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Islamic World News ( 22 Jun 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Indonesian Ulema Council Fatwa: Women Leading Friday Prayer Sermon Haram

New Age Islam News Bureau

22 June 2023

 

On March 18, 2005 Dr. Amina Wadud will give the Friday sermon to a mixed gender audience at Sundaram Tagore Gallery in New York.

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Southeast Asia

• Bangkok Aims To Become ‘Luxury Mecca’ With Shopping Mall Boom

• Malaysia Concludes Hajj Flights As Last Batch Of Pilgrims Leaves For Saudi Arabia

• Court sets July 31 for case management of Loh Siew Hong’s appeal over her kids’ conversion to Islam

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North America

• Anti-Muslim Record, Rights Abuses Dim Modi's Charm Offensive On US Visit

• Ex-Army Soldier Gets 55-Year Sentence for Murder After Anti-Muslim Insults

• CAIR: American Muslims to Mark End of Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) with Communal Prayers, Celebrations

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Mideast

• Muslim Mayor Who Apologised For Raising Pride Flag Steps Down

• The Islamic Republic’s grand-strategic dilemma following the deal with Saudi Arabia

• Liberation of Palestinian Territories a Muslim Duty

• Islamist hate cleric's talk cancelled after GB News investigation

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South Asia

• Forcefully Displacing, Relocating Ethnic Groups Should be stopped in Afghanistan: CSTO

• “I Had Sleepless Nights Whenever A Death of A Muslim Covid Patient Occurred” –Sri Lankan FM

• Afghan Officials Flog a Man Accused of Having Extramarital Relationship

• Afghanistan Discussed in UNSC Meeting

• Open Competition Launched in 34 Provinces to Create Jobs for Youth

• Afghanistan Again Becomes Breeding Ground For Terrorism: Vladimir Voronkov

• Afghan Migrants Are Welcome to Return to their Country, Says Refugee Minister

• Drug Production in Afghanistan Poses Threats to the World: Iran Envoy

• UNHCR Pakistan Calls on Police to Stop Detaining Afghan Refugees

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India

• Pune police hold meeting with members of Muslim community ahead of Bakrid

• BJP Minority Morcha to launch reach out drive among Muslims on UCC soon

• "BJP Seeks To Reduce Muslim Votes in Assam through Delimitation," Says AIUDF's Badruddin Ajmal; Congress Miffed As Well

• Attempts Made To Communalise Hindu-Muslim Ties In Country: Former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti

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Europe

• German Prosecutors Charge Iranian Man with Plotting Islamist Attack Involving Ricin or Cyanide

• Irish Muslim Youth Associations raises funds for local causes

• Palais 12 to be transformed into giant prayer hall for Muslim festival

• Islamic Relief Worldwide’s income grows by over £100m in three years

• Complaints of 'nuisance' protests near Maida Vale mosque

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Pakistan

• Jamaat-i-Islami Chief Opposes Trial of Civilians in Military Courts

• Prime suspect in Karachi workers’ lynching case arrested

• Al Qadir Trust case: NAB again summons ex-accountability Czar on Friday

• Consequences of running country on hybrid model can be dangerous: JI chief

• Shehryar Afridi remanded in custody for five days in GHQ attack case

• May 9 violence: Over 4200 detained in Punjab jails

• UAE ‘keen’ to invest in Karachi port terminal operations

• Police ‘Recover’ Sub-Machine Gun from Journalist’s House, Living in Self-Exile

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Africa

• El-Rufai’s wish for an ‘Islamic Republic of Nigeria’

• Muslim Cleric, Other in Nigeria Bag Life Imprisonment Defilement of Underage Girl

• Mosque worker jailed for consuming, keeping drugs in ablution room, cubicle, locker

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Arab World

• KSrelief Participates In Arab League Workshop on Protection of Women in Conflict Zones

• Qatar’s Ambassador Holds Talks On Proposed Islamic Centre

• Saudi interior minister attends Hajj security readiness parade

• Saudi minister attends G20 tourism meeting in India

• Indian embassy celebrates International Yoga Day with large turnout

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/indonesian-ulema-fatwa-haram-friday/d/130054

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 Indonesian Ulema Council Fatwa: Women Leading Friday Prayer Sermon Haram

 

On March 18, 2005 Dr. Amina Wadud will give the Friday sermon to a mixed gender audience at Sundaram Tagore Gallery in New York.

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22 June 2023

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) commission on fatwa [a ruling on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized authority] has issued a haram fatwa against women assuming the position of a preacher during a Friday prayer sermon.

The fatwa – filed under fatwa No.38/2023 – states that if a Friday prayer sermon is offered by a woman in the presence of men, the sermon and Friday prayers are not valid.

This was issued in the wake of public questioning the religious rule of the matter after a statement was made by Panji Gumilang, leader of the Al Zaytun Islamic boarding school [pesantren], who mentioned women are permitted to take the role of the preacher during a Friday prayer.

This fatwa explained that Friday prayer is an obligation for Muslim men and mubah (may) be performed for women, said MUI chairman of fatwa Asrorun Niam Sholeh (Kiai Niam) in his official statement on Thursday, June 22.

MUI called for the Muslim community to stick to straight religious teachings and be vigilant of various forms of irregularities.

"Muslims are expected to be careful in choosing a place of education for their children and the state is obliged to guarantee the protection of religious teachings from deviation, defamation, and insult," said MUI's Kiai Niam.

Source: en.tempo.co

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https://en.tempo.co/read/1740155/women-leading-friday-prayer-sermon-haram-says-mui-fatwa

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Islam’s Call to Prayer is ringing out in More US Cities – Affirming a Long and Growing Presence of Muslims in America

 

Minneapolis allows call to prayer to be publicly broadcast five times per day. Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

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June 21, 2023

Minneapolis recently became the first major U.S. city to allow the “adhan,” or Muslim call to prayer, to be broadcast from mosques five times a day.

In April 2023, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a change to the city’s sound ordinance, effectively eliminating time constraints that previously prevented the pre-dawn and evening prayer calls from being broadcast.

For the citizens of Minneapolis and for many Muslims across the United States, this represents a historic moment. Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, described this as a victory for religious freedom and for the U.S. Constitution. The resolution demonstrates that Muslims are not only “welcome here, but they’re also here – that they are part of the fabric of the diversity of this city and our state,” he said in a statement.

As a scholar of Islam and Muslims in America, I am particularly interested in how Muslim Americans express themselves as a faith community at the local, national and global levels. The practice of calling worshippers to prayer is an important aspect of daily Muslim life, one that has a long history on American soil.

Adhan: Tradition and meanings

Adhan literally means “announcement” in Arabic and refers to the Islamic call to prayer that takes place five times a day. The five daily prayers signify one of the five pillars of Islam that are traditionally considered obligatory for every Muslim. The prayers are performed in the direction of Mecca throughout the day.

The practice of calling the adhan dates to the time of Prophet Muhammad, when it became the standard way to mark the beginning of each prayer’s time and to call Muslims to prayer. In his text “Approaching the Qur’an: The Early Revelations,” scholar Michael Sells notes that “the call to prayer punctuates daily life five times, drawing people out of their everyday preoccupation to matters of ultimate concern.”

Recited in Arabic, the adhan translates as: God is most great, God is most great; I testify that there is no god but God; I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God; Come (alive) to the prayer; Come (alive) to flourishing; God is most great, God is most great; There is no god but God.

In Muslim-majority countries, the distinctive sound of the adhan loudly called from every mosque’s minaret is one of the most memorable sounds for visitors.

The significance of the adhan is such that Islamic tradition recommends that it be one of the first sounds that a newborn baby hears. Often, the father will gently recite the adhan in the baby’s right ear. The words mark the beginning of a person’s life on the “right path,” with the remembrance of God.

In America, where the adhan is not commonly heard in public settings, many Muslims make do with a prayer app, on their cellphones or other devices, that lists the various prayer times and calls the adhan at the appropriate time.

Influence on popular music and culture

The earliest practice of the adhan on American soil dates back to the hundreds of thousands of enslaved African Muslims who, to varying extents, brought their Islamic practices with them. In the process, the adhan has left a deep influence on American music and culture.

Historian Sylviane A. Diouf attributes the roots of blues music to West African Muslims who were enslaved and forcibly taken to the Americas between the 1600s and mid-1800s.

Diouf specifically makes a comparison between the adhan and “Levee Camp Holler,” a song that was written and sung by former slaves. Holler songs were precursors to the blues. “It features the same ornamented notes, elongated syllables sung with wavy intonations, melismas, and pauses. When both pieces are juxtaposed, it is hard to distinguish when the call to prayer ends and the holler starts,” Diouf writes.

More recently, Muslim rapper Lupe Fiasco released an album called “Muhammad Walks” that clearly includes sound bites from the adhan along with various references to Islamic traditions.

History of the Muslim prayer call in the US

Generally speaking, mosques in the U.S. make the call to prayer inside the prayer space, where it is audible only to those present. The earliest documented public broadcasting of the Muslim call to prayer took place during the World’s Columbian Exposition, a world’s fair that was held in Chicago in 1893.

The fair featured “Cairo Street,” a popular attraction that sought to recreate a small cross section of Cairene life. Among the 26 different structures that were specifically built for this project was a mosque where tourists could hear the muezzin – one who makes the call to prayer – call the adhan from the minaret and then watch Muslim worshippers perform their daily prayers.

Later the same year, the prayer call was broadcast from a third-story window of the Union Square Bank building in New York City. After John Lant, a convert to Islam and co-founder of First Society for the Study of Islam in America, made the adhan, a congregational prayer was held before the group proceeded with the society’s first meeting.

This moment was documented by The New York Times: “For the first time in New-York’s history, cosmopolitan as the city is, the melodious call of the Muezzin, celebrated by every traveler in Mohammedan countries, was heard yesterday morning.”

Recent broadcasts

Since the 1970s the adhan has been broadcast from mosques in the U.S., such as the American Moslem Society, which was established in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1938 and is arguably the first U.S. mosque to be granted the legal right to transmit all five prayer calls through loudspeakers.

In nearby Hamtramck, considered to be America’s first majority-Muslim city, the adhan was legalized by local government in 2004, when a noise ordinance change was put to a citywide vote. At the time, this stirred notable tensions between Hamtramck’s different faith communities.

In 2020, the city council of Paterson, New Jersey, also authorized the call to prayer between certain hours of the day. In 2023, several mosques in Astoria, New York, received permits to broadcast the five calls to prayer specifically for the duration of the holy month of Ramadan.

Similarly, a small mosque in Occoquan, Virginia, was invited by the local mayor to broadcast the adhan on two separate occasions to mark the month of Ramadan.

Indeed, the public broadcasting of the adhan is part of a larger narrative of American plurality. It is a natural manifestation of Muslim American presence and communal expression.

The fact that the adhan can be heard in the streets of Minneapolis, Hamtramck and Astoria – alongside church bells and other sounds of worship – signifies that Muslim beliefs are not deemed less worthy, nor must they be confined to a private space. It is a sign that Muslims are at home and welcome here.

Source: theconversation.com

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https://theconversation.com/islams-call-to-prayer-is-ringing-out-in-more-us-cities-affirming-a-long-and-growing-presence-of-muslims-in-america-205555

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Islamic Emirate Leader Forbids Extra-Judicial Punishment: Spokesman Zabiullah

 

Islamic Emirate spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid

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21-06-23

The Islamic Emirate leader has ordered that no one should be punished without a court order, and that the authority to punish is only with a Sharia court and no one has the right to arbitrarily punish and detain someone, a spokesman for the Islamic Emirate said.

Islamic Emirate spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told TOLOnews that the order also forbade filming videos at the scene of a punishment.

“No one has the right to beat someone without the court’s order, even if it is a small physical action, the court should have ordered it. The court implements the orders based on Sharia. Others do not have the right to beat someone with a stick or whip,” he said.

Over the past nearly two years since the Islamic Emirate came to power, many countries and international organizations have repeatedly voiced concerns about arbitrary detentions, harassment and the violation of human rights in Afghanistan.

“The decree should improve the lives of the people. A decree without being practically implemented is not helping the people of Afghanistan. The positive result of the decree should be obvious among the people of Afghanistan,” said Shakir Hayat, political analyst.

“The constitution should be enforced in Afghanistan and there should be laws for punishment, so the people of Afghanistan can live under its line,” said Nisar Ahmad Shirzai, a political analyst.

The residents of Kabul meanwhile called on the Islamic Emirate to pay serious attention to identify the criminals before detaining them.

“If someone is mistakenly arrested, and he/she is detained somewhere for 5 or 10 days and is being beaten and torture, it is a crime,” said Mohammadullah, a resident of Kabul.

According to Mujahid, the violators of the order of the Islamic Emirate’s leader will face punishment. 

Source: tolonews.com

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https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-183871

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'I Live Freely In PM Modi's India': Ex Vice Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities Reply To US Lawmaker Ilhan Omar

 

 US Representative Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. FILE/AFP.

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By Poulomi Ghosh

Jun 22, 2023

‘You are showing a wrong picture of India under your hate agenda," ex vice chairman of the National Commission for Minorities Atif Rasheed wrote to Ilhan Omar.

Ahad of PM Modi's address to a joint session of the US Congress, two Muslim Congresswomen from the US Democratic Party announced that they won't be attending PM Modi's speech as 'Modi's government has repressed religious minorities'. You are showing a wrong picture of India under your hate agenda, former vice chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, Atif Rasheed said in a stern reply to Ilhan Omar's tweet.

"I belong from religious Minority Of India but I live freely with my religious freedom and religious identity in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's India, I have equal share in every resource here, I have the freedom to speak whatever I want in India," Rasheed wrote.

"I also have the freedom to write what I want in India. I am sorry to say You are showing wrong picture of My India under your hate agenda. Stop spitting poison out of your mouth," Atif Rasheed added.

Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib announced boycott of PM Modi's address ro the joint session of the US Congress as PM Modi is on a three-day historic state visit to the US. "Prime Minister Modi’s government has repressed religious minorities, emboldened violent Hindu nationalist groups, and targeted journalists/human rights advocates with impunity. I will NOT be attending Modi’s speech. I WILL be holding a briefing with human rights groups to discuss Modi’s record of repression and violence," Ilhan Omar wrote.

"It’s shameful that Modi has been given a platform at our nation’s capital—his long history of human rights abuses, anti-democratic actions, targeting Muslims & religious minorities, and censoring journalists is unacceptable. I will be boycotting Modi’s joint address to Congress," Rashida Tlaib wrote.

75 lawmakers write to Biden: ‘All with dubious credentials’

A total of 75 Democratic senators and members of the House of Representatives signed a letter sent to US President Joe Biden asking Biden to raise human rights issues with PM Modi. "We do not endorse any particular Indian leader or political party — that is the decision of the people of India — but we do stand in support of the important principles that should be a core part of American foreign policy," said the letter, led by Senator Chris Van Hollen and Representative Pramila Jayapal.

BJP's Amit Malviya questioned 'Congress toolkit' behind the letter of the 75 Democrats and said all of them have 'dubious credentials'. "After Rahul Gandhi’s recent visit to the US, where he was hosted by organisations closely aligned to the Jamaat and ISI, held closed door meetings with associates of George Soros and was reportedly in clandestine confabulations with foreign agencies, now a letter written by a bunch of US legislators, with dubious credentials, is the new arsenal in Congress’s toolkit. How long will they lean on foreign media and money to undermine the will of the people?" Malviya wrote.

Source: hindustantimes.com

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/i-live-freely-in-pm-modis-india-muslim-leaders-reply-to-us-lawmaker-ilhan-omar-101687393387655.html

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 Southeast Asia

 

Bangkok aims to become ‘luxury mecca’ with shopping mall boom

June 21, 2023

Bangkok, Jun 21 (EFE).- Despite the acceleration of digital commerce and the moment of decline shopping centers are seeing in countries such as the United States, Bangkok is committed to their massive expansion with which the Thai capital hopes to establish itself as a Southeast Asian “mecca of luxury.”

Bangkok plans to inaugurate at least five megaprojects in 2023 to reshape the urban landscape and become a point of reference among expatriates, locals and tourists in the shopping sector, especially luxury.

Private investment in the commercial construction service is expected to grow in the capital between 3 percent and 4 percent in 2023 and 2024, encouraged by growing demand and in line with the “rebound in the tourism sector and consumption” after Covid-19, according to a June 2022 report from Krungsri bank.

Likewise, the retail sector, represented to a large extent by shopping centers, corresponds to about 16.7 percent of Thai GDP and, only in 2021, moved a commercial flow of about $77 billion.

This was enough to put the retail sector in second place in terms of its importance to the Thai economy, only after manufacturing, which accounts for 27 percent of GDP.

Thus, more and more, the metropolis with 11 million inhabitants is consolidating itself as an important commercial “hub” in Asia, where shopping guides abound with titles such as “Inside the 7 most luxurious shopping centers in Bangkok” or “Luxury in Bangkok: Glamor and exclusivity in Thailand.”

Opulent buildings erected parallel to the train tracks line its streets and display huge and luminous signs with the names of the most exclusive brands, such as Gucci, Prada, Armani, Channel, Tiffany & Co., among others.

In a movement contrary to that observed in some parts of the world, hit by the expansion of electronic commerce, generalized inflation and less citizen consumer power, the expansion of the sector in Thailand contrasts with the mass closure of shopping centers in countries such as the United States and some places in Europe.

But in the luxury capital, the sky is the limit.

Among the megaprojects planned for 2023 are the opening of the Bangkok Mall, in the final phase of construction and which aims to become the largest shopping center in Southeast Asia, and the Emsphere, a “state-of-the-art” facility in the heart of the metropolis.

Considered one of the main operators of luxury shopping centers in Thailand, The Mall group is behind the construction of three of these giant shopping complexes, including Emsphere, which will open its doors in December and already accumulates investments for $435 million.

The group also announced an investment of another $580 million destined to the renovation of two important shopping centers in the extreme east and west of the city, an initiative with which it seeks to add to Bangkok’s urban scene. EFE.

Source: laprensalatina.com

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https://www.laprensalatina.com/bangkok-aims-to-become-luxury-mecca-with-shopping-mall-boom/

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Malaysia concludes Hajj flights as last batch of pilgrims leaves for Saudi Arabia

June 21, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia completed on Wednesday its special Hajj flight operations under the Makkah Route initiative, which offered many pilgrims the first direct experience of Saudi hospitality.

This year, 31,600 Malaysians are participating in the annual pilgrimage that is one of the five pillars of Islam.

The last Hajj flight departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Wednesday afternoon with 284 pilgrims on board. 

“I am very happy. Today is the last day of the last chartered flight. We have 98 flights for this Hajj season. We hope everything goes well,” Anuar bin Ahmad, deputy director of field operations for Tabung Haji, Malaysia’s Hajj pilgrims fund board, told Arab News.

“The Makkah Route initiative has been very helpful. The pilgrims do not need to wait too long, and it helps to have all of them arrive in Makkah and Madinah early. Besides that, they all have their luggage (transferred) directly to their hotels. We thank the Saudi government for this initiative.”

Malaysia is among seven Muslim-majority countries — including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Morocco, Turkiye and Cote d’Ivoire — where Saudi Arabia opened the program.

Launched in 2019, Makkah Route allows Hajj pilgrims to fulfill all visa, customs and health requirements at the airport of origin, saving long hours of waiting. Upon arrival, pilgrims can enter the Kingdom having already gone through visa and customs processes back home.

Among them was young Malaysian doctor Aazhimah binti Othman, who will be performing the pilgrimage with her husband, parents and siblings.

“It started a few years ago when my younger brother asked my father to register the whole family for Hajj. It was really unexpected that we got to do Hajj together this year,” she said.

“The process for Hajj has been very smooth, especially with the Makkah Route initiative. We didn’t have to wait long.” 

For lecturer Zulhan bin Othman, it will be the first time he sees Islam’s holiest sites. His wife, Wan Wahida Binti Wan Mohd Zodhi, a medical practitioner, was worried that he might feel lost among millions of people who will be in Makkah to fulfill their religious duty.

But Othman said he was already reassured by how smoothly all immigration work went at the airport.

“The Makkah Route initiative is really wonderful. We can just go directly to our hotel as if we were citizens of Saudi Arabia,” he said. “I thank the Saudi government for the initiative. It definitely reduced my anxiety.”

Source: arabnews.com

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2325631/world

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Court sets July 31 for case management of Loh Siew Hong’s appeal over her kids’ conversion to Islam

PUTRAJAYA, June 22 —Single mother Loh Siew Hong’s appeal to nullify her three children’s unilateral conversion to Islam is fixed for further case management on July 31.

Court of Appeal deputy registrar Mariam Hasanah Othman set the case management date to update the status of the records of appeal.

When contacted by Bernama, Loh’s lawyer A. Srimurugan, who attended the case management proceeding, said he had informed the deputy registrar that he was still waiting for the High Court grounds of judgment.

Loh’s appeal came up for case management before Mariam today.

Also present for the case management were lawyer Danial Farhan Zainul Rijal representing Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council and Perlis assistant legal adviser Ainul Wardah Shahidan for Perlis Mufti Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, the Perlis state government and the Perlis State Registrar of Converts.

The 36-year-old mother is appealing against the High Court’s decision on May 11 to dismiss her judicial review application to challenge the conversion of her three children to Islam by her Muslim convert ex-husband without her consent.

Loh filed the application on March 25 last year, naming the Perlis State Registrar of Converts, Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council, Mohd Asri and the Perlis state government as respondents.

The single mother is seeking a declaration that her three children are Hindus and that her ex-husband, M. Nagahswaran, did not have the legal capacity to allow the Perlis State Registrar of Converts to register their children as converts without her consent.

The woman also sought a declaration that her children, as children, do not have the legal capacity to convert to Islam without her consent and also seeking a certiorari order to revoke the Declaration of Conversion to Islam, dated July 7, 2020, issued by the Registrar of Converts of Perlis in the name of her three children. — Bernama

Source: malaymail.com

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/06/22/court-sets-july-31-for-case-management-of-loh-siew-hongs-appeal-over-her-kids-conversion-to-islam/75745

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North America

 

Anti-Muslim record, rights abuses dim Modi's charm offensive on US visit

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is embarking on a visit to the US, kicking it off in New York City with a made-for-TV yoga session to coincide with the international Yoga Day on Wednesday, and culminating with a rare address before a joint session of the US Congress and a state dinner at the White House hosted by US President Joe Biden on Thursday.

Other events set for Friday, include a lunch with US Vice President Kamala Harris and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

But as the leader of the world's largest democracy makes what has been referred to as "the most important visit of an Indian prime minister to Washington DC", he is being hounded by accusations of supercharging Hindu nationalist supremacy, inciting anti-Muslim violence, stifling media and suppressing political opposition.

Modi has been to the United States five times since becoming prime minister in 2014, but this is his first state visit.

The trip comes as concerns have grown over what is seen as a deteriorating human rights situation under the rule of his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Rights groups and some political observers are critical of the man, who is now being celebrated in the West as a champion of the "pursuit of inner tranquility" and an advocate of anti-violence and peace. Mode was the chief minister of Gujarat state, when the 2002 riots broke out in which over a thousand people were killed, most of them Muslims.

Now as India's prime minister, he is accused of turning a blind eye towards the growing religious bigotry and espousing discriminatory laws.

In 2019, Modi has faced criticism over legislation amending the country’s citizenship law that fast-tracks naturalisation for Chirstian and Hindu refugees but excludes Muslims.

As Muslim took out rallies against the act, Modi infamously said that Indians who are "creating violence" can be "identified by their clothes" - a reference to the loose shirts and trousers that many Muslims in South Asia wear.

New Delhi also faced questions over the rise in violence against Muslims and other religious minorities by Hindu nationalists, and the recent conviction of India’s top opposition leader, Rahul Gandhi, for mocking Modi's surname.

According to the latest estimates, there are as many as 213 million Muslims in India, representing about 15 percent of the country's total population of more than 1.4 billion people.

Hindus, meanwhile, constitute about 80 percent of the population. That's equivalent to about 1.1 billion people of the total population. India has the largest population in the world surpassing China earlier this year.

As US President Joe Biden prepares to host Modi on Thursday, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the US leader in a letter not to shy away from confronting Modi on India's “worsening human rights situation.”

"It’s important for Prime Minister Modi to see that US leaders are scrutinising his government’s actions and that worsening abuses are affecting US-India relations," said John Sifton, Asia advocacy director at HRW.

On Tuesday, just as Modi arrived in New York, HRW hosted a screening in Washington DC of a documentary critical of Modi's role of in the Gujarat riots that was banned by the Indian government.

In 2005, Washington DC had revoked Modi's visa to the US, citing concerns that he did not act to stop the communal violence. An investigation approved by the Indian Supreme Court later absolved Modi, but the stain of the dark moment has lingered.

Violence against Indian Muslims

Since Modi came to power in 2014, tensions between Muslim minority and the majority Hindus have increased in many parts of the country.

In February 2020, dozens of people were killed and more than 200 were wounded following an unrest in largely Muslim-populated areas in northeast Delhi. It was described as the worst religious violence in the country in decades.

During the three days of violence in the Indian capital, a mosque was set on fire by Hindu mobs, and several Muslim-populated areas in the city were attacked, after Muslim Indians protested against the country new citizenship law. The law has been described by critics as divisive and a violation of country’s secular constitution.

Across the country, there have been numerous incidents of attacks against Muslims for butchering or even transporting cow, which is considered by the Hindu majority as sacred. In recent days a video also became viral on social media after a Hindu man telling off a veiled woman, that Muslims were banned from visiting the Ganges River, a sacred place for Hindus.

In India-administered Kashmir, violence against the region's Muslim population has also escalated in recent years.

In August 2019, the Indian government also revoked Article 370 of India’s constitution that guaranteed special rights to the Muslim-majority India-administered Kashmir, including the right to its own constitution and autonomy to make laws on all matters except defence, communications and foreign affairs.

Deadly violence by state forces soon followed as protests erupted over New Delhi's ontroversial decision.

Elaine Pearson, head of HRW in Asia, pointed out, Modi’s government has demonstrated "blatant bias" in protecting members and allies of his party, BJP, who are accused of various crimes, including "murder, assault, corruption, and sexual violence."

In a statement on social media, Ilhan Omar, Biden's fellow Democrat and a member of the House of Representatives, wrote on Wednesday that she will not attend Modi's expected speech before Congress.

"Prime Minister Modi’s government has repressed religious minorities, emboldened violent Hindu nationalist groups, and targeted journalists/human rights advocates with impunity."

The Indian government has continually defended its human rights record and insisted that India’s democratic principles remain robust.

'Defining relationship'

With US relations with China at its lowest, Biden sees Washington's ties to India — one of the fastest growing economies — as a defining relationship, likely putting the human rights concerns at the back burner.

Asked about the human rights situation in India, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that Biden is expected to bring up US concerns about democratic backsliding in India, but he will not lecture Modi on the subject.

"Ultimately, the question of where politics and the question of democratic institutions go in India is going to be determined within India by Indians. It's not going to be determined by the United States," Sullivan said.

New Delhi, as Biden sees it, will be essential to addressing some of the most difficult global challenges in coming years, including climate change, disruptions related to artificial intelligence, and China’s growing power in the Indo-Pacific.

“Now, we know that India and the United States are big, complicated countries,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the US-India Business Council in Washington ahead of Modi's visit.

"We certainly have work to do to advance transparency, to promote market access, to strengthen our democracies, to unleash the full potential of our people. But the trajectory of this partnership is unmistakable, and it is filled with promise.”

Modi, for his part, is trying to usher in a more prosperous era for his nation, delivering on a promise he made when he swept into office more than nine years ago.

The Indian prime minister hopes to strengthen US-India economic and military ties. He also has his own worries about Chinese military activities, along the Himalayan border and in the Indian Ocean.

Writing for the Observer Research Foundation, senior Indian journalist and analyst Manoj Joshi said that Modi's visit to the US "could transform India’s geoeconomic and geopolitical fortunes."

India has been locked in a long-running standoff with China in the rugged mountainous area of Ladakh, where each side has stationed tens of thousands of military personnel backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets.

“As China has risen, India and the US both need one another and the US needs more partners in the Indo-Pacific,” Jitendra Nath Misra, a professor of diplomatic practice at the OP Jindal Global University and a former Indian ambassador, told the Associated Press news agency.

“They can’t do it alone anymore because China is catching up with the US, and the Chinese economy is significantly larger than India’s. So, there is a congruence of geopolitical interests here.”

Russia factor

At the international level, Modi’s government is seen to be reluctant to stand with other governments on key human rights issues, abstaining or refraining from condemning grave human rights violations elsewhere.

Since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian operation in Ukraine in 2022, records show that India has boosted its economy by purchasing increasing quantities of cheap Russian oil. Russian oil now accounts for almost 20 percent of its annual crude imports compared to only 2 percent before the war in Ukraine.

The New Delhi-Moscow relationship dates back decades, with Moscow offering key cooperation on defence, nuclear energy and other issues.

The Biden White House has privately pressed India to cut its reliance on Russian oil, but has largely avoided publicly criticising Modi's government, seeks to solidify its relationship with Delhi.

And there are plenty of signs that the relationship already has taken a leap forward. Trade between the US and India in 2022 climbed to a record $191 billion. The Indian diaspora in the US stands at nearly 5 million and has become an economic, cultural and political powerhouse.

Biden has also sought to reinvigorate the Quad, an international partnership of the US, Australia, India and Japan. And US defense sales to India have risen from near zero in 2008 to over $20 billion in 2020.

Still, the state visit comes with some problematic aspects for Biden, who as a presidential candidate pledged that human rights would be a driving force in his foreign policy.

But as the warm US welcome indicates, it is likely that Modi will get away with only the slightest reprimand and the maximum political reward.

Source: trtworld.com

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Ex-Army soldier gets 55-year sentence for murder after anti-Muslim insults

21-06-23

An ex-Army soldier convicted of murder for the 2019 road rage shooting of a man who came to the United States from Afghanistan as a refugee was sentenced Wednesday to 55 years in prison.

Dustin Passarelli was convicted of murder in May, nearly four years after the February 2019 killing of 32-year-old Mustafa Ayoubi. His death grabbed the attention of the FBI and helped lay the foundation for Indiana to pass its version of a bias crimes law.

Ayoubi's friends were waiting for him at a townhome on the city's north-west side and planned to go play pool on Feb. 16, 2019, the night of the shooting. When he arrived, witnesses say they saw him and Passarelli shouting inflammatory remarks at each other.

“Mohammad is a pedophile,” Passarelli yelled multiple times from inside his car, a witness said. He also allegedly shouted about Ayoubi, who arrived in the United States in 2001 as a refugee from Afghanistan, and his friends about being foreigners.

Ayoubi walked to the driver’s side and told Passarelli to get out of the car. Witnesses said Ayoubi made a fist around the same time Passarelli shined the flashlight attached to his pistol at Ayoubi, and fired rapidly. Ayoubi was hit twice by the shoulder and multiple times in the back.

Passarelli was never charged with a hate crime. His lawyers said it was self-defense. The Plainfield man told police Ayoubi either threw something at his car or collided with it while they were driving on the 465 freeway. He accused Ayoubi of breaking his window with a punch, and reaching into the vehicle when he started shooting. 

“Someone was entering in his vehicle illegally, same as someone kicking at your (home) door or busting your window,” Passarelli’s attorney, Benjamin Jaffe, said during Passarelli's jury trial in May.

Jaffe pointed out during Wednesday's sentencing hearing that Ayoubi was intoxicated. Passarelli said Ayoubi called him a "dirty Jew," but the insult didn't bother him because he's not Jewish, according to a police report.

Prosecutors argued Ayoubi’s car didn't have collision marks, and his body didn’t have wounds from breaking glass. They said Passarelli pursued Ayoubi from the interstate, then followed him through a McDonald’s parking lot and into his friend's residential area because Passarelli "was there to instigate and continue the confrontation."

Source: indystar.com

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https://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2023/06/21/veteran-gets-55-year-sentence-for-veteran-gets-55-year-sentence-for-murder-after-anti-muslim-insults/70339208007/

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CAIR: American Muslims to Mark End of Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) with Communal Prayers, Celebrations

June 21, 2023

Muslim civil rights group offers template for Muslim employees to request time off from work to celebrate the holiday

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/21/23) – On Wednesday, June 28, American Muslims plan to mark the beginning of the holiday marking the end of the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, called Hajj, with communal prayers and celebrations at locations around the country. The prayers and the holiday that follows Hajj are called Eid ul-Adha (EED-al-ODD-ha), or “festival of the sacrifice.” 

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today released an email template for Muslim employees to request time off from work to celebrate the holiday and urged employers to grant their requests. 

SEE: When are Hajj and Eid al-Adha 2023?

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/6/19/when-are-hajj-and-eid-al-adha-2023

Eid ul-Adha, commonly referred to as just “Eid,” commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God’s command. The holiday is celebrated with prayers, small gifts for children, distribution of meat to the needy, and social gatherings. During this holiday, Muslims exchange the greeting “Eid Mubarak” or “blessed Eid.” In pre-pandemic years, some two million Muslims, including thousands of American Muslims, go on Hajj. 

[NOTE: For actual pilgrims, the rites of Hajj continue for some time after the Eid prayers. Eid al-Fitr, which comes at the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan, is the other of the two “Eid” holidays Muslims celebrate each year.] 

WHEN: On Wednesday, June 28. The prayers are held in the morning. Many communities also hold day-long Eid festivals for families.

WHERE: The Eid prayers and festivals are held either in local mosques or in public facilities designed to accommodate large gatherings. Call local CAIR chapters or other Muslim organizations for details about Eid celebrations.  

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Each year at Eid ul-Adha, American Muslim families attend prayers and celebrations. Many places of prayer organize children’s activities. The prayers themselves are quite visual, with worshipers arranged in neat rows and bowing in prayer in unison. Participants exchange embraces at the conclusion of the prayers. 

[NOTE: Because this is a religious service, reporters and photographers of both sexes should dress modestly. Photographers should arrive early to get into position for the best images. Photographers are also advised not to step directly in front of worshipers and to seek permission for close-ups.]  

CAIR released the following template language for Muslim employees to request time off from work to celebrate the holiday.

Dear [Supervisor Name]

I hope you’re doing well. The Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha (“feast of the sacrifice”) is approaching on Wednesday, June 28. I am reaching out to request [insert dates] off. 

Eid al-Adha is the Muslim festival marking the culmination of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and commemorating the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). It is an important religious observance for Muslims and typical festivities include congregational prayer and gatherings with family and friends. Ahead of celebrating this holiday, I will be sure to work with you and the team on any tasks due that day. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns in making this reasonable accommodation. I look forward to hearing back. 

Sincerely, 

[Your Name]

HAJJ BACKGROUNDER: 

In the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, God says: 

“Thus We settled Abraham at the site of the House (the Ka’aba) (saying): ‘Do not associate anything with Me, and purify My house for those who walk around it, and those who stand there (praying), and those who bow down on their knees in worship. Proclaim the pilgrimage among mankind: they will come to you on foot and on every lean (beast of burden); Let them come from every deep ravine, to bear witness to the advantages they have, and to mention God’s name on appointed days.” Chapter 22, Verses 26-28 

Hajj is one of the “five pillars” of the Islamic faith. (The other pillars include a declaration of faith, daily prayers, offering regular charity, and fasting during the month of Ramadan.) Pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for those who have the physical and financial ability to undertake the journey. 

When the main portion of the pilgrimage is completed, Muslims worldwide gather for communal prayers on the first day of Eid ul-Adha (EED-al-ODD-ha), the second of the two major Muslim holidays. 

The obligatory and optional activities of Hajj include: 

* Entrance into a state of self-control called “ihram,” during which pilgrims are forbidden to harm living creatures, even insects or plants, or raise the voice in anger. The state of ihram is signified (for men) by the wearing of two pieces of unsewn white cloth. This clothing signifies the equality of all before God. No specific clothing is prescribed for female pilgrims. 

* Circling (“Tawaf”) of the “Ka’aba,” the stone building Muslims believe was originally built by Abraham and his son Ishmael. The Ka’aba is viewed as the first sanctuary on earth dedicated to the worship of the One God. It is a symbol of unity for Muslims because all prayers, wherever they are performed, are oriented in the direction of the Ka’aba. 

* The “Sa’i,” or “hastening” between two small hills near the Ka’aba, to commemorate Hagar’s search for water to offer her son Ishmael. 

* The “Day of Arafah.” Arafah is a mountain and its surrounding empty plain near Mecca. On this day, the climax of the Hajj season, pilgrims assemble for supplication to God. 

* The stoning of three pillars representing Satan’s temptation of Abraham. The stoning indicates the pilgrim’s rejection of evil deeds. 

* Cutting the hair to symbolize the completion of Hajj. 

* Sacrifice of an animal to help feed the poor, and in remembrance of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God’s command. A portion of the meat is distributed to relatives and to the needy. 

CAIR urges community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/report        

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.            

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.           

Become a Fan of CAIR on Facebook        

http://www.facebook.com/CAIRNational          

Subscribe to CAIR’s Email List        

https://action.cair.com/a/newsletters

Subscribe to CAIR’s Twitter Feed        

http://twitter.com/cairnational         

Subscribe to CAIR’s YouTube Channel        

http://www.youtube.com/cairtv         

Follow CAIR on Instagram        

https://www.instagram.com/cair_national/

Donate to CAIR        

https://action.cair.com/a/donate

Do you like reading CAIR press releases and taking part in our action alerts? You can help contribute to CAIR’s work of defending civil rights and empowering American Muslims across the country by making a one-time contribution or becoming a monthly donor. Supporters like you make CAIR’s advocacy work possible and defeating Islamophobia an achievable goal. Click here to donate to CAIR.

If you would like to join CAIR’s media list, please sign up here: https://action.cair.com/a/newsletters — For more information, email: info@cair.com, CC ihooper@cair.com        

END 

Source: cair.com

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Mideast

 

Muslim Mayor Who Apologised For Raising Pride Flag Steps Down

By Patricia Devlin

June 21, 2023

A Muslim mayor who apologised for attending a Pride event as it contradicted his religious beliefs, has stood down.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Keighley councillor Mohammed Nazam said he had also resigned from the Conservative party with “immediate effect.”

Writing on Facebook, Nazam said: “A few days ago I attended the flag raising for the LGBTQ community.

“This did not conform to my religious beliefs and hence I offered an apology to my constituents. By my apology, I did not mean any harm to any member of my constituency.

“My religion teaches respect and tolerance for all and the law of the land.”

Nazam, who had been facing an internal disciplinary investigation by the Tory party until his resignation, said Muslim representatives “are in the same position” surrounding LGBTQ events.

He added: “Here in the UK we are proud to have our freedom of expression. People should have the freedom to express their beliefs and live their lives as they wish to.

“This should apply to all communities and religious beliefs.”

Thanking those who offered support, the councillor described the controversy as a “truly humbling experience” from which he had learnt a “great deal”.

He said he will continue his role as an independent representative on Keighley Town Council, which said it would meet to elect a new mayor “in due course.”

‘Personally Repented’

Nazam faced a social media backlash after describing his part in the Yorkshire town’s Pride flag-raising ceremony as “a lapse of judgement”.

The Tory councillor was pictured holding the emblem with other representatives including fellow Conservative and MP for the area Robbie Moore last week.

In a statement posted to the Keighley Pakistani’s Facebook group, Nazam said he had not carried out “due diligence” for duties that he was expected to carry out as mayor—including the Pride flag-raising ceremony—and “wholeheartedly” apologised for “any harm caused.”

He said he had since “personally repented for this error,” adding: “Looking back, I realise that I should have respectfully declined the request at the time.”

His comments were condemned by LGBT activists, Keighley representatives and Tory party colleague Moore, who called for the mayor to apologise and stand down.

In a statement released on Sunday, Moore said: “I’ve seen comments made by Keighley’s Town Mayor, Cllr Mohammed Nazam, stating that he feels the need to apologise for his part in the flag raising ceremony and the need for him to ‘personally repent for his error’ because of religious beliefs.

“I disagree and reject the mayor’s comments.”

Moore added: “The mayor needs to apologise and consider his position. An employment disciplinary process will also now follow.”

Epoch Times Photo

Undated handout photo issued by UK Parliament of MP Robbie Moore responding after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gives a statement to MPs in the House of Commons, London, following his attendance of the G-20 Summit in Indonesia. (PA Media)

LGBT Rights

Keighley Town Council confirmed Tuesday it had received Nazam’s resignation.

“The town council has a long record of supporting and celebrating all sections of the amazingly diverse Keighley community,” a spokesperson said.

“The Pride flag will continue to fly proudly in the Town Hall Square for the remainder of Pride Month as planned.”

The council said it will continue “to do whatever it can to support similar groups and the wider LGBTQ community.”

After announcing his resignation, fellow Muslims rushed to congratulate Nazam on social media.

One wrote: “Respect for acknowledging your mistake and now sticking to the teachings of our deen.”

Another said: “Well done to you brother for doing the right thing. May Allah reward you and forgive the lapse of error. This proves that one cannot be part of British politics unless one is willing to compromise on beliefs.”

However, one Keighley constituent said: “Problem is LGBTQ+ rights are human rights and what you did was offend many people.

“Would you have done the same statement I’d if was for a Jewish event or for an event for disabled people?’

Source: theepochtimes.com

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https://www.theepochtimes.com/muslim-mayor-who-apologised-for-raising-pride-flag-steps-down_5346471.html

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The Islamic Republic’s grand-strategic dilemma following the deal with Saudi Arabia

22 June 2023

Amin Naeni and Ali Fathollah-Nejad explore the tensions inherent in Iran's relationships with Saudi Arabia and China.

he March 2023 agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, brokered by China, has been generally seen as a testament to shifting regional and global dynamics. It is mainly seen as a major step toward putting an end to regional instability as well as a demonstration of Beijing’s rising international clout. On Iran’s part, the Islamic Republic took advantage of this opportunity to deflect the international community’s attention from the suppression of the Iranian revolutionary uprising starting in mid-September 2022 and the resulting threat of rising international isolation, pushing Tehran to finally agree to détente with Saudi Arabia. Also, Iranian authorities sought to embrace the deal as proof of the decline of U.S. power in the Middle East and the definitive advent of a post-American world order. However, much neglected in the debate, this agreement creates a key dilemma in the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy, an unstable equilibrium between its two primary grand strategies: the regional “axis of resistance” and its global "look to the East" policies.

Both the Raisi administration and state-owned media close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have expressed support for the normalization of ties with Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the primary message of Tehran’s propaganda is to portray the agreement as a blow to the Islamic Republic’s opponents, be it Israel or the United States. In this vein, Iranian dailies have pushed forward the narrative that normalization of ties with Riyadh would bring about “a new order in West Asia” and “a new era in regional developments”. Moreover, General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and advisor to Khamenei, has described the agreement as “a political earthquake that signals the end of American hegemony in the region”, saying that Tehran’s “look to the neighbours and the East will increase Iran’s geopolitical weight”.

The curious silence of major Iranian decision-makers

However, neither of the major decision-makers in Iran, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei himself nor the IRGC, gave special importance to the agreement, let alone hailing it as a historic turning-point as many outside observers did. It was only in late May, upon the new Sultan of Oman’s visit to Tehran and him hailing the Iranian–Saudi deal, that Khamenei broke his silence by crediting it to the Ebrahim Raisi administration’s “good policy to expand ties with neighbours and regional countries”. Such a general comment that merely echoed the administration’s stated objectives can be read as rather downplaying if not degrading the significance of the agreement with Saudi Arabia. In contrast, around ten days after the announcement of the deal with Riyadh, Khamenei in his Iranian New Year address emphasized his country's determination to support the “axis of resistance”, which in fact has been a major source of contention between Tehran and Riyadh over the last two decades.

Indeed, the Islamic Republic’s identity and survival are interwoven with the Tehran-led “axis”, making it unlikely that the Iranian leadership will sacrifice its regional influence for the sake of normalizing ties with Riyadh. A year earlier, in March 2022, Khamenei had stressed that Iran’s presence in the Middle East “is our strategic depth; this itself is a means of strengthening the Nezâm [i.e. the system of the Islamic Republic], it is a means of the power of the Nezâm. How can we lose this when we can have and should have something like this?” Moreover, while the IRGC has frequently threatened Saudi Arabia in recent years, its silence over the agreement has apparently raised concerns in Riyadh about Iran’s actual commitment to the deal.

Also, the current nuclear impasse could end up escalating. In such a scenario, according to a major architect of Iran’s nuclear escalation policy in an April interview with Der Spiegel, a war would not be limited to the U.S. and Iran but would also engulf many regional states – in other words, potentially Saudi Arabia. Such a regional conflagration would result from the failure to revive the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Iran, or the Iran nuclear deal) and the snapback of UN sanctions triggered by the EU state signatories to the JCPOA, followed by Tehran making good on its threat to withdraw not only from the deal but also from the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty). This scenario may then prompt U.S. and/or Israeli military action to block Tehran from acquiring the nuclear bomb, with Iran resorting to targeting the interests of those powers and their perceived partners in West Asia. Differently put, the Iranian–Saudi deal would be de facto sacrificed for an Iranian policy of threating regional escalation.

China seeking regional stability: An uncertain gamble

The role of China has added an important layer of complexity to the situation. The Iranian regime has attempted to build a coalition with Moscow and Beijing, claiming that this triangle will shape the next world order. Indeed, Tehran perceives its “look to the East” policy as key not only for unlocking the political isolation of the Islamic Republic, but also empowering it to play a global role in the future. In this vein, China has helped Iran maintain its foreign revenue through oil purchases despite existing extra-territorial U.S. sanctions, amid the two countries aim to boost their relations with a 25-year partnership accord signed in March 2021. The Islamic Republic, therefore, increasingly looks to China in both the political and economic spheres.

On China’s part, China is interested in elevating its international standing through its involvement in the Middle East. The Communist Party has increasingly invested in Saudi Arabia (thereby also helping the latter realize its Vision 2030), which highlights the importance of peace and stability between Riyadh and Tehran for Beijing. However, Beijing’s goal to expand its influence and economic ties in a stabilized region could collide with Tehran's support for militia groups that would sustain regional tensions. Therefore, Chinese leaders should monitor Iran’s post-Saudi deal behaviour, while they expect to see commitment from both sides

The rise of an unstable equilibrium in Iran’s foreign policy

In this vein, Nour News, the news agency associated with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, has stressed that the agreement with Saudis “will not change principal strategies” of Iran. This would mean that Riyadh will have to count on China’s influence in Tehran to ensure the deal’s implementation on the ground.

On the one hand, if Iran expands its support for armed non-state actors in the Middle East, it risks creating tensions with China and potentially jeopardizing its political and economic ties with Beijing. On the other hand, if the Islamic Republic weakens its “axis of resistance” strategy, it may lose its influence and “strategic depth” in the region and become more vulnerable to external pressures.

This unstable equilibrium now presents a serious challenge for the Iranian leadership. Pursuing regional ambitions and the resulting leverage (especially to be employed against the West) while expanding ties to non-Western great-powers, particularly China, requires a delicate balancing act that could have significant implications. In an interview published just a week after the deal, Ali Bagheri, reiterated the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic during the “transition period of the global order”, emphasizing two key pillars: establishing long-term agreements with countries such as China and Russia, as well as strengthening the “axis of resistance” in the Middle East. Nevertheless, the recent agreement with Saudi Arabia, brokered by China, poses challenges to these two pillars, highlighting the emergence of an unstable equilibrium in Iran’s foreign policy. Now, it remains to be seen how Iranian authorities can strike a balance when dealing with this grand-strategic dilemma.

Source: globalpolicyjournal.com

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https://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/blog/22/06/2023/islamic-republics-grand-strategic-dilemma-following-deal-saudi-arabia

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Liberation of Palestinian Territories a Muslim Duty

June 21, 2023

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the Palestinian land belongs to all Muslims so it is upon them to work for its liberation.

“The Islamic Republic’s support for Palestine is based on Islamic teachings and is not a tactical or diplomatic move,” he said in a meeting with the leader of the Hamas resistance movement, Ismail Haniyeh, on Wednesday in Tehran, Leader.ir reported.

He also called for increased unity and solidarity among resistance groups, stressing that their success is foiling enemy plots to cause division among them.

Ayatollah Khamenei said Gaza is the center of resistance, but the point which will eventually inflict a heavy defeat on the enemy would be the West Bank.

Haniyeh appreciated Iran’s continual support of the Palestinian cause and presented a report of the latest developments in occupied lands, especially the West Bank.

The Palestinian resistance leader had met President Ebrahim Raisi a day earlier.

During the meeting, he applauded solidarity and unity among all Palestinians as a great achievement of the resistance front.

“Palestinian resistance forces have mobilized all their potential in their recent battle with the Israeli regime and there are continued meetings and coordination between all resistance groups,” Haniyeh said.

He added that the resistance front is now becoming stronger not only in the besieged Gaza Strip, but also in the West Bank and other lands occupied since 1948, and even among supporters of Palestine outside Palestinian territories.

Haniyeh thanked Iran for its continued support for the liberation of Beit-ul-Moqaddas.

Raisi hailed the recent victories made by Palestinian resistance groups in the occupied territories, saying the front has the upper hand in the fight against the Israeli regime today.

"The resistance front is changing the balance of power not only in the occupied lands, but also across the entire region and even in the world to its favor and against the domination front,” he said.

He said the resistance front is now more powerful than ever while its enemies are their weakest state, adding that the victories of the Palestinian resistance challenge the Israel’s claim about its deterrence power.

Today, even those who once supported negotiations with the occupying regime have come to the conclusion that it is useless and that resistance is the only way to deal with the regime, according to Raisi.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Palestinian resistance front always believed that the Zionists and their supporters never remain committed to any agreement, a fact that has been become known to the entire world," he said.

The president later stressed that any attempt to normalize relations with the Israeli regime is a "betrayal of the Palestinian cause."

“Those who are seeking to normalize ties between the Israelis and some regional countries should know that this will not guarantee the security of the Israeli regime,” he said.

Raisi had earlier met the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Ziyad al-Nakhalah on Monday in Tehran, where he reassured that final victory is at hand and is for the people of Palestine.

He also said Israel’s normalization with certain Arab and Muslim countries is will not produce a result since the first and strongest opponents of this process are the very people of those states.

During the meeting, Nakhalah underlined Israel’s decline evidenced by its compulsion to reach an agreement with resistance forces in the latest round of conflicts.

Source: financialtribune.com

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https://financialtribune.com/articles/national/118739/liberation-of-palestinian-territories-a-muslim-duty

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Islamist hate cleric's talk cancelled after GB News investigation

21/06/2023

A Islamist hate cleric’s talk has been cancelled after a GB News investigation.

Enayet Ullah Abbasi was due to speak at a venue in London this evening.

But after the council were told about his comments which included him saying those who critcised the Prophet Muhammad should have their head “chopped off” and praising of 9/11 terrorists, the event was scrapped.

GB News spoke to the venue in East London who confirmed talks with organisers, police and Newham Council resulted in the conference being pulled.

Yesterday he delivered a speech in Birmingham after arriving in the UK last week.

And GB News understands Abbasi spoke in Nottingham as part of a country-wide tour.

The Home Office was blasted for allowing the Bangladeshi hate cleric into the country.

GB News revealed he had previously said: “If anybody dares to criticise our Prophet (Mohammed) that person should be declared as a disbeliever and hence his/her head should be chopped off.

The hate cleric also slammed the late Queen Elizabeth II and called Charles Darwin the “father of weed addicts” having discredited his evolution theory.

And in a sick rant Abassi praised Osama Bin Laden, the orchestrator of the September 11 attacks in America, and founder of the Taliban, Mullah Omar.

He said: “You will never have the merit to carry Laden and Omar’s shoes even after 50 years of pursuit.”

Abbasi went on to call those who flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York in 2001, “brave lions”.

GB News has seen correspondence from a London Borough of Newham councillor who wrote to a concerned citizen: “The event has now been cancelled, please could you let others know and thank you bringing this to our attention once again.”

A British Bangladeshi who raised concerns with GB News about the hate cleric said: “It is good to know that the Newham council has cancelled tomorrow’s event as there is possible threats to British society.”

On condition of anonymity due to fears of attacks for speaking out, they added: “Abbassi is a dangerous figure who should never have been allowed to come to Britain.

"No hate preachers should be allowed to come to Britain who might use extremist religious views to radicalise, encourage or influence any nation or communities.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Extremism has no place in our society.

"We work closely with law enforcement, local communities and our international partners to tackle groups and individuals who sow division and hatred.”

Source: gbnews.com

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South Asia

 

Forcefully Displacing, Relocating Ethnic Groups Should be Stopped in Afghanistan: CSTO

June 21, 2023

The foreign ministers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) demanded that the forced displacement and relocation of ethnic and religious groups in Afghanistan should be stopped.

The foreign ministers of CSTO in a joint statement on Tuesday emphasized they respect the fundamental rights of all ethnic groups in Afghanistan.

The statement was released by the foreign ministers of Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia.

After the return of the Taliban to power, reports emerged that forced displacement of Tajiks, Hazaras, Turkmen and Uzbeks took place in different parts of Afghanistan.

In the recent past, several families from Pakistan’s tribal areas were transferred to northern Takhar province according to sources.

Some sources said that these migrants are Pakistani nationals, while others believe they are displaced Afghans who have been affected by prolonged years of war and conflict. 

Nearly a week ago, Taliban’s spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that refugees from Pakistan’s North Waziristan will be relocated to some parts of Afghanistan.

In the recent past, reports emerged that the Pakistani government reached an agreement with the Afghan Taliban to transfer Pakistani Taliban members to northern Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, anti-Taliban fronts have warned that the relocating members of TTP in northern Afghanistan will lead the country to deeper internal and external crises, even to the partition of the country. 

Afghanistan shares a border with certain members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization in its northern borders.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/forcefully-displacing-relocating-ethnic-groups-should-be-stopped-in-afghanistan-csto/

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“I Had Sleepless Nights Whenever A Death of A Muslim Covid Patient Occurred” –Sri Lankan FM

22 June 2023

Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, in an interview with Daily Mirror, said that he had sleepless nights whenever a death of a Muslim Covid patient occurred during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka.

The Minister said the cremation of bodies of Muslim COVID-19 victims had a huge impact on Sri Lanka’s relations with the West Asian countries. He said, as a Muslim Minister who served at the time, he felt the worst in his life.

He said the Cabinet also opined that the burials should be allowed since it was in accordance with the guidelines set out by the World Health Organizations, but the so-called experts’ group did not allow the decision to be taken. (Kelum Bandara)

Source: dailymirror.lk

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https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/I-had-sleepless-nights-whenever-a-death-of-a-Muslim-Covid-patient-occurred-Ali-Sabry/108-261595

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Afghan Officials Flog a Man Accused of Having Extramarital Relationship

June 22, 2023

Taliban’s supreme court on Thursday announced that a man accused of having extramarital relationship was publicly flogged in eastern Paktika province.

The whipping took place in Mata Khan district of eastern Paktika province on June 22, according to official sources. The accused criminal confused to his crime at the provincial court proceedings, the statement said.

The statement further added that some high-ranking Taliban officials including Chief Justice of Paktika province and a considerable number of people participated the flogging.

Previously, the high court to Faryab province had announced that four men and two women had been sentenced to public lashing for having illicit relationship and drinking alcohol.

Meanwhile, Taliban’s Supreme Leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada on Tuesday in new decree asked the Islamic Emirate members that no single individual should be punished without the courts’ order. 

According to the new decree, only official courts have the authority to determine the sentence of the criminals and punish them accordingly.

Such public punishments were common during the Taliban’s previous period in power from 1996 to 2001. Since the militant group regained power in August 2021, they meted out such public punishments including, stoning, flogging and public execution in different parts of Afghanistan.

Source: khaama.com

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Afghanistan Discussed in UNSC Meeting

21-06-23

The UN special envoy for Afghanistan, Roza Otunbayeva, said that the “April 5 restrictions against the Afghan women working for the United Nations place a question mark over our activities across the country. We have been given no explanation by the de facto authorities for this ban and assurances that it will be lifted.”

Speaking at UN Security Council’s Meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, Otunbayeva said that the UN does not want to put the lives of its female staff at risk and therefore asked them to not report to the office and also asked the male staff to stay home to respect nondiscrimination.

Otunbayeva said that according to the initial media reports, cultivation of opium has significant decreased and at the same time the opium economy has helped sustain parts of the rural economy in Afghanistan, and she urged donors to consider “allocating funding to alternative livelihood programs that address the specific needs of farmers” affected by the ban on poppy cultivation.

Speaking at the same meeting, Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, said:

“We must continue to insist on the inclusion of Afghan women and girls in Afghan society and this starts with education. We must see progress on the provision of education at all levels and up to the internationally expected standards and benchmarks. This is non-negotiable.”

She also expressed concerns about the requiring of a hand-over of educational programs, saying that this will result in subsequent donor funding withdrawal. This will be a "tragedy" not only for women and girls but the entire country, she said.

“We must safeguard women and girls’ access to the internet across the country as it is the only space where they currently move freely and today it is providing life-changing support to the education of girls in the country,” Nusseibeh said.

Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations, called for the removal of travel bans on the Islamic Emirate’s members.

“To promote dialogue and engagement, it's necessary for the Security Council Sanctions Committee to make a package of exemption arrangements for the international travel of the relevant personal of the Afghan interim government," he said.

The US deputy ambassador to the UN meanwhile said that the US will also carefully “watch the Taliban’s action on the commitments they have stated they will uphold.”

Ambassador Robert Wood said that despite obstacles and competing global priorities, “we cannot turn our backs on the Afghan people's growing humanitarian needs.”

“As the world’s largest humanitarian donor,” Wood said, the “United States will continue to do its part to support the people of Afghanistan.”

Source: tolonews.com

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https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-183877

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Open Competition Launched in 34 Provinces to Create Jobs for Youth

21-06-23

An organization held a nationwide competition initiative in a bid to create job opportunities for youth.

The initiative is named “Kar Afrini." The youth from 34 provinces of Afghanistan will present their economic proposals and only three of them will be confirmed.

“The Kar Afrini camp is launched to help grow the economy and reduce poverty in Afghanistan,” said Abdul Qadir Beheshti.

The youths who participated in this initiative said that such programs will increase their access to work.

“The youth are being encouraged and they see that there are people who understand their ideas and plans. Some others see a competition and become motived,” said Mohammad Mustafa, a participant.

The legal advisor for the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI), Abdul Salam Kohi, urged the Islamic Emirate to cooperate with the private sector.

“Governments are obliged to give time to the plans and proposals of the private sector and educational organizations,” he said.

The initiative includes three phases. 62 groups participated in the first phase of the competition. 26 groups have been selected, which includes 16 women and 10 men.

Source: tolonews.com

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https://tolonews.com/index.php/afghanistan-183872

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Afghanistan Again Becomes Breeding Ground For Terrorism: Vladimir Voronkov

June 22, 2023

According to the UN under Secretary General Vladimir Voronkov, Afghanistan has again become a haven for terrorists.

On Wednesday, Voronkov was addressing a conference on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization counter-terrorism convention organized by Russian and Chinese missions.

“This event is very timely, especially in light of the conclusions made as part of the 14th report from the group on analytical support and monitoring of sanctions regarding the Taliban,” Voronkov said, Tass reported.

“The document is rather profound and informative;’ effectively shows that Afghanistan is once again slowly becoming one of the most important, or maybe even the most crucial epicentre of the spread of terrorism. Despite all promises, all loud statements, the facts prove otherwise,” he added.

He also emphasized that the current regime of Kabul is “unable or unwilling to reduce the terrorist threat.”

A day before, the CSTO council of foreign ministers convened in Belarus and discussed the Ukraine conflict and Afghanistan situation.

The organization’s member states reiterated their concerns over Afghanistan’s extremist groups.

Earlier, a Russian FM spokesperson expressed concern over security threats emanating from Afghanistan with the support of externals. While Russian Foreign minister also said that Washington seeks to foment regional instability by utilizing “acting illegal armed groups” in Afghanistan.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-again-becomes-breeding-ground-for-terrorism-vladimir-voronkov/

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Afghan Migrants Are Welcome to Return to their Country, Says Refugee Minister

June 22, 2023

Taliban’s Acting Minister of Refugees and Repatriation, Khalil-ur-Rehman Haqqani called on Afghan migrants to voluntarily return to their home country since overall security has improved throughout the country, according to reports.

On the occasion of the “World Refugee Day” marked on June 20, Minister Haqqani said prolonged years of war, and foreign invasions caused Afghan refugees to migrate to the neighboring countries mainly to Iran and Pakistan seeking safety and work.

Additionally, Haqqai asked the host countries to treat Afghan refugees with decency and avoid depriving them from their basic natural rights, and comply with the international principles and laws of the Geneva Convention.

According to the ministry, roughly two million Afghan refugees have returned to the country, and more than two million internally displaced people have been sent back to their regions.

This comes as Afghan refugees are currently faced with major challenges in Pakistan and Iran. The host countries continuously incarcerate and forcefully deport Afghan migrants for failing to provide legal stay permits or visas.

Since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, millions of Afghans migrated to Iran and Pakistan fearing death threats and persecution by the de fact authorities of Afghanistan. These migrants are now plagued with serious issues including harassment, detention and deportation by the host countries.

Following the recent arbitrary detention and harassment of Afghan migrants by Pakistani police, the Afghan refugees’ crisis has turned to a hot discussion topic among human rights organizations, UNHCR and advocacy groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan respectively.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/afghan-migrants-are-welcome-to-return-to-their-country-says-refugee-minister/

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Drug Production in Afghanistan Poses Threats to the World: Iran Envoy

June 22, 2023

Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations Saeed Iravani on Wednesday at the Security Council Meeting expressed concerns over Daesh and Al Qaeda and the expansion of drug production in Afghanistan.

Sayeed Iravani said the neighboring states and regional countries feel seriously threatened from the growing terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

Iran’s envoy to the UN said that drug trafficking has not been fully eradicated from Afghanistan, and the illegal business still continues in this country. Mr. Iravani further expressed concerns over the expansion of testing labs of processed drugs such as methamphetamine in Afghanistan, according to Sharq daily.

Additionally, Iran’s envoy criticized Taliban’s repressive police towards women and the group’s reluctance to form an all-inclusive government in which different ethnic groups, political factions, women and youth could see them represented.

“Afghan authorities deliberately are trying to destroy linguistic, cultural and historical ties of Afghans with Persian language and impose the dominant Pashtun culture on other ethnic groups” quoting Iravani, Sharq daily reported.

Iravani also accused the Taliban group for changing the demographic structure of the provinces with predominantly Hazara and Tajik populations.

Therefore, Iravani asked the international community to have “constructive interaction” with the Taliban – adding further isolating the de facto regime of Taliban is not in the interest of the people of Afghanistan.

Iran’s envoy at the United Nations expressed optimism about Afghanistan’s economy and called that “freezing assets and imposing unilateral sanctions” have led to poverty and humanitarian crisis in the country.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/drug-production-in-afghanistan-poses-threats-to-the-world-iran-envoy/

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UNHCR Pakistan Calls on Police to Stop Detaining Afghan Refugees

June 21, 2023

Qaisar Afridi, the spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in conversation with Radio Mashal confirmed that Pakistani officials will resolve the Afghan immigrants’ issue in the near future.  Mr. Afridi further added that Pakistani authorities have shown commitment to resolving the issue.

Additionally, on the occasion of World Refugee Day, some human rights organizations demanded solutions to the challenges of Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

On June 20, Amnesty International asked the Pakistani government to end the arbitrary detention and harassment of Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan.

This comes as Afghan refugees have recently complained about harassment by Pakistani police to Amnesty International.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has announced that nearly 1.5 million Afghan refugees have returned to the country since the group seized power in August 2021.

Hina Rabbani Khar, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan said that besides economic challenges, the Pakistani government has kept its borders open to Afghan migrants and other refugees.

Rabbani said Pakistan wants a voluntary return of Afghan refugees to their country where they could live in peace and harmony.

Since the return of the Taliban to power in 2021, the number of Afghan refugees in Pakistan has unprecedentedly increased mainly due to security and economic reasons.

Source: khaama.com

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India

 

Pune police hold meeting with members of Muslim community ahead of Bakrid

ByNadeem Inamdar

Jun 21, 2023

Cleric Maulana Shabih Ahasan Kazmi demanded police action against private groups with vested interests in seizing sacrificial animals

A joint meeting between members of the Muslim community and police under the aegis of the National Conference For Minorities was held at Alpabachat Bhavan on Wednesday where community members voiced their grievances about Eid Ul Adha (Bakrid) scheduled to be held on June 28.

The meeting was attended by joint CP (law and order) Sandeep Karnik, deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Vikrant Deshmukh, social activist Rahul Dambale, Ex-MLC Mohan Joshi, city president of Congress Arvind Shinde, ex-Corporator Rafiq Shaikh, Siddharth Dhende Maulana Nizamuddin of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Qari Idris of Jamiat Ulema E Hind etc.

Cleric Maulana Shabih Ahasan Kazmi demanded police action against private groups with vested interests in seizing sacrificial animals.

“Police are the constitutional authority to seize sacrificial animals and private groups must not be allowed to carry out the seizing task. Also, the community will offer all its support to the police for a peaceful conduct of the festival aimed at building strong communal harmony,” he said.

Dambale said, “Self-styled groups must not take the law into their hands and seize sacrificial animals in the name of protection. It is the police who are the final authority to take any action regarding illegality if any is found. We believe in holding small group meetings till the festival so that the Eid is celebrated with traditional fervour amidst peace without any untoward incident,” he said.

Karnik said, “Police would extend all possible assistance to the community to peaceful conduct of the festival.”

Source: hindustantimes.com

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https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/pune-police-hold-meeting-with-members-of-muslim-community-ahead-of-bakrid-101687365946176.html

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BJP Minority Morcha to launch reach out drive among Muslims on UCC soon

Jun 21, 2023

BJP Minority Morcha had drawn up plans to reach out to the opinion makers and intellectuals in the Muslim community to discuss the benefits of the Uniform Civil Code, especially for the women in the community. UCC has been a core agenda of the ruling party and some BJP ruled states have promised to explore ways of implementing it.

Jamal Siddiqui, head of the BJP Minority Morcha, is of the firm view that UCC will see the light of day soon. “Just as Article 370 was abrogated without much opposition, UCC too will be implemented. Article 370 had lost most of its relevance years before it was annulled,” he said, adding that many Muslim personal law provisions which were archaic have already been done away with.

Triple Talaq has been banned by law and there is a raging debate on wearing a hijab in certain institutions.

Uniform Civil Code will specially benefit women from the minority community as it removes the patriarchal biases in personal laws regarding adoption, inheritance and marriage rights.

“We intend to inform the elite Muslims and intellectuals that UCC will make adoption easy for childless couples. The inheritance rights will also include women and will be on the basis of secular laws. Thirdly, UCC will lead to women’s empowerment as it will stop the provision where a man can have four wives. Even as per Sharia, a man is required to treat all his wives equally and not discriminate. Women will get property rights,” BJP Minority Morcha spokesperson and lawyer Yasser Jilani told ET ..

On June 14, the 22nd Law Commission invited religious groups and the public to share their views on the Uniform Civil Code. Many believe that the BJP-led Modi government will try to implement UCC throughout the country before the 2024 general elections to polarize the electorate. Article 44 of the Indian Constitution states that the country should have a UCC. Since it is a part of Directive Principles of State Policy at present, UCC is not enforceable.

BJP had announced during the last Assembly elections in Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Karnataka that it will implement UCC. Jamaat-e-Ulema-e-Hind and All India Muslim Personal Law Board have opposed UCC and said it cannot be implemented in a diverse country like India.

Regressive remarks against women by Muslim clerics have fanned the demand for UCC. The hijab controversy where some clerics were of the view that girls from the minority community should not be sent to educational institutions that ban it may affect their education.

After triple talaq was made illegal, BJP feels UCC will further help it to get support of women from the minority community.

The BJP minority morcha is currently engaged in a drive termed “Modi Mitra” to win over professionals like doctors, engineers, lawyers as well as intellectuals and influential people within the Muslim community. They are educated about the welfare schemes of the NDA government and members insist that no discrimination in distribution of these measures is an affirmation that the Modi government stands for “sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas”.

The reach out to the minority community on UCC is next on its agenda.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

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https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/bjp-minority-morcha-to-launch-reach-out-drive-among-muslims-on-ucc-soon/articleshow/101170304.cms

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"BJP seeks to reduce Muslim votes in Assam through delimitation," says AIUDF's Badruddin Ajmal; Congress miffed as well

JUN 21 2023

The Election Commission's draft proposal for delimitation exercise in Assam drew strong reactions from Opposition parties in the state with AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal on Wednesday stating that the ruling BJP seeks to reduce share of Muslim votes in ...

"This is a conspiracy of the BJP to remove AIUDF from Assam politics. This is being intentionally done. This is being done with a target to reduce the share of Muslim votes as much as they can. According to us, there was no need for such an exercise ...

"The intention is bad. This is being done as per plan of the BJP and to fulfill BJP's intention," Ajmal, who is AIUDF's only Lok Sabha member from Dhurbi, said.

The reaction comes a day after the Election Commission of India (ECI) released a draft proposal in which it sought to reserve three more Assembly seats for the Scheduled Tribes (STs) and one more for the Scheduled Castes (SCs). The ECI said the same ...

Ajmal alleged that the draft proposal was prepared on the instructions of Home Minister Amit Shah and Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma in order to "remove AIUDF from Assam politics." "This will do a lot of harm to us (AIUDF). This will help the Congress ...

The AIUDF, which entered electoral politics in Assam in 2005 with Muslims as their primary votebank, at present has 15 MLAs while Ajmal is the only Lok Sabha member from Dhubri. 

During the Assembly elections, BJP has targeted the AIUDF by trying to brand it as "a party of the illegal migrant from Bangladeshis." The saffron party, on the other hand, projected itself as a party championing the causes of the indigenous people a...

CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, a few months ago, had said that the delimitation would do what NRC could not achieve, without elaborating on the same.

The last delimitation exercise in Assam was carried out in 1976. A new delimitation exercise was supposed to be carried out in 2007, but was postponed due to law and order issues. The ECI, however, resumed the process for the exercise in December las...

A team of the ECI headed by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar visited Assam between March 26 and 28 and held discussions with 11 political parties and 71 other organisations before releasing the draft proposal. The Opposition Congress, however,...

On Wednesday, senior Congress MLA and leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Debabrata Saikia said the draft proposal was prepared at the dictation of BJP.

Source: deccanherald.com

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https://www.deccanherald.com/national/east-and-northeast/bjp-seeks-to-reduce-muslim-votes-in-assam-through-delimitation-says-aiudfs-badruddin-ajmal-congress-miffed-as-well-1229989.html

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Attempts Made To Communalise Hindu-Muslim Ties In Country: Former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti

21 JUN 2023

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti Wednesday urged party workers to support the upcoming annual Amaranth Yatra and serve the yatris

She termed the pilgrimage a "golden chance" to remind the country of Kashmiriyat.

"We had invited office bearers of the party from Anantnag district in south Kashmir and Ganderbal to direct our workers and activists to support the upcoming Amarnath Yatra,” news agency PTI quoted her as having said. 

"The yatris are our guests, there should not be any lack in taking care of them as it is our tradition," Mufti said, as per the report.

She said when attempts are being made across the country to "communalise" the Hindu-Muslim ties, the valley has remained the place that has constantly sent a message of brotherhood to the country, it mentioned.

"Today, this yatra is a golden chance for us to remind the whole country once again of the Kashmiriyat. I appeal to all my party workers to make this yatra successful, welcome the yatris and help them in every way," she said, the report mentioned. 

In her interaction, the politician stressed the importance of her decision, coming at a time, when "shops of Muslims are being demolished and they are being evicted from their homes like in Uttarakhand, and lynched in the name of religion,” she said, the report mentioned.

The former chief minister also appealed to the government not to cause any inconvenience to the local population as they help the yatris, it said.

"While facilitating the yatra, or while providing them facilities during their movement, there should not be any inconvenience to the locals who are the real hosts of this yatra,” Mufti was quoted as having said.

"Last year, we saw that many patients could not reach hospitals, some pregnant women delivered babies on roads. So I appeal to the government that there should not be any inconvenience to the locals," she was quoted as having said.

Source: outlookindia.com

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https://www.outlookindia.com/national/attempts-made-to-communalise-hindu-muslim-ties-in-country-former-j-k-cm-mehbooba-mufti-news-296731

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Europe

 

German prosecutors charge Iranian man with plotting Islamist attack involving ricin or cyanide

June 21, 2023

An Iranian man arrested in western Germany earlier this year after a tip from U.S. officials has been charged with plotting an Islamist attack using ricin or cyanide, German prosecutors said Wednesday.

The 26-year-old, identified only as J.J. in line with Germany's privacy rules, was arrested in January along with his brother in Castrop-Rauxel, a city in the industrial Ruhr region.

Prosecutors in Duesseldorf said he was charged with preparing a serious act of violence and terror financing. An indictment was filed in the state court in Dortmund.

A case against the suspect's 32-year-old brother, who initially was suspected of involvement in the plot, was dropped for lack of sufficient evidence, prosecutors said.

They said the younger man had decided by the end of October to carry out an attack in line with the ideology of the Islamic State group by spreading ricin or a cyanide compound, and intended to kill as many people as possible by spreading the chemicals.

Even small amounts of ricin, which is produced from the seeds of castor oil plants, can kill an adult if eaten, injected or inhaled.

The Duesseldorf prosecutors didn't say if there was an intended target.

The suspect is alleged to have been in contact via messaging services with extremists who gave him instructions on how to make the toxins. He is also accused of acquiring substances needed to make them.

Authorities said at the time of his arrest that information from authorities in the United States led to the operation, but they didn’t elaborate.

It will be up to the court in Dortmund to decide whether and when to send the case to trial.

Source: foxnews.com

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https://www.foxnews.com/world/german-prosecutors-charge-iranian-man-plotting-islamist-attack-involving-ricin-cyanide

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Irish Muslim Youth Associations raises funds for local causes

un 22, 2023

The Irish Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association held its eighth Annual 5K Charity Walk on Saturday, June 18, in aid of three local charities; COPE Galway, Croí Heart and Stroke Foundation and The Galway Simon Community, raising over €8,000 with donations still coming in.

The charity walk was inaugurated by the new Mayor for Galway City, Cllr Eddie Hoare, and participants braved thunder and sporadic weather during the 5K route along the Salthill prom. Imam Ibrahim Ahmad Noonan, the Imam of Galway Mosque, extended his heartfelt appreciation to the dignitaries and all participants for their active involvement. He commended the generous contributions made during the fundraising campaign and acknowledged the charitable nature of the donors.

Despite the amount of organising and fundraising that went into the charity walk, it is just one aspect of the tireless work of the youth who have raised more than €80,000 for various charities over the years, and is synonymous with the Ahdmadiyya Muslim Community’s commitment to engaging with charitable activities. On July 23, cyclists from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community will embark on a 630 kilometre cycle from Dublin to London for charity.

Source: advertiser.ie

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https://www.advertiser.ie/galway/article/136218/irish-muslim-youth-associations-raises-funds-for-local-causes

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Palais 12 to be transformed into giant prayer hall for Muslim festival

21/06/2023

Brussels' Palais 12 at Heysel will be transformed into a giant prayer hall for the Muslim festival of Eid al Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) on 28 June.

Between 5,000 and 10,000 Muslim worshippers are expected at the famous concert and entertainment venue on the day.

The gathering, announced by the Muslims.be website, will take place at 7.30 next Wednesday morning and last only around 20 minutes.

It is being organised by four mosques in the Laeken and Neder-over-Heembeek neighbourhoods, in collaboration with the teams from Brussels Expo, the manager of Palais 12 and the Brussels-City authorities.

Given the Belgian capital’s large Muslim population, the mosques were worried that they would not be able to accommodate the expected crowds for the major Islamic holiday and that people would be forced to stand on the streets as they had for previous important holidays.

“The initial request came from the Al Mouahidine cultural and Islamic centre in Laeken,” explained Hassan, a member of the organisation and management of the Al Mouahidine mosque.

“We then asked other mosques in Laeken and Neder-over-Heembeek to join so that we could work together on this joint and collective project, which is a first, so that it is well organised and concentrated.”

Invitations to the Palais 12 prayer are being sent first to the faithful of the four organising mosques, which will close their own doors on 28 June.

“After being overwhelmed during Eid al Fitr, we thought we had to do something for Eid al Adha,” said Hassan.

“Given that it falls just before the summer holidays, and that families won't have left yet as their children will still be sitting their exams, we anticipate that we're likely to receive a lot of people. Hence our request to the authorities to obtain authorisation.”

While members of the mosques are being given invitations, there are no plans to turn away worshippers without one, until the venue’s maximum capacity has been reached.

Emin Luka, chief executive and operational director of Brussels Expo and Palais 12, said there had been no difficulty making the arrangements.

"It's much easier to organise this prayer than a concert," Luka said.

"When the request was presented to us, we were talking about accommodating 5,000 people and a Brussels Expo hall was available. Then the applicants came back to us and said that they would like a larger capacity.

"The only hall with the security arrangements to hold that many people is Palais 12. As the date was available, we agreed."

Luka said the request was not unusual, as the venue has organised religious fairs and exhibitions in the past.

Palais 12 will open its doors and welcome the first worshippers at 5.30 in the morning.

"At 8.00 or 8.15, after the prayer and the Imam's sermon, everything will be over," Luka added.

The car park at the front of Palais 12 will be inaccessible for the event to reduce the risk of traffic jams, but Parking C with its 10,000 spaces on the edge of the Brussels ring will be available for use at a cost of €10.

From there, people can use the footbridge on the Chaussée Romaine to get to Palais 12 and its side entrance, though organisers strongly recommend that worshippers come to Heysel by public transport.

Security will also be provided, with police present in the area.

In Europe, and particularly in the UK, several towns have already organised large-scale events to celebrate a Muslim festival.

Last year, Blackburn Rovers football stadium opened its doors for the Eid al Fitr prayer. Chelsea's Stamford Bridge stadium hosted an iftar, or breaking of the fast, last March and so did the Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City.

Source: thebulletin.be

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Islamic Relief Worldwide’s Income Grows By Over £100m In Three Years

21 Jun 2023

Islamic Relief Worldwide’s income rose by 28% to £234m last year due to an increase in donations from member organisations and funding from the United Nations.

This is the third consecutive year that the charity’s income has risen by over 10%, growing by more than £100m in three years.

Accounts for the year to December 2022 show the charity received £19.1m from the United Nations Development Programme (up from £1m the year before) for its programme to support people in Afghanistan facing extreme hunger and poverty.

The charity’s biggest source of income was £145m from its global member organisations (up from £123m the year before) as it appealed for donations in response to severe droughts in East Africa and Afghanistan, flooding in Pakistan and conflicts in Yemen and Ukraine.

Islamic Relief USA and Canada increased their donations to the parent charity by the greatest amounts, £12.4m and £7.3m respectively.

‘A year of once-in a-lifetime humanitarian crises’

Waseem Ahmad, Islamic Relief Worldwide’s chief executive, said it had been “a year of once-in a-lifetime humanitarian crises”.

“Afghanistan has suffered its worst drought for 30 years, and East Africa its most severe this century. Pakistan is still reeling from the worst floods in living memory, while Europe has seen the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

“It is testimony to the unfailing generosity of Islamic Relief’s donors, the hard work of our staff and volunteers, bilateral and multilateral donors and other strategic partners that we have been able to rise to these challenges.

“What matters is not just the number of people we are assisting, but also the long-term impact of our work and what the communities we serve think of what we are doing.”

Costs rise by £20m

Islamic Relief Worldwide’s expenditure rose by £19.7m to £193m last year, due to an increase in costs related to its humanitarian activity.

The charity’s staff costs were £16.7m in 2022, up from £14.7m the year before. Its average number of employees increased by 21 to 469 in the year.

Ahmad’s remuneration was £96,261 in 2022, down from £97,982 the previous year.

Meanwhile, Islamic Relief received 44 complaints about its fundraising activity, down from 141 the year before.

The charity received 46 safeguarding cases in 2022, the same as the year before, 21 of which related to staff. It said this led to some investigations and disciplinary action.

Source: civilsociety.co.uk

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https://www.civilsociety.co.uk/news/islamic-relief-worldwide-s-income-grows-by-over-100m-in-three-years.html

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Complaints of 'nuisance' protests near Maida Vale mosque

21st June

A neighbourhood near a former Islamic Centre and mosque has been described as a “nightmare” as residents face round-the-clock construction work and endless street demonstrations.

Households living near the Islamic Centre of England (ICE) in Maida Vale said they simply can’t get a moment of respite since protests erupted outside the cultural centre late last year.

The centre, which doubles as a mosque, was shut down in May by the UK’s charity watchdog over concerns about its operations.

Crowds have since gathered outside every Thursday, Friday and Sunday to rally against the centre’s alleged links to the Iranian regime in Tehran.

Videos online show pro- and anti-ICE protesters clashing with police during violent protests in November. Both sides can be heard hurling abuse at each others with some protesters scuffling with police.

Other clips circulating online show scores of protesters waving flags and chanting on both sides of Kilburn High Road as far back as September last year.

In neighbouring Kilburn Gate Estate, one mum, who doesn’t want to be named, claimed her two-year-old daughter is being kept awake at night by the protests.

The 35-year-old accused staff at the centre of making matters worse by holding prayers outside between 8pm and 11.30pm on Friday, June 9, as an alleged act of defiance against its closure.

The woman, who is also a practising Shi’ite Muslim, said: “They were shouting. They wanted to show that they want to be open again… I don’t like it because it’s very loud”.

Another said the demonstrations had become a “nuisance”.

She said: “It’s a nightmare. Every Sunday evening you’ll see a protest. Everyone has a right to have a voice but I’ve never seen a protest go on for so long.”

She claims demonstrators have hurled glass bottles at the centre and called staff “murderers”.

The woman said she’s even heard her young daughter repeat some of the chants and is calling on Camden Council, which runs the estate, to do more to shut them down.

She said: “You hear things at night. We can’t have loud music playing here after a certain time so why should they be able to?”

George P, 32, said demonstrations get so loud some days it feels like they’re taking place in his flat.

He said: “It’s very annoying because they make so much noise. On a Sunday, about 20 of them gather and they bring microphones and speakers and the noise they produce comes inside the house.

“I have a two-year-old and he can’t relax in the house… It’s like someone has a loudspeaker in there."

Samira Jandoubi, 45, lives across the street in Dibdin House and said she can’t get any peace between the construction work beside her flat and the protests at the weekend.

Lisa McKinney, 70, said the impact hasn’t been “too bad” but admitted Sundays can get “noisy”.

But residents aren’t the only ones suffering - The Queen’s Arms pub, which sits directly across from the centre, had to shut its door early on Thursday (June 8) because of the noise.

Sasha, a bartender, said the protests were “quite disturbing” and have been costing the business some much-needed footfall.

She claimed people are too afraid to come in and that demonstrators are known to take up seating but refuse to buy drinks or food. When they’re asked to leave, they get aggressive, Sasha claimed.

In May, the centre was closed following weeks of efforts by the charity watchdog to take control. It said the centre was shut because of trustees’ “failure to comply with legal duties and responsibilities”.

The Charity Commission launched an inquiry in November, issuing an official warning over “serious governance concerns”

The centre, which is alleged to have links with the office of Iran’s Supreme Leader, has been shuttered “until further notice”.

According to the Telegraph, which cited unnamed sources, the Iranian regime decided to “pull the plug” on the centre rather than lose control to an interim manager appointed by the Charity Commission.

Maida Vale councillor Geoff Barraclough said: “The centre is widely believed to be an outpost of the awful regime in Tehran. It’s a scandal that the Government has allowed it to remain open for so long and it’s no wonder that the protestors are so angry.

“I fully support their right to demonstrate but the action has been going on for a very long time and I would urge the protesters to have some consideration for local residents too. If they won’t, then the police need to take action.”

A spokesperson for Camden Council said: “We are liaising with the police and the Islamic Centre for England to discuss the concerns that have been raised by residents and to agree how gathering and activities around the centre can be managed to prevent disturbances in the local community.”

The centre has been contacted for comment but did not reply by the time of publication.

Source: hamhigh.co.uk

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https://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/23602597.complaints-nuisance-protests-near-maida-vale-mosque/

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Pakistan

 

Jamaat-i-Islami Chief Opposes Trial of Civilians in Military Courts

June 22, 2023

LOWER DIR: Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq on Wednesday said civilians should be tried by anti-terrorism and civil courts and not military courts.

He, however, said the people found involved in the May 9-10 riots and attacks on government and military installations should be punished.

“There is no need for military courts to try civilians as the anti-terrorism and civil courts are already there. However, there shouldn’t be any clemency for the people involved in the May 9-10 vandalism,” Mr Siraj told reporters at a hotel in the Timergara area here.

Former MNA Sahibzada Yaqub Khan, JI leaders Izazul Mulk Afkari and Shad Nawaz Khan, Dir Chamber of Commerce and Industries president Mian Noor Alam Bacha, and trader leaders Haji Anwaruddin, Hameedur Rehman and Dr Noor Mohammad were also present on the occasion.

The JI chief demanded of the government to immediately bifurcate Malakand division saying the division is the largest in the country with a population of over nine million.

He also called for the restoration of the economic and industrial zone in Malakand under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

Mr Siraj said Malakand should be declared a tax-free zone until 2030.

“We [Jamaat] have planned a massive drive to claim rights for Malakand division,” he said.

The JI leader said Malakand division had great potential for tourism development but the successive governments did nothing for it.

He also complained that the region’s residents lacked basic facilities.

Mr Siraj criticised the PDM government over “poor” socioeconomic policies and said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s administration had failed to deliver.

“It seems there is no government in the centre as well as provinces,” he said.

The JI chief said the people were badly hit by record inflation, especially the escalating prices of essential goods.

He said both PDM and PTI were equally responsible for the current economic and political mess in the country as they’re more interested in accumulating money than serving the people.

Mr Siraj demanded of the government to announce general elections and said free, fair and transparent polls were the only solution to the current crises facing the country.

He alleged that the PPP leadership and Sindh government violated the Constitution and democratic norms during the Karachi mayor’s election to get the party’s nominee elected.

The JI chief said his party would stage a rally outside the Election Commission of Pakistan’s offices in Islamabad on June 23 against the Karachi mayor election.

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1760995/siraj-opposes-trial-of-civilians-in-military-courts

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Prime suspect in Karachi workers’ lynching case arrested

June 22, 2023

KARACHI: Karachi police made a significant breakthrough on Thursday by apprehending the prime suspect in the case of the lynching of telecom workers in the Machar Colony neighbourhood.

The incident, which occurred last year, involved a mob attacking and ultimately killing two individuals who were later identified as employees of a telecom company.

The Keamari police officials successfully captured Moulvi Khalil, the prime suspect believed to be directly involved in the brutal killings of the telecom employees. The police confirmed that over 40 individuals have already been arrested in connection with the same case.

According to law enforcement authorities, the identification of eight suspects was made possible through available video footage of the lynching incident. The police have gathered names, addresses, and other pertinent information regarding these eight suspects, all of whom were involved in hurling stones at the victims.

Earlier, the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Kemari had stated that Machar Colony, a disadvantaged area of the city, witnessed the tragic event. The mob, fueled by rumours of dacoits intending to kidnap children, targeted the telecom company employees. The situation escalated when the enraged mob also turned on the policemen who intervened in an attempt to protect lives.

Eyewitnesses have reported that panic gripped the area while security was being provided to anti-polio teams. As tensions escalated, the mob unleashed their aggression on the telecom company employees and the police officers who had intervened.

Source: pakistantoday.com.pk

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/06/22/prime-suspect-in-karachi-workers-lynching-case-arrested/

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Al Qadir Trust case: NAB again summons ex-accountability Czar on Friday

June 21, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Rawalpindi chapter again issued summons for former Accountability Advisor Mirza Shahzad Akbar, asking him to appear before the bureau on June 23 in an alleged illegal transfer of 190 million pounds in the Al-Qadir Trust case.

Previous, the NAB summoned the former accountability Czar on May 22 but Mirza failed to show up. Furthermore, calling notices have also been issued to Zulfi Bukhari and Barrister Ziaudin.

The anti-graft watchdog believed that Shahzad Akbar concealed vital information from the federal cabinet while seeking approval for the previously signed deed.

The anti-graft agency has accused Shahzad Akbar of being involved in various activities alongside Imran Khan. NAB claims that on November 25, 2019, an amount exceeding PKR 23.33 billion was transferred to Pakistan. Additionally, on November 26, 2019, an amount exceeding PKR 3.99 billion was received. Moreover, on May 11, 2018, an amount exceeding PKR 8.02 billion was deposited.

Later instead of being deposited in the national treasury, the funds were settled against Bahria Town’s dues.

Shahzad Akbar has been directed to bring all relevant documents related to the Al-Qadir Trust case for further investigation.

What is Al Qadir Trust case?

Real estate tycoon Malik Riaz recorded his statement with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) along with former ministers of Imran Khan’s cabinet in the Al Qadir University land allotment case.

The development surfaced on Wednesday as NAB pursues a graft case against Imran Khan.

Others included in the case are former federal overseas minister Zulifiqar Bukhari, and former advisor on accountability Shehzad Akbar are also involved in the case were land was allotted for Al Qadir Trust University in exchange for ensuring that the £190 million (Rs70 billion) seized in the UK are returned to Riaz in Pakistan.

Sources claimed NAB has recorded an initial statement of Malik Riaz in the case.

It is pertinent to note that Riaz appeared before the bureau at its Rawalpindi office two weeks ago.

Sources further said that Malik Riaz was questioned about his connection with the case and whether he had allotted land for the varsity, details of the allotment agreement and any conditions imposed and records of the same.

Last year in November, NAB had sent a call-up notices to property tycoon Malik Riaz and asked him to come up with complete record regarding purchase of 458 kanals in Sohawa Tehsil, the agreement through which Bahria Town donated land to Al Qadir Trust along with revenue documents, and details of other property transferred by him, or by any of his relatives, in favor of Al Qadir Trust or any of its trustees.

Source: pakistantoday.com.pk

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/06/21/al-qadir-trust-case-nab-again-summons-ex-accountability-czar-on-friday/

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Consequences of running country on hybrid model can be dangerous: JI chief

June 21, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Jamaat-e-Islami Emir Sirajul Haq has said the consequences of running the country on hybrid model and any artificial or ad-hoc system could be dangerous, demanding free and fair elections immediately.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, he said the government of 14 political parties was worst in country’s history following the bad experience of the PTI.

The people experienced such horrible happenings in last one year which they had never seen in 75 years, he added.

“Now when the PDM, the PPP and the PTI failed to deliver, it is need of the hour that people should be allowed to elect their representatives through transparent elections,” he stressed and added it was the duty of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to take all political stakeholders into confidence and devise a transparent mechanism for the national vote.

He called for the creation of a separate Dir Division, arguing that Malakand division being the largest in KP with nine districts and nine million population was presenting a plethora of problems. The governments, he said, promised CPEC route and identified nine points in the area for the border trade with Afghanistan and central Asia but failed to honor their commitments.

Similarly, he said, the claims to build economic and industrial zones in Malakand also remained limited to the papers. He said the majority of the overseas Pakistanis belonged to Malakand division but the governments had desperately failed to protect their properties and families back in the country. Rather, he regretted, the defense minister insulted the community, attracting backlash from all over the world. He demanded the government issueMohsin Pakistan Golden Cards to overseas and address their concerns. He said overseas sent 31 billion-dollar remittances but they were treated like third degree citizens at airports.

Haq said the PPP made fun of democratic values and mandate of the people of Karachi in mayor election, demanding the ECP declare the selection process as illegal and hold fresh election for the slot by ensuring presence of 31 elected representatives who were kidnapped on June 15. He said the JI would hold protest demonstrations in front of the ECP head-office Islamabad on June 23 against rigging in Karachi local body polls and mayor election.

Source: pakistantoday.com.pk

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/06/21/consequences-of-running-country-on-hybrid-model-can-be-dangerous-ji-chief/

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Shehryar Afridi remanded in custody for five days in GHQ attack case

June 21, 2023

RAWALPINDI: The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Rawalpindi on Wednesday remanded Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and former minister Shehryar Afridi in custody for five-day in GHQ attack case.

The PTI leader was produced in the ATC Rawalpindi in GHQ attack case.

Earlier on Monday, a District and Sessions Court sent Afridi to Adiala jail Rawalpindi in a case related to violent events of May 9.

Earlier, Mr Afridi was produced before the court of Judicial Magistrate Naveed Khan on completion of his physical remand.

The former federal minister was taken into custody from his residence in Sector F-8 Islamabad under Section 3 of Maintenance of Public order (3MPO).

May 9 events

Violent clashes broke out across Pakistan after the former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief was arrested from the premises of Islamabad High Court (IHC) on May 9.

The protests were held in remote and major cities as the party workers are agitated due to their chairman’s arrest, with Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Islamabad summoning the armed forces to ensure law and order.

Source: pakistantoday.com.pk

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/06/21/afridi-remanded-in-custody-for-five-day-in-ghq-attack-case/

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 May 9 violence: Over 4200 detained in Punjab jails

June 21, 2023

LAHORE: More than 4200 suspects who were involved in the May 9 violence were detained in Punjab jails, ARY News reported.

As per details, a total of 37 women and 432 men involved in the May 9 violence are currently in two jails in Lahore.

The total number of suspects who are in jails across Punjab has reached 4200 whereas a huge number of accused have been released when they were not identified in an identification parade.

Moreover, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Yasmin Rashid and Ejaz Chaudhary were also discharged in one case.

Earlier, Punjab police completed the identification of ‘2,290 miscreants’ who were involved in the May 9 violence.

According to Punjab Police officials, out of the total 4120 miscreants, 2290 were identified and 1180 arrested.

They further said that 1125 miscreants out of 1800 were identified and 513 are arrested. these miscreants were involved in the attack on Jinnah House in Lahore. May 9 violence: Police complete identification of ‘2,290 miscreants‘

Source: pakistantoday.com.pk

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/06/21/may-9-violence-over-4200-detained-in-punjab-jails/

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UAE ‘keen’ to invest in Karachi port terminal operations

June 21, 2023

KARACHI: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is ‘keen’ to invest in Karachi port terminal operations, sources said on Wednesday.

Sources further said UAE wants to equip Karachi port terminals with the latest technology for the smooth handling of shipments. The sources claimed that the agreement regarding terminal handling with the UAE will be inked before June 30.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Maritime Affairs Minister Faisal Sabzwari are finalizing the conditions of the agreement with the UAE.

Sources said, the panel has been permitted to finalise a draft operation, maintenance, investment, and development agreement under the government-to-government arrangements with a nominated agency of the UAE for handing over the Karachi port terminals.

Earlier this year, the federal government formed an eight-member committee to begin outsourcing three major airports in Pakistan – Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore.

The committee wrote a letter to managers of all three major airports and directed them to provide data of the airports’ aviation ministry.

Pakistan is in a financial crisis amid uncertainty over the revival of the $6.5 billion deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Source: pakistantoday.com.pk

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/06/21/uae-keen-to-invest-in-karachi-port-terminal-operations/

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Police ‘Recover’ Sub-Machine Gun from Journalist’s House, Living in Self-Exile

June 22, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Police on Wednesday claimed to have recovered an SMG (sub-machine gun) from the house of a journalist who is living in self-exile, police said Wednesday.

Over the recovery of the weapon, another case has been registered against the journalist, Mohammad Sabir Shakir, under Arms Ordinance 13/20/65.

The weapon was recovered during a raid conducted in connection with a case registered with Aabpara police station on June 13 against Sabir Shakir, Moeed Hassan Pirzada and Syed Akbar Hussain at Aabpara police station under charges of conspiracy, waging war, mutiny and seducing solders in response of a complaint lodged by ‘patriotic citizen’ Majid Mehmood.

Mr Shakir posted a tweet in which he said at 12 midnight, some people came in a Vigo, broke the locks and entered his house.

“Thanks God my family and I were not at home,” he added.

He, however, did not mention any weapon in his tweet.

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1761043

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Africa

 

El-Rufai’s wish for an ‘Islamic Republic of Nigeria’

June 22, 2023

Mallam Nasir el-Rufai is an unrepentant religious bigot; a militant Islamic supremacist, who believes Islam is superior to Christianity and should be privileged in national leadership. He doesn’t just hold these views, he actively pursues them. As governor of Kaduna State for eight years, until May this year, El-Rufai ran an Islamic government, with a Muslim-controlled administration, despite the state’s large Christian population.

Now, out of office, he prides himself on installing a successor on a Muslim-Muslim ticket, and entrenching Muslim dominance of Kaduna State governance. More significantly, El-Rufai boasts of foisting his Kaduna State Muslim-Muslim leadership model on Nigeria, and warns Nigerians to brace themselves for a prolonged Muslim leadership of this country.

I cringed at El-Rufai’s recent comments on how Islam was used to secure “victory” for Bola Tinubu in this year’s presidential election, and his call for entrenched Muslim presidency in Nigeria. Why would anyone behave with such recklessness and stoke inter-religious tensions in a country so ethnically and religiously polarised, and so unstable and fragile?

However much some hate to hear it, the truth is that Nigeria began as an artificial construct and remains today, 109 years after the British cobbled it together in 1914, a state without nationhood. Thus, any responsible leader interested in nation-building should seek to bind this country together and not deepen its ethnic, religious and other schisms. Apparently, however, El-Rufai is not such a leader: he wants a Nigeriawhose leadership is controlled by Muslims. He wants, more or less, an Islamic Republic of Nigeria! If you think that’s hyperbolic, hear it from his mouth!

In a recent viral video, El-Rufai told Muslim clerics in Kaduna that religion was used to give Tinubu “victory” in February’s presidential election. He said Tinubu knew he “had no option” but to pick a Muslim running mate, otherwise “he would lose the election”. Then, he gloated: “What we are able to achieve in Kaduna, has now been achieved in Nigeria.” He went on to ridicule the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, saying it had “kept quiet” and “remained mute” since Tinubu’s “victory”.

The presidential poll, El-Rufai said, showed that Christians lacked electoral value in Nigeria. “There’s no liar that can say he will do politics of Christianity and win the election,” he said, adding: “So, if we keep bringing Muslim-Muslim tickets, everything will go smoothly for us Muslims.”Put simply, a Muslim-Muslim ticket would trump a Christian-Muslim ticket in any presidential election in Nigeria.

First, it’s worth pointing out that even the disputed INEC-declared results of the presidential election do not justify El-Rufai’s triumphalism. It’s not clear to me how securing 8.79 millions out of 24 millions votes, as Tinubu did, can amount to acceptance and legitimisation of the Muslim-Muslim ticket when the overwhelming majority of voters, 14.6 millions, rejected that ticket. How can someone with 36.6 per cent of the total votes claim a strong mandate for a Muslim-Muslim ticket when a whopping 63.39 per cent of the voters rejected that ticket? Surely, El-Rufai must concede that, even with the INEC-declared results, Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim ticket did not receive the majority, let alone overwhelming, support of Nigerians, and thus lacks true legitimacy.

But that aside, the truth is that, with El-Rufai,we are dealing with a dangerous and perverse influence on Nigeria’s politics and polity. I once wrote that El-Rufai is a very smart technocrat and administrator. Of course, he is! But so, in some ways, were Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. And so are many autocrats and demagogues around the world today. Truth is, the world is full of evil geniuses!

I mean, when a smart person warned foreign election observers not to interfere in Nigeria’s presidential election or “you will go home in body bags”, as El-Rufai did in 2019, you must wonder about that kind of smartness. When, in a country split nearly 50-50 between Christians and Muslims, a smart person called for a Muslim-Muslim presidency, saying “if we do it again and again, everything will be normal”, you must wonder if that “smart” person is, indeed, “normal”. Sadly, that’s how one must view El-Rufai: smart but dangerous, a toxic influence on Nigerian politics!

But what about Mallam Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as the Supreme Council of Sharia in Nigeria, SCSN, calls him? He told Nigerians that he picked Mallam Kashim Shettima as his running mate, not because he was a fellow Muslim but because he was a genius! Tinubu’s denial was deceptive, and El-Rufai has put the lie to that denial. Truth is: the Muslim-Muslim ticket was about using religion to secure power. For Tinubu’s Northern backers, like El-Rufai, it was about ensuring Islamic dominance in the governance of Nigeria.

Ironically, the same Tinubu who said his Muslim-Muslim ticket was based on competence, not religion, then, once in power, used religion to push for Godswin Akpabio’s election as Senate President. Shettima put it starkly: “The worst and most incompetent Southern Christian is better than the most puritanical Northern Muslim for the presidency of the Senate.” Of course, given that Nigeria’s legislature is typically a rubber stamp, the quality of a Senate president is irrelevant. Yet, the fact that Tinubu and Shettima used religion so opportunistically to grab power reveals the dishonestyat the heart of their politics and, potentially, their government.

Source: vanguardngr.com

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https://www.vanguardngr.com/2023/06/el-rufais-wish-for-an-islamic-republic-of-nigeria-by-olu-fasan/

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Muslim Cleric, Other in Nigeria Bag Life Imprisonment Defilement of Underage Girl

Jun 22, 2023

LAGOS – A Lagos Sexual Offences Court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced a cobbler, Alex Michael and a self-acclaimed Alfa, Yakubu Isia­ka to life imprisonment.

Justice Rahman Oshodi sentenced the defendants after they were found guilty of the charge in the suit delineated No: ID/12196C/2020 brought against them by the state government.

The defendants were alleged to have had sexual intercourse with a thirteen-year-old girl and were arraigned on a two-count charge.

They were first arraigned before Justice Sybil Nwaka before she was elevated to the Appeal Court. And the duo pleaded not guilty to the two counts.

The defendants were re-arraigned before Justice Oshodi on August 3, 2021, on the allegation to have had sexual intercourse with the underage girl (13 years old) three times between the months of October and November 2019 at Fatai Olukoga Street, Igbo Olowu Estate in Ikorodu.

Michael was alleged to have had canal knowledge of the girl three times while Alfa, Isiaka was said to have had unlawful sexual intercourse with her two times.

The offence, of defilement, is contrary to the provision of Section 137 of the Criminal Law Cap C. 17, Vol. 3 Laws of Lagos State, 2015.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them.

The prosecution team, Ba­bajide Boye, O. Aluko, and I. D. Solarin, commenced trial and called witnesses to testify against the defendants among which is Investigation Police Office IPO, the survivor, and others. The prosecution also tendered docu­ments as exhibits.

The police officer who investi­gated the case told the court how she came to know the defendants when they were brought to the Human Rights Section of Owutu Police Division.

Michael had in his statement stated that the young girl nor­mally comes to their house and a woman called mummy Ada always sends her away. He stated that on the day of the incident, “She came to my house again, when she entered, she sat on the floor and took my phone and started watching some videos on it.

“When I looked at her, she laughed and I asked her the reason she was laughing. I realised she was watching an adult movie on it. I collected the phone from her. She went out and later came back and took the phone again while I was laying down on my bed in our parlour and she said I want you to see what I’m watching, that was when she started kissing me and we had sexual intercourse together. A day later she came again and we had sex again.”

In their defence, the first defendants while giving evidence and led by their counsel, O. Fatoye on October 11, 2022, admitted before the court that the girl was his neighbour but said that he did not have any relationship with her and did not know why he was in court.

He later said that the allegation of defilement was trumped up because he slapped his sister which led to a struggle between him and the girl’s father. He said that at the police station, he was beaten and threatened before he wrote Exhibit P2. (His statement).

Source: independent.ng

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https://independent.ng/muslim-cleric-other-bag-life-imprisonment-defilement-of-underage-girl/

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Mosque worker jailed for consuming, keeping drugs in ablution room, cubicle, locker

June 22, 2023

CNA – A facilities maintenance worker at a mosque kept drug utensils and cannabis mixtures at the place of worship and took methamphetamine for more “energy” to work, but was nabbed by Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers.

Mohammad Asyrafuddin Jupri, 31, was sentenced to a year’s jail yesterday for one count each of drug possession and consumption, with another three charges taken into consideration.

The court heard that Asyrafuddin worked at the Yushof Ishak Mosque at 10 Woodlands Drive, and was also a part-time freelance confined-area rescuer.

He was arrested near the mosque by CNB officers on October 28, 2022.

A search was conducted on level 5 of the mosque where Asyrafuddin was staying. Officers recovered several items from his resting space in the ablution room, his cubicle and his personal metal locker.

These included vegetable matter wrapped in foil, packets of crystalline substances, glass and metal drug utensils and a metal can containing vegetable matter.

The exhibits were sent to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for analysis and two of them were found to contain 15.53g of cannabis mixture and 14.99g of cannabis mixture respectively.

Asyrafuddin admitted possessing the items, which he knew contained ‘ganja’, a street name for the Class A controlled drug.

He was taken to the Central Police Divisional Headquarters for further investigations, where his urine samples tested positive for methamphetamine.

Asyrafuddin later admitted that he had been smoking about 5g of Ice, a street name for meth, per month.

He said he did so because he felt that it would give him the energy he needed for his work.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Kee En asked for eight months’ jail for the drug possession charge and a year’s jail for the drug consumption charge, with no objection to it running concurrently.

Asyrafuddin has no prior convictions, he said.

Defence lawyer Riko Isaac concurred. He said his client had consumed the drugs as he “wished to work overtime and give himself more energy so he can earn more income for himself”.

Source: channelnewsasia.com

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https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/mosque-worker-drugs-meth-ice-cannabis-ablution-room-cnb-3577036#:~:text=Mohammad%20Asyrafuddin%20Jupri%2C%2031%2C%20was,three%20charges%20taken%20into%20consideration.

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Arab World

 

KSrelief participates in Arab League workshop on protection of women in conflict zones

June 21, 2023

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, also known as KSrelief, this week took part in a two-day regional workshop organized by the Arab League’s Emergency Committee for the Protection of Women in Armed Conflicts in the Arab Region.

The event, which took place at the League’s headquarters in Cairo on June 20 and 21, brought together representatives of regional and international organizations, civil society, and other important stakeholders, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

KSrelief was represented by Hana Omar Salem Omar, the director of its community support department. She said that the center has, in collaboration with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, established a strategy covering the period from 2022 to 2027 that emphasizes the importance of girls having access to quality education.

KSrelief has also developed initiatives designed to improve the social cohesion between refugees and their host communities by increasing awareness of women’s rights and combating the exploitation and abuse that they might face, she explained. The center also provides psychological and social support for women, as well as legal referrals, training programs, and family counseling.

The ongoing conflict in Sudan has had a significant effect on women and girls, who have been displaced in large numbers, Omar said. Saudi Arabia is hosting refugees from the country and will provide them with all the care they require until they can return to their home country, she added.

The Kingdom will continue to support all efforts that contribute to safeguarding women’s rights and dignity in communities affected by conflict, Omar said, and she called for the coordination of regional and international efforts to establish more comprehensive solutions.

Source: arabnews.com

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Qatar’s Ambassador Holds Talks On Proposed Islamic Centre

JUN 20, 2023

Qatar’s non-resident Ambassador, Rashid bin Mohsen Fetais, recently paid a courtesy call on Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, with Responsibility for Culture, Senator Dr. Shantal Munro-Knight, and they discussed avenues for cultural cooperation, including the proposed construction of an Islamic Cultural Centre here.

During the meeting, at the Ministry’s new location in the Civil Aviation Authority Building, Charnocks, Christ Church, Ambassador Fetais told Senator Munro-Knight that decisions on its location, and how the mosque would be used to serve the community, would be determined by Government.

He also spoke about the accommodation and amenities to be included, along with an area for hosting receptions and other income generating activities when completed.

In turn, Minister Munro-Knight informed the Ambassador that there were several mosques on the island, and disclosed that based on recent discussions with members of the Muslim community, they were on board and ready to assist.

“They are engaged and ready to have an input into the process because we wouldn’t want necessarily to have any agreement without making sure that we have some conversations with the Muslim community as well,” she noted.

In addition, she mentioned the Reclaiming Our Atlantic Destiny (ROAD) Programme and how it fits into the wider framework of building a national identity and consciousness, and the importance of tracing one’s ancestry.

She further explained that the building of a Spiritual University, as part of the ROAD Programme, fits into the construction of the Islamic Centre.

Manager of the ROAD Programme, at the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc., Chereda Grannum, agreed with Minister Munro-Knight, and gave an overview of the project. 

She described it as one of the “largest cultural heritage undertakings in the Anglophone Caribbean”, which involves the digitisation of our historical archives, the creation of the Ancestral Memorial at Newton Slave Burial Ground, and a museum dedicated to Transatlantic Slavery and Forced Migration.

Ambassador Fetais expressed his commitment to the project, and requested further information so that possible funding from his Government could be obtained.

The officials also discussed the feasibility of an oral history project about the Muslim community, among other areas of collaboration.

Ambassador Fetais expressed the hope that the cultural centre would be opened in two years’ time.

Barbados and Qatar established diplomatic relations on December 4, 2007.

Source: gisbarbados.gov.bb

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Saudi interior minister attends Hajj security readiness parade

June 22, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Interior and head of Supreme Hajj Committee Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud attended the Hajj security forces readiness parade, the Saudi Press Agency said on Wednesday.

Director of Public Security Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami said that the Hajj security forces began carrying out their duties in Makkah, the holy sites, and Madinah, and in all roads leading to the Hajj areas according to a comprehensive security, traffic and organizational plan amid cooperation from military, public, and private sectors.

He added that the government harnessed all capabilities to serve and care for the pilgrims, ensure their safety, and use modern technology, artificial intelligence, and smart applications for their convenience.

The Hajj security forces displayed their readiness through a number of security scenarios that showed their level of proficiency and high skills.

Source: arabnews.com

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Saudi minister attends G20 tourism meeting in India

June 21, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s tourism minister has taken part in the G20 Tourism Ministerial Meeting in Goa, India.

Ahmed Al-Khateeb told the meeting that the Kingdom supported India’s “Goa Tourism Plan” to sustainably grow tourism industries. He said the plan was consistent with the Kingdom’s tourism strategy, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

He said that Saudi Arabia was a pioneer in tourism, with 7.8 million people visiting the country in the first quarter of 2023, up 64 percent on the same period in 2019.

The meeting was held under the slogan “One Earth, One Family, One Future.”

The ministers discussed progress made at the 4th G20 Tourism Working Group Meeting, which coincided with the ministerial meeting. They also reviewed the five key priorities for strengthening international cooperation in tourism.

Al-Khateeb invited his G20 counterparts to the World Tourism Day celebrations hosted by Saudi Arabia on Sept. 28.

The minister also had a number of meetings with the heads of the attending delegations to discuss further cooperation and exchange experiences.

Source: arabnews.com

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Indian embassy celebrates International Yoga Day with large turnout

June 21, 2023

RIYADH: The embassy of India in Riyadh hosted a yoga session celebrating the International Day of Yoga on Wednesday in Al-Mahdi Park.

“This year, International Day of Yoga is being celebrated under the theme ‘Yoga for Vasudaiva Kutumbakam,’ which is in unison with the theme of India’s G20 presidency ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future,’” Indian Ambassador Suhel Ajaz Khan said.

The yoga event kicked off at 6 a.m. and welcomed enthusiasts from across the city including students and teachers from various schools in the Kingdom, Saudi citizens and other nationals, Indian Embassy officials, and Indian residents living in the Kingdom.

The event was led by trained instructors from the International Yoga Club based in Riyadh and hosted by Ritu Yadav.

“Approximately 600 people participated in today’s celebrations held at Al-Madi Park,” the ambassador said.

As a part of the celebrations, dance academies performed yoga-themed dances alongside the yoga sessions.

Padma Shri awardee Guruji H R Nagendra, chancellor of Svyasa University, was the chief guest for the event. Manjunath Sharma, vice-chancellor and director of research at the same university, also attended the event.

On Dec. 11, 2014, the UN declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga, and it has been celebrated worldwide ever since.

“Yoga is an ancient physical, mental, and spiritual practice that originated in India. Today, it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity,” Khan said.

The embassy session aimed to promote yoga and celebrate it as a holistic exercise valuable to a person’s health and well-being.

“The philosophy behind the ancient Indian practice of yoga has influenced various aspects of how society in India functions, whether it be in relation to areas such as health and medicine or education and the arts,” Khan told Arab News.

The ambassador explained that yoga is based on unifying the mind with the body and soul to allow for greater mental, spiritual, and physical well-being.

He said: “Yoga is already popular in the Gulf region, especially in Saudi Arabia.

“Saudi Arabia has adopted yoga as a sport as part of a holistic health initiative under Vision 2023. India and Saudi Arabia also signed a memorandum of understanding on yoga cooperation in June 2021.

“We would like to thank all the Saudi authorities for the excellent support extended toward us in organizing this event, especially to the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Al-Madi Park authorities, and the Saudi Yoga Committee.”

Source: arabnews.com

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