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Islamic World News ( 25 Jul 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Iran Wants Sweden, Denmark to Hand Over Quran Desecrators to Muslim States

New Age Islam News Bureau

25 July 20123


Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry



• Tweets Campaign Launched to Denounce Burning of Holy Qur'an

• Algeria summons Denmark, Sweden envoys over Qur'an sacrilege

• Israeli Forces Clash with Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Northern Samaria

• Jihad's prisoners in Negev sit in squares to protest over overcrowding rooms

• Dubai launches Dhs40m campaign to fund 50 mosques

• Sharjah Islamic Bank's net profit increased by 37% in the 1st half of 2023


South Asia

• Bangladesh Minorities Outperform Muslims in Functional Literacy

• Islamic Emirate to Implement Balanced Development Plans Across Country: Hanafi

• Minister Mansoor Meets Afghanistan Ambassador to China

• About 500 New Mines Surveyed in the Past Year: MoMP

• Flood Victims in Wardak Call for Assistance



• Fully funded Islamic studies course provides stepping stone to higher education

• UK hits Muslim preacher Anjem Choudary with multiple terror charges



• Nigerian Army Detains Newly Converted Muslim-Born Soldier ‘For Preaching About Jesus Christ in Service Uniform’

• Kano Gov’ship: NNPP Closes Case Without Witness as Trial Ends



• Gujarat: HC notice to 32 policemen for public flogging of Muslim men in Junagadh

• Gyanvapi Mosque Survey Put on Hold By SC: Timeline of The Row


Southeast Asia

• Renounce Islam: Appeals Court Sets Aug 28 for Decision in Woman’s Appeal

• Philippine President Marcos Says To Explore Halal Exports, Islamic Banking In Malaysia Visit

• Desecration of Kemunting Muslim cemetery in Bintulu draws criticism online

• Lau: PN study shows non-Muslim support rose from 1pct to 7pct

• Johor cops accuse SiHulk followers of taunting Islamic authorities, vow action against those spreading teaching online


Arab World

• OIC Chief Receives Muslim World League Official in Jeddah

• Saudi authorities convict 23 in million-dollar money laundering case

• Saudi Arabia offers condolences to Algeria on victims of wildfires

• Deputy governor meets Japanese envoy in Riyadh

• Saudi Ministry of Education, King Salman Global Academy sign memorandum of understanding

• Saudi commission to host meeting on fashion education needs



• Pakistan Ranked Third in The World for Imposing Internet Restrictions

• Teenage maid ‘severely tortured’ by judge’s wife in Islamabad

• Blinken, Bilawal discusses Pakistan's economic recovery, Afghanistan-related issues

• PML-N workers urged to ‘gather in large number’ during PTI chief’s court hearing

• Police get go-head to arrest Imran Khan in ECP contempt case

• US cypher: High-level FIA team interrogates PTI's Qureshi


North America

• UFC Star Justin Gaethje Reveals Who He Feels Is Most Likely To Dethrone Lightweight Champ Islam Makhachev

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Iran Wants Sweden, Denmark To Hand Over Quran Desecrators To Muslim States


Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry


July 24, 2023

TEHRAN - Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, has once more denounced the recent acts of desecration against the holy Quran in Sweden and Denmark and urged the European nations to extradite those involved to Muslim nations.

During his regular weekly news briefing on Monday, Kanaani said Tehran firmly condemns the heinous crimes of Quran desecration that have happened in Europe, a continent claiming to be civilized.

The Islamic Republic of Iran once more appeals to the governments of the countries where those despicable deeds occurred to stop similar actions from happening again and deal with offenders or extradite them to Islamic states.

“U.S. to blame for stalemate in nuclear talks”

Kanaani also touched upon the U.S. departure from the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), pinning the blame on the U.S. for any moratorium in the talks to revitalize the agreement.

He also emphasized that a return to the nuclear agreement will be feasible if Washington has the political will, noting that Tehran believes changes in administrations should not influence U.S. obligations.  

Tehran hails peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Kanaani also said Iran encourages talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan to bring about durable peace in the Caucasus.

He continued by saying that Iran is prepared to use its influence to help the Caucasus region achieve lasting peace.

BRICS backs Iran’s membership

The foreign ministry spokesman also announced Ali-Akbar Ahmadian, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, has attended the BRICS National Security Advisors (NSA) meeting.

Regarding Iran’s potential membership in BRICS, Kanaani stated that Iran was among the first countries to apply for membership in the group, and that BRICS members support Iran’s membership.

BRICS is acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and Russia.

Iran will do everything to release frozen funds

The spokesman also pointed to Iran’s frozen assets in several countries, saying that Iran will do everything possible to preserve and repatriate those funds.

Kanaani stated that Iran is still negotiating with several nations, including South Korea, regarding the funds, and that authorities in Seoul have lately pledged to make measures to get them back.

Iranian authorities are hopeful that the funds would be returned, he highlighted.

According to the spokesperson, the U.S. administration recently stated that it has allowed Iraq to return a portion of the Iranian funds, but Tehran is continuing to pursue the matter until Iraq fulfills its commitments to Iran.

Goals of Iranian deputy FM trip to Poland

Kanaani also mentioned the recent trip to Poland by Ali Bagheri Kani, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran, noting that the trip was in response to a shared desire between the two nations to strengthen their ties.

He continued by saying that there are plans in place for Poland and Iran to continue their bilateral negotiations.


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Islamic Emirate’s Qatar-Based Political Office Calls to Lift Travel Ban


Islamic Emirate’s Qatar-based Political Office once again asked the United Nations Security Council to lift the travel ban on current government officials.


25 July 2023

Islamic Emirate’s Qatar-based Political Office once again asked the United Nations Security Council to lift the travel ban on current government officials.

Suhail Shaheen said to TOLOnews that the interaction of the Islamic Emirate with the international community is a necessity, and the United Nations should lift the travel ban on the current government officials for better interaction.

“Solving some issues in a peaceful way is a need, and in this regard, the ban on the travel of high members of the Islamic Emirate is an obstacle that must be removed as soon as possible,” said Suhail Shaheen, head of the Islamic Emirate’s Qatar-Based Political Office.

Meanwhile, some experts said that until the current government complies with the demands of the international community, the ban on the travel of current government officials will not be lifted and the travel exemption of these officials will not be extended.

“They should find a common language with the international community, in which case it will be possible for the Islamic Emirate to be recognized, the banks to be freed, and the existing rules and restrictions to be removed,” said Wahid Faqiri, a political analyst.

Nearly a year has passed since the end of the travel exemption for thirteen officials of the Islamic Emirate, but the UN Security Council has not yet extended this exemption.


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Hagia Sophia Marks Third Anniversary of Reopening as A Mosque


Hagia Sophia in Istanbul


24th July 2023

One of the world’s greatest buildings – the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul – has marked the third anniversary of its reopening as a mosque.

Ali Erbas, the head of the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), led fajr prayer at the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque this morning.

Calling the reopening of Hagia Sophia as a mosque as “one of the happiest days” of his life, Erbas said: “Three years ago, on July 24, 2020, 86 years of longing came to an end.

“With the decision of our president, Hagia Sophia was reopened for worship,” he recalled, adding that a total of 21 million people have visited the historical site since.

Noting that the Hagia Sophia is the most important symbol of the conquest of Istanbul, Erbas said he wishes that millions of people worship in there until the end of time.

Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conquerer performed his first Friday prayer after conquering Istanbul in 1453.

The Hagia Sophia’s history spans over 1,500 years, and it has served various roles throughout the ages, from a church to a mosque and eventually a museum.

The construction of the Hagia Sophia began in the year 532 CE during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. It was designed by the architects Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles and was completed in just five years, opening its doors to the public in 537 CE. The name “Hagia Sophia” means “Holy Wisdom” in Greek and was dedicated to the Wisdom of God.

The Hagia Sophia served as the principal church of the Byzantine Empire and the Patriarchate of Constantinople, playing a significant role in the religious and political life of the empire. Its grand architecture and innovative engineering, including a massive dome, vaulted ceilings, and elaborate mosaics, made it an architectural marvel of its time.

In 1453, during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II, the Hagia Sophia faced a significant transformation. Following the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (now Istanbul), the building was converted into a mosque. The Ottomans added Islamic architectural elements, such as minarets, a mihrab and a minbar while preserving much of the original Byzantine structure.

The Hagia Sophia then served as a mosque for nearly 500 years, becoming one of the most important religious and cultural centres in the Ottoman Empire.

But after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, there was a significant push towards secularisation. Thus, in 1935, the Hagia Sophia was turned into a museum as part of Atatürk’s efforts to transform Turkey into a more secular state.

However, on July 10, 2020, the Turkish Council of State issued a ruling that the Hagia Sophia’s conversion to a museum in 1935 was illegal. Subsequently, on July 24, 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed a decree that converted the Hagia Sophia back into a mosque.

This decision sparked various reactions from around the world, with some countries expressing concerns about the preservation of its cultural and historical significance.


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Nigerian David Adeleke Bows to Pressure, Deletes Music Video Offensive to Islam


Photo: Nigerian Tribune


July 24, 2023

Nigerian Afrobeat star, David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, has deleted a controversial music video following criticism from the Muslim faithful.

Davido Music Worldwide label boss and his signee, Olamilekan Taiwo, aka Logos Olori, caused a stir online, sparking mixed reactions from netizens following the release of the latter’s new record, ‘Jaye Lo.’

A 45-second clip of the new video posted Friday on Instagram by Davido has since got tongues wagging.

Many Muslim devotees have labelled the video offensive and are now calling for a retraction while also threatening the artistes with a lawsuit.

The controversial scene featured some men depicting praying Mallams seen dancing in front of a mosque instead of praying. This dancing act has since been deemed offensive by some Muslim devotees.

But checks by The Punch on Davido’s social media accounts showed that the video had been deleted from his handles.

Reacting to the development, former President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide, Bashir Ahmad, hailed the singer for removing the video.

He wrote on Twitter, “It is good to discover that Davido deleted that offensive and hurtful video.

“Hopefully, the entire scene will also be deleted from the actual footage before releasing it to the market, and we humbly urge that the same grave mistake should never happen again from him or anyone else.

“Nigeria is a beautiful country. It is always amazing when we celebrate the beauty of living in unity and harmony while embracing our differences.”


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Amarnath ‘Bias’ Finger at Jammu and Kashmir Govt, Shia Leader Walks Out of Meeting


J&K lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha

File picture



Muzaffar Raina

Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha and his top officers on Monday faced uncomfortable questions over the government’s alleged bias for Amarnath Yatra at the expense of Muharram, triggering a heated argument at a high-profile meeting and prompting a senior Shia leader to walk out over purported humiliation.

Shia leader and former minister Imran Ansari said he walked out of the meeting headed by Sinha after chief secretary Arun Kumar accused him of airing sectarian views and the LG “dictated” him to sit down.

According to local belief, since the scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir in 2019, the government has been devoting all its resources to the success of the Amarnath Yatra. The yatra takes precedence over all other issues during the two-month-long pilgrimage and the administration brazenly wears it on its sleeves, although there have been widespread complaints of harassment faced by locals because of excessive security measures.

Sinha was chairing a meeting to review the preparations for the Muharram, which marks the anniversary of the battle of Karbala where Prophet Mohammed’s grandson and other family members were killed.

Ansari is the second man in the hierarchy in the Sajad Lone-led People’s Conference that had in 2021 parted ways from the multi-party Gupkar Alliance, fighting for the restoration of Article 370. The party is seen as close to the BJP, making the allegation of Ansari all the more serious.

Ansari, whose father was also a minister and a senior cleric, said Sinha asked him how much support the community was getting from the government.

“I told him that the visits of some officers to Muharram functions were just for a photo opportunity. I told governor sahab that I have a complaint against you,” Ansari told the media after the walkout.

“I told him that you made no visit to any Muslim locality. I gave him the facts, telling him that he visited the Amarnath shrine six or seven times. I told the chief secretary, who was sitting there, that he too visited the Amarnath shrine five or six times. I told the same thing to police officers sitting there.”

Ansari said the chief secretary was deeply agitated by his remarks and accused him of giving a “different direction” to the meeting.

“I asked which direction? He said I was making sectarian remarks by saying they (the administration) were taking more interest in the Amarnath Yatra. I told him that it was a fact. I said we all want Amarnath Yatra to be successful but if they were taking so much interest in that, what about Muharram,” Ansari said.

Ansari claimed the LG was sitting silent when the chief secretary levelled the allegations of being sectarian against him.

“I told him that I won’t tolerate it and I do not want the word to go out that I was sectarian or that I have spoken about (against) a particular religion. At this, governor sahab (angrily) asked me to sit. It sounded like a dictation. I told him that we had come for something else and that I do not like the dictation. I walked out of the meeting.”

Ansari accused the government of humiliating him after having invited him to the meeting.

The Jammu & Kashmir government, in a statement, referred to the meeting but did not react to Ansari’s allegations.

“This (Muharram) is the occasion of utmost religious importance for all of us. The UT administration and the government of India are working with sensitivity and commitment to ensure that all arrangements are made for smooth, safe and hassle-free conduct of Muharram,” Sinha said.

The People’s Conference strongly condemned the behaviour of the administration in the meeting. A party spokesperson said the administration was setting a “dangerous precedent.”

“It started with the humiliation of political leaders, and now they are moving on into the domain of humiliating religious leaders,” the spokesperson said.

He said the UT is administered in a new “hybrid model” in which some bureaucrats have donned the hats of politicians.

“These politico-bureaucrat variants of the bureaucracy feel that it is their divine duty to humiliate the political class. We would like to remind those bureaucrats that they are mere tools in this ‘operation humiliation’. It is the central leadership that has imposed a selected group on the masses of Jammu and Kashmir and we are facing the brunt,” he added.

The People’s Conference challenged them to dare to do it in any other part of the country.

“This too will pass. But these hybrid entities will be held up in odium and contempt and will go down in history as molesters of the sacred institution of bureaucracy,” the spokesperson said.


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Tweets Campaign Launched To Denounce Burning Of Holy Qur'an

SANA'A July 24. 2023 (Saba)-Tweets campaign will be launched at nine o'clock this evening on the social networking site "Twitter" to denounce the crimes of burning the Holy Qur'an and express anger and rejection of these offenses that affect the most important Islamic sanctities.

The organizers called for wide participation in the campaign, since the Holy Qur’an is the holiest book and the greatest miracle that guides the one who is the most righteous.

#The _ Quran _ is _ the _ book _ of _ God

And the link to the tweet bank:


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Algeria summons Denmark, Sweden envoys over Qur'an sacrilege

Jul 24, 2023

Algeria summoned the Danish and the Swedish envoys to slam the continuation of the attacks on copies of the Qur'an, the Algerian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday cited by Reuters.

The Algerian authorities have expressed to the Danish and Swedish diplomatic representatives “their strong condemnation of these immoral acts”, as well as the uncivilized acts that violate the religious sentiments of the Muslim population, said rivaltimes.

“They have also been told that such behavior, with its atrocity and horrible nature, has nothing to do with freedom of expression as falsely and slanderously claimed by those who promote and benefit from it,” Algerian diplomacy added in a statement.

The Sweden-based Iraqi refugee once again desecrated the Muslim holy book on Thursday during a demonstration outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm while receiving strict protection from the Swedish police.

The move sparked widespread protests across the Muslim world.

Jesper Vahr, Denmark's envoy to Tehran has been summoned by the foreign ministry to convey Iran's strong condemnation of the Friday desecration of holy Qur'an and Islamic sanctities by a radical group in Copenhagen.

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said that the severest punishment for the perpetrator of desecration of the Holy Qur'an is the consensus of all Islamic scholars.


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Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Islamic Jihad In Northern Samaria

JULY 24, 2023

Israeli forces engaged Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists on Sunday night in the Nur Shams camp east of Tulkarm in northern Samaria, Ynet reported. “The clashes erupted after more than 60 Israeli military vehicles entered Tulkarm and Nur Shams, with army bulldozers destroying streets and infrastructure in the camp to clear potential roadside bombs,” said Ynet. Islamic Jihad is known to oppose the peace process and the negotiation approach with Israel. It adopts an armed struggle against the Israeli occupation like Hamas. Islamic Jihad is a very close ally with Iran. Because of the links to Iran, we are seeing one of the causes of Israel’s attack,” said Ibrahim Fraihat from the Doha Institute to Al Jazeera.

The Tulkarm battalion of Palestinian Islamic Jihad published a video appearing to show an IED detonating next to an Israeli bulldozer. The IDF has been deploying bulldozers to clear IEDs since a roadside bomb exploded next to an armored vehicle during a counterterror operation in Jenin in June, wounding several soldiers.

Palestinian media reported several injuries during Sunday's confrontation. No Israeli casualties were reported. According to the European Council on Foreign relations; Islamic Jihad acts as an elite vanguard rather than a broad community-based movement and is opposed to political engagement with Israel. It has a long history of attacking Israeli soldiers and civilians, dating back to the 1980s. Iran remains a key source of funding to this day.

Three Arab teens arrested for Jerusalem knife attack “On Saturday, police arrested three residents of Bethlehem (ages 17, 18 and 19) in connection with last Thursday night’s suspected terror attack in Jerusalem’s Giloneighborhood,” said police forces. Police said the arrests came after the completion of a joint investigation carried out by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office and the Israel Security Agency. One person was wounded in the attack. Large police forces were called to the scene after the stabbing, and a search was launched for the assailants. Two knives were found at the scene.


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Jihad's prisoners in Negev sit in squares to protest over overcrowding rooms


NEGEV July 24. 2023 (Saba) - The prisoners of "Islamic Jihad" announced on Monday their sit-in in the courtyards of the Zionist "Negev" prison, to protest against the overcrowding they face inside their rooms, while the enemy's prison administration continues to transfer more new prisoners and detainees to the prison.

The Palestine Today news agency quoted the Palestinian Prisoners Club, in a press statement, as saying the suffering of the prisoners in the Negev prison has exacerbated recently, as it is considered one of the largest central prisons in which the prisoners are held, and their number is about (1400) prisoners.

The club pointed out that the issue of overcrowding affected the prisoners on several levels and aspects related to the daily detention life of the prisoners.

It is noteworthy that there is a decision by the Supreme Court of the Zionist enemy to specify the space for each prisoner inside the room, yet the prison administration neglects to implement the decision or abide by it.


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Dubai launches Dhs40m campaign to fund 50 mosques

Dubai’s Endowments and Minors’ Trust Foundation (Dubai Endowment) has launched a campaign to support the Mosques Endowment Fund in the emirate. The campaign seeks to establish a sustainable charitable endowment whose proceeds will fund the needs of 50 mosques in the emirate.

As part of the initiative, Dubai Endowment will build a commercial complex in the Al Khawaneej area, consisting of 29 shops, a large shopping mall, a medical centre and parking lots at a cost of Dhs40 million. The complex is expected to generate an annual revenue of Dhs8 million, which will used to cover the expenses of about 50 mosques in Dubai that do not have endowments or sponsors.

Since its establishment, Dubai Endowment has launched 21 Islamic-affairs endowment projects featuring a total cost of Dhs403 million. The total rate of return of these projects is estimated at 20% of their total value.

Ali Al Mutawa, Secretary-General of Dubai Endowment, said that as part of its commitment to caring for mosques, the Government of Dubai has entrusted Dubai Endowment with the task of providing for the needs of mosques. The new campaign’s ultimate goal is to dedicate an endowment for each mosque in Dubai, he noted.

Al Mutawa said Dubai Endowment has appointed several consultants to develop the Al Khawaneej commercial complex project. The process of preparing the exterior and interior designs of the building has commenced, he added.

Al Mutawa called on government and private entities, charities, community institutions and  individuals who wish to do good to contribute to the campaign to support mosques and participate in building the sustainable endowment. He emphasised that all agencies and individuals contributing to the campaign will be registered officially as major supporters.


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Sharjah Islamic Bank's net profit increased by 37% in the 1st half of 2023

Mon 24-07-2023

SHARJAH, 24th July, 2023 (WAM) – Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) announced an increase in its operating profit before provisions by 31%, reaching AED 648.7 million for the first half of 2023, compared to AED 497.2 million for the same period in the previous year.

The bank’s net profit amounts surged to AED 494.6 million for the first half ended 30 June 2023, showing a growth rate of 36.7% from AED 361.9 million in the corresponding period last year.

Net income from financing and investment products witnessed a substantial increase of 22%, equivalent to AED 129.4 million, to reach AED 716.7 million for the first half of 2023, compared to AED 587.3 million in the same period last year. Moreover, net fees, commissions and other income rose by 34.6% to reach AED 247.8 million, compared to AED 184.1 million for the same period in the previous year.

General and administrative expenses amounted to AED 315.7 million at the end of the first half of 2023, compared to AED 274.3 million for the same period in 2022, an increase of AED 41.5 million but an improved cost-to-income ratio of 32.7% compared to 38.0% last year.

SIB recorded an increase in net impairment provisions amounting to AED 154.2 million, compared to AED 135.3 million in the previous period, marking an increase of AED 18.9 million by 14.0%.

The bank’s balance sheet stabilized at AED 61.1 billion, with an increase of AED 1.9 billion or 3.3% compared to AED 59.1 billion as of 31 December 2022.

The bank maintains strong liquidity, with AED 12.2 billion, equivalent to 20.0% of total assets, compared to AED 14.1 billion, or 23.9% of the total assets at the end of the previous year.

Additionally, the investment in Islamic financing to customer deposits ratio stands at a robust 74.9%, aligning with management’s strategic objectives.

SIB continues diversifying its financing portfolio in various economic sectors as the total customer financing reached AED 31.6 billion, with an increase of AED 906.3 million or 3% compared with AED 30.7 billion at the end of last year.

Sukuk payables decreased by AED 1.8 billion, standing at AED 1.8 billion at the end of June 2023, as against AED 3.7 billion at year-end 2022. This reduction was attributed to the repayment of USD 500.0 million in the 2nd quarter from the bank’s sources, evidence of an excellent liquidity position.

The total investment securities increased by 3.0 billion dirhams, or 34.6%, to reach 11.5 billion dirhams, compared to AED 8.5 billion at the end of the previous year.

The bank’s customer deposits reached an amount of AED 42.1 billion, compared to AED 39.5 billion at the year-end of 2022, with an increase of AED 2.6 billion or 6.6%.

SIB maintains a solid capital base, with total shareholders’ equity amounting to AED 7.8 billion, representing 12.7% of the bank’s total assets. Thus, the bank maintained a high capital adequacy ratio in accordance with Basel III at 19.4% compared to 19.09% last year.

The rate of return on average assets and average equity increased significantly, at 1.65% and 12.84% annualized, respectively, compared to 1.14% and 8.49% at the end of the previous year


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South Asia


Bangladesh minorities outperform Muslims in functional literacy

July 24, 2023

Minorities in Bangladesh have outperformed the majority Muslims in functional literacy despite socio-economic challenges.

Whether in rural or urban areas, minorities were found more functionally literate than Muslims, said the Literacy Assessment Survey, released by the state-run Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

In all four areas – reading, writing, numeracy, and perceptual skills – of functional literacy, Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians, who account for less than 9 percent of the South Asian nation’s population of over 165 million, top the survey, the government agency responsible for statistics and census data said.

“Minorities are always for getting a firm social footing and education is the best way for it,” said Serajul Islam Choudhury, a former professor at Dhaka University.

The survey whose findings were released on July 18 was conducted among 81,920 participants across all 64 districts in the Muslim-majority country.

Educationists and minority leaders pointed out two main reasons for minorities doing better than majority Muslims despite their socioeconomic challenges, including access to education and employment and forced eviction from their land.

Their access to quality education force them to take education seriously, the educationists said.

“Christians performed better because of Churches, particularly the Catholic Church, running schools almost everywhere,” said Jyoti F. Gomes, secretary of the Bangladesh Catholic Education Board of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh.

"There is also the community pressure that all children must go to school,” he said.

There are 1,000 educational institutions across Bangladesh run by the Catholic Education Board, claimed Jyoti.

“Christian educational institutions are considered the best in any given area where many students compete to get a seat,” said Shankar Dominic Gomes, principal of St. Joseph School and College, Bonpara in the northern Natore district.

At St Joseph School and College, nearly 90 percent of its 3,500 students are Muslims.

Ethnic minorities in Bangladesh’s plains like Santal, Garo, and Oraon also benefited from Christian educational institutions, according to the survey

District-wise, Hindus achieved their highest 95 percent functional literacy in Sylhet, a northeastern district bordering India.

The highest functional literacy that Muslims could achieve anywhere in Bangladesh was 82 percent in the capital Dhaka division.

Buddhists and Christians in rural Barishal, a coastal division, were found to be 100 percent functionally literate.

Their counterparts in the urban areas of Dhaka, Rajshahi, and Rangpur districts were also found to be 100 percent functionally literate.

Historically, Hindus were ahead of Muslims in education in Bangladesh because of their better socio-economic conditions.

Dhaka University had a greater number of Hindu students than Muslims even during Pakistan rule after 1947, said Kajal Bandyopadhyay, who taught English at Dhaka University.

“But, the Hindus fell behind gradually as they lost land and livelihoods,” said Bandyopadhyay, also a former leader of the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council.

Hindu leaders believe many minorities are now serious about their education because they want to leave Bangladesh to escape repression.

An interesting point in the survey was the emergence of Hijras (hermaphrodites). Recognized as the third gender in Bangladesh, they possessed more ICT (information, communication, and technology) skills than females.

In nine of the 12 ICT skills, they outperformed females.

They edged out males in two ICT skills – transferring files or applications and using the Excel program.

Hijras in Bangladesh do not have access to any formal education and live in isolated clusters. Most of them live by begging.


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Islamic Emirate to Implement Balanced Development Plans Across Country: Hanafi


KABUL (BNA) Deputy Prime Minister for Administrative Affairs in a meeting with a group of scholars and influential people of Sar-e-Pul province said that there are many development programs that will be implemented in all parts of the country in a fair manner.

A statement from the office of the Prime Minister said that Mullah Mohammad Nader Haqjo, deputy governor, and Mawlavi Mohammad Sadiq Hakimi, revenue director of Sar-e-Pul who spoke on behalf of the scholars and influential figures expressed their contentment about the improved security and the establishment of the Islamic system in the country.

They said that the local officials have continually worked for addressing the problems of the public and providing better services for everyone in the province.

Sar-e-Poul is a mineral-rich province that was neglected by the previous administration; however, now that the Islamic Emirate has gained power, there is a need for the implementation of development projects and investments in various areas, according to scholars.

Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi praised the sacrifices of the Sar-e-Pul people in Jihad against foreign invaders which resulted in the freedom of Afghanistan, saying that the Islamic Emirate has many development plans that will be implemented in all parts of the country in a balanced manner.


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Minister Mansoor Meets Afghanistan Ambassador to China


KABUL (BNA) Acting Energy and Water Minister, Mullah Abdul Latif Mansoor met with Afghanistan’s ambassador to China, Sayed Mohiuddin Sadat, in his office in Kabul.

The two sides discussed the development of cooperation between the two countries and inspiring Chinese investors to invest in Afghanistan and implement water and energy projects in the country, according to a statement received by BNA.

Meanwhile, Minister Mansoor urged for better coordination and better integration of affairs for the investment of Chinese investors in water and energy projects in Afghanistan.

For his part, Ambassador Sadat reminded saying that many China investors are interested to invest in solar power, wind, coal and water resources projects in Afghanistan, asked for ground opportunities to be provided for them.


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About 500 New Mines Surveyed in the Past Year: MoMP


KABUL (BNA) In series of annual government accountability to the nation, the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum today, Monday shared its one-year development, achievements, missions, and future plans with the nation through media.

In a press conference, held at the government’s information and media center, the Mines and Petroleum Minister, Sheikh Hadith Shahabuddin Delawar sharing the annual reports of the Ministry said: “Mines are the wealth of the Afghan nation and the Islamic Emirate is working hard to maintain this wealth and for the well-being of the nation and for its sustainable and resourceful use.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is committed to building transparency in the mining sector and devoting its revenue to the enactment of basic and national projects for the economic development of the country and the welfare of the people, Minister Delawar said.

He assured that the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, taking into account the principle of balanced development in the country, gives priority to the development of reserves and oil and gas resources and ensures transparency and accountability by using electronic systems.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Ministry, Hamayun Afghan, said: “In the past year, the survey teams of the ministry have discovered 493 mineral deposits in 25 provinces.

By contracting many mines source in different provinces of the country including Kabul 7000 people have been directly employed and thousands of other people have been indirectly employed, over the course of a year, the Ministry said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum has 200 contracts for small-scale mining in the country, added Afghan.

The discovering of new mines, inspiring domestic and foreign investors, contracting new mines, reassuring the processing within the country, and making efforts related to major mining economic projects, are the important plans of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum for this year, according to the officials of the Ministry.


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Flood Victims in Wardak Call for Assistance

The residents of Wardak, who have been affected by the recent floods, called on the Islamic Emirate and aid organizations to provide them with assistance.

The residents said that the floods have destroyed their shelters and lands.

On Saturday night, floods hit Jalriz, Chak, Narkh and Jaghato districts in the province.

“We call on the international community and the interim government to provide urgent assistance with these people” said Mohibullah, a resident of Wardak.

“Their condition is severe. There is no street, no bridge, no land, no livestock, and everything has been damaged,” said a flood affected person in Wardak.

Meanwhile, provincial officials in a joint conference with the representatives of humanitarian NGOs, urged the domestic and international organizations to provide essential assistance to the vulnerable people.

“I hope you help in the reconstruction of the houses, providing food. Those organizations who mentioned giving cash-aid, I thank them,” said Bakhtiar Maaz, governor of Wardak province.

However, officials of some aid organizations said that assistance has been provided to people affected by flooding in the province.

“The families which are being surveyed will receive food assistance and tents,” said Mohammad Omar Hashimi, a UN official for the central zone.

Earlier, the provincial department of Disaster Management told TOLOnews that at least 30 people have been killed and 25 others injured by the floods.


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Fully funded Islamic studies course provides stepping stone to higher education

24 JUL 2023

A Birmingham-based college is providing West Midlands residents with access to a free higher education programme, as part of its ongoing mission to help adults progress to higher education via recognised mainstream routes, whilst developing their religious knowledge.

City Hasanat Centre (CHC) was established in 2013, as part of a social investment project by charity Muslim Hands, to provide free higher education for locals who may have previously not been afforded access.

For the past 10 years, the centre has offered quality-assured, faith-based higher education, with a particular emphasis on combining traditional learning and cutting-edge methods to reflect and suit the contemporary world - and is currently taking applications for its Higher Arabic and Islamic Studies course.

The comprehensive modular programme aims to help students develop their understanding and knowledge of the Arabic language and Islamic religion, whilst contextualising and applying learned concepts and principles to a modern - and continuously evolving - society.

Upon completion of the course, students can progress to further, mainstream education at established universities.

City Hasanat Centre's college administrator, said: “The course is a mixture of traditional knowledge, modern teaching methods and a modern approach to pedagogy. It is marked at an undergraduate level, is quality-assured, and can be a pathway to mainstream education, enabling students to go to university.

“We’ve had students progress to postgraduate study at the University of Warwick and the University of Leeds, as well as the Markfield Institute where they have ‘skipped’ the first year of their bachelor's programme and achieved a degree within two years.

“The course is a chance for people who haven't had the opportunity of getting a recognised education, for whatever reason. It will give them the opportunity to get into mainstream education, in addition to giving them a foundation in Arabic and Islamic studies.”

What’s more, thanks to charity funding and community donations, students can undertake and complete the course for free.

CHC's Higher Arabic and Islamic Studies programme is a comprehensive, innovative course for students seeking to acquire a thorough understanding of the Islamic faith and its teachings through a modern lens to address current global issues and needs.

The three-year programme covers various areas, from theoretical and linguistic concepts and the exploration of key religious scriptures, to investigation, research and practical applications.

Module highlights include:

Arabic language learning

Hadith principles

Critical thinking

Islamic finance

Contextualised Islamic law

CHC's college administrator added: “We teach traditional learning and cover some contemporary issues. Our indicative modules, such as Arabic language, critical thinking and contextualised Islamic law are popular - and what people tend to look for.

“And in contextualised Islamic law, for example, we don’t teach purely from the textbook but we will contextualise it and add contemporary issues that are affecting Muslims in this day and age.”

The course is suitable for students with a rudimentary understanding of Arabic and a basic knowledge of Islamic studies who wish to study both and the theological aspects of Islam at an advanced level.

Who can enrol?

Over the years, City Hasanat Centre has trained faith leaders, community workers, academics and teachers, among others.

The Higher Arabic and Islamic Studies course is open to people across the West Midlands, as well as further afield as long as they are able to commute to the Birmingham campus for in-person learning.

One graduate came all the way from Italy to undertake the centre’s Arabic and Islamic Studies course.

Hind Talibi said: “I came to Birmingham from Italy to join the programme. I had a rich experience with really supportive lecturers who helped me connect to my faith and to progress to postgraduate studies.

There’s no age limit either. The centre sees students of all ages join, from teenagers who have just completed their GCSEs and are looking for their next step, to mature students such as full-time mothers who previously not had the opportunity to get into mainstream education, or have missed out on going to university in the past.

Not to mention, individuals who possess teaching experience within formal and informal educational settings and want to upskill and further develop their understanding.

What else is on offer at the centre?

City Hasanat Centre offers various extracurricular activities for students and members of the community to get involved in, from celebratory college events and social gatherings to academic writing workshops.

The college also runs a journal-type blog where students can write about modern issues and topics that interest them.


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UK hits Muslim preacher Anjem Choudary with multiple terror charges

24 July, 2023

British Muslim preacher Anjem Choudary has been charged with three terrorism offences, London's Metropolitan police said on Monday.

Choudary, 56, faces charges of belonging to a proscribed organisation, addressing meetings to encourage support for a proscribed organisation and directing a terrorist organisation, the force said.

A 28-year-old Canadian, Khaled Hussein, was also charged with membership of a proscribed organisation.

Counter-terror officers "investigating alleged membership of a proscribed organisation" arrested both men last Monday, the Met added.

Officers detained the high-profile Choudary in east London and held Hussein at Heathrow Airport after he arrived on a flight.

They are both set to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court in central London later on Monday.


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Nigerian Army Detains Newly Converted Muslim-Born Soldier ‘For Preaching About Jesus Christ In Service Uniform’

July 24, 2023

Asoldier identified as Musa Adamu has been detained by the Nigerian army authorities for preaching about Jesus Christ while in service uniform on social media, SaharaReporters has gathered.

Adamu, a Lance Corporal with service number 13NA/70/6100 is attached to Amphibious Training School Personnel (ATSCalabar) unit in Calabar, Cross River State.

He is currently being locked up at Eburutu barracks custody at 146 battalion upon which further action would be taken.

In some videos seen by SaharaReporters, the soldier with the Facebook name “Aaron Abraham” is heard telling his followers to repent and turn from their evil ways as he prayed for them.

According to a military source, Adamu was born a Muslim and recently converted to Christianity.

The Benue state-born soldier is said to have been in detention for over 45 days while his salary was stopped over 6 months ago.

“One of my colleague soldiers in the Nigerian Army that preaches on Facebook with the uniform is currently being locked up by the Army authorities and today makes it 49 days,” a soldier told SaharaReporters.

“They are not paying his salary as well and not feeding him, his name on Facebook is Aaron Abraham but Musa Adamu is his name in the military. He was born a Muslim but converted.

“His offence according to the GOC is preaching the gospel on uniform. I heard they already blocked his account for over 10 months now.”

When contacted, a senior army officer confirmed Adamu’s detention.

“Yes, I'm aware of his detention, I’m a Christian as well but his action was absolutely wrong. As a soldier, you are expected to be non-partisan and secular at least when in uniform.”

In 2019, a video of a police officer preaching in a place that looks like an entrance to a market went viral.

The policeman was in his service uniform while moving on the streets to preach to local traders, shoppers, and passers-by.

Wearing a police uniform, sky blue top and black trousers, he was heard shouting through a microphone about his “encounter” with God and how the then police commissioner in Abia State summoned him over his style of preaching.

“Yesterday, I did not go out for outreach because I was summoned by the commissioner of police, Abia State, warning me, saying ‘Why did you wear a police uniform and preach the gospel? What is it that gives you the courage?” he had said.

“I said, ‘Ma, by the special grace of God, I did not wear the uniform to preach on my own, God directed me to wear the uniform and preach the gospel, and that is why I do it.

The man further said in the clip that he came out “well-prepared in the spirit.”

“Whether you like it or not, if you like, be the highest demon in the whole world, God will bring you down today. I am boasting in my father in the Lord, in heaven, the one that called me, the one that gave me the mandate and said go out and preach the gospel,” he had said.


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Kano Gov’ship: NNPP Closes Case Without Witness As Trial Ends


Salim Umar Ibrahim

Mon, 24 Jul 2023

The New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), the third respondent in the ongoing Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, has closed its case without calling any witness as the trial came to an end.

Daily Trust reported that the petitioner, the APC, is challenging Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for declaring Abba Kabir Yusuf of the NNPP winner of the election conducted on March 18, 2023.

The petitioner is also asking the tribunal to declare that the NNPP has no candidate as Yusuf was not in the register of voters submitted to INEC at the time of the election.

The respondents are INEC, Yusuf and the NNPP.

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At the resumed hearing on Monday, counsel to the third respondent, Tijjani Yahaya told the court that, “we had wanted to call a witness, however, following a careful review of evidence that has so far been laid before this court, the witnesses called by the petitioner, also review of evidence by the sole witness of the second respondent, we did not see the need for us to present any witness.

“In the case of the third respondent, we pray to close the case without calling any witness.”

Counsel for the petitioner, Professor Sam Erugo, that of first respondent (INEC), Emmanuel Osayomi and the second respondent’s counsel, EyitayoFatigun did not object to the request.

Daily Trust reported that the petitioner, APC had presented 32 witnesses whereas the first respondent, INEC did not call any, the second respondent, Abba Kabir Yusuf presented one witness and the third respondent.

The three-man panel led by Justice OluyemiAkintanOsadebay thanked all parties for good conduct, cooperation and show of professionalism during the trial.

She, however, ordered the parties involved to file in their written addresses by 15th of August. She said there would be no entertainment of any excuse, insisting that the court would reject any attempt by parties to seek extension of time.

She adjourned the matter to August 15 for filing of final written addresses and  August 21 for adoption.


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Gujarat: HC notice to 32 policemen for public flogging of Muslim men in Junagadh

lSatish Jha, DHNS, Ahmedabad , JUL 24 2023

In the Junagadh public flogging of several Muslim men last month, the Gujarat High Court Monday issued notices to 32 policemen, ordering them to file their affidavits in response to a petition alleging custodial torture and pressurizing a lawyer by a...

The division bench of justice A S Supehia and justice M R Mengdey issued notices returnable by two weeks. The issuance of notices came on a contempt petition filed by two of the victims of alleged police atrocities who have levelled serious allegatio...

The petition has been filed by Jakir Makwana and Sajid Kalamudin Ansari, both residents of Junagadh and co-accused in the June 16 violence. They have claimed to be victims of "custodial violence, torture, brutality and severe beatings by police perso...

The two petitioners are among dozens of men arrested on June 16 after a major clash between Muslim community and police erupted over the issue of demolition of HazratGebanshah Pir Dargah at Majevadi in Junagadh town.

The police had detained over 170 men including many minors. Some of them were flogged in public on charges of being part of the mob which was involved in stone pelting in which several policemen including a Deputy Superintendent of Police was injured...

The reason behind the clash was said to be issuance of a notice dated June 14 by the civic body asking for showing documents related to the ownership of the dargah, which have been in existence for many decades. According to petitioners, the Muslim c...

Appearing for the petitioners, advocate Anand Yagnik told the bench a group of policemen went to the Junagadh central Prison and pressurized the petitioners and others, who are behind bars since their arrest after June 14 violence, to take back compl...

Yagnik also told the court that son-in-law of Junagadh lawyer Shabbir Sheikh, who is representing six victims of alleged police torture, was reportedly detained by local police in order to pressurize him for withdrawal of the case. Similarly, Yagnik,...

The petition has been filed under contempt rules for violating guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in the cases of Aarnesh Kumar and D.K.Basu. These guidelines deal with how police should treat a person in police custody.


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Gyanvapi Mosque Survey Put On Hold By SC: Timeline Of The Row

July 24, 2023

The Supreme Court on Monday halted till 5 pm of July 26 a "detailed scientific survey" by the ASI to determine if the mosque located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi was built upon a temple. The apex court said "some breathing time" needed to be granted to appeal a district court order.

Last Friday, a Varanasi court directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct the survey, including excavations, wherever necessary, to determine if the mosque was built at a place where a temple existed earlier.

Here Is The Timeline Of the Gyanvapi row: Aug 2021: Plea filed before a Varanasi civil court by five Hindu devotees seeking permission to offer daily prayers at the Gyanvapi mosque.

April 8, 2022: Civil court orders a survey of the premises and appoints Ajay Kumar Mishra as in-charge of the exercise. May 13, 2022: Supreme Court refuses interim order of status quo on the survey of the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex. May 17, 2022: SC passes interim order directing the district magistrate of Varanasi to ensure protection of the area inside the complex.

May 20, 2022: SC transfers the case from a civil judge to a district judge. Oct 14, 2022: Varanasi district court rejects plea for carbon dating of the Shivling. Nov 10, 2022: SC agrees to set up a bench to hear the case. May 12, 2023: Allahabad High Court orders determination of the age of the Shivling using modern technology. May 19, 2023: SC defers scientific survey to determine the age of Shivling. July 21, 2023: Varanasi district court directs the ASI to conduct the survey -- including excavations, wherever necessary -- to determine if the mosque was built at a place where a temple existed earlier. July 24, 2023: SC halts ASI's survey at premises till 5 pm on July 26, asks HC to hear mosque panel's plea.


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Southeast Asia


Renounce Islam: Appeals Court Sets Aug 28 for Decision in Woman’s Appeal

24-07- 2023

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has set Aug 28 to decide on a woman’s appeal to obtain leave to commence judicial review to challenge the Syariah Court’s decision to disallow her to renounce Islam.

A three-man bench comprising Justices Datuk Azizah Nawawi, Datuk See Mee Chun and Datuk Azizul Azmi Adnan set the date to deliver their decision after the woman’s lawyer, FahriAzzat, and senior federal counsel Ahmad HanirHambaly@ Arwi completed making their submissions in the appeal today.

The 33-year-old woman, who was born to a Muslim convert father and a Muslim mother, is appealing against the June 15 High Court ruling in dismissing a legal suit she filed for leave to commence the judicial review.

In her judicial review filed in the civil High Court on March 4 last year, the woman named the Syariah Court of Appeal, the Syariah High Court, the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) and the government of Malaysia as the four respondents.

She is seeking at least 12 court orders as part of her lawsuit, including declarations that she is no longer a Muslim and that she is entitled to profess her religion of Confucianism and Buddhism.

She is also asking the civil High Court to declare the decisions by the Syariah High Court and Syariah Court of Appeal which rejected her bid to be recognised as no longer a Muslim, as illegal, unlawful and void.

The Syariah High Court on July 27, 2020, dismissed the woman’s bid to be declared no longer a Muslim and ordered her to go through “istitabah” or repentance and Islamic classes and further akidah counselling. Shen then appealed to the Syariah Court of Appeal, which also rejected her appeal on Dec 8, 2021.

Earlier, during the court proceeding, Fahri submitted that the judicial review filed by his client in the civil High Court is not an application to renounce Islam but it is to review the Syariah Court’s decision in disallowing her to renounce Islam.

Fahri pleaded with the court to give his client a chance to be heard, saying that she would not have any other remedy left if the court refuses to give her leave for her judicial review to be heard on the merits.

Ahmad Hanir, however, argued the court should not give leave to the woman to commence judicial review because the decisions made by the Syariah High Court and the Syariah Appeals Court were not amenable to judicial review.

He said this is by virtue of Article 121 (1) and (1A) of the Federal Constitution which states that the civil courts have no jurisdiction in Syariah matters.

He said the “law is clear” in stating that the civil courts did not have the power to review decisions made by the Syariah courts, adding that if the Syariah Courts’ decisions could be reviewed in the civil courts on grounds of illegality or procedural impropriety, it would open the floodgates and would even result in child custody disputes subject to review. –Bernama


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Philippine President Marcos Says To Explore Halal Exports, Islamic Banking In Malaysia Visit

Jul 25 2023

MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Tuesday headed to Malaysia for a 3-day state visit, which he said would explore "new areas of synergies" such as halal certified exports and Islamic banking.

"Building on past successes, this state visit to Malaysia aims to identify new areas of synergies that can propel our partnership and serve as a roadmap for our respective agencies to work on for the mutual benefit of both our countries and the peoples of the new century," Marcos said in his pre-departure speech.

"I believe that this is an opportune time to harness the potentials of a revitalized relationship between the Philippines and Malaysia," said the President, a day after delivering his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The Halal industry "is expected to grow to a trillion dollar industry in the international market as its global demand continues to expand," Marcos noted.

"Malaysia is one of the global leaders in this sector and this visit aims to forge synergies with Malaysia for the Philippines to enjoy a share of this market," he said.

Manufactured in keeping with Islam's Sharia law, halal certified products do not contain traces of pork, alcohol or blood.

Marcos said his Malaysia visit would also explore cooperation on Islamic banking "to assist our nation’s trajectory of economic growth."

Islamic banking follows principles such as the sharing of profit and risks, and bans on interest payments, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Marcos said his Malaysia trip would also focus on "renewed partnership" in agriculture, food security, digital economy, tourism, and people to people exchanges.

He will have an audience with Malaysian King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and meet the Filipino community during the state visit.

Malaysia is the Philippines' 10th biggest trading partner and the 22nd source of approved investments last year, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

In March, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim visited the Philippines and agreed with Marcos to boost security, trade and investment cooperation.

Vice President Sara Duterte is the government's officer-in-charge while Marcos, Jr. is in Malaysia until July 27, Press Secretary CheloyGarafil told Palace reporters.


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Desecration of Kemunting Muslim cemetery in Bintulu draws criticism online

Tuesday, 25 Jul 2023

BINTULU, July 25 — Many people online condemn the act of vandalism at the Kemunting Muslim cemetery here, where more than 50 graves were defaced with words in red and blue paints.

Based on the photos uploaded on PengurusanJenazah Bintulu’s Facebook page yesterday, the culprits had used paint to scribble profanities and other markings on the graves.

“God has given them (vandals) brains, but they’re not using them at all,” one person wrote on the post’s ‘comments’ section.

“This is desecration. The authorities must go and catch the culprits immediately,” remarked another.

It is informed that police have gone to the cemetery to assess the situation, and investigation is underway. — Borneo Post Online


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Lau: PN study shows non-Muslim support rose from 1pct to 7pct

INTERVIEW | A study by Perikatan Nasional has revealed that its support among Peninsula Malaysia-based Chinese and Indians have increased beyond the one percent it garnered in the 15th general election.

This was revealed by Gerakan president Dominic Lau, who told Malaysiakini in an interview that support among non-Malays in Selangor, for instance, had improved to around six and seven percent.

"If we want PN to win during the six-state elections, we not only have to maintain Malay support but also increase non-Malay and non-Muslim support," he said.

Lau said that he received a lot of complaints from the non-Malays, mostly on how the new unity government failed to keep their promises, especially in controlling inflation, after seven months in power.

"If you are unhappy, vote PN. If you are unsatisfied, vote PN," he said.

Building trust

Gerakan will be fielding 36 candidates - mostly in non-Malay majority constituencies - in the upcoming election across four states.

Lau could not reveal the list of seats that will be allocated to the party, stressing the coalition will only reveal details on July 27.

He explained that although the number of seats allocated to each party has been confirmed, there is still the possibility of last-minute changes.

The party has very high hopes for this election, as it has not won a single election since 2013.

However, Lau was very candid when asked what would be considered the party's goal for this election.

"We will break the zero mark, the more the better," he said.

Lau explained that Gerakan's biggest challenge was convincing the public to support them, even if they spoke the truth.

"(In contrast) even if the DAP says something that is not true, people will believe them. This is our biggest challenge," he said.

One example he cited was DAP chairperson Lim Guan Eng's controversial speech where he accused PAS-ruled Kedah of demolishing Hindu temples and warning that the same problem could arise in Penang if PN was in power there.

Following this, Penang Gerakan chief Oh Tong Keong refuted Lim's mark and claimed that four Hindu temples in Penang had been demolished between 2008 and 2016.

Tangible results

Meanwhile, Lau promised that the PN manifesto will provide the six states with a concrete plan and promises that can truly be fulfilled.

"During PN meetings, we comb through every detail. Can this (promise) be fulfilled? How much will it cost?

"We want to discuss this in detail because we want to govern," he said.

He added that the plan will have practical solutions, thus providing tangible results.

"Our manifesto will not be like Pakatan Harapan's, which merely states things that won't be done, or promising things that cannot be achieved.

"We can even show you what we can accomplish after 100 days in office," he said.


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Johor cops accuse SiHulk followers of taunting Islamic authorities, vow action against those spreading teaching online

By Ben Tan

Monday, 24 Jul 2023

JOHOR BARU, July 24 — The police have assured the public today that they will continue their investigations against those who upload videos spreading the SiHulk deviant teachings on social media.

Johor police chief Datuk Kamarul Zaman Mamat said the actions of the followers are unacceptable, and there have been several police reports lodged in Johor on their activities.

“The act of uploading videos of deviant [Islamic] teachings is considered as challenging the authorities,” Kamarul Zaman told a media conference at the Johor police contingent headquarters here.

“The police will work together with the Johor Islamic Religious Department (JAINJ) to ensure that action is taken against these people.”

The state’s top police officer was commenting on the recent videos on social media where a group of youths said from Johor were seen promoting the SiHulk teachings and challenging religious authorities.

Kamarul Zaman said initial investigations revealed that the group of people in the video are abroad.

“These followers are challenging the authorities and also challenging our nation as Islam is our official religion,” he said.

He added that their actions have also caused anger among the Muslims.

“Police are still continuing investigations on the group. We have laws [in the country] and we will make sure that they can be brought to court,” he said.

Kamarul Zaman said police are also concerned that the younger generation is being influenced by such deviant teachings, advising families to exercise caution and be aware of their children’s activities.

Last Thursday, the state’s Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Mohd Fared Mohd Khalid asked Muslims in Malaysia to stay away from social media sites featuring the SiHulk deviant teachings.

He urged the Muslim public to refrain from uploading and spreading the SiHulk deviant teachings that are believed to have been recorded from abroad.

The Johor fatwa, gazetted on July 22, 2021, has categorised SiHulk teachings as heretical, deviant and runs contrary to the Islamic faith.

The SiHulk deviant teaching is said to be founded by Suhaini Muhammad, who is currently believed to reside in New Zealand.

He has made various claims, including the controversial fact that Prophet Muhammad is actually God.

Religious authorities and police have so far failed to progress their investigations as the SiHulk followers are believed to be abroad.


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Arab World


OIC chief receives Muslim World League official in Jeddah

July 25, 2023

RIYADH: The head of Organization of Islamic Cooperation received a top official from the Muslim World League on Monday, the OIC said.

HisseinBrahim Taha, the Secretary-General of the OIC, welcomed, in Jeddah, Deputy Secretary-General of the MWL Abdulrahman Al-Zaid.

They discussed prospects of cooperation between the OIC and the MWL as outlined in the memorandum of understanding signed between the two parties in 2020.

Taha praised the work of the MWL in “clarify the moderate teachings of Islam, as well as promote dialogue and understanding among peoples,” said a statement on the OIC’s twitter account.

“He also highlighted the significance of the Charter of Makkah, which was signed by more than 1200 Muslim scholars in May 2019, and which was adopted by the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.”


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Saudi authorities convict 23 in million dollar money laundering case

July 25, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi authorities wrapped up a case involving an attempt to smuggle a million dollars out of the Kingdom, convicting 23 individuals, the Public Prosecution announced on Monday.

An investigation revealed how they were found with over SR4 million ($1.07 million) in cash, which they divided among themselves before attempting to leave the country via one of the Kingdom’s land borders.

Authorities said the individuals, all expats from south Asian countries, had acquired the money through illegal means.

Sixteen of the accused were given 15 year prison terms and a fine of SR7 million each.

The rest were given between 4 and 8 years in prison, in addition to various fines.

Once they serve their penalties, they will be deported from the Kingdom.

The money they tried to launder was confiscated.


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Saudi Arabia offers condolences to Algeria on victims of wildfires

July 25, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia offered condolences to Algeria over victims of wildfires that killed over 30 people and forced mass evacuations.

The Kingdom shared its sympathy through a foreign ministry statement issued early on Tuesday, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

As temperatures hit 48 degrees Celsius (118 Fahrenheit) in parts of the North African country, it recorded 97 blazes across 16 provinces, fanned by strong winds, said Algerian interior ministry.

10 soldiers were among those killed, as wildfires raged through residential areas.

Some 1,500 people were evacuated from the Bejaia, Bouira and Jijel provinces east of the capital Algiers, according to the ministry.

The three provinces in Algeria’s Mediterranean coastal region have seen the worst of the fires.

President AbdelmadjidTebboune on Monday expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased.

The interior ministry said that 7,500 firefighters and 350 firetrucks were mobilized with aerial support to fight the flames.


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Deputy governor meets Japanese envoy in Riyadh

July 24, 2023

RIYADH: Deputy Riyadh Gov. Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz met Japanese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Iwai Fumio in Riyadh on Monday.

During the meeting, the two sides exchanged cordial discussions.

Earlier, Fumio said 2025 would mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“We look forward to working even closer with Saudi Arabia, so that the two countries can celebrate this important occasion with tangible and future-oriented achievements,” he added.


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Saudi Ministry of Education, King Salman Global Academy sign memorandum of understanding

July 24, 2023

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Education and the King Salman Global Academy for Arabic Language have signed a memorandum of understanding to expand cooperation in language education services, the Saudi Press Agency has reported.

The memorandum was signed by Ohoud bint Abdullah Al-Faris, general supervisor of the General Administration of E-learning and Distance Education at the Ministry of Education, and Abdullah bin Saleh Al-Washmi, acting secretary-general of the academy.

The agreement lays out a framework for launching joint programs, applications and modern means of education.

The memorandum encourages the two sides to urge international universities, schools, and educational institutions to take advantage of the King Salman Academy’s language proficiency test and grants offered by the Saudi government to international students who want to learn Arabic.

In addition, the agreement outlines developing Arabic dictionaries and school curricula, as well as organizing conferences, programs, seminars, forums and training courses to boost the skills of employees in fields related to the Arabic language.


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Saudi commission to host meeting on fashion education needs

July 24, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Fashion Commission is organizing an open meeting on Thursday to discuss educational needs in the fashion industry, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The meeting will bring together fashion academics, entrepreneurs, individuals interested in fashion education, and female students specializing in fashion.

The virtual meeting will address the current state of the fashion education sector, with the goal of identifying specific educational needs, and will enable the Fashion Commission to better understand and meet the educational requirements of the fashion industry in the Kingdom.

This initiative aims to provide practitioners, individuals and students interested in the fashion sector with scientific skills and knowledge.

The goal is to empower and educate future generations who can contribute to the development of the industry across various fields and elevate Saudi talent to an international level.

This meeting is part of a series of open meetings organized by the commission to engage with the fashion community in the Kingdom.

The commission’s objective is to address the diverse educational needs of the sector and advance the field of fashion education.

Through discussions with educational establishments, the commission aims to identify and address any shortcomings, while also seeking solutions, ideas, and visions that can help bridge the gaps and drive progress in the industry.


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Pakistan ranked third in the world for imposing internet restrictions

July 25, 2023

KARACHI: Pakistan has been ranked third in the world over the imposition of internet restrictions in the first half of 2023.

According to a report by Surfshark, a virtual private network company headquartered in Lithuania, a half-year analysis of internet shutdown based on the Internet Shutdown Tracker reveals that Pakistan was responsible for three of the 42 new restrictions worldwide, which were imposed following the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan on May 9.

At the time, access to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube was restricted in the country, while several temporary cellular network disruptions were also witnessed across the country for several days afterward.

The Surfshark report ranks Pakistan behind Iran and India as the countries leading the list of regimes who imposed internet restrictions during the first half of 2023. With Asia being the focal point of most internet shutdowns.

Iran witnessed the most internet disruptions in this time, with 14 cases in total, all of which occurred in Zahedan during Friday protests over the Zahedan massacre.

India and held-Kashmir

India closely trailed Iran, with at least nine cases, the majority of which occurred during protests.

Interestingly, the report mentions two separate internet shutdowns in ‘Jammu and Kashmir’, which were ostensibly also ordered by the Indian government. If these are added to the country’s tally, India’s count rises to 11 instances of internet shutdowns in a six-month period.

According to the report, protests were the main cause of government-imposed internet restrictions.

More than two-thirds of the new disruptions, the count of which is 30 were triggered by public outrage over social and political issues. This survey also highlights that the internet is the primary battleground for important information during periods of civil unrest.

Surfshark’s Internet Censorship Tracker analyses reports from the news media and digital rights organisations such as Netblocks and Access Now and collects data from social media companies to document cases.

Overview of apps restricted in 2023

Facebook continued to face heavy restrictions in the first half of 2023. The app was restricted in Ethiopia, Guinea, Senegal, Pakistan, and Suriname. All of these countries have had a history of government-imposed internet restrictions.

Telegram, Instagram, and YouTube shared the second spot on the list of most-blocked social platforms, each facing restrictions in four countries. WhatsApp and Twitter were close and shared the third spot on the list, each facing restrictions in three countries.

While TikTok was restricted by just one country in the first half of the year, Ethiopia. However, the United States is on its way to becoming the eighth country to ban this platform, the report stated.

Global decline

According to the report, the first half of 2023 saw a 31 per cent decline in new internet disruption cases as compared to the same period in 2022. But the number of countries imposing these restrictions went up from 13 to 14.

Overall, Asia led the world for internet disruptions, accounting for 71pc of new global cases. An estimated 2.35 billion people experienced internet censorship throughout the year, Surfshark found.

The report also states that the decrease in global restrictions primarily comes from the drop in cases from Jammu and Kashmir, which fell from 35 in the first half of 2022 to just 2 in the same period in 2023.


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Teenage maid ‘severely tortured’ by judge’s wife in Islamabad

July 25, 2023

ISLAMABAD/SARGODHA: A minor housemaid, who was hired by a civil judge. was subjected to “severe torture” by her employers at their residence in the federal capital, but the police are reluctant to register a case regarding the torture of the 13-year girl, Dawn has learnt.

The civil judge of the Punjab Judicial Service is working in the Federal Judicial Academy, Islamabad, on deputation for about three years.

Police officers told Dawn that the Sargodha police contacted the officers of the Islamabad police, from the police chief’s office to the relevant SHO, and provided them with all the documents, including the complaint and the medico-legal certificate requesting them to register the case.

The response of the police was “unprofessional and non-serious”.

After the issue was highlighted in the media, the Sargodha police again contacted the capital police to register the case. At this, the police asked for the presence of the complaint at the police station concerned even though they had received relevant documents from the Sargodha police, they added.

The Sargodha police registered a report after the girl was brought to DHQ Sargodha with injuries. According to the report, the injured girl was brought to hospital at 7:21am in poor condition. “She was working at a house of a judge where she was subjected to torture,” the report added.

According to hospital sources, there were wounds on the head, face, and body of the girl which were reportedly caused by a “blunt weapon” while there were some burn injuries on her body as well.

The mother of the girl said that she would lodge a complaint against the wife of the judicial officer over theft allegations against her daughter. She alleged that the wife would also beat her daughter whenever she asked for the salary or to see her parents.

She alleged that her daughter was “thrashed mercilessly with a blunt as well as a sharp-edged weapon” and was also burned with a hot iron.

Talking to Dawn, Sargodha District Police Officer Mohammad Faisal said the 13-year-old girl hailed from Sargodha. She was hired by the judge through a contractor as a housemaid against a salary of Rs10,000 per month about six months ago, he added.

The DPO quoted the girl’s family as saying that her employer was not happy with her and asked the parents to take her back. Her family came to Islamabad in response to a call from the employer and took her to Sargodha, he added.

On her way back to their native town, the mother spotted injuries on her daughter’s body, SSP Faisal said, adding that her family took her to a local hospital in Sargodha where the hospital demanded a medico-legal certificate (MLC) for her treatment treating it as a case of torture.

In response, the Sargodha police issued an MLC for her treatment, he said, adding that according to the MLC, she had multiple injuries, including two fractures and lacerations. Her wounds were infected apparently due to a delay in treatment. She had bruises and swelling as well.

The doctors advised the family to take her to Lahore due to her head injuries, the DPO said, adding that the Sargodha police arranged a police ambulance to move her to Lahore.

The Lahore police were also approached to facilitate the girl and her family at the hospital, SSP Faisal said, adding that the Sargodha police also arranged the traveling of the family to Lahore in a passenger vehicle.

The Sargodha police also assisted the father of the girl, Manga Khan to write a complaint for the registration of the case, he said, adding that all the relevant documents were sent to Islamabad police for further legal action.

A police officer of the capital police told Dawn that the complaint from the girl’s father was received by the capital police for the registration of the case against her employer at the Humak police station. Police sources said that a case could also registered against the judge for hiring an underage maid and concealing facts.

Complaint by girl’s father

According to the complainant, he sent her daughter Rizwana Bibi, 13, to the house of the civil judge at Zarta Housing Society six months ago to work at a salary of Rs10,000 per month.

On Sunday, he along with her wife, and brother-in-law came to Islamabad to meet her at the house of the judge and found the girl crying and in deteriorated condition.

She had injuries on her head, hands, and legs, besides her teeth were broken and there was swelling around her eyes, lips and nose, the complaint said, adding that her ribs were also fractured and marks of injuries were found on her back.

On inquiry, she told her family that she was subjected to torture by the judge’s wife on a daily basis and the employer also refused to give her food at times. She said she was detained in a room.

Meanwhile, the civil judge told media persons that the girl injured her head by herself. He said that her spouse was investigating her regarding the alleged theft of some gold ornaments. He claimed that the girl was used to eating clay and some marks on her face appeared due to this habit.

Previously, an additional sessions judge (ADSJ) of Islamabad and his spouse were arrested on the same charges. The judge was terminated from service and also imprisoned for three years.

— Malik Asad in Islamabad also contributed to this report


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Blinken, Bilawal discuss Pakistan's economic recovery, Afghanistan-related issues

July 25, 2023

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari spoke about Pakistan's economy and Afghanistan-related issues on Monday.

According to State Department's spokesperson Matthew Miller, Secretary Blinken reaffirmed a "productive US-Pakistan partnership" in a phone conversation with FM Bilawal.

Pakistan has been facing rising cross-border terrorism, with local authorities blaming Kabul for harbouring terrorists — especially the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The secretary noted the Pakistani people have suffered tremendously from terrorist attacks and affirmed the United States' commitment to continued partnership with Pakistan on counterterrorism.

The secretary and foreign minister also discussed the destabilising effects of Russia's war against Ukraine as well as the United States and Pakistan's shared interest in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

The call came hours after US Central Command (Centcom) chief, General Michael Erik Kurilla, discussed the regional security situation with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir during a meeting in Rawalpindi.

Apart from the regional security situation, matters of mutual interest and defence cooperation were also discussed, the military's media wing mentioned in a statement.

Both nations — Pakistan and US — have called on war-torn Afghanistan to ensure that its soil isn't used as a safe haven by terrorists.

The US had last week reiterated that the Afghan Taliban must ensure that their country isn't used for terror attacks, while the Pakistan Army's top brass said that sanctuaries and liberty of action available to terrorists of proscribed TTP and other groups of that ilk in Afghanistan is one of the major reasons impacting the security of Islamabad.

United States 'top priority'

During the call with FM Bilawal, Secretary Blinken underscored the United States steadfast commitment to the people of Pakistan, highlighting that the economic success of Pakistan remains a top priority for the US.

The secretary noted that the US would continue to engage with Pakistan through technical and development initiatives and through our robust trade and investment ties.

He also welcomed the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) approval of a programme to support Pakistan and encouraged continued reforms to promote economic recovery and prosperity.

Secretary Blinken stressed that democratic principles and respect for the rule of law are central to the US-Pakistan relationship and these values will continue to guide this partnership forward.

The lender approved a much-awaited $3 billion bailout for Pakistan earlier this month, a move that's saved the nation from defaulting on its debt repayments. Pakistan sought the United States' help in convincing the IMF to approve the loan.

Grain initiative

Separately, the foreign minister held a telephone conversation with European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.

Expressing Pakistan's concerns over the expiry of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI), the foreign minister said that the resulting food inflation and food security-related challenges would adversely impact developing countries like Pakistan, which were already under economic pressure.

The deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukraine's grain expired last week after Russia quit and warned it could not guarantee the safety of ships.

According to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, millions of people facing hunger will "pay the price" of Russia's decision to exit the Ukraine grain deal, and the move will "strike a blow to people in need everywhere".

FM Bilawal had, in a presser alongside his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, also said that it was "in the world's interest" to restore the grain initiative.

The foreign minister, during the call, told Blinken that he had also spoken to his Ukrainian and Turkish counterparts on this subject.

He hoped that efforts aimed at reviving the initiative would come to fruition through dialogue and constructive engagement, accommodating the concerns of all parties.

The foreign minister requested the EU High Representative to play his role to help find a solution that would allow the renewal of BSGI, and conveyed Pakistan's readiness to contribute to collective efforts in that regard.


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PML-N workers urged to ‘gather in large number’ during PTI chief’s court hearing

July 24, 2023

An alleged audio clip of Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) Attaullah Tarar revealed that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers were asked to gather in large numbers at a local court in Islamabad to outnumber Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) activists during Imran Khan’s appearance.

The PTI legal team on Monday played the alleged audio of the PM’s aide during Toshakhana case proceedings in the trial court.

The SAPM and the PTI chief were also present in the courtroom when the audio clip was played in the court.

In the alleged audio, Tarar asked the workers to gather in his office at 10am to go to the court together for the court hearing.

Tarar purportedly said in the audio clip that PTI workers gather in large numbers ahead of Imran Khan’s appearance in the court.

“Our presence in the court should be more [than PTI],” the SAPM allegedly added.

He further asked the workers to show their strength in the court by gathering in large numbers.

“Journalists are also requested to assist. The PTI acts like thugs while our only two people present [in the court],” the SPAM purportedly said.

Speaking to the media, Tarar said he was present in the court where PTI workers misbehaved with the judge and raised slogans in the court.

“The court issued a warning due to the PTI people's sloganeering,” he said adding that the PTI workers tried to violate the sanctity of the court

The SPAM also said that the former ruling party tried to make the courtroom a political rally.

“If this environment continues in the courts, no judge will be able to conduct proceedings of a case against them [PTI],” he added.


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Police get go-head to arrest Imran Khan in ECP contempt case

July 24, 2023

Due to his non-appearance before the Election Commission of Pakistan, the electoral watchdog on Monday asked the Islamabad Capital Territory Police (ICT) to carry out its obligation for complying with a non-bailable arrest warrant issued for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in a case relating to contempt of the election body on July 11.

The development came hours after the former prime minister, who was removed from power via a parliamentary vote last year, got relief as the Supreme Court restricted the police from arresting Khan till August 9 in the case of senior lawyer Abdul Razzaq Shar's murder in Quetta.

Irked by his persistent absence from the hearings, the ECP instructed the Islamabad IG to arrest Imran and present him before the electoral watchdog tomorrow (Tuesday).

The former prime minister was skipping the hearings despite being summoned in a personal capacity time and again.

‘Imran Khan will appear before ECP bench tomorrow’

The PTI chairman will appear before the four-member ECP bench tomorrow (Tuesday), confirmed his counsel Sher Afzal Khan Marwat.

Khan’s counsel made the remarks as the ECP has instructed the Islamabad police chief to arrest the deposed prime minister and present him before the bench tomorrow at 10am. The non-bailable arrest warrant was issued for the PTI chief in a case registered against him for using foul language against the election authority and his chief in public meetings.

It is pertinent to mention here that the PTI chief had started targeting the ECP and its chief after being disqualified by the electoral watchdog in the Toshakhana reference under Article 63(1)(p) for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”.

In August last year, the ECP issued notices to Khan and other leaders of his party for passing inappropriate remarks and levelling allegations against the commission and its members.

The content of the notices stated that Khan used "insulting and indecent language" against Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja in his rallies on July 12, 18, 21, 27, August 4 and 8.

“You have used contemptuous remarks and levelled baseless allegations against the CEC,” the notice sent to Khan read.

The commission further stated that these leaders have “willfully and intentionally scandalised, ridiculed, and maligned the integrity” of the CEC which has brought into disrespect the reputation of Sikander Sultan Raja.

The ECP further accused them of instigating the public against the CEC by using contemptuous language which is an “attempt to prejudice the process of forthcoming election which constitute a clear contempt of the commission.”

'Whatever I said was related to the party's narrative'

On July 20, former PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry tendered an apology to the ECP in the contempt case filed against him by the electoral watchdog.

Fawad, after being instructed by the Islamabad High Court (IHC), appeared before the ECP with his lawyer Faisal Chaudhry, during which he tendered an apology to the commission and pleaded to withdraw the show-cause notice issued to him.

He said whatever he said was related to the party's narrative while he was its spokesperson.

"It was the party's position that I described. I respect the institutions including the ECP," The former information minister.

He further said whatever he said was related to the party's narrative while he was its spokesperson. "It was the party's position that I described. I respect the institutions including the ECP."

Fawad was then asked by the CEC if he would kill anyone on the orders of the party chief. Raja also lamented about the ill language spoken against him, his family, and the commission during public gatherings.

The former federal minister was then asked to submit a written apology to the ECP, which it will review later. The hearing was adjourned until August 1.

Earlier this week, the IHC, on Fawad's plea, suspended a non-bailable arrest warrant issued against him by the electoral body due to his non-appearance in a hearing.


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US cypher: High-level FIA team interrogates PTI's Qureshi

July 24, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi was interrogated Monday for nearly two hours by a high-level Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) team.

Qureshi appeared before an eight-member team headed by FIA Islamabad Zone Director Rana Abdul Jabbar after it had summoned him — as he is one of the central characters in the cypher saga due to his position as the foreign minister during PTI's tenure.

Officers from different FIA wings and one grade-19 officer each from three different intelligence institutions were also present during the PTI vice chairman's interrogation.

Former PTI secretary general Asad Umar also appeared before the FIA team. PTI Chairman Imran Khan has also been summoned on July 25 (tomorrow).

The investigation into the cypher picked pace after the Lahore High Court withdrew the stay order on summons to the ex-premier, and a day after it, Khan's then-principal secretary Azam Khan "recorded" a statement, terming the US cypher a "conspiracy" used by the ex-PM to "manipulate for creating a narrative against establishment and opposition".

Cypher's a 'reality'

The PTI vice chairman, after the grilling, told journalists during a media talk that the controversial US cypher was a "reality" and that the National Security Committee (NSC) — the country's top security apparatus — had accepted it.

Qureshi told journalists that he was interrogated for around two hours, during which he answered the questions "with honesty" and presented his side of the story.

"I have said this before: cypher is a reality and was a reality. Serious people, not part of my party, claimed it was a political drama," Qureshi, a close aide of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, said.

Cable gate

The controversy first emerged on March 27, 2022, when Imran — just days before his ouster — brandished a letter, claiming that it was a cypher from a foreign nation, which mentioned that his government should be removed from power.

He did not reveal the contents of the letter nor mention the name of the nation that had sent it. But a few days later, he named the United States and said that Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu had sought his removal.

The cypher was about former Pakistan ambassador to the US Asad Majeed's meeting with Lu.

The former prime minister, claiming that he was reading contents from the cypher, said that "all will be forgiven for Pakistan if Imran Khan is removed from power".

Then on March 31, the NSC took up the matter and decided to issue a "strong demarche" to the country for its "blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan".

Later, after his removal, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif convened a meeting of the NSC, which came to the conclusion that it had found no evidence of a foreign conspiracy in the cypher.

Months later, two audio leaks took the internet by storm and shocked the public after these events. The former prime minister, then-federal minister Asad Umar, and then-principle secretary Azam could allegedly be heard discussing the US cypher and how to use it in their interest.

On September 30, the federal cabinet took notice of the matter and constituted a committee to probe the contents of the audio leaks.

In October, the cabinet gave the green signal to initiate action against the former prime minister and handed over the case to the FIA.

Once FIA was given the task to probe the matter, it summoned Khan, Umar, and other leaders of the party, but the PTI chief challenged the summons and secured a stay order from the court.

On July 18, the Lahore High Court recalled the stay order against the call-up notice to Khan by the FIA.

The FIA then again issued summons to Khan, Umar, and Qureshi.


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North America


UFC Star Justin Gaethje Reveals Who He Feels Is Most Likely To Dethrone Lightweight Champ Islam Makhachev

JULY 24, 2023

Islam Makhachev currently sits atop the throne as the king and champion of the UFC‘s lightweight division.

But fellow lightweight star Justin Gaethje says that Makhachev is not unbeatable.

In fact, Gaethje thinks he’s far from it.

And ahead of Gaethje’s UFC 291 showdown with former No. 1 contender Dustin Poirier, he revealed who he believes is the one most likely to dethrone Makhachev.

“If we’re going off of what we know then it’s gonna be [Alexander] Volkanovski because he already fought him and it was a really close fight,” Gaethje told ShakielMahjouri. “I’ve never fought him, Poirier’s never fought him. I guess if you want to say someone it could be the 125-pound champion (Alexandre Pantoja). Who knocked him out? I was gonna make fun of [Brendan Schaub]…I’ve made fun of him so much.

“I think Volkanovski is the answer for now, but I can’t wait to get in there. I know for a fact he’s not Khabib and I want to go in there and prove that.”

Now, it appears that Gaethje was only talking about fighters who have squared off with Makhachev in the past. But it is pretty surprising not to see him outright claim that he would be the one to take his title.

Volkanovski and Makhachev fought at UFC 284 in February and it was Makhachev who walked away with a unanimous decision victory (48-47, 48-47, 49-47).

Now Makhachev looks in line to face a familiar test.

Former champion Charles Oliveira, whom Makhacehv submitted at UFC 280 to win the title, is back for his belt. Oliveira made short work of BeneilDariush at UFC 289 with a first-round TKO to solidify his spot as the best of the rest.

However, the UFC has not yet scheduled that fight. Should Gaethje take care of Poirier, he could well be next in line to face either Makhachev or Oliveira.


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