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Islamic World News ( 17 Apr 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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ISI, Lashkar-e-Taiba: Questions Emerge After Atiq Ahmad's Killing

New Age Islam News Bureau

17 April 2023

Atiq also admitted to have contacted the Pakistan-backed banned terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (File photo)

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India

• Retired UNICEF Doctor Killed By Stray Dogs On Aligarh Muslim University Campus

• UP Urban Local Body Polls: Muslims Get BJP Ticket From Rampur, Tanda

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Pakistan

• Another Operation Planned At Zaman Park During Eid Holidays, Imran Tells LHC

• Qureshi Blames ‘All Stakeholders’ For Militants’ Return

• Punjab Free Flour Scheme Under Ramadan Relief Package Successfully Concluded

• Misunderstood Objective of Fasting and Ramadan

• In Pakistan, Economic Crisis Mutes Ramadan Celebrations

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Africa

• Four herdsmen allegedly killed in Enugu, as Miyetti-Allah decries attack

• Fighting rages in Sudan as death toll climbs to 97

• Buhari, Chadian Leader Express Concern Over Sudan Crisis

• Buhari wades into Obalende Muslim praying-ground crisis

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South Asia

• Taliban Releases 41 Prisoners, Including 7 Women in Afghanistan’s Ghor Province

• Kazakhstan Is Ready to Welcome Afghan Diplomats, Says Baradar

• PM opens 50 more model mosques

• Nine Ramadan fasting inmates escape from Badulla open prison; two apprehended

• Afghanistan at Highest Risk of Famine in 25 Years as Funding Runs Dry: OCHA Warns

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Europe

• Police attacked during Birmingham Ramadan stalls crackdown

• Racists targeting a mosque countered by a ‘celebration of diversity’

• Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden ‘knew we were going to die’ on mission

• Police officers assaulted during Birmingham Ramadan market investigation with council

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Arab World

• Crown Prince Receives Saudi Astronauts RayyanahBarnawi, Ali Al-Qarni, Mariam Firdous and • Ali Al-Ghamdi Ahead Of Space Mission

• Stunning aerial views of the faithful’s mammoth convergence at Grand Mosque in Makkah

• Saudi project dismantles 861 Houthi mines in Yemen

• Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributes over 282 tons of food aid worldwide

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Mideast

Jihad: The Sword Of The Palestinian Resistance Will Only Be Sheathed By The Liberation Of The Prisoners

• Ties Between Islamic Countries Should Be Deepened By Relying On Common Grounds: Iranian President

• Army commanders renew allegiance with ideals of Imam Khomeini

• 36 truffle hunters among 41 killed by Islamic State in Syria

• Human Rights Ministry welcomes success of Ramadan prisoner swap deal

• OQ's Marsa Al Khair Ramadan convoy concludes it journey across 7 governorates in Oman

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Southeast Asia

• Mosques and Muslims Around the World Promote Sustainability and ‘Green’ Ramadan

• BARMM to field moon-sighting teams to determine Ramadan’s end

• Muslims around the world consider climate during Ramadan

• MOTAC hosts Ramadan’s Iftar evening wit foreign diplomats in Malaysia

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North America

• Virginia Senator Defends FBI Investigation, Compares Traditionalist Catholics To Radical Muslims

• US ‘Likely’ Kills Senior Islamic State Leader

• US helicopter raid in Syria targets an Islamic State leader

• US Centcom says senior Islamic state leader targeted in Syria raid, likely killed

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/isi-lashkar-e-taiba-atiq-ahmad-killing/d/129585

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ISI, Lashkar-e-Taiba: Questions Emerge After Atiq Ahmad's Killing

Apr 17, 2023

Atiq also admitted to have contacted the Pakistan-backed banned terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (File photo)

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LUCKNOW: The three assailants of don-politician Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf claimed to have killed the duo Saturday night in Prayagraj to become "famous", but people aren't convinced that the sensational shooting was just to create a sensation.

Several questions were being asked Sunday in hindsight. Were the duo targets of contract killing? That's a possibility, said those handling the probe. There were reports about three shooters being hired for Rs 10 lakh each by people who were afraid of Atiq spilling the beans about their links with him and wanted to silence the gangster and his brother.

The Lawrence Bishnoi gang, which has been in the news lately for the murder of Punjabi rapper Sidhu Moose Wala in May last year, is known to use Turkish Zigana pistols. Atiq and Ashraf were shot dead with Ziganas, a weapon banned in India. Could there be a link here? Investigators are trying to find out.

There have been reports that Guddu Muslim, another suspect in the murder of lawyer Umesh Pal, was harbouring a wish to be Atiq's successor, but the gangster-politician's choice was younger brother Ashraf. Guddu has strong reasons to have plotted the murder to establish his supremacy in a gang with enormous undisclosed fortunes, sources said.

Atiq and Ashraf had reportedly disclosed to police about an ISI agent supplying arms to them. Atiq also admitted to have contacted the Pakistan-backed banned terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. The possibility of ISI or LeT having a hand in the fatal shooting is being explored as well.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/supari-lawrence-bishnoi-guddu-muslim-isi-let-questions-emerge-after-atiq-ahmeds-killing/articleshow/99544062.cms

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Chinese Engineer Arrested In Pakistan's Kohistan For 'Insulting Allah', Hundreds Block Karakoram Highway

APRIL 17, 2023

A Chinese national (center) was arrested in Pakistan's Kohistan on blasphemy charges. (Credits: Twitter/Jamil Nagri)

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AChinese engineer working at a hydropower project in Kohistan District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan has been arrested on Sunday for ‘Insulting Allah.’

The unnamed engineer, an employee of China Gezhouba Group Company, was arrested from the Dasu hydropower project after an angry mob gathered to attack him for allegedly making blasphemous remarks during a heated argument at the workplace, a report in South China Morning Post said.

The Chinese national was detained at a police station in the remote Kohistan region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province ‘to avert a serious situation,’ the report said.

The report quoted a source as saying that the Pakistani labourers gathered outside the engineer’s office on Sunday to attack him for “insulting Allah” amid a heated conversation about the slow pace of work during Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting.

As the news of the blasphemy spread, hundreds of men from nearby villages in the mountainous Himalayan region gathered to block the Karakoram Highway connecting Pakistan to China to protest against the Chinese citizen.

The mob was restrained by police and paramilitary soldiers and local reports claimed that aerial warning shots were fired to prevent a riot.

The demonstrators were assured that the Chinese engineer would face legal repercussions and then the protestors dispersed after four hours.

Meanwhile, the security of the Chinese nationals working on the World Bank-financed Dasu hydropower project has been tightened.

Earlier in July 2021, nine Chinese nationals were killed, alongside four Pakistani colleagues, in a suicide bombing on a bus. The bus was carrying people, including the Chinese national, to the hydropower plant site.

In December of the same year, a Sri Lankan factory manager working in Pakistan was beaten to death and set ablaze by a mob over blasphemy accusations.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where even unproven allegations can stir mobs and violence. The crime carries punishments ranging from fines to the death penalty.

According to the National Commission of Justice and Peace, a human rights and legal aid group in Pakistan, 774 Muslims and 760 members of various minority religious groups were accused of blasphemy in the last 20 years.

Source: news18.com

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

https://www.news18.com/world/chinese-engineer-arrested-in-pakistans-kohistan-for-insulting-allah-hundreds-block-karakoram-highway-7566295.html

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Don’t Take Loans To Perform Hajj, It Is Against The Injunctions Of The Religion, Cleric Urges Muslims

April 16, 2023

A Muslim cleric, Sheik Ibrahim Yusuf, has urged Muslim faithful not to take loan to visit the holy land, saying it is against the injunctions of the religion.

Yusuf said this at a Ramadan Lecture organised by Professional Muslim Women Network on Sunday in Lagos.

The cleric in a lecture titled; “Islam is a Complete Religion”, said there was no need for Muslims to borrow or take loans during Ramadan or perform Hajj (pilgrimage).

Yusuf said that it had become a norm in the society today for people to want to do more than their capacity in order to show off.

He said that nothing is new in Islam because the religion is complete with laydown principles and that it is against Islamic injunctions.

“Many people have developed hypertension in the society because they have taken loans from microfinance banks and cannot repay.

“To serve Allah or go for Hajj, it is not compulsory or mandatory; It is voluntary. Don’t take loan because of that, this is not acceptable.

“Islam as a religion does not make it compulsory for anyone, it is a peaceful and complete religion.

“There are five pillars in Islam that every muslim must adhere to; there is no other God but Allah, say your five prayers daily, pay your Zakat diligently, fast during Ramadan and visit to the holy land (Mecca).

“The visit to holy land is one of the pillars, but it is not compulsory. It is voluntary if you have the resources,” the cleric said.

He urged all Muslims who have missed any fast during the Ramadan to repay it as stipulated.

“You are exempted from the fast if you are sick, a traveler, pregnant, a nursing mother and if you’re elderly.

“You are not expected to participate in the fast if you fall into these  categories. But, you must find time at a later date to observe the days missed.

“Don’t stress yourself to worship Allah. Many people have developed hypertension because of loan and stress. If God says you will go to the holy land, you will.

“Allah said, “I have made this religion complete for you easy, don’t stress yourself”,” he noted.

Yusuf urged Muslims to dedicate themselves to prayer, almsgiving and Zakat even after the Ramadan.

“Ramadan is just once a year, you must worship and pray fervently to Allah during this period.

“The period is a period of self-disciple which every Muslim is expected to continue after Ramadan,” he explained.

Hajia Rafat Salami, one of the conveners, said that the lecture was organised to educate Muslim faithful on their obligations during and after Ramadan.

Source: vanguardngr.com

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

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2023/04/ramadan-dont-take-loans-to-perform-hajj-cleric-urges-muslims/

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Singapore’s Islamic Council apologizes for poorly worded discriminatory notice to Bangladeshi Muslims

Apr 17, 2023

Photo: Roots.sg/Instagram

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In the lead up to the festivities on Eid, the Singapore Islamic Religious Council (MUIS) are anticipating larger crowds for the Eid prayers.

In post on Saturday, Apr. 15, they announced that up to three prayer sessions will be offered across 68 mosques to provide 230,000 prayer spaces – although booking is required for some mosques.

On top of that, supplementary spaces at void decks and multipurpose halls will also be available.

The announcement was welcomed by the Muslim community who are looking to perform the prayers with the wider community on Eid.

However, in a memo that was sent to the Singapore Bangladesh Society, addressed to “Bangladeshi Migrant Muslim Brothers in Singapore”, MUIS had requested that the migrant workers perform their Eid prayers at their respective dormitories, instead of having the freedom to do so at a mosque with other Muslims in the community.

The Singapore Bangladesh Society had initially shared the memo on their Facebook page but took it down eventually.

Local rapper Subhas, who have been vocal on racial matters online, was among the first to call MUIS out on the memo.

In an Instagram post, he attached the memo as well as a screenshot of his direct message to MUIS regarding the matter.

He criticized both MUIS and the Singapore Bangladesh Society for “publishing this circular”.

“How does celebrating Eid and praying affect health and safety?” he asked. “If this is about Covid, then this advisory should be for everyone – addressed to all Mulsims or all Singaporeans to wear masks during this festive period.”

He felt that the memo had singled out workers and read like a xenophobic statement.

MUIS has not immediately responded to Coconuts’ queries requesting comment.

Many others also started voicing out their views on this move by MUIS, starting with reminding them that migrant workers have helped build some the mosques.

Others were indisbelief at how discriminatory the request was and everyone demanded an explanation.

After being bombarded with comments demanding an apology or explanation, MUIS finally crafted a generic response – which they repeated.

Were people satisfied with the vague response and their copy-and-paste efforts? Well, no.

Besides using the same message for every comment posted on the MUIS Instagram page, what is clearly missing is the resolution.

While they did not publish their apology as an official statement, it is unclear if MUIS had retracted the memo and have yet to reply to the queries by the general public.

Source: coconuts.co

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

https://coconuts.co/singapore/news/singapores-islamic-council-apologizes-for-poorly-worded-discriminatory-notice-to-bangladeshi-muslims/

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Former Head Of France's Intelligence Service Sounds An Alarm On Islam

Apr 16, 2023

Giulio Meotti

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The principal of a high school in Drammen, Norway, did not want Muslim students to leave the classroom to pray during Ramadan. She apologized when several of them reacted violently and now she is threatened with death. Hanne Merete Hagby is the principal of the high school, which has 30 percent Muslim students. "It's not okay to leave class or be late because of it," she wrote. She deleted the post after two hours.

An appointment to "lynch" the principal is published on the social network. The police had to be there to protect her.

Welcome to the Europe of tomorrow!

Imagine schools that are 50-80 percent Muslim, such as those in many districts in Oslo, Marseille, Paris, Birmingham, Cologne, Hamburg, Malmö, Vienna, Rotterdam, Brussels. Should they close during Ramadan because students think they should be in prayer rooms instead of classrooms?

It is Aftenposten - the first Norwegian newspaper which for decades has promoted generous and non-critical views on immigration - that decided to publish a report that contradicts what they themselves and their "experts" have claimed would happen. Journalists visited Kuben High School, where 76 percent of students have a mother tongue other than Norwegian. At Bjørnholt VGS, the figure is 92 percent. “In 50 primary schools in Oslo, more than 50 percent of pupils have a mother tongue other than Norwegian.”

Let's change country. Same story.

A teacher at a Catholic high school in Angers, France, has been indicted by the prosecution for "inciting racial or religious discrimination," reports Le Parisien. What did he do? During a lesson in this Catholic school, the professor said that "Catholic schools should continue to teach students of the Catholic faith" and that "France is a Catholic country". The teacher, contacted by Le Monde, explained: "I teach law and the history of law which has a lot to do with Catholicism and Christianity. A student told me that in France there is no religion, but that there is only I reminded him that we are in a Catholic school, that once in my place priests and nuns taught and that the students were Catholics”. The principal recalls that "20 percent of our students are Muslims," and he observes, you need to show respect! The professor declares that he is afraid of being "the next Samuel Paty".

It is not surprising that the high schools of Nantes, in France, organize visits to the local mosques.

When the Evian brand published a seemingly banal message, “retweet if you have already had a liter of Evian today”, the ad unleashed a real hate campaign for the Danone subsidiary. Evian is accused of racism. Thus, the brand has decided to apologize. Why? The advertisement coincided with Ramadan, when the obligation to fast is in force.

Speaking to the Journal du dimanche, former head of France's internal secret service (DGSE) Pierre Brochand this week says: "Multi-religious societies are all bound to tear each other apart. It's a difficult world, where no one does anyone any favours. The nation is a circle of trust that immigration undermines. The keystone of social trust is the welfare state, which is incompatible with the free movement of people".

Bronchand says the problem is not immigration itself, but Islamic immigration. “The first wave of migration lasted a century with the arrival of immigrants of Euro-Christian origin, discreet, industrious, grateful, regulated by the economy and who were trying to assimilate. The unsurpassed model of successful fusion. The second started in the 1970s and has only increased. It is a settlement that is not calibrated by either work or politics. Only by individual rights subject only to supranational law. A freewheeling flow that overwhelms us. The cultural gap that separates us from these newcomers has no equivalent in our history. They all come from the Third World, from societies in crisis where what reigns is uncivilized behaviour, violence and corruption. Most are Muslims. Today there are 25 times more Muslims in France than in the 1960s. Islam is a total civilization, proud, warlike, offensive, militant, which has suffered from being humiliated by the West for two centuries. Globalization has given him an opportunity, the volcano has awakened”.

Europe is Pompei.

Source: israelnationalnews.com

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https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/370037

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India

 

Retired UNICEF doctor killed by stray dogs on Aligarh Muslim University campus

Apr 17, 2023

AGRA: A 70-year-old former doctor, who had worked with UNICEF, was mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs while he was out for morning walk on the Aligarh Muslim University campus in Civil Lines locality of the city on Sunday.

The victim was identified as Safdar Alii, a resident of Medical Road in Civil Lines. He had retired after serving in Kasganj district years ago, according to his family.

The incident was captured on CCTV cameras, and a video clip of the incident has gone viral on social media.

According to SP (City) Kuldeep Singh Gunawat, police were informed about a body lying in the park around 7.30 am. The police soon screened the CCTV footage, which revealed that Safdar Alii was attacked by a pack of stray dogs. He succumbed to his injuries on the spot.

Though no police complaint has been filed by the family, the body was sent for autopsy by cops.

Mohammad Zeeshan, the deceased's son-in-law, stated that Safdar used to go for a morning walk regularly, and the tragic incident occurred during his routine walk.

When asked about the stray dogs menace in the city, the commissioner of the municipal corporation of Aligarh city, Amit Aseri, said, "We are planning to build a kennel for stray dogs, and a proposal has already been sent to the government for approval."

Aseri also suggested that locals should obtain a licence before keeping pet dogs.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/retired-unicef-doctor-killed-by-stray-dogs-on-amu-campus/articleshow/99543399.cms

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UP Urban Local Body Polls: Muslims Get BJP Ticket From Rampur, Tanda

Apr 17, 2023

LUCKNOW: In a significant development, BJP on Sunday announced candidature of Muslims in two Nagar Palika Parishad (NPP) chairperson seats of Rampur - the political backyard of senior SP leader Azam Khan - for the Urban Local Body elections due next month.

The party has decided to field Mehnaz Jahan from Tanda and Dr Musret Mujib from Rampur NPP, signalling a sharp departure from the recent past when it did not field a single Muslim in Rampur. Mehnaz, who had won the Tanda seat as an independent in 2017 ULB polls, is learnt to have been inducted into the BJP recently. Data show that in 2017, BJP fielded one Shobha who could garner only 2.65% votes and even lost her deposits.

Likewise, Dr Mujib is wife of former BSP leader Dr Tanveer Ahmad, who has been demanding a ticket for himself. But after the seat got reserved for women the BJP gave the ticket to his wife. In 2017, the BJP had fielded Deepa Gupta, wife of local BJP leader Bharat Bhushan Gupta from Rampur NPP. Deepa, however, lost to Fatima Zabi of the Samajwadi Party. Bharat himself contested Rampur by-elections in 2019 after Azam vacated the seat following his election to the Lok sabha. Bhushan, however, lost to SP candidate and Azam's wife Tazeen Fatima.

Highly placed sources in the BJP said that the saffron outfit may field Muslims in two out of three Nagar Panchayat chairperson seats. Party sources said that the BJP has zeroed on Camry and Narpat Nagar NPs of Rampur which have a sizable Muslim population.

The move indicates BJP's minority outreach in an apparent bid to blunt the aggression of the opposition, essentially the Samajwadi party which banks heavily on consolidation of Muslims, accounting for almost 19% of the electoral bloc. This also comes as a sharp departure from the recent past when BJP managed to breach Rampur during the recent by polls while fielding candidates from the Hindu community.

In Rampur Lok Sabha bypoll, which was held after Azam vacated it to retain Rampur assembly seat, BJP fielded Ghanshyam Singh Lodhi, an OBC, who managed to defeat SP candidate and Azam's protege Asim Raja. Similarly, in the Rampur assembly bypoll, BJP's Akash Saxena defeated Raja who was again fielded by SP. The Rampur assembly bypoll followed after Azam lost his membership following conviction in a hate speech case.

The BJP has been relaying signals of reaching out to Muslims after PM Narendra Modi, during BJP's Hyderabad convention in August 2022, pressed on the need of reaching out to Pasmanda Muslims which are socio-economically backward. Modi reiterated his observations during a webinar in February. The BJP has since been planning campaigns, including 'minority conventions', to woo Muslim in the run up to 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/up-ulb-polls-muslims-get-bjp-ticket-from-rampur-tanda/articleshow/99544283.cms

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Pakistan

 

Another operation planned at Zaman Park during Eid holidays, Imran tells LHC

April 17, 2023

Former prime minister Imran Khan on Monday told the Lahore High Court (LHC) that the authorities had planned another operation at his residence in Zaman Park during the Eid holidays, and requested the court to halt any action against his party.

The PTI chief made this claim during the hearing of a plea filed by him seeking to halt “coercive government action” against PTI and quashment of multiple cases filed against him on identical charges.

A two-member bench headed by Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh conducted a hearing into the PTI chief’s petition.

Filed by the PTI on Saturday, the plea nominated nine authorities and individuals as respondents including the prime minister, interior minister, Punjab caretaker chief minister, inspector general of police Punjab, the National Accountability Bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency.

The hearing

At the outset of the hearing, Imran’s counsel Barrister Salman Safdar said that new cases were being filed against his client with each passing day. “The state’s machinery is being misused,” he claimed.

The counsel said more than 140 cases had been filed against the former premier, expressing concerns regarding Imran’s arrest. He demanded that the police high-ups should appear in court and explain whether the arrest was even necessary.

The lawyer said all the cases against Imran were filed by the police, who he claimed were using “police stations for political point-scoring”.

According to the law, it is necessary to explain the reasons for the arrest, the lawyer told the court.

He pointed out that it was not possible to pay fees for so many cases.

He cited reports claiming that an [police] operation might be launched at Imran’s Lahore residence at the culmination of Ramazan.

Imran testified in court that despite court orders, the police had previously damaged his home during the Zaman Park operation.

He also shared that he had received information about an upcoming operation at his residence during the Eid holidays, and expressed concerns about potential bloodshed.

He also accused the government of not only attempting to imprison him but also planning to cause him physical harm. “They want to eliminate me,” he claimed.

He emphasised the need for the court to intervene and issue strict directions to prevent the government from conducting any further operations.

Punjab government lawyer Ghulam Sarwar Nihang said a plea could not be filed on the basis of assumptions.

“It has been said in the plea that the petitioner should not be arrested, nor should an investigation be conducted.”

He contended that the investigative powers of police could not be obstructed.

The judge inquired if the government’s lawyer could assure that the authorities would refrain from taking action against the petitioner by filing a new FIR in the old case.

The lawyer responded that a question will also arise that the petitioner had come in person to seek relief in the case but he refrained from turning up before courts when summoned in the past.

He urged the court to reject the plea.

Imran Khan repeated his claim that he had credible information about the government’s plan to launch another operation. He expressed his lack of faith in the system and reiterated his concerns to the court.

After hearing arguments, the court referred the PTI chief’s plea to the full bench for further review, noting that similar cases were already being heard there.

In its note to the full bench, the LHC also stated that the petitioner had requested an urgent hearing for the petition.

The petition

The plea seeking court directions against the government’s action targeting the ex-PM pointed out that “more than 100 politically motivated and unlawful FIRs” had been lodged against Imran while “100s of fabricated FIRs” had been filed against the leaders and workers of the PTI.

The plea said thousands of workers had been picked up and illegally detained, while the whereabouts of many were unknown, noting that the action amounted to grave violations of the petitioner’s rights.

“The petitioner seeks the protection of this honourable court from the most audacious assault on fundamental rights launched by any executive of this country in furtherance of the most constitutionally abhorrent objective: to prevent or delay elections required by the Constitution in order to ensure that the largest ’ political party in Pakistan may be prevented from participating or winning such elections.”

The plea went on to say that the “extraordinary nature of the attack on fundamental rights of one of the largest political parties of the country involved violations of their rights to life and liberty, fair trial, dignity and privacy of home, movement, assembly, association, speech, and equal treatment guaranteed under Article 9, 10A, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, and 25 of the Constitution meant that the intervention of the court is required in order to protect and enforce the said fundamental rights and the rule of law”.

According to the petition, “Despite the fact that none of the tactics such as false criminal cases, edited and inauthentic audio leaks, custodial torture of Petitioner’s political associates, suppression of the coverage of the Petitioner and elimination of the voices in support, worked to diminish the popularity of the Petitioner, the Respondents did not end the matter there.”

Quoting an assassination attempt on the former premier in November last year, the plea pointed out that there was an attempt to assassinate the petitioner on Nov 3, 2022, during a political procession in Wazirabad.

“In the incident, the petitioner narrowly escaped the attempt on his life, although he received two firearm injuries and had to be rushed to the hospital. As many as 13 other individuals were injured and one innocent person lost his life. The incident resulted in the petitioner having severe mobility issues until he had fully recovered from the injuries.”

The plea urged the court to issue directions that the unprecedented repeated abuse and misuse of criminal law machinery of the state to register criminal cases against the PTI chief amounted to causing grave, and illegal violation of the Petitioner’s fundamental rights under Articles 10A, 15, 16, 17, 19, 19-A, and 25 of the Constitution.

It also sought the court’s directions that “the undue haste in seeking the apprehension and arrest of Imran is a grave violation of his right to life and liberty”.

The PTI chief also, in his plea, urged the court that the “practice of lodging different FIRs all over Pakistan over the same occurrence and practice of unnecessarily prolonging the incarceration of an accused by transferring them from one jurisdiction to another is a deliberate and male fide violation of fundamental rights and respondents be restrained from taking such steps.”

The plea said urged the court that no “coercive action” should be taken against the petitioner and his party in pursuance of all the FIRs /call-up notices.

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1748138/another-operation-planned-at-zaman-park-during-eid-holidays-imran-tells-lhc

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Qureshi blames ‘all stakeholders’ for militants’ return

April 17, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Days after an in-camera session of parliament attended by the top military leadership blamed the previous government for the rise in militancy, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday tried to shift the blame for the rehabilitation of the TTP militants in tribal districts to all political parties.

In an interview on Sunday, Mr Qureshi rejected an impression that the militants were rehabilitated because of the PTI regime and the then-military leaders.

“When Taliban were eager to return to Pakistan from Afghanistan, it was decided to bring them into the mainstream and for that some conditions were set: they will have to obey the Constitution, will give up arms and live in peace within their specified areas,” he explained.

“Those who are raising objections [today] they also attended the briefing [held during the PTI regime],” he said while alluding to the ruling coalition and the incumbent military leadership.

After the briefing, it was decided to give a go-ahead to chalk out a strategy in this regard. However, the PTI government was removed and the coalition government which succeeded the PTI was resp­onsible for the current crisis, he added.

He pointed out that there was a significant decline in terrorism during the PTI rule but incidents of terrorism have increased during the past year.

Sources privy to the meeting revealed that the military leadership, while giving a briefing to members of parliament a couple of days ago, also blamed the PTI regime and the then-army leadership for the rise in militancy.

During the meeting, Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir cited several verses from the Holy Quran to say that it was a mistake to rehabilitate militants in tribal districts.

He was of the view that in line with the teachings of Islam, a grand operation was conducted against militants but later these militants were allowed to return. Resultantly, the country was facing an upsurge in militancy.

A source said the army chief termed the Constitution as “supreme” and said the survival of everyone was dependent on its true implementation. He had said that he felt proud sitting in parliament.

The source quoted the COAS as saying that after the Golden Jubilee Celeb­rations of the Constitution, which took place last week, he went to different formations of the army and urged the personnel to give due respect to the Constitution.

Another source — who had attended both meetings during PTI’s regime and the one held last week — told Dawn that nobody had expressed reservations over the plans to resettle the militants in tribal districts, except for PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

The PPP chairman had questioned how the Taliban could be rehabilitated and what guarantees that they will remain confined to their designated areas, the source revealed.

He said that “all of us could only clap on whatever was briefed to us in that meeting as well as the recent meeting”.

Some of the participants of the meeting also suggested that minutes of the in-camera meeting should be made public to dent the PTI narrative.

For the first time, the NA speaker sat in his own chair on the dais instead of sitting beside the army chief and the prime minister on the floor of the house. This move was hailed by the leader of the opposition, Raja Riaz, who lauded the speaker for “upholding the prestige of parliament”.

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1748093/qureshi-blames-all-stakeholders-for-militants-return

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Punjab Free Flour Scheme Under Ramadan Relief Package Successfully Concluded

UMAR ASIF

17 April 2023

The scheme, which was part of the Ramadan Relief Package, distributed over 41 million flour bags of 10 kilograms each, costing a whopping Rs53 billion.

Monday, April 17, 2023

According to a spokesperson, the scheme was designed to provide relief to the needy during the holy month of Ramadan. The government aimed to ensure that every deserving family in Punjab received free flour, irrespective of their economic status.

The spokesperson added that the scheme had benefited 31 million deserving families across the province.

To ensure the smooth distribution of free flour under the scheme, the caretaker provincial ministers visited distribution points in all districts and supervised the process.

Source: samaaenglish.tv

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https://www.samaaenglish.tv/news/40032071/pakistan-punjab-free-flour-scheme-under-ramadan-relief-package-successfully-concluded

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Misunderstood Objective of Fasting and Ramadan

Faisal Ansar

APRIL 17, 2023

The month of Ramadan is considered to be the most sacred month in which the value of worship is enhanced and people tend to worship comparatively more in this month than in other months. Masjids are often seen packed with worshipers at the time of salah and it is increased especially in the last ten days as people observe Itikaf these days and on the 27th of Ramdan, worshipers stay awake the whole night in Masjids and at home as it is reckoned Shab-e-Qadar. Overall great religious enthusiasm is observed and a religious environment is formed everywhere in the county and people are seen keenly worshipping across the country.

The other side of the picture of Ramdan is quite bleak that at large people comprehend that Ramdan is the only month in which worship should be made although it is not the case in fact, the value of worship is only increased in this month while all good deeds should be performed a whole year. Masjids are thronged with worshipers as the first moon is sighted to mark Ramadan and people vanish from Masjids as the second moon is sighted to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitre which is pathetic.

Similarly, it is a misconception and a trend about fasting as well that at large, people reckon fasting means staying hungry and thirsty the whole day which is, in fact, not the only purpose of fasting. Pragmatically, fasting means to refrain from all the bad deeds such as telling lies, having grudges, backbiting, teasing, hurting and abusing people and performing good deeds as much as one can like giving charity to needy people in this month to get more rewards, helping poor financially and other ways, keep moral good and behave well with everyone etc as it should be done in other months also. It should be understood that abstaining from bad deeds and performing good deeds are not only meant to do in this month instead this practice should be kept continued in other months also.

For instance, one of the objectives of fasting is to remain patient but it is often seen that people become impatient during fasting and it is practically seen just before iftar as people rush to their destination before sunset to break their fasting and in order to reach early, drive very fast and sometimes recklessly. As a result, often meet little accidents and fight over and exchange hot words which sabotage the fasting’s objective as fasting teaches us to be patient whatever happens.

It is the need of the hour to understand the pragmatic objective of Ramadan and fasting and to find out the reason why people could not act on it. It is apparently seen that people only comprehend and take the objective of Ramadan and fasting to stay hungry and thirsty and deprive of spiritual intake through worship owing to which they are seen as unable to perform good deeds and abstain from bad ones. So, a person who becomes spiritually strong through worship would be able to understand the pragmatic objective of Ramadan and fasting and would act accordingly or it would become easy for him to act accordingly.

The writer can be reached at faisal.ansar@hotmail.com

Source: dailytimes.com.pk

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https://dailytimes.com.pk/1084458/misunderstood-objective-of-fasting-and-ramadan/

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In Pakistan, Economic Crisis Mutes Ramadan Celebrations

April 17, 2023

The crowds begin to form at dawn. They swell through the day as hundreds of men and women swathed in bright purple and pink scarves wait outside the charity’s gates in Karachi, Pakistan. Many sit for hours, desperate to collect enough flour, rice, sugar and cooking oil to break their daily fast for the holy month of Ramadan.

“Ramadan is for fasting, praying, and celebrating, but in Pakistan, inflation has been forcing people to queue and die in stampedes to receive free food,” said Muhammad Aziz, a textile worker, 52, as he waited in the crowd. “It is the most expensive and unaffordable Ramadan of my life.”

Across Pakistan, the season of Ramadan — a time of daily fasting and nightly feasts with family — is in full swing. But this year, an economic crisis that has sent the price of goods soaring to record highs has muted celebrations for millions of families struggling to buy the dates, rice and meat needed to break their daily fast.

The South Asian nation — home to more than 230 million — is facing one of the most daunting economic challenges of its history.

As Ramadan began last month, inflation was at a record 35.4 percent — the highest in nearly five decades — according to government figures. Severe floods last fall devastated much of the country’s agricultural belt, ruining wheat harvests and damaging farmland for what may be years to come. And because Ukraine exports essential grains, the war there has further strained Pakistan’s food supply, officials say.

A crowd of men line up behind the back of a white car, in front of a woman in green garments who is holding a ration. A child is beside her.

A local resident distributed ration essentials such as wheat and sugar to those in need in Islamabad, Pakistan. The prices of necessities have continued to soar as the government has struggled to secure a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.Credit...Saiyna Bashir for The New York Times

The rising prices have stoked anger among many Pakistanis. After Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted in a vote of no confidence last year, many hoped that the new government, led by Shehbaz Sharif, would bring an end to the inflation that had begun rising under Mr. Khan’s tenure.

Instead, the prices of necessities have continued to soar as the government has struggled to secure a bailout from the International Monetary Fund. Some critics have also blamed the government, accusing the country’s political elite of being preoccupied with the drama surrounding Mr. Khan’s political comeback and distracted from addressing the economic crisis.

“Pakistan’s ruling elite has failed in providing relief to the people, and nothing will be able to prevent the wrath of the latter from falling on the former in the weeks and months to come,” said UzairYounus, the director of the Pakistan Initiative at the Atlantic Council. “This is a confluence of economic, political and security crises in Pakistan, and should be viewed as the most serious threat to the country’s cohesion since 1971.”

The economic desperation among Pakistanis has played out in stark scenes across the country during Ramadan. Since the holiday began nearly a month ago, at least 22 people have been killed and dozens injured in stampedes and long queues as people struggle to get some of the food being distributed across the country by charities and the government.

The State of the War

Pentagon Leaks: In the leaked U.S. intelligence documents, Ukraine’s predicament looks dire. But some in Kyiv welcomed the disclosures as confirming what they have been saying for months — that its forces desperately need more weapons and munitions.

In Chernobyl: Not everyone evacuated when the nuclear plant melted down in 1986. The few who stayed lived through another calamity when Russian troops marched in.

The Battle for Bakhmut: Pushed into a shrinking corner of the devastated city, the Ukrainian military is determined to hold out for strategic reasons, even as allies question the cost.

In one of the most devastating episodes, 11 women and children died last month in a crowd crush after hundreds had gathered outside a factory in hopes of getting a 10-kilo bag of flour and $3.50 in cash from a local philanthropist.

Even charities are struggling.

This year, skyrocketing prices and the crunch on donor’s incomes have left charitable organizations with less to distribute.Credit...Saiyna Bashir for The New York Times

It is during Ramadan that many Pakistanis donate their religiously prescribed yearly zakat, or alms, often giving them to charitable organizations that prepare ration packets for distribution among the poor. But this year, skyrocketing prices and the crunch on donor’s incomes have left the charities with less to distribute.

“This Ramadan, the volume of rations bags supply has drastically declined, mainly because of a decrease in donations, while the number of the destitute people approaching us has significantly increased,” said Shakeel Dehalvi, an official at the Alamgir Welfare Trust, a leading charity in Karachi.

Those unable to receive charity have bought what they can. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a province that borders Afghanistan, the price of flour has more than doubled since the beginning of last year.

In recent years, Pakistan had been importing wheat from Ukraine to meet the needs of the province, home to 18 percent of the country’s population. But with that supply disrupted by war, Russia is now the top exporter of wheat to the country.

The government has started an initiative to provide subsidized flour during Ramadan and set up distribution points for donated flour. But in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, mismanagement and overcrowding have plagued these efforts, according to local officials.

Volunteers preparing meals for people to break their fast.Credit...Saiyna Bashir for The New York Times

Thousands of destitute people rush daily to the distribution points, but many return empty-handed in the evening because there are not enough bags of flour to meet the soaring demand. In Peshawar and other major cities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the police regularly fire tear gas and charge the crowds with batons to disperse them. In some areas, enraged mobs have set upon trucks full of flour bags.

One recent afternoon, Ashraf Mohmand, a 34-year-old daily-wage construction laborer, stood anxiously outside a government distribution point in Peshawar. He said he had not received a single bag of flour, despite waiting in long lines for the past two days.

“I make just $3 a day — too little to even feed my three children,” Mr. Mohmand said.

Rising costs have only added to his frustration with a government he hoped would turn the economy around after it came to power last April.

“Shehbaz  Sharif has proved himself worse  than Imran Khan,” Mr. Mohmand said. “Everything costs double what it did last year.”

Government officials have rejected such criticism.

Pakistan needs I.M.F. financing to avoid default and slipping into a recession. But officials would need to raise taxes and slash subsidies — moves that make basics like food, gasoline and utilities even more expensive for the country’s poorest.Credit...Saiyna Bashir for The New York Times

This month, Ahsan Iqbal, a federal minister, said the new government had been successful “not only in facing the climate disaster” that caused $30 billion in damage and economic losses last year but also in moving the country toward gradual stabilization despite the previous government’s “failed economic policies.”

Still, in recent months the government has struggled to meet the terms of a 2019 deal with the I.M.F. worth $6.5 billion and unlock a portion of those funds that have been stalled since November.

Economists say the government is in an almost impossible position.

The cash-poor country needs I.M.F. financing to avoid default and slipping into a recession. But to meet the terms of the deal, officials must raise taxes and slash subsidies — moves that make basics like food, gasoline and utilities even more expensive for the country’s poorest.

“The food inflation has hurt the low-income earners the most, as food baskets now comprise more than 40 percent of their total monthly expenditures,” said Khaqan Najeeb, a former adviser to the Finance Ministry.

UzairYounus, the director of the Pakistan Initiative at the Atlantic Council, blamed some of the country’s current turmoil on the ruling elite. He said it “should be viewed as the most serious threat to the country’s cohesion since 1971.”Credit...Saiyna Bashir for The New York Times

The floods last fall, which killed more than 1,700 people and destroyed at least four million acres of crops, substantially worsened the crisis. In some of the hardest-hit regions, stagnant flood water still covers vast areas of farmland. Even in places where the flood water has receded, the land is expected to be less fertile for years to come.

Ghulam Muhammad, a farmer in the Dadu district of Sindh Province, migrated to Karachi in November to earn a living because his land was still submerged. “Floods have snatched everything from me: my job, stocked bags of wheat to last the entire year, and two goats,” he said.

Now, Mr. Muhammad, 38, is working as a private security guard for $86 a month, with no holiday.

To stretch his salary, he joins those lining up for free meals outside kiosks set up by charity organizations in the city. Those meals, he said, have kept his family from going to sleep hungry. Still, each day, as more and more people arrive at the charity begging for food, he grows more worried for his family’s future, he says.

“It’s a tradition during Ramadan for food stalls to offer free sunset and pre-dawn meals everywhere in the city,” Mr. Muhammad said. “But once the holy month ends, where will we find free food?”

Source: nytimes.com

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https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/17/world/asia/pakistan-economy-ramadan.html

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Africa

 

Four herdsmen allegedly killed in Enugu, as Miyetti-Allah decries attack

By Dennis Agbo

The Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of  Nigeria, MACBAN has disclosed that four of it’s members who were herdsmen were allegedly killed in Enugu State between March 26 and April 4th 2023.

Making the disclosure to Vanguard in Enugu on Sunday, the Deputy Chairman of MACBAN in Enugu State,  Zakari Mohammed, said that “within a space of one week the Fulani community lost four persons as a result of attacks at different locations in Enugu State aside from unspecified number of cows killed.”

Mohammed said that a herder, Yusuf Idris reported that his brother, Dotta Idris, was shot dead by persons suspected to be from Afor-Nkune, Akpugo in Nkanu-west LGA on March 26 2023.

Making further revelations, Mohammed said that “InusaAlhYakubu reported that his labourer, Woje Muhammad, was shot dead by persons suspected to be from Uhouana, Amama, Ugbawka of Nkanu East LGA on March 29 2003.

Zakari Muhammad again reported that his own labourer, Sani Alhaji, was shot dead and Yusuf Alhaji escaped with gun shot injuries at Agbogazi-Nike, Enugu-east LGA by persons suspected to be from Ubahu, Nkanu East LGA on March 31 2023.

“Hassan Alhaji Gide was reported to have been found dead as a result of gun shots by yet to be identified persons at surbub of Obioma, Udi LGA on April 4 2023,” Mohammed said.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in Enugu State, Daniel Ndukwe said he was not aware of such reports.

Miyetti-Allah has however appealed to the Enugu state government and the security agencies in the state to help protect herdsmen in the state he said were law-abiding citizens.

“We are appealing to Governor IfeanyiUgwuanyi that we are law-abiding citizens and he should help protect our lives and properties here. We have always had collaboration with the state government in terms of security in the state and we don’t harbour criminals among us.

“We also ask the security agencies to please wade into the protection of our lives and cows as we conduct our business in different parts of Enugu state.” Mohammed pleaded.

Source: vanguardngr.com

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https://www.vanguardngr.com/2023/04/four-herdsmen-allegedly-killed-in-enugu-as-miyetti-allah-decries-attack/

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Fighting rages in Sudan as death toll climbs to 97

April 17, 2023

The violence erupted Saturday after weeks of power struggles between Sudan’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed HamdanDaglo, who commands the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

The raging battles triggered a wide international outcry with appeals for an immediate ceasefire and dialogue.

“The death toll among civilians in clashes since it began on Saturday … has reached 97,” the doctors’ union said in a statement early Monday, noting the figure does not include all casualties as many could not reach hospitals due to difficulties in movement.

It said hundreds of civilians were wounded in the clashes.

Loud gunfire and deafening explosions echoed across the streets of Khartoum Monday morning as clashes continued, according to AFP journalists.

A stench of gunpowder lingered as plumes of thick black smoke emanated from damaged buildings, according to witnesses.

The fighting broke out after bitter disagreements between Burhan and Daglo over the planned integration of the RSF into the regular army — a key condition for a final deal aimed at ending a crisis since the 2021 military coup they orchestrated together.

The coup has already derailed a transition to civilian rule following the 2019 ouster of President Omar al-Bashir and piled on a spiralling economic crisis in Sudan.

Trading blame

The clashes forced Sudanese to hunker down in their homes with fears of a prolonged conflict that could plunge the country into deeper chaos, dashing hopes for a return to civilian rule.

Since Saturday, the two sides have traded blame over who started the fighting.

Each has claimed the upper hand by declaring control of key sites, including the airport and the presidential palace but none of their claims could be independently verified.

Fighting also raged in others parts of Sudan including the western Darfur region and in the eastern border state of Kassala.

The Saturday killing of three staff from the World Food Programme in North Darfur clashes prompted the agency to suspend all operations in the impoverished country.

Medics have pleaded for safe corridors for ambulances and a ceasefire to treat the victims because the streets are too dangerous for transporting casualties to hospital.

The RSF was created under Bashir in 2013, emerging from the Janjaweed militia that his government unleashed against non-Arab ethnic minorities in Darfur a decade earlier, drawing accusations of war crimes.

The latest violence sparked by the two generals has reflected the deep-seated divisions between the regular army and the RSF.

Despite the wide calls for a ceasefire, the two generals appeared in no mood for talks.

Burhan, who rose through the ranks under the three-decade rule of now-jailed Bashir, has said the coup was “necessary” to include more factions in politics.

Daglo later called the coup a “mistake” that failed to bring about change and reinvigorated remnants of Bashir’s regime ousted by the army in 2019 following mass protests.

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1748133/fighting-rages-in-sudan-as-death-toll-climbs-to-97

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Buhari, Chadian Leader Express Concern Over Sudan Crisis

By

MuideenOlaniyi

Mon, 17 Apr 2023

President Muhammadu Buhari and the the transitional president of Chad, Gen. MahamatIdrissDébyItno, yesterday met in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, to discuss the ongoing crisis in Sudan.

Speaking during a visit to him by the Itno, Buhari said the ongoing fight, which erupted in the Sudanese capital between the military and powerful para-military, Rapid Support Forces, RSF, was unwelcome.

He also described the fighting that claimed tens of lives as unfortunate.

The two leaders, according to a statement issued by Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, reviewed the unfortunate situation and called on all neighbouring countries and the international community to prevail on the warring sides to stop fighting and negotiate.

Buhari, govs, EFCC chair, others meet in Makkah

Senate: APC secures 59 seats, PDP 36, LP 8, NNPP 2, SDP 2

“The situation in Sudan is unfortunate,” said Buhari, adding that Sudan deserved peace after all that it had gone through in the past.

Buhari commended Itno for his “efforts to see a calming down, and for them to live peacefully. But you have to keep trying.”

Deby-Itno described situation in Sudan as worrisome, saying “if not arrested, it would have serious repercussions on neighbouring countries.”

As for the steps his country took in response to the crisis,  Deby-Itno said, “we have closed our borders to Sudan and reinforced our security.

“I have spoken to the leaders of both factions. If everyone tries, it will calm down the situation. African leaders, especially the elders (President Buhari), MackySall (Senegal) and AU  Chairperson AzaliAssoumani (Comoros) need to step in. For two days, they have been killing themselves.”

Source: dailytrust.com

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https://dailytrust.com/buhari-chadian-leader-express-concern-over-sudan-crisis/

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Buhari wades into Obalende Muslim praying-ground crisis

By ShakirahAdunola

17 April 2023

A committee raised by President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve the tussle over the ownership of the disputed Obalende Muslim Praying-Ground, between the Lagos State Jama’atul Muslimeen Council (otherwise known as Lagos Central Mosque) and officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) stationed at Dodan Barracks, was in Lagos for site inspection.

The committee, led by Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, with other members, including Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir SalihiMagashi (rtd); Works and Housing Minister, BabatundeFashola and some heads of security agencies, met with representatives of the Council led by Baba Adinni of Lagos/Executive Chairman of Lagos Central Mosque, Sheikh AbdulAfeezAbou; Executive Vice Chairman of Lagos Central Mosque, SikiruAlabi-Macfoy; former Federal Commissioner for Works, Lateef Femi Okunnu; President, Muslim Community of Lagos State (MCLS), Prof. TajudeenGbadamosi and member of the Lagos Central Mosque Executive Council, Dr. Abdullah JibrilOyekan.

Meanwhile, the Lagos meeting between the committee and leaders of the Muslim community was more of friendly affairs as Okunnu and Gambari went on a memory lane on the history behind the land.

Okunnu, who was a Federal Commissioner for Works when part of the land was ceded to the Gen. Yakubu Gowon-led government, enlightened the committee members.

Members of the committee later took a walk around the Obalende Eid Praying-Ground.

Also, speaking with journalists, Fashola said the committee was constituted by the President to review the petition of the Lagos Central Mosque regarding the encumbrances on the Obalende praying-ground.

Fashola said: “We have two weeks to submit a report to the President. We thought that having listened to everybody, it is also useful to come and have a site inspection here to actually see things for ourselves, especially for those who are not familiar with the place and the history.

“Thankfully, we have been blessed today with the presence of Alhaji Femi Okunnu, who was Commissioner of Works at the time Gen. Yakubu Gowon was relocated to this place and when the military relationship with the land of the Central Mosque Jammah started.

“So, he provided some insight. We had the good fortune of having the presence of Baba Adinni who also has a lot of historical perspectives to share dating back to when the first Minister of Lagos, Yar’Adua, father of late President Musa Yar’Adua used to also worship with them on this same praying-ground.

Alabi-Macfoy said the matter had been resolved, affirming that the Muslim community would pray at the Eid praying-ground.

According to him, the visit by the committee shows that we have the right to this place. “The petition we send to the government is to give it back to us. The president is very attentive, he set up a committee and he told us that they would do justice. We have an Indenture that gives us this land but they have encroached on some of it. The committee brought a surveyor who will do the survey of the whole place.

“From my close contact with the President a few weeks ago, I discovered that he is a man that knows what he is doing and you cannot rush him into taking a decision. He will listen to you attentively and give a very brief and concise reply. He is somebody that makes up his mind and fulfills his promise. He is an action man,” AlhajiAlabi-Macfoy said.

Prof. Gbadamosi described as heartwarming that after so many years of letter writing, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

He said: “The presidency has turned up to resolve the matter once and for all and I believe that the president is sincere. He has set up this high-level delegation; that cannot be for fun and they have taken their job seriously. They have come to Lagos to inspect the site and they have met with leaders of the Muslim Community in Lagos State. I believe we can now look forward to an end to this issue.”

Muslim Umma of Southwest (MUSWEN) Deputy President I, AlhajiRafiuEbiti said the matter would have been resolved before 1966 but you know the military was in power for quite a long time.

“It is good to know that the president is committed to resolving this issue and that is a very positive thing. I think he is very sincere about it. It is not possible in any human organisation not to have conflict. This is not a dialogue thing and I hope and pray that everybody will be satisfied at the end of the day,” he said.

Source: guardian.ng

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https://guardian.ng/news/buhari-wades-into-obalende-muslim-praying-ground-crisis/

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South Asia

 

Taliban Releases 41 Prisoners, Including 7 Women in Afghanistan’s Ghor Province

April 17, 2023

The press office of the provincial governor of Ghor said in a newsletter on Sunday that the prisoners were released according to the order of the Supreme leader of the Taliban, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada.

The statement added that seven women are subject to this exemption among the prisoners.

According to the statement, the released prisoners committed crimes such as moral corruption, theft, bribery and drug trafficking.

Under the condition of anonymity, a professor of sociology stated that the release of the detainees and the exemption are positive developments. The de facto government, on the other hand, “unfortunately criminalized numerous cases and termed its moral corruption, and now they consider it the same as drug trafficking, and this is worrying, he said.

In addition, he said that while certain human rights and civil society activists, protesting women, university professors, and writers are detained, others who smuggle narcotics and commit other crimes are often freed.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/taliban-releases-41-prisoners-including-7-women-in-afghanistans-ghor-province/

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Kazakhstan Is Ready to Welcome Afghan Diplomats, Says Baradar

April 17, 2023

This decision came after a Saturday meeting between Baradar and Kazakhstan’s deputy prime minister and minister of trade and integration, SerikZhumangarin.

On Saturday, a delegation from Kazakhstan, led by the deputy prime minister and minister of trade and integration, visited Kabul. During his visit met with de facto senior authorities, including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

During the meeting, the Taliban authorities asked the Kazakh delegation to receive the de facto diplomats to further improve the relationship between the two countries.

According to the Afghanistan Foreign Ministry, Zhomangarin said that despite challenging conditions, his country had maintained diplomatic ties with Afghanistan for a long time and had yet to close its diplomatic mission in Kabul.

The statement said the meeting aimed to expand trading ties, including railroads, improve regional connections, and invest in Afghanistan’s mineral reserves to increase commerce from $900 billion to $300 billion annually.

Recently, the Taliban authorities appointed new diplomats of the Afghan Consulate-General in Tehran, Istanbul. The Taliban has also taken over the Afghan diplomatic mission in Pakistan, Russia and China.

However, so far, no country has recognized the legitimacy of the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/kazakhstan-is-ready-to-welcome-afghan-diplomats-says-baradar/

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PM opens 50 more model mosques

DHAKA, April 17, 2023 (BSS) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today inaugurated 50 more model mosques and Islamic cultural centres across the country.

She opened those in the fourth phase, joining virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban here.

With the new ones, the premier has so far inaugurated 200 mosques out of 564 being built at a cost of Taka 9,435 crore all over the country.

She earlier opened 50 mosques each in the first phase on June 10, 2021, in the second phase on January 16 this year and the third phase on March 16 last.

The construction of the remaining mosques and Islamic cultural centres is scheduled to be completed by June, 2024.

State Minister for Religious Affairs MdFaridul Haque Khan and secretary of the ministry KaziEnamul Hassan also spoke at the function.

Prime Minister's Principal Secretary MdTofazzel Hossain Miah moderated the programme.

Tungipara Upazila in Gopalganj district and Bishwanath Upazila of Sylhet district were also connected to the programme as the local lawmakers, public representatives, political parties' leaders, government officers, alem-ulama and common people were present.

A video-documentary on the model mosques and Islamic cultural centres was screened at the function.

The model mosques and Islamic cultural centres include separate places for ablution and namaj along with air-condition system.

Besides, there will be registration and training arrangements for Hajj pilgrims, Imam training centre, research centre and Islamic library, autism corner, ritual system before burial, car parking facility, hifzakhana, pre-primary education and Quran learning arrangement, conference room for Islamic cultural activities and Islamic dawat, Islamic books sale centre, boarding facility for local and foreign guests along with the mosques.

Being imbued with the spirit of Islam and following the footsteps of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, her daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has come up with the idea of constructing 564 model mosques across the country.

The purpose of the project is to publicize Islamic brotherhood and its values as well as disseminate the essence of Islam against extremism and militancy as the religion never supports those.

It would also put concentration on creating awareness against terrorism and violence against women along with disseminating development activities of the government.

Under category A, some 69 four-storey mosques having the elevator facility and a floor space of 2,360.09 square metres each are being constructed in 64 districts and city corporation areas.

Under category B, 475 mosques are being built with a floor space of 1680.14 square metres each, while 16 mosques under C category in coastal areas will have a floor space of 2,052.12 square metres each.

Source: bssnews.net

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https://www.bssnews.net/news-flash/121244

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Nine Ramadan fasting inmates escape from Badulla open prison; two apprehended

17 April 2023

Nine inmates who were undergoing Ramadan fasting at the Thaldena Open Drug Rehabilitation Centre in Badulla escaped early this morning.

Prisons spokesman ChandanaEkanayake said the officials at the open prison had apprehended two escapees.

The Prison Superintendent is conducting an investigation and a search operation has also been launched to find the remaining inmates, he said. (DSB)

Source: dailymirror.lk

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https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Nine-Ramadan-fasting-inmates-escape-from-Badulla-open-prison-two-apprehended/108-257676

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Afghanistan at Highest Risk of Famine in 25 Years as Funding Runs Dry: OCHA Warns

April 17, 2023

Afghanistan faces the biggest risk of famine in the previous 25 years due to financial shortages.

On Sunday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA) warned in a new report that Afghanistan is at the highest risk of famine in the last 25 years as funding runs dry.

The Organization said that Afghanistan faces a massive humanitarian catastrophe unless urgent assistance is obtained, with roughly 20 million suffering from severe hunger and 6 million just one step away from famine.

The Organization also said that due to severely reduced aid to Afghanistan, the number of individuals who could go hungry right now is among the highest in the world.

OCHA reiterated that at this crucial time, the world must not turn its back on the Afghanistan people to continue by saying that they have already suffered so much; it would be impermissible to subject them to additional suffering by denying them a crucial humanitarian lifeline.

OCHA noted that only $250 million of the $4.6 billion in aid sought by this Organization during the first quarter of 2023 was granted.

Only 5.4% of the total asked by the UN from the international community to support humanitarian needs in Afghanistan is represented by this amount of money.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-at-highest-risk-of-famine-in-25-years-as-funding-runs-dry-ocha-warns/

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Europe

 

Police attacked during Birmingham Ramadan stalls crackdown

By Peter Wilson and Maisie Olah

BBC Midlands Today

Bottles have been thrown at police during an operation to crack down on illegal street market stalls during Ramadan, officers said.

The incident happened at 01:30 BST on Sunday as a large crowd gathered in Small Heath, Birmingham.

Police said the operation alongside trading standards officers followed residents' complaints about roads being blocked and anti-social behaviour.

One officer suffered minor injuries, West Midlands Police said.

Numerous reports of criminal damage are also being investigated, it added, after other missiles were thrown.

The late night market has grown along Coventry Road and Ladypool Road during the holy month of Ramadan as Muslims break their fast at sunset.

DetCh Insp David Sproson said it was "completely unacceptable" that officers who were there "to make the community a safer and better place were met with such hostility".

In a statement, a spokesperson for Birmingham City Council said: "We want people observing the holy month of Ramadan to enjoy celebrations, and we want to ensure it's done safely and within the law for the benefit of the whole community.

"What happened was totally unacceptable - officers were simply doing their job as part of this joint operation, organised in response to local concerns."

Market stalls

Image caption,

Pop-up market stalls selling clothes, perfume and food have been set up on Coventry Road and Ladypool Road in Small Heath

While some people described scenes of chaos on Coventry Road to the BBC last week, others called for the area to be pedestrianised during Ramadan, saying the stalls could be a good addition if they were better managed.

As well as litter and congestion, community activist Naveed Sadiq said there had also been complaints of loud noise into the early hours.

'Spirit of Ramadan'

"We need to sit down with the council and the police to see if we can make this an official event and regulate it and make it inviting," Mr Sadiq, from the Bearded Broz community group, said.

He added regulating the stalls could also lead to a better example of "the true spirit of Ramadan", rather than the negative experience this year.

"The Prophet Muhammad came to show us good character, and it's very important that we continue that good character," he said.

Source: bbc.com

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https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-65293507

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Racists targeting a mosque countered by a ‘celebration of diversity’

SUNDAY, APRIL 16, 2023

RACISTS targeting a mosque in Dewsbury in West Yorkshire were countered by a “celebration of diversity” by campaigners on Saturday.

A group, calling themselves the English Constitutional Party, staged a rally in a car park next to the mosque at Earlsheaton in the Dewsbury district.

The rally was attended by only a handful of the group.

The mosque is a listed building which was bought for use as a place of worship in December last year.

Its new owners restored the building which had been semi-derelict.

The rally followed an incident on April 7, a Friday, in which a group of youths shouted abuse at worshippers, including children, attending the mosque for prayers in the fasting period of Ramadan.

On Saturday, anti-racists including Stand Up to Racism and members of public-sector union Unison staged a celebration of diversity in Dewsbury town centre at the same time.

It is understood that the mosque asked that there be no confrontation against the racists’ rally.

Stand Up to Racism co-convener Weyman Bennett said: “Racists and fascists have targeted Dewsbury for hate campaigns before, and always they have been defeated and driven out, including the Britain First movement in 2016.

“Ten days ago, abuse was shouted at worshippers leaving their mosque after Ramadan prayers.

“A handful of racists gathered near the mosque on Saturday to peddle their vile abuse and hatred, while anti-racists celebrated diversity.

“The community is uniting against the racists as they have done before.

“Like their predecessors, these racists will be opposed wherever they appear and will be driven out of the community.”

Source: morningstaronline.co.uk

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https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/racists-targeting-mosque-countered-celebration-diversity

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Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden ‘knew we were going to die’ on mission

ByHarry Thompson

17 APR 2023

The Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden says he knew he was going to die on the famous mission to kill the US's most wanted man.

Operation Neptune Spear saw the revered SEAL Team 6 hunt down and kill the leader of Al-Qaeda at his compound in Pakistan.

Rob O'Neill was on the mission to Abbottabad on May 2, 2011, but feared it would be his last.

Speaking on the Full Send Podcast, he explained: "We were actually calling ourselves the martyr's brigade.

"We knew we were going to die. Shot down on the way in, immediate fight when we get there.

"We were going to run out of fuel and end our short lives in a Pakistani prison."

Part of the conversation came with another man on the podcast, Donald Trump Jr, with O'Neill explaining to him the reality and horror of the situation.

"There's nowhere to go. We had nothing. But we accepted this.

"I had a guy say to me 'If we're going to die, I need to know why we're going', which is fair."

O'Neill claims his answer related to the loss of life that took place when the World Trade Centre was destroyed in the September 11 attacks in the US.

He explained: "We're going after Osama bin Laden for the single mom who dropped her kids off at elementary school on a Tuesday and then 45 minutes later, she jumped to her death out of a skyscraper because that's a better alternative than whatever the hell was going on inside the 2,000 degree Fahrenheit.

"And her last gesture of human decency was to hold her skirt down as she killed herself.

"She was never supposed to be in the fight. We're supposed to be in the fight."

But despite the horrors of the mission facing them, he said he remained steadfast, as all his comrades did in the face of death.

"There was no fear involved with this mission,” he said.

"You accept death. This is what we came to do."

O'Neill shot bin Laden and said that when he saw him he recognised him straight away.

"I recognised his nose, his beard, how tall he was, how skinny he was.

"He's not surrendering, he's a threat. So I got to take him down.

"And when you're dealing with a suicide bomber - which he should have been - you shoot them in the face.

"I shot him in the face twice then once more on the ground."

Source: dailystar.co.uk

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https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/navy-seal-who-killed-osama-29728246

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Police officers assaulted during Birmingham Ramadan market investigation with council

By Fionnuala Bourke

17th Apr 2023

West Midlands Police officers were assaulted during a joint operation with Birmingham City Council to tackle illegal street trading in Birmingham.

The operation was launched in response to community concerns - and WMP says it demonstrates its close working relationship with their partners and the community. One officer suffered a minor injury when a bottle was thrown, as a large crowd gathered on Coventry Road and Ladypool Road in Small Heath. A number of missiles were thrown at police vehicles during the disorder, which happened at around 1.30am on Sunday (April 16).

WMP said the force had been working with Birmingham City Council after listening to councillors, MPs, Imams, local traders and residents who raised concerns around traffic, noise, litter, roads being blocked and anti-social behaviour.

Community representatives told the BBC that there had been scenes of chaos on Coventry Road last week, while others called for the area to be pedestrianised during Ramdan. As well as litter and congestion there had been complaints of loud noise in the early hours.

A WMP spokesperson explained: “Both West Midlands Police and Birmingham City Council want people observing the holy month of Ramadan to enjoy the celebrations, but we want to ensure it’s done safely and within the law.

“We’re aware that some illegal traders have flouted the law, and those who continue to do so – by trading illegally or obstructing roads – will be reported and face legal action.

“Our investigators will now be examining body worn video and social media footage of Sunday night’s events, and are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.”

DetCh Insp David Sproson, from Birmingham Police, added: “It’s completely unacceptable that officers who were there last night to make the community a safer and better place were met with such hostility.

“We were there at the request of the community to deal with concerns which they had raised, and so what happened last night is intolerable. We’re now investigating a number of reports of criminal damage, as well as the assault on our officer and those responsible are being sought and will face prosecution.

“I’d urge the parents and friends of those involved in what happened last night to speak to them about the potential impact of their behaviour last night. They are risking arrest and prosecution and must be aware of the impact a criminal record can have on their future prospects. We will also be working with the community over the next few days to reaffirm our position that we are responding to the community’s concerns.”

A spokesman for Birmingham City Council also spoke out against the attacks on officers saying: “We want people observing the holy month of Ramadan to enjoy celebrations, and we want to ensure it’s done safely and within the law for the benefit of the whole community.

“What happened was totally unacceptable - officers were simply doing their job as part of this joint operation, organised in response to local concerns. We’d urge anyone with information to contact the police.”

The celebrations are due to continue for the next few days, and WMP said its officers will be visible and available to support the community and answer any questions. Anyone with information has been asked to get in touch with West Midlands Police via live chat, quoting 3488 of 15 April.

Source: birminghamworld.uk

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https://www.birminghamworld.uk/news/birmingham-ramadan-market-small-heath-4106361

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Arab World

 

Crown Prince Receives Saudi Astronauts RayyanahBarnawi, Ali Al-Qarni, Mariam Firdous and Ali Al-Ghamdi Ahead Of Space Mission

April 17, 2023

RIYADH: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received Saudi astronauts RayyanahBarnawi, Ali Al-Qarni, Mariam Firdous and Ali Al-Ghamdi ahead of the launch of the Kingdom’s scientific mission to the International Space Station.

Astronauts RayyanahBarnawi and Ali Al-Qarni will join the crew of the AX-2 space mission, Axiom Space’s second all-private astronaut mission to the ISS in May.

Barnawi will be the first Muslim, Saudi and Arab woman in space, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The crown prince affirmed that the astronauts represent the capabilities and aspirations of the Saudi people in contributing to innovations and space research to find sustainable solutions for the good of humanity.

He also said that the astronauts are ambassadors and representatives of the Kingdom on the ISS in a mission to empower people, protect the planet and open new horizons through research to be conducted at the station in the fields of health and environmental sustainability.

Barnawi and Al-Qarni said that they are fully ready for this historic mission, looking forward to leaving a mark in the field of space and enriching scientific experiments that serve humanity.

Firdous and Al-Ghamdi will be assisting Barnawi and Al-Qarni from the ground station.

Liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled for 10:43 p.m. ET on May 8 (05:43 a.m. KSA) from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The four-member crew will travel to the ISS aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule and spend 10 days aboard the orbiting space station.

In 1985, Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, an air force pilot, took part in a US-organized space voyage, becoming the first Saudi in space.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2288036/saudi-arabia

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Stunning aerial views of the faithful’s mammoth convergence at Grand Mosque in Makkah

April 17, 2023

MAKKAH — The Grand Mosque in Makkah, Islam’s holiest shrine, has been witnessing the convergence of over one million Umrah pilgrims and worshipers during the last 10 days of the holy month of Ramadan.

The Saudi Press Agency’s photographers captured the incredible images of the faithful’s gathering and movement as well as the integrated services being offered to them by the Saudi authorities from a high altitude.

The cameramen took the photographs of the faithful, who are spending the blessed night of the holy month in the vicinity of the Holy Kaaba, engaged in special prayers and supplications, seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness in an air of spirituality and serene atmosphere.

The security aviation wing of the Presidency of State Security has facilitated the SPA team to fly on board its helicopter that hovered around the holy city so that they could capture the amazing shots of the vast ocean of the faithful circumambulating the Holy Kaaba and moving in between the courtyards, corridors and floors of the Grand Mosque, of which the first floor and the roof of the Third Saudi Expansion have been opened for the first time for worshipers during the last 10 days of the holy month this year.

Source: saudigazette.com

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https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/631676/SAUDI-ARABIA/Stunning-aerial-views-of-the-faithfuls-mammoth-convergence-at-Grand-Mosque-in-Makkah

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Saudi project dismantles 861 Houthi mines in Yemen

17 April 2023

RIYADH: The Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance (Masam) cleared 816 mines in Yemen during the second week of April.

The mines planted by the Houthi militia comprised seven anti-personnel mines, 256 anti-tank mines, 550 unexploded ordnance and 53 explosive devices, according to Yemen News Agency.

Since its inception Masam, operated under the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, has deactivated 394,620 mines.

During the first week of April, 782 mines were cleared across the conflict-ridden country.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2288071/amp

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Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributes over 282 tons of food aid worldwide

April 17, 2023

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) distributed over 282 tons of food aid in six countries across the world, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Syrian and Palestinian refugees living across Lebanon received 174 tons of food.

In Senegal, 19 tons of food aid were distributed to 285 disadvantaged families in the Waakem region of Dakar while in Bangladesh, 24 tons of food baskets were given to 6,000 people.

KSrelief also provided over 32 tons of food to 3,000 people in Chad and 29.8 more tons to 3,100 people in need in Niger.

In Albania, four tons of food aid were delivered to 660 people as part of a project that aims to distribute 2,000 food baskets across the country.

The distribution “comes as part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s relief and humanitarian efforts through its KSrelief arm to support people in need and countries worldwide,” the SPA statement read.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2288061/saudi-arabia

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Mideast

 

Jihad: the sword of the Palestinian resistance will only be sheathed by the liberation of the prisoners

[16/April/2023]

GAZA April 16. 2023 (Saba) - The Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine has confirmed that the resistance will not sheathe its sword until the prisoners are liberated from the prisons of the Zionist enemy.

The Ma'an news agency quoted a member of the movement's political bureau Ahmed al-Mudallal in a speech during a set-in to support the prisoners in the enemy's prisons in Rafah, as saying "Hundreds of sick prisoners are facing slow death as a result of the crime of medical negligence and premeditated murder practiced by the extremist government of Ben Givr.

Al-Mudallal indicated that Sheikh Khader Adnan defends the dignity of the entire nation with his hunger, thirst, pain, and illness that ravages his body, pointing out that Adnan insists on continuing his hunger strike in rejection of his arbitrary arrest.

Al-Mudallal indicated that Sheikh Khader continues his hunger strike for the 71st day in a row, calling for standing with him and supporting him.

Source: saba.ye

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https://www.saba.ye/en/news3235023.htm

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Ties between Islamic countries should be deepened by relying on common grounds: Iranian President

Tehran (ISNA) – Iran’s President described the support of the oppressed Palestinian nation as the common point of all Islamic countries and stated, "Today, confronting the crimes of the Zionist Regime towards the oppressed Palestinian nation is the demand of the Muslim nations from statesmen, therefore, it is necessary for the Islamic governments to be more coordinated in standing up against the brutality of the usurping Zionist Regime".

In the ceremony of receiving the letter of credence of the new ambassador of Turkey, Hijabi Kirlanqich, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi described the relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey as long-standing and deep-rooted and said, "Despite the efforts of the ill-wishers of the Islamic countries, we must rely on the religious and cultural common grounds to witness the deepening and development of relations between Islamic countries in various fields day by day".

The President described the support of the oppressed Palestinian nation as the common point of all Islamic countries and stated, "Today, confronting the crimes of the Zionist Regime towards the oppressed Palestinian nation is the demand of the Muslim nations from statesmen, therefore, it is necessary for the Islamic governments to be more coordinated in standing up against the brutality of the usurping Zionist Regime".

In this ceremony, the new ambassador of Turkey, while expressing his satisfaction to be in the Islamic Republic of Iran, described the relations between Iran and Turkey as brotherly and friendly and said, "I assure you that we will do our best to improve the level of cooperation and increase exchanges and interactions between the two countries".

Source: en.isna.ir

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https://en.isna.ir/news/1402012814628/Ties-between-Islamic-countries-should-be-deepened-by-relying

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Army commanders renew allegiance with ideals of Imam Khomeini

Apr 17, 2023

TEHRAN, Apr. 17 (MNA) – On the eve of the National Day of the Army, the commanders of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army visited the Mausoleum of Imam Khomeini (RA) and renewed their allegiance to the ideas of Imam (RA).

Deputy Commander of the Iranian Army's Ground Force Brigadier General NozarNemati and Deputy Commander of the Iranian Army Navy Rear Admiral Hamzeh Ali Kaviani were among the commanders who attended the ceremony.

The 29th of Farvardin (April 18), the first month of the Iranian calendar year, is celebrated in Iran as National Army Day. It was named Army Day by the founder of the Islamic Revolution Imam Khomeini.

Source: en.mehrnews.com

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https://en.mehrnews.com/news/199590/Army-commanders-renew-allegiance-with-ideals-of-Imam-Khomeini

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36 truffle hunters among 41 killed by Islamic State in Syria

Apr 17, 2023

By Agence France-Presse: Suspected Islamic State group fighters killed at least 36 truffle hunters and five shepherds in Syria on Sunday, a monitor said, in the latest attacks by jihadists in the war-ravaged country.

Rami Abdel Rahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP the jihadist group "killed 36 people on Sunday while they were collecting truffles in the desert east of (the central city) Hama".

The official Syrian news agency SANA reported the deaths of at least 26 people.

The Observatory, which has a wide network of sources on the ground in Syria, said jihadists riding motorbikes also attacked a group of shepherds in the eastern province of DeirEzzor, killing five and seizing their livestock.

Two other shepherds were kidnapped, the war monitor said.

SANA also reported five dead in the attack, and said the jihadists opened fire on the animals, killing 250 sheep.

Also in DeirEzzor, the decomposed bodies of two civilians thought to have been truffle hunters killed days earlier by jihadists were recovered, the Observatory said.

Since February, more than 240 people have been killed in IS attacks targeting truffle hunters or by landmines left by the extremists, according to the Observatory.

The victims included 15 people foraging for truffles who had their throats slit by IS last month.

In February, IS fighters on motorcycles opened fire on truffle hunters and killed at least 68 people, the Observatory said at the time.

Syria's desert truffles fetch high prices in a state battered by 12 years of war and a crushing economic crisis.

However, the authorities frequently warn against the high-risk practice of gathering them.

Between February and April each year, hundreds of impoverished Syrians still search for truffles in the vast Syrian desert, or Badia -- a known hideout for jihadists that is also littered with landmines.

Jihadist remnants

Syrian truffles are less fragrant than truffles found in France and Italy, and can only be found during the rainy season.

The prized fungus can sell for up to $25 per kilo (2.2 pounds) depending on size and grade -- in a country where the average monthly wage is around $18.

In March 2019, IS lost its last scraps of territory in Syria following a military campaign backed by a US-led coalition, but jihadist remnants continue to hide in the desert and launch deadly attacks.

They have used such hideouts to ambush civilians, Kurdish-led forces, Syrian government troops and pro-Iranian fighters, while also mounting attacks in neighbouring Iraq.

Syria's war has claimed the lives of around half a million people and displaced millions since it erupted in March 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

Remnants of explosives laid by all sides in the conflict are now claiming more lives in Syria than anywhere else in the world, says the United Nations.

Since 2015, landmines and other explosive remnants have on average killed or injured five people every day, according to UN data.

Source: indiatoday.in

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https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/truffle-hunters-killed-islamic-state-syria-2360926-2023-04-17

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Human Rights Ministry welcomes success of Ramadan prisoner swap deal

[17/April/2023]

SANA'A April 17. 2023 (Saba)- The Ministry of Human Rights welcomed on Monday the success of the "Ramadan deal" for the prisoners swap, which was agreed upon during the last round of negotiations in Switzerland.

The Ministry of Human Rights confirmed in a statement, a copy of which was received by Saba, that the Salvation Government has been moving from the beginning in this humanitarian file, as a translation of the directives of the revolutionary leadership and the Supreme Political Council, which is following up and keen to end this file and the return of all Yemeni prisoners and citizens who are subjected to kidnapping and detention by aggression countries and their tools.

Stressed the importance of releasing all prisoners from all sides, given that this file is humanitarian, reaffirming the readiness of the Sana'a government to conclude an all-for-all agreement, and this is what it demanded from the beginning, despite the agreement on that, but the other party sometimes procrastinates and sometimes delays and others postpone it.

The Ministry of Human Rights called on the international community to abide by the principles on which the United Nations was founded, respect human rights, give priority to the prisoners' file, not submit to any dictates that hinder this file, and adhere to the four Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all humanitarian charters.

The ministry expressed the hope that the upcoming talks would be more serious and comprehensive to close this file and seriously engage in addressing the rest of the outstanding humanitarian files, represented by the payment of salaries, stopping the aggression by land, sea and air, ending the blockade, compensation, reconstruction and reparations.

The Ministry extended congratulations and blessings to the liberated prisoners and their families, confirmed the work to liberate all prisoners and detainees in accordance with the assurances of the leader of the revolution, Sayyid Abdul-Malik Badr al-Din al-Houthi, who puts this file at the top of his priorities and his assurances of the continuation of the exchange process until the liberation of all prisoners is completed.

Source: saba

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https://www.saba.ye/en/news3235108.htm

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OQ's Marsa Al Khair Ramadan convoy concludes it journey across 7 governorates in Oman

Sunday 16/April/2023

Muscat: The Marsa Al Khair convoy, organised by the global integrated energy group OQ, has successfully completed its journey across seven coastal Omani governorates from Musandam to Salalah.

Launched in celebration of the holy month of Ramadan, the convoy aimed to raise public awareness about the importance of alternative energy. Two wind-powered sailboats navigated along the coastline throughout the journey.

The convoy's objective was to promote clean energy sources to generate positive environmental impact and emphasise their potential benefits. Encouraging the adoption of wind and other clean energy sources aligns with the Sultanate of Oman's transition towards sustainable energy and carbon neutrality by 2050 for sustainable future.

Enthusiastic receptions, featuring lively chants and cultural performances, marked the convoy's arrival in each wilayat. Various events showcased sustainability and the close relationship between the communities and the sea. Local students participated in activities like drawing, painting, and group games. Omani Women’s Associations exhibited heritage and household products, and beach games were organised for all to enjoy.

This inaugural convoy during the holy month of Ramadan highlights the deep bond between the Omani people and the sea, reviving the rich maritime heritage among successive generations and emphasising the country's strong connection to its seafaring roots.

The convoy symbolises OQ's collaborative partnerships with government entities and private sector organisations, reflecting the commitment to cooperation and community engagement among all stakeholders involved.

Research shows that Oman has significant potential for wind and solar power generation. Optimal wind power generation sites are primarily located along the southeastern coasts of Al Jazir and Duqm, while suitable locations for hybrid solar radiation generation centres are likely to be found in Sohar and Thumrait.

OQ's Chief Executive of People, Technology and Culture, Ashraf Hamad Al Maamari, expressed his elation at the successful outcome of the Marsa Al Khair maritime Ramadan convoy.

The OQ Ramadan convoy played a significant role in raising awareness about alternative energy and sustainable development, two key focus areas for OQ's operations in Oman and abroad. The convoy also promoted sports activities for health and entertainment, activated community initiatives across Omani governorates, and offered opportunities for various entities to participate in community partnership projects.

OQ is committed to reducing the use of traditional energy sources, mitigating their environmental impact. Utilising wind energy is a crucial step towards reducing the carbon footprint and promoting the overall health of our planet.

Appointed by the Government as Oman's alternative energy enabler, OQ launched its Ramadan Convoy, as part of the 'Elevate' initiative. The convoy sailed across Omani governorates in an environmentally friendly sailboat powered by wind energy, reflecting OQ's efforts to bring joy and happiness to families through their support.

Source: timesofoman.com

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https://timesofoman.com/article/129616-oqs-marsa-al-khair-ramadan-convoy-concludes-it-journey-across-7-governorates-in-oman

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Southeast Asia

 

Mosques and Muslims Around the World Promote Sustainability and ‘Green’ Ramadan

BY EDNA TARIGAN AND MARIAM

APRIL 17, 2023

JAKARTA, Indonesia — In the heart of Jakarta, the grand Istiqlal Mosque was built with a vision for it to stand for a thousand years.

The mosque was conceived by Soekarno, Indonesia’s founding father, and was designed as an impressive symbol for the country’s independence. Its seven gates — representing the seven heavens in Islam — welcome visitors from across the archipelago and the world into the mosque’s lofty interior.

But they don’t just see the light here. It fuels them.

A major renovation in 2019 installed upwards of 500 solar panels on the mosque’s expansive roof, now a major and clean source of Istiqlal’s electricity. And this Ramadan, the mosque has encouraged an energy waqf — a type of donation in Islam that continues to bear fruit over time — to grow its capacity to make renewable power.

Her Pramtama, deputy head of the Ri’ayah — or building management — division of Istiqlal Mosque, hopes that Islam’s holiest month, when the faithful flock to mosques in greater numbers, can provide momentum to Istiqlal’s solar project through donations.

The mosque’s climate push is just one example of different “Green Ramadan” initiatives in Indonesia and around the world that promote an array of changes during the Muslim holy month, which has fasting and, in many cases, feasting elements as people gather to break their fasts.

In a month where restraint and charity are emphasized, recommendations can include using less water while performing the ritual washing before prayers, replacing plastic bottles and cutlery during community iftars with reusable ones and reducing food waste. Other suggestions include carpooling to mosques, using local produce, emphasizing recycling and using donations to fund clean energy projects.

For the world to limit the effects of climate change — which is already causing worsening droughts, floods and heat waves — the use of dirty fuels for electricity and transport, petrochemicals to make products like plastics and the emissions from food waste in landfills all need to be drastically slashed, scientists say. Though individual initiatives are just a small part of that transition, experts say growing momentum behind climate goals can have an effect.

Groups taking an Islamic-based approach often highlight environmental understandings of certain Quranic verses and sayings and practices of Prophet Muhammad about the earth, water and against wastefulness.

Last year, at a meeting of the Muslim Congress for Sustainable Indonesia, the country’s vice president Ma’ruf Amin called on clerics and community leaders “to play an active role in conveying issues related to environmental damage” and asked for concrete action on climate change including through donations to solar projects like those at Istiqlal Mosque.

Muhammad Ali Yusuf, a board member at the faith-based Nahdlatul Ulama’s Institution for Disaster Management and Climate Change in Indonesia, said spreading awareness about clean energy is a “shared responsibility” for Muslims, where mosques’ own solar panel installations can be catalysts toward a greater transition.

In the United States and Canada, environmental groups that began springing up in Muslim communities in the mid-2000s independently from one another formed “green Muslim understandings” from within their religious traditions, according to Imam SaffetCatovic, a U.S. Muslim community environmental activist.

“In some cases, the mosques were receptive to it,” he said. In others, mosque leaders, “didn’t fully understand” the drive, he added.

Ramadan offers a “possibility for ecological training that’s unique to the Muslim community,” Catovic said. “Thirty days allow someone to change their habits.”

The Islamic Society of North America website calls on Muslims to be “an eco-friendly community”, saying looking after the environment is “based upon the premise that Islam has ordained us to be the stewards and protectors of this planet.”

Some mosques and Muslims around the world are heeding such calls, one small step at a time.

Ahead of Ramadan this year, the mosque at Al Ma’hadul Islamic Boarding School in Indonesia received solar panels through Islamic donations, supplying enough energy for the mosque’s entire needs. The electricity from the solar panels also lights up schools and roads in the vicinity.

The Nizamiye Mosque in Johannesburg, South Africa, with its towering minarets and spacious interior, has a roof dotted with domes and solar panels that help keep the power on at the mosque and its surrounding schools, clinic and bazaar.

The 143 panels cover over a third of the complex’s energy use in a country that has struggled in recent years to provide enough electricity through its strained grid.

In Edison, New Jersey, Masjid Al-Wali¸ a mosque and community center, has been adopting changes such as selling reusable water bottles to members at cost and installing more water coolers to discourage the use of disposable plastic bottles, said board member AkilMansuri.

“Preserving the environment is the Islamically right thing to do,” Mansuri said. “People accept the message, but adoption is always slower.”

Several years ago, Masjid Al-Wali, whose activities include an Islamic school and monthly community dinners, installed solar panels.

Meals this Ramadan for the mosque’s community iftars come in plastic pre-packaged boxes for now, Mansuri said. But mosque leaders encourage members to take leftovers and reuse the boxes, instead of throwing them away, he said, adding he hopes alternatives can be found next Ramadan.

In the United Kingdom, Projects Against Plastic, a Bristol-based charity, is leading a plastic-free Ramadan campaign.

“I feel like, as a Muslim, that mosques are the hub of the communities and they should take a little bit more leading role for sustainability and toward recycling,” PAP founder Naseem Talukdar said. “During the month of Ramadan is where I’ve really seen a ridiculous amount of plastic being used and thrown away.”

Mosques are urged to raise awareness on plastic pollution and reduce reliance on single-use plastic. Seven Bristol mosques participated in a pilot project last year, with varying results, and a national campaign, with more than 20 participating mosques, was rolled out this year.

Besides education, another challenge is when mosques don’t have enough funds to buy reusable cutlery, dishwashers and water fountains.

“We knew we were going to hit some hard walls and some pushbacks, but, to be honest, the engagement that we’ve seen so far, it was a little overwhelming,” Talukdar said. “Even though the progress is slow, but there’s a real appetite for this kind of initiative within the mosque.”

Ummah for Earth, an alliance-led initiative that aims to empower Muslim communities facing climate change, is urging people to pledge to adopt one eco-friendly practice during Ramadan. Options include asking an imam to address environmental issues, donating to environmental charities and shopping sustainably.

“Many Muslims are not aware that there are environmental teachings in the Quran and the sayings of the prophet and that they have a role that they can play to protect the planet,” said NouhadAwwad, Beirut-based campaigner and global outreach coordinator for the Ummah for Earth project at Greenpeace MENA.

As they work to raise awareness, campaigners often encounter the argument that climate change is “destined” and that “you cannot change God’s destiny,” Awwad said.

“We’re trying to change the narrative,” she said. “We have things that we can do on an individual level, on a community level and on a political level.”

—Fam reported from Winter Park, Florida.

Source: time.com

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

https://time.com/6272308/green-ramadan-muslims-climate-mosques-solar/

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BARMM to field moon-sighting teams to determine Ramadan’s end

APR 17, 2023

GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – The Islamic Advisory Council of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) will deploy teams of religious scholars to strategic locations in four provinces and two cities in Mindanao to determine the end of Ramadan, said BARMM Deputy Mufti AbdulraufGuialani over the weekend.

The groups will keep watch for the crescent moon in sighting points in Parang and Datu Odin Sinsuat towns in Maguindanao del Norte; PC Hill and Timako Hill in Kalanganan Dos village in Cotabato City; Pahut in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi; Jolo port in Sulu; Isabela in Basilan; and Iligan Bay area in Iligan City.

Moon sighting is an important aspect of the Muslim tradition as it determines significant events in the Islamic calendar, such as the beginning and end of Ramadan.

In old times, moon sighting was accomplished with the naked eye. But modern technology such as telescopes and other gadgets has made the process more efficient, according to the speaker. Mecca in Saudi Arabia was traditionally the hub for moon sightings.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has declared Friday, April 21, as a non-working holiday in observance of Eid al-Fitr, the breaking of the fast.

The end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Muslims, however, is tentatively scheduled for April 21 and would be determined by the sighting of the crescent moon on Thursday, April 20, according to the Islamic advisory council, Bangsamoro Darul Ifta (BDI).

If the moon is sighted on Thursday, Eid al-Fitr will be observed on the following day. If not, the breaking of the month-long fast will be set for Saturday, April 22, according to Guialani.

He said the moon sighting teams will report to him about their observations, which will form the basis of his announcement about when Ramadan will end.

Just like the beginning of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr is observed with the first sighting of the new moon. In the Islamic calendar, each month begins with the sighting of the new crescent moon and lasts either 29 or 30 days.

UstadzAlnor Bagdad Mohammad Tan, the alim of the Mohammad Mosque in Palin in the non-BARMM city of General Santos, said they will follow the advisory from the BDI on when to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.

Eid al-Fitr is a festive occasion for Muslims worldwide, signifying the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic Hijrah lunar calendar, which consists of 12 months. The 12th month is designated for Haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Tan explained that the Western calendar is based on the cycles of the sun, whereas the Hijrah is about 10 days shorter. As a result, Ramadan falls on a different date each year in the Western calendar. Currently, the Hijrah is in its 1444th year (AH or Anno Hegirae, Latin for the year of the Hijrah).

Ramadan is a sacred month for Muslims, during which they observe a fast that is considered one of the five pillars of Islam. These pillars are faith, prayer, charity, fasting, and pilgrimage to Mecca.

During Ramadan, Muslims are encouraged to give to charity, strengthen their relationship with God, and practice kindness and patience.

Muslims typically celebrate Eid al-Fitr on the first day of the month of Shawwal. They attend early morning Eid prayers in mosques, often dressed in new clothes. Before heading to the mosque, a believer makes sure to eat something, even if only a little, to indicate the completion of the fasting period.

A day or two before Eid al-Fitr, affluent Muslims give blessings to charity in the form of Zakat al-Fitr to allow the less fortunate to partake in the festivities as well.

During Eid al-Fitr, animals are not slaughtered for offerings, which is reserved for Eid al-Adha, a feast celebrated during the Hajj month. Instead, Muslims indulge in sweets and other delicacies.

Eid al-Fitr is a celebration during which families and friends visit one another, greet each other with “Eid Mubarak! (Have a blessed Eid),” partake in meals, and enjoy each other’s company. Elders often give money to younger members of the family. – Rappler.com

Source: rappler.com

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https://www.rappler.com/nation/mindanao/barmm-moon-sighting-teams-determine-ramadan-end-2023/

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Muslims around the world consider climate during Ramadan

By EDNA TARIGAN and MARIAM FAM

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — In the heart of Jakarta, the grand Istiqlal Mosque was built with a vision for it to stand for a thousand years.

The mosque was conceived by Soekarno, Indonesia’s founding father, and was designed as an impressive symbol for the country’s independence. Its seven gates — representing the seven heavens in Islam — welcome visitors from across the archipelago and the world into the mosque’s lofty interior.

But they don’t just see the light here. It fuels them.

A major renovation in 2019 installed upwards of 500 solar panels on the mosque’s expansive roof, now a major and clean source of Istiqlal’s electricity. And this Ramadan, the mosque has encouraged an energy waqf — a type of donation in Islam that continues to bear fruit over time — to grow its capacity to make renewable power.

Her Pramtama, deputy head of the Ri’ayah — or building management — division of Istiqlal Mosque, hopes that Islam’s holiest month, when the faithful flock to mosques in greater numbers, can provide momentum to Istiqlal’s solar project through donations.

The mosque’s climate push is just one example of different “Green Ramadan” initiatives in Indonesia and around the world that promote an array of changes during the Muslim holy month, which has fasting and, in many cases, feasting elements as people gather to break their fasts.

In a month where restraint and charity are emphasized, recommendations can include using less water while performing the ritual washing before prayers, replacing plastic bottles and cutlery during community iftars with reusable ones and reducing food waste. Other suggestions include carpooling to mosques, using local produce, emphasizing recycling and using donations to fund clean energy projects.

For the world to limit the effects of climate change — which is already causing worsening droughts, floods and heat waves — the use of dirty fuels for electricity and transport, petrochemicals to make products like plastics and the emissions from food waste in landfills all need to be drastically slashed, scientists say. Though individual initiatives are just a small part of that transition, experts say growing momentum behind climate goals can have an effect.

Groups taking an Islamic-based approach often highlight environmental understandings of certain Quranic verses and sayings and practices of Prophet Muhammad about the earth, water and against wastefulness.

Last year, at a meeting of the Muslim Congress for Sustainable Indonesia, the country’s vice president Ma’ruf Amin called on clerics and community leaders “to play an active role in conveying issues related to environmental damage” and asked for concrete action on climate change including through donations to solar projects like those at Istiqlal Mosque.

Muhammad Ali Yusuf, a board member at the faith-based Nahdlatul Ulama’s Institution for Disaster Management and Climate Change in Indonesia, said spreading awareness about clean energy is a “shared responsibility” for Muslims, where mosques’ own solar panel installations can be catalysts toward a greater transition.

In the United States and Canada, environmental groups that began springing up in Muslim communities in the mid-2000s independently from one another formed “green Muslim understandings” from within their religious traditions, according to Imam SaffetCatovic, a U.S. Muslim community environmental activist.

“In some cases, the mosques were receptive to it,” he said. In others, mosque leaders, “didn’t fully understand” the drive, he added.

Ramadan offers a “possibility for ecological training that’s unique to the Muslim community,” Catovic said. “Thirty days allow someone to change their habits.”

The Islamic Society of North America website calls on Muslims to be “an eco-friendly community”, saying looking after the environment is “based upon the premise that Islam has ordained us to be the stewards and protectors of this planet.”

Some mosques and Muslims around the world are heeding such calls, one small step at a time.

Ahead of Ramadan this year, the mosque at Al Ma’hadul Islamic Boarding School in Indonesia received solar panels through Islamic donations, supplying enough energy for the mosque’s entire needs. The electricity from the solar panels also lights up schools and roads in the vicinity.

The Nizamiye Mosque in Johannesburg, South Africa, with its towering minarets and spacious interior, has a roof dotted with domes and solar panels that help keep the power on at the mosque and its surrounding schools, clinic and bazaar.

The 143 panels cover over a third of the complex’s energy use in a country that has struggled in recent years to provide enough electricity through its strained grid.

In Edison, New Jersey, Masjid Al-Wali¸ a mosque and community center, has been adopting changes such as selling reusable water bottles to members at cost and installing more water coolers to discourage the use of disposable plastic bottles, said board member AkilMansuri.

“Preserving the environment is the Islamically right thing to do,” Mansuri said. “People accept the message, but adoption is always slower.”

Several years ago, Masjid Al-Wali, whose activities include an Islamic school and monthly community dinners, installed solar panels.

Meals this Ramadan for the mosque’s community iftars come in plastic pre-packaged boxes for now, Mansuri said. But mosque leaders encourage members to take leftovers and reuse the boxes, instead of throwing them away, he said, adding he hopes alternatives can be found next Ramadan.

In the United Kingdom, Projects Against Plastic, a Bristol-based charity, is leading a plastic-free Ramadan campaign.

“I feel like, as a Muslim, that mosques are the hub of the communities and they should take a little bit more leading role for sustainability and toward recycling,” PAP founder Naseem Talukdar said. “During the month of Ramadan is where I’ve really seen a ridiculous amount of plastic being used and thrown away.”

Mosques are urged to raise awareness on plastic pollution and reduce reliance on single-use plastic. Seven Bristol mosques participated in a pilot project last year, with varying results, and a national campaign, with more than 20 participating mosques, was rolled out this year.

Besides education, another challenge is when mosques don’t have enough funds to buy reusable cutlery, dishwashers and water fountains.

“We knew we were going to hit some hard walls and some pushbacks, but, to be honest, the engagement that we’ve seen so far, it was a little overwhelming,” Talukdar said. “Even though the progress is slow, but there’s a real appetite for this kind of initiative within the mosque.”

Ummah for Earth, an alliance-led initiative that aims to empower Muslim communities facing climate change, is urging people to pledge to adopt one eco-friendly practice during Ramadan. Options include asking an imam to address environmental issues, donating to environmental charities and shopping sustainably.

“Many Muslims are not aware that there are environmental teachings in the Quran and the sayings of the prophet and that they have a role that they can play to protect the planet,” said NouhadAwwad, Beirut-based campaigner and global outreach coordinator for the Ummah for Earth project at Greenpeace MENA.

As they work to raise awareness, campaigners often encounter the argument that climate change is “destined” and that “you cannot change God’s destiny,” Awwad said.

“We’re trying to change the narrative,” she said. “We have things that we can do on an individual level, on a community level and on a political level.”

___

Fam reported from Winter Park, Florida.

___

Associated Press religion coverage receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

___

Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Source: apnews.com

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

https://apnews.com/article/muslims-green-ramadan-climate-solar-panels-mosques-605c7274fcf619647725c20351a25f98

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MOTAC hosts Ramadan’s Iftar evening wit foreign diplomats in Malaysia

Theodore Koumelis

17.04.2023

KUALA LUMPUR – This year’s Ramadan brings forth an Iftar Evening for foreign diplomats in Malaysia, hosted by YB Dato Sri Tiong King Sing, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia and organised by Tourism Malaysia. Held at Pavilion Hotel Kuala Lumpur, the gathering was attended by High Commissioners and Ambassadors representing 63 countries. Also present were Secretary-General of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC), Datuk HajahSarayaArbi and local media representatives.

In addition to showcasing Malaysia’s cuisine, the event also highlights elements of Malaysia’s arts and culture such as performances of Malaysia’s traditional musical instruments gambus and sape, as well as a handicraft exhibition of the local songket, batik and wood-carving by Kraftangan Malaysia.

“In this celebrated month of blessings, I am very grateful to be able to host this get-together with all the officials and media that have been working tirelessly. Through this evening, I hope that we can work together in further strengthening our collaborations in marketing and promoting our country’s tourism offerings to the world, especially in gearing up for Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) in 2025,” said YB Dato Sri Tiong King Sing.

In 2022, Malaysia successfully recorded 10.07 million international tourist arrivals with RM28.2 billion in tourism receipts. This year, Malaysia targets to receive 16.1 million tourist arrivals and generate RM49.2 billion in tourism receipts. Moving forward, in anticipation of VMY 2025, Malaysia forecasts a total of 23.5 million tourist arrivals with RM76.8 billion in tourism receipts.

Source: traveldailynews.asia

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https://www.traveldailynews.asia/meetings-events/motac-hosts-ramadans-iftar-evening-wit-foreign-diplomats-in-malaysia/

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North America

 

Virginia senator defends FBI investigation, compares traditionalist Catholics to radical Muslims

April 17, 2023

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), a Catholic who was Sen. Hilary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 presidential election, defended an FBI investigation into “radical traditionalist” Catholics that was brought to light by a leaked memo.

The memo, distributed by the FBI’s Richmond office, linked the traditional Latin Mass to hate groups. The memo, subsequently retracted by the FBI and condemned by Bishop Barry Knestout of Richmond, received criticism from 20 state attorneys-general and from former FBI leaders. The FBI director has received a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee for all documents related to the investigation.

Sen. Kaine “said the purpose of the investigation was actually to protect practicing Catholics from radical traditionalist Catholics who may be coming to their churches to recruit them,” according to WSET-TV, a television station based in Lynchburg, VA.

“We’ve done the same thing for years working in tandem with mosques because there have been groups that have tried to target or radicalize, especially young people,” added the senator, who “said he helped connect bishops with the FBI so they can further discuss these concerns with transparency.”

Source: catholicculture.org

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

https://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=58376

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US ‘Likely’ Kills Senior Islamic State Leader

April 17, 2023

The U.S. military said it likely killed a senior Islamic State leader in a helicopter raid Monday in northern Syria.

A U.S. Central Command statement did not identify the militant, nor give a precise location of the raid, but said “two other armed individuals were killed.”

CENTCOM added that no U.S. troops were hurt during the raid and that it assessed no civilians were hurt or killed.

The operation is the latest targeting Islamic State leaders in Syria.

Earlier this month, CENTCOM said U.S. forces captured an Islamic State operative in eastern Syria and an airstrike killed one of the group’s senior leaders.

Source: voanews.com

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https://www.voanews.com/a/us-likely-kills-senior-islamic-state-leader/7053387.html

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US helicopter raid in Syria targets an Islamic State leader

BEIRUT (AP) — A helicopter raid by U.S. forces in northern Syria early on Monday resulted in the “probable death” of a senior leader of the militant Islamic State group, the U.S. military said.

The U.S. Central Command said in a statement that the IS leader, who was not named, was “responsible for planning terror attacks in the Middle East and Europe.” Two other “armed individuals” were killed along with the target of the raid, CENTCOM said. The statement said no civilians or U.S. troops were hurt in the operation.

Syria’s White Helmets, a civil defense group operating in opposition-held areas of northern Syria, said it transported two people wounded during the raid to a local hospital, which later said they had died. A third person was killed when the U.S. forces landed for the raid, the White Helmets said.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which partners with the U.S. in anti-IS operations in northeast Syria, said that the operation was launched from a base near the town of Kobani and targeted a military site belonging to a Turkish-backed armed opposition group, Suqour al-Shamal, in the village of village of Suwayda in the region of Jarablus, near the Turkish border.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, reported that the raid had resulted in the arrest of a senior IS leader and killed three people. The U.S. military made no mention of any arrests.

The Observatory said “violent clashes” took place after the helicopter landed, the first such landing this year.

At least 900 U.S. troops are deployed in Syria, along with an undisclosed number of contractors.

The Islamic State group, which swept through Iraq and Syria in 2014, taking control of large swaths of territory, was defeated in Syria in 2019, but sleeper cells maintain a presence and periodically stage attacks on military and civilian targets.

Source: apnews.com

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

https://apnews.com/article/syria-american-raid-islamic-state-458ad7942afb2ace33cfbbee64ec4816

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US Centcom says senior Islamic state leader targeted in Syria raid, likely killed

April 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. Central Command said its forces targeted and likely killed a senior Islamic State leader who it said was involved in "planning terror attacks in the Middle East and Europe" in the early hours of Monday.

The U.S. Central Command forces said it conducted the unilateral helicopter raid in Northern Syria, resulting in the probable death of the Islamic state leader. Two other armed individuals were killed, it said.

U.S. troops and civilians were not wounded in the attack, nor were U.S. helicopters damaged, the Central Command said.

Source: reuters.com

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

https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/us-centcom-says-senior-islamic-state-leader-targeted-syria-raid-likely-killed-2023-04-17/?rpc=401&

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