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Indians Never Felt Inferior Despite 1,000 Years of Islamic Wars, British Did That in Just 150 Years: RSS' Hosabale

New Age Islam News Bureau

29 July 20123


Dattatreya Hosabale



• Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Plea On Mob Violence Against Muslims By Cow Vigilantes

• Surankote Police Distributed Halwa and Sharbat to Muharram Congregation in Jammu and Kashmir

• J&K: Govt organises convention to revive and spread awareness on Sufism in Srinagar

• Behind Cluster of Vintage Shops In Pune, A Mosque Where Prayers Were Offered For Success Of 1857 Mutiny

• PM Modi pays tributes to Imam Hussain

• 8,330 Indians Are Languishing in Foreign Prisons UAE, Saudi Arabia Has the Highest Number of Inmates

• Uttar Pradesh: 2 Shia Groups Clash Over Venue for Religious Meeting, 20 Booked

• Develop SOPs to probe 'love-jihad' cases: Himanta tells Assam Police



• Pakistan Calls for Israel to Be Held Accountable for Palestine ‘Crimes’

• People of Balochistan have first right on province’s resources: PM

• CDA urged to focus on better development of Blue Area Business Centre

• Ashura processions under way across the country amid tight security



• Shia Muslims hold mourning ceremony in Baqi in Medina

• Islamic State Says It Bombed Shiite Shrine in Syria which Killed 6, Injured 20

• Deaths as fire erupts in Iraqi shrine city during Shia pilgrimage

• Muslims in Türkiye commemorate the anniversary of the Karbala

• Turkey’s Erdogan: Ashura cause for unity between Islamic countries

• Qur'an desecrators fail to stir up religious conflict



• Swedish Migration Agency Re-Examines Residency Permit ofQuranBurner

• IS claims attack near Damascus Shia shrine

• Man 'exposes himself and shouts racist abuse outside Swindon Mosque'

• Quran Burnings Fuel Endless Crisis Between Sweden, Denmark andArab-Muslim Nations



• United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) applauds Kenya’s efforts to resolve stateless situation of Pemba community

• Uganda: Tayebwa applauds Natasha on her NRA documentary


North America

• US Families Sue French Firm Over Financial Aid to Daesh, Other Terrorist Groups In Syria

• U.S. designates Islamic State financier in Somalia

• Shi’ite Muslims commemorate Ashura, amid heatwave

• Australian military copter crash halts US-led war games, leaves 4 missing

• US nuclear test’s fallout reached as far as Canada and Mexico, study finds


Arab World

• Prince Faisal Renews Saudi Rejection of Qur’an Burnings in Call with Swedish FM

• Deal signed to empower people with special needs in Madinah

• US ambassador to Sudan returns to Saudi Arabia to resume dialogue efforts

• Skills development program concludes in Eastern Province

• Fennec in Riyadh for comedy, theatre workshops


South Asia

• Astana To Host Central Asia, USA Meeting on Afghanistan

• UN responds to a media outlet report on a controversial human rights figure

• Kazakhstan’s First Deputy FM, US Special Envoy Discuss Afghanistan

• US Envoys for Afghanistan Meet with Central Asian Nations' Representatives

• Ashura Marked in Separate Ceremonies in Kabul


Southeast Asia

• Time To Unite And Move Forward, Says Kit Siang Over Claims Of ‘Tyrant’ Leading DAP

• People need more than empty promises, Muhyiddin tells Anwar

• State polls: BN's Muhamad Khizri unfazed to take on Sanusi in Jeneri

• State polls: GRS declares support for unity govt candidates, says chairman Hajiji

• State polls: PM Anwar says last-minute changes in candidates a normal process

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Indians Never Felt Inferior Despite 1,000 Years of Islamic Wars, British Did That In Just 150 Years: RSS' Hosabale


Dattatreya Hosabale


Despite enduring a 1,000 year of wars against Islamic rule, Indians maintained a sense of self-dignity.

However, the relatively shorter period

psyche, leading to feelings of inferiority

In a thought-provoking speech during a book launch event, RSS Sar Karyavah (General Secretary) Dattatreya Hosabale raised concerns about the psychological impact of British colonial rule on the Indian populace.

"We never imagined the Mughals as superior to us... "The people of this country have never accepted that the barbarians who attacked us were superior to us," claimed the RSS general secretary.

He claimed that during colonial authority, a narrative was established that led people to feel they were slaves and the "white man's burden." "It should have changed after we gained independence," he remarked.

He further claimed that various attempts were made to instil hatred for India, Hindus, its culture, and everything associated with it.

Hosabale was addressing at the presentation of Balbir Punj's book, 'Narrative Ka Mayajaal,' penned by renowned journalist and former Rajya Sabha member Balbir Punj. Hosabale wrote the foreword to the book, which analyses how narratives can shape civilisational identities.

Hosabale questioned India's standing in the world and emphasized the need to recognize the significant contributions made by Indians throughout history. He criticized how the intellectual class during British rule started to believe in a narrative that portrayed Indians as unintelligent, uncivilized, and lacking in contributions to the world. Even after gaining independence, this mindset persisted and was perpetuated by various institutions, media, and opinion-makers.

"This country's so-called educated people and media have accepted this narrative." Europe-centric notions pervade our lifestyles, education systems, and social perspectives. "We will not change the narrative unless we abandon the colonial mindset," he stated.

The RSS General Secretary stressed the importance of reclaiming Indian identity and understanding the nation's cultural roots through the study of Sanskrit. He lamented how Sanskrit, a language rich in heritage, had been marginalized and dismissed as a relic of the past. Hosabale urged people to challenge the prevailing narrative by embracing their native languages, like Hindi, and not solely relying on English for intellectual pursuits.

In conclusion, Hosabale called for a paradigm shift in how Indians perceive themselves, urging them to break free from the mental shackles of colonialism and rediscover their true potential as a nation with a profound history and a wealth of knowledge to offer the world.

Meanwhile, Punj believed that his book would aid in the dismantling of "colonial narratives."

The book, written in Hindi and published by Prabhat Prakashan, investigates popular tales and their impact on Indian politics and culture.

The different chapters include subjects such as the "Macaulay narrative," Dravid-Aryan hypotheses, Hindu and Hindutva, two nation theory, and the Kashmir con ict, among others.


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‘Banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan Looking to Merge With Al Qaeda to Expand Influence’


Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakis­tan


July 29, 2023

UNITED NATIONS: The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakis­tan (TTP) might be seeking a merger with Al Qaeda to create an umbrella organisation that shelters all militant groups operating in South Asia, warned a monitoring report submitted to the UN Security Council.

“Some [UN] member states registered concern that TTP might provide an umbrella under which a range of foreign groups operate, or even coalesce, avoiding attempts at control by the Taliban,” the report added.

The report, compiled by a UN committee that monitors terrorist activities across the globe, endorsed Pakistan’s complaint that the banned TTP has incre­ased its influence in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover.

“One member state noted the possibility of [Al Qaeda] and TTP merging. It assessed [Al Qaeda] to be providing guidance to TTP for conducting increased attacks within Pakistan,” the report warned.

According to the document, training camps run by various terrorist groups in Afghanistan’s Kunar province are being used by fighters of the banned TTP as well.

“Since the reunification with several splinter groups, and emboldened by the Taliban take over in Afghanistan, TTP has aspired to re-establish control of territory in Pakistan.”

UN monitors noted that the proscribed TTP remained focused on high-value targets in border areas and soft targets in urban areas.

“TTP capability is assessed as not matching its ambition, given that it does not control territory and lacks popular appeal in the tribal areas,” the report added.

The UN committee reported that in June, certain elements of the banned TTP were relocated away from the border area, as part of the Taliban’s efforts to rein in the group under pressure from the government of Pakistan.

Member states told UN monitors they were concerned that the outlawed TTP could become a regional threat if it continues to have a safe operating base in Afghanistan.

The UN committee, which submitted its report to the Security Council on July 25, shed light on how the banned TTP was gaining momentum in Afghanistan since the Afghan Taliban took control in August 2021.The report also highlighted how other terrorist outfits were using the TTP cover to operate in the war-torn country.

“The distinctions between members of Al Qaeda and affiliated groups, including TTP, and [IS-K] are at times blurred at the edges, with individuals sometimes identifying with more than one group and a tendency for people to gravitate towards the dominant or ascending power,” the report noted.

“There is growing reporting that other sanctioned terrorist groups are using support to TTP as a means to evade control by the Afghan Taliban,” it added.

The document defined Afghanistan as a place of global significance for terrorism, with approximately 20 terrorist groups operating in the country and spreading their influence across regions and to build theocratic quasi-state entities.

The UN committee observed that relationship between the Taliban and Al Qaeda remains close and symbiotic. For the most part, Al Qaeda “operates covertly in Afghanistan to help promote the narrative that the Taliban comply with agreements not to use Afghan soil for terrorist purposes”.

Under the patronage of high-ranking officials of the de facto Taliban authorities, “Al Qaeda members infiltrate law enforcement agencies and public administration bodies, ensuring the security of Al Qaeda cells dispersed throughout the country”.

It estimated that the Al Qaeda core in Afghanistan remains stable at 30 to 60 members, while all Al Qaeda fighters in the country were estimated to be 400, reaching 2,000 with family members. Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent had approximately 200 fighters.

Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers, however, have rejected the UN report as incorrect. “The UN Security Council report is not true. Al Qaeda has no presence in Afghanistan,” Zabihullah Mujahid, the primary spokesperson for the Afghan Taliban, tweeted on Friday.


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Revolution Leader al-Houthi: Imam Hussein Presented in Karbala Greatest Lessons of Truth


The leader of the revolution, al-Sayyed Abd al-Malik Badr al-Din al-Houthi


SANA'A July 28. 2023 (Saba)

The leader of the revolution, al-Sayyed Abd al-Malik Badr al-Din al-Houthi, affirmed that Imam Hussein, peace be upon him, presented in the battle of Karbala the greatest lessons for the nation throughout its history in steadfastness on the truth, loyalty to Islam, and the advancement of responsibility.

In his speech today on "Ashura", the Leader of the Revolution indicated that commemorating this memory and talking about the revival of the Messenger of God's grandson, his martyrdom, and the Karbala incident indicate the great, deep and extended impact of his revival and martyrdom.

He said, "The commemoration of this memory also indicates the shock of the great catastrophe that has been shaking the living consciences of the sons of the Islamic nation through generations.

Al-Sayyed emphasized that the path of the renaissance of Imam Hussein, peace be upon him, extended after his martyrdom, and the nation found that it had no choice but to move seriously and decisive revolution to get rid of the Umayyad tyranny, and this was achieved after a series of revolutions and sacrifices.

Al-Houthi stated that the nation in this era faces tyranny, evil and Yazidi criminality represented by the Zionist lobby, America, Israel and their allies and collaborators, as their war has become explicit against the Holy Quran.

Al-Sayyed Abdul Malik explained that the satanic endeavors led by America openly to promote immorality and homosexuality and all steps that strike moral values are the culmination of their path in deviating human societies from God’s approach and guidance.

He pointed out that the persistence of the forces of evil and tyranny can only be stopped by serious action with awareness and a sense of responsibility and trust in Allh.

Al-Sayyed considered the steadfastness of the dear Yemeni people over nine years of siege, propaganda campaigns, and efforts to stir up internal strife, a great divine success, and following the example of the great scholars including Imam Hussein.

The leader of revolution called on the sons of the Islamic nation to take a firm and serious stance that rises to the level of responsibility towards the enemies for their offense to the Holy Quran.

He advised and warned Western societies that the Jewish lobby is pushing them towards the abyss, and to where they will receive God's wrath and torment.

Al-Sayyed Abdulmalik Badr Al-Din Al-Houthi pointed out that the situation that Western societies have reached is a bad and backward condition, and a terrible state of slavery. He said, "I call on them to liberate themselves from the slavery of the Jews, and to return to the divine message."

He stated that the reality that human society is experiencing is distressed and dangerous, while the situation of Western societies is heading towards a very dangerous situation at the global level.

Al-Houthi pointed out that Western civilization is a barbaric civilization that denies morals, values, and human dignity, oppresses, tyrannizes, and oppresses, and does not care for the right and sanctities.

The Leader of the Revolution affirmed Yemen's firm and principled stance towards the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people and its continuous endeavor to enhance cooperation and coordination with the brothers in Palestine and the axis of jihad and resistance.

He said, "What we hope from cooperation with the axis of jihad and resistance is to achieve the desired goal of purifying Palestine and saving the Palestinian people."

The leader of the revolution called on the coalition of aggression to end the aggression, siege and occupation, and to deal with the war files on the issue of prisoners, reconstruction and damage, and to desist from conspiracies.

He also called on the Yemeni people for permanent readiness to continue confronting the enemies in order to deter them and save the country from their evil, tyranny and conspiracies.


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Muslims Stand ‘Shoulder to Shoulder' At Largest Islamic Convention In UK


This year’s Jalsa Salana in Alton, Hampshire, will see around 40,000 Muslims coming together in prayer and reflection (Hannah Cottrell/PA)


Hannah Cottrell, PA

29 July, 2023

Muslims spoke about the importance of “standing shoulder to shoulder” as a community as they attended the first day of the largest Islamic convention in the UK.

Around 40,000 Muslims are expected to attend the Jalsa Salana, which began on Friday and ends on Sunday – with some travelling from overseas to reach Oakland Farm in Alton, Hampshire, where the convention takes place.

Fraz Ahmad, 19, a law student from Bradford – who said he journeyed for five hours on Friday morning to reach Alton, told the PA news agency: “I think it’s really important to remove the misconceptions around Islam and change the narrative, change the perspective, that people have upon it.

“By people coming here and having a look at what true Islam looks like, and what we believe Islam is about, that’s the only way that narrative is going to change.”

The convention, which is in its 57th year, was formed with the help of around 5,000 volunteers from the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, which is deemed to be the fastest growing sect within Islam.

The convention offers people that chance to come together to “self-reflect” and “focus on spiritual goals for the coming year” and also features several highly symbolic services and sermons from the leader, or Caliph, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad.

On Friday, the Caliph hoisted the flag for the community alongside the Union flag, which was raised by Rafiq Hayat, the national president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association in the UK.

It was followed by a sermon from the Caliph, who addressed the current issues facing the community and society as a whole.

Across the weekend, around 270,000 meals will also be prepared onsite by the volunteers, and the bread factory at the convention provides around 9,000 rotis – a flatbread which is eaten with meals – every hour for the attendees.

Sarah Ward, a 43-year-old primary school teacher from Kingston, south-west London, said it is “really nice” to see the diversity of the Muslim community as well as the unity that comes with the convention.

“We know, as Muslim women, we’re very diverse, we’re not monolith, we’re from different backgrounds, we have different skills, we have different passions, we do different jobs, but we come together as one community,” the mother-of-three told PA.

“We’re united under our Caliph, and it’s really nice to see that diversity yet that unity that’s there.”

Of the Jalsa Salana, Ms Ward added: “As much as Jalsa changes – in that the marquees might be bigger or we might have more facilities – the essence of why we come to Jalsa is exactly the same.

“We come here to listen to the speeches of our Caliph, to self-reflect, to self-improve.

“It’s a pause in the year where we come together and we just have that space to enjoy our sisterhood and focus on our spiritual goals for the coming year, and you always come away quite refreshed.”

Munazzah Chou, 38, from Farnham, said the five daily prayers – which also include an “extra special” morning prayer at the convention – are made “more amazing” due to the “sheer scale” of the Jalsa Salana.

 “During Jalsa, everybody gets together and it’s an amazing experience,” Ms Chou, a doctor, told PA.

“Prayer, in general, is all about coming together, standing shoulder to shoulder in a row, there’s no hierarchy, and during Jalsa, the sheer scale of it makes it more amazing.”

The mother-of-three added that the convention provides “the feeling of sisterhood” and allows attendees to “[express] our morals”.

“Hospitality is a huge part of being a Muslim, so being hospitable towards travellers and everybody you meet, it’s a big part of that, and every year we get an experience of that”, she added.

Meals are to be cooked onsite over the course of the weekend, with 772 pots of food made to cater for the convention on Friday alone.

The kitchen also plans to prepare around 270,000 meals in total from South Asian and European cuisines across the three days.

Javed Uddin, 57, from Leicester – who has been preparing meals for the convention for over 20 years, said he “loves working here”.

“We’re all different ages, we come from different parts of the UK and abroad, and we all work together,” Mr Uddin told PA.

“We usually cook dahls, which is lentils, in the afternoon, and then we cook lamb and potatoes in the evening.”

Mr Uddin, who works at Asda, added: “When you do worldly things, you can work here like 14, 15 hours, which I’ve done many times, and you’re shattered and finishing at three, four, five o’clock in the morning, but it just keeps you going.”

The site is also equipped with a roti-making factory, which produces around 9,000 rotis every hour which are then hand-packaged and sent across the site.

Fathay Rashid, 31, from London – who has been working in the onsite factory for around 10 years, said around 350,000 rotis will be prepared across the course of the three-day convention.

Mr Rashid, who is a pilot, said they begin making the dough batches for the roti at 3am, the bread of which consists of whole wheat flour, water, sugar and yeast.

Of his role at the Jalsa Salana, he said: “I love it. Every year I come back to do this, it’s voluntary work.

“All the people you see every year, they’re like family, home.”

On Saturday, the Caliph will lead the afternoon prayer with the women in the female section of the convention, while all attendees will gather to pledge allegiance to the Caliph in a human chain formed of 40,000 people on Sunday.


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Tunisia: Hundreds Of Prominent Arab And Muslim Figures Demand Release Of Rached Ghannouchi


Rached Ghannouchi greets supporters upon arrival at a police station in Tunis, on 21 February 2023, in compliance with the summons of an investigating judge (AFP)


28 July 2023

Hundreds of influential figures from across the Arab and Muslim world demanded the release on Friday of Rached Ghannouchi and other political detainees in Tunisia following 100 days since his arrest.

According to the signatories of the open letter to Tunisian authorities, Ghannouchi’s arrest is part of a “widespread crackdown” on dissent that has intensified since February 2023, as more than a dozen opposition figures were arrested including judges, politicians, activists, and businessmen.

“Their sole crime is defying attempts to roll back Tunisia’s democratic gains, reestablish dictatorship, and halt the progress opposition leaders are making towards building a broad and diverse alliance to defend democracy,” the letter stated.

The signatories include leaders, academics, and influential figures across the Muslim world like Abdel Rahman bin Farhat, a member of the Algerian parliament; Abderrahim Sheikhi, the former president of the Movement for Unity and Revolution in Morocco; and Hussein Ghazi al-Samarrai from the Iraqi Fiqh Council.

Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia’s main opposition party, Ennahda, was arrested on 17 April on the orders of a Tunisian judge and was under investigation by authorities for money laundering and incitement to violence, charges he denies and that his supporters claim were politically motivated.

“All supporters of the values of freedom must stand with Tunisian democrats as they resist the onslaught against Tunisia’s democracy, a source of hope and inspiration in the Arab and Muslim worlds, which cannot be allowed to turn into another source of despair,” the letter stated.

On 15 May, Ghannouchi was sentenced in absentia to a year in prison in the most high-profile escalation of an authoritarian crackdown underway in the country since President Kais Saied took office.

Ghannouchi served as the speaker of parliament, elected through democratic means, which Saied dissolved against constitutional provisions. He led a centrist Islamist party that aimed to find common ground with Tunisia's secular factions in the administration.

The 81-year-old political leader was handed a prison sentence and a fine in connection with public remarks he made at a funeral last year when he praised the deceased as a “courageous man” who did not fear “a ruler or tyrant”.

Saied, a former constitutional law professor, was democratically elected president in 2019, vowing to clean up corruption and cut through political chaos.

However, in 2021, he shuttered parliament and began consolidating power. He has arrested journalists, activists and political opponents, in what Amnesty International has decried as “a politically motivated witch hunt”.

In May, nearly 150 academics in Europe and North America - including from the universities of Oxford, Harvard, and Columbia - called for the release of Ghannouchi and all political prisoners in Tunisia, amid what they described as a "fierce onslaught" against the sole democracy to emerge from the 2011 Arab Spring.


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Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Plea On Mob Violence Against Muslims By Cow Vigilantes

July 29, 2023

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a plea filed by a women's organisation seeking directions to states to take immediate action in consonance with a 2018 verdict of the apex court to effectively deal with incidents of lynching and mob violence against Muslims by cow vigilantes.

A bench of Justices BR Gavai and JB Pardiwala issued notice to the Centre and the DGPs of Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana seeking their responses to the plea.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), an organisation linked to the Communist Party of India, pleaded against referring the matter to high courts for adjudication.

"If that happens, then I will have to go to various high courts. But what will the victims get? Compensation of two lakhs after ten years. This is despite the 2018 verdict in Tehseen Poonawala case regarding mob violence. What remedy do I have, where will I go?" Mr Sibal said.

He said the last time he had moved the apex court he was asked to approach the high courts concerned.

The bench then told him it was issuing notice to the parties concerned on the petition.

The plea, filed through advocate Sumita Hazarika and Rashmi Singh, sought urgent intervention of the apex court in view of the "alarming" rise in cases of lynching and mob violence targeting Muslims despite clear guidelines and directions issued by the top court in 2018 with regard to cow vigilantes.

"In view of the alarming rise in cases of lynching and mob violence against the Muslim community, the Petitioner is seeking a writ in the nature of mandamus to the concerned State authorities to take immediate action in terms of the findings and directions of this court in Tehseen Poonawalla (2018 verdict) so as to effectively contain and deal with the same," the plea said.

The apex court had in 2018 issued a set of guidelines to curb cow vigilantism that targeted mostly Muslims.

The petition said urgent relief was being sought as states had failed to take necessary action against the perpetrators.

"The positive duty of the State to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all individuals and the primary responsibility of the State to foster a secular, pluralistic and multiculturalist social order, have been recognized by this Court in several judgments including in Tehseen Poonawalla (2018 verdict). It is further submitted that this court recognized its own constitutional duty to take a call to protect lives and human rights," the PIL said.

In its 2018 verdict, the top court had held the states have the principal obligation to see to it that vigilantism, be it cow vigilantism or any other vigilantism of any perception, does not take place, and issued guidelines to be adopted by the authorities to deal with such incidents.

The PIL referred to several incidents of mob violence, the most recent being the killing of a 55-year-old truck driver named Jaharuddin on June 28, 2023 in Bihar's Saran district on suspicion of carrying beef. It said the killing happened on the heels of two such incidents in Maharashtra's Nashik.

The PIL sought direction to the Centre to provide a minimum uniform amount to the victims of such violence in addition to the compensation determined by the respective states after considering factors like the nature of bodily injury, psychological injury and loss of earning, including loss of employment opportunities, and legal and medical expenses.


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Surankote Police Distributed Halwa and Sharbat to Muharram Congregation in Jammu and Kashmir

July 29 2023

A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love and Surankote Police yet again won hearts buy distributing *Halwa and Sharbat* among Congregation participants of Moharram on eve of Moharram congregation

Breaking ice between general public and police,Surankote police is always seen spreading happiness and sharing sorrow say it be Eid and Diwali celebration in Surankote town say it be providing support and helping hand during waterlogging in Surankote town.

Today on occasion of Muharram Congregation in Surankote town *SSP Vinay Kumar Sharma and his team remained part of congregation whole day , got distributed water , biscuits , Sharbat and Halwa to participants of Moharram Congregation in Surankote town. These gestures bring confidence in community and promote feeling of oneness among public and police and this was welcomed by civil society of Surankote Town


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J&K: Govt organises convention to revive and spread awareness on Sufism in Srinagar

Srinagar, July 28(ANI): The Jammu and Kashmir government organised a convention to revive and educate people about the importance of Sufism on July

27. Sufism is one of the important parts of Kashmir’s traditional history. Cluster University of Srinagar in collaboration with the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages (JKAACL) organised the National Convention on Sufism: A Bridge Between Communities at Sher-i-Kashmir International

Conference Centre (SKICC) to revive the Sufi culture and connect the young generation with their roots. The convention was headed by Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha and Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan. They highlighted the role and imp(hotrttpa:/n/(whctwtepw:o/./(ffbhaciSttte.uplbysf/o:i2/so/ntmkw5.8citoiirtnmle)rI/.casonlaminme/Aw.NsI.)in)


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Behind Cluster Of Vintage Shops In Pune, A Mosque Where Prayers Were Offered For Success Of 1857 Mutiny

The City Jama Masjid located in Pune’s Shukrawar Peth was built in 1839 for Rs 15,000 from public contributions.

Written by Atikh Rashid

July 29, 2023

The Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency of 1885 describes the mosque as a “chief Muhammadan place of worship in the city” built around 1839 by public subscription for Rs 15,000. (Express Photo)

On May 10, 1857, Indian sepoys in Meerut broke into an uprising that is now remembered as India’s first war of independence. While Pune, then Poona, did not see any active conflict unlike several other cantonment towns in the country, tension was palpable as the news reached the city through newspapers and word of mouth. The city did see surreptitious meetings, pamphleteering and a surge in rumours, as per accounts by historians.

Among the reactions to the mutiny that have been recorded by historians is that of prayers offered at City Jama Masjid on May 22, 1857, a Friday, for the success of the mutiny.

“After the usual Friday prayers, some 10-12 men remained in the mosque and commenced talking about the war operations before Delhi. The whole party simultaneously rose clapping their hands in the attitude of prayer, bought with the aid of the Prophet on behalf of the mutineers,” as per a contemporary government report quoted in South India in 1857 War of Independence by V D Divekar. The attendees were identified as Jaffer Mulla, Mahomed Hayat, Hussain Arab, RhaimuNaichiwala, MaddarNaichiwala, Imam Pattewala and Jamaluddin who were later reported to the police by the informers. It is not known if any punitive measure was taken against the attendees.

The Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency of 1885 describes the mosque as a “chief Muhammadan place of worship in the city” built around 1839 by public subscription for Rs 15,000.

“The back wall has a niche with a step against it, and is covered with texts from the Kuran. In front of the mosque is a well-sanded yard with a fountain in the middle. On one side is a washing cistern or Hauz. Attached to the mosque is a Persian school, a rest house and some dwellings whose rent go to the mosque fund. All Muhammadan social and religious meetings are held in this mosque,” reads the Gazetteer.

puneThe mosque’s imam, says that a few decades ago, the mosque’s roof was extended by 15 metres to accommodate more Namazi. (Express Photo)

Presently, the entrance of the mosque in busy Shukrawar Peth is easy to miss as vintage shops stand shoulder to shoulder. The narrow entrance opens into a moderately spacious courtyard, 100 feet in width and 15 feet in length, before the enclosed mosque starts. There is a Wuzukhana, the washing cistern, on the left side with a small fountain-like structure in the middle and the cistern’s edges lined by stools for the namazees to sit on as they do the ablutions before prayers.

That the mosque is over 180 years old is barely recognisable – due to the fresh construction of the front Sahan, the courtyard where namaz is offered, and several coats of paint on the exteriors – until one enters the innermost area which reveals its stone build, topped by a dome.

Maulana Zameeruddin, 64, the mosque’s imam, says that a few decades ago, the mosque’s roof was extended by 15 metres to accommodate more namazees. The move, however, shortened the length of the courtyard and also required the removal of a fountain that was in front of the mosque.

Zameeruddin has been the imam here for the last 40 years. “Before me, my elder uncle was the imam. Earlier, people from far-off areas such as Khadki, Dapodi and Deccan used to come to offer Friday prayer here as this is a historic place. Now, people have shifted to newer areas of the city, such as Kondhwa, where bigger mosques have come up and people prefer to pray there. Still, some people make it a point to come here, especially for Friday prayer,” he said.

For a long time, the Pune civic body’s Urdu-medium school (School No 22), operated from inside the rooms constructed within the courtyard until it shifted to a nearby location later.

Siraj Tamboli, a 65-year-old Namazi who visits the mosque several times a day, said, “I belong to the third generation from my family that prays in this mosque. My sons and grandsons also come here.”


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PM Modi pays tributes to Imam Hussain

July 29, 2023

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to Imam Hussain on Saturday, saying his courage and commitment to the ideals of justice and human dignity are noteworthy.

Muslims across the world, especially Shias, commemorate the death of Hussain on this day in the battle of Karbala. Better known as “ashura”, it is the 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram.

“We recall the sacrifices made by Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS). His courage and commitment to the ideals of justice and human dignity are noteworthy,” Modi said on Twitter.


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8,330 Indians Are Languishing in Foreign Prisons UAE, Saudi Arabia Has the Highest Number of Inmates

JULY 28, 2023

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (EAM) on Friday informed the Lok Sabha that 8,330 Indians are languishing in foreign prisons at present, a majority of which are in UAE, Saudi Arabia and Nepal. In a statement laid on the Table of the House, Jaishankar stated that India has signed an Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (TSP) with as many as 31 countries.

Under the provisions of TSP, Indian prisoners lodged in foreign countries can be transferred to India to serve the remainder of their sentence and vice-versa. Out of the total Indian prisoners, including undertrials, 1,611 are in United Arab Emirates (UAE), followed by 1,461 in Saudi Arabia and 1,222 in Nepal.

The minister said due to strong privacy laws prevailing in many countries, the local authorities do not share information on prisoners unless the person concerned consents to the disclosure of such information. “Even countries which share information do not generally provide detailed information about the foreign nationals imprisoned," he added.

Jaishankar stressed the government attaches the highest priority to the safety, security and well-being of Indians in foreign countries, including those in the foreign jails.  “Indian Missions/Posts abroad remain vigilant and closely monitor the incidents of Indian nationals being put in jail in foreign countries for violation/ alleged violation of local laws," the minister informed.

“As soon as the information about the detention/arrest of an Indian national is received by an Indian Mission/Post, it immediately gets in touch with the local Foreign Office and other concerned local authorities to get consular access to the detained/arrested Indian national to ascertain the facts of the case, confirm his or her Indian nationality and ensure his or her welfare," he added.

In a separate unstarred question, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was also asked whether the Government has maintained any data on the Indian citizens killed in terror attacks abroad.

In response, the Minister of State for MEA, Meenakshi Lekhi, said 139 Indian citizens have died in terror attacks while staying abroad since 1985. “The Government of India accords the highest priority to safety, security and well being of Indian citizens abroad and regularly engages with the authorities of other countries in this regard," she said.

“In case of incidences of terror attacks involving death of Indian citizens abroad, the Government suitably requests the concerned foreign Government to take appropriate action to bring to justice the perpetrators of such terror attacks," she added.


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Uttar Pradesh: 2 Shia groups clash over venue for religious meeting, 20 booked

Jul 28, 2023

By Press Trust of India: Two Shia groups clashed here over holding a religious meeting, a police official said on Friday.

Additional Superintendent of Police Samar Bahadur Singh said the incident took place on Thursday night in Moonghari village.

The groups clashed over the venue for holding a 'majlis' (religious meeting) during the Muharram procession. A video of the fight went viral on social media.

Singh said both sides lodged a complaint against each other on Friday, following which, 20 people were booked.


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Develop SOPs to probe 'love-jihad' cases: Himanta tells Assam Police

Jul 28, 2023

By Press Trust of India: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday urged the police to develop a standard operating Procedure (SOP) for probing cases of 'love-jihad' in the state.

The root cause of 'love jihad' is forceful religious conversions, Sarma claimed in his address to the superintendents of police at a convention in Bongaigaon.

"Besides, an act will be implemented soon in the state through which the marriageable age will be legally fixed for all communities, multiple marriages will be stopped and more legislative steps will be taken so that when arrests are made for violating the norms, the accused do not get bail," Sarma said.

The chief minister has been claiming that the triple murder case in Golaghat where a 25-year old Muslim man killed his Hindu wife and her parents on Monday was a case of 'love jihad', a term used by right-wing groups to allege that Muslim men lure Hindu women to convert through marriage.

He also claimed there have been many tragic incidents of suicide by girls who have been victims of 'love jihad'.

Sarma had earlier claimed on Thursday that there will be peace in the country if Hindu and Muslim men marry women of their respective communities.

The chief minister told the convention that another operation to combat child marriages in the state will be launched in September and legislative backing will be given to ensure prosecution of the accused held for polygamy and child marriages.

Sarma urged all SPs of the state to be prepared for more arrests in September as there will be another round of action against child marriage then.

''Whenever a child marriage comes to our notice we will have to prosecute the accused under POCSO as it is a secular Act and does not deal with any religion," he said. The POCSO Act applies equally to all citizens of all religions who commit sexual offences against children.

''There are some vintage acts that have come to our notice. We will repeal them as it comes in the way of taking action against child marriage,'' he said.

Sarma said crime against women in Assam has drastically come down to 14,030 cases in 2022 as against 29,046 cases in 2021, which is much below the annual average of 27,240 cases between 2017-21. Crimes against children in the state have also come down to 4,084 as against 5,282 in previous years.

High profile cases must be tried in special courts, special public prosecutors must be engaged and charge sheets must be filed within the stipulated period to serve as a deterrent in future, he added.


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Pakistan calls for Israel to be held accountable for Palestine ‘crimes’

JULY 29, 2023

Pakistan has urged the UN Security Council to “fully and forcefully” implement its resolutions on the Middle East conflict that give the right of self-determination to the Palestinian people.

Speaking in the 15-member Council, Ambassador Munir Akram also strongly condemned the recent large-scale Israeli military operations in Jenin in occupied Palestinian West Bank, and called for holding Israel accountable for its “grave human rights violations and crimes in occupied Palestine.”

“Unfortunately,” the Pakistani envoy said, “the killing of children, women and men continues in occupied Palestine with complete impunity.”

He added, “The rule of law can be upheld only if it is applied universally and consistently, without exceptions or double standards.”

Ambassador Akram regretted that the Security Council has not been able to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in occupied Palestine.

“Given the erga-omnes character of the right of self-determination,” the Pakistani envoy said it is also incumbent on all States to ensure that any impediment to the exercise of the right to self-determination by the Palestinian people is immediately terminated.

He said that on 5 July, three Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations Human Rights Council stated that Israeli attacks against the Jenin refugee camp may constitute a war crime and had no justification under international law.

The impunity that Israel has enjoyed for its acts of violence over decades only fuels and intensifies the recurring cycle of violence.

The Special Rapporteurs also called for Israel to be held accountable under international law.

The Pakistani envoy said the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and the expulsion and evictions of Palestinians from their properties are illegal and grave violations of Council resolutions and international law, including humanitarian law.

“The international community cannot accept the fait accompli Israel is seeking to impose with the design to perpetuate its forcible occupation and destroy Palestinian nationhood,” Ambassador Akram said.

“There will be no durable peace in the Holy land until the creation of an independent, viable and contiguous State of Palestine, established on the basis of pre-1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.”

Opening the debate on the situation in the troubled region, Khaled Khiari, Assistant Secretary-General for Middle East, Asia and the Pacific in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, said that from 27 June through 24 July in the occupied West Bank, 25 Palestinians, including 5 children, were killed, and 249 Palestinians were injured by Israeli security forces. According to Israel, 2 Israeli security forces personnel were killed while another 39 Israelis were injured by Palestinians.

This deterioration is taking place alongside ongoing unilateral steps that undermine a two-State solution, the absence of a peace process and the continuing economic challenges facing Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority, he stressed.

On 3 and 4 July in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, Israeli security forces carried out an operation marked by multiple drone strikes and over 1,000 ground troops. Twelve Palestinians, including four children, were killed and over 140 injured – the most in a single operation in the West Bank since the United Nations began tracking casualties in 2005. Palestinian Islamic Jihad al-Quds Brigades claimed 8 of the 12 fatalities as members, including children.

Israeli settler violence continues, albeit not at the scale witnessed in June, he pointed out, reminding Israel of its responsibility to abide by international humanitarian law when carrying out security measures.

The funding gap faced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is of grave concern, Khiari went on to say, urging the international community to contribute the $200 million the Agency

urgently needs to maintain services from September onwards.

Ambassador Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, said that there are more than 700,000 Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

“So, let us start by calling things by their name, he urged, stating that the Israeli occupation is a settler-colonial occupation and that the only way the international community can end it is to address its settler-colonial nature.

We need an action plan, with the necessary resources and the will to implement it, he stressed. The International Criminal Court investigations must start yielding results by providing justice for victims and deterring perpetrators. The International Court of Justice advisory opinion will give the United Nations and all States guidance on their legal obligations.


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People of Balochistan have first right on province’s resources: PM

JULY 29, 2023

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday said that the people of Balochistan had the first right to the resources of the province as the betterment of their lives would make them own the development.

“The people of Balochistan have the first right to the resources of the province. When their lives and those of their children change for the better, they will own development and become a partaker in it,” the PM wrote on social media.

The PM spent an “eventful” day in Gwadar on Thursday along with federal ministers, army and naval chiefs, the .governor and chief minister of Balochistan, and the government officials, where he inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for a series of development, infrastructural and educational projects that would change the destiny of the region.

“Despite sporadic attempts here and there, Balochistan has been a victim of our collective neglect. The province has not progressed at par with other federating units, which is a shame,” he remarked.

He recalled that he had toured all the affected regions of Balochistan during the devastating floods last year and saw the conditions for himself.

PM Shehbaz said that his idea of development was rooted in the uplift of the standards of living of the people as it was their socio-economic well-being and welfare that formed the core of real development. He reiterated that Pakistan’s progress was linked to that of Balochistan.

“My meeting with the youth of the province on the occasion of the distribution of laptops was a high point of my visit. Their beaming faces reassured me that the future of Balochistan and Pakistan is in safe and responsible hands. The old guard only needs to do their bit,” the PM remarked.


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CDA urged to focus on better development of Blue Area Business Centre

JULY 29, 2023

Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, on Friday, urged Capital Development Authority (CDA) to focus on its better development to facilitate the growth of trade activities.

The President ICCI said that Blue Area is the largest commercial centre of Islamabad, which plays an important role in the development of the economy.

He said that parking is the most serious issue of the Blue Area, so parking should be allowed on the green area of Fazal Haq Road until the construction of a parking plaza, said a press release issued here.

He said this while addressing a delegation of the Traders Welfare Association, Blue Area, Islamabad that visited ICCI led by its President Raja Hasan Akhtar and highlighted the key issues faced by the traders.

Ahsan Bakhtawari further said that ICCI intends to organize a mega shopping festival in the Blue Area in collaboration with Association so that trade activities can flourish and customers can also get a chance of shopping at reasonable rates.

Raja Hassan Akhtar, President Blue Area Traders Welfare Association highlighted the important issues of traders of his market.

He said that the non-availability of parking, the old sewage system and non-functional street lights are the main issues of the Blue Area, so CDA should solve them on an urgent basis.

He stressed a flower market in Blue Area besides pruning trees and said that CDA should take steps in this regard. He assured President ICCI of full support from the traders of Blue Area and said that the respect given to the traders of Blue Area during his tenure was probably never given in the history of the Chamber.

He said that during Ahsan Bakhtawari’s tenure, the problems of traders are being solved and the remaining ones are expected to be solved soon.

Khalid Iqbal Malik, Group Leader ICCI, said that the Blue Area Association is very important in trade politics as its members are more than any market or industrial area association. He said that ICCI has always given importance to the traders of the Blue Area, and during his tenure as President of ICCI, the traders of the Blue Area were also given a red-carpet reception. He assured that ICCI will play an active role in solving the issues of the traders of Blue Area.

Yousuf Rajput, Group Leader, Blue Area, said that the traders of his market are standing like a strong wall with Ahsan Bakhtavari and will continue to cooperate with ICCI to solve the problems of the traders.

On this occasion, Mian Basharat Kakakhel, Secretary General of Blue Area Association, announced joining the Founder Group.

He demanded from the CDA to establish a food street in the Blue Area, which is the need of the hour for the traders and citizens.

President Jinnah Supermarket Asad Aziz said that the traders of the Supermarket, Jinnah Supermarket and Blue Area are standing with ICCI as a unit.

Amin Pirzada, Raja Humayun Sarwar, Atiq ur Rehman, Shafqat Gondal, Riaz Khan, Abdul Razzaq, Tehmas Butt, Yusuf Khan, Chaudhry Wasim, Sheikh Kaleem, Raja Hamid, Adil Barkat, Chaudhry Imran, Naseer Abbasi, Imran Khan, Azhar Khan, Yusuf Balti and others also spoke on this occasion.


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Ashura processions under way across the country amid tight security

July 29, 2023

Mourners across the country are taking out processions to observe Yaum-i-Ashura (Muharram 10) amid tight security arrangements, with mobile phone services suspended in some areas to prevent any untoward incident.

Yaum-i-Ashura is observed every year on Muharram 10 with solemnity to pay homage to Imam Husain — the grandson of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and other martyrs of Karbala.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the day reminds us that standing against oppression is the moral duty of a Muslim, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

It further quoted the premier as saying, “Imam Husain’s sacrifice teaches us the priceless lesson of unshakable faith, righteousness and justice.”

The prime minister urged the public to learn from the incident “to deal with the challenges and trials that our nation and the entire Muslim ummah (community) are facing today”.

Meanwhile, President Dr Arif Alvi, in his message, said that the companions of Imam Husain “taught us the importance of loyalty, righteousness and supporting those who struggle for truth and justice”, Radio Pakistan reported.

It further quoted him as saying that we should “give up personal luxuries and desires for the greater good of society and [the] betterment of humanity”.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also shared couplets in remembrance of the historic incident.

 To ensure the security of Muharram processions across the province, the Punjab government has sought the deployment of army and Rangers troops.

The Karachi police have also issued a security and traffic management plan for processions, under which 4,698 police personnel would be deployed across the city.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has imposed Section 144 in all divisions except Malakand, banning the display and brandishing of arms, pillion riding, use of tinted glass in vehicles and standing of people on rooftops. The ban will remain in place throughout Muharram.


Lahore’s main procession set out from Nisar Haveli in the Mohalla Chillah Bibian in the morning and is set to culminate at the Karbala Ghamay Shah Imambargah.

According to a correspondent, during the procession, the participants will offer the combined Zuhrain prayers at Sunehri Majid while the combined Maghribain prayers will be offered near Bhati Gate.

Radio Pakistan said the procession’s route included Kashmiri Bazaar, Masjid Wazir Khan, Rang Mahal, Paniwala Talab, Bazaar Hakiman, Taksali and Bhati Gate.

It further said that the Lahore police have made strict security arrangements for the procession and snipers have been deployed on the roofs of the buildings along the route.

Meanwhile, the official Twitter account of Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Bilal Siddique Kamyana shared his statement, wherein he directed the police to remain alert and ensure the uninterrupted flow of traffic.

Punjab Inspector General Dr Usman Anwar also reiterated his directions to the police, which he had issued earlier, and ordered them to ensure “fool-proof security” on the occasion.

In a tweet, the Punjab government said that Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, accompanied by the IG, visited Pando Street last night where he assessed the security arrangements made for today’s processions.


In Quetta, the main procession departed from the Nasirabad Imambargah and is led by Balochistan Shia Conference President Jawad Rafi.

It is expected to culminate at Mominabad Imambargah after passing through Alamdar Road, Toghi Road, Mission Road, Bacha Khan Chowk, Liaquat Bazaar and Prince Road.

No one will be allowed to participate in the procession without a security check conducted.

A total of 36 mourning processions would be carried out by the city’s various Imambargahs while mobile phone services will remain suspended from 6am to 12am.

The set routes for the processions have been blocked for traffic with officials from the police, Frontier Constabulary and other LEAs deployed at various points.

The shops and markets on the processions’ entrance routes have been sealed as well after conducting a thorough screening.

Moreover, three battalions of the Pakistan Army are also on stand-by while control rooms have been established at the offices of the provincial inspector general and deputy inspector general.

The Ashura possessions would be monitored via “hidden cameras”, as well as aerially by helicopters.

Separately, Quetta DIG Ghulam Azfar said, without expanding on the details, that the police arrested four suspicious individuals from near McConaghey Road,

He added that they have been shifted to an unidentified location and the forensics of their mobile phones are being carried out.

The DIG stated that the police are conducting raids in various areas to find the enablers of the arrested suspects.


The city’s main procession departed from Nishtar Park and is set to conclude at Hussainiyah Iranian Imambargah in the Kharadar area in the evening after passing through its traditional route via MA Jinnah Road, APP reported.

It further said that scouts assisted the police and Rangers who were deployed for the procession’s security while a team of the Bomb Disposal Squad had also conducted a check earlier on the route.

The traffic police said that MA Jinnah Road was closed to traffic at 8:16am due to the Ashura procession.

Referring to a press release it had issued earlier, the police said the traffic was being diverted to the alternative routes mentioned therein.

Earlier, it also said that the National Highway was opened for traffic at 7:56am after it was closed off for three minutes due to security arrangements for processions.


In Gilgit, the main procession departed from Central Imamia Mosque and is expected to conclude at the same place in the afternoon after passing through its traditional routes, Radio Pakistan reported.

It added that the participants will offer the Zuhr prayers at Captain Zameer Abbas Chowk in the city while majlis will be organised at night at various Imambargahs.


Earlier today, the Peshawar Capital City Police said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Operations Haroonul Rashid visited various Imambargahs and the procession routes last night.

It further said that the SSP issued special directives to the police regarding security measures and also distributed cash prizes to the officials who performed best.


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Shia Muslims hold mourning ceremony in Baqi in Medina

TEHRAN, Jul. 28 (MNA) – Unlike previous years, the Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia have reportedly been allowed to commemorate the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hossain (AS) in Baqi cemetery in the city of Medina.

After it was reported earlier this year that Saudi Arabia had eased some of its restrictions on the pilgrimage by Shia Muslims to Baqi cemetery in the city of Medina during Hajj rituals, there are reports now that Shia Muslims have been allowed to hold Ashura and Muharram mourning ceremony there.

The mourning ceremony of Imam Hossain (peace be upon him) was held in the Baqi cemetery in a rare move, and a group of Saudi Shiites mourned near the Baqi while chanting slogans like "Ya Hossain" and "Labaik Ya Hossain."

Some informed sources have said that, "The Muharram mourning took place near Baqi cemetery with the permission of the Saudis."

Accordingly, the Saudi authorities have not prevented the Shiites from mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hossain (AS) this year. An informed source has said, "This action was planned a long time ago when the officials did not allow the presence of Shiites near the Prophet's holy Shrine and the Baqi cemetery. However, after various rounds of negotiations, the trustees finally issued the permit for their mourning.

The following video footage shows the morning ceremony in Baqi:


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Islamic State Says It Bombed Shiite Shrine in Syria which Killed 6, Injured 20

JULY 29, 2023

The Islamic State group (IS) said Friday it was behind a bombing south of the Syrian capital Damascus the day before that killed at least six people and wounded 20.

Thursday’s explosion was near the Sayeda Zeinab mausoleum in Damascus, Syria’s most visited Shiite pilgrimage site, and came on the eve of the annual Shiite Ashura commemoration.

In a statement on the Telegram messaging app, the jihadist group said some of its fighters breached tight security imposed by the Syrian regime and militias guarding the mausoleum area.

It said “they were able to park and detonate a motorcycle bomb … during a gathering of Shia pilgrims".

The authorities had tightened security measures around the mausoleum for the 10-day Ashura commemoration, among the most important in Shiite Islam.

In the same message on Friday, IS claimed “another bomb attack" it said had targeted “a bus transporting Shiite pilgrims in the same area, wounding at least two and destroying the vehicle".

On Tuesday, an explosion in a car in the same area of the Syrian capital had wounded two civilians, official media cited a security official as saying.

Shiite shrines are a frequent target of attacks by Sunni Muslim extremists of the IS group, not only in Syria but also in neighbouring Iraq.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed - AFP)


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Deaths as fire erupts in Iraqi shrine city during Shia pilgrimage

A fire has killed four people in the Iraqi shrine city of Karbala as hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslim pilgrims began gathering to mark Ashura, emergency services said.

The blaze erupted in an alleyway near the mausoleum of Imam Hussein on Friday, the focal point of commemorations.

"According to preliminary reports, the fire was sparked by a gas bottle in the kitchen" of a refreshment tent set up for pilgrims and then spread into an adjacent market, an emergency services statement said.

Fire crews arrived on the scene and put out the blaze "in record time, despite the difficulty of moving fire trucks through the crowds of pilgrims", it added.

Ashura commemoration

Ashura commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), in a seventh-century battle.

Iraq was set to see the main observance of the Ashura on Saturday in Karbala, where hundreds of thousands are expected and many will rush toward the shrine to symbolise their desire to answer Hussein’s last cries for help in battle.


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Muslims in Türkiye commemorate the anniversary of the Karbala

JUL 28, 2023

The mourning of a tragic episode in Islamic history was marked in Türkiye on Friday by parades and the serving of desserts as Shiites and Sunnis remembered the Battle of Karbala where the Prophet Muhammad's grandson was martyred.

The 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram, also known as Ashura, marks the anniversary of the passing of the prophet's grandson Hussein in the desert plains of Karbala, some 113 kilometers (70 miles) from modern-day Iraq's capital Baghdad.

The word "ashura" means "10," referring to the date of the holiday in the Islamic calendar, the month of Muharram. For Shiite Muslims, Ashura Day is a major occasion, commemorating the martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Hussein ibn Ali, and all his companions in Karbala.

The Jafari community of Shiite Islam, concentrated in Istanbul, as well as eastern provinces bordering Iran, including Kars and Iğdır, held two days of events where they dressed in black to remember the Battle of Karbala.

They observe morning prayers and rituals representing martyrdom, while reenactments and plays are performed to keep his memory alive.

In Iğdır, on the night known as Tasua Night, which is the ninth night of Muharram preceding "ashura," thousands of people gathered to commemorate the martyrs and prayed.

The program started with the recitation of the Quran in the morning and continued until the evening, with citizens from the city center, districts, and villages gathering in mosques and then marching to Zübeyde Hanım Boulevard.

In Kars, in another commemoration program, thousands of people gathered in front of the Hazreti Ali Çarşı Mosque and began a march to mark the day.

Along with the women dressed in black who joined the march, some citizens couldn't hold back their tears during the recitations and traditional processions.

At the Sümbül Efendi Central Tekke in Istanbul – a lodge for dervishes run by the "Human and Knowledge Foundation," a 5,000-person portion of ashura, a traditional Turkish dessert served specifically for this occasion, was cooked.

The sweet dish was cooked in a traditional way accompanied by prayers and devotional activities.

During the event, the president of the foundation, Fatih Çıtlak, emphasized that ashura is not just a regular treat. Çıtlak explained that it symbolizes unity and diversity, and through this event, they want to promote love and harmony among people.

Türkiye's president on Friday also commemorated the historical martyrdom of the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad, who was killed in the year A.D. 680 during the Battle of Karbala.

"I congratulate our nation and the Islamic world on the Day of Ashura, and I pray that the month of Muharram will bring peace and blessings to all humanity," Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Twitter/X.

Erdoğan also commemorated Al-Hussein and all the martyrs of Karbala with mercy.

Al-Hussein, along with 72 loyal companions, was killed in the infamous Battle of Karbala in year 61 of the Islamic calendar by the forces of Umayyad Caliph Yazid I on the 10th day of Muharram.


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Turkey’s Erdogan: Ashura cause for unity between Islamic countries

July 28, 2023

During a meeting with Iran’s new Ambassador to Ankara Mohammad-Hassan Habibollah-Zadeh on Thursday, President Erdogan said Turkey and Iran should increase cooperation to fight terrorism and Islamophobia and enhance unity in the Islamic world, according to a report by ISNA.

Habibollah-Zadeh submitted his credentials during the same meeting.

Erdogan said Turkey and Iran could conceivably increase bilateral trade to 30 billion dollars a year, and demanded that officials from both countries make efforts to remove obstacles in the way of the realization of that goal.

Habibollah-Zadeh said both countries planned to boost cooperation, including in regional and international issues.

Meanwhile, millions of Muslims are mourning Imam Hossein (PBUH)’s martyrdom anniversary across Iran and some other otheries.

Ashura, or the tenth day of the month of Muharram on the Islamic calendar, is the peak of the Battle of Karbala, when in 680, Imam Hossein and only 72 of his companions faced off with the forces of the tyrant ruler of the time, Yazid, the second Umayyad caliph, and were all martyred.


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Qur'an desecrators fail to stir up religious conflict

July 28, 2023

TEHRAN, Jul. 28 (MNA) – Tehran's provisional Friday Prayers leader said those who sought to ignite a religious war between followers of different divine religions failed to achieve their goal by the sacrilege of the holy Qur'an in Europe.

"The disgraceful insulting moves that were done recently against the Holy Qur'an did not get anywhere," Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Javad Haj Ali Akbari, during this week's Friday Prayers sermon in Tehran which coincided with Ashura Day and was attended by President Ebrahim Raeisi and some other government officials on the campus of Tehran University.

The senior cleric noted that those who insulted the holy Muslims book sought to create a division between Muslims and followers of other divine religions, most notably the Christians, but they did not succeed because Muslims respect the other religions' holy books.

The temporary imam of Tehran Friday Prayers also said that by desecrating the holy Qur'an, the enemies might have wanted to increase Islamophobia with the aim of causing panic in their region and the rest of the world against Muslims, but again they failed.

Haj Ali Akbari further said the desecrators might have sought the world to forget the Palestinian people with their actions, however, they did not get anywhere and failed to achieve their goal again.

The senior cleric went to point to Imam Hossain (AS) martyrdom anniversary on the day of Ashura and described Imam Hosseain and holy Qur'an as two lights from God that will spread to the entire world one day in the future.


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Swedish migration agency re-examines residency permit of Quran burner

(Reuters) -The Swedish migration agency said late on Friday it is re-examining the residency permit of an Iraqi refugee who is behind several Quran desecrations in Stockholm in recent weeks, which have upset Muslims across the world.

The man burnt a copy of the Quran last month outside of Stockholm’s central mosque and also held a demonstration in front of the Iraqi embassy in July where he said he would burn the holy book, but did not do so.

The migration agency said it is re-examining his immigration status, after it received information from the Swedish authorities that have given reason to examine whether the man’s status in Sweden should be revoked.

“It is a statutory measure that is taken when the Swedish migration agency receives such information and it is too early to say anything about the outcome of the case,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement to Reuters, adding it was unable to comment further due to confidentiality.

According to the Swedish news agency TT, the man has a temporary residency permit in Sweden that is set to expire in 2024.

Sweden has found itself in the international spotlight in recent weeks following protests where the Quran, the Muslim holy book, has been damaged and burned.

Attacks on the Quran in Sweden and Denmark in the past weeks have offended many Muslim countries including Turkey, whose backing Sweden needs to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a goal of Stockholm’s after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Stockholm police have also received applications for demonstrations that included burning other religious books such as the Christian and the Hebrew Bible, prompting many to criticise Sweden.

Swedish courts have ruled that police cannot stop burnings of holy scriptures, but Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson’s government said earlier in July it would examine if there was reason to change the Public Order Act to make it possible for police to stop Quran burnings.

The man in question was not immediately available for comment.


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IS claims attack near Damascus Shia shrine

28 July, 2023

The Islamic State group (IS) said Friday it was behind a bombing south of the Syrian capital Damascus the day before that killed at least six people and wounded 20.

Thursday's explosion was near the Sayeda Zeinab mausoleum in Damascus, Syria's most visited Shia pilgrimage site, and came on the eve of the annual Shia Ashura commemoration.

In a statement on the Telegram messaging app, the jihadist group said some of its fighters breached tight security imposed by the Syrian regime and militias guarding the mausoleum area.

It said "they were able to park and detonate a motorcycle bomb ... during a gathering of Shia pilgrims".

The authorities had tightened security measures around the mausoleum for the 10-day Ashura commemoration, among the most important in Shia Islam.

In the same message on Friday, IS claimed "another bomb attack" it said had targeted "a bus transporting Shia pilgrims in the same area, wounding at least two and destroying the vehicle".

On Tuesday, an explosion in a car in the same area of the Syrian capital had wounded two civilians, official media cited a security official as saying.

Shia shrines are a frequent target of attacks by Sunni Muslim extremists of the IS group, not only in Syria but also in neighbouring Iraq.


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Man 'exposes himself and shouts racist abuse outside Swindon mosque'

28th July

A man has been arrested after he shouted racist abuse outside a mosque.

The suspect is also alleged to have exposed himself during the ordeal on Thursday evening.

Officers descended on Jamia Mosque on Broad Street, at around 8.30pm.

Members of the public had reported that a man was shouting racist abuse outside the building, and after officers arrived on the scene, the suspect was pointed out by members of the public.

Wiltshire Police confirmed on Friday that the man was arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure, outraging public decency and racially aggravated section 4A public order.

He remains in custody for questioning.

A Wiltshire Police spokesperson said: “We understand there were several members of the public around at the time and we are appealing for them to come forward to help us with our enquiries.

“If you saw what happened, please contact us on 101 quoting reference 54230079138.”


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Quran burnings fuel endless crisis between Sweden, Denmark and Arab-Muslim nations


Stockholm/ Baghdad

The two Nordic countries of Sweden and Denmark find themselves facing an endless crisis over Quran burnings which fuels diplomatic tensions with Arab-Islamic nations which nobody wants, except maybe for radical populists.

Sweden worries the situation is starting to resemble the fury Denmark faced from Muslim countries in 2006 following the publication of newspaper caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Danish consulates and embassies were burned and the cartoonists faced death threats from radical Islamists. Attempts by Danish officials to explain how such caricatures were protected under freedom of speech were widely dismissed in the Muslim world.

The latest episode of the ongoing provocations came when a small group of anti-Islam activists set fire to Qurans in front of the Egyptian and Turkish embassies in Copenhagen on Tuesday after similar protests in Denmark and Sweden over recent weeks that have enraged Muslims around the world.

Last week, protesters in Iraq set the Swedish embassy in Baghdad ablaze prodded into action by fiery cleric Moqtada al Sadr. In Lebanon, Hezbollah chief Hussein Nasrallah said the desecrations needed “ strong popular and official positions.”

Iraq later withdrew its chargé d’affaires in Stockholm and Sweden said it had temporarily moved its seconded embassy staff and operations from Baghdad to Sweden for safety reasons.

The 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation introduced a resolution, opposed by most Western nations, that passed in the United Nations Human Rights Council on July 12, calling for states to review their laws that prevent prosecution of “religious hatred”.

Much like his Danish counterpart, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom has been working the phones to appease tensions. He said on Thursday he had been in touch with the foreign ministers of Iran, Iraq, Algeria and Lebanon among others as well as the United Nations secretary-general.

“And just now I will speak to the secretary-general for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation,” Billstrom said.

Many in the Muslim world accuse Sweden and Denmark of inconsistency when they vehemently condemn Quran burnings but do nothing about it, as when the Swedish top diplomat describes the desecration of holy texts as “offensive and disrespectful” but says the authorities cannot stop the provocations.

Experts say the crisis could endure considering the gap between political cultures that underlies it. Billstrom admits “this is a long-term issue, there are no quick fixes”.

Sweden’s laws, current politics and social traditions mean such incidents are unlikely to be halted any time soon. At the same time, large segments of the population in the Arab and Muslim world see their value systems and sacred symbols facing an onslaught.

Hussain Abdul-Hussain, a research fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defence of Democracies (FDD) takes issue with the “vengeful” reactions of the Iraqi government and populist agitators. “Perhaps it is the lack of understanding of liberty among these Iraqis that has been obstructing the growth of democracy in Iraq, ever since America toppled the country’s dictator in 2003,” he wrote recently.

But most Arab and Muslim governments will see it as politically suicidal not to denounce the Quran burnings and consider retaliatory measures if the incidents continue to occur, analysts say.

The political and legal landscape on the other side is also prohibitive. Stockholm police tried to stop Quran-burning protests earlier this year but were overruled by a court that said such actions were protected by Swedish law.

University of Copenhagen law Professor Trine Baumbach explained that, “People benefit from an extended freedom of speech when they demonstrate” and “can express themselves in various ways, such as through the burning of items.”

While the latest Quran burnings could still be tested in court for “inciting hate,” it is widely believed the act is protected by the constitution’s far-reaching freedom of speech laws.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson’s government said last week it would examine if there was reason to change the Public Order Act to make it possible for police to stop Quran burnings, amid concerns over national security.

Sweden’s security-alert level has not been changed and is currently at three  on a scale of five, indicating “heightened risk”. Five is the highest level of threat.

Kristersson said Thursday he is “extremely worried” that  “there is a clear risk of something serious happening” if more permits are granted for Quran burnings.

But to change the constitution is a lengthy process that requires a vote in parliament, then a general election, and then another vote in parliament.

For now, Sweden is trying to deflect blame for the tensions, by claiming to be the target of a disinformation campaign by “Russia-backed actors” who want to hurt the image of Sweden by implying it supported recent burnings of the Quran, as Minister for Civil Defence Carl-Oskar Bohlin said on Wednesday.

Experts say Russian conspiracy theories may gain traction in Europe amid the wariness about Moscow’s intent since the Ukraine war but are only likely to add to the credibility gap that challenges Swedish and Danish diplomats as they go about trying to control the damage from Quran burnings.


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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) applauds Kenya’s efforts to resolve stateless situation of Pemba community

GENEVA, Switzerland, July 28, 2023/APO Group/ -- UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, applauds the Government of Kenya for granting citizenship to members of the Pemba community. This decisive action is another step in their longstanding commitment to help eliminate statelessness in the country and improve the lives of thousands of people.

During a ceremony held on 28 July in Kilifi, on Kenya’s eastern coast, President William Ruto issued identification cards, birth certificates and passports to individuals from the Pemba community who have been living in the country for decades. This event marked the completion of the registration process for all 7,000 members of the Pemba community, allowing them to fully access key services like education, healthcare, social protection, financial services and the formal labour market.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi said, “I applaud the Government of Kenya’s leadership in addressing many of the challenges facing uprooted people and for taking significant steps to eradicate statelessness in this country.”

“It is a great example of how States can put an end to statelessness and open the way for people caught up in this dreadful situation to come out of the shadows and participate fully in society,” said Grandi.

In recent years, Kenya has made important strides in efforts to resolve statelessness by recognizing as citizens thousands of other previously stateless people, including those from the Makonde and Shona communities and others of Indian descent. In December 2022, President Ruto announced that the Government would begin to officially recognize the Pemba as citizens of Kenya.

UNHCR, together with its partners, will continue providing technical and operational support to the Government as it continues to tackle statelessness in order to ensure stateless populations are registered as Kenyan citizens and can swiftly obtain Kenyan identity cards and other civil documentation.

This latest decision is welcome progress in the Government of Kenya’s commitment to fulfil its pledges at the High-Level Segment on Statelessness in October 2019, including accession to the two UN statelessness conventions. UNHCR remains committed to working with and providing support to the Government of Kenya and other countries across Africa and globally to further identify, prevent and resolve statelessness in accordance with the goals of the #IBelong Campaign to end statelessness by 2024.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).


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Uganda: Tayebwa applauds Natasha on her NRA documentary

KAMPALA, Uganda, July 28, 2023/APO Group/ -- The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa has applauded Natasha Museveni Karugire for her new documentary, “Those from Among You”, that highlights Uganda’s past, politics, people and the key events that shaped the current peace and stability. 

The Deputy Speaker was on Thursday 27 July 2023 speaking at the official launch of Natasha’s NRA documentary which premiered at Century Cinemax, Arena Mall in Kampala where he warned that, ‘those who do not remember the past mistakes are condemned to repeat them’.

Tayebwa suggested that deliberate efforts be made to ensure that the Natasha documentary reaches the young people to help them understand the context and meaning of war, peace and stability.

“In our generation, we define peace on whether we have access to social media, whether you can go to a club at 3am, whether you can drink yourself silly and still find your way home and we also define peace on whether you can abuse responsible people and get away with it,” the Deputy Speaker said.

“But from what I have seen in the NRA documentary, that time (1980-1986) was a matter of survival... just talking about a mere private soldier wouldn’t guarantee you another day of life. [In the reign of terror], this is what people were going through that time.”  

The film offers deep insights into the five-year guerilla war that brought President Museveni’s ruling National Resistance Movement into power.

Former Chief Justice, Benjamin Odoki described the documentary as a befitting tribute to the gallant sons and daughters of Uganda who have endeavored to make Uganda a better place to live in than they found it.

“Those who forget history are doomed and those who learn from history are also doomed to repeat it,” the former CJ said.

He also recalled how he was given the responsibility of drafting the 1995 Constitution and struggled to write a preamble, explaining in clear terms why Uganda was making a fresh start after long years of turmoil.

“The lawyers are fond of saying whereas, whereas and whereas but I said no, we must recall the tragic history, the constitutional and political instability, which Uganda has experienced, and we must recognize the struggle against tyranny and exploitation. We must commit ourselves to build a better Uganda,” Odoki said.

Security Minister, Hon. Jim Muhwezi, one of the NRA heroes congratulated Natasha for producing the documentary and asked the young people to keenly watch it and ensure that the past mistakes are not repeated.

“Those of us who were there and who are passing on one by one, we wonder whether the future generation will ever know what we went through. This documentary is a true record of what happened,” Muhwezi said.

Natasha Museveni Karugire explained why she came up with the documentary and in a special way, thanked her parents, President Museveni, First Lady, Janet  Museveni and others who walked with her throught the journey.

“I have been asked why the story and my response has been why not the story. If one day you woke up and found yourself in the middle of an ocean, how would you be able to know your bearing to know how to continue with your journey?” Natasha said.


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North America


US families sue French firm over financial aid to Daesh, other terrorist groups in Syria

29 July 2023

French cement giant Lafarge has been sued by relatives of American soldiers and US aid workers, who were killed or injured by Daesh and other terrorist groups, over its financial support to the Takfiri outfits in Iraq and Syria.

The court document lodged on Thursday with the district court for the Eastern District of New York said the legal claim came after Lafarge was convicted last year of bribing and admitting to paying the Takfiri terrorist groups of Daesh and al-Nusra Front to allow the company to keep operating in northern Syria.

Lafarge, which was merged with Swiss building material company Holcim (HOLN.S) in 2015, agreed to pay $778 million in forfeiture and fines as part of a plea agreement in October, and, as the court documents said, admitted to offering nearly $6 million in cash to the two terrorist groups.

“Lafarge’s support for ISIS (Daesh) and ANF ran deep. It operated a lucrative cement plant in northern Syria, and it decided that bribing Syrian terrorists offered the best way to protect its profits from the plant,” the court document said.

“Defendants’ payments aided the terrorist attacks that targeted plaintiffs and their family members,” it added.

As well as Lafarge SA, the defendants include its former Chairman Bruno Lafont and other executives in the claim which is seeking punitive damages and compensation.

“In accepting Lafarge’s guilty plea last year, the court found its crime impacted the victims of terrorist acts,” the complaint document said.

“Just as Lafarge is guilty of a crime under the Anti-Terrorism Act, it is civilly liable under the same statute to the victims of its criminal conspiracy,” it added.

The claimants include the families of US aid workers and journalists, including Steven Sotloff and James Foley, who were both beheaded by Daesh on camera in 2014, and 10 military personnel killed or injured by Daesh and al-Nusra Front attacks in Syria, Iraq, and further afield.

Daesh began a campaign of terror in Iraq and Syria almost a decade ago, when it began to take control of vast swathes of land in lightning attacks in both countries.

In the meantime, the US has deployed forces and military equipment in Syria under the pretext of fighting Daesh, but without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

The US military claims its presence in Syria is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh.

Damascus, however, maintains the illegal deployment is meant to plunder the Arab country’s natural resources.


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U.S. designates Islamic State financier in Somalia

July 29, 2023

On Thursday, the United States government sanctioned Abdiweli Mohamed Yusuf, the financial emir for the Islamic State’s Somali Province (or Islamic State-Somalia, ISS). In this capacity, Yusuf was responsible for overseeing the collection and allocation of millions of dollars flowing through ISS’ coffers.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department:

“In the first half of 2022, ISIS-Somalia generated nearly $2 million by collecting extortion payments from local businesses, related imports, livestock, and agriculture. In 2021, ISIS-Somalia generated an estimated $2.5 million in revenue. ISIS-Somalia is one of the most significant ISIS affiliates in Africa, generating revenue for ISIS to disburse to branches and networks across the continent.”

In his role as financial emir, which he reportedly took office in 2019, it was Yusuf that oversaw this collection of money from both northern Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland and in Mogadishu itself.

And though Treasury describes Yusuf as Islamic State-Somalia’s financial emir, it seemingly makes a distinction between the hierarchies of ISS and the Islamic State’s Al-Karrar regional office, an important node within the Islamic State’s global management system that itself is based in Somalia.

Interestingly, Treasury states that “Yusuf, a key senior member of ISIS-Somalia, meets with and reports to other ISIS leaders in Somalia, including ISIS al-Karrar office emir Abdiqadir Mu’min and ISIS-Somalia emir Abdirahman Fahiye Isse Mohamud.” It was Mu’min that first founded ISS in October 2015 after breaking away from al-Qaeda’s Shabaab.

Mu’min was long believed to be ISS’ emir and the wali [governor] of the Islamic State’s so-called Somali Province, while Abdirahman Fahiye was considered his long-time deputy. Based on Treasury’s statement, however, Mu’min was promoted and now reportedly just heads the aforementioned Al-Karrar office, while Fahiye is now ISS’ emir.

This distinction further implies that Yusuf was just the financial emir for ISS and not necessarily also acting in this capacity for Al-Karrar. That role was previously headed by Bilal al-Sudani, a Sudanese commander in ISS, who was killed by the U.S. military in a raid in Puntland earlier this year. It is unclear who replaced Sudani in this capacity.

Funds transferred to other Islamic State wings by Al-Karrar, however, were most certainly collected by ISS itself. It would be these collection efforts that were (and likely still are) overseen by Yusuf. These funds from Somalia are then pooled together by other Islamic State affiliates and cells, particularly in South Africa, and dispersed to other Islamic State wings elsewhere.

Al-Karrar thus plays a significant role in the financing of the Islamic State’s Central Africa Province (ISCAP) in the Congo and Uganda (which is locally known as the Allied Democratic Forces) and the Islamic State’s Mozambique Province (known locally as Al-Shabaab, which is not to be confused with al-Qaeda’s branch in Somalia).

For example, Al-Karrar has sent hundreds of thousands of dollars (and likely significantly more) to ISCAP and Islamic State Mozambique. This money has had drastic consequences for both insurgencies.

This so-called “regionally-pooled” model of financing, of which the regional offices coordinate, is the current favored financing model of the Islamic State. Leaked Islamic State documents further detail that each financial office of a province is subordinate to their designated regional office.

The Al-Karrar office is just one such regional office around the globe under the Islamic State’s General Directorate of Provinces (GDP). These offices act as key nodes of middle management in the Islamic State’s vast global enterprise, offering a degree of decentralized coordination as the offices oversee and direct various affiliates within their respective designated areas on behalf of the GDP and the Islamic State’s central leadership.

Other offices include the Al-Furqan office (responsible for Nigeria and the Sahel), Al-Saddiq office (Afghanistan-Pakistan-Central Asia), Al-Faruq office (Turkey and Europe), with less active offices also based in Yemen, Libya, and Egypt/Sudan.

It is likely, however, that leaders within such offices also constitute Islamic State ‘central’ leaders. For instance, the aforementioned Bilal al-Sudani, also oversaw the facilitation of funds to Afghanistan and the Middle East.

This level of direction implies a bigger leadership role within the Islamic State’s overall global apparatus. Those acting within roles of these regional offices are usually trusted individuals by the Islamic State’s overall leadership.

For instance, promotions from provincial walis to emirs of such regional offices typically demonstrate a large degree of trust and confidence in the individual from the Islamic State’s central leadership, as was the case with Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi in Nigeria. Barnawi went from the wali of its West Africa Province to the emir of its Al-Furqan office, much like Mu’min’s own promotion.

As such, these promotions also indicate that a leader, such as Mu’min or al-Barnawi, went from a regional Islamic State leader to being part of its global management – again indicating those in such offices act within an Islamic State “central” capacity. 

Though entirely more centralized and direct, this is not dissimilar to al-Qaeda’s current globalized leadership structure, with its own Hattin Committee, or “central” leadership, having globally dispersed leaders.

The U.S. government’s recent designation of Abdiweli Mohamed Yusuf thus has much wider consequences for a large portion of the Islamic State’s global operations and not just inside of Somalia.


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Shi’ite Muslims commemorate Ashura, amid heatwave

Thousands of Shi’ite Muslim worshippers converged at Imam Hussein’s holy shrine in Iraq’s Karbala on Friday to commemorate Ashura, a religious festival to honor the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, amid a heatwave that hit the region.

With temperatures in Iraq currently soaring over 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit), but still, worshippers gathered to run, walk and beat their chests in circles while chanting – all rituals carried out to celebrate the holy festival.

Volunteers distributed bottles of water while fans blowing cold air and water were set up to help keep the visitors cool.

“We are serving in the area between the two Holy Shrines. We specialize in distributing water and cold drinks to alleviate the burden of heat for visitors. You know, the temperatures in Kerbala governorate and all of the central and southern Euphrates governorates reached 50 degrees Celsius, of course, this constitutes a burden for visitors,” Sabah Janabi, a resident of Karbala.

“This year, the temperature increased, but it did not affect the visitors. Thank God, even if the temperature increases, it does not affect us, if it was hot or cold and if the weather is not suitable, we come to visit the Shrine,” said Tarmour, Hassan, a worshiper.

Imam Hussein died in the battle of Kerbala in A.D. 680. The battle cemented a schism in Islam between Shi’ites and Sunnis.

The entire rite lasts more than a week and ends on Ashura, or the 10th day of the Muslim month of Muharram – which marks the moment Hussein was killed and beheaded by his enemies in Kerbala.


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Australian military copter crash halts US-led war games, leaves 4 missing

 29 July 2023

The crash of an Australian military helicopter during joint war games with US forces in the Pacific has left all Aussie crew members missing and feared dead while halting the military maneuver.

The MRH-90 Taipan went down late Friday night in sub-tropical waters near Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia's Defense Minister Richard Marles declared on Saturday

"As we speak to you now, the four aircrew are yet to be found," Marles said following an overnight search and rescue effort amid growing fears that they will not be found alive.

The failed helicopter mission that led to the crash was a part of large-scale US-led war games, known as Talisman Sabre, featuring more than 30,000 troops and participants from 11 other countries, including Japan, France, Germany, and South Korea.

The military maneuvers are meant to serve as a show of force against China.

Officials have not yet confirmed what was the cause of the helicopter's crash as the war games entered its second week.

Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin is in Australia along with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for meetings with the Australian counterparts and other top officials that coincided with the ongoing war games.

Austin said Saturday the US will help Australia produce guided multiple-launch rocket systems by 2025.

"We are pursuing several mutually beneficial initiatives with Australia's defense industry, and these include a commitment to help Australia produce guided multiple launch rocket systems... by 2025," Austin told a press conference.

The US is also accelerating Australia's access to priority munitions through a streamlined acquisition process, he said.

It is the first time Australia has hosted the high-level meeting since 2019 due to the COVID-19 disruption.

Australia's Labor government has been bolstering military ties with the US, a long-standing ally.

"We are really pleased with the steps that we are taking in respect of establishing a guided weapons and explosive ordnance enterprise in this country," Marles said.

He expressed hope that missile manufacturing could begin in Australia in two years, as part of a collective industrial base between the two countries.

Marles said there would be an "increased tempo of visits from American nuclear-powered submarines to our waters" as part of the bilateral engagement.

The United States commissioned a warship in Sydney last week. It marked the first time a US Navy vessel has joined active service at a foreign port.

China has repeatedly warned against US-led “expanding military alliances,” including the widening of the NATO military alliance, amid growing concerns about its regional security.

The US and Australia are also part of an alliance called AUKUS which commits to supply Canberra with nuclear-powered submarines.

China has also criticized the AUKUS countries, saying their cooperation “constituted serious nuclear proliferation risks,” exacerbated the arms race, and undermined stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has warned the AUKUS security pact could trigger a race for nuclear submarines.


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US nuclear test’s fallout reached as far as Canada and Mexico, study finds

27 July 2023

A recent study has exposed the widespread devastation caused by the US military’s secretive detonation of its first nuclear bomb in New Mexico with radioactive particles reaching as far as Canada and Mexico.

The study, released last week ahead of submission to a scientific journal for peer review, shows that the cloud and its fallout went farther than anyone in the Manhattan Project had imagined in 1945, The New York Times reported.

The study’s authors used state-of-the-art modeling software and recently uncovered historical weather data. They stated that radioactive fallout from the Trinity test reached 46 states, Canada and Mexico within 10 days of detonation.

“It’s a huge finding and, at the same time, it shouldn’t surprise anyone,” said the study’s lead author, Sébastien Philippe, who is a researcher and scientist at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security.

The test, which was carried out in New Mexico on July 16, 1945, caused widespread environmental contamination and population exposure.

The study was led by the Program on Science and Global Security (SGS), at Princeton University.

The research used “high resolution reanalyzed historical weather fields, US government data, complex atmospheric modeling” in order to understand the distribution of radioactive fallout in the days following the historical nuclear test, according to reports.

According to the research, within a span of 10 days following the nuclear test a mushroom cloud as high as 50,000 – 70,000 feet was formed dispersing radioactive particles up to Canada and Mexico.

Plutonium carried by wind from the location of the Trinity test reached Crawford Lake in Canada on July 20, 1945, the study found.

As a result of the Trinity test, infant mortality in New Mexico shot by 56 percent between 1944 and 1945.

The Trinity test and other nuclear tests that followed were a part of the secret Manhattan program, a United States government project focused on the development of the atomic bomb.

Following Trinity, there were 93 more atmospheric tests conducted in Nevada which saw nuclear fallout distributed across the US by radioactive mushroom clouds.

The report confirms that the United States government also carried 45 “air burst” tests, which involved detonating nuclear bombs tipped on rockets in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

As per a shocking detail, the US government reportedly had volunteers stand under one such air burst explosion to study the health impacts it would have on the individuals exposed directly to the deadly nuclear radiations.

From 1945 to 1962, the time period analyzed by the researchers, there were 101 nuclear tests conducted by the US military.

Myriad underground nuclear weapons which have not been included in the study form a significant portion of the US nuclear arms.

During 1951-1998, Washington blew up more than 800 subterranean nuclear weapons, the Libertarian Institute reported.

Philippe said, “Our results show the significant contribution of the Trinity fallout to the total deposition density across the contiguous U.S….and in New Mexico in particular.”

"How much of Trinity’s fallout still remains at original deposition sites across the country is difficult to calculate," said Susan Alzner, an author of the study.

Almost 500,000 people lived within 150 miles of Trinity’s explosion. Some families lived as close as 12 miles away. Yet no civilians were warned about the test ahead of time, and they weren’t evacuated before or after the test, the New York Times reported.

The US government lied to the locals about the explosion saying that it was an accident that occurred at a neighboring ammunition depot.

The victims were afflicted with various diseases including cancer and are paying the price ever since.

 According to Responsible Statecraft, a US think tank, “When the initial shock wore off, [locals] returned to their daily lives. They drank from cisterns full of radioactive debris, ate beef from cattle that had grazed on the dust for weeks on end, and breathed air full of tiny plutonium particles. Only later would the real impact become clear.”

The study also documents significant radioactive deposition in other US states including Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, and Idaho, as well as dozens of federally-recognized tribal lands.

On August 9, 1945, a replica of the plutonium-239 implosion device tested in Trinity, was dropped on Nagasaki by the United States. This bomb called "Fat Man" instantly killed about 40,000 people, and at least 30,000 more died due to injuries and radiation poisoning by the end of that year.

On August 6, 1945, almost a month after the Trinity test, the US dropped a uranium-235 gun assembly bomb, known as the "Little Boy," on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The bomb killed 70,000 people immediately, and due to subsequent exposure to nuclear radiation, the death toll rose to more than 135,000.


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Arab World


Prince Faisal renews Saudi rejection of Qur’an burnings in call with Swedish FM

July 28, 2023

RIYADH: The Saudi foreign minister spoke with his Swedish counterpart over the phone on Friday during which he renewed the Kingdom’s “total rejection” of all attempts to offend the Holy Qur’an, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan said repeated incidents in which the Muslim holy book had been burnt contributed to “fueling hatred and limiting efforts for dialogue between peoples,” while calling on Sweden to take measures to stop extremist acts.

Sweden’s Tobias Billstrom condemned and denounced attempts to burn copies of the Qur’an, stressing that his country would seek to stop all acts that offend religions and their sacred books.

He expressed his “deep regret” over what he called “open exploitation” of the Swedish constitution regarding freedom of opinion and expression, SPA added.

In recent weeks, extremists have burnt copies of the Qur’an outside embassies of predominantly Muslim countries and mosques in Sweden and Denmark.

Last Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement expressing its strong condemnation towards the recent actions by hate groups.


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Deal signed to empower people with special needs in Madinah

July 28, 2023

MADINAH: The Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah Research and Studies Center recently signed a cooperation agreement with the Hemam Organization for Families with Disabilities at the center’s headquarters in the holy city.

The signing ceremony was attended by Fahad Al-Wahbi, director general of the center, and the chairman of Hemam, Jihan Sheikh.

The agreement covers the training, rehabilitation and empowerment of people with special needs, as well the exchange and use of data, to best serve the public interest.


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US ambassador to Sudan returns to Saudi Arabia to resume dialogue efforts

July 28, 2023

RIYADH: The US Ambassador to Khartoum, John Godfrey, on Friday arrived in the Saudi city of Jeddah to resume dialogue efforts between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces.

“Pleased to have been back in Saudi Arabia to consult with partners on efforts related to Sudan,” Godfrey said in a statement on Twitter

“I was gratified to meet during my visit with a group of locally engaged staff (LES) from Embassy Khartoum – thank you again to Saudi Arabia for all its efforts in the evacuation from Port Sudan, and for hosting our LES,” he added.

Saudi Arabia and the US announced the suspension of the Jeddah talks between the two parties to the conflict in Sudan early last month, due to the repeated “grave violations” of the cease-fire by the Sudanese army and the RSF.

On Thursday, the Sudanese army said that its delegation to the Jeddah talks had returned to the country on Wednesday for consultations, with a readiness to continue negotiations after “overcoming the obstacles.”


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Skills development program concludes in Eastern Province

July 28, 2023

DAMMAM: The Excellence in Planning and Implementation Program, organized by the Eastern Province Municipality, ended on Thursday in Dammam.

The scheme was designed to help participants boost their work skills efficiently and effectively by introducing them to basic planning concepts and enabling them to compare between strategic, executive and operational planning.

Students also learned how to use scientific methods to establish executive plans efficiently and effectively.

The program focused on helping participants set performance indicators, introduced them to building mechanisms and helped them to convert strategic goals into executive programs using the RADAR model. This is an organizational tool and mechanism for converting strategic goals into operational programs and theoretical executive planning into practical planning.


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Fennec in Riyadh for comedy, theater workshops

July 28, 2023

RIYADH: Fennec, a Saudi community theater space, launched its first event in Riyadh this week, bringing its Jeddah workshops for performing and theatrical artists to the Saudi capital from July 26-31.

Fennec is hosting a range of workshops at the City Hub, including comedy, theatrical and improvization workshops.

“Fennec was a dream of mine for a very long time, and today that dream has become a reality. We are pleased to present Fennec to the Saudi arts and culture community,” said Yaser Bakr, Fennec founder.

The theater space aims to discover, support and develop Saudi talent in performing and theatrical arts, celebrate the diverse Saudi culture, and empower members of society to communicate through art.

The platform enriches quality of life by making art available to everyone through its programs and workshops.

“The turnout was beautiful. We know that Riyadh and the Kingdom generally are full of talents; nonetheless, the turnout surprised us, even the diversity of the people who showed up, from women, men and people of different ages,” said Majed Al-Amoudi, a comedian and a training coach at Fennec.

The workshops host sessions accredited by specialized schools and institutes worldwide, as well as exercises designed by experienced trainers.

“What I liked most about this workshop is that the training coaches were specialists and people that we know and have been following, so they were close to me, and I saw them offering the secrets of their profession,” said Hossam Al-Zahrani, a Saudi actor.

Fennec launched its event with a comedy 101 workshop, presented by Bakr, Al-Amoudi and Sri Khaled. Trainees learned how to compose a joke, the elements of humor, the secrets of comedy and writing, and were offered a chance to practice on stage.

“What is great about this workshop is that it teaches you the basics of how to compose a joke, which is something I wanted to learn for a long time, as it helps you tell a joke in a better way,” said Nahed Nabah, an actor.

Fennec was launched in December 2022. In less than a year, the Saudi community theater space has become a partner in major projects in the Saudi arts and culture sector.

On the final day of the Riyadh workshops, trainees will showcase their work and new skills.

“Everyone is welcome to see their work and what they have covered, from skills and accomplishments, over the last five days,” said Rozana Banawi, Fennec program development manager.


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South Asia


Astana To Host Central Asia, USA Meeting On Afghanistan

July 28, 2023

U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan Thomas West and Special Envoy for Afghan Women, girls and Human Rights Rina Amiri will visit Astana, Kazakhstan, to discuss Afghanistan.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan will be represented in the upcoming C5+1 Astana meeting. According to a statement, the exact date of the event is still unknown.

The delegates will discuss several important topics, including humanitarian support for the people of Afghanistan, economic stabilization, fair and dignified treatment of all Afghans, including women, girls, security issues, and efforts to counter narcotics production and trafficking, the statement said.

The delegates will also meet with civil society members focused on advanced women’s economic empowerment in Afghanistan and Kazakhstan.

American delegates are scheduled to meet in Doha next week with the Taliban’s foreign minister and several other group leaders. Their continuous diplomatic missions to improve the situation in Afghanistan include this meeting.

In addition, the U.S. State Department has clarified that these discussions do not signify a change in Washington’s position on the Taliban or recognition of the Kabul administration, according to a statement released by the foreign ministry of Afghanistan.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan said that the top priorities in negotiating with the American envoy would be the release of Afghanistan’s frozen assets, lifting sanctions, and violating the country’s airspace.


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UN responds to a media outlet report on a controversial human rights figure

July 28, 2023

The UN Exports, on Friday, responded to the ‘Afghanistan International’ media outlet report on a controversial Human Rights Figure, Madina Mahboobi’s participation in a June Meeting at the UN Headquarters in Geneva.

UN experts today voiced their concern at disinformation by a media outlet referring to the “Afghanistan International” media outlet concerning a Human Rights Council event about women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan in June.

“We are dismayed that a media outlet named Afghanistan International has chosen to misuse an essential discussion on Afghan women’s and girls’ rights at the Human Rights Council in June to launch a smear campaign against an invited Afghan woman speaker and a UN staff member, UN said in a statement.

The statement also said, “Such events should be a safe space for expressing a broad range of views. While criticism of speakers for positions they take on human rights issues is acceptable, all participants should be free from intimidation, abuse, threats, or other forms of retaliation. Personalized attacks, intrusions of privacy, and the spreading of gendered disinformation can have severe consequences for the safety and security of affected individuals and gravely damage their reputations.”

The statement followed Afghanistan International (A Dari Persian language TV Station headquartered in London, UK) Media’s report on Madina Mahboobi’s participation in a meeting at the UN Headquarters in Geneva on June 19.

Her attendance at the UN’s human rights assembly on June 19 has drawn attention and sparked rumours about her relationship with Naveed Ahmad, a member of the UN staff. Despite Mahboobi’s lack of expertise in human rights, it is speculated that her relationship with Ahmad was crucial in her invitation to the meeting, Afghanistan International reported.

Mahboobi held a prominent position at the meeting that senior human rights officials often hold. Mahboobi gave an intriguing statement while wearing a formal uniform and a headscarf in which she urged the international community to engage with the Taliban.

According to investigations, Mahboobi has no expertise in human rights. In 2019, she served as the director of the minister’s office for the Ministry of Urban Development, which is part of her professional career. Mahboobi, along with several other women, had come under fire for their comments in support of speaking with the Taliban and for what has been interpreted as an endorsement of the group’s restrictions on women when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021.

The Invitation Madina Mahboobi received for the meeting on an international stage was faced with massive condemnation by Afghan women’s rights activists, which raised concerns about the potential intrusion of Taliban lobbyists into international organizations, including the UN human rights meeting.

Meanwhile, several social media activists have chosen different perspectives, as Unity and Solidarity of Afghanistan Women (USAW) said they are negotiating with them instead of sanctions. Madina Mahboobi, Siraj, and Diwa love them to come and live with their families under their rule. However, you people cannot recognize the Taliban on behalf of Afghanistan women, USAW said.

M Rafi Hottak is another Afghan who criticized the UN stands and Mahbooba’s statement: “She called the Taliban a de-facto government and asked the international community to accept their demands, no matter what. This is deeply troubling, as it legitimizes a terrorist group and sets a dangerous precedent.”

Khalid Amiri also said, “recent speech by Madina Mahbobi calling Taliban a de-facto government & urging for engagement is alarming.”

On the other hand, some social media critics condemned AFG International’s report on Madian and said in favour of the UN: the massive scandal of Afghanistan International; UN experts are concerned and disappointed about the spread of disinformation by the Media’ Afghanistan International.’


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Kazakhstan’s First Deputy FM, US Special Envoy Discuss Afghanistan

July 28, 2023

Kazakhstan’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov at a meeting with US special representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, discussed Afghanistan’s complex humanitarian crisis, said in a statement by the Ministry’s press office.

Both sides argued in favour of coordinating international assistance to Afghanistan to address the dire humanitarian crisis in the country.

The US special representative, West, arrived in Astana, Kazakhstan, on June 27 to participate in the C5+1 special session on Afghanistan, held on 27 and 28, Astana Times reported.

During the meeting, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and the U.S. discussed issues such as providing humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan, defending human rights, fostering international cooperation, maintaining security, and combating terrorism.

Umarov outlined the initiative of Kazakhstan’s president to establish a UN regional centre for sustainable development goals for Central Asia and Afghanistan in Almaty to promote cooperation in socio-economic and trade investment development, the statement said.

The Kazakh Foreign Ministry’s ambassador-at-large, Talgat Kaliyev, emphasized the significance of a single, shared pragmatic strategy to help stabilize the situation in Afghanistan.

The U.S. applauded the Kazakh government’s efforts to help the Afghan people, particularly its efforts to improve the social and economic situation in the country.

C5+1, established in 2015, is a regional diplomatic forum for interaction between five Central Asian nations with the United States in trade, economics, and other areas of shared interest.


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US Envoys for Afghanistan Meet with Central Asian Nations' Representatives

Two days before the Doha meeting, US special envoy Thomas West and US special envoy for Afghan women, girls and human rights, Rina Amiri, in Astana met with the representatives of five Central Asian countries -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan -- and discussed Afghanistan.

Inclusive governance and women’s rights were discussed by the participants of the meeting.

“Many agreed that inclusive governance & women’s rights are integral to economic stability, security & peace. Counterparts underscored that women’s rights are integral in Islam & critical to development, as in their countries,” said Amiri.

"For two years, Afghan women have been far away from the public affairs of the society, and even if they made personal efforts to provide for their lives, they were not allowed. Afghan women are a part of Afghan society. The government has the responsibility to provide ways for their participation in public issues, in education and work, and their presence in the society," said Surya Paykan, women's rights activist.

Some political analysts believe that holding such meetings can be effective in solving the country's problems.

"Such meetings have existed in the past two years and will continue again, but the contact of Mr. West and senior officials of the United States never mean recognizing the Islamic Emirate," said WaisNaseeri, a political analyst.

"These type of efforts can benefit the people of Afghanistan because they can have a positive effect on the stability of Afghanistan, the region and the world," said Tariq Farhadi, political analyst.

Meanwhile, there are reports that acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttagi has gone to Qatar to participate in the Doha meeting, but so far the Islamic Emirate has not said anything about it.

Earlier, the Islamic Emirate said that in the meeting to be held in two days with American officials in Doha they will discuss the lifting of sanctions against the current government officials and the release of the country’s assets.


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Ashura Marked in Separate Ceremonies in Kabul

The residents of Kabul mourned the 10th day of Muharram, known as Ashura, with separate ceremonies.

However, some of the mourners voiced criticisms over the restrictions imposed for mourning on Ashura and called on the interim government to rescind such restrictions.

“Our people complained that there should be no restrictions in the west of Kabul—There could have been some miscommunication among security officials,” said Sayed Hassan Fazalzada, head of the assembly of Shia Ulema of Afghanistan.

“We are proud that we are following Husayn and ... we have never used the Ashura tribune against others,” said Asadullah Sadati, former deputy of the High Council for National Reconciliation.

Ashura is recognized as the day of martyrdom of the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), Husayn ibn Ali, and his death is mourned around the world with special ceremonies.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister for Policy and Strategy of the Ministry of Interior (MoI), Makhdom Abdul Haq, who also attended a ceremony of Ashura in Kabul, said that all kinds of religious freedoms of citizens are ensured.

“If he is Hindu, Sikh or anyone else or even Jogi. All of these people are from the Afghan nation and are my brothers… we will try day and night for their security,” he said.

“One year includes 12 months and we just mourn for 10 days which is registered in the history of the Muslims,” said Sher Mohammad Hossieni, a resident of Kabul.

Meanwhile, residents also reported that telecommunication services in the city of Kabul were shut down on Friday, but Islamic Emirate officials have yet to comment.


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Southeast Asia


Time to unite and move forward, says Kit Siang over claims of ‘tyrant’ leading DAP

By Opalyn Mok

Saturday, 29 Jul 2023

GEORGE TOWN, July 29 — The allegations of a “tyrant and emperor” leading DAP are due to a difference in views, said DAP veteran Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang.

He said the candidates had already been decided so it was time to unite and move forward.

He also said the allegations were an open expression of different views.

“Once it’s decided, we move forward,” he told reporters during a walkabout with DAP candidates at Campbell Street including state chairman Chow Kon Yeow, Komtar candidate Teh Lai Heng and Pengkalan Kota candidate Wong YueeHarng.

“We want to impress on the people that DAP is a disciplined and united party,” he said.

“We have more in common together than those outside,” he added.

He said the six state elections were not only important for the states, but also for all Malaysians.

“This is a reset and return to the original nation-building principles of a plural Malaysia,” he said.

He said this is the time to move forward for Malaysia to rise again.

Over the last few days, former DAP assemblyman M. Satees and former councillor David Marshel hurled allegations that a “tyrant” and “emperor” was trying to take over Penang DAP and the Penang state government.

They alleged that the “tyrant” was behaving like an emperor who could do what he liked with Penang.

They also alleged a plot by the “tyrant” to oust Chow as chief minister and state DAP chairman.

David, who named Lim’s son, Guan Eng, as the “tyrant”, claimed the Air Putih candidate is plotting his return as chief minister of Penang.

They claimed Guan Eng had a hand in selecting 17 out of the 19 candidates who are in his “camp.”

Both Satees and David resigned from the party and stood as Independent candidates in Bagan Dalam and Perai respectively.

Both said they are campaigning to reject Guan Eng and pledged their full support for Chow as chief minister.

Earlier today, when asked to comment on the duo’s allegations against him, Guan Eng brushed the question off.

“Not worthwhile to comment,” he said while refusing to say anything further.

DAP, under the Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional unity front, is fielding 19 candidates while PKR 13, BN six and Amanah two in Penang.

Other than facing candidates from another major coalition, Perikatan Nasional, they will also face independent candidates and candidates from smaller parties like Muda, Parti Rakyat Malaysia and Penang Front Party in 11 seats.

A total 95 candidates have been nominated today to vie for 40 state seats in Penang.

The state elections are held concurrently with Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.

Voters will go to the polls on August 12.


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People need more than empty promises, Muhyiddin tells Anwar

By Soo Wern Jun

Saturday, 29 Jul 2023

 GOMBAK, July 29 — PartiPribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has questioned Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s commitment to helping the people on the ground.

He said in the last few days, the initiatives announced by Anwar were merely done for the sake of the state election but were not fulfilling the promises made in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) manifesto during the last general election.

“You can see for yourself. All these things (promises) made but not fulfilled have created a feeling of not just despair, but anger.

“For the last eight months, you can give a roadmap, but this is not the Budget. It’s just to face the state elections; that’s about it. They just want to show that they are doing something.

“But I am sceptical about the things that they have done. The RM100, is that what you have been thinking about over last eight months — how to dish out money? Or are you thinking seriously about how to help the people?” he told reporters here at the nomination centre in Sungai Pusu.

Muhyiddin was responding to questions from reporters regarding Perikatan Nasional’s chances in the state elections that will be happening simultaneously in six states — Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Penang — on August 12.

He suggested that Anwar should go to the ground and talk to the people to find out where the real problems lie.

He also called the Madani economy flimsy, as it showed no signs of being able to address the people’s problems.

Muhyiddin had also questioned the source of the government’s finances with regards to the recent initiatives announced.

Among others, on Thursday, Anwar announced that all Malaysian citizens aged 21 and above earning RM100,000 and below in annual wages will receive a RM100 e-wallet incentive from the government.

“One billion, two billion. Suddenly, you have money. See, this is what Anwar has been doing all the time: Promises after promises, which leaves the people waiting, but nothing ends up being given,” he said.


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State polls: BN's Muhamad Khizri unfazed to take on Sanusi in Jeneri

Saturday, 29 Jul 2023

SIK, July 29 ― Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Datuk Muhamad Khizri Abu Kassim said he does not fear challenging caretaker Kedah menteribesar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor for the Jeneri seat in the state elections on August 12.

Muhammad Khizri is optimistic of putting up a strong challenge against Muhammad Sanusi although the Perikatan Nasional (PN) election director is regarded as a heavyweight.

“I have no fear or anxiety about taking on the menteribesar; it’s not a burden for me. If I lose, it’s normal but if I win, Malaysians will know me for the next five years,” he told reporters after the end of nominations at the Sik District and Land Office here today.

Asked on his vision for voters in Jeneri, Muhamad Khizri said human capital development through education, especially for youths, would be among his areas of focus.

As such, the Sik Umno division chief said he wants to reach out to youths in the constituency to explain his vision.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Sanusi said he was banking on his performance as the Menteri Besar for the past three years in a bid to retain the seat.

“But going by the current situation, I am confident that PN will win both seats in Sik (including Belantek). I hope supporters who backed us at the parliamentary level in the 15th general election (GE15) will again vote for us,” he said.

Muhamad Khizri and Muhammad Sanusi are involved in a straight fight for the seat.

In GE14, Muhammad Sanusi won the seat with a 2,455-vote majority, polling 10,626 votes to beat BN’s Mahadzir Abdul Hamid and Mohd Nazri Abu Hassan from Pakatan Harapan. ― Bernama


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State polls: GRS declares support for unity govt candidates, says chairman Hajiji

Saturday, 29 Jul 2023

KOTA KINABALU, July 29 ― Sabahans involved in the upcoming six state elections are advised to vote for the unity government to maintain the country’s political dynamics for a better future.

Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) chairman Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, when declaring full support for the government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, described the government as the best platform for multi-racial Malaysia to move forward.

The Chief Minister also urged every voter to reject any political party that uses racial sentiments and religious bigotry as their campaign materials which would be detrimental to Malaysia’s plural society and would never guarantee the country’s future.

“Stability, one of the important factors for the country to progress can only be achieved when the people are united and not blinded by racism and bigotry,” he said in a statement today.

Hajiji said Sabah and its people are a good example of unity and solidarity in diversity because, regardless of their races, religions and political ideologies, have co-existed in harmony for so long, which is what the Unity Government is also promoting at the national level.

“Therefore, I call upon the people to support the Unity Government candidates in this state elections,” he said.

Earlier today, Hajiji and Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, accompanied Anwar at the nomination centre at SekolahMenengahKebangsaan (SMK) Sungai Pusu in Gombak, Selangor.

Both state leaders were making their first appearance together with federal leaders in showing support for the ruling coalition candidates in the peninsula.

The Election Commission has set today as the nomination day and August 12 as the polling date for the polls in six states, namely Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, Pulau Pinang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan, and the Kuala Terengganu by-election, with early voting on August 8. ― Bernama


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State polls: PM Anwar says last-minute changes in candidates a normal process

Saturday, 29 Jul 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says that the last-minute change in Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidates contesting in the state polls is a normal process.

The PH chairman said the changes involving candidates from his party (PKR) would be carried out after seeing that there is a need to do so.

“We (PH) have three changes (at the last minute), one in Kota Damansara (Selangor) and also in Kelantan and Terengganu,” he said when met by reporters after having breakfast at a restaurant in Ampang Jaya here.

The Prime Minister, who is also the PKR president, however, did not share the details of which state seats in Kelantan and Terengganu were involved in the last-minute change.

He said this when asked about the last-minute change of PKR candidates in the Kota Damansara state seat which was announced by the party’s vice-president who is also Selangor PKR chairman Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari, late last night.

Anwar said that for the Kota Damansara state seat, the change involved Aidi Amin Yazid, who was previously announced as a candidate, was replaced by the Selangor Angkatan Muda Keadilan (AMK) chief Muhammad Izuan Ahmad Kasim.

“For Kota Damansara (seat), he (Izuan) is the Selangor AMK chief, and we (PKR) do not have an AMK candidate in Selangor, so I think it is appropriate to consider fielding him as a candidate and I hope he is welcomed by all,” he said. — Bernama


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