHI: For the first time in the country’s history, the Pakistan Army has promoted two officers belonging to the Hindu community in Sindh to the rank of lieutenant colonel on Friday.

Both the officers belong to the Army Medical Corps.

Born in 1981, Major Dr Kelash Kumar hails from Tharparkar district. He got commission in the army in 2008.

Major Dr Aneel Kumar, born in 1982, hails from Badin district. He got commission in the army in 2007.

Source: Dawn

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Pakistan: Terror attacks on rise since Taliban takeover of Kabul, report

25 February, 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], February 25 (ANI): The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, which was widely celebrated in Pakistan in August last year, has worsened the terror situation in the country.

In 2021, terror incidents increased by a massive 42 percent over the last year according to the Islamabad-based Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), reported The New York Times on Tuesday.

A significant surge in incidents was recorded after Kabul fell to the Taliban. The PIPS report also went on to say that the change in Afghanistan is “not helping in any way Pakistan’s efforts to deal with the militant groups threatening its security.”

The Pakistan Taliban, which was considerably weakened by late 2020, has regrouped and is involved in running extortion rackets throughout Pakistan.

“Traders are forced to pay huge amounts of extortion money because of fear,” The New York Times quoted a Karachi-based trader, Muhammad Azam as saying.

“If a trader refuses to pay it, the militants detonate small bombs near their homes to frighten them into succumbing to their demands. If they continue to refuse payment, militants harm them or their family members,” Azam further said.

Terrorists have also been particularly targetting polio vaccination teams. Police officers to protect such teams have been on the target.

In 2021, militants, mainly belonging to the Pakistani Taliban, killed 48 policemen and injured 44 others in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Most of the violent incidents took place in the last few months of the year (after the Taliban takeover).

Despite repeated attempts, Pakistan has been unable to get firm guarantees from the Afghan Taliban that they would take action against the Pakistani Taliban operating in Afghanistan, the publication said. Taliban also refuses to accept the Durand Line as the boundary between the two countries.

In the past two months, there have been clashes between Afghan Taliban and Pakistani forces along the Durand Line in Nangarhar, Kandahar, Nimroz, Kunar, and Khost provinces over the construction of barbed wire fences, some of which have been fenced off by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

However, the top leadership in Pakistan continues to argue for international recognition of the new Taliban regime.

Source: The Print

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Pakistan faces public backlash over 'decades of begging' for loans, report

Feb 25, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Amid the release of a fresh tranche of loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Pakistani government is facing backlash from civil society, over the unending series of loans, a report said on Thursday.

Public confidence in the government is at a new low due to financial mismanagement and over-dependence on foreign funds to run the country, 'Islam Khabar' claimed.

Angry reactions followed a tweet by Pakistan's Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin announcing the approval of the 6th tranche of IMF loans.

"I am pleased to announce that IMF Board has approved 6th tranche of their programme for Pakistan," Tarin tweeted.

"It is not only surprising but also regrettable that the Finance Minister, by enslaving the nation, expressed happiness over the receipt of a new installment from the IMF," the report noted.

A media editorial in Pakistan underlined that Pakistan is "probably the only nuclear country whose daily affairs require loans, begging for aid and this has continued for decades."

The backlash followed IMF's release of USD 1 billion to Pakistan, subject to fulfilling certain conditions. Fuel prices and power tariffs in Pakistan are at historic highs as a result.

The fresh funds constitute an installment of a USD 6 billion bailout package. IMF's Executive Board had cleared the bailout package for Pakistan on July 3, 2019.

Source: Times Of India

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Senators alarmed over participation of youth in acts of violence

Jamal Shahid

February 26, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Extremism exists deep within the heart of our society among the educated and illiterate alike, particularly the youth.

This was pointed out by members of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights on Friday.

“In the ghastly murder of the Sri Lankan national in Sialkot, 120 out the 130 suspects were between 18 and 20 years of age,” Human Rights Secretary Inamullah Khan informed members.

A similar pattern could be seen when a mob comprising men mostly in their 30s, last week, lynched a psychologically-unstable man for allegedly burning Quranic scriptures in Mian Channu, Mr Khan said.

The meeting commenced with a strong condemnation of the Mian Channu incident that was deemed an act that portrayed the society’s mindset. It was revealed that such violent tendencies were mostly reported in 19 to 30-year-olds who were mostly influenced by social media forums.

Mob that lynched psychologically-unstable man last week comprised of men in their 30s

Senator Walid Iqbal chaired the meeting which was attended by senator Falak Naz and Mohammad Tahir Bizenjo as well as senior officers of the Ministry of Human Rights along with its attached departments and agencies. Additional inspector general (operations) and district police officer (DPO) Mian Channu were also present.

The committee members stressed the need for participation of stakeholders to develop a strategy to address the issue. It was asserted that religious forums must spread the true spirit of Islam and its stance on tolerance.

The committee chairman, Senator Iqbal, said a letter must be sent to the president, prime minister and speaker of National Assembly so they could take notice of the matter.

According to Additional IG Sahibzada Shahzad Sultan, 14 to 15 cases have been reported since the start of this year.

Source: Dawn

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35 Pakistani students evacuated to Poland from Ukraine

Aamir Yasin | Baqir Sajjad Syed

February 26, 2022

ISLAMABAD: About 35 Pakistani students have been evacuated to Poland from Ukraine, Pakistan’s embassy in Ukraine said on Friday night.

According to a message from one of the students, some of their colleagues were able to board a Poland-bound train from Ukrainian northeastern city of Kharkiv, which was carrying people fleeing the Russian invasion.

There are nearly 300 Pakistani students in the city. Another big group of Pakistani students is based in the capital city of Kyiv.

According to news reports, nearly 1,500 Pakistanis, including 500 students, have been stranded in Ukraine since the start of the Russian assault on Thursday. Some had left the country earlier.

The embassy, in a Twitter posting, said it had facilitated the evacuation of those students and was making arrangements for their further transportation to Warsaw.

The Foreign Office said another group of 35-40 students was on the way to Ternopil from Kharkiv and expected to reach there by Saturday afternoon.

PIA makes arrangements to bring back stranded students

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, at a media briefing, said the embassy had been temporarily moved from Kyiv to Ternopil on the border with Poland to facilitate evacuations. He said all Pakistanis in Ukraine were safe.

The embassy has been advising the students to reach Ternopil. However, students in messages on social media questioned how could they travel hundreds of kilometres in the absence of transport and under the precarious security situation. They also complained of difficulties in contacting the embassy.

Earlier, videos of students and other Pakistanis appealing for assistance in evacuation emerged on social media.

Pakistani missions in Poland, Romania and Hungary have, meanwhile, been told by the Foreign Office to assist the Pakistanis coming out of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, PIA chief retired Air Marshal Arshad Malik on Friday called Pakistan’s Ambassador in Ukraine retired Maj Gen Noel Khokhar and discussed with the latter different options to evacuate Pakistani students stranded there.

According to a statement, the PIA chief said arrangements had been made to bring back the students. He said all the students would gather in Ternopil and reach Poland via land route from where they would be brought to Pakistan through special flight operation.

Earlier, in a tweet, the PIA chief said that currently Ukraine’s airspace was closed, but various options were being worked out for safe evacuation of the Pakistani students.

Source: Dawn

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Southeast Asia


NTUC and Mendaki sign MOU to help Malay-Muslim workers boost skills and employability

Wallace Woon

FEB 25, 2022

SINGAPORE - Malay-Muslim workers hoping to join new and emerging industries can look forward to receiving more support from the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and self-help group Yayasan Mendaki.

In a joint statement, NTUC and Yayasan Mendaki said that they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Friday (Feb 25) in order to enhance support and strengthen the workforce competencies of Malay-Muslim workers.

Under the MOU, Mendaki will act as the main bridge to encourage the community and workforce to take up national employment and employability programmes.

NTUC will spearhead activities relating to upskilling, training, career fairs, and partnering companies to provide job opportunities in emerging and growth sectors.

In addition, Mendaki will also partner and refer Malay-Muslims to NTUC's LearningHub and Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) for training and job placement programmes through last-mile service delivery provided by Mendaki Care.

The MOU is part of M³'s Focus Area 4's (FA4) key strategy to uplift the community.

M³ is an alliance of three key Malay-Muslim organisations created in 2018 to uplift the community. It comprises Mendaki, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore and the People's Association Malay Activity Executive Committees Council.

Mendaki chief executive Zuraidah Abdullah, who was present at the signing ceremony, said: "I am delighted with the formalisation of the partnership between NTUC and Mendaki through the MOU.

"Through this partnership, NTUC and Mendaki would be able to leverage on each other's strength and resources to provide targeted and holistic assistance to our workers. This will help to strengthen the competencies of the Malay-Muslim workforce and prepare them to join the emerging and growth sectors."

Also present at the ceremony was NTUC director of operations and mobilisation Mohd Fahmi Aliman, who said that the best approach to tackle the cost of living, a core concern among workers, was to enable these workers to access better jobs and earn better wages with better skills.

Source: Straits Times

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Thailand, Malaysia aim to boost trade, resume two-way travel ‘soon’

February 25, 2022

BANGKOK: Thailand and Malaysia have set a target of $30 billion in bilateral trade by 2025 following a meeting between their leaders in Bangkok on Friday. The two leaders also hope to establish quarantine-free travel between their countries in the near future.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha hosted his Malaysian counterpart Ismail Sabri Yaakob on the latter’s first visit to Bangkok since taking office in August.

The leaders discussed economic cooperation, connectivity, and security issues along their shared border in southern Thailand.

“We agreed to keep the trade value target at $30 billion in 2025,” Chan o-cha said at a press conference.

Bilateral trade between Thailand and Malaysia is currently valued at around $24 billion, according to data from the Thai government. Thailand mainly exports refined petroleum and auto parts, while Malaysia mainly exports integrated circuits and crude petroleum.

Chan-o-cha and Yaakob also discussed reopening their borders to fully vaccinated travelers between the two countries “at the earliest opportunity” to help revive their economies.

“Soon, people who have been fully vaccinated (will be able to) travel between the two countries without quarantine,” Chan-o-cha said.

Malaysia has yet to decide on reopening its borders, while air travel to Thailand is now open to fully vaccinated visitors with entry rules having been further relaxed earlier this week.

“Thailand is now preparing to open its land border,” the Thai leader said, without specifying when that will happen.

Chan-o-Cha said they also discussed the situation in Thailand’s deep south, alluding to the insurgency in the predominantly Malay-speaking Muslim provinces in the majority Buddhist country.

“I have also explained the situation in the southern provinces of Thailand, and Malaysia supported Thailand’s (decision to seek) a peaceful solution through talks and negotiations,” Chan-o-Cha said.

Rebel groups have called for independence in areas bordering Malaysia, and more than 7,000 people have died since the insurgency began in 2004.

Malaysia facilitated formal peace talks in Kuala Lumpur in January between Thai officials and the area’s main rebel group, Barisan Revolusi Nasional, with discussions scheduled to resume next month.

Jaran Maluleem, a political-science professor from Thammasart University in Bangkok, described Thailand-Malaysia relations as “smooth,” pointing out that the two countries have never had a serious conflict.

Maluleem also said parties involved in the south Thailand peace talks have yet to come to an agreement on Malaysia’s role.

Source: Arab News

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Indonesia seeks stiff sentence for Christian YouTuber

Katharina Reny Lestari

February 25, 2022

Prosecutors in Indonesia have demanded a 10-year jail term for a Christian YouTuber accused of insulting Islam.

The move drew criticism from a rights group that said the demand was harsh and discriminatory considering a Muslim recently convicted of a similar offense against Christians received only five months.

Muhammad Kace, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity, is on trial for uploading hundreds of videos insulting Islam on social media.

He has been detained since last August after his arrest in Badung district of Bali province following a slew of complaints by Muslim groups after one YouTube video in which he said: “Muhammad is unknown by God and is only known by his followers because he is surrounded by devils.”.

He has uploaded at least 400 videos on YouTube insulting Islam, according to police.

Kace uploaded the videos intentionally to stir public unrest, chief prosecutor Syahnan Tanjung told Ciamis District Court in West Java province. “This is outrageous, so it warrants a stiff sentence,” he said.

Instead of invoking Indonesia’s blasphemy law, prosecutors are looking to prosecute Kace for spreading fake information or news to intentionally causes public unrest, which carries a 10-year sentence instead of the maximum five years that blasphemy carries.

Bonar Tigor Naipospos, deputy chairman of the Jakarta-based rights group Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, called the demand harsh and questioned why the blasphemy charge had not been laid. “Why did they change the charge?” he asked.

He accused authorities of adopting double standards by referring to a similar case involving Muhammad Yahya Waloni, a Muslim convert from Christianity who was sentenced in January to five months in prison by South Jakarta District Court for committing blasphemy against Christians.

Waloni was convicted of posting hate speech online that could cause interreligious divisions. The Muslim cleric claimed the Bible was a work of fiction in one of his sermons posted on YouTube.

Naipospos called on authorities not to bow to public pressure and apply such laws equally without discrimination.

Source: UCA News

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South Asia


Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan calls for restraint by all sides in Ukraine

February 26, 2022

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in a statement has called for restraint by the parties involved in the recent tensions in Ukraine, saying that all sides need to desist from taking positions that could intensify violence.

MoFA on Friday also urged the involved parties to consider safeguarding the Afghan refugees and students based in Ukraine, TOLOnews reported.

The Russian troops on Thursday launched an all-out attack on Ukraine hours after President Vladmir Putin announced that he had ordered a military operation in Ukraine. The Russian forces have targeted several cities of Ukraine.

"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, in line with foreign policy of neutrality, calls on both sides of the conflict to resolve the crisis through dialogue and peaceful means," the statement said.

Analysts believe that the issue of Ukraine will shift the attention of the international community from the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan.

"The issue of Ukraine draws the attention of the world. The Islamic Emirate should try to ramp up visits abroad to keep Afghanistan's relations with the world countries on track," said Maiwand Babakarkhail, a political analyst.

Based on statistics, more than 50,000 refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Bangladesh are living in Ukraine. Around 20,000 of them are Afghans.

What will be the impact of the Russia-Ukraine' tension on Afghanistan?

"The Ukraine's issue will cause a reduction in attention of the world countries toward the Afghan migrants. The financial support of the European Union and other world countries will decrease," said Toreq Farhadi, a political analyst.

"The people of Afghanistan need of world now more than ever. Unfortunately, Ukraine's situation will cause Afghanistan to be forgotten by the world. This should not happen because the situation in Afghanistan is worse," said Ruslan Salmanov, a Russian journalist.

Although, the Russia's invasion of Ukraine faced widespread reactions by many world countries, Iran and China -- the two neighbouring countries of Afghanistan -- remained silent.

"China is closely monitoring the latest developments. We call on all sides to exercise restraint and prevent the situation from getting out of control, said Hua Chunying's, China Foreign Ministry's Spokesperson.

Source: Business Standard

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How an Afghan refugee sexually assaulted a female aid worker in the US

26 Feb 2022

An Afghan refugee who claimed to be a tribal leader in Afghanistan was convicted of a fourth-degree sexual assault case on February 2nd in Wasau, the United States will face another court meeting in July.

Matiullah Matie, a 40-year-old Afghan refugee who was recently evacuated from Afghanistan has pleaded not guilty to a four-degree sexual assault case.

How Matiullah Matie has sexually assaulted a female caseworker is described in the victim’s court complaint documents, WAOW TV reported.

The worker, identified only by her initials, was invited by Matiullah Matie for dinner at his home.

Shortly after she arrived, she was asked by Matie to step outside to have a drink. Court records say she drove Matie to a nearby gas station so he wouldn’t be seen drinking by his wife and children.

Once there, Matie poured the pair drinks, which the aid worker said she felt pressured to consume. In the complaint, she told police Matie repeatedly told her, “Finish your drink.” She said this happened at least twice.

The aid worker said Matie then kissed her, first on both cheeks, then forcing his tongue into her mouth. She said he also took her hand and forced it against his groin area.

Source: Khaama Press

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Arab World


Envoy: Foreign forces’ presence facilitates terrorist activities in Syria

25 February 2022

Iran’s permanent ambassador to the United Nations condemns continued illegal presence of foreign forces in Syria as a means of facilitation of terrorist activities across the Arab country.

“Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity continue to be significantly violated by the unlawful presence of foreign forces, including those of the United States,” Majid Takht Ravanchi told a UN Security Council session about Syria on Thursday.

“The illegal presence of foreign forces in parts of Syria, which has provided favorable conditions for terrorist activities in Syria, must end immediately,” he added.

The US and its allies invaded Syria in 2014 under the pretext of fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. The terrorist outfit had emerged as Washington was running out of excuses to extend its regional meddling or enlarge it in scale.

The US military interference, however, was surprisingly slow in confronting the terrorists, despite the sheer size of the coalition that had enlisted scores of Washington-allied countries.

Numerous reports and regional officials would, meanwhile, point to the US’s role in transferring Daesh elements throughout the region and even airlifting supplies to the terror outfit.

Takht Ravanchi likewise drew attention to “the free movement of terrorist groups, including ISIS (Daesh), in Syria's territory where foreign forces are illegally present, as well as their transfer to other countries,” noting how this “endangers regional and international peace and security.”

The ambassador also condemned the Israeli regime’s recurrent strikes against the Syrian territory, saying the attacks had recently been “targeting civilians and civilian infrastructures,” and noting how this “constitutes flagrant violations of international humanitarian law.”

The Tel Aviv regime mostly keeps quiet about its attacks on Syrian territory, which many view as a knee-jerk reaction to the Syrian government’s success in confronting terrorism.

Source: Press TV

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Envoy: West blocking Syria's reconstruction, looting oil, gas, wheat

26 February 2022

Syria's permanent representative to the UN has lashed out at the United States and the European Union for hampering the government’s efforts to improve humanitarian situation in the Arab country, saying the nation continues to suffer under the West’s illegal measures.

“The suffering of the Syrian people continues as a result of the practices of Western countries whose interests and agendas have prevailed over the lives of Syrians and the security and stability of the region,” Bassam al-Sabbagh told a UN Security Council Briefing on the Political and Humanitarian Situation in Syria on Friday.

“Improving the humanitarian situation requires lifting illegitimate coercive measures, ending foreign occupation of Syrian lands, and halting support for terrorist organizations and separatist militias.”

The government, he said, is trying to rebuild what terrorism has destroyed in Syria, return the country to the path of sustainable development and ensure the return of the displaced to their homeland.

However, he added, such endeavors are being met with major obstacles due to the wrong policies adopted by the Western states and their blatant violations of international law and the UN Charter.

“The unilateral coercive measures imposed by the United States and the European Union have impacted the banking, energy and communication sectors, as well as those of land, sea, air and maritime transportation. They have also impacted the work of the United Nations and other international organizations operating in Syria,” the ambassador noted.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. Washington and its European Union allies have imposed tough sanctions on Syria, after the terrorist groups that they long sponsored in their attempts to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad failed to achieve their goals on the battle ground.

The United States has deployed forces and military equipment in Syria without any authorization from Damascus or the UN. It has long been training militants and stealing Syria’s oil and wheat, ignoring repeated calls by Damascus to end its occupation of the country.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Sabbagh estimated that Syria used to produce 2.5 million tons of wheat before the war, but now it has to import 1.5 million tons instead because the American forces and its allied militants have taken control of the country’s wheat production.

Syria is deficient in electricity generation because the US occupation forces are looting oil and gas, he said. The medical services sector, along with the pharmaceutical industry, is experiencing the repercussions of an embargo that deprives Syrians of their right to health care.

The Syrian envoy further criticized Turkey for violating the bilateral agreements governing the water of the Euphrates River and hindering the passage of Syria-bound humanitarian aid. 

“The current political approach must be changed and talks should be undertaken to achieve the interests of the Syrian people and to end the Turkish, American and Israeli occupation of Syrian territories,” he emphasized.

Source: Press TV

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Children aged 7 and above can now obtain permits to enter holy mosques

February 25, 2022

JEDDAH — The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced on Friday that children aged 7 and above can now obtain a permit to enter the two holy mosques provided the Tawakkalna application shows their health status as “immune” to ensure their safety.

The ministry has said anyone within Saudi Arabia wishing to perform Umrah is required to obtain a permit from the “Eatmarna” or “Tawakkalna” applications on the condition that their health status on the app is “immune” and the beneficiary’s data must be updated in the “Absher” system.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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Lebanon has wheat reserves sufficient for one month amid Ukraine crisis

25 February ,2022

Lebanon has wheat reserves sufficient for one month at most, Economy Minister Amin Salam told Reuters on Friday, amid fears in the market due to the Ukraine crisis.

The country, which imports nearly 60 percent of its wheat from Ukraine, is in talks with other countries including the United States and India to import wheat, Salam added.

“We don’t want to create a state of panic, we have positive indicators,” said the minister.

Lebanon’s main wheat silos were destroyed in the 2020 Beirut port explosion, since when the country has only had enough capacity to store a month’s supply.

Earlier on Friday, Georges Berbari, the ministry’s general director of grains and sugar beets, told Reuters that Lebanon’s wheat reserves were enough for 1.5-2 months.

He said the government was seeking to focus production on Arabic loaves and away from luxury goods such as croissant and cakes to make the supplies last longer.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi king gifts Thailand over 50,000 copies of Qur’an ahead of Ramadan

February 26, 2022

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will gift 50,060 copies of the Qur’an, in various sizes and translations, to Thailand, which will be delivered in a ceremony in the capital, Bangkok, on Saturday, in the presence of political and Islamic figures, scholars and preachers.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, represented by the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an, will deliver the copies, as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to deliver the gift to Muslims around the world before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday.

Sheikh Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz Al-Asheikh, the minister of Islamic affairs and the general supervisor of the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah, expressed his thanks and appreciation to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their efforts and their continuous support for all works related to printing, publishing and educating on the Islamic holy book.

He pointed out that this gift is the Kingdom’s lofty message that emanates from its leadership in the Islamic world, which also coincides with the development and distinction of relations between the two countries.

He said this gift was an extension of what Saudi Arabia has previously sent to Thailand in the past years, and coincides with the development of bilateral relations.

He said the Qur’an has been translated in more than 76 languages, and the complex had increased its production rate by more than 100 percent, from 7 million copies annually to 20 million copies annually in high quality.

Source: Arab News

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A young secularist generation is emerging in the Muslim world, Turkish academic says

Feb 25 2022

A certain level of separation between politics and the religious ulema is necessary in the Muslim world, Ahmet Kuru, a political science professor at San Diego State University, told Ahval.

"I am optimistic about the future. I see a secularist generation coming," Kuru said in an interview with Nervana Mahmoud for the Ahval podcast series Turkish Trends.

In the short-run, removing political control of religious groups may lead to more radicalism, Kuru said.

"In the Muslim world, the democratisation of a religious state is a challenging thing in the short-run," he said. 

However, he said this is necessary if the Muslim world wants an enlightened future with more productivity and Nobel Prize winners.

"If we want a more rationalist and open-minded interpretation of Islam, we should have self-confidence and let the discussion take place in public and minimalise the control," he said.

Even if the politicians try to use the ulema, in the end, the ulema gained authority from this relationship, Kuru said, giving the example of Diyanet, Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs.

Turkey's secularist Kemalists' built Diyanet to control mosques, as they were inspired by a French understanding of secularism controlling religion. In the end, Diyanet became a huge institution, controlling about 100,000 mosques.

"Today, Diyanet talks about everything in Turkey," Kuru said. "Therefore, a certain level of separation is necessary."

In Turkey, Islamists kept blaming secularists for many problems, but now they have been in power for almost two decades, and they've made the problems even worse, according to Kuru.

Furthermore, people have begun to realise how bad Islamist governance is for the country.

According to the public polls in Turkey and some Arab countries, a secularist generation is emerging, he said.

Source: Ahval News

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FM: Hungary to Help Transfer Iranians from Ukraine


Szijjártó said that his country will spare no effort to pursue the transfer of Iranian citizens through Hungary.

"Hungary will take the necessary measures to facilitate the return of Iranians to their country without the need for a visa," the Hungarian foreign minister added.

The Iranian foreign minister, for his part, expressed concern over the actions taken by NATO in creating a crisis in the Eastern European region, and underlined the role of political solutions in resolving the crisis in Ukraine.

Amir Abdollahian also called on Hungarian counterpart to facilitate the transfer of Iranians living in Ukraine through Hungarian territory to the country.

"Iranian citizens, including students, families of diplomats, and other Iranians living in Ukraine, are seeking to return home via the Polish-Hungarian border," he said.

In relevant remarks on Thursday, Amir Abdollahian blamed NATO's provocative acts for the current crisis in Ukraine, and meantime, said that war is not a solution.

"The Ukraine crisis has roots in NATO provocations," Amir Abdollahian wrote on his twitter page.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran to enrich uranium to 20 percent even after sanctions lifted: Nuclear chief

25 February ,2022

Iran will continue to enrich uranium to 20 percent purity even after sanctions on Tehran are lifted, the country’s nuclear chief said on Friday, amid efforts to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal.

“Even with the lifting of sanctions,” Iran will continue to enrich uranium to “five and 20 percent,” Mohammad Eslami, head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

Eslami said Iran continues to enrich uranium up to 60 percent purity, which “prompted Westerners to rush to negotiations (with Iran).”

The 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers restricted the purity to which Tehran can enrich uranium to 3.67 percent.

The US withdrew from the deal in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, prompting Iran to breach the deal’s restrictions.

Tehran has since started enriching uranium up to 60 percent purity – a big step closer to the 90 percent required for weapons-grade material.

Talks aimed at reviving the deal between the deal’s remaining signatories – Iran, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain – are currently taking place in Vienna.

The US is participating indirectly in the talks due to Iran’s refusal to negotiate directly with Washington.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Israel allows Ukrainian Jews to migrate amid conflict

Abdelraouf Arna'out  



Israel said Friday it welcomes the migration of thousands of Ukrainian Jews to Israel amid an escalating conflict with Russia.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Khayyat told reporters that Jews in Ukraine are welcomed to migrate to Israel, adding that the Jewish community in Ukraine is estimated between 120,000 to 150,000 Jews.

Another statement by the Israeli Prime Minister’s office said the political leadership in Israel decided to provide support to the Jewish community in Ukraine and to prepare for allowing them to migrate to Israel.

On Thursday, Haaretz newspaper said the Jewish Agency, a semi-official Israeli body that facilitates Jewish migration worldwide to Israel, was flooded with applications by Ukrainian Jews requesting to flee Ukraine to Israel since the start of the Russian military operations.

According to the daily, the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency are discussing procedures to facilitate and shorten the process for migration to Israel for Ukrainian Jews.

On Sunday, two flights brought 100 Ukrainian Jews to Israel, one flight from the capital Kyiv and the other from Odessa city in southern Ukraine.

Defying threats of sanctions by the West, Russia earlier this week officially recognized Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states, followed by the start of a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Yemeni forces inflict massive losses on Saudi mercenaries in Hajjah, kill senior commander

26 February 2022

Yemeni army troops and fighters from the allied Popular Committees have been engaged in fierce clashes with Saudi mercenaries in the country’s northwestern province of Hajjah, inflicting heavy losses on the them and killing a senior commander.

Informed sources, requesting anonymity, told Yemen’s official Saba news agency that Brigadier General Haikal al-Samini, commander of a military unit in the so-called Fifth Military Zone of the Saudi-led coalition, was killed on Friday after the Yemeni army troops and their allies targeted Saudi-sponsored militants in the Harad district.

According to Yemeni media outlets, at least 53 senior Saudi-backed militant commanders have been killed over the past few months in the course of clashes in Yemen’s central oil-producing province of Ma’rib.

Last month, Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network reported that the commander of the so-called Third Brigade, Majdi al-Radfani, had died of his injuries after Yemeni army troops and their allies targeted UAE-sponsored militants in the Bayhan district of the southern Yemeni province of Shabwah.

The report added that more than 130 militants have been killed during battles with Yemeni Armed Forces over the past few days and dozens of others have been wounded. A number of their military vehicles have been destroyed as well.

Moreover, Saudi warplanes have launched a new round of airstrikes across Yemen, as the Riyadh regime escalates its aggression against its conflict-plagued southern neighbor.

Yemen's Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported more than a dozen air attacks on the country’s northern province of Hajjah on Friday evening, saying the Saudi jets repeatedly bombarded different sites in the Harad and Abs districts of the province.

Saudi fighter jets also carried out seven airstrikes on the al-Jubah and Wadi Ubaidah districts of Ma’rib province, according to the television network.

Separately, four airstrikes were carried out on the al-Hazm and Khabb wa ash Sha'af districts of Yemen’s northern province of al-Jawf.

Saudi shelling kills two civilians in Yemen’s Sa’ada

Additionally, two civilians were killed after Saudi forces fired mortar shells at residential areas in Yemen’s northwestern province of Sa’ada.

Local sources told al-Masirah TV that a civilian was killed in the Qatabir district, and another in the border Shada'a district.

An African refugee also lost his life when Saudi border guards fired shots at Raqou area in the Monabbih district of the province. Seven other civilians, including four African refugees, were injured in the shooting.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies, backed by the United States and European powers, launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi back to power and crushing Ansarullah resistance movement.

Source: Press TV

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Palestinian rights organization urges intl. protection on Ibrahimi Mosque massacre anniversary

25 February 2022

On the anniversary of the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, a leading Palestinian human rights organization has called on the global community to provide international protection for the Palestinians and their holy sites under the Israeli occupation.

The Department of Human Rights and Civil Society in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) made the plea in a statement on Friday, which marks the 1994 killing of some 30 Palestinian worshipers in Ibrahimi Mosque in the southern occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil, according to the Palestinian Ma'an news agency.

"This day marks the 28th anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, which resulted in the martyrdom of 29 worshipers and the injury of 150 others inside the compound, [and] which was carried out by the terrorist Goldstein under the eyes and guards of the occupation soldiers,” the statement said, referring to American-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein who committed the massacre.

“Instead of punishing the criminal and those who protected him and provided him with coverage, the occupation forces punished the victims by imposing their control over the holy site and placing it at the settlers’ disposal,” the statement added.

The department noted, "Since that date, Palestinians have been deprived of freedom of access to the Ibrahimi Mosque, the establishment of prayer there, and have been denied the call to prayer in the holy site most of the time, which is in line with the interests of the settlers and their attempts to Judaize the entire compound."

The organization denounced the measure as a violation of all international laws and agreements related to human rights and freedom of worshipers.

The statement concluded by calling on the "international community to stand up to its responsibilities and provide international protection for the Palestinians and their holy sites under occupation."

Source: Press TV

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Yemeni forces intercept, shoot down intruding Emirati, Saudi reconnaissance drones

25 February 2022

Yemeni army forces and allied fighters from the Popular Committees, have separately intercepted and shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to the United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAEAF) as well as a Saudi aircraft while flying in the skies over Yemen's northern province of al-Jawf and the central province of Ma'rib.

The spokesman for Yemeni Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, said in a post published on his Twitter page that Yemeni air defense forces targeted the US-made General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drone, operated by the UAEAF, with a surface-to-air missile as it was carrying out hostilities over al-Jawf early on Friday.

Shortly afterward, Saree announced in a separate tweet that Yemeni air defense units had shot down a US-built Boeing Insitu ScanEagle spy drone of the Royal Saudi Air Force.

The spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces highlighted that the unmanned aerial vehicle was struck as it was flying in the skies over the al-Jubah district in the oil-producing Ma’rib province.

The Boeing Insitu ScanEagle is a small, long-endurance, low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) built by Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing, and is used for reconnaissance.

The developments took place hours after Saudi warplanes carried out at least 15 air raids against the Harad district in Yemen’s northern province of Hajjah, the Arabic-language al-Masirah television network said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or extent of damage.

Saudi fighter jets also launched two airstrikes against the Abs district in the same Yemeni province. No information about possible casualties was quickly available.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies, backed by the United States and European powers, launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi back to power and crushing Ansarullah resistance movement.

The war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead and displaced millions more. It has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases there.

Source: Press TV

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Iran-Japan dialogue held on “Environment in Islam and Shinto”

February 25, 2022

Held by the Iranian Cultural Center in Japan in cooperation with the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO), the event was attended by a number of cultural and religious officials from the two countries who delivered speeches in person or via video conference.

Ali Mashhadi, an associate professor of Qom University’s Faculty of Law, said in his speech that the most important solution to preserve and save the environment is to refer to religious teachings and environmental theology.

The importance of religion in preserving the environment and nature in today's world is such that some consider religious teachings and theology among of the most important solutions to protect the environment, he stated.

The deep spiritual attention to the elements of nature and the environment exists in both Islam and Shinto, he stated.

By promoting and developing these concepts, the ground is provided to pay more attention to nature and prevent spiritual and moral crises caused by the contemporary world in dealing with the environment.

This is important in two ways. The first is the place and importance of the elements of nature in Islam and Shinto, and the second is the spread of the environmental crisis in the current world and the need to use the capacity of religions to control it, he highlighted.

The Abrahamic religions, such as Shinto, inherently contain very profound teachings to deal with the current crisis of environmental degradation, he stated.

The environmental crisis of the present age cannot be solved without paying special attention to the spiritual dimension of the problem, and no one can deny the role of religion in compensating and reducing the severity of the situation, he further emphasized.

Source: Tehran Times

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Afghan, Muslim Groups Call on President Biden to Return Afghan People’s National Reserves

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/25/22) — Today, 33 Afghan-American and American Muslim organizations sent a letter to President Joe Biden expressing their strong disapproval of his administration’s recent executive order splitting $7 billion USD in frozen Afghan Central Bank funds.   

Letter cosigners called on President Biden “to rescind this decision against the people of Afghanistan’s national assets before the banking sector in Afghanistan and the Afghani currency is destroyed – leading to a decade of mass starvation, mass migration, and regional insecurity.”

Afghan and Muslim groups believe that the funds should be returned to the Afghan Central Bank, that it “does not belong to the Taliban or pay for government services” as “it is intended to safeguard the Afghan financial system.”

Currently, 24.4 million people are suffering from starvation, while one million children under the age of five are at risk of dying from malnourishment and famine. The United Nations projects that Afghanistan will approach a “near universal” poverty rate of 97% in the next few months.  

While no Afghans were involved in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the executive order would split the $7 billion in funds between the families impacted by the tragic September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and aid for the people of Afghanistan.   Advocates believe this money rightfully belongs to the people of Afghanistan and splitting these funds would be “detrimental and extremely harmful to that country’s future stability.”

In a statement, #EndAfghanStarvation Campaign Founder M. Naser Shahalemi said:

“We have a moral responsibility to find cohesive solutions to ending the crisis in Afghanistan. Our lawmakers took an oath to be just and fair in our processes when human life comes into question. We are responsible to make things right in Afghanistan so Afghanistan can become a progressive country in the future, and this cannot happen in its current state of chaos. Afghanistan deserves the opportunity to be economically self-sufficient.”

In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:   

“Afghanistan is facing a man-made economic and humanitarian crisis that can be quickly addressed by the U.S. returning the people of Afghanistan’s $7 billion in national reserves back to the Afghan Central Bank. The United States government has a moral obligation to not split or divert these funds. Our government must ensure that the people of Afghanistan do not fall into mass starvation or other depravations following our troops rapid withdrawal after 20-years of military operations.”  

Letter co-signers include:   

#EndAfghanStarvation Campaign  

Afghan Academy  

Afghan Relief  

Afghanistan-Pakistan Women’s Economic Empowerment  

Afghans of North America  

Alsalam Islamic Center   

American Committees on Foreign Relations  

American Muslim Bar Association  

American Muslim Voice Foundation  

American Muslims for Palestine  

Arizona Muslim Alliance  

ASEF — Afghan Sustainable Economic Foundation  

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)  


Free Uyghur Now  

ICNA Council for Social Justice  

Islamophobia Studies Center  

Jetpac Resource Center  

Kabul Underground  

Mountain View Palo Alto Musalla  

Muslim Alliance in North America   

Muslim American Society (MAS)  

Muslim Forum of the Pacific Northwest  

Nordix Computer Corporation  

Save Afghans from Hunger   

Secure Justice  

South Bay Islamic Association  

Support Life Foundation  


The Legacy Institute  

The Mujadidi Foundation  

Young Muslims  

Zara Initiative  

Source: CAIR

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US allows trade with Afghanistan despite Taliban sanctions

February 26, 2022

The Biden administration is seeking to assure financial institutions and other businesses that U.S. sanctions on the Taliban aren’t intended to interfere with trade that could help Afghanistan emerge from an economic and humanitarian crisis.

Senior administration officials told reporters on Friday that the Treasury Department planned to issue a so-called general license that would expand the authorisation for commercial and financial transactions in Afghanistan in hopes of helping Afghans but not the Taliban.

The officials, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss the license ahead of its release, said the action is intended to restart some of the commercial activity that shut down after the fall of the the U.S.-backed government to the Taliban in August.

It’s the latest in a series of actions by the administration aimed at alleviating a worsening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, where aid groups estimate that nearly 24 million people, more than half the country, face severe hunger and nearly 9 million are on the brink of starvation.

Conditions in Afghanistan were grim for many even before the Taliban takeover, with a long-running drought and entrenched poverty. But the situation has grown more dire because the government relied on foreign assistance for 75 per cent of its budget.

Administration officials concede that the Treasury license will have only a limited effect on businesses that are reluctant to do business in Afghanistan regardless of sanctions.

The Biden administration earlier this year announced more than USD 300 million in humanitarian aid and is working with the World Bank and other organisations to provide additional relief from money that had been previously set aside for development.

Treasury also issued general licenses to make it clear that humanitarian assistance would not run afoul of sanctions.

It also set aside USD 3.5 billion of Afghan government funds frozen in the U.S. after the Taliban takeover to help the country’s economy in a way that officials say has not yet been determined. One option is to use the money to re-capitalise the country’s central bank if it can be run independent of the Taliban.

Source: Indian Express

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Russian invasion not a green light for Iranian nuclear weapon: US State Dept

February 25, 2022

WASHINGTON D.C.: The US will continue to engage with Russia over efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even though Moscow's invasion of Ukraine had made it a “pariah on the world stage,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Friday.

Price said US officials would now only engage with Russia counterparts on issues of “fundamental to our national security interest.”

That includes the talks to revive a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, including Russia, Price said.

Source: Arab News

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EU, Turkiye 'in process of regaining trust': European Parliament rapporteur

Beyza Binnur Dönmez 


The EU and Ankara are "in a process of regaining trust," European Parliament standing rapporteur on Turkiye said on Friday.

"We are now in a new mood in our relations and I can say there is a positive environment. We are in a process of regaining trust," Nacho Sanchez Amor said in a news conference on the annual assessment of Turkiye's EU candidacy.

When the last report came out in May, it was the "worst" period of relations between the parties, the EU official said.

Sanchez said he saw "a very lively political environment" and the main aim is to get the accession negotiations back on track for the EU and Turkiye.

There are many positive developments, Sanchez said and added that he would share them with his colleagues back in Brussels and ask them to have these developments in the report.

The rapporteur said Turkiye's position and stance regarding Russia's military operation in Ukraine is one of the positive points that will be included in the report.

"I think it is important to emphasize this. Because Turkey, together with the Western world, takes a stance in accordance with international rules," he said. "As of today, and as before, we see that we can work together in the field of security and defense."

Turkiye's "excellent" role in immigration, resumption of high-level talks, Paris Agreement and climate change are among other positive developments, according to Sanchez.

On Customs Union, he said that the work to be recorded in the area can be "the most realistic and tangible work."

He, however, said the European Parliament will not approve any issue related to the Customs Union unless it is accompanied by political reforms.

"I can say that I am sure of that," he added.

Regarding Turkiye's EU membership bid, Sanchez said if Turkiye "fulfills the requirements of the accession process ... no matter what reservations are made in terms of culture, religion or democracy, no matter what field it is said to be vetoed in, it can become a member.

"It depends on compliance with these criteria," he added.

The rapporteur also mentioned the negative findings, saying they did not see "any improvement" in human rights and rule of law, calling it "discouraging".

He said that the EU only wants Turkiye to follow its constitution when it comes to justice, so they do not evaluate any opinion from their side as meddling in internal affairs.

Previous reports had more general statements and this one will have more specific critics, he added.

Turkiye applied for EU membership in 1987 and its accession talks began in 2005. But negotiations stalled in 2007 due to objections of the Greek Cypriot administration, as well as opposition from Germany and France.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Prison attack by jailed terrorists ‘must be wake-up call,’ UK govt warned

February 25, 2022

LONDON: A violent assault by three known terrorists inside a high-security jail must be a “wake-up call,” the UK government has been warned.

In May 2020, the trio — including Hashem Abedi, the brother of the man behind the Manchester Arena bombing — launched an “animalistic” joint assault on a prison officer.

They were being held at HMP Belmarsh’s high-security unit, described as a prison within a prison, alongside other terrorists and violent criminals at the time.

A court heard that attackers Abedi, Ahmed Hassan, and Muhammad Saeed associated with each other and other terrorist inmates, and that Abedi had been accused of being their leader.

Their trial is one of several court cases that have exposed terrorist networking inside HMP Belmarsh, with one plotter previously telling an undercover officer he was “surrounded by jihadis” who frequently discussed terror attacks and gave him trial advice, The Independent reported.

Ian Acheson, a former prison governor who carried out a government-commissioned review of Islamist extremism in jails, said he had raised security concerns with ministers.

“The HSU is supposed to be our most extreme custody, holding some of the most dangerous people in Western Europe,” he told The Independent.

“The fact that such a ferocious attack on staff could happen here is a huge security failure that ought to be a shocking wake-up call for ministers.”

Other Islamist extremists “came within seconds of murdering a prison officer at HMP Whitemoor earlier in 2020 — the public and prison staff will be entitled to know that they are properly protected from such offenders,” Acheson added.

The May 2020 assault on custodian manager Paul Edwards was not designated as a terror attack, and Woolwich Crown Court heard it followed a dispute about inmates’ privileges and the prison regime.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “Due to the criminal history of the defendants, the assault was investigated by the Counter Terrorism Command. However, there was no evidence of any terrorist intent.”

Several incidents in the previous months, including a mass brawl, had resulted in Muslim and non-Muslim prisoners being separated in the HSU and Abedi had made several allegations of unfair treatment.

Some prison officers believed that Abedi was trying to take a leadership role in the unit, after a powerful inmate was transferred elsewhere.

Source: Arab News

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UK Parliament speaker silences MP trying to raise PM’s anti-Muslim remarks

February 25, 2022

LONDON: A British MP has been refused permission to raise Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “derogatory” comments about Muslims in Parliament.

On Wednesday, Labour MP Imran Hussain said during Prime Minister’s Questions that Johnson was “no stranger to derogatory remarks about Muslim women.”

As if about to follow up with a question, Hussain continued by saying “let me ask the prime minister …” before he was cut off by Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, who said: “This is not the appropriate place to be raising that.”

Hoyle then moved on to another MP without asking Johnson to answer the question or allowing Hussain to continue.

In an article in August 2018, Johnson wrote that Muslim women look like “bank robbers” and “letterboxes.”

According to Muslim hate monitor Tell Mama, hate crimes against Muslims spiked 375 percent after he made those comments

In the three weeks after Johnson’s article was published, 42 percent of offline Islamophobic incidents reported “directly referenced Boris Johnson and/or the language used in his column,” Tell Mama said.

Hussain had initially raised his concern at Johnson’s language by discussing the record of another MP, Mark Spencer, who has been appointed Commons leader — a ministerial position that organizes the government’s business in the House of Commons — despite being under investigation for Islamophobia.

Spencer is facing scrutiny as part of another Conservative Islamophobia scandal in which a senior party member — which he has admitted was him — told MP Nusrat Ghani that her “Muslimness was an issue” and a reason for her subsequent demotion from a ministerial position.

Hoyle did not elaborate on his reasoning for cutting off Hussain, but a spokesperson for the House of Commons authorities told The Independent: “Mr Speaker was following the convention set out in Erskine May that Members should not make accusations about the conduct of other Members as a ‘sideswipe’ as part of a question.”

That defense drew near-instant condemnation. The Labour Muslim Network said: “Thank you to Imran Hussain for raising the issue of Islamophobia in the House of Commons … It is absolutely shameful that this important issue was shouted down by Conservative MPs and dismissed by the House of Commons Speaker.”

Source: Arab News

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Russia says it is surprised by Lebanon’s condemnation of invasion

25 February ,2022

Russia’s embassy in Lebanon was surprised by the Lebanese foreign ministry statement that condemned the Russian military operations in Ukraine, it said in a statement on its Facebook page.

“The statement... surprised us by violating the policy of dissociation and by taking one side against another in these events, noting that Russia spared no effort in contributing to the advancement and stability of the Lebanese Republic,” the statement said.

Lebanon condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Thursday and called on Moscow to halt its military operations at once.

The foreign ministry statement led to internal criticism from some cabinet ministers, members of parliament and political parties including the powerful Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkiye has finalized preparations for evacuation of its nationals from Ukraine: Top diplomat

Behlul Cetinkaya 


Turkiye has finalized preparations for the evacuation of Turkish nationals from Ukraine amid Russia’s military intervention in the country, the Turkish foreign minister said Thursday.

“We have been working on the evacuation of our citizens from the very beginning. We are ready, but the airspace is currently closed,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told local broadcaster A Haber in an interview.

Noting that the option to evacuate by land is on the table, Cavusoglu said: “When the situation calms down, we will be able to take our citizens to Moldova, Romania and Poland by land.”

He noted that there are also currently conflicts on the sea route, especially in the Odessa region.

“Marine traffic is also closed at the moment,” he said, adding when it reopens, evacuations can be done via sea.

Cavusoglu said agreements were made with bus companies in Ukraine in case of evacuation by land. Countries such as Poland, Moldova and Romania will not require visas from Turkish citizens or PCR tests or COVID vaccination certificates during a possible land evacuation, he added.

Unlike European Union countries, Turkiye and Ukraine introduced a passport-free regime between the two countries in 2017.

Ukraine’s health minister said late Thursday that at least 57 Ukrainian military personnel and civilians had been killed due to Russia’s military intervention in the country.

Donbas crisis and Russia's military intervention

The February 2014 “Maidan revolution” in Ukraine led to former President Viktor Yanukovych fleeing the country and a pro-Western government coming to power.

That was followed by Russia illegally annexing the Crimea region and separatists declaring independence in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Donbas in eastern Ukraine, both of which have large ethnic Russian populations.

As clashes erupted between Russian-backed separatist forces and the Ukrainian army, the 2014 and 2015 Minsk Agreements were signed in Moscow after the intervention of Western powers.

The conflict, however, simmered for years with persistent cease-fire violations.

As of February 2022, some 14,000 people have been killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Tensions started escalating late last year when Ukraine, the US and its allies accused Russia of amassing tens of thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine.

They claimed Russia was preparing to invade its western neighbor, allegations that were consistently rejected by Moscow.

Defying threats of sanctions by the West, Moscow officially recognized Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states earlier this week, followed by the start of a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Nigerian President's denial of Shaikh Zakzaky’s Int'l passport; a cause for alarm

February 26, 2022

IIn a statement signed by the Secretary of the Academic Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and sent to Iran Press News Agency on Friday, Engineer Abdullahi Musa has lamented on the denying Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife Malamah Zeenah, their International Passports to travel abroad for a medical reason.

The Press release said: "The public ought to know that despite several court judgments, ruling in favor of the unconditional release of Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife Malama Zeenah, Buhari and his Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, are yet to let the couple go overseas to attend to grievous and life-threatening health challenges."

The Press release further said that on July 28, 2021, Kaduna State High Court's acquittal and unconditional discharge of the Shaikh and his wife yet serves as another window of opportunity to travel for their top priority, for now, the long-overdue medical treatment, but Buhari has kept frustrating the court ruling, even directing the Nigerian Immigration Service [NIS] to not issue them a new passport, having earlier had theirs confiscated by the National Intelligence Agency [NIA] and Department of State Services [DSS].

Up to this moment, Shaikh Zakzaky and his wife are suffering from many injuries in their respective bodies, and resultant multiple life-threatening health challenges, particularly those triggered by numerous bullets shrapnel and fragments, secreting poisons like lead and cadmium into their blood. There are fragments of bullets around his head and neck. Yes, around the head, from the cheek up to the head, fragments in his hands, on his thigh. He is living with some amount of those poisons in his body, including the fragments of bullets.

Source: ABNA24

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Ukrainian expats protest in Jordan capital against Russia’s invasion

25 February ,2022

Ukrainians living in Jordan staged a protest in Amman against the Russian invasion of their country.

About 150 protesters held Ukrainian flags and chanted anti-Putin slogans Friday.

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“We would like to send a message to the Russian monster that occupied Ukrainian land, to take off his hands from our land, from our people, because we are Ukrainians, we are independent country, we are not Russians,” said one of the protesters.

Protesters also chanted pro-Ukraine slogans and called on the Russian president to leave their country.

Dozens of Jordanians also participated in the protest in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Jordan is following with deep concern and regret the development of the crisis in Ukraine, the deterioration of the situation and the escalation of tension.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Somalia extends election deadline to mid-March

25 February ,2022

Somalia on Friday extended its deadline to finish voting for the lower house of parliament, the latest in a series of election delays that risk starving the country of budget funds.

The fragile Horn of Africa nation has struggled to hold elections, with polls delayed by more than a year, bedeviled by political squabbling and a simmering extremist insurgency.

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The lower house elections were due to be completed on Friday and pave the way for lawmakers to pick a president.

But Deputy Information Minister Abdirahman Yusuf said the deadline had now been revised to March 15.

“The National Consultative Council... expressed their disappointment with the fact that they could not meet the deadline,” the minister said in a televised address.

The announcement came days after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that it might have to stop its program in Somalia if the polls were postponed again.

The IMF program is due for a review in mid-May but election delays mean that a new administration may not be ready to endorse planned reforms in time, forcing it to an automatic halt, Laura Jaramillo Mayor, the fund’s Somalia mission chief told AFP.

Elections were originally scheduled for a year ago but were delayed when President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known by his nickname Farmajo, tried to extend his term.

Farmajo’s four-year mandate expired in February last year, but was controversially extended by parliament in April, triggering deadly gun battles on the streets of Mogadishu.

Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble then brokered a new election timetable, but in the months that followed, a bitter rivalry between him and Farmajo derailed the process again.

The international community has voiced fears that election delays, as well as the feud between Farmajo and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, could set off new troubles for a country that has lacked stable governance for three decades.

The United States last month threatened to impose sanctions if the country missed Friday’s deadline.

Source: Al Arabiya

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