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

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Iranian Foundation Offers Land to Salman Rushdie's Attacker, Hadi Matar, a Shi'ite Muslim American from New Jersey

New Age Islam News Bureau

22 February 2023

 

Photo: The Times of India

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• Calls for Change in Iran’s Ruling Theocracy Reach Even Shiite Heartland of Qom

• Islamic Seminary Expels 4 Students for Shaving Beard, Says No Admission for Freshers without Beard

• Egypt Issues Its First “Sharia-Compliant” Bond, Islamic Sukuk

• Constitution and Laws of Pakistan Determines the Rights of Non-Muslims: Pakistan Ulema Council

 Europe

• Denmark to send over 40 mobile homes for Türkiye quake victims

• Londoners hold gathering to show solidarity with quake-hit victims in Türkiye, Syria

• Search and rescue operations were emotionally painful in quake-hit Türkiye: Albanian team

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Mideast

• Islamic Jihad Leader Whose Arrest Sparked 2022 Gaza Conflict Gets 22 Months in Jail

• Iran says ambiguities over nuclear enrichment are being resolved by IAEA inspectors

• Iran Sentences Terror Group's Ringleader, Jamshid Sharmahd, to Death

• Iran Impounds Vessel Smuggling US-Made Machetes, Swords

• Iran Announces Readiness to Host 3+3 Caucasus Platform Meeting

• 5.2 Magnitude Quake Jolts Southern Iran, No Casualties Reported

• Spokesman: Iran Considers Prisoners Swap as Humanitarian Issue

• Official: Iranian Police Seize 700 Tons of Narcotics in 10 Months

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India

• Delhi Waqf Board Moves High Court, Says Ministry’s Letter On 123 Properties ‘Spread Fear And Resentment Amongst Muslim Community’

• TDP Leader Lokesh Promises To Establish Islamic Bank In Andhra

• BJP's Mega Convention on Hindu-Muslim Unity in UP's Muzaffarnagar

• Mahapanchayat Warns Against Arrest of Man Linked To Muslim Men's Killing

• Muslim Men's Killing: Case against Rajasthan Cops over Violent Raid Claim

• Locals in quake-hit Turkey exchanged hugs and mementos with NDRF rescuers

• Javed Akhtar in Pak: 26/11 Perpetrators Still Roam Free

• For Pakistan to find way out, nobody reaches difficult situation without cause: EAM Jaishankar

• Top Hizbul terrorist from J&K gunned down in Pakistan's Rawalpindi

• Muslim Trust Urges Bombay HC to Vacate Status Quo on Disputed Site

• Aligarh Muslim University students protest Bhiwani killings

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Arab World

• Founding Day Exhibition Displays Saudi History through Art

• Syria family takes in 'miracle baby' born under quake rubble

• Saudi Arabia deposits $1 billion in Yemen’s Aden-based central bank

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Pakistan

• Pakistani Intolerance on Full Display. Ahmadi Homeopath Shot Dead, Second In 2 Years

• Notices issued in Pakistan Origin Card case

• Pakistan Senator blames former PTI govt for rise in terror attacks

• PTI aims to counter ‘attack on fundamental rights’, ‘economic meltdown’ with Jail Bharo Tehreek

• PML-N to seek recusal of ‘biased’ SC judges in cases against Nawaz, others: Sanaullah

• NAB asks Imran, Bushra to join probe in Toshakhana reference

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North America

• US Judge Rules 9/11 Victims Cannot Seize Afghan Central Bank Funds

• Blinken welcomes ‘time out’ on Greece-Turkey tension

• Blinken says ball in Iran court to engage, deal with challenges of nuclear program

• US rescue team returns home after relief efforts in Türkiye earthquakes

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South Asia

• Afghans and Advocates Speak Out After Taliban Bans Women From Working With Aid Groups

• Over 80,000 Drug Addicts Collected After Islamic Emirate Came to Power: Ministry of Interior

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Southeast Asia

• Al-Azhar Grand Imam Receives Kelantan Crown Prince Enhance Cooperation In Fields Of Knowledge And Da’wah

• ‘I’ll sue those saying I am corrupt’, says former Malaysian PM Muhyiddin Yassin

• Malaysian minister warns against activities inciting chaos after PAS parade with fake weapons

• Graft investigators won’t spare Parti Keadilan Rakyat members: Malaysia PM Anwar

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Africa

• Muslim Scholars Supplicate, Endorse Tinubu for President

• Tunisia’s press syndicate head says he faces prosecution over protest

• Three peacekeepers killed, five injured in Mali: UN

• 10 killed, several injured in al-Shabaab terrorist attack on residential building in Somalia's capital

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:    https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/iranian-foundation-rushdie-matar-shiite/d/129171

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 Iranian Foundation Offers Land to Salman Rushdie's Attacker, Hadi Matar, a Shi'ite Muslim American from New Jersey

 

Photo: The Times of India

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Reuters | Feb 21, 2023

DUBAI: An Iranian foundation has praised a man accused of severely injuring novelist Salman Rushdie in an attack last year and promised him 1,000 sq metres of agricultural land, state TV reported on Tuesday on its Telegram channel.

Rushdie, 75, lost an eye and the use of one hand following the assault on the stage of a literary event held near Lake Erie in western New York State in August.

Hadi Matar, a Shi'ite Muslim American from New Jersey, has pleaded 'not guilty' to charges of second-degree attempted murder and assault.

"We sincerely thank the brave action of the young American who made Muslims happy by blinding one of Rushdie's eyes and disabling one of his hands," said Mohammad Esmail Zarei, secretary of the Foundation to Implement Imam Khomeini's Fatwas.

"Rushdie is now no more than living dead and, to honour this brave action, about 1,000 square metres of agricultural land will be donated to the person or any of his legal representatives."

The Indian-born novelist was set to deliver a lecture on artistic freedom at the Chautauqua Institution when police say Matar rushed the stage and stabbed him.

The attack came 33 years after Shi'ite Iran's late supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa or religious edict calling on Muslims to assassinate Rushdie following the release of his novel "The Satanic Verses". Some Muslims saw passages about the Prophet Muhammad in the novel as blasphemous.

Matar's family comes from the south Lebanon town of Yaroun.

A law enforcement review of Matar's social media accounts showed he was sympathetic to Shi'ite extremism and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to the NBC New York news outlet.

Streets in Yaroun bear posters of Khomeini, while the logo of Lebanon's Iranian-armed Hezbollah group adorns monuments to its fighters. Hezbollah said in August it did not know anything about the attack on Rushdie.

Ali Tehfe, mayor of Yaroun, said Matar's parents had emigrated to the United States, where Matar was born and raised, but that he had no information on their political views.

Rushdie, who was born in India to a Muslim Kashmiri family, spent nine years in hiding under British police protection.

While a pro-reform Iranian government under president Mohammad Khatami distanced itself from the fatwa in the late 1990s, the multimillion-dollar bounty hanging over him has kept growing and the fatwa has never been lifted.

Khomeini's successor as supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was suspended from Twitter in 2019 for saying the fatwa against Rushdie was "irrevocable".

Source: Times Of India

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/iranian-foundation-offers-land-to-salman-rushdies-attacker/articleshow/98124839.cms?from=mdr

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Calls for Change in Iran’s Ruling Theocracy Reach Even Shiite Heartland of Qom

 

People walk on a pavement in front of a mosque at the city at the city of Qom, some 80 miles (125 kilometres) south of of the capital Tehran, Iran

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Feb 21, 2023

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: Iran’s city of Qom is one of the country’s most important centres for Shiite Muslim clerics, packed with religious schools and revered shrines. But even here, some are quietly calling for Iran’s ruling theocracy to change its ways after months of protests shaking the country.

To be clear: Many here still support the cleric-led ruling system, which marked the 44th anniversary this month of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

This includes support for many of the restrictions that set off the protests, such as the mandatory hjjab, or headscarf, for women in public. They believe the state’s claims that Iran’s foreign enemies are the ones fomenting the unrest gripping the country.

But they say the government should change how it approaches demonstrators and women’s demands to be able to choose whether to wear an Islamic head covering or not.

“The harsh crackdown was a mistake from the beginning,” said Abuzar Sahebnazaran, a cleric who described himself as an ardent backer of the theocracy, as he visited a former residence of the late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. “And the youth should have been treated softly and politely. They should have been enlightened and guided.”

Qom, some 125 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of Iran’s capital, Tehran, draws millions of pilgrims each year and is home to half of the country’s Shiite clerics. Its religious institutions graduate the country’s top clerical minds, making the city a power bastion in the country. The faithful believe the city’s dazzling blue-domed Fatima Masumeh Shrine represents a route to heaven or a place to have prayers answered for their woes.

For Iran today, the woes are many.

Protests have rocked the country since September after the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian-Kurdish woman who had been detained by morality police over alleged improper dress. The demonstrations, initially focused on the mandatory hijab, soon morphed into calls for a new revolution in the country.

Activists outside the country say at least 528 people have been killed and 19,600 people detained in a crackdown that followed. The Iranian government has not provided any figures.

Meanwhile, Iran faces increasing pressure abroad over enriching uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels following the collapse of Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Renewed sanctions worsen longstanding financial problems, pushing its currency — the rial — to historic lows against the dollar.

“Many protesters either had economic problems or were influenced by the internet,” Sahebnazaran said from inside Khomeini’s former home, which bore pictures of the ayatollah and Iranian flags.

Protesters have even vented their anger directly at clerics, whom they see as the foundations of the system. Some videos circulated online show young protesters running up behind clerics on the street and knocking off their turbans, a sign of their status. Those wearing a black turban claim descent directly from Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

The scattered videos are a sign of the alienation felt by some toward the clergy in a nation where, 44 years ago, clerics helped lead the revolution against Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

“This was part of enemy plans, they wanted to tell people that the clerics are the reason behind all problems and high prices,” Sahebnazaran said. “But the clergy are being impacted by the inflation like the rest of the people. Many clerics live on tuition fees at the lowest economic level of society. The majority of them face the same problems as the people do.”

Seminary students receive some $50 a month, with many working as laborers or taxi drivers. Fewer than 10% of Iran’s 200,000 clerics have official posts in the government.

Sakineh Heidarifard, who voluntarily works with the morality police in Qom and actively promotes the hijab, said arresting women and forcefully taking them into police custody isn’t a good idea.

She said the morality patrols are necessary, but if they find violators they should give them a warning. “Use of force and coercion is not correct at all. We should talk to them with a soft and gentle tone, with kindness and care,” she said.

Still, she sees the hijab as a central tenet of the Islamic Republic. “We have sacrificed a lot of martyrs or blood to keep this veil,” she said. “God willing, it will never be removed from our heads.”

Changes in approach, however, are not likely to satisfy those calling for the wholesale rejection of the cleric-run government. Politicians in the reform movement for years have been urging change within the theocratic system to no avail, and many protesters have lost patience.

Also, the ever-growing economic pressure on Iran’s 80 million people may one day explode across all of society, said Alireza Fateh, a carpet salesman standing next to his empty shop in Qom’s traditional bazaar.

“Economic collapse is usually followed by political collapse ... and unfortunately this is what is happening here,” he said.

“The majority of the population ... still have a little left in their bank accounts. But someday they will take to streets too, someday soon. Soon the poor, those who can’t make ends meet, will take to streets definitely.”

Source: Times Of India

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/calls-for-change-in-iran-reach-even-shiite-heartland-of-qom/articleshow/98114841.cms

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Islamic Seminary Expels 4 Students for Shaving Beard, Says No Admission for Freshers without Beard

 

The notice mentioned that the institute expelled the four students two weeks ago for not following Islamic norms regarding beard and that it would not be lenient with any student who attempts to violate the norms. (File)

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February 21, 2023

Prominent Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur has expelled four students for either totally shaving or trimming their beards.

The institute also pasted a notice at the reception Monday warning the students of immediate expulsion if they experimented with their beards. It said that freshers with no beard would not even be considered for admission.

“In Islam, men are asked to keep their beard to one fist length. It is unlawful to cut it below one fist and shaving it is haram (Prohibited) and a major sin,” said Maulana Hussain Ahmed, the head of the Education department in Darul Uloom, on whose behalf the notice was issued.

The notice mentioned that the institute expelled the four students two weeks ago for not following Islamic norms regarding beard and that it would not be lenient with any student who attempts to violate the norms.

The ousted students submitted a written apology to the governing body and vowed not to repeat the act in future but the institute rejected their submission and is now unlikely to allow them to appear in the forthcoming yearly exams.

Justifying the expulsion of four students, Maulana Mufti Asad Kasmi of Jamia Shaikhul Hind in Deoband town said strict measures should be taken so that no cane dare to defy the Sunnah (the way of the Prophet).

“The Sunnah provides guidelines for the social appearance of men and women, besides other important instructions about life. All those belonging to the community should follow the way our Prophet taught us and followed in his life,” he said.

Source: Indian Express

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/darul-uloom-deoband-up-expels-four-students-8458550/

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Egypt Issues Its First “Sharia-Compliant” Bond, Islamic Sukuk

  

Doaa A. Moneim

21 Feb 2023

The Islamic sukuk mainly targets investors from the GCC market who prefer to invest in an Islamic compliant investment instrument.

According to the minister of finance after being contacted by Ahram Online, all further details will be revealed later on Tuesday.

According to Bloomberg, the initial yield set for this issuance is above 11.6 percent.

Egypt has assigned HSBC, Crédit Agricole, Emirates NBD, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, and City Group to manage the issuance process.

Under their new $3 billion loan deal with Egypt, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated Egypt’s financing gap Egypt will reach $17 billion over the four years of the deal’s programme.

Egypt is endeavouring to bridge this gap through securing other loans from a number of international financial institutions (IFIs), including the IMF and World Bank, along with selling a segment of state-owned assets with an initial targeted collection ranges between exceeds $8 billion through the end of the IMF-backed programme.

Egypt is set to initiate its initial public offering (IPO) programme through which it will offer 34 state-owned companies in 18 economic activities to be floated in the Egyptian stock exchange and to be offered to strategic investors.

Since the onset of the war in Ukraine, Egypt has depreciated its local currency by over 100 percent and hiked its key interest rates by a total of eight percent, which both have contributed to the exodus of about $25 billion in indirect investments and caused a shortage in the hard currency in the local market, especially in the US dollar.

As the elevated inflation forced the central banks globally to tighten their monetary policies, chiefly the US Federal Reserve and the Central Bank of Europe, the capital market has been witnessing a significant fluctuation.

Source: Ahram

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://english.ahram.org.eg/News/488457.aspx

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Constitution and Laws of Pakistan Determines the Rights of Non-Muslims: Pakistan Ulema Council

 

Demonstrators hold placards during a protest in Islamabad as they demand the government to allow the construction of a Hindu temple. (Photo| AFP)

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February 22, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ulema Council said the Constitution and laws of Pakistan have clearly determined the rights of Muslims and non-Muslims and the killing of any non-Muslim cannot be justified under any circumstances.

Without legal permission, it is not lawful to build or demolish any worship place. Some incidents and instances are publicized to defame Pakistan without the facts, Pakistan Ulema Council said in a statement on Tuesday.

No individual, group, or organization should take any step beyond the Constitution and law. Since it is the responsibility of Muslims and the state in a Muslim-majority country to protect the holy places of the non-Muslims, similarly, it is also the responsibility of non-Muslims to follow the Constitution and laws, the statement added.

Killing a Christian, Hindu or any other minority person is not right in any way, nor can any such action be supported or endorsed in any circumstances, said the leaders of Pakistan Ulema Council.

The government should take immediate action against such individuals or groups or organizations who violate the law and take the state-writ into their hands, they added. The leadership of the Pakistan Ulema Council also strongly condemned the killing of a minority person in Sarai Alamgir (Jhelum) in recent days and stated that the Punjab government should fulfil its responsibilities in this regard and bring out the facts regarding the killing of a member of the minority community.

Source: The News

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/1043019-killing-of-non-muslims-not-justified-pakistan-ulema-council

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Europe

 

Denmark to send over 40 mobile homes for Türkiye quake victims

Ebad Ahmed 

21.02.2023

Denmark will send 42 mobile housing units for earthquake victims in Türkiye, an official said.

The Danish Emergency Management Agency will arrange their transport, the organization’s chief Jens Oddershede told local news agency Ritzau on Monday.

“We have had good experiences with these housing units. We have previously sent some to Ukraine, where we are very sure they have been useful,” he said.

The housing units are visually similar to camping huts, can accommodate at least four people, and have heating and air-conditioning, the report said.

Denmark earlier called for closer cooperation between the EU and Türkiye following the deadly Feb. 6 earthquakes, which have now claimed over 42,300 lives in 11 southern Turkish provinces.

“We, alongside many other European countries, have decided to support Turkey with humanitarian aid. This is time you should prove your friendship,” Foreign Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen told Anadolu at the Munich Security Conference this past Saturday.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/denmark-to-send-over-40-mobile-homes-for-turkiye-quake-victims/2827074

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Londoners hold gathering to show solidarity with quake-hit victims in Türkiye, Syria

Burak Bir

21.02.2023

LONDON

Concerned citizens and members of various communities gathered in north London on Monday in a show of solidarity and support for those affected by the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.

Islington Council held a vigil for the earthquake victims outside the town hall building which was attended by representatives of the Turkish and Syrian communities and faith leaders as well as local politicians.

"Tonight we stand with you through your grief and pain, through the pain of losing loved ones, through the pain of seeing the scale of the devastation in towns and cities across the region," said Islington Mayor Marian Spall in the opening speech.

Also hailing the efforts of search and rescue teams on the ground, Spall called on everyone to remember and pay respect to those who lost their lives.

For her part, Islington Council leader Kaya Comer-Schwartz started her speech by mentioning a report on the latest quakes that hit southern Türkiye on Monday evening.

At least three people were killed and 213 wounded after a magnitude 6.4 and magnitude 5.8 earthquake jolted Hatay province Monday night.

"I promise you this evening that we won't stop there. This is not a moment. This is a continued commitment to you as a community that we are here for you," Comer-Schwartz noted, thanking everyone making donations.

Will do everything we can to help

Jeremy Corbyn, a former Labor Party leader and member of parliament for Islington North, joined those showing their strong support, saying they will continue to do everything they can to help people.

"Islamic Relief and many others have raised a great deal of money. My appeal is give everything you possibly can," he said, mentioning that he had discussions with Muslim communities following the quakes.

Corbyn went on to say that various campaigns such as cake sales are also taking place at some schools to raise money.

"So our children understand when people go through a disaster. We don't forget them, we don't ignore them, we do everything we can in our borough, in our community, to help," he added.

At least 41,156 people were killed and 105,505 injured by two strong earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye on Feb. 6, officials said Monday in the latest figures from the natural disaster.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/londoners-hold-gathering-to-show-solidarity-with-quake-hit-victims-in-turkiye-syria/2826297

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Search and rescue operations were emotionally painful in quake-hit Türkiye: Albanian team

Mustafa Talha Öztürk  

21.02.2023

BELGRADE, Serbia

An Albanian search and rescue team expressed how emotionally painful it was as they took part in relief operations in Türkiye, which was hit by twin earthquakes on Feb. 6.

The 10-member volunteer team arrived in Türkiye to participate in search and rescue efforts in the city of Malatya until Feb. 15.

Nebi Mucay, the leader of the team, said they were very emotional, especially when they found a dead father and son hugging each other under the rubble.

“The most touching event -- not only for me, but for all the team members -- was the eternal embrace of the father and son under the rubble. It was very painful for everyone. First, we saw the child's hand, and as we continued to dig slowly, the child's father's body was also discovered. Just like daily care from a father towards his child with love in life. We witnessed this endless embrace,'' said Mucay.

He added that they felt so connected and shared the pain that the victims were like their family members.

"Honestly, it's like he's part of our family. It was really painful,'' said Mucay.

Another moment when the team got emotional was when they found a photo of a newly married couple, he said.

''When I saw a picture of the newly married couple, it hit my heart, and at that moment, I thought that life was sacred and temporary. Seeing that happiness, that smile mixed into the rubble, the stones in that picture, that life is precious. It makes me think. That picture is etched in my memory, I feel like it's in my heart,'' said Mucay.

Another volunteer, Skelzen Satri, said they were deeply touched when they saw a father wrap his son with his hands to protect him while he was being pulled from the rubble.

He added that they started their work by praying to God to save lives.

"I was very excited to be able to reach the place where we are going to carry out search and rescue operations as soon as possible and to be able to extract the living from the rubble."

Bujar Rapo said they alluded to the famous phrase "plant a tree, give life" in the earthquake zone, saying: "We can save a life by removing a stone."

''I will never forget an earthquake survivor who desperately called his brother under the rubble on the phone. Unfortunately, his lifeless body was found later,'' said Rapo.

A team of 73 medical personnel and search and rescue specialists affiliated with the Albanian Ministry of Defense and the National Civil Protection Agency took part in the relief operations in southern Türkiye.

Türkiye issued a level 4 alert, calling for international aid.

More than 249,000 search and rescue personnel are currently working in the field, according to the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).

More than 9,000 international search and rescue teams have participated in the post-quake operations.

Around 100 countries have offered assistance so far, with many having sent rescue teams.

At least 41,156 people were killed and 105,505 injured by the two strong earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye on Feb. 6, officials said Monday in the latest figures from the natural disaster.

The magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes, centered in the Kahramanmaras province, affected more than 13 million people across 11 provinces, including Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, Sanliurfa and Elazig.

More than 13 million people have been affected by the devastating quakes.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/search-and-rescue-operations-were-emotionally-painful-in-quake-hit-turkiye-albanian-team/2826265

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Mideast

 

Islamic Jihad leader whose arrest sparked 2022 Gaza conflict gets 22 months in jail

By EMANUEL FABIAN

21 February 2023

A military court sentenced a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad member to 22 months in prison Tuesday over his activities in the terror group.

Bassem Saadi’s arrest last year sparked a round of fighting between Israel and the terror group in the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces said Saadi was sentenced in a plea deal that saw him confess to conducting activity on behalf of a banned organization, incitement and assuming a false identity.

He will serve 22 months in jail (beginning at his arrest on August 1, 2022). Saadi was additionally given a suspended sentence, contingent on a financial commitment.

Saadi’s indictment in August 2022 included charges of membership in a terror group — the PIJ — conducting operations on behalf of the terror group, incitement to terrorism, assisting others to contact an enemy, and assuming a false identity.

Saadi, the leader of the terror group in the West Bank, was arrested last August by Israeli troops in the Palestinian city of Jenin. His arrest followed intelligence information indicating that Saadi had continued to be active in the PIJ, a military source said.

According to the indictment, Saadi worked to assist two other Palestinians to “advance activities” of the PIJ’s student council, which is considered by Israel to be a part of the outlawed group. The pair received $5,000 from a terror operative in the Gaza Strip for the activities, according to the indictment.

The charge of incitement was given over a May interview in which Saadi said that if Israeli troops enter the Jenin refugee camp “and went door to door, God forbid, then the resistance would rise like ‘phoenixes’ from the fire or the coals… the Jenin refugee camp is a part of the Palestinian people who remain to fight until they are removed from our land, sea, sky and holy places.”

During his arrest, Saadi identified himself to troops as his brother Ghassan, and was therefore also charged with assuming a false identity, according to the indictment.

In response to Saadi’s arrest, the PIJ announced at the time that it was declaring a state of alert. The Israel Defense Forces, saying it had concrete indications of an imminent attack on the Gaza border, put the area on lockdown for four days amid concerns that PIJ would try to fire anti-tank missiles at Israeli targets along the border.

Eventually, the IDF launched a series of airstrikes in Gaza against a senior PIJ commander and several anti-tank guided missile squads in an operation called Breaking Dawn, which prompted rocket fire from the Strip.

After nearly three days of fighting, a ceasefire agreement was signed, which reportedly included “Egypt’s commitment to work toward the release of” Saadi and another Palestinian detainee, Khalil Awawdeh, a terror group spokesperson said.

Israel has no intention of releasing the prisoners early, officials said after the ceasefire. Awawdeh’s administrative detention has been temporarily suspended, but Israel’s top court has denied him a full release.

PIJ had threatened to resume fighting if Israel fails to release Saadi and Awawdeh.

There was no immediate statement from the terror group in response to the sentencing.

Saadi, 61, has been jailed and released by Israel seven times over the years, according to the Shin Bet.

The security service said that in the months before his arrest, Saadi “worked even harder to restore PIJ activities, in which he was behind the creation of a significant military force of the organization in Samaria in general and in Jenin in particular,” referring to the northern West Bank.

“His presence was a significant factor in the radicalization of the organization’s operatives in the field,” the Shin Bet added.

Source: Times Of Israel

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

https://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-jihad-leader-whose-arrest-sparked-2022-gaza-conflict-gets-22-months-in-jail/

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Iran says ambiguities over nuclear enrichment are being resolved by IAEA inspectors

22 February ,2023

Inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog are in Tehran for negotiations and verification, Iran’s nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami said on Wednesday, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

“Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency are in Tehran and have been starting negotiations, visits and check-ups since yesterday. Ambiguities created by an inspector are being resolved,” the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/22/Iran-says-ambiguities-over-nuclear-enrichment-are-being-resolved-by-IAEA-inspectors

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Iran Sentences Terror Group's Ringleader, Jamshid Sharmahd, to Death

2023-February-21

The Justice Department of Tehran Province announced on Tuesday that Jamshid Sharmahd has been convicted of “corruption on earth” through directing terrorist activities and has been sentenced to death.

The Iranian court ruled that the 67 year-old Iranian national has been involved in plots to carry out 23 terrorist attacks and had managed to implement five cases.

Back in August 2020, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry announced that the country's security agents have captured Sharmahd, the ringleader of Tondar terrorist group.

The ministry said it has dealt a heavy blow to the Tondar group that planned and carried out a deadly terrorist attack on Seyyed Al-Shohada mosque in the Southern city of Shiraz, Fars Province, in 2008, which killed 14 people and wounded 215 others.

Sharmahd, who holds German citizenship and used to reside in the US, personally planned and directed the terror attack.

It added that the terrorist group had also planned to carry out other large-scale operations, like blowing up several places, including Sivand Dam in Shiraz, Mausoleum of the late founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini in Southern Tehran and Tehran International Book Fair, which were all foiled.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011202000728/Iran-Senences-Terrr-Grp's-Ringleader-Deah

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Iran Impounds Vessel Smuggling US-Made Machetes, Swords

2023-February-21

Goudarzi stated the confiscated vessel was smuggling various types of machetes and swords.

"A vessel was impounded in Bushehr province carrying more than 5,000 machetes and swords. These weapons are made in the United States," he added.

"Over the past four months, some 3,000 firearms have also been confiscated from thugs by border guards," the commander continued.

Iranian security forces have identified and dismantled several anti-security groups across the country in recent months. Hundreds of weapons, including US-made arms, were seized in the operations.

The raid on the weapons smuggling groups comes as terrorist groups have in recent weeks ramped up their activities to undermine the security of the country by hijacking rallies over the death of a 22-year-old Iranian woman to foment unrest and chaos.

Protests erupted in several cities across Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini who fainted at a police station in mid-September and days later was pronounced dead at a hospital. The demonstrations soon turned violent.

An official report by Iran’s Legal Medicine Organization announced that Amini’s controversial death was caused by an illness rather than alleged blows to the head or other vital body organs.

Iranian officials blame Western countries for orchestrating the riots to destabilize the country.

The unrest has claimed the lives of dozens of people and security forces, while also allowing acts of terror and sabotage across the country. Iran's Interior Ministry has confirmed the enemy waged a hybrid war against the country to weaken national solidarity and hinder the country's progress, stressing that some 200 people lost their lives in the riots sparked by separatist and terrorist groups.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011202000753/Iran-Impnds-Vessel-Smggling-US-Made-Machees-Swrds

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Iran Announces Readiness to Host 3+3 Caucasus Platform Meeting

2023-February-21

Amir Abdollahian made the remarks in a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Viktorovich Grushko in Tehran.

Iran's diplomat stressed the importance of promoting cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.

He underscored the importance of regional cooperation and announced Iran’s readiness to host a meeting of foreign ministers of countries of the 3+3 format, namely Russia, Iran, Turkey plus three Southern Caucasus nations.

The Russian official, for his part, noted that the promotion of cooperation between Tehran and Moscow is of importance. 

Grushko also held talks with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Baqeri Kani in Tehran on Monday.

The two diplomats discussed a range of regional and international issues including the war in Ukraine, the situation in Afghanistan, Syria as well as Central Asia and the Caucasus.

They also discussed Tehran-Moscow relations and their cooperation within regional and international bodies.

Baqeri Kani described Iran-Moscow cooperation on issues of mutual interest as of great importance, and deemed it necessary for both sides to enhance interaction to protect regional peace and stability and promote multilateralism.

He also stressed that Iran and Russia need to continue cooperation with other independent countries in order to protect national interests and confront unilateral and discriminatory approaches.

The Russian official emphasized the importance of multilateralism in the world as well as boosting cooperation among independent nations.

He also criticized Western states for misusing issues such as freedom, democracy and human rights, stressing the need for the rule of law in interaction between all countries. 

Iranian officials have repeatedly stressed Tehran’s opposition to geopolitical changes in the region, and reaffirmed the country is ready to use all its capacities to establish peace and stability in the Caucasus region and its growth and development.

Tehran believes that peace and stability in the region is enhanced through cooperation among the regional countries, voicing hope that the ongoing negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan over their long-running territorial dispute results in lasting peace.

Back in September, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to solve their territorial disputes through dialogue, warning that Tehran will not tolerate any change to the borders of the countries in the region.

Delivering a stern warning against any attempt aimed at changing the regional borders in the vicinity of Iran, the top military commander called on neighboring Azerbaijan and Armenia to resolve their border issues peacefully.

“We have repeatedly declared that we do not tolerate any changes to the region’s borders,” Major General Baqeri said.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011202000398/Iran-Annnces-Readiness-Hs-3-3-Cacass-Plafrm-Meeing

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5.2 Magnitude Quake Jolts Southern Iran, No Casualties Reported

2023-February-21

According to the director general of the crisis management office of the province, the quake occurred at 09:35 hours local time (0605 GMT).

"The rescue and investigation teams had been dispatched to the region," Khalil Abdollahi stated.

He further announced that the depth of the tremor was 10 km.

Presently, the teams of the Red Crescent Society are on alert to deal with any possible occurrence after the quake.

Hossein Darvishi, Managing Director of the Fars Red Crescent Provincial branch, noted that the earthquake did not cause any loss of life or damage.

In late January, a 5.9-magnitude earthquake shook Khoy in West Azerbaijan province in Northwestern Iran. Three were killed, more than 1,500 were injured and thousands of people saw their homes and properties damaged in the quake.

Iran sits astride several major faults in the earth's crust, and is prone to frequent earthquakes, many of which have been devastating.

The worst in recent times hit Bam in Southeastern Kerman province in December 2003, killing 31,000 people – about a quarter of its population – and destroying the city's ancient mud-built citadel.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011202000363/52-Magnide-Qake-Jls-Shern-Iran-N-Casalies-Repred

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Spokesman: Iran Considers Prisoners Swap as Humanitarian Issue

2023-February-21

The spokesperson stated on Tuesday that Iran sees exchanging prisoners between Tehran and Washington from a humanitarian point of view.

He also appreciated the special efforts made by the Sultanate of Oman in this regard.

On Monday, Kana’ani confirmed indirect Tehran-Washington talks, with Qatar playing an intermediary role, to exchange prisoners.

The prisoners swap “was in progress, but it was not carried out due to the United States’ bad faith. Most of the prisoners were arrested for circumventing sanctions. We thank the Qatari government for its role and it is being done by resolving the technical issues”, the diplomat told reporters during a presser.

Some Iranians are in US jails just because of ignoring Washington's illegal sanctions on Tehran.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011202000283/Spkesman-Iran-Cnsiders-Prisners-Swap-as-Hmaniarian-Isse

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Official: Iranian Police Seize 700 Tons of Narcotics in 10 Months

2023-February-21

"Over the past 10 months, 700 tons of narcotics have been seized" in the country, Momeni told reporters.

He stated that 12 Iranian anti-narcotics forces were martyred during the operations carried out to fight against the smuggling of narcotics in the same period.

For decades, Iran has been fighting a relentless battle against international drug networks, but the war has cost it the loss of many lives and finances. Iranian security forces confiscate tons of narcotics every year in ambush operations against drugs traffickers.

The war on drug trade originating from Afghanistan - the major supplier of the vast majority of the world’s opium and heroin even during the 20-year occupation of the county by US-led forces - has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 Iranian police officers over the past four decades.

Back in late June, the head of the Iranian anti-narcotics police said European countries owe Tehran a lot for blocking the transit of drugs destined for Europe, adding that the country confiscated over 1,200 tons of illicit narcotics last year.

Majid Karimi, however, slammed Europe for depriving the Islamic Republic of the latest technology to fight drug trafficking in line with sanctions spearheaded by the US, while they directly benefit from Iran’s anti-drugs measures.

“If the Islamic Republic of Iran stops the fight (against drugs) for only a month, the European countries will have to gather every gram of the huge hauls of drugs from their streets,” he warned.

Iran’s Interior Minister has also criticized the Western governments for their “poor performance” in the fight against narcotrafficking.

Ahmad Vahidi stated in late June the main culprits behind the promotion of drug use are some Western intelligence agencies and Western politicians.

He noted that the production of industrial drugs is a lucrative business for the Western countries.

He demanded that Western banks control the financial operations of narcotrrafickers, saying it’s questionable that financial institutions in the West turn a blind eye to the issue.

Vahidi underlined Iran is now going it alone in the fight against narcotics but instead of being thanked, it’s getting accused by its adversaries under various pretexts.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011202000839/Official-Iranian-Plice-Seize-00-Tns-f-Narcics-in-0-Mnhs

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India

 

Delhi Waqf Board moves high court, says ministry’s letter on 123 properties ‘spread fear and resentment amongst Muslim Community’

by Malavika Prasad

February 22, 2023

The Delhi Waqf Board has moved Delhi High Court seeking a stay on a letter issued by the Land and Development Office, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, which “absolves” the board from all matters pertaining to 123 properties in the national capital.

The matter was listed before Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri Wednesday, wherein the board in its stay application alleged that the ministry’s decision “is also whimsical, capricious, fundamentally erroneous, against facts and law”.

The board has moved the stay application in an already pending plea filed in 2022. The petition claimed that the said 123 properties are religious in nature and the board is a stakeholder in the matter, and hence sought a copy of the 2017 report of one-person committee appointed by the Centre, quashing of the decisions taken by the Centre based on that report, and thereafter taking of a new decision after affording it a reasonable opportunity of hearing.

Subsequently, the board moved another application in the plea seeking a stay on the proceedings of the two-member committee appointed by the Centre in February 2021. However, the high court asked the board to amend its plea instead of moving an application, pursuant to which the board moved an amendment application. The high court issued notice to the Centre on this amendment application and the matter is now fixed in August.

The present stay application claims that while the plea was pending, the board on February 13 received a letter from the Land & Development Office, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs which said that the two-member committee. consisting of Justice (Retd.) Sat Pal. Garg and Shri Radha Charan SDM (Retd.), had submitted its report, though the date of submission of the said report was not mentioned in the said letter.

The letter, dated February 8, reads that the board was the main stakeholder party to whom the opportunity was given by the committee, however, it did not appear or file any representation with respect to the 123 properties. The letter states that another opportunity was also granted to the board after it moved an application on December 2, 2021. However, again no objections or submissions were made by it to the committee.

“It is evident from the above facts that Delhi Waqf Board does not have any stake in the listed properties, neither have they shown any interest in the properties nor filed any objections/ claims. It is therefore, decided to absolve Delhi Waqf Board from all matters pertaining to 123 Waqf Properties,” the letter reads.

The stay application states that the board on April 12, 2022, served a copy of the present plea before the high court to the two-member committee requesting them to defer the proceedings until the final adjudication of this plea. The application claims that the board again wrote to the committee on May 13, 2022 ,with the same request.

The application further states that there was no reason for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to appoint a two-member committee to conduct the same exercise de-novo. The board claims that neither the “one Member Committee nor the subsequently appointed two Members Committee had any Statutory basis”, as they were nothing but arms of the ministry, which is already represented before the high court.

The application states that Waqf Boards are Statutory Authorities constituted under the Waqf Act and the properties are Waqf properties by their very nature and as per the act the “the general superintendence, management and control” rests with the board.

The application also claims that the ministry’ letter which has been affixed outside each of the 123 waqf properties, has “spread grave anxiety, fear and resentment amongst the Muslim community” and “people with vested interest” have used the letter to “besmirch” the Delhi Waqf Board, “particularly its chairman”.

“They have taken to social media viz., Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, news-portals etc. to create an atmosphere against the Delhi Waqf Board and its Chairman,” the application states.

Source: Indian Express

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-waqf-board-moves-high-court-says-ministrys-letter-8459751/

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TDP leader Lokesh promises to establish Islamic bank in Andhra

21st February 2023

Tirupati: TDP national General Secretary Nara Lokesh on Tuesday promised to establish an Islamic bank once the party forms the government in Andhra Pradesh again.

After a two-day pause, Lokesh began his pada yatra ‘Yuva Galam’ and interacted with the representatives of the Muslim community at Sri Kalahasthi of Tirupati district.

“I am promising you that once the TDP forms the government again this Islamic bank will be established,” he said, noting how Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, during his padyatra, had promised to set up Islamic bank but he did not keep his word.

Lokesh recalled the formation of the Minorities Corporation by N. T. Rama Rao, the founder of the TDP. “Despite the change in the government for the past several years, the corporation continued but after Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy became the Chief Minister, he discontinued it,” he said.

He assured the minority community that the corporation would be revived once his TDP is back in power.

He alleged that Jagan Mohan Reddy discontinued all the welfare schemes launched by Chandrababu Naidu during the TDP regime and promised to revive all the schemes.

As the ‘Yuva Galam’ completed 300 km at Thondamanupuram panchayat in Srikalahasti Assembly segment, Lokesh assured the villagers to provide safe drinking water within 100 days of coming back to power.

Later, at Thindamanadu village, he said that the cheap liquor is now working as pesticide and the farmers instead of the pesticides can use the cheap liquor. He also interacted with women who came to collect their gas cylinders. He said that the subsidy on gas cylinders is not being paid to the consumers.

He also promised to do justice to communities like Gandla, Telikula and Deva Telikula once the TDP is back into the government.

During his padyatra, Lokesh met the groundnut farmers who narrated their problems to him. Farmer, Venkat Reddy, said that for the past three years they have been incurring heavy losses in agriculture and the state government is not coming to their rescue.

Source: Siasat Daily

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https://www.siasat.com/tdp-leader-lokesh-promises-to-establish-islamic-bank-in-andhra-2532053/

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BJP's mega convention on Hindu-Muslim unity in UP's Muzaffarnagar

Feb 22, 2023

LUCKNOW: Nearly a decade after it was hit by communal riots in 2013, the west UP district of Muzaffarnagar is all set to hold a BJP-backed mega-convention on "Hindu-Muslim unity". The convention, titled 'Sneh Milan: Ek Desh Ek DNA' is likely to be organised between March 15 and March 20, according to a proposal moved by UP BJP Minority Morcha, which has also invited CM Yogi as the chief guest.

The morcha chief, Basit Ali, maintained that Muzaffarnagar has been chosen for the event because it is the land where former PM Chaudhary Charan Singh experimented with the idea of Jat-Muslim unity which was later "hijacked" by the Congress and Samajwadi Party in their bid "to attain power". "The idea is to bring together the leaders of Muslim and Hindu communities on one stage and project their unity," Ali told TOI.

Sources said that the party plans to invite regional leaders of various communities including Jat, Gujjar and Thakur from nearby west UP districts, including Meerut, Bijnor, Shamli and Saharanpur, to the event. Ali insisted that every community needs to understand that their ancestors were the “same”. “All they need to acknowledge it publicly...this would strengthen the social and political fabric of the region and elsewhere,” he said.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/bjps-mega-convention-on-hindu-muslim-unity-in-muzaffarnagar/articleshow/98135329.cms

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Mahapanchayat Warns Against Arrest Of Man Linked To Muslim Men's Killing

February 21, 2023

Gurugram: A mahapanchayat organised at Manesar in support of Monu Manesar, an accused in the alleged abduction and killing of two men, on Monday threatened to foil any attempt by the Rajasthan Police to arrest him without "solid proof".

In the meantime, villagers claimed, two "policemen" on a motorcycle had reached the house of Mohit Yadav alias Monu Manesar but were chased away by them.

Angry protesters also blocked traffic briefly on the Delhi-Jaipur highway before police reached the spot and persuaded the villagers to withdraw.

After the mahapanchayat at Baba Bhishma Temple, a memorandum addressed to President Droupadi Murmu was submitted to the assistant commissioner of police of Pataudi, demanding the cancellation of the FIR against Monu Manesar registered by the Rajasthan Police and a CBI probe into the matter.

"The Gurugram police should assure that Monu Manesar's family will not be touched. No cop will visit their home without prior information, otherwise they will not go back alive," said advocate Kulbhushan Bhardwaj, a leader of a Hindu outfit.

In case of any loss of life or property of Monu Manesar and his family, the government and the district administration will be responsible, the memorandum stated.

A 10-member committee was also formed for the safety and security of the family of Manu Manesar.

Speakers at the mahapanchayat claimed that a false case has been registered against Manesar, a Bajrang Dal leader and member of a self-proclaimed cow protection team, and that the Rajasthan Police does not have any concrete evidence.

They alleged the FIR was part of a conspiracy and demanded its cancellation within 24 hours. They also demanded a fair investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

They said Monu Manesar was not on the run and would appear whenever the administration called.

The mapanchayat, attended by more than 200 people from different villages and Hindu outfits, lasted around three hours.

"If the Rajasthan Police arrests Monu Manesar without solid evidence, a big movement will be organised. Also the Rajasthan Police should stop harassing Monu Manesar, other colleagues and his family without any evidence. The inhuman behaviour of Rajasthan Police which forcibly entered Srikant Pandit's house in Maroda village in Nuh will not be tolerated," said Devinder Singh, the district general secretary of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP).

Monu Manesar and Srikant Pandit are among the five people initially booked in the abduction-and-murder case. Four more accused were later named in the FIR. Only one of the nine accused has been arrested so far.

Nasir (25) and Junaid alias Juna (35), both residents of Ghatmeeka village in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan, were allegedly abducted by cow vigilantes on Wednesday and their bodies were found inside a burnt car in Loharu in Bhiwani in Haryana on Thursday morning.

The Haryana Police on Tuesday registered a case against 30 to 40 unnamed Rajasthan Police personnel on a complaint by a woman that her pregnant daughter-in-law lost her child after she was allegedly assaulted by them during a raid to nab her son Srikant Pandit.

Following the complaint of Dulari Devi, an FIR has been registered under sections 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapons), 149 (unlawful assembly), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 452 (house-trespass) and 312 (causing miscarriage) of the Indian Penal Code at Nagina police station here, the police said.

"We had exhumed the body of the stillborn baby whose postmortem was conducted by a board of doctors on Monday and the final report is awaited. Following the complaint of Dulari Devi, an FIR has been registered against unnamed cops of Rajasthan police," Varun Singla, Superintendent of Police of Nuh, told PTI.

The Rajasthan Police has denied Devi's allegation.

Four of the five men initially named in the FIR registered after the alleged abduction and murder of two Muslim men from Rajasthan have turned out to be either informers or complainants in cases filed by the Haryana Police in the past few weeks against suspected cow smugglers.

In its FIR lodged on February 16, the Rajasthan Police named five accused -- Anil, Shrikant, Rinku Saini, Lokesh Singla and Monu Manesar -- on the basis of the complaint lodged by the victims' family. Later, four more suspects' names were added to the FIR registered at Gopalgarh police station in Bharatpur.

Source: ND TV

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

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/mahapanchayat-warns-against-arrest-of-monu-manesar-man-linked-to-muslim-mens-killing-3802707

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Muslim Men's Killing: Case Against Rajasthan Cops Over Violent Raid Claim

February 21, 2023

The Haryana Police has filed a case against around 30 to 40 unnamed cops of Rajasthan Police on a complaint by a woman that her pregnant daughter-in-law was assaulted during a raid linked to the killing of two Muslim men.

The woman's son, Srikant Pandit, is an accused in the kidnapping and murder of 25-year-old Nasir and 35-year-old Junaid alias Juna. Pandit is a member of a cow protection group led by Bajrang Dal member Monu Manesar, who is among the five accused evading arrest.

Dulari Devi, Pandit's mother, in her complaint alleged that a team of Rajasthan Police assaulted her family members, and kicked her pregnant daughter-in-law in the stomach, which caused her to have a miscarriage.

A case has been registered under sections 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapons), 149 (unlawful assembly), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 452 (house-trespass) and 312 (causing miscarriage) of the Indian Penal Code, the police said.

The Rajasthan Police has denied Devi's allegation.

The cause of death of the child is yet to be known as the viscera examination report from the forensic science laboratory is awaited, the official said.

The woman had also accused around "40 personnel of the Rajasthan Police of forcibly entering" her house, "abusing" them and taking away her other two sons.

Source: ND TV

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

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/muslim-mens-killing-case-against-rajasthan-cops-over-violent-raid-claim-3802100

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Locals in quake-hit Turkey exchanged hugs and mementos with NDRF rescuers

Feb 22, 2023

NEW DELHI: After working in quake-ravaged Turkiye for 10 days, the 152 rescuers of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were looking forward to not just reuniting with their families that were understandably concerned after news of multiple aftershocks, but also to a bath in running water. For 10 days in a row, the NDRF rescuers, including the women personnel, had had a quick “drywash” with a moist towel before heading for an 18-hour workday amid dust and rubble, locating live victims and extracting bodies from heaps of fallen concrete.

NDRF Commandant Gurminder Singh who led the international rescue mission told TOI that bathing is a “luxury” in any quake-ravaged zone where water becomes a scarce drinking resource. “Even toilets were deep trench latrines made with a piece of cut ply-board, covered by a tent. A separate toilet was set up for women personnel. Wet wipes were used in place of water,” he told TOI.

NDRF Sub Inspector Shivani Agarwal, one of the five lady personnel who had volunteered for Turkiye mission, told TOI that ‘drywash’ and ‘makeshift toilets’ were not alien to her as she had served in Ladakh while in ITBP and also underwent jungle survival training. ITBP being a parent organisation had also prepared Sushma Yadav, mother to 18-month-old twins left under the care of her father in law, and Rakhi, whose mother-in-law looked after her 8-year-old son while she helped bring succour to quake victims in Turkiye.

The five women personnel helped one another get through any personal challenges while working long hours at par with their male counterparts.

Women personnel, NDRF DG Atul Karwal told TOI, were able to communicate better with the locals, particularly women and children. According to Shivani, “Women survivors approached us, insisting that we find the bodies of their kin. And when NDRF found the bodies, the women, though grief-stricken, hugged us out of gratitude,” Shivani told TOI.

Karwal said even though NDRF acted promptly in Turkey — facilitated by MEA that worked overnight to provide official passports to all 152 rescuers; ITBP which arranged winter gear to work in sub-zero temperatures; and MoD that deployed three C-17 Globemaster planes that took in 11 vehicles, enabling teams to head to the site soon after landing — there is scope to further cut the mobilisation time in future. “Like we can identify designated teams for international rescue missions and have them issued official passports. NDRF equipment boxes can be kept pre-packed for immediate deployment. We can focus on providing ready-to-eat meals (MREs) rather than setting up a kitchen at the disaster site, as finding cooking fuel is difficult,” he said.

Karwal added that NDRF was looking to induct more women, taking their strength from the current 250 to over 1,700, and deploy them not only for rescue duties but also make use of their soft skills and better communication with victims.

By the end of Mission ‘Operation Dost’ — during which NDRF personnel saved lives of two young girls and retrieved 85 bodies — the rescuers had earned enough goodwill and appreciation for the locals to seek their badges, combat patches and even military decorations as mementos. The NDRF personnel happily obliged and received in exchange uniform badges from other rescue personnel and small gifts like keychains from civilians. NDRF rescuer Vipin Pratap Singh said that NDRF teams also left behind all their items — rations, clothing, blankets, provisions etc — for the victims.

The warmth shown by locals transcended barriers like language, religion and even food choices. Ahmed, a local who lost his family in the quake, turned up day-after-day to hand over vegetarian items to NDRF deputy commandant Deepak, a vegetarian. Presidential pilot Ali Altiok gave standing orders to the airport cafeteria staff to ensure that nobody from “Hindistan” goes hungry.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/locals-in-quake-hit-turkey-exchanged-hugs-and-mementos-with-ndrf-rescuers/articleshow/98139494.cms

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Javed Akhtar in Pak: 26/11 perpetrators still roam free

Feb 22, 2023

LAHORE: The perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks are still roaming freely in Pakistan, so Pakistanis should not feel offended when India talks about the 2008 carnage, poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar said at a festival organised in memory of poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz in Lahore.

In a video that has gone viral, Akhtar is seen making these comments in response to an audience member who told him to take with him a message of peace and tell Indians that Pakistan is “a positive, friendly and loving country.” “We should not blame each other. It will solve nothing. The atmosphere is tense, that should be doused,” the 78-year-old lyricist said.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/javed-akhtar-in-pak-26/11-perpetrators-still-roam-free/articleshow/98134481.cms

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For Pakistan to find way out, nobody reaches difficult situation without cause: EAM Jaishankar

Feb 21, 2023

NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that Pakistan's future will be largely determined by its own actions and choices and it is for the neighbouring country to find a way out of its economic troubles.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, the minister referred to India's assistance to Sri Lanka during the economic crisis faced by the island country and said it is a very different relationship.

"I think Pakistan's future is largely determined by Pakistan's actions and by Pakistan's choices. Nobody reaches a difficult situation suddenly and without cause. It is for them to find a way out. Our relationship today is not one where we can be relevant directly to that process," Jaishankar said in response to queries on Pakistan.

Pakistan is grappling with economic difficulties including dwindling forex reserves, high inflation and sharp depreciation of its currency. It is rolling out higher taxes to get the IMF bailout package.

Jaishankar referred to the goodwill for Sri Lanka and sentiments among people in relation to Pakistan. Islamabad has been sponsoring cross-border terrorism in India which has severely impacted bilateral ties. The minister said India is willing to provide assistance to its neighbours in case of difficulty.

"If I were, for example, to compare it to Sri Lanka, it is a very different relationship. With Sri Lanka still, there is a lot of goodwill in this country. There is naturally neighbours' concerns and worry but there is also a feeling look we have to help them to get through this. Tomorrow if something happens to some other neighbours that would be the case as well. But you know what the sentiment is there in the country for Pakistan," Jaishankar said.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/for-pakistan-to-find-way-out-nobody-reaches-difficult-situation-without-cause-eam-jaishankar/articleshow/98127812.cms

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Top Hizbul terrorist from J&K gunned down in Pakistan's Rawalpindi

Feb 22, 2023

NEW DELHI: Less than five months after the central government termed him a designated terrorist, unidentified gunmen on a bike shot dead Hizbul Mujahideen’s top launching commander — ‘Peer’ alias Imtiyaz Alam — in Pakistan’s Rawalpindi on Monday evening. He was returning home after offering Maghrib prayers at a local mosque.

Peer was considered a close confidant of Hizbul chief Syed Salahuddin, who led his funeral prayer on Tuesday along with a few ISI and Pakistan army officials.

Initial probe suggested it was a “targeted killing” as the killer reportedly confirmed his identity before shooting him, media reports said. There are also reports of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) being involved.

Last October, the Centre had designated Peer as terrorist under the UAPA for his role in terror activities including providing logistics to the banned outfit’s members. He was known to be a specialist in infiltrations in Kupwara district.

Peer originally belonged to Babarpora area in Kupwara but had relocated to Pakistan several years ago. Since then, he had been living and operating under the aegis of ISI at Rawalpindi.

Indian intelligence agencies had found that he carried Pakistan’s official computerised national identity card. Peer was actively involved in “raising and routing of funds for terrorism in J&K”, the dossier on him states. “Peer was actively involved in running dozens of online propaganda groups to unite ex-militants and other cadres for furtherance of activities of terrorist organisations Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and others,” it says.

Shortly after he shifted base to Pakistan, Peer came under fire from Pakistan Army’s military intelligence directorate after he sent a ‘hit team’ to back his protege, Shafi Dar, in 2007. He was even detained but was later released on ISI’s intervention.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/top-hizbul-terrorist-from-jk-gunned-down-in-rawalpindi/articleshow/98134399.cms

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Muslim trust urges Bombay HC to vacate status quo on disputed site

Feb 22, 2023

MUMBAI: A Sunni Muslim trust has urged the Bombay high court to vacate an October 2020 order of a status quo on a disputed site at Prajapur village, Marol, Andheri (east) so that it can be used for burials.

The Anjuman Taleem Ul-Quran Sunni Taha Masjid filed an interim application in a petition by Shri Leva Patidar Bajrang Satsang Mandal that claimed possession since 1925 of the land on which there are two temples and a welfare center. It had urged the HC to restrain the BMC from passing any plan on the 2,500sqm adjacent land to be used as a burial ground.

The Masjid's application said since August 2014, it has managed the burial ground as caretaker under an annual agreement with the BMC. The last agreement in August 2020, was renewed till January 2021. Thereafter, due to the October 27, 2020 status quo order, the agreement was not renewed and no permission was given to bury bodies. It informed that two kabrastans in K/east ward, which has 50,000 Muslims, are operating to near full capacity and there is an urgent need to make another burial ground operational.

BMC's February 2023 reply said that the Masjid's application was rejected in view of HC's November 10, 2020, order that the "land shall not be used as a burial ground/cemetery." As the disputed land is excluded from the development plan 2034, it "can be put to use as a cemetery only after sanction of the state government." It informed that the State Urban Development Department had transferred the land to the BMC to develop a Muslim cemetery as the land is reserved for burial ground.

On Friday, before Justices Atul Chandekar and M W Chandwani, senior advocate Yusuf Muchhala for the Masjid said the status quo order was passed without hearing his clients. He referred to a recent procession by a Hindu group "creating a riotous situation and disturbing public peace."

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/muslim-trust-urges-bombay-hc-to-vacate-status-quo-on-disputed-site/articleshow/98135844.cms?from=mdr

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Aligarh Muslim University students protest Bhiwani killings

Feb 22, 2023

AGRA: Days after Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and other groups condemned the gruesome murder of two members of a minority community, scores of students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) launched a protest and demanded "capital punishment for the culprits" on Tuesday.

AMU students gathered and marched across the university campus. Some of them held banners and raised slogans. A memorandum has also been prepared in which students demanded strong action against the accused and financial support for the victims' families.

MTech final-year student, Tateem Raza, said, "Minorities are being targeted frequently these days. We demand the accused should be given severe punishment."

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/aligarh-muslim-university-students-protest-bhiwani-killings/articleshow/98141190.cms?from=mdr

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Arab World

 

Founding Day exhibition displays Saudi history through art

NADA ALTURKI

February 21, 2023

RIYADH: Founding Day celebrations kicked off early this year for Riyadh’s art scene with the “Estihlal” exhibition held by the art initiative Piece of Feel at Line Furniture from Feb. 19-21.

“Estihlal,” an Arabic word for prologue or beginning, was a fitting title for the three-day exhibition, which featured patriotic artworks by 15 Saudi artists from all corners of the Kingdom honoring the region’s history, heroes and heritage that lay the groundwork for the country today.

Piece of Feel is an initiative by Princess Roqayaih bint Saud to create a platform for an art society offering workshops, exhibitions and community engagement opportunities.

Princess Roqayaih, who also curated the exhibition, told Arab News: “The initiative aims to allow each artist to express their feelings about Founding Day, their love for their nation, and the unification of the Kingdom.

“I selected each artwork that truly carries the artist’s emotions within the piece, not merely a piece that contributes to the exhibition because that also aligns with the mission of Piece of Feel,” she said.

The exhibition showcases artworks by Princess Roqayaih, as well as fine artists Mohammed Al-Ajlan, Ibrahim Alalmai, Modhi Muslih, Wedad Alahmadi, Mohammed Rayes, photographer Hadeel Al-Jmaan, sculpture artist Mohammed Althaqafi and calligrapher Bader Aljafen.

At the far end of the exhibition hall, a video installation invited viewers to become its focus. As they stood in the center facing the immersive content, they experienced the events that took place before the establishment of the First Saudi State, the amalgamation of the region, to King Abdulaziz’s reign.

“This is to give off the perception that ‘This is for you, as a Saudi. You’re the focal point,’” she said, describing the artwork.

Princess Roqayaih’s own exclusive artwork, “Fath Al Riyadh (Unification of Riyadh),” offers a slice of history about the Kingdom we know today. In the dark of night, the moon following behind, the heroes of the past emerge to the forefront of the canvas, perched on their steeds and cast in hues of patriotic green.

King Abdulaziz is accompanied by his men, including Princess Roqayaih’s grandfather Prince Nasser bin Saud and his son Prince Saud bin Nasser, Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman, Prince Fahad bin Jiluwi and his brother Abdullah bin Jiluwi.

“Not many people know this story and the heroes who accompanied King Abdulaziz, and they all have their own story and contribution to acquiring Riyadh. So I wanted to join them all in one frame. It’s night-time because their plan took place during the night,” she said.

The national holiday holds a special place in Princess Roqayaih’s heart, not only for its ability to bring people together but also for its potential to educate the Saudi public on its relevant history.

“Founding Day means a lot to me, aside from the fact that it’s my family and one of these heroes is my grandfather. It’s the foundation of who we are today. It’s because of their initial efforts.

“If you read the history, so many things were never mentioned to us, which is why I wanted to highlight the smaller details like King Abdulaziz’s saying before he made any decisions (by calligrapher Bader Aljafen), so people understand the meaning behind Founding Day and what the difference is between it and National Day, as well.”

Digital artist Shams Alsehli has updated her usual surrealist style to recreate a portrait of King Abdulaziz.

“I don’t have any school of art that I stick to, just my mind and my feelings, and sometimes dreams that come to me. This piece was challenging but in a good way. It was a beautiful pain,” she told Arab News.

While Alsehli does not usually create realistic artworks, she put the style into practice specifically to achieve the digital piece showcased in the exhibition.

Not far off, artworks by renowned artist Tagreed Albagshi tell a story of their own. “Women Driving and Social Life” bursts with color as it depicts the freedom women have gained since being granted the right to drive. The work frames three vehicles, all operated by women, in the artist’s signature style.

The other is an exclusive artwork curated specifically for the exhibition.

Mixed media artist Mai Hamdan merges traditional aspects and techniques with contemporary versions in her artwork “Mader,” a mashup Arabic term for “past” and “present.” The artwork overlays rough and uncut gemstones fabricated using resin, making up the outer layer of the artwork, with detailed traditional Sadu embroidery underlying the exterior.

“I’m very interested in consolidating our identity and heritage, so I started to create modern but timeless paintings that stray away from traditional methods,” Hamdan told Arab News.

For Hamdan, the exhibition stands for the unification of not just the state but the artists as well. They all have integrated to showcase a solid identity and greater purpose, regardless of the sway of their paint brushes or nature of their medium.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2255586/saudi-arabia

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Syria family takes in 'miracle baby' born under quake rubble

Feb 22, 2023

JINDAYRIS: Born an orphan under the rubble in north Syria after a devastating earthquake, Afraa al-Suwadi has been given a new lease on life when relatives took her in.

Since footage of her rescue in the town of Jindayris went viral on social media, Suwadi's story has captivated a grieving nation and made international headlines as Syria's "miracle baby".

The sole survivor in her immediate family of the February 6 quake, relatives had pulled her from the wreckage still tied to her deceased mother by the umbilical cord.

"She is my soul, my life, and my whole world," her uncle Khalil al-Suwadi told AFP from his tent in the town, cradling the newborn.

The baby, wrapped in a blanket and wearing a red hat with a little bow, was given her mother's name, Afraa -- one of more than 45,000 people killed across war-ravaged Syria and neighbouring Turkey in the 7.8-magnitude quake.

Khalil al-Suwadi took in the baby about a week and a half after she had been admitted to hospital in rebel-held Jindayris, near the Turkish border.

Medical staff performed a DNA test to ensure they were indeed relatives.

"The day they told us we could have her I was overjoyed, it was indescribable," said the uncle, who had helped rescue her.

Khalil al-Suwadi is married to a sister of the baby's late father, who was also his cousin.

"This child is a living memory of her father, mother and siblings" who perished, he said.

One day, when baby Afraa is older, he said he would tell her the family's story.

When he laid her on one of the mattresses strewn across the flimsy tent the family had moved into after the quake, his daughters gathered around the baby, embracing and kissing her.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/syria-family-takes-in-miracle-baby-born-under-quake-rubble/articleshow/98140632.cms

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Saudi Arabia deposits $1 billion in Yemen’s Aden-based central bank

21 February ,2023

Saudi Arabia deposited $1 billion into the central bank of Yemen’s internationally recognized government Tuesday in a bid to bolster the country’s ailing economy, state media said.

In a brief statement, the state-run Saudi Press Agency said the $1 billion deposited into the Aden-based central bank will help the administration implement economic reforms.

Yemen’s ruinous civil war, now entering its ninth year, has wrecked the country’s economy and pushed half of the population to the brink of famine. Over 150,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

The war began in 2014 when Iran-backed Houthi militants seized Yemen’s capital Sanaa, along with much of the north of the country, forcing the government into exile. The country’s central bank has since been divided between the warring sides, with the Houthis operating its monetary authority from Sanaa.

Rashad al-Alimi, head of the internationally recognized presidential council, thanked the Saudi government for Tuesday’s economic aid in a series of posts on Twitter. Al-Alimi said the money would go toward funding new projects and stabilizing the currency. No further details were given.

Yemen has been hit hard by the fallout of the Ukraine war, with the country having imported 40 percent of its grain from Ukraine until supply channels were cut following Russia’s invasion. Food prices in Yemen have since surged.

Over past years, the Aden branch of Yemen’s central bank has driven inflation by printing new banknotes to finance debts and cover the cost of public sector salaries. Houthi-controlled areas do not accept notes printed by Aden’s central bank.

Two officials from the internationally recognized government told The Associated Press that the $1 billion aid package will help compensate for the sharp decline in oil revenues in recent months. Oil exports have slowed drastically following several Houthi drone attacks on tankers and other facilities late last year. Both spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not briefed to speak with the media.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/saudi-arabia/2023/02/21/Saudi-Arabia-to-deposit-1-billion-in-Yemen-s-Aden-based-central-bank

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Pakistan

 

Pakistani intolerance on full display. Ahmadi homeopath shot dead, second in 2 years

THEPRINT TEAM

21 February, 2023

New Delhi: The murder of a 75-year-old Ahmadi homoeopath, in Gutriala in Pakistan’s Gujrat district, has yet again brought to the fore Pakistan’s supposed intolerance of the Ahmadiyya sect — they believe that the sect’s founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is a messiah.

Rasheed Ahmed was shot dead while attending to patients in his home clinic Sunday evening. The alleged killer, Hafiz Inam, was also found dead in the fields close to the crime scene. Inam allegedly died by suicide. His accomplice, Babar, has reportedly been arrested.

Reports claim that Inam disliked Ahmadis.

Ahmed was a Norwegian citizen, reports said, his family resides in the Scandinavian country.

Oddly enough, this is not the first Ahmadi homoeopath who has been shot dead. In February 2021, 65-year-old Abdul Qadir was murdered, also in his home clinic.

The events of Sunday have given a boost to the vitriol against the community online. A journalist tweeted that the homoeopath had probably been killed because of his faith. A user warned him in the replies — “Be careful, you are raising your voice for the Ahmadis which is considered treason in Pakistan. Watch out before a TLP mujahid send you on your way to your creator”.

Another user, too, claimed Ahmed was killed because of his faith. In response, a user whose bio reads ‘navigating the world as an ex-Ahmadi’ asked him to “stop lying”.

Who are the Ahmadis?

Mistrust towards the Ahmadis — allegedly stems from their claim that the sect’s founder is believed to be the second coming of the Mahdi (guided one) foretold by Prophet Muhammad. A UNHRC press release states that the persecution stems from them not being considered ‘real Muslims’.

According to Al Islam,  the Ahmadiyya community believes that God sent Ahmad to end “religious wars, condemn bloodshed and restore morality, justice, and peace”.

The website goes on to say that he turned Muslims away from fanaticism by championing “Islam’s true teachings”.

The site adds that the community “is the leading Islamic organisation to categorically reject terrorism” and that over a century ago Ahmad instead asked Muslims to defend Islam with the ‘jihad of the pen’.

Legally restricted

The current Khalifa, the community’s spiritual and administrative head,  Mirza Masroor Ahmad, resides in Tilford, England. The town also serves as the headquarters of the community.

He was forced into exile when he was elected as the head in 2003 as Pakistani laws do not allow Ahmadis to practise their faith or identify as Muslims. The punishment for violating these provisions is three years in prison.

A fact-finding mission by Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission (HRCP) has flagged an alarming rise in atrocities against community members in Gujranwala and the surrounding area.

The report, published on 15 February,  goes on to state that Ahmadiyya graves have been desecrated and minarets of mosques destroyed. It also points out the alleged complicity of the civil administration in Gujranwala and Wazirabad in the destruction of minarets.

Source: The Print

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

https://theprint.in/go-to-pakistan/pakistani-intolerance-on-full-display-ahmadi-homeopath-shot-dead-second-in-2-years/1388189/

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Notices issued in Pakistan Origin Card case

February 22, 2023

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the attorney general and National Database and Registration Authority’s chairman seeking their response to plea of a Pakistani woman requesting for issuance of Pakistan Origin Card (POC) to her Afghan husband.

A bench consisting of Justice Roohul Amin Khan and Justice Ijaz Anwar issued the order after preliminary hearing of a petition filed by the woman, Zara Iqbal, seeking directives of the court for Nadra to issue the POC to her husband, Attiqur Rehman, under section 11 of the Nadra Act 2007 and Rule 4(5) of the Nadra Pakistan Origin Card Rules 2002.

She also requested the court to declare as illegal the non-issuance of the POC to her husband.

Advocate Ziaur Rehman Tajik appeared for the petitioner and stated that his client was a permanent resident of Mardan district and she married Attiqur Rehman in 2016.

He stated that the petitioner’s husband was a pharmacist by profession and had been working in a private pharmaceutical firm in Peshawar. He said the couple had been living together since 2016.

Mr Tajik stated that after marriage the petitioner applied to Nadra for grant of POC to her husband, but the respondents including Nadra delayed the matter on one pretext or another and finally in 2022 it declined to issue the POC.

He argued that it was the basic human right of every woman to marry a person of her choice and such right was recognised by Islam as well as constitution of Pakistan.

He argued that section 10(2) of the Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951, was a discriminatory provision of law as under it the wife of a Pakistani national was entitled to country’s citizenship, but the same was denied to the foreign husband of a Pakistani woman.

He referred to a judgment of the Lahore High Court arguing that the court had declared the said provision of Citizenship Act discriminatory and violative of Article 25 of the Constitution.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1738431/notices-issued-in-pakistan-origin-card-case

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Pakistan Senator blames former PTI govt for rise in terror attacks

22 February, 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], February 22 (ANI): Pakistan Senator Waqar Mehdi, the General Secretary of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in his speech in the House criticised former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, saying that terrorists were supported and encouraged by the PTI government, Pakistan-based Dawn newspaper reported.

He said that terrorists cannot be good in any form, as a terrorist is a terrorist. According to him, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) named Khan a member of its negotiating team for peace talks with the government in 2014.

Senator Mehdi said that after the recent terrorist incident in Peshawar, the government had decided to summon a multi-party conference, but Khan refused to participate in it. This clearly shows that he preferred his political interests over issues linked with national security, Dawn reported.

As per the PPP senator, National Action Plan (NAP) chalked out to fight terrorism and extremism was not implemented in its true spirit by the previous government.

Mehdi also condemned the terrorist attack on the Karachi Police Office and paid tribute to those killed.

Shahzad Waseem, Opposition Leader in the Senate, criticised the government for its irresponsible attitude amid pressing issues and serious crises due to resurgence of terrorism and economic meltdown.

According to a recent Policy Research Group (POREG) report, terrorism in Pakistan is a self-inflicted wound. Pakistan has been nurturing terrorists in its backyard as a part of its security and foreign policies. The country now has to pay the price for this misadventure.

According to POREG, the problem is the powers that matter in Pakistan have made terrorism a time bomb, initially appeasing the terrorist elements, in the name of preserving Islam and afterwards unleashing a reign of counter-attacks against them.

The challenge before the country’s leadership is two-fold. It must crush militancy in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border belt, and bring a sense of security and peace to the region. Simultaneously, Pakistani forces must check the re-grouping and growth of various Islamist militant factions within mainland Pakistan.

Thousands of locals protested in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on February 5 under the slogan of Ulasi Pasoon (public uprising) against the suicide attack on Peshawar Police Lines Mosque and the increasing lawlessness in the region.

Unrest has also been witnessed in the districts of Lakki Marwat, Mohmand and Malakand over the return of terrorist menace. The law and order situation in the country has worsened in the past five months. People are unable to step out of their homes after nightfall, particularly in Lakki Marwat.

Source: The Print

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

https://theprint.in/world/pakistan-senator-blames-former-pti-govt-for-rise-in-terror-attacks/1389608/

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PTI aims to counter ‘attack on fundamental rights’, ‘economic meltdown’ with Jail Bharo Tehreek

February 22, 2023

The PTI is all set to begin its Jail Bharo Tehreek (court arrest drive) today (Wednesday) from Lahore which former prime minister Imran Khan says is aimed to counter the “attack” on the party’s fundamental rights and the economic “meltdown”.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, the PTI chief said: “Today we start our Jail Bharo campaign for Haqeeqi Azadi for two main reasons.

“One, it is a peaceful, non-violent protest against the attack on our constitutionally-guaranteed fundamental rights. We are facing sham FIRs and NAB cases, custodial torture, attacks on journalists and social media people.”

Second, Imran went on, the drive was against economic meltdown “brought on by cabal of crooks who have money laundered billions in looted wealth and gotten NROs for themselves while crushing the people, especially the poor and middle class, under the burden of spiralling inflation and rising unemployment”.

Separately, in a video message shared on PTI’s official Twitter account, the ex-premier urged people to take to the streets for “true freedom”.

“Actually, this campaign will take you to a free and happy Pakistan. And this will only happen when the state protects your fundamental rights,” he said, adding that the Jail Bharo Tehreek “is the name of jihad”.

Imran also said that the more people participated in the drive, the faster Pakistan would achieve “true freedom”.

The drive will begin from Lahore’s Mall Road at 2pm today.

Hundreds aim for jail

Earlier, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the party and its top brass were ready for the court arrest movement. “Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Asad Umar insisted that they would give themselves for arrest on the first day of the movement.”

According to ARY News, the opening day of the movement would start with a meeting to honour party members. After the meeting, the party supporters would march towards The Mall — where Section 144 is imposed — via Jail Road to give themselves up for arrests. In case, the government refused to detain the PTI activists, the rally will morph into a sit-in at Charing Cross in front of the Punjab Assembly.

After Lahore, Peshawar will witness the launch of the court arrest drive on Feb 23. Rawalpindi will follow on Feb 24, Multan on Feb 25, Gujranwala on Feb 26, Sargodha on Feb 27, and Sahiwal on Feb 28. Faisalabad will join the movement on the first day of March.

Senator Ejaz Chaudhry, who is the focal person of the Jail Bharo Tehreek, has said the party had sought 200 volunteers for the first day of the drive but more than 2,000 have signed up for the drive. He said those party leaders, who would contest the upcoming by-polls on the PTI platform, would not become part of the drive.

Section 144 imposed in Lahore

Meanwhile, the Punjab government has imposed Section 144 on The Mall, Gulberg Main Boulevard as well as outside the Punjab Civil Secretariat and its adjoining roads to prohibit all kinds of assemblies, sit-ins and processions.

Earlier, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the PTI’s arrest drive was aimed at creating political instability and a law and order situation in the country. The PTI is seeking media attention by creating a drama through the ‘court arrest drive’, APP quoted him as saying.

The meeting decided that the miscreants would be arrested and the law and order would be ensured in the country at all costs.

“The arrest of women and poor workers would be avoided,” the participants agreed. The minister said the record of miscreants would be maintained and their activities would be mentioned in their character certificates issued by the police.

If it were up to me, there would be no arrests: Khawaja Saad

On Wednesday, PML-N leader and Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said that if it were up to him, he would not arrest even a single PTI supporter.

“I never support political workers going to jail but if someone is pressing on it, then morally the leader should be the first one to surrender,” he told media persons in Lahore.

Saad said that party supremo Nawaz Sharif spent a long time behind bars during the dictatorship of retired General Pervez Musharraf. “And even in this unannounced martial law this time, Nawaz and his family spent time in jail.”

However, he contended that Imran was himself seeking bail but was encouraging his supporters to go to jail.

“This is the prerogative of the provincial government on the treatment [of the protesters], but if it were up to me […] the police wouldn’t be there when people turned up for arrests.

“They would have then just roamed around and gone home eventually,” he added.

The PML-N leader further said that Imran had faced nothing compared to what Nawaz and his family went through.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1738518/pti-aims-to-counter-attack-on-fundamental-rights-economic-meltdown-with-jail-bharo-tehreek

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PML-N to seek recusal of ‘biased’ SC judges in cases against Nawaz, others: Sanaullah

February 22, 2023

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Wednesday that PML-N’s legal team will be approaching two judges of the Supreme Court to recuse themselves from hearing the cases against the party leadership.

In a series of tweets, Sanaullah named the judges and alleged that they “have a biased attitude towards the PML-N”.

Sanaullah recalled that one of the judges had been the supervising judge in cases against party supremo Nawaz Sharif and “we have no expectations of justice from him”.

He also mentioned a purported audio leak related to the second judge, saying that it had “raised questions on his impartiality”.

The minister went on to say that both judges had passed “opposing” verdicts in dozens of cases against Nawaz and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, including Panama, Ramzan Sugar Mills, and Pakpattan Land Allotment (against the Sharifs’ family members).

He said it was a legal and judicial tradition that “controversial” judges voluntarily recused themselves from the bench at the request of the aggrieved party.

“The legal team of PML-N will ask the two judges to recuse themselves from the benches hearing the cases of Nawaz Sharif and other leaders of the party,” Sanaullah stated, adding that the two judges will be asked not to hear cases of the PML-N.

The development comes a day after PM Shehbaz completed consultation with the legal brains of the government during a meeting on Tuesday.

‘Bold move to pave way for Nawaz’s return’

A party insider told Dawn that the “bold move” would pay off in case both the judges in question recuse themselves from the cases against the PML-N leaders especially Nawaz Sharif which might pave the way for his return from London.

“Nawaz Sharif wants relief in the Al-Azizia corruption case (in which he was serving a seven-year imprisonment) before returning to his homeland,” the insider said.

Defence Minister Khwaja Asif also told a private channel that the PML-N direly needed Nawaz Sharif back home to lead the party to match with Imran Khan’s PTI.

The PML-N leadership has already started taking on the apex court judges in public rallies and press conferences.

Moreover, PML-N chief organiser Maryam Nawaz recently asked for accountability in the judiciary and said “Pakistan needed honest judges instead of the ones who allegedly favoured Imran Khan.”

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1738527/pml-n-to-seek-recusal-of-biased-sc-judges-in-cases-against-nawaz-others-sanaullah

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NAB asks Imran, Bushra to join probe in Toshakhana reference

February 22, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Nat­io­nal Accountability Bur­eau has summoned Pakis­tan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chair­man Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi on March 9 to record their statem­ents in a reference regarding Toshakhana gifts.

The bureau also summoned some other PTI leaders, including Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, former defence minister Pervez Khattak and ex-information minister Fawad Chaudhry, in separate cases.

Interestingly, the NAB call-up notice, signed by its additional director Moh­ammad Faisal Qur­eshi and sent to the former prime minister’s Banigala residence, was issued on Feb 17 — five days before NAB chairman Aftab Sultan resigned claiming that he was being pressurised to file cases against some and favour some accused.

The NAB letter addressed to Imran Khan, Bushra Bibi and other accused in the Toshakhana case said: “The competent authority has taken cognisance of an offence allegedly committed by the accused persons under the provisions of NAO, 1999. In this regard, the inquiry proceedings have revealed that during your tenure in office you retained some state gifts presented to you by various foreign dignitaries including the following luxury items — five Rolex wristwatches; one iPhone presented by Chief of Staff, Qatar Armed Forces, dated 14.11.2018; (No. E67574V3), a pair of cufflinks, one ring; unstitched cloth of pant coat from Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia dated 18.09.2020; Graff gift set containing one Graff wristwatch Master Graff Special Edition Mecca timepiece, one 18K gold and diamond Graff pen and a ring and pair of cufflinks with micro-painting of Mecca.”

The letter further said: “You are therefore requested to join the inquiry proceedings before the Combined Investigation Team (CIT), NAB (Rawalpindi/Islamabad), Civic Centre, G-6, Islamabad, at 1430hrs on 09.03.2023 for recording of your statement.”

In the Toshakhana case, the former prime minister was accused of purchasing foreign gifts at throwaway prices and then selling them for millions of rupees.

NAB had already summoned Bushra Bibi’s close friend Farhat Shahzadi alias Farah Gogi, along with her husband and 19 others, in an assets-beyond-means case, but she escaped abroad. The inquiry against the former first lady’s friend was launched in April last year over allegations of amassing assets beyond known sources of income, money laundering and maintaining various accounts.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1738484/nab-asks-imran-bushra-to-join-probe-in-toshakhana-reference

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North America

 

US judge rules 9/11 victims cannot seize Afghan central bank funds

February 22, 2023

The families of victims of the Sept 11, 2001 terror attacks cannot seize $3.5 billion in funds belonging to Afghanistan’s central bank, a New York federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

The assets, held in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, were frozen on August 15, 2021 — the day the Taliban entered Kabul and toppled the US-backed Afghan government. US President Joe Biden later said the money could be made available to the families of 9/11 victims.

A group of families — who years earlier sued the Taliban for their losses and won — has since moved to seize the funds to pay off the judgment debt.

But Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York said Tuesday that the federal courts lack the jurisdiction to seize the funds from Afghanistan’s central bank.

“The Judgment Creditors are entitled to collect on their default judgments and be made whole for the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history, but they cannot do so with the funds of the central bank of Afghanistan,” Daniels explained in a 30-page opinion.

“The Taliban — not the former Islamic Republic of Afghanistan or the Afghan people — must pay for the Taliban’s liability in the 9/11 Attacks.”

Daniels also said he was “constitutionally restrained” from awarding the assets to the families because it would effectively mean recognising the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

Since the group’s takeover in 2021, no nation has recognised the Taliban as Afghanistan’s government — including the United States.

“The fundamental conclusion… is that neither the Taliban nor the Judgment Creditors are entitled to raid the coffers of the state of Afghanistan to pay the Taliban’s debts.”

Daniels’ ruling, which aligns with a recommendation by another judge last year, deals a blow to the families of the victims of 9/11 as well as insurance companies that made payments because of the attacks.

More than 2,900 people died when four hijacked planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, DC and a field in Pennsylvania.

Then-president George W Bush launched an invasion of Afghanistan in response, resulting in two decades of war between the US-backed government and the Taliban.

With the withdrawal of US and Nato troops in August 2021, the Taliban retook power and reimposed their hardline version of Islamic law.

The country was almost entirely dependent on aid and has seen its economy teetering on the brink of collapse when Washington froze $7bn in Afghan assets.

Biden revealed a plan in February 2022 to split the cash with half directed as aid to Afghanistan and half going to families of victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1738523/us-judge-rules-911-victims-cannot-seize-afghan-central-bank-funds

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Blinken welcomes ‘time out’ on Greece-Turkey tension

21 February ,2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday urged NATO allies Greece and Turkey to calm rhetoric as both countries head to national elections, in an effort to bolster unity in the trans-Atlantic alliance as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nears its anniversary.

Blinken met with officials in Athens after a stop in Turkey, where he also visited regions hardest hit by devastating recent earthquakes.

Greek and Turkish officials said they are willing to take a time out from longstanding disputes over sea boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean in the aftermath of the earthquakes that have killed about 45,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

Blinken said he hoped the pause would provide an opportunity to return to diplomacy.

“It’s profoundly in our interest and I believe in the interest of both Greece and Turkey to find ways to resolve longstanding differences,” Blinken told reporters in Athens on Tuesday.

“And to do it through dialogue through diplomacy to do it peacefully and in the meantime to not take any unilateral actions or use any charged rhetoric that would only make things more difficult.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/21/Blinken-welcomes-time-out-on-Greece-Turkey-tension

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Blinken says ball in Iran court to engage, deal with challenges of nuclear program

21 February ,2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday it was up to Iran to engage to resolve a deadlock over its nuclear program, and accused it of enabling Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Blinken, who was visiting Athens, said the United States was committed, together with Israel, to ensuring that Tehran “never acquire a nuclear weapon.”

“That’s not exactly news. The president (Joe Biden) has been very clear that every option is on the table to do that,” Blinken told a news conference alongside his Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias.

A 2015 agreement limited Iran’s uranium enrichment program to make it harder for Tehran to develop nuclear arms, in return for international sanctions being lifted. Iran consistently denies harboring any nuclear weapon ambitions.

Biden’s administration had been trying to resurrect the 2015 agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was abandoned by Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump in 2018, but talks deadlocked in September. Blinken accused Tehran of failing to engage and said the JCPOA was not on the table now.

“We continue to believe that, with regard to the nuclear program, the most effective, sustainable way to deal with the challenge it poses is through diplomacy. But in this moment, those efforts are on the backburner because Iran is simply not engaged in a meaningful way,” Blinken said.

“A lot depends on what Iran says and does and whether or not it engages.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/21/Blinken-says-ball-in-Iran-court-to-engage-deal-with-challenges-of-nuclear-program

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US rescue team returns home after relief efforts in Türkiye earthquakes

Servet Gunerigok  

21.02.2023

WASHINGTON

A group of American rescuers who joined in relief efforts in earthquakes that hit Türkiye early February arrived in the US on Monday night.

Nearly 90 members of the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue team were welcomed by family members, Turkish Ambassador in Washington DC Hasan Murat Mercan, and Administrator of US Agency for International Development (USAID) Samantha Power with a ceremony in Virginia.

Mercan thanked the team members for rushing to aid the Turkish people affected by the quakes in southern Türkiye.

"From the bottom of our hearts: Thank you, thank you, thank you," Mercan said in his opening remarks. "We are grateful, for all that you have done in the aftermath of the quakes in Türkiye".

"We are indebted for you have risked your lives, had to pause your lives here at home and leave your families behind for this humanitarian cause," said the ambassador.

"We are thankful for you have been among the first to come to rescue of victims under the rubble, within hours of the first quake.

Power, for her part, praised the team for their works in Türkiye during "impossibly difficult conditions."

"By being there first, by being there early, you showed the truth of our commitment to our friends in Turkey and Syria," she said.

"You served our country well," she added.

The team arrived in Türkiye on Feb. 8, two days after two powerful earthquakes hit Kahramanmaras province as well as 10 other provinces.

Power and Mercan shook hands with each member while welcoming them inside the center in Chantilly. Outside, family members including children welcomed the team members who arrived in two buses.

More than 41,000 people were killed and over 105,000 injured by the two strong earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye on Feb. 6, officials said Monday in the latest figures from the natural disaster.

The magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes, centered in the Kahramanmaras province, affected more than 13 million people across 11 provinces, including Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, Sanliurfa and Elazig.

The members joined rescue efforts in Adiyaman.

Mercan also stressed that since the first hours of the disaster, American people stood side-by-side with Turkish people.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-rescue-team-returns-home-after-relief-efforts-in-turkiye-earthquakes/2826522

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South Asia

 

Afghans and Advocates Speak Out After Taliban Bans Women from Working With Aid Groups

By Sarah Beth Guevara

February 21, 2023

Like many teachers, Salma cares for children that aren't biologically hers.

As co-director of the Salam Cafe in Kabul, Salma was able to provide a refuge for some of Afghanistan's poorest children -- tens of thousands of whom have been forced onto the streets, according to UNICEF estimates, where they often have to beg for money to help pay for food for their families.

Salam Cafe, a nonprofit that focuses on children in poverty, has been a safe place just for kids, where they can rest during the day, get a hot meal and have access to books.

The organization has also helped educate children as well as give their families tools to farm and provide for themselves.

And then the Taliban tore Salma away from her work. (ABC News agreed not to use Salma's last name because of safety concerns.)

The Taliban, which took over Afghanistan's national government after a major offensive in 2021, announced in late December that women can no longer work with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), which encompass many key aid groups. Without their support, women and children are left hungry, cut off from employment and education.

Taliban officials cited "serious complaints" that some of the women working with the NGOs weren't wearing the proper head coverings, according to the Associated Press.

The Taliban has also forbidden formal education for all girls after sixth grade, reversing a previous promise after seizing the national government.

Together, those restrictions effectively keep women and girls away from Salam Cafe. It is now run only by male staff.

"That day, when we closed the cafe for girl kids, all of them cried a lot. All the girls [were] so sad," Salma said.

NGOs in Afghanistan provide most of the employment opportunities for women, according to Save the Children. Large organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross provide medical care while other organizations like Salam Cafe focus on the needs of specific children and families.

Without women working for NGOs, aid groups can't help those who may be intimidated by male workers, advocates say.

The president and CEO of Save the Children, Janti Soeripto, said that when she's visited Afghanistan, she focused on severe malnutrition in children and saw hospitals where Afghan women would only let other women examine them.

"It's simply not possible to do our work effectively and safely if we can't do that with women," Soeripto said. She has said that about 16,000 Afghan women were working for NGOs. While there are some exceptions for the women to keep working, related to health care and education, according to the U.N., other concerns remain.

Soeripto said she recently spoke to Taliban leaders to push for more access to women for NGOs. Salam Cafe's sponsor, Canadian-American Jasmin Mouflatd, said that this combination of restrictions on women is forcing them into poverty because there are hardly any kinds of jobs the Taliban will approve.

Salma no longer being able to educate girls with the cafe has been difficult, too, Mouflatd said.

"Salma is the glue that holds everything together. She is the one that will send invoices at 2 to 1 a.m. her time," Mouflatd said, adding, "If she was somewhere like in America ... she would be an asset to any company."

Afghanistan is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with 28 million people in need of aid out of a population of around 40 million, according to Save the Children. But Soeripto said her organization can now do less than half of all of their work in the country, compared to before Christmas, in light of the Taliban's ban.

More broadly, Soeripto also pointed to concerning signs that even when exemptions are granted for women, "they don't always get followed through at a local provincial level."

The same appears to be true of girls who want to keep pursuing schooling, the U.N. found, with about 200,000 still in secondary classes around the country despite restrictions handed down from the central government.

Salma remembered one incident in which a member of the Taliban harassed her for leaving her house without a man. She said he threatened her, telling her to wear a burqa, which is a full body covering.

"They take all our rights," Salma said. Afghan women, she said, are being erased -- from tinfoil and bags covering female mannequins' faces to the removal or banning of female teachers and role models.

Still, Salma described the resilience of women who are opening bakeries in their kitchens and hiring other women to help them make money.

"There are some women which fight against the Taliban and their behavior. They will not stop. Never they will. They will not stop their works," she said.

Mouflatd said that widows or female head of households are struggling to make rent. Her organization, Instant Aid, is helping these women by giving them chickens so they can sell eggs or teaching them crafts like embroidery to sell internationally.

Around a quarter of households in Afghanistan are women-led, according to the U.N.

"Decades of conflict resulted in a significant amount of women being widowed," Soeripto said.

She believes the Taliban will continue to try to push women out of public life.

"For us to just stand by and just pretend that that doesn't happen, I think [is] unconscionable," she said.

In a statement, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it has also been meeting with "relevant authorities, to ensure that we will be able to continue carrying on our life-saving humanitarian operations, to the benefit of the Afghan population."

"The international community needs sustained and increased engagement with the de facto authorities of Afghanistan, because there has to be a dialogue going as to how we can understand what the challenges are, what the issues are, and then how we can respond to that," Soeripto said.

"I'm worried that edicts ... make it easy for people to say, 'We cannot work in an environment like this so let's put it to work somewhere else,' and that will be incredibly short-sighted," Soeripto said.

For Salma, her biggest hope is for the return of peaceful stability to Afghanistan's government while women get their "human being rights, our women rights." She asked for the international community to "help us."

Source: ABC News

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

https://abcnews.go.com/International/afghans-advocates-speak-after-taliban-bans-women-working/story?id=97334121

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Over 80,000 Drug Addicts Collected After Islamic Emirate Came to Power: Ministry of Interior

By Nazir Shinwari

The Ministry of Interior said that more than 80,000 drug addicts were collected from across the country after the Islamic Emirate swept into power.

Speaking at a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday, the Interior Ministry’s spokesman, Abdul Nafay Takor, said that the over 5,000 people have been arrested on charges of being involved in drug dealing.

He said that more than 200 drug factories have been destroyed.

“After the (Islamic Emirate took power), the drug addicts were collected. They are 82,000, of whom 26,850 have been collected from Kabul,” Takor said.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health, Sharafat Zaman Amerkhail said there are a total of 60 rehabilitation centers with 10 of them dedicated to women and children in the country.

He said that more than 28,000 drug addicts have been treated'.

“The Ministry of Public Health based on its plan and commitment over the past one and a half years in 34 provinces of the country, has activated the rehabilitation centers for drug addicts. It has a public awareness conference about addiction. It has held meetings at local levels for countering narcotics and it also released public awareness in printed pieces,” Amerkhail said.

“We are thankful to these people for all the services they provided. We hope they would be cooperative in the maintenance of the city,” said Nematullah Barakzai, an official at the Kabul Municipality.

Source: Tolo News

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

https://tolonews.com/index.php/afghanistan-182173

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Southeast Asia

 

Al-Azhar Grand Imam Receives Kelantan Crown Prince Enhance Cooperation In Fields Of Knowledge And Da’wah

21 Feb 2023

Mohamed Mandour

His Eminence, Al-Azhar Grand Imam, Prof. Ahmad At-Tayyeb, received today, Tuesday, at Al-Azhar Headquarters, a high-ranking Malaysian delegation headed by Mr. Tengku Tan Sri, Crown Prince of the Malaysian state of Kelantan, to discuss ways to enhance cooperation in the fields of knowledge and da’wah between the two parties.

The Grand Imam welcomed the Malaysian delegation to Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif, their second country, Egypt, expressing his appreciation for the strong historical relations that link the Malaysian people with Al-Azhar. His Eminence added that Al-Azhar is pleased to receive Malaysians to study in its prestigious institutes and university, explaining that more than 6,500 Malaysian students study at the various educational institutes of Al-Azhar. These students are characterized by their hard work and eagerness to acquire knowledge. They adhere to Islamic values and morals, and they represent their country in the best way in the classes of Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif.

His Eminence also indicated that Al-Azhar seeks to increase the number of Al-Azhar envoys to Malaysia since the Malaysian community needs their help in the fields of education, da’wah and scientific research. The Grand Imam noted that Al-Azhar has an Azhari institute in Malaysia, which witnesses a great turnout from the people of Malaysia studying at it. Al-Azhar is considering the establishment of more institutes to serve the people of Malaysia. His Eminence affirmed that Al-Azhar welcomes the enrollment of Malaysian imams to study at the Al-Azhar International Academy for Training Imams and Preachers to provide them with various skills they need to refute extremist ideas.

The two sides discussed ways to enhance Islamic cooperation and confront the phenomenon of Islamophobia, especially in light of the repeated incidents in the West, which involved extremist groups who provoked Muslims and violated their sanctity. Al-Azhar Grand Imam stressed that the solution lies in taking a unified and influential Islamic position towards these countries that allow crimes of hate and extremism against Muslims, under the so-called banner of freedom of expression, which they do not raise unless these crimes are directed against the sanctities of Muslims and their religious symbols.

For his part, Mr. Tengku Tan Sri and his accompanying delegation expressed their pleasure at visiting Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif and meeting with His Eminence the Grand Imam . They also expressed their thanks and appreciation for the great efforts Al-Azhar is making to support the Muslim countries. They stressed that Al-Azhar graduates in Malaysia enjoy a good reputation, assume the highest positions and set an example for their peers. The delegation also welcomed the continued cooperation with Al-Azhar and lauded opening new horizons to absorb the historical relationship between the two sides and investing in it to the fullest.
Source: See News

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

https://see.news/al-azhar-grand-imam-receives-crown-prince-of-malaysian

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‘I’ll sue those saying I am corrupt’, says former Malaysian PM Muhyiddin Yassin

FEB 18, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR - Former Malaysian prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Sunday vowed legal action against those who insinuate that he is corrupt.

He said he did not take a single cent from the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines during his tenure as prime minister from March 2020 to August 2021.

“I have informed the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) that I am not guilty and they seemed satisfied. I hope these matters are not raised again,” said the chairman of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) opposition bloc, adding that those who want to tarnish his name should prove their claims.

“My lawyer is looking at taking legal action and we will not stop at that alone.

“The Public Accounts Committee has looked into the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, but there are some who intend to go further and connect my name to bribery,” he told reporters after launching a blood donation drive at a mall in Kuala Lumpur.

The president of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia added that he was clueless as to why he had become the target of such accusations.

“I do not know why all these accusations are being thrown at me now. Perhaps because we will be facing six state elections so I can be painted as the bad guy and they (political rivals) can win,” he said.

Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Penang, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu are set to hold state elections this year.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s PN is the governing coalition for Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu, while Negeri Sembilan, Selangor and Penang come under Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Harapan.

“I have been with the government for 50 years – I never had cases of misuse of power or bribery,” Mr Muhyiddin said.

“I follow the rules. I hold on to the law and I have principles.

“I was also once the prime minister. Such insinuations should not have been made.

“I am also the Perikatan Nasional chairman and I know this is a political ploy so that the people are angered and think of me as a thief, a liar and that I had abused my authority,” he added.

“Those who donated to party funds were those who supported our struggle and those who believed what Perikatan stands for.

“It had nothing to do with Jana Wibawa,” said Mr Muhyiddin.

Jana Wibawa was a programme designed to help bumiputera, or Malay-Muslim, contractors during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was conceived by Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Aziz, who was then finance minister in Mr Muhyiddin’s Cabinet. He is now the International Trade and Industry Minister in Datuk Seri Anwar’s Cabinet.

“The proposal was brought to the Cabinet and approved. We implemented it by getting the Bumiputera Wholesale Association to submit the names of contractors approved by the Construction Industry Development Board,“ Mr Muhyiddin said.

He stressed that he was neither involved in setting the eligibility criteria nor awarding contracts under the programme.

“I don’t even know the names of the companies that were chosen for Jana Wibawa,” he said.

MACC had frozen the accounts of Bersatu in the course of investigating allegations that the party had received funds from contractors chosen under the Jana Wibawa programme during Mr Muhyiddin’s tenure.

On Thursday, Mr Muhyiddin was called in by MACC for questioning over the Jana Wibawa case. But he said on Sunday that he was there as a witness, not a suspect.

“The MACC officer informed me that I was not a suspect but was called in merely to give explanations in the process of investigations,” he said.

“It is not fair that the government of the day put the focus on me when it was the finance minister then who made the decisions,” he added.

Source: Straits Times

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

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/i-ll-sue-those-saying-i-am-corrupt-says-former-malaysia-pm-muhyiddin

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Malaysian minister warns against activities inciting chaos after PAS parade with fake weapons

Eileen Ng

FEB 20, 2023

Malaysia’s home minister on Monday issued a warning to all quarters to stop any activities that could incite chaos, following a controversial parade by Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) members with fake weapons.

Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said strict action will be taken against any elements that could threaten public order and harmony.

“The parade, which went viral on social media, has caused public unease,” he said in a statement, pointing out that with the upcoming election in several states, the political temperature is currently raised.

“I request everyone to take into account sensitivities and remain responsible to avoid actions that could result in an even more heated situation.

“Any activity accompanied by symbols in the form of weapons or military (elements) is inappropriate and will certainly invite public unrest,” he said.

He also noted that the parade was shown on a video clip, with background “nasyid” music in Arabic that clearly emphasised a war theme, and questioned whether the parade was meant to “inject the spirit of war”.

For the parade, Terengganu PAS Youth members were clad in mediaeval Islamic war costumes and armed with fake swords, spears and shields.

Several pictures on social media showed a pickup truck carrying a giant fake sword on its cargo-bed.

Young people, clad in green-themed mediaeval militant costumes, were also seen standing on the back of the cargo-bed of a moving pickup truck.

It is understood that the march was part of a two-day PAS Youth gathering, Himpunan Pemuda Islam Terengganu.

The Terengganu police said they are investigating the march.

Agriculture and Food Security Mohamad Sabu said on Monday he is worried that enemies of the country could exploit the parade for their own gain, adding that he will raise the matter at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting.

“We must not take this lightly. The PM is concerned. The Home Ministry must take swift action. This is dangerous (as) youngsters can be influenced,” he said.

Religious Affairs Minister Mohd Na’im Mokhtar has said the march was inappropriate, as it would give a bad perception of the teachings of Islam.

However, PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the matter should not be blown out of proportion, adding that it was similar to a Chinese opera where the actors also carry fake swords and spears.

Source: Straits Times

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

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/stop-inciting-chaos-says-malaysian-minister-after-pas-youth-s-parade-with-fake-weapons

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Graft investigators won’t spare Parti Keadilan Rakyat members: Malaysia PM Anwar

Aqil Haziq Mahmud

21 Feb 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim told parliament on Tuesday (Feb 21) that members of his own Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) will not be spared in his agenda to rid the country of corruption.

“My instruction, including at a meeting this morning with investigative bodies, is: Take action, I don’t care which party, including from my own Parti Keadilan,” he said.

“I cannot guarantee that my own party is 100 per cent clean, like how Members on the other side say they are all clean. It’s clear that’s not true.”

Mr Anwar was responding to a question by opposition Pasir Mas MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari, who asked if appointing Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as deputy prime minister would taint his Malaysia Madani agenda, which covers effective governance.

United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) president Ahmad Zahid is facing 47 corruption charges, including alleged criminal breach of trust of RM31 million (US$7 million) belonging to a charitable foundation he leads. He is also MP for Bagan Datuk.

“No offence to Bagan Datuk, but my question is … Won’t it be logical that this appointment will influence judicial proceedings?” asked Mr Ahmad Fadhli, who is a member of Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS).

Mr Anwar responded that action cannot be taken against MPs before conviction, a point he emphasised has been made clear by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang in the past.

“What I have done is to tell the attorney-general and the chief judge that this country has to stand firm with principles of law. I don’t want to pass judgment before judicial proceedings that are transparent and independent,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also the rural and regional development minister has carried out his duties in line with his instructions, Mr Anwar said.

He said this includes a recent case where Ahmad Zahid instructed government-linked companies under him to follow the tender process, after they raised several “immediate actions” without a tender.

“I want to reassure the Member for Pasir Mas that I have no intention of interfering in the (judicial) process, but the perception that he suggested might be correct,” Mr Anwar said.

“I can only guarantee that it won’t affect the Madani principle. If I appear to go hard on corruption or misuse of funds that takes place with proof, then I make no apologies. It is not a personal issue, even though I know I have been criticised by some people for apparently finding faults.”

Following an investigation by Malaysia’s anti-graft agency, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (Bersatu) information chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan on Tuesday claimed trial against charges of accepting and soliciting bribes of almost RM7 million in relation to the government’s Jana Wibawa aid programme.

According to local media, the Tasek Gelugor MP was also charged on Tuesday with soliciting an unspecified amount for a road project worth RM232 million.

The Jana Wibawa aid programme was an economic generation project during Malaysia’s COVID-19 movement control order. It was a stimulus aid package that was meant to help Bumiputera contractors.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had also frozen Bersatu’s bank accounts as part of graft investigations, a move that opposition leaders criticise as efforts by the government to “kill” the credibility of Bersatu and the Perikatan Nasional coalition it leads.

Commenting on the charges against Wan Saiful, Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin claimed on Tuesday that his party is the victim of “selective prosecution”.

“We actually expected that this would be done by the PH (Pakatan Harapan)-BN (Barisan Nasional) government to weaken Bersatu after seeing growing support for Perikatan Nasional,” he was quoted by local media as saying at a press conference.

The MACC has questioned Mr Muhyiddin as well as current international trade and industry minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz as part of its probe into the Jana Wibawa programme.

On Tuesday, Mr Tengku Zafrul announced in an Instagram post that he gave his statement to the anti-graft agency on Monday evening. “I will continue to cooperate with the authorities if needed, thank you,” he said.

Mr Anwar said in parliament on Tuesday that he wanted to get rid of corruption to show that Malaysia Madani was not “just an empty slogan”.

“I want to let the people understand that the country cannot be safe without values, manners and character. We can succeed in the economy, but fail in governance that involves corruption and abuse of power, which has become the norm,” he said.

“When I say this has become systemic, some say I am criticising Malaysia from overseas. But this is clear, no matter if we are in Jakarta or Bangkok, I will say it.

Source: Channel News Asia

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

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/malaysia-anwar-ibrahim-graft-investigators-corruption-macc-bersatu-pkr-charged-3293021

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Africa

 

Muslim scholars supplicate, endorse Tinubu for president

By Waliat Musa

22 February 2023

Concerned Yoruba Muslim Scholars in Nigeria (CYMSN) has prayed for peaceful general elections and endorsed All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, for this weekend’s contest.

During a prayer session at the National Mosque, Abuja, the group’s Secretary General, Prof. Abideen Olaiya, advised politicians against heating up the polity through unguarded utterances.

He deplored the calls in certain quarters for interim government and election postponement, warning that such could jeopardise the electoral process.

CYMSN observed that Tinubu possesses the competence, capacity and ability to bring good governance to Nigerians if elected president.

Olaiya continued: “We are an organisation working for the peaceful transition of electoral process. We organised this prayer as an intercessional prayer for divine favour from Almighty Allah to make transition that is ongoing peaceful and successful.

“The fuel scarcity and naira redesign policy crises, among others are giving us a serious concern. And we have gathered to pray to Almighty God to give us intervention so that we can have a smooth and peaceful conduct of the electoral process.

“We are equally praying for the victory of Asiwaju and Shettima presidential project. The Ummah have sat severally and we have taken our decision to endorse the presidential project of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima. We are equally praying that Almighty Allah will give them victory in the upcoming elections. And we are equally praying that Almighty Allah should make them to be able to deliver good governance to Nigerians because Nigerians are seriously yearning for capable and competent leader to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari.”

The scribe pleaded: “We are advising the political leaders to take it easy for themselves. This situation with the electorate is not as rosy as it were. We want the politicians not to unnecessarily heat up the polity by making statements that could destabilise the country.

“This election has been planned over the last two years. We hope that the politicians would not make any mistake that can make anybody to come and say ‘Fellow Nigerians’ again. The politicians should not make any mistake that can truncate the electoral process.”

Source: Guardian Nigeria

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

https://guardian.ng/news/muslim-scholars-supplicate-endorse-tinubu-for-president/

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Tunisia’s press syndicate head says he faces prosecution over protest

21 February ,2023

The head of Tunisia’s press syndicate said on Tuesday he faced a police complaint over a protest last year, calling it an attempt to intimidate his organization and silence criticism of the president.

Mehdi Jlassi said he learned of the accusations after police showed his lawyer the formal complaint while she was defending other activists in the same case.

She told him that his name was one of several listed alongside those activists, he said.

The complaint accuses Jlassi of inciting disobedience against the police and assaulting police officers during a small protest in July last year, Mehdi told Reuters by phone.

However, “there was no attack or clash with the police” during that protest, he added.

The police and Interior Ministry declined to comment on the complaint.

Police have this month carried out a wave of arrests of critics of President Kais Saied, who shut down the elected parliament in 2021 and assumed broad powers, moves his critics have called a coup.

Saied has said his actions were legal and necessary to save Tunisia from chaos. The police and Interior Ministry have declined comment on those arrests too but Saied has accused some of those detained of being behind price rises and shortages of goods.

Jlassi and the press syndicate have been vocal champions of freedom of speech in Tunisia, which blossomed after the 2011 revolution that brought democracy, and has largely persisted since Saied’s seizure of powers.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2023/02/21/Tunisia-s-press-syndicate-head-says-he-faces-prosecution-over-protest

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Three peacekeepers killed, five injured in Mali: UN

21 February ,2023

Three United Nations peacekeepers were killed and five were seriously injured after their convoy hit an improvised explosive device in central Mali, the UN peacekeeping mission in the West African country said on Tuesday on Twitter.

Mali is struggling to stem extremism that took root after a 2012 coup and has since spread from the West African country’s arid north.

Thousands have died and millions have been displaced across the Sahel region.

Some of the groups have links to al-Qaeda and ISIS.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2023/02/21/Three-peacekeepers-killed-five-injured-in-Mali-UN

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10 killed, several injured in al-Shabaab terrorist attack on residential building in Somalia's capital

22.02.2023

MOGADISHU, Somalia

At least 10 people were killed and several others were injured when al-Shabaab terrorists stormed a residential building in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, sprayed indiscriminate bullets with automatic weapons on civilians, and one of them blew himself up.

Five terrorists from the al-Shabaab group, which is linked to the al-Qaeda terror network, attacked the residential building near Mogadishu's main Liido beach on Tuesday evening, where a senior Somali military official also lives, according to local media.

The Information Ministry said in a statement that the attack began with a suicide bombing, followed by gunfire that killed 10 people.

The security forces completed the operation and killed four terrorist attackers, the ministry said.

Four security personnel were injured during the operation that ended the al-Shabaab militants' siege of the building, it added.

Local media reported that some injured fighters from the government-backed armed militia known as Macwisley were staying at the residential building when al-Shabaab militants attacked it.

Macwisley is a clan-based militia fighting al-Shabaab terrorists in the country's central provinces.

Al-Shabaab later claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on its propaganda website, claiming that it had attacked a Macwisley base and killed more than 70 people.

Meanwhile, the Somali government announced on Tuesday that the army, backed by international partners, carried out a 30-hour operation against terrorists in the Middle Shabelle region, killing 42 al-Shabaab militants.

The ministry said in a separate statement that the military, backed by the central state of Galmudug regional forces, killed over 80 al-Shabaab terrorists in Shabeelow, Mudug region.

Since military operations against al-Shabaab have intensified, the terrorist group has increased its attacks.

In October of last year, two car bombs exploded at the Education Ministry, killing at least 121 people and injuring more than 300 others in the deadliest bombing in Somalia in years.

The Somali National Army has been fighting al-Shabaab terrorists since President Mohamud declared an "all-out war" on them after his re-election for a second term last May.

Somalia has been plagued by insecurity for years, with al-Shabaab and Daesh/ISIS being the main threats.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/10-killed-several-injured-in-al-shabaab-terrorist-attack-on-residential-building-in-somalias-capital/2827409

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