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Islamic World News ( 14 Jul 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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‘Islam And Terrorism Have Nothing To Do With Each Other’: Muslim World League Chief Made A Visit To The Akshardham Temple In Delhi

New Age Islam News Bureau

14 July 20123


Muslim World League secretary general Sheikh Dr Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa is on a five-day visit to India.(ANI)



• Plea to include Muslims in scheme for Backward Classes Vocational Communities

• 96% Drop In Divorces Among Muslims Since Triple Talaq Law: Kerala Governor



• Session Court Declares Imran-Bushra ‘Illegal Marriage’ Case Admissible

• Pakistan asks Kabul not to let its soil be used for terrorism

• PM performs ground-breaking of 1200MWs Chashma-5 nuclear power plant in Mianwali

• IDB President assures PM of continued support to Pakistan

• Buddhist Monks visit historical sites at Takht Bhai in Mardan

• Zhob Garrison terror attack: Funeral prayers offered of martyrs at native towns


Arab World

• Iraqi Security Arrests, Abu Jamal, Sharia Judge Of ISIS

• Saudi Transformation On Show At Geneva Forum

• Saudi authorities urge Syrian regime to fully cooperate with chemical weapons watchdog

• Saudi Arabia’s Quality of Life Program participates in UN High Level Political Forum 2023

• Saudi Arabia and EU discuss bilateral cooperation

• Saudi minister meets Istanbul governor and Turkish business leaders

• Saudi king invites Kuwait, Kazakh leaders to attend Gulf summits in Jeddah next week



• UK Islamic charity linked to Iran faces insurance hurdle to reopening

• Regulator bids to silence ‘false’ claims about closure of Islamic charity’s HQ

• The UK’s new sanctions on Iran will change nothing

• International Criminal Court opens new probe into Sudan violence


Southeast Asia

• Ban On Politics In Mosques And Surau: Selangor Islamic Religious Department Says Certain Quarters Still Taking It Lightly

• In Indonesia, Islamist Terrorism Is Still a Threat

• 75% of working Malay-Muslims keen on reskilling and upgrading: Mendaki study

• Islamic relics to be gauged for tourism opportunities


North America

• Florida Man Gets 18 Years In Federal Prison For Supporting Islamic State Extremist Group

• 28 years after genocide, Bosniak Muslims mourn their dead but celebrate a return of Islamic life to Srebrenica

• Fasting during Ramadan may reduce seizure frequency



• Dozens Of Israeli Settlers Break Into Jerusalem's Aqsa Mosque

• Sharjah announces 4-day Islamic New Year holidays

• Moves at a small border village hike Israel-Hezbollah tensions at a time of regional jitters

• Iran’s Raisi gets ‘brotherly’ welcome in Zimbabwe



• Pay Your Zakat For Us To Reduce Poverty In Nigeria – Muslim Association Of Nigeria Tells Rich Muslims

• Movement for Islamic Culture Advises Muslims To Put Trust Only In Allah

• Osun masquerades, Muslims reach truce ahead of Egungun festival

• Sharia Court Remands Man For Sleeping With Neighbour’s Wife In Kano


South Asia

• Deputy Minister Claims '95%' of Afghans Do Not Want Women to Work

• USIP Report Calls For Continuation of Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan

• UNICEF Provides Treatment For 270,000 Malnourished In Afghanistan

• Authorities Confirm Closure of Teacher Training Centres Across Afghanistan

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



‘Islam And Terrorism Have Nothing To Do With Each Other’: Muslim World League Chief Made A Visit To The Akshardham Temple In Delhi


Muslim World League secretary general Sheikh Dr Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa is on a five-day visit to India.(ANI)


By Lingamgunta Nirmitha Rao

Jul 14, 2023

Muslim World League chief Mohammad Bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, who is currently on a five-day visit to India, on Friday criticised terrorist organisations and expressed concern about “escalating conflicts and wars worldwide”. Speaking to news agency ANI, he emphasised that these outfits operate on “distorting the image of religions” and said, “Islam and terrorism have nothing to do with each other". The Muslim leader also made a visit to the Akshardham temple in Delhi on Thursday and called for peace and love amongst all, regardless of the reasons behind these conflicts.

Al-Issa said, "These terrorist organisations don't represent anyone except themselves; they have no religion or country." He also highlighted that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a strong platform to combat such ideas.

He added that the Muslim World League is actively working to eradicate these ideological ideas, stressing the importance of addressing these ideas on an “ideological level to eliminate them from existence”.

Earlier in his address on Wednesday at the “Dialogue for Harmony among Religions”, Al-Issa criticised organisations that spread terrorism, saying that misconceptions, hate theories, and wrong perceptions contribute to the path from radicalisation to terrorism. He also mentioned that some leaders have used hate narratives to maintain their power and relevance.

Prior to serving as the Secretary General of the Muslim World League in 2016, Al-Issa held the position of Minister of Justice in the Saudi Cabinet. He is renowned as an Islamic scholar, a proponent of moderate Islam, and an advocate for interfaith dialogue and global peace.

Akshardham visit

After visiting Swaminarayan Akshardham in Delhi, the chief of the World Muslim League expressed admiration for India, saying that it is a great example of unity in diversity. “India is a great example of Unity in Diversity and my visit to Akshardham - a place of worship, full of love, peace and harmony, sums it up,” he said.

During his three-hour visit, the Muslim leader appreciated Akshardham's art, architecture, culture, and values, acknowledging its significant contributions to the world. He specifically desired to engage with the Swamis to discuss matters related to global peace, harmony, and coexistence.

The secretary general expressed his delight in meeting Swami Brahmaviharidas again, recalling their previous interaction in Saudi Arabia's Riyadh during an interfaith conference in 2022.

He was captivated by the stone parikrama's design, as well as the meaningful carvings found throughout Akshardham. He praised the scale and intricate details of the work.

Al-Issa about his visit to India

Al-Issa said his visit to India is “a visit to their friends in the Republic of India”. He mentioned having important meetings with political and religious leaders, which he found very enriching. The discussions focused on vital issues related to fostering harmony within societies and promoting global peace.

Earlier on Wednesday, the chief of the Muslim World League praised Indian philosophy and traditions for teaching harmony to the world. He saluted Indian democracy, the Constitution of India, and the values that promote peaceful coexistence. Al-Issa also emphasised his respect for the rich Indian heritage that upholds harmony and unity.


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More Boys Subjected To Sexual Abuse Than Girls In Six Months In Punjab, Pakistan: Report


Representational image — AFP/File


July 14, 2023

LAHORE: A ‘confidential’ report of the home department has expressed serious concerns over the increase in child abuse crime rate in Punjab, unveiling that the number of boys facing the terrifying ordeal is more than the girls.

It made some disturbing revelations that out of the total perpetrators facing trial in courts, 55 per cent were the neighbours of the victims, 32pc strangers and 13pc were relatives.

The department collected the region-wise data of child abuse in Punjab using the field staff and stated that the Rawalpindi region and Lahore city reported lowest crime against children than other divisions of the province.

It pointed out many key factors as prime barriers in controlling sexual crime against children in Punjab.

Home dept makes recommendations to arrest crime rate in Punjab

As per the report, during first five and a half months of this year, a total of 1,390 incidents of child abuse were reported in Punjab and of them 959 (69pc) victims were boys and 431 (31pc) girls.

The department also furnished recommendations to control the child abuse crime and sent the report to the Lahore capital city police officer (CCPO) and the regional police officers (RPOs) to follow them in letter and spirit.

It stated that the [child abuse] cases are being filed frequently in Punjab and experiences/complaints are reported more by boys than the girls.

“It is also a matter of concern that a number of cases remain unreported. In our society fear and cultural taboos make it difficult to report the crime”, read the findings (a copy is also available with Dawn).

The unwillingness of the parents to subject their children to the medico-legal is a deterrent in this connection, according to the report.

It further pointed out that lack of support from the family members, friends and neighbours or the community leads to the isolation of the victim, making him/her hesitant to share his/her experience about the abuser.

“Besides other factors responsible for the child abuse are socio-economic stresses, unemployment, low self-confidence and feelings of incompetence, loneliness and psychological unrest”, reads the report.

According to it, 220 incidents of child abuse were reported in Gujranwala region/division followed by DG Khan (199), Faisalabad (186), Multan (140), Bahawalpur (129), Sheikhupura (128), Sahiwal (127), Sargodha (103) and so on. The Rawalpindi region and Lahore city were at the bottom with 69 and 89 cases, respectively.

The department further reported that out of the total registered FIRs, challans in 799 cases were submitted to courts, 441 were under investigation while 148 had been closed/dismissed.

“The child sexual abuse is influenced by a range of social factors in Pakistan, and patriarchal norms, power imbalances, poverty, illiteracy and social inequalities contribute to the vulnerability of the children”, the report reads.

Additionally, the victim-blaming attitudes and a lack of awareness about child rights further compounded the challenges faced in addressing and preventing the crime.

The report stated that Pakistan has taken various steps to address child sexual abuse by enacting many laws such as the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2016, the Prevention of Child Abuse Act of 2018 and the Zainab Alert, Response, and Recovery Act 2020.

“However, effective implementation, enforcement, and coordination among relevant agencies are crucial to ensure justice for victims and punishment for the perpetrators”, as per the report.

RECOMMENDATIONS: The home department has recommended that the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau, inter alia, are the main stakeholders for the protection of the children from the criminals and the CPWB may further be sensitised and directed to be more active in view of the prevailing situation.

“It should have a dedicated team of the professionals and the motivated officials including the child protection officers, psychologists, law officers and doctors for the protection of the children from abuses and rehabilitation of the victims”, recommends the report.

A well-defined mechanism should be devised for coordination among the different stakeholders including police, parents, CPWBs and other relevant federal provincial agencies.

It also stressed upon the sensitisation and capacity building of all the stakeholders and staff of relevant agencies.

The department has proposed to initiate the training programmes for the professionals working with the children such as teachers, healthcare providers, personnel of the law-enforcement agencies and social workers in order to enhance their skills in identifying the signs of abuse, responding sensitively and providing appropriate support.

It has recommended effective coordination between all help lines at provincial level, linking the domestic violence helpline 1099 with the police department.

“A database of abducted/missing children should be developed for analysis and policy recommendations”, reads the report.

The department strongly proposed that the national and provincial legislatures need to review the existing child protection laws while reforming the existing apparatus.

“The government should establish special courts for child abuse cases and enhance the capacity and training of law-enforcement agencies and judicial system to handle such cases effectively”, the report says.

The department also proposed to review the role of the ministry of human rights to address this category of crime.

“The ministry should play its role to revamp the national child protection centre to identify, prevent and report issue of child abuse”, the report states.

It stressed that the holistic support services, including counseling, medical assistance, legal aid and rehabilitation programmes must be made available to the child survivors and their families to aid their recovery and reintegration into the society.


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BJP To Launch Pasmanda Yatra On Death Anniversary Of ‘Community Icon’ APJ Abdul Kalam


File photo | PM Narendra Modi visits exhibits in Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam memorial, in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, 2017 | PIB


Neelam Pandey

13 July, 2023

New Delhi: Terming the late former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam as an icon for the Pasmanda Muslims, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is drawing on his legacy to kickstart a nationwide campaign to reach out to the community ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The Pasmanda Sneh Samvad Yatra, which translates roughly as a “journey of affection and dialogue”, will begin on 27 July, the death anniversary of Kalam, and will conclude on 15 October, his birthday. The tagline of the yatra is “Samman se Utthaanki Aur”, which means “from respect towards upliftment”.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants everyone’s development. He does not discriminate. The Pasmanda samaj (community) has been used as a vote bank but no one has really worked for them,” said national BJP minority chief Jamal Siddiqui.

He further claimed that Modi, being a member of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) section, could also be called a Pasmanda, a community that also falls in the OBC category.

“Narendra Modi ji also comes from the Pasmanda community. The fact we have a Pasmanda PM is a matter of pride and on his directions, we have decided to reach out to the community and inform them of all the welfare programmes meant for them,” Siddiqui added.

The term ‘Pasmanda’ refers to the socially and economically underprivileged section of the Muslim community. Pasmandas reportedly make up around 80-85 per cent of India’s Muslim population.

‘Part of 50 per cent vote share plan’

The Pasmanda yatra has been chalked out by the BJP to reach out to the backward Muslims keeping the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in mind.

PM Modi on several occasions has talked about the Pasmanda Muslims and has also asked the party cadre to reach out to them.

“It is part of the plan for the next Lok Sabha polls. We are planning to get more than 50 per cent vote share and it can be achieved only by increasing the party’s acceptance among the new communities. Backward Muslims are one such community,” a party leader told ThePrint, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Starting from Delhi, the yatra will pass through Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and other states.

According to Siddiqui, the yatra was the first official programme of the party to reach out to Pasmanda Muslims. He explained that the party chose to associate the yatra with Kalam since the former President was an icon for the community who worked tirelessly for the nation.

“We want to give an icon to the Pasmanda community so that our people should not get misguided. In the past, leaders, right from Nehru, Mayawati, Mamata, Mulayam, to Rajiv Gandhi, have tried to showcase themselves as the icons for the community. But in reality they have never worked for the people,” he said.

“We have our own icon — Bharat Ratna APJ Abdul Kalam whom the entire country and the world respects. Just as he was a nationalist who worked for the country, we also want the young Pasmandas to work for the country. This is why we decided to start the yatra on his death anniversary,” he added.

Modi had earlier advised his party colleagues to reach out to various deprived sections among non-Hindus, such as Pasmanda Muslims, who are among the beneficiaries of various government welfare schemes.

(Edited by Asavari Singh)


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Sharjah's Islamic Arts Festival To Showcase 'Manifestations' Of Global Creativity


Photo: Emirates News Agency


Thu 13-07-2023

SHARJAH, 13th July, 2023 (WAM) -- The 25th edition of the Islamic Arts Festival ( IAF), which is held under the patronage of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and scheduled to begin in December, has received approval from the Supreme Committee.

During a meeting at the Department of Culture in Sharjah, chaired by Mohammed Ibrahim Al Qaseer, Director of the Cultural Affairs Department and Festival Director, the artworks participating in the festival were officially endorsed by the Supreme Committee.

Al Qaseer emphasised the committee's commitment to the vision and objectives of the festival, which reflects the Ruler of Sharjah's vision of highlighting the arts as a creative and universal language of civilisation. He highlighted the significance of this edition, particularly due to the participation of artists from different countries.

Al Qaseer also noted that the received artworks have brought forth fresh ideas, reflecting the theme of this edition, "Tajaliat (Manifestations)." Additionally, he confirmed that the selection of artworks was based on their alignment with the festival's theme.

The festival's director stated that a diverse range of interior artworks will be showcased at the Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah Calligraphy Museum, Calligraphers' House, Dar Al-Nadwa, Pottery House, Emirates Society for Arabic Calligraphy and Islamic Ornamentation, and the Sharjah Centre for Arabic Calligraphy and Ornamentation. The cities of Kalba and Khorfakkan will also feature unique artistic works that reflect the authenticity of this art form. Furthermore, Beit Al-Hikma, 1971-Design Space, and various local institutions will exhibit an impressive collection of striking artworks created by Emirati, Arab, and international artists.

The Islamic Arts Festival was initiated in 1998 under the guidance of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi. Since then, it has revitalised the artistic vision for Islamic arts, ensuring the preservation of their aesthetic and historical significance.


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Poland Charges 18-Year-Old With Planning Islamist Bomb Attack - Security Agency

July 14, 2023

WARSAW, July 14 (Reuters) - An 18-year-old Polish man has been arrested and charged with plotting with Islamist militants to bomb a government building, the internal security agency said on Friday.

The young man was arrested in southern Poland in June and had collected information and products to make an explosive belt, Poland's Internal Security Agency (ABW) said.

It did not name the man and there was no immediate statement from any lawyer representing him.

"The detained citizen of the Republic of Poland was charged with participation in an organised criminal group aimed at committing a terrorist crime," the ABW's statement read.

"The man was also charged with planning, using explosives, to carry out an event threatening the life or health of many people or property of great size."

It said he had converted to Islam at the end of 2022 and had modelled himself on militants such as Osama Bin Laden.

He had made his plans with a group that said it represented Islamic State, the agency added, without giving further details on the members of the group or identifying the target of the planned attack.

He will be held in pre-trial detention for three months, it added.

Reporting by Alan Charlish; Editing by Andrew Heavens


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Session Court Declares Imran-Bushra ‘Illegal Marriage’ Case Admissible

July 14, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ), Islamabad, Muhammad Azam Khan, on Thursday declared the illegal marriage case of former prime minister Imran Khan with Bushra Bibi during Iddat admissible.

The court has dismissed the verdict of the civil court in which the judge declared the petition inadmissible. The ADSJ has remanded back the case.

A civil court in Islamabad declared as inadmissible a petition that contended that former premier Imran Khan and former first lady Bushra Bibi cohabited despite the fact that their first Nikah had taken place without completion of the latter’s mandatory Iddat period.

The petitioner, Muhammad Hanif, claimed that Bushra Bibi was divorced by her former husband in November 2017 and married Imran Khan on January 1, 2018 despite the fact that her Iddat period had not ended “which is against the Sharia and Muslim norms.”

The complainant submitted in the court the statements of Mufti Muhammad Saeed, who conducted the marriage between Imran and Bushra, and Awn Chaudhry, Imran’s close friend who was one of the witnesses. The civil court noted that the alleged nikah was solemnized in Lahore. “Therefore, the offense, if any, was committed, took place within the jurisdiction of the learned court of competent jurisdiction in Lahore, which could have the cognizance thereof.”

The civil court judge noted that the complainant, if aggrieved of any act of the respondents, should approach the court of competent jurisdiction in Lahore. Describing the reasons for filing the petition in Islamabad, the petitioner said Imran and Bushra moved to the federal capital soon after their nikah and went into “valid retirement” at Imran’s Banigala residence. Therefore, he said, a court in Islamabad should hear the case.

The court, however, said it lacked jurisdiction to take cognizance of the matter as the nikah was solemnized in the territorial jurisdiction of a competent court in Lahore. “Hence the instant petition is not proceedable within the territorial jurisdiction of this court.”

The petitioner challenged the decision of civil court. Raja Rizwan Abbasi, the lawyer of petitioner, argued that according to Section 179, this case could be heard in Lahore and Islamabad as well. The Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ), after completion of arguments, has declared admissible the petition and returned this case to the civil court for hearing.

Meanwhile, the Accountability Court No 1 Islamabad Judge Muhammad Bashir on Thursday extended the interim bail of former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi in the 190 million pounds Al-Qadir Trust case till July 19. The court also sought final arguments on the bail applications of both Imran and Bushra Bibi on July 19. NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar appeared in the court in the case. Imran Khan’s counsel filed a request for an exemption from appearance for Thursday, which was later granted.

There are many cases regarding May 9 due to which appearance is required in Lahore, Khawaja Haris told the court. The judge told the lawyer to submit the request for an exemption from appearance with the NAB also. The lawyer said the next hearing was on July 19 and presentation of arguments could be fixed for that date. He added that Bushra Bibi’s bail case is also pending.

The judge remarked that the bail cases of both the husband and wife could be fixed on the same date. The accountability court then adjourned the hearing of the case till July 19. Interim bail in the Toshakhana case was also extended till July 19. Meanwhile, a local court in Islamabad once again accepted former prime minister Imran Khan’s exemption plea in the Toshakhana case on Thursday and adjourned the hearing till July 17, 2023. “Where is the accused?” Additional District and Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar asked during the hearing. Earlier, a local court on Wednesday expressed anger over Imran Khan’s frequent absences in the Toshakhana hearings, noting that the accused had only appeared before the court once during the 7-month period.

Last week, the same court ruled that the case filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against the PTI chairman was maintainable. The court also ordered Imran Khan to appear in person on Thursday but he remained absent.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Thursday issued bailable arrest warrant for former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan in the Judicial Complex riots case.

Judge Abul HasnatZulqarnain also issued arrest warrants for the PTI leaders Farrukh Habib, Shibli Faraz and Hassan Niazi in connection with two cases registered by the Ramna police station and one by the Golra police station.

During the hearing, Imran’s counsel Sardar Masroof, Attique-ur-Rehman and Mirza Asim requested for an exemption from attendance in both the cases registered by the Ramna police station, on which the judge remarked that the former premier will have to appear in the court.

The judge then summoned Imran Khan and other accused in personal capacity on July 19.

Earlier this year, intense clashes had broken out between the police and the activists belonging to the PTI chief’s convoy after they reached the Judicial Complex ahead of his appearance before the district and sessions court in the Toshakhana case.

According to the contents of a report, 47 officers and officials of the Islamabad Police were injured during the riots and 34 of them were brought to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS).

In addition, three injured FC personnel were also brought to the PIMS. SSP Operations Malik Jamil was also among the injured police officers. Jamil was injured due to severe stone pelting by the PTI workers. The SSP (Operations) was also shifted to PIMS. The report stated that party workers had also damaged vehicles and government properties.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan on Thursday skipped his appearance before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Rawalpindi, in the £190 million National Crime Agency (NCA) UK settlement case and sought a fresh date for his appearance.

According to sources, Imran submitted a written request for a fresh date for his appearance and said he would appear in Islamabad courts on July 19 and might also appear before the NAB on the same day.

In the call-up notice for July 13, Imran had been asked to bring details of his assets in the country and abroad.


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Pakistan asks Kabul not to let its soil be used for terrorism

July 14, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has reaffirmed its commitment to engage with Afghanistan on all aspects of cooperation and concern, including issues relating to terror threats.

At her weekly news briefing here on Thursday, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch urged Afghan authorities to fulfil their promises that their soil will not be used for terrorism against Pakistan.

She said it was their responsibility to ensure that their land was not used against Pakistan, and Afghan authorities had accepted this responsibility on various occasions.

On the situation in India-held Kashmir, Ms Baloch said that since August 5, 2019, over 780 Kashmiris had been martyred by occupation forces.

FO says India’s unabated repression fails to break the will of Kashmiris

She said India’s unabated repression over the last seven decades had failed to break the will of Kashmiris for the right to self-determination.

She said Pakistan would continue to support its Kashmiri brothers and sisters in their just struggle against Indian oppression till the realisation of their inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN Security Council resolutions.

In reply to a question, the spokesperson said the Indus Water Treaty was an important document that had served both Pakistan and India. She said Pakistan was committed to its full implementation and hoped that India would remain committed to it.

She said the UN Human Rights Council recently adopted a historic resolution presented by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which condemned any advocacy of religious hatred, including the recent acts of desecration of the Holy Quran and underscored the need for holding the perpetrators to account.

She said Pakistan shared the disappointment of OIC member states that despite its balanced and apolitical nature, this important resolution was put to vote on fallacious grounds, derailing the council’s consensus.

The spokesperson said Pakistan believed that the Human Rights Council must speak with one voice on the issue of Islamophobia which affects human rights, fundamental freedoms, dignity and identity of over two billion Muslims.

She said Pakistan would continue to take lead in raising global awareness about Islamophobia and xenophobia and fostering interfaith dialogue, harmony and peaceful coexistence.

The FO spokesperson said that Azerbaijan’s Minister for Digital Develo­pment and Transport would undertake a three-day visit to Pakistan from Monday.

She said the visiting minister would meet Pakistani counterparts in the ministries of Information Technology, Aviation, Communications, Railways and Maritime Affairs and explore bilateral cooperation in the areas of connectivity and Information Technology.


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PM performs groundbreaking of 1200MWs Chashma-5 nuclear power plant in Mianwali

July 14, 2023

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif performed the groundbreaking of 1200 megawatts Chashma-5 nuclear power plant in Mianwali on Friday. 

He was accompanied by Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal and other officials.


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IDB President assures PM of continued support to Pakistan

July 14, 2023

President of the Islamic Development Bank Dr Sulaiman Al Jasser has assured Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of continued financial support to Pakistan.

The IDB President, in a telephonic conversation with PM Shehbaz Sharif, termed Pakistan a brotherly country and vowed to cooperate with it.

The Prime Minister thanked the IDB President IDB for giving one billion dollars to Pakistan and said the received amount also played an important role in finalizing the standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

He said without the IDB's support, the IMF's deal with Pakistan's was difficult to materialize.

The Prime Minister said the Islamic Development Bank is an important partner of Pakistan, which helped it in difficult times.

He recalled his meeting with Sulaiman Jasser in France, and said Pakistan is keen to further strengthen its partnership with the IDB.

He apprised the IDB President of the recently established Special Investment Facilitation Council for the promotion of investment in the country.

The body has been set up to increase investment in various sectors of the country.

The Prime Minister invited Dr Sulaiman Al Jasser to visit Pakistan.


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Buddhist Monks visit historical sites at Takht Bhai in Mardan

July 13, 2023

The Buddhist Monks belonging to China, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea, who are in Pakistan to participate in the International Gandhara Symposium, visited Buddhist ancient and historical sites at Takht Bhai in district Mardan today.

Our correspondent from Takht Bhai, Haider Abbas, reports that the Monks showed keen interest in their religious sites and thanked the government of Pakistan particularly the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for caring and preserving the history of Gandhara civilization.

They took a round of different parts of the sites including Main Stupa, Stupa Court, and Monastery and also held prayers there.

Director Archeology Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Dr. Abdul Samad briefed the visiting Monks about the government steps to preserve the religious sites of Buddha and Buddhist civilization.

Minister of State and Chairman for Prime Minister Task Force on Gandhara Tourism, Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, talking to media on this occasion, said the government of Pakistan will provide all kind of facilitation to the Buddhist people from across the world for visiting these historical sites.

He said the Monks, who attended the three-day International Gandhara Symposium and also visited their religious sites in Taxila and Takht Bhai, are the ambassadors and representatives of Pakistan and committed to promote Buddhism in their countries citing the efforts of government of Pakistan in preserving their religious sites.


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Zhob Garrison terror attack: Funeral prayers offered of martyrs at native towns

July 14, 2023

Funeral prayers were offered of the martyrs at their native towns today with full military honor who embraced shahadat yesterday while valiantly thwarting a full scale terrorists attack on Zhob Garrison and during an intense exchange of fire with hardcore terrorists in Sui.

Burial ceremonies were attended by serving and retired officers/soldiers, relatives and a large number of people from different segments of society.

In a statement, the ISPR said the Armed Forces of Pakistan stand resolute and committed to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the motherland at all costs. 


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Plea to include Muslims in scheme for Backward Classes Vocational Communities

The scheme involves financial assistance of ₹1 lakh for those who are between ages 18 and 55 for artisans and those from vocational communities.

July 14, 2023

A non-governmental organisation has requested the inclusion of Muslims in the scheme for Backward Classes Vocational Communities .

The scheme involves financial assistance of ₹1 lakh for those who are between ages 18 and 55 for artisans and those from vocational communities.

Association for Socio-Economic Empowerment of the Marginalised (ASEEM), in a representation to Minister for Minorities Welfare KoppulaEshwar, and Advisor to the Telangana Government on Minorities Welfare, A. K. Khan, sought the same financial assistance for Muslim communities that are listed under the BC - E category.

“There are profession-based groups such as laddaf, who are mattress makers, and Qureshis who are listed under the BC - E category. It would do such communities a lot of good, if financial assistance is given to them as well. The government, while formulating schemes, should keep such profession-based groups in mind,” said ASEEM secretary S. Q. Masood.

The G. Sudhir Committee, which was constituted to study the socio-economic condition of Muslims, noted that over 68% of BC-E Muslim households find sustenance by means of daily wages.


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96% Drop In Divorces Among Muslims Since Triple Talaq Law: Kerala Governer

July 13, 2023

New Delhi: The rate of divorce among Muslims has "come down by 96 per cent" since triple talaq was made a punishable offence under the law in 2019 and this has benefitted women and children, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan said on Thursday.

Addressing a gathering at a seminar here on Uniform Civil Code (UCC), he also wondered is it not odd that when one seeks justice, religion has to be stated first.

On the All India Muslim Personal Law Board sending its objections on UCC to the Law Commission, Mr Khan said everyone has a right to express their opinion.

"The Law Commission has sought suggestions... And, I am very hopeful that all suggestions that will come up, will get full attention from the Law Commission and the government," he told reporters later.

The UCC refers to a common set of laws on marriage, divorce and inheritance that would be applicable to all Indian citizens irrespective of religion, tribe or other local customs.

The Law Commission had on June 14 initiated a fresh consultation process on UCC by seeking views from stakeholders, including public and recognised religious organisations, on the politically sensitive issue.

In his address, Mr Khan also spoke of the Shah Bano case of the 1980s.

He praised the enactment of the The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act 2019 which makes the practice of instant divorce through triple talaq among Muslims a punishable offence entailing imprisonment of up to three years, and recalled how it took two years since the Supreme Court's landmark verdict in 2017.

In its verdict, the Supreme court by a majority of 3:2 had ruled that the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims is "void", "illegal" and "unconstitutional".

The Supreme court also held that the triple talaq is against the basic tenets of Quran.

"Do you know after the judgement, teen talaq did not stop even a single day," Mr Khan said, and recounted how he got a call from a person in Bahraich in Uttar Pradesh, who mentioned of such a case happening with a woman, even after the verdict.

He then mentioned how it took two years to finally have the practice of instant divorce through triple talaq among Muslims, made a punishable offence.

"Talaq has not been banned, and it can't be banned, triple talaq has been banned, and the result of making it a punishable offence is that in Muslim community, the rate of divorce have come down by 96 pc. And, not only women benefitted, but children too whose future were ruined due to divorce earlier," Mr Khan said.

In his address, he also mentioned that the British rulers had decided to implement laws for people pertaining to their respective religions.

"Is it not odd that when one goes to seek justice, then one's religion has to be stated first, and which community one belongs to. So, is it equality before the law? Is it equal protection of law? No," he said.

"Two women go to a court, and in a similar case, both get different justice because they belong to a different religious backgrounds. How can you accept in today's era," Mr Khan asked.


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Arab World


Iraqi Security Arrests, Abu Jamal, Sharia Judge Of ISIS

July 13, 2023

Baghdad ( – The Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS) announced on Thursday the arrest of ‘Abu Jamal,’ who is the sharia judge in the terrorist group ISIS.

The INIS mentioned in a statement that its officers managed to arrest Akkab Hamad Nijris Dali, nicknamed ‘Abu Jamal,’ who holds the position of the sharia judge in the ISIS group, after receiving intelligence information and tracking the suspect in more than a country.

The statement elaborated that Abu Jamal issued many rulings inciting violence against Iraqi security forces.

The statement also indicated that Abu Jamal fled to Syria in 2017, moving into areas under the control of ISIS.

The INIS clarified that the arrested terrorist infiltrated back into Iraqi territory in 2023 under the guidance of ISIS leaders.

The INIS noted that the arrest of the Sharia judge of ISIS followed cooperation with the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) in Sulaymaniyah governorate and the issuance of the required judicial order.


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Saudi Transformation On Show At Geneva Forum

July 13, 2023

RIYADH: The Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property participated in the 64th meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization, the global forum for intellectual property policy, services, information and cooperation, in Geneva.

Thousands of intellectual property professionals and agencies from around the world attended the summit hosted by WIPO Director-General Daren Tang from July 6-14.

During a Saudi Day organized at the forum, the SAIP presented “Story of a Nation,” which highlighted historical, civilizational and cultural development of the Kingdom over the years.

Attendees witnessed the Kingdom’s recent developments in construction, education, health, industry, economy, arts, sports, culture and public life in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

Visitors had the chance to enjoy hospitality activities, with Saudi art and folklore sword dancing accompanied by Saudi coffee and traditional food, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The SAIP will continue to review the Kingdom’s efforts and measures taken to protect creativity, innovation and invention, and to support talented people inside and outside the Kingdom, it added.


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Saudi authorities urge Syrian regime to fully cooperate with chemical weapons watchdog

July 14, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has called on Syria, and all those involved in the conflict in the country, to fully cooperate in good faith with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and follow all directives related to such weapons in the war-torn nation.

It came during the 103rd session of the OPCW’s Executive Council in The Hague, which began on Tuesday and continues until Friday. The Saudi delegation is led by Ziyad Al-Attiyah, the Kingdom’s ambassador to the Netherlands and its permanent representative to the OPCW.

Speaking at the event, he welcomed a meeting in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, last month between representatives of Syria and a team from the OPCW’s Technical Secretariat, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

He also welcomed a recent statement from the Technical Secretariat confirming that with the destruction of the last remaining US stockpiles on July 7, the disposal of all declared, global chemical weapon stockpiles has been completed.

“Thus, an important and fundamental goal of the Chemical Weapons Convention was achieved and this proves, beyond any doubt, that the convention is the most successful disarmament agreement in history,” Al-Attiyah said as he congratulated Washington on the achievement.

However, he stressed the need to focus next on preventing the reemergence of chemical weapons, and their use and proliferation. He reiterated the high degree of importance the Kingdom places on the implementation of its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which he said aims to strengthen international peace and security and ensure chemistry is used only for peaceful purposes.

The Kingdom’s determination to eliminate chemical weapons and the threats they pose reflects its policy of working to enhance cooperation in efforts to ban all types of weapons of mass destruction and prevent their proliferation, and to ensure the Middle East region is free of them.

The use of chemical weapons or toxic substances by anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances is reprehensible and a violation of the convention’s provisions, said Al-Attiyah.

He also expressed hope that a draft resolution for more equitable geographical representation within the functions of the OPCW would be adopted by consensus, and called on all members of the Executive Council to support it.

In addition, he highlighted the fact that the Kingdom has donated €50,000 ($56,000) to help establish a new Center for Chemistry and Technology, which will help to boost technology transfers and technical assistance among the organization’s member states.

Al-Attiyah said the donation is part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to support initiatives designed to enhance international cooperation in efforts to ban chemical weapons and prevent their proliferation, in compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention and the role it plays in enhancing international peace and security.


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Saudi Arabia’s Quality of Life Program participates in UN High Level Political Forum 2023

July 13, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Quality of Life Program is participating in the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2023, held by the UN in New York, as part of the Kingdom’s delegation, which includes 22 public, private, and non-profit entities led by the Ministry of Economy and Planning.

The Kingdom’s participation at the forum, which kicked off on Monday and continues until Tuesday, also comes within the framework of its commitment to promoting sustainable development and achieving its goals globally, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

It aims to highlight the efforts exerted in improving the quality of life for all, upgrading cities, discussing ways of cooperation, and strengthening international partnerships in various sectors of quality of life to enhance the attractiveness and humanization of cities to create a sustainable environment and a prosperous future in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

On Friday, the Executive Director of the Quality of Life Program Center, Khalid bin Abdullah Al-Bakr, will participate in a dialogue session on Sustainable Development Goal No. 11, which is concerned with the sustainability of cities and local communities.


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Saudi Arabia and EU discuss bilateral cooperation

July 13, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Waleed El-Khuraiji, received EU Special Representative to the Gulf Region Luigi Di Maio in the capital, Riyadh, the ministry said on Thursday.

During the meeting, they reviewed cooperation between the Kingdom and the EU and discussed developments of common interest in the Gulf region.


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The meeting was attended by the EU Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Patrick Simonnet.



Saudi minister meets Istanbul governor and Turkish business leaders

July 14, 2023

RIYADH: Majid Al-Hogail, Saudi Arabia’s minister of municipal and rural affairs and housing, met Turkish officials and business leaders during his official visit to Turkiye this week, including Istanbul’s governor, Davut Gul.

During their meeting, Al-Hogail and Gul reviewed the relationship between their countries and ways in which it might be enhanced, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

They discussed Istanbul’s experience in balancing efforts to preserve its culture and heritage with the need for urban development in the city, and the challenges it faces. Al-Hogail invited Gul to visit the Kingdom and attend the Cityscape Global real estate exhibition in September.

The Saudi minister then held several meetings in Istanbul municipality with executives from Turkish companies that specialize in urban operations. They reviewed their experiences and expertise in managing issues such as public parking, waste recycling and smart city development, and the methods the companies have devised to improve the operation of public utilities, the main problems they have encountered, and the solutions they have developed in light of the challenges facing urban developers in Istanbul.

Al-Hogail told them the Kingdom offers many promising investment opportunities in a qualitative environment that attracts investment in a variety of economic and development sectors across the Kingdom, including the municipal and housing sectors.

He added that he looks forward to strengthening cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Turkiye, particularly in the fields of real estate development, infrastructure projects and smart cities.


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Saudi king invites Kuwait, Kazakh leaders to attend Gulf summits in Jeddah next week

July 13, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sent a written message to Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, inviting him to attend Gulf meetings in the Kingdom next week, state-run news agency SPA reported on Thursday.

The Kingdom is set to host the 18th consultative meeting of the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council states and the Gulf-Central Asia summit in Jeddah on Wednesday.

The message was delivered by the Kingdom’s Ambassador to Kuwait Prince Sultan bin Saad bin Khaled, during a meeting with Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah at Bayan Palace.

Meanwhile, King Salman also sent an invitation to Kazakh President Kassym-JomartTokayev to attend both meetings, SPA aid.

Saudi Ambassador to Kazakhstan Faisal Al-Kahtani delivered the message during a meeting with ErzhanKazykhanov, the president’s deputy chief of staff and special representative for international cooperation , where they reviewed bilateral relations and ways to enhance and develop them.


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UK Islamic charity linked to Iran faces insurance hurdle to reopening

Nicky Harley

Jul 13, 2023

A British charity run by the UK representative of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, will not reopen until its state-appointed administration can secure insurance for its London premises.

The Charity Commission opened an investigation into the Islamic Centre of England over its links to Iran and removed the trustees from the board. In May, a few weeks after the inquiry began, the centre closed.

On Thursday, the watchdog revealed the closure was the result of an insurance issue.

“The Charity Commission has confirmed that the ongoing temporary closure of the Islamic Centre of England’s premises in London results from problems in securing the necessary insurance to enable the mosque to be reopened for public use,” the commission said.

“Since being appointed as interim manager (IM), Emma Moody has worked hard with the trustees to secure the necessary insurance for the charity so that it can reopen the mosque to worshippers, and this process is ongoing.

“The insurance problems predate the IM’s appointment. The trustees were aware from April 2023 that the charity’s then insurers had decided not to renew some of its insurance policies. They therefore decided to temporarily cease some of the charity’s activities. The IM was appointed on May 4, 2023. On May 23, 2023, in consultation with the IM, the trustees took the difficult decision to temporarily close the mosque.

“The commission is aware of various reports and allegations relating to the causes of the temporary closure of the charity’s premises. Until insurance policies are secured, it is not legal for the charity to reopen for public use. Suggestions that the temporary closure resulted from factors other than the insurance matter are entirely false and misleading.”

The commission’s statutory inquiry into the charity is ongoing.

The London charity has previously received warnings from the watchdog after an unofficial speaker at the centre, Massoud Shadjareh, praised Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force.

He called Suleimani, who the UK had designated a terrorist, a “dedicated soldier of Islam” after he was killed by a US drone strike in January 2020.

In another incident last year, trustee Seyed Hashem Moosavi described protesters in Iran as “soldiers of Satan”.

The regulator started an inquiry into the centre in November 2022 over concerns about its governance.

The watchdog said Ms Moody had been appointed manager “due to the trustees’ failure to comply with their legal duties and responsibilities and their failure to protect the charity’s assets”.

Last year The National revealed that the charity had received about £240,000 ($300,465) – £129,556 in 2021 and £109,476 in 2020 – from the government’s Covid-19 furlough programme.

It was given the funding despite having received an official warning from the Charity Commission.


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Regulator bids to silence ‘false’ claims about closure of Islamic charity’s HQ

13 July 2023

The Charity Commission today moved to silence “false and misleading” claims about the ongoing closure of the Islamic Centre of England’s London headquarters.

The regulator released a statement saying the mosque could not be reopened because the charity had “problems in securing the necessary insurance”.

It added: “The commission is aware of various reports and allegations relating to the causes of the temporary closure of the charity’s premises.

“Until insurance policies are secured, it is not legal for the charity to reopen for public use. Suggestions that the temporary closure resulted from factors other than the insurance matter are entirely false and misleading.”

ICE is currently the subject of a statutory inquiry by the commission, which has appointed Emma Moody as interim manager.

The commission said Moody, from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP, had “worked hard with the trustees” to secure the necessary insurance to reopen the mosque, a process that was “ongoing”.

It added that the insurance problems predated Moody’s appointment in May.

“The trustees were aware from April 2023 that the charity’s then-insurers had decided not to renew some of its insurance policies. They therefore decided to temporarily cease some of the charity’s activities.

“The IM was appointed on 4 May 2023. On 23 May 2023, in consultation with the IM, the trustees took the difficult decision to temporarily close the mosque.”

The regulator will publish a report setting out its findings on the conclusion of the investigation.

The regulator opened a statutory inquiry into the Islamic Centre of England last year amid serious governance concerns, then appointed Moody this May “due to the trustees’ failure to comply with their legal duties and responsibilities and their failure to protect the charity’s assets”, it said.

Moody is conducting a review of the charity’s governance and administration and will make recommendations to the commission based on her findings, the regulator said.

ICE, which has charitable purposes including advancing the religion of Islam and promoting education and welfare among the Muslim community, runs an Islamic centre in Maida Vale, north-west London. It had an income of £486,000 in 2021.

In March, the charity was labelled a “vile threat” by Tom Tugendhat, the security minister.

The commission said last year its decision to open an inquiry followed “extensive engagement with the charity over recent years”.

That included an official warning after two events held at the charity’s premises in 2020 that honoured Major General Qasem Soleimani, who was subject to UK sanctions.

A follow-up case in 2021 concluded that the charity was only partially compliant with the actions in the official warning and identified further regulatory concerns.

These included the content of the charity’s website and the trustees’ management of conflicts of interest, leading to an action plan from the commission.

The regulator said in October it was assessing a speech made by SeyedMoosavi, one of the charity’s trustees, in which he described protesters in Iran as “soldiers of Satan”.


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The UK’s new sanctions on Iran will change nothing

13 Jul, 2023

The UK’s new sanctions regime against Tehran will make little material difference, other than prompting unneeded backlash and imprinting the impression of recklessness on the government in London. As Iran rises in today’s multipolar world, Britain’s obsession with the Western order of the past only weighs it down.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly announced that his government had decided to create a new sanctions regime for Iran, expanding the United Kingdom’s powers to sanction decision makers in Tehran to include those allegedly involved in weapons proliferation. US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller quickly responded to “welcome the United Kingdom’s announcement of plans to create a new sanctions authority,” going on to encourage “additional measures by all like-minded partners to address Iran’s hostile actions.” Iran, on the other hand, retaliated by summoning the UK’s chargé d’affaires to Tehran over Britain’s “destructive and interventionist” remarks.

Despite the seeming seriousness with which the British government has announced its new decision, the reality is that its sanctions will make little difference to Iran’s predicament. Since 2018, when then-US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal and pursued the currently persisting ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions campaign, the Iranian government has evolved to try and circumvent the consequences of such measures. London does not have nearly as significant a position in the global economic arena as its ally in Washington. If Tehran hasn’t been forced onto its knees by the world’s dominant economic power, the likelihood of sanctions that could target Iranian actions inside the UK itself are unlikely to do much at all to change this situation.

If the sanctions will not do anything, what could be the reason behind the recent announcement in the UK? This could have to do with a number of separate factors. To begin with, Iran has just been accepted as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The Islamic Republic has been seeking pathways to reduce the impact of years of isolation from the global economy, something that SCO membership may well help with. Additionally, Tehran has been eyeing a position in the BRICS economic alliance, which at least in principle all member nations have supported. On top of this, Iran and Russia inked a deal for the construction of a rail link as part of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). Investment in Iran is rising and the nation’s international cooperation is also growing, allowing it to navigate its way around the dictates of the collective West.

It is likely that the US and its Western partners are in outrage about the successes of Iran, hence are seeking a way to undermine it, or enrage it, because of this. Back in April, something else happened that may have something to do with the recent sanctions declaration by the UK; 125 UK MP’s called upon the government to proscribe Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, following lobbying efforts and the recommendations of influential think tanks. The European Union also announced its intentions to designate the IRGC as a terrorist group. In both cases, this has not been followed up on, likely because this would lead to any support for the Iranian government being interpreted as support for terrorism and even the expulsion of Iranian ambassadors, a step that likely seems too heavy for the current predicament. Therefore, the failure of the UK to commit itself to this is leading to criticism from inside the parliament itself, over the introduction of a policy that could be designed to avoid going through with the proscription.

The UK, along with its Western allies, continues to follow Washington’s lead on issues pertaining to Iran, the same US government that is controlled by a president, Joe Biden, who had promised to return to the 2015 Nuclear Deal and ended up doubling down on the Trump administration’s hardline sanctions stance instead. The consideration of ushering in a terrorist group designation for the IRGC, for introducing new sanctions and the constant baseless accusations regarding the pursuit of nuclear weapons by Iran, all amount to meaningless tantrums.

The UK has now joined Ukraine, Canada, and Sweden in seeking an International Court of Justice ruling that Iran illegally shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 in January 2020. Although this tragedy was clearly not deliberate, the Western media and governments carry on as if Iranian air defense purposely killed all 176 passengers on board, omitting the fact that there were legitimate threats of incoming US air attacks on the country, following the IRGC’s firing of ballistic missiles at the Ain al-Assad military base in Iraq, as a response to the US drone strike assassination of its General Qassem Soleimani. Although there are claims of a lack of transparency from Tehran, the Iranian authorities did sentence ten people to prison for what they deemed to be a misfiring of air defense missiles at the aircraft. Days prior to the incident, US President Donald Trump had publicly threatened to strike over 50 targets inside Iran, including cultural sites.

The UK refuses in all cases to take any responsibility for its own wrongdoing and persists in doing Washington’s bidding, lashing out at Iran at a time when a cost-of-living crisis plagues its own people. The British government chooses to spend its time lecturing the world, while refusing to adopt an approach that will provide a stable living condition and future for their own citizens. The government in Tehran isn’t going anywhere, the UK’s fanciful machinations regarding regime change there are not helping, and attempts to delegitimize Iran will only create an unneeded backlash, while demonstrating to nations outside of the West that the same Western arrogance blinds it from engaging in the emerging multipolar order.


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International Criminal Court opens new probe into Sudan violence

July 14, 2023

NEW YORK: The International Criminal Court has opened a new probe into alleged war crimes in Sudan, its chief prosecutor said Thursday, expressing major concern over escalating violence.

Karim Khan made the announcement in a report to the UN Security Council, after three months of war between feuding generals have plunged the northeast African country back into chaos.

The ICC has been investigating crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region since 2005 after a referral by the UN Security Council, and the Hague-based court has charged former leader Omar Al-Bashir with offenses including genocide.

Allegations of atrocities have mounted during the recent fighting, with the top UN official in Sudan calling for the warring sides to face accountability.

Around 3,000 people have been killed and three million displaced since violence erupted between Sudan army chief Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan and his former deputy Mohamed HamdanDaglo’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group.

The pair were key figures in a 2021 military coup that derailed the country’s transition to civilian rule, following the ousting and detention of Bashir in 2019.

The UN has warned of possible new massacres in Darfur, saying Thursday that the bodies of at least 87 people allegedly killed last month by the RSF and their allies had been buried in a mass grave in Darfur.

“The simple truth is that we are... in peril of allowing history to repeat itself — the same miserable history,” Khan told the UNSC.

“If this oft repeated phrase of ‘never again’ is to mean anything, it must mean something here and now to the people of Darfur that has lived with this uncertainty and pain and the scars of conflict for almost two decades,” Khan said as he announced the new probe.

He said there have been a “wide range of communications” about alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity since fighting broke out in April, while the risk of further offenses was “deepened by the clear and long-standing disregard demonstrated by relevant actors, including the government of Sudan, for their obligations.”

Alleged sexual and gender-based crimes were a focus of the new investigation, Khan said.

The US State Department welcomed the new probe. “Let this be a message to all who commit atrocities, in Sudan and elsewhere, that such crimes are an affront to humanity,” spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

Even before the recent fighting broke out, Khan said in the report, there was a deterioration of Sudan’s cooperation with UN investigators.

Sudan’s UN ambassador denied this. “The government of Sudan has constantly cooperated with the ICC,” ambassador Al-HarithIdriss Al-Harith Mohamed said.

The lack of justice for crimes in Darfur in the early 2000s, when Bashir set his Janjaweed militia upon non-Arab minorities, had “sown the seeds for this latest cycle of violence and suffering,” he added.

Bashir was charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder, rape and torture and the court has been demanding his extradition to The Hague ever since, without success.

After Bashir was toppled in 2019, Khartoum announced it would hand him over to the court for prosecution, but this never happened.

Even before the recent fighting there was a “further deterioration in cooperation from Sudanese authorities,” Khan said.

Bashir, 79, as well as Ahmad Harun and Abdel Raheem Hussein, two leading figures in the former dictator’s government who are also wanted by the ICC, are still at large.

So far the only suspect to face trial for violence committed in Sudan is senior Janjaweed militia leader Ali Muhammad Ali Abd Al-Rahman, also known by the nom de guerre Ali Kushayb.

Rahman’s defense lawyers are expected to open their case next month, and Khan said the latest Sudan fighting “cannot be permitted to jeopardize” the trial.

The United Nations says 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million people displaced in the 2003-4 Darfur conflict.

A summit of leaders from Sudan’s neighbors met in Cairo on Thursday, urging an end to the fighting, but gunbattles, explosions and the roar of fighter jets again shook the capital Khartoum, residents told AFP.


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Southeast Asia


Ban On Politics In Mosques And Surau: Selangor Islamic Religious Department Says Certain Quarters Still Taking It Lightly

Thursday, 13 Jul 2023

SHAH ALAM, July 13 — There are still administrators of mosques and surau in Selangor found to be taking the ban on politics in the houses of worship lightly, as politicians are still being allowed to use the premises for the purpose.

Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) Datuk MohdShahzihan Ahmad said this was in violation of the regulations set by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) to maintain mosques and surau as peaceful zones, free from any political elements or influence.

“The actions of certain parties who have taken advantage of the upcoming state elections by distributing printed political materials and politicking in mosques or surau is irresponsible and goes against the decree of the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and the Mais ruling,” he said in a statement. today.

He said any action that insulted, disobeyed, violated or disputed the orders of the Sultan of Selangor or the instructions of Mais can be prosecuted according to Section 12 (a) or (b) of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995.

“The mosque officials involved could also be subject to action and have their appointments cancelled by Mais based on Rule 7 (f) of the Mosques And Surau (Selangor) Regulations 2017,” he said. — Bernama


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In Indonesia, Islamist Terrorism Is Still a Threat

Jul 13, 2023

On April 12, officers from Indonesia’s elite police counterterrorism unit, Densus 88, engaged in a shootout with Islamist militants during a targeted raid on a property in Lampung, at the southern tip of Sumatra. Two militants were killed, with authorities later identifying them as members of Jemaah Islamiyah, the group notorious for carrying out the 2002 Bali bombings but which has been dormant for much of the past 15 years. Four other members of Jemaah Islamiyah had been arrested in Lampung the previous day, with police seizing an assault rifle, homemade firearms and machetes.

Indonesian authorities said the raids in Lampung formed part of a broader crackdown on Jemaah Islamiyah, amid reports that it is recruiting and training new members. After committing a string of further atrocities in the years following the Bali attacks, targeting hotels and foreign embassies in Jakarta, Jemaah Islamiyah was declared an illegal organization by an Indonesian court in 2008. The following year, the group renounced jihad as the primary means to achieve its aims and began portraying itself as a harmless social organization. Yet Jemaah Islamiyah has never dropped its aim of forging a Shariah-ruled caliphate in Indonesia, stoking fears that it could one day return to violence.

Jemaah Islamiyah is not the only group that poses a threat. In December, a suicide bomber linked to JamaahAnsharut Daulah, or JAD, blew himself up at a police station in Bandung, in West Java, killing a police officer and leaving seven other people wounded. JAD, which is affiliated with the Islamic State, comprises a shadowy network of cells that have been responsible for a series of similar bombings since 2016, with churches and shopping malls among the targets.


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75% of working Malay-Muslims keen on reskilling and upgrading: Mendaki study

JUL 14, 2023

SINGAPORE - A new study on employment and employability within the Malay-Muslim community has found that those who reported household incomes higher than the national median Malay income were more likely to be interested in learning new skills.

Those in the workforce or providing financial support to their families were also more likely to display such attitudes.

The study said those who found their jobs through referrals or those who were self-employed were more likely to display a lukewarm attitude towards learning.

Over 1,000 Malay-Muslim respondents, whether employed or jobless at the time, were polled over six months from October 2021 to February 2022 for the study. It is the first of its kind by YayasanMendaki.

The study aimed to uncover the factors that influence career decisions made by Malay-Muslims of working age and their attitudes towards lifelong learning. It also looked at whether life stages played a part in decisions such as enrolling for upskilling courses and related challenges faced by the respondents.

The findings were released on Thursday at a symposium organised by Mendaki.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Senior Minister of State for Manpower and the deputy chairman of YayasanMendaki, said insights from the study will also allow the Government to better look at the areas in which further intervention might be needed.

Speaking to the media about the findings on the sidelines of the symposium, he said: “Among the working population, 75 per cent of them are keen to continue looking at reskilling and upgrading, and that is a good sign showing that government policies are working, and they are getting the message of the importance of reskilling and upgrading.

“Overall, attitudes are positive, generally there is a willingness to upgrade skills, but I think there is some work that needs to be done to facilitate (this).”

The symposium, which had the theme of “Rethinking Work”, was held at ParkRoyal Collection Marina Bay and attended by about 300 people such as policymakers, community partners and researchers.

The Mendaki survey also revealed concerns the community faced in entering the workforce. These were predominantly to do with caretaking responsibilities, as well as temporary illnesses or injuries.

It found that some challenges individuals faced in entering or re-entering the workforce included the lack of work-life balance, the need to acquire new skills and a fear of uncertainty.

Looking at attitudes towards lifelong learning, the study showed more than 75 per cent of those polled were interested in acquiring more hard skills such as in computer and management, and more than 80 per cent in learning soft skills such as communication.

These were among the most popular areas of interest for the community, according to the study.

Mr Zaqy said there had been concerns in the past about upskilling and upgrading not being “high on the agenda” for members of the Malay-Muslim community.

“My sense is that there is a movement forward... I think the message is coming through, the question is how we overcome some of the practical challenges,” he said.

Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said in a speech at the symposium that its focus on employment and lifelong learning is relevant not just to the Malay-Muslim community but to everyone in Singapore. “In the vast overwhelming majority of our lives and our careers, it is very unlikely that you will end up just holding one job. And because of that, we constantly need to pick up new skills to stay relevant, particularly in the face of all these transformations and disruptions, so that we can continue to move up the career ladder and improve our career prospects,” he said.

Amid the significant headwinds the economy is facing this year, the Government is committed to supporting Singaporeans’ aspirations, from supporting fresh graduates through the transition from school to the workplace, to empowering mid-career workers to be employable and relevant, Dr Tan added.

“The Government will continue to invest in Singaporeans to ensure that you have the skill sets and capabilities to succeed throughout your working lives,” he said.

“For those who have unfortunately – because of curveballs or perhaps bad luck – lost their jobs, we understand, and we empathise with your anxieties and frustrations. We want to help you bounce back and emerge stronger than before.”

He also highlighted how Mendaki has been working with NTUC’s Employability and Employment Institute (e2i), NTUC LearningHub, Workforce Singapore (WSG) and SkillsFuture Singapore to link Malay/Muslim workers to training and job opportunities.

In 2022, it co-organised six career fairs with WSG and e2i and assisted in about 1,700 employment-related cases.


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Islamic relics to be gauged for tourism opportunities

13 July 2023

UNESCO representative to Cambodia Sadar Umar Alam has recently revealed plans to explore the rich heritage of the Cambodian Muslim community.

With a focus on historic sites, buildings and centuries-old artefacts, the mission is set to take place in the near future.

This revelation emerged during Alam’s meeting with Katoeu Mohammad Nossry, undersecretary of state for Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism.

The discussion took place at the UNESCO office in Phnom Penh, according to Nossry’s social media post on July 12.

During the meeting, Nossry elaborated on the condition of several buildings and artefacts that span over a century.

Nestled within provinces such as TbongKhmum, Battambang, Kampong Chhnang and Kratie, these relics harbour great potential for the tourism industry, specifically Muslim tourism.

Alam expressed his enthusiasm and confirmed plans to visit the sites at a suitable time, according to the post. He also proposed the establishment of an Islamic Cultural Exchange Centre in Cambodia.

Nossry responded positively to this initiative, noting its potential to serve as a valuable tourist destination.

HoVandy, an adviser to the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, assured that Cambodia, primarily a Buddhist nation, holds a high regard for all religions.

“Cambodia is not racist. The government gives freedom to all religions, not just Islam, to organise their products to attract religious tourists,” he said.

In addition to attracting tourists, Vandy emphasised that religious freedom benefits Cambodia in many ways, such as enticing investment.

“Giving freedom to all religions also provides many benefits, such as attracting tourists from across the ASEAN region and others to visit various areas throughout Cambodia,” he added.

Vandy endorsed the upcoming site visits, stressing its importance in boosting religious tourism and cultural preservation.

“The plans to visit these sites not only strengthen religious tourism but also aid in preserving culture, traditions and religions. As UNESCO delves into the resources available in these communities, it notably enhances the promotion of traditional products and identities,” he said.


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North America


Florida man gets 18 years in federal prison for supporting Islamic State extremist group

July 14, 2023

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man accused in 2020 of plotting terror attacks in the U.S. and acquiring an arsenal of weapons was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in federal prison.

Mohammed Al-Azhari, a 26-year-old U.S. citizen, was sentenced in Tampa federal court, according to court records. He pleaded guilty in February to attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State extremist group.

Al-Azhari admitted in court papers that he scouted potential terrorism targets in the Tampa Bay area, sought to acquire multiple weapons and pledged an oath of allegiance to the Islamic State. The FBI recorded many conversations between Al-Azhari and confidential or undercover sources in which he discussed avenging imprisoned Islamic State fighters and using violence to oppose U.S. military actions in the Middle East.

An FBI affidavit says Al-Azhari was recorded as expressing admiration for Omar Mateen, the deceased shooter at the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre in 2016. In a conversation with a confidential informant, the FBI says, Al-Azhari said, “That’s how I want to die, to be honest.”

The informant then asked how many people Al-Azhari wanted to kill.

“I don’t want to take four or five, no. I want to take at least 50,” Al-Azhari replied on the recording, according to the affidavit. “You know like, brother Omar Mateen in Orlando did. He took 49 with him.”

The confidential FBI informant eventually supplied Al-Azhari with a Glock handgun and a silencer as he had requested. He was arrested in May 2020 after taking possession of the weapons. Investigators also seized three firearms, a crossbow, dozens of rounds of ammunition, a stun gun and at least six knives belonging to Al-Azhari. He also sought to buy a fully automatic AK-47-style weapon but was unsuccessful.

According to the affidavit, Al-Azhari conducted reconnaissance on several potential Tampa Bay targets, including beaches, parks and even the Tampa FBI field office. He also allegedly rehearsed what he would say when carrying out an attack, some of which was intercepted by electronic surveillance.

Al-Azhari is originally from California but spent much of his life overseas and eventually embraced extremist Islamic ideology, according to the FBI. He was imprisoned for three years in Saudi Arabia after a 2015 conviction involving his advocacy for Jaysh al-Islam, an armed extremist group fighting in the Syrian conflict.

In 2018, after serving that sentence, he was deported to the U.S., where the FBI immediately opened a terrorism support investigation.

One reason the case has taken so long to resolve is that Al-Azhari was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial in January 2022. After treatment at a federal prison medical center in Butner, North Carolina, a judge decided in November that Al-Azhari’s competence had been restored.


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28 years after genocide, Bosniak Muslims mourn their dead but celebrate a return of Islamic life to Srebrenica

SREBRENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (RNS) — Nearly three decades later, Srebrenica’s dead are still coming home. Earlier this month, the remains of 27 men and three teenage boys were delivered to the remote valley that played host to Europe’s second genocide of the 20th century.

The victims, identified by the International Commission on Missing Persons, will be buried alongside the more than 6,600 graves that dot the Potočari valley in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, now home to the Srebrenica Memorial Centerhonoring the 8,372 BosniakMuslims, mostly men and boys, murdered at the hands of Serb militias in 1995 amid the Bosnian war.

The Srebrenica massacre, carried out in an area the United Nations had declared a safe zone for refugees, has since been deemed an act of genocide by successive courts within the U.N.’s International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, or ICTY.

The funeral honoring the 30 massacre victims, conducted by Bosnia’s highest-ranking Islamic leader, the Reisul-Ulema or grand mufti, HuseinKavazović, was part of a number of events commemorating the 28th anniversary of the genocide, including a march that drew thousands and, on Monday, a conference dedicated to both Srebrenica and Holocaust remembrance that was hosted jointly with the World Jewish Congress.

The conference was the project of Menachem Rosensaft, the WJC’s associate executive vice president and the son of two Holocaust survivors. Rosensaft has spent most of his life working in the field of Holocaust remembrance but in recent years has become an impassioned advocate for awareness of the Srebrenica genocide.

“We commemorate the victims of the Holocaust, because they’re our families, our communities, our people, but also because they were the victims of a genocide, they were the victim of a horrendous crime against humanity,” he told Religion News Service. “And we have to, in equal force, acknowledge and commemorate the tragedies perpetrated against others. Never again does not mean never again just to Jews, it means never again to anyone. We will not stand by when anyone is victimized, when anyone is oppressed. That has to be the basic basis of remembrance. It is what motivates the World Jewish Congress to be here and it is certainly what motivates me.”

On Tuesday, ahead of the funeral, Rosensaft gave a speech at the commemoration event. “If we forget them, our souls will turn to stone, our eyes will never again shed tears,” he said of the genocide’s victims. 

“Our Bosniak nation is a nation that carries pain and sorrow,” Kavazović said in a statement to the wider Islamic community before the funeral. “I ask God to grant the families of the victims every good thing, that their children be strong, that they be a message to all those who did this, but also to those who may harbor the same in their souls for some future time.”

The dead of Srebrenica are not the only ones returning. Though the area was depopulated of Muslims by the genocide, many survivors and their children have come back.

Today, Srebrenica’s population is about half Muslim and half Orthodox Serb. The 23 mosques of Srebrenica destroyed in the war have all been rebuilt thanks to donations from around the world.

DamirPestalic, the chief Imam of Srebrenica, stressed that though once empty, the community now has multiple full Islamic schools. Speaking alongside leaders from the World Jewish Congress on Monday (July 10), he recalled suggesting to his daughter that they move to California. He said she dismissed the idea, telling him she would “take one tree in Srebrenica over all of California or America.”

“We want the children who are born here to stay in Srebrenica,” VahidFazlović,  the mufti of Tuzla, said during a commemoration event in Potočari on Tuesday. “The Islamic community will not falter in its relationship with Srebrenica, and in addition, it will constantly encourage all other institutions, all factors in our society, the state, to fulfill their obligations toward Srebrenica.

“It is up to us to pass on the awareness of this place to the generations that are growing up,” he added. “We have rejuvenated families here. Perhaps few expected that we would have new and good sprouts in Srebrenica. Thank God that is so. This is due to the people who returned here, with so much courage and daring, even after the crime.”

The return of Bosniak Muslims to Srebrenica has not been without conflict, though.

This year’s commemoration comes at a time when tensions between Bosnia’s three constituent ethnic groups — Muslim Bosniaks, Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs — are running higher than they’ve been in decades.

MiloradDodik, the Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartate presidency, and the leader of RepublikaSrpska, the Serb majority enclave within Bosnia — where Srebrenica is located — has spoken openly of secession and continues to deny that Serb forces committed a genocide in Srebrenica in 1995. In March, Bosnia’s prosecutor office opened a case against Dodik for genocide denial, after remarks he made in RepublikaSrpska’s capital, Banja Luka, in February.

On Tuesday evening, after most mourners had left the area, a Serb church in the town of Srebrenica itself held a concert with nationalist songs, according to Bosnian Media.

Pestalic called on the church to explain the event.

“I want to invite the Serbian Orthodox Church to tell us what it was. The witnesses heard the announcement of the program, it was terrible. The announcement that they are celebrating the liberation day of Srebrenica tonight and that they want to liberate what little is left,” Pestalic said. “Let them answer what that means. All authorities should get involved. This is not a harmless situation. This is not only about humiliating the victims, but also about threats of new crimes.”

MuniraSubašić, the president of the Mothers of Srebrenica organization, which has fought for acknowledgment of the massacre as a genocide, spoke to those gathered at Monday’s conference about the ongoing difficulty to make the massacre part of the local school curriculum.

Subašić, who has lived in Srebrenica since the early 1960s, lost 22 close family members in the genocide, including her husband and son.

Currently, in state schools in RepublikaSrpska, even in areas around Srebrenica where a Bosniak Muslim majority has returned, said Subašić, the genocide is not taught about.

“When you go to a school in Srebrenica, it is as if you entered a church. It is important for them to have St. Sava there and Ratko Mladić, their national hero,” she said.

St. Sava, a 12th-century Serbian prince, monk and intellectual, is considered the patron saint of Serbs and education in the Serbian Orthodox Church, while Mladić was commander of the Army of RepublikaSrpska during the Bosnian war and is currently serving a life sentence in The Hague, Netherlands, after being convicted of genocide, four counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity by the ICTY.

During the war, Srebrenica was a Bosniak majority enclave within the Serb majority RepublikaSrpska. For the Serb militias who rejected the idea of being part of an independent Bosnian state, and instead desired to pursue independence or join with Serbia, Srebrenica was a complication. The Muslim majority region would have cut RepublikaSrpska in half.

In 1993, the United Nations declared the area, which had swelled to nearly 50,000 Bosniak Muslim refugees, a “safe zone” and called for both Bosniak and Serb forces in town to be demilitarized. But in June 1995, Serb forces under the command of Mladić assaulted the region and conquered the town. Within 10 days, the Serb forces had murdered more than 8,000 Bosniak Muslims, tossing them into mass graves along the river Drina.

Three days before the anniversary, more than 3,000 Bosniaks from around the country began a 100-kilometer march to the site, known as the Marš Mira or March of Peace, to pay their respects to the dead.

The march, which has been held each year since 2005, traces the reverse of the path a column of Bosniak men attempted to make to escape to safety during the slaughter. Most did not survive.

“Thousands were killed here They are gone. Their houses are gone. But today thousands of people are coming back to feel as one with them,” Asra, a Muslim woman who grew up in the nearby city of Tuzla but today lives in the Netherlands, told RNS about why she continues to visit for the anniversary events. She, like others interviewed at the gathering, offered only her first name.

For Adis, a Bosnian man from a town between Tuzla and Sarajevo, it was important for him as a Bosnian to understand the place where his country’s greatest tragedy occurred.

“I came to remember and get a feeling of what it must have been like then,”Adis told RNS. “When you are here, you can understand a little of what it was like when thousands were packed into this small place.”

Cihan, a Turkish man who came from the city of Batman in Eastern Turkey, told RNS he was inspired to come by the words of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s first president, Alija Izetbegovic, who said, “If we forget the genocide done to us, we are compelled to live it again.”

“If we forget that genocide, that genocide can be again,” Cihan said. “We have seen too many genocides, unfortunately. That is why I am here.”


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Fasting during Ramadan may reduce seizure frequency


Newswise — For Muslims, intermittent fasting is a highly valued religious practice. For Muslims with epilepsy, it can also improve seizure control. A 2022 study found that fasting during Ramadan significantly improved the frequency of seizures in Muslim patients with epilepsy, specifically those with focal, absence and myoclonic seizures.

Epilepsy care during Ramadan

Rehab Magdy, lecturer in the Department of Neurology at Cairo University and primary author of the study, said fasting during Ramadan is a concern for Muslims with epilepsy.

“This is a very frequent question we hear from our patients,” she said. “‘Can I fast during Ramadan safely or is it dangerous for me?’”

Ramadan is the Arabic name for the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, considered one of the holiest months by Muslims. The holiday takes place at a different time each year and is marked most notably by fasting from dawn to sunset when neither food nor drink is consumed.

Typically, all Muslims fast, with the exception being those whose health would be impacted, prepubescent children and those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or menstruating.

In evaluating how fasting during Ramadan would affect seizures, Magdy and her team faced a dilemma.

“Some aspects of Ramadan fasting may precipitate seizures, like sleep deprivation, physical fatigue, and exhaustion,” she said. “On the other hand, we had an opinion that intermittent fasting is the principle of treatment of some seizure types, like the principle that the ketogenic diet relies on.”

The classic ketogenic diet tricks the body into thinking it’s fasting by maximizing high-fat foods and limiting carbohydrates. In comparison, Ramadan fasting involves no ingestion of food or liquids, including water, for up to 16 hours a day.

Magdy’s study observed over 300 people with epilepsy aged 12 and older over three months — the month of Ramadan and the months before and after. All participants were taking antiseizure medication and had experienced one or more seizures in the previous year. They answered questions during in-person interviews throughout the study.

Seizure reduction

The frequencies of focal, myoclonic and absence seizures were significantly reduced during Ramadan. About 40% of those with focal or myoclonic seizures, and 60% of people with absence seizures, experienced a least a 50% reduction in seizures. The frequencies of focal and myoclonic seizures continued to show significant reductions in the month after Ramadan, when fasting had ended.

“We are surprised by the results,” Magdy said. “At first, we expected that Ramadan fasting wouldn’t change the frequency of seizures.”

The study also found that unlike the ketogenic diet, Ramadan fasting did not improve seizure rates in people with generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Magdy said this may be because of sleep deprivation, a familiar hallmark of the Ramadan experience. 

“Patients with generalized tonic-clonic seizures can fast,” she said. “But with some precautions. For example, they must have enough rest, sleeping for about eight hours at least every day.”

The findings of the study can guide how physicians and epilepsy professionals advise Muslims with epilepsy before Ramadan. Magdy said those who want to fast should visit their physician two to three months before Ramadan, sort out any issues with antiseizure medications before fasting, and drink lots of water before the holiday begins. She said that those with focal or myoclonic seizures should be encouraged to fast, while people with drug-resistant epilepsy should not fast.

“Every patient knows their own specific factors,” Magdy added. “If a patient knows that fasting is a trigger for his seizures, we ask him not to fast.”

Intermittent fasting and the ketogenic diet

For more than 100 years, the ketogenic diet — designed to mimic the positive effect that fasting had on seizures — has proved a successful treatment for some people with epilepsy. But for others, it’s not always an effective, nor easy, diet to follow.

Classically, the treatment calls for calorie and fluid restriction, like Ramadan fasting. But Mackenzie Cervenka, the director of the Adult Epilepsy Diet Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine, said the typical common ketogenic diet now has no calorie or fluid restrictions, and that there is a shift towards individualizing many diet treatments.

“We make changes depending on type of epilepsy, age of the patient, specific diet preferences and things like that,” she said. “There are a lot of variations on the ketogenic diet at this point.”

The ketogenic diet and Ramadan fasting produce slightly different effects in the body. The ketogenic diet produces a state of ketosis; the body pivots from using glucose as its primary fuel source to using fatty acids, which are metabolized into ketone bodies.

Cervenka said that fasting used during Ramadan is a common type of intermittent fast that other people with epilepsy use as well. She believes there are circumstances where people could use the method to control or treat specific seizures, but that more information is needed.

“It may end up being that there are certain types of seizures that benefit more from intermittent fasting versus using a ketogenic diet,” she said.

Future research

Other research also has found that certain types of intermittent fasting can improve seizure control.

One 2020 study, constructed similarly over a three-month period with 37 participants, found a 21% decrease in seizures during the month of Ramadan and a 29% decrease in the month after. Another small pilot study found that intermittent fasting can be successfully combined with the ketogenic diet to reduce seizure frequency in pediatric patients.

How the eating pattern precisely affects seizure frequency isn’t clear, but Magdy’s study found elevated levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and insulin-like growth factor in people who fasted during Ramadan, and that higher serum levels of these molecules were correlated with higher seizure frequencies.

Magdy’s next study in this area is on the effects of fasting on pediatric populations. She also hopes to repeat the Ramadan study during winter months, when fasting hours are shorter, and wants to study the additional effects that sleep and metabolic changes have on seizure frequency while fasting.


Founded in 1909, the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) is a global organization with more than 125 national chapters.

Through promoting research, education and training to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the disease, ILAE is working toward a world where no person’s life is limited by epilepsy.


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Dozens of Israeli settlers break into Jerusalem's Aqsa Mosque


JERUSALEM, Thursday, July 13, 2023 (WAFA) – Dozens of fanatic Israeli settlers Thursday morning broke into the compounds of al-Aqsa Mosque under heavy protection from the Israeli police, Islamic Waqf confirmed.

The Waqf said that settlers, divded into groups, raided the holy Islamic Mosque from al-Maghariba gate and took provocative tours in its compounds.

It added that the extremist settlers performed Talmudic rituals in the eastern part of the Mosque.

This comes at a time as Israeli forces intensify measures against Palestinians coming from Jerusalem to enter the Mosque, inspecting their IDs and briefly detaining them.


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Sharjah announces 4-day Islamic New Year holidays

Staff Reporter, Gulf Today

The Directorate of Human Resources in Sharjah issued a circular regarding the holiday of the new Hijri year 1445, deciding that the holiday will be on Thursday, July 20, 2023. Official duty will resume on Monday, July 24, 2023, the circular added.

On this occasion, the Directorate of Human Resources in Sharjah has extended its congratulations on the occasion to the UAE's leadership and people, and the peoples of the Arab and Islamic nations.


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Moves at a small border village hike Israel-Hezbollah tensions at a time of regional jitters

July 14, 2023

KFAR CHOUBA, Lebanon: The little village of GHajjar has been a sore point between Israel and Lebanon for years, split in two by the border between Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. But after a long period of calm, the dispute has begun to heat up again.

Israel has been building a wall around the half of the village in Lebanese territory, triggering condemnation from the Lebanese militiant force Hezbollah, accusing Israel of moving to annex the site. A recent exchange of fire in the area raised alarm that the dispute could trigger violence.

The growing tensions over GHajjar add to the jitters along the Lebanese-Israeli border, where Israel and Iranian-backed Hezbollah fought a destructive 34-day war in the summer of 2006. The two sides have studiously avoided outright battle ever since, despite frequent flare-ups of tension — but each constantly says a new conflict could erupt at any time.

The dispute over a small village in the green hills where Lebanon, Israel and Syria meet brings a new point of worry amid broader unrest. The West Bank has seen increased bloodshed the past week, with a major two-day offensive that Israel says targeted Palestinian militants. Within Israel, moves by the hard-right government to overhaul the judicial system have sparked large anti-government protests.

“This is Lebanese land, not Israeli,” said Lebanese shepherd Ali Yassin Diab, pointing to the half of GHajjar being enclosed by the Israeli wall as he grazed his sheep and goats nearby. Members of the UN peacekeeping force UNIFIL watched from a distance. In the early 2000s, Yassin used to take his herds to drink at a pond there but has since been cut off.

The village’s division is an unusual byproduct of the decades of conflict between Israel and its neighbors.

GHajjar was once part of Syria but was captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war as part of Syria’s Golan Heights, which Israel occupied and later annexed, with little world recognition.

In the 1980s and 1990s, GHajjar’s population expanded north into nearby Lebanese territory, held by Israel in its 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon. When Israel withdrew from Lebanon in May 2000, UN surveyors delineating temporary borders ruled that GHajjar’s northern part was in Lebanon, its southern part in the Golan, dividing it in two.

Six years later, Israeli troops moved into the northern part of GHajjar during the Israel-Hezbollah war. They have occupied it since and a fence was installed preventing people from entering it from Lebanon. Under the truce that ended the 2006 fighting, Israel agreed to withdraw from GHajjar, but it wanted to clinch an arrangement to keep Hezbollah from entering the village.

In a statement to the Associated Press on Friday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said Israel recognizes the line dividing the village in 2000 but said that following the division, “Hezbollah established itself in the village” and attempted an abduction of an Israeli soldier.

Most of GHajjar’s around 3,000 residents hold Israeli nationality — some of them alongside Lebanese — and they largely identify as Syrians.

Last year, Israel started erecting a concrete wall around the northern part of the village. It also began encouraging Israeli tourism to the village. In its statement, the foreign ministry said that the wall “is on the same route as the fence that was in place before” around the village.

In apparent reply to the near finishing of the wall, Hezbollah set up two tents nearby, including one in the area of Chebaa Farms, which both Israel and Lebanon claim as its territory. It is not clear what is inside the tents.

Israel filed a complaint with the United Nations, claiming the tents were several dozen meters (yards) inside of Israeli territory. Hezbollah says the tents are in Lebanese territory.

On Monday, UNIFIL’s commander relayed an Israeli request to Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister and parliament speaker to remove the tent. They responded that Israel should withdraw its troops from the Lebanese part of GHajjar, according to Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech Wednesday night that Israel cordoned off GHajjar before Hezbollah set up its tents.

“Over the past days, it became clear that they (Israel) have annexed it,” Nasrallah said. He added: “The land of GHajjar will not be left for Israel, and certainly not Chebaa Farms and KfarChouba,” another border area claimed by both countries.

A female resident of GHajjar, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity due to security concerns, said the villagers consider themselves Syrian but their main concern “is to stay in GHajjar, in this village, living in peace and security. No matter under who rules.”

“There is a (border) line that was drawn by the United Nations. Why are they allowed to cross it while we as Lebanese citizens cannot?” Mohammed Rammal, the mayor of the nearby Lebanese border village of Oddeissi, said of Israel’s presence in GHajjar.

Last week, an anti-tank missile was fired from Lebanon near GHajjar, with some fragments landing in Lebanon and others inside Israeli territory. Israel fired shells on the outskirts of the nearby village of KfarChouba.

On Wednesday, an explosion elsewhere near the border slightly wounded at least three Hezbollah members. Nasrallah said the case is still under investigation. Late last month, Hezbollah said it shot down an Israel drone flying over a village in southern Lebanon.

On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Joe Biden’s special envoy for energy, Amos Hochstein, during which they discussed “regional issues,” according to the Israeli prime minister’s office.

Some Israeli media said Netanyahu and Hochstein, who helped last year broker a maritime border deal between Israel and Lebanon, discussed tensions along the border with Lebanon.

“We continue to monitor and engage with authorities in Lebanon and Israel on the issue of GHajjar,” UNIFIL spokeswoman Kandice Ardiel said. She added that UNIFIL has repeatedly called on Israel to stop its works north of the line and that Israel’s occupation of northern GHajjar violates the UN Security Council resolution that ended the 2006 war.

Israel considers Hezbollah its most serious immediate threat, estimating it has some 150,000 rockets and missiles aimed at Israel.

During a tour by an Associated Press team near GHajjar this week, more patrols by UN peacekeepers and the Lebanese army along the border were visible. Residents in nearby villages appeared defiant and going on with life as usual during the summer season, when many expatriates come to spend time with their families.

In Lebanese media, many analysts say neither side wants a new war. But Lebanese political analyst Faisal Abdul-Sater warned that the situation is very dangerous as Israel and Hezbollah are on alert.

“Whoever fires the first shot will bear the responsibility for the consequences,” he said.


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Iran’s Raisi gets ‘brotherly’ welcome in Zimbabwe

July 13, 2023

HARARE: President Ebrahim Raisi has received a red carpet welcome in Zimbabwe on the last leg of the first Africa tour by an Iranian leader in 11 years.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa greeted Raisi as “my brother” on the tarmac after the Iranian

leader’s plane landed at Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare.

“When you see him you see me. When you see me you see him,” Mnangagwa told a crowd waving Zimbabwean and Iranian flags that gathered around the two heads of state.

The visit comes as Iran tries to shore up diplomatic support to ease its international isolation — something it partially shares

with Zimbabwe.

Hundreds of people, many from the southern African country’s Muslim community, including women and school children holding welcome banners turned out at the airport.

“When we went to war Iran was our friend,” said Mnangagwa, who is seeking reelection in August, referring to Zimbabwe’s fight for independence from Britain — which it attained in 1980.

“I am happy you have come to show solidarity,” he added ahead of talks between the two leaders.

Raisi has already been to Kenya and Uganda this week holding talks with his counterparts William Ruto and

Yoweri Museveni.

Africa has emerged as a diplomatic battleground, with Russia and the West trying to court support over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which has had a devastating economic impact on the continent, sending food prices soaring.

Western powers have also sought to deepen trade ties with Africa, along with India

and China.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani has described Raisi’s continental tour as “a new turning point” which could bolster economic and trade ties with African nations.

He also said on Monday that Tehran and the three African countries share “common political views.”

Zimbabwe’s Foreign Ministry said several agreements were expected to be signed during Raisi’s one-day trip “as the two nations deepen their ties.”

Iran has stepped up its diplomacy in recent months to reduce its isolation and offset the impact of crippling sanctions reimposed since the 2018 withdrawal of the US from a painstakingly negotiated nuclear deal.

Zimbabwe is also largely isolated on the international stage, the target of US and EU sanctions over graft and human rights abuses.

Melody Muzenda, a spokeswoman for Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party said the visit “shows we have good relations with other countries.”


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Pay Your Zakat For Us To Reduce Poverty In Nigeria – Muslim Association Of Nigeria Tells Rich Muslims

July 13, 2023

The Muslim Association of Nigeria (MAN) has appealed to rich Muslims across the country to pay their Zakat (charity) as and when due.

The association noted that this is necessary to reduce the level of poverty in the country.

The payment of Zakat is the third pillar of the Islamic religion.

MAN has, however, enjoined the rich men and women of the Islamic faith to pay their Zakat, to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in society.

The group’s Chairman, Ibadan branch, Rahman OlawaleAbdulGaniy made the disclosures after distributing the proceeds of Zakat (charity) to 35 beneficiaries from Lagos and Oyo State.

AbdulGaniy, who spoke with our correspondent on Thursday after the distribution, explained that the beneficiaries were given tools of empowerment during the Zakat distribution.

AbdulGaniy also appealed to regular contributions not to relent in doing so, adding that the level of poverty will reduce if the rich in society pay their Zakat.

He said, “I want to appeal to the well-to-do individuals to always pay their Zakat. We will distribute it among the poor. This will help us to reduce the level of poverty. The government cannot do everything.

“There are many benefits of Zakat. Payment of Zakat is the third pillar of Islam. It helps us to purify our wealth when we pay it. It also helps to reduce the level of poverty. It helps to ensure redistribution of wealth”.

BayoOyero, who is one of the BOT members of MAN also advised other Muslim organizations to emulate the practice of sharing Zakat to eradicate poverty, especially among Muslims.


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Movement for Islamic CultureAdvises Muslims To Put Trust Only In Allah

By Guardian Nigeria

14 July 2023

Movement for Islamic Culture and Awareness (MICA), AlimoshoUsrah, has tasked Muslims to rely on Allah (SWT) alone as He is capable and sufficient for the believers.

This advice was given during the group’s family get-together held at the RafiuJafojo Lagos State Government Park, Shasha, Lagos. The early downpour later turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the programme attracted large numbers of participants comprising fun seekers, the young and the old, men and women, parents, families and friends.

The guest speaker who is a former coordinator, MICA AlimoshoUsrah, QazeemAfunku, stated that with the current economic realities in the country, Muslims must look up to God, continue to pray and make adjustments to their lifestyles.

He advised them to be realistic and look for other means of augmenting their source of income such as undertaking investment in halal ventures.

Welcoming the attendees, Taofeek Junaid, stated the importance of such a gathering, adding that it would foster healthy relationships and family bonding. He urged the participants to interact, network, have fun, exchange gifts and make themselves comfortable.

He appreciated those who made it to the venue and prayed they would witness more Sallah celebrations. He declared the event open, afterwards.

On the sideline, the adults were engaged in fruitful discussions on life, its challenges and global trends. The event had the kids enjoying some of the facilities; a bouncing castle, a train ride and others, while others played football.

There was light music, Nasheed for the pleasure of all. Families came with a variety of food as well as soft drinks, too, which they shared with others.

Highpoint of the event was the grouping of the young ones within the age bracket of 15-25 years with a special task. They were admonished on what was expected of them as they are young and vibrant.


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Osun masqueraders, Muslims reach truce ahead of Egungun festival

14th July 2023

The Osun State Commissioner of Police, Mr KehindeLonge, has brokered peace between the Chief Imam of the Kamaudeen Mosque, Osogbo, AlhajiKasimYunis, and the custodian of a masquerade, Chief KayodeEsuleke, as the annual Egungun masquerade holds in the town.

A statement issued in Osogbo on Thursday, signed by the command’s spokesperson, YemisiOpalola, said the two men agreed to allow peace reign during the festival at a meeting held at the instance of the CP.

Members of the Kamaudeen Mosque and the followers of Esuleke masquerade had a history of dangerous clashes, the last one being the bloody fight of Sunday, June 27, 2021, which led to the death of a member of the mosque, while nine others were injured.

To prevent  a reoccurrence, Longe, who harped on the need to embrace peace at the meeting, also warned that the command would not condone any act that could lead to a breach of public peace.

The statement further read, “The Commissioner of Police, Osun State Command, Patrick K. Longe, held a strategic security meeting with the masquerade custodian, Pa Esuleke, and the Chief Imam of the Kamaudeen Mosque, OkeBaale, Osogbo, AlhajiKasimYunis.

“CP restated that he will not condone anything that will cause the breach of peace in anyway.


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Sharia court remands man for sleeping with neighbour’s wife in Kano

July 13, 2023

A man from Dorayi Quarters in Gwale local government area of Kano State has been remanded by the State Sharia Court for allegedly sleeping with his neighbour’s wife.

The man was accused of convincing the neighbour’s wife to dump her husband and taking her on outings whenever her husband was not around.

The police prosecutor told the court that after noticing the relationship between the woman and his neighbour, the husband divorced her.

He added that after the divorce, the suspect gave the wife a room in his house to keep her luggage, confirming his suspicion.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge brought against him.

Sani Tanimu Sani Hausawa, the Khadi, after ordering his remand, stated that the defendant could be admitted on bail if he brought someone to stand for him and adjourned the case to July 27, 2023.


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South Asia


Deputy Minister Claims '95%' of Afghans Do Not Want Women to Work

Deputy Minister Din Mohammad Haqbin in an interview with TOLOnews said that the Islamic Emirate in a decree is creating opportunities for widows to work.

“Out of 100 percent, 95 percent of Afghans do not want their women to go to work. Only five percent of the people are making statements on (women work's), and they are trained by the foreigners, but these claims are inaccurate,” he said.

A women’s rights activist, Suraya Paikan, said women’s access to work benefits the society.

“It is needed for women to have access to work. On one hand they can serve the people and society and on the other hand, women have the right to be property owners based on the decree of the Quran. The women could be the owners of property, when they have income,” she said.

Haqbin said that other countries should not interfere in the issue of women’s access to work.

“Why are they interfering in this issue? Every country has its own tradition, religion and law. It is even stated in the UN law that every religion should be respected. We don’t want westerners to impose their laws on us,” he said.

Haqbin also said that hundreds of thousands of widows need urgent aid in the country.

“The Islamic Emirate leader, in a new decree, ordered us to provide work for widows and we have a program to provide work for 1,000 of these women,” he said.

Haqbin stressed that with the implementation of an agreement between Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, 55,000 workers will be provided with jobs.


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USIP Report Calls For Continuation of Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan

July 14, 2023

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) urged for the continuation of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan in a recent report titled “Afghanistan’s Dire Humanitarian Situation”, released Thursday.

According to the report, since the Taliban took control of the country, the Afghan economy and financial system have largely collapsed, and the international community has decided unanimously not to recognize the Taliban. Donors also have difficulty providing for the population’s needs in these dire circumstances.

“In the two years since the Taliban takeover, the Afghan economy has crumbled, the financial system has largely collapsed, and the international community has opted for unified no recognition of the Taliban,” the report said.

It added, “Donors and NGOs now face the immense challenge of meeting the needs of the Afghan people under these dire conditions.”

These organizations have had to navigate cautious engagement with an unrecognized administration while continuing to offer crucial aid and services, given that most Afghans live in extreme poverty.

According to the United Nations estimation, nearly 29 million people in the country need urgent humanitarian aid amid a shortage of funding.

The report also revealed that Since the Taliban tightened its restrictions on Afghan women working for NGOs, the humanitarian situation has only worsened.

The report emphasized the clear and effective response to the country’s dire humanitarian crisis.

Antonio Guterres, the secretary general of the UN, told reporters after hosting a discussion on the Afghan situation in Doha that six million Afghans are “one step away” from starvation conditions and that financing is “evaporating”, and that 28 million people will need humanitarian assistance to survive this year.

Guterres also said that only $294 million, or 6.4 per cent of the $4.6 billion total requested for the humanitarian response plan, had been received.


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UNICEF Provides Treatment For 270,000 Malnourished In Afghanistan

July 13, 2023

“In the first five months of this year, UNICEF supported treatment for 273,000 children with severe acute malnutrition, with approximately 60,000 treated in May alone,” UNICEF Afghanistan tweeted on Thursday.

Aid organizations said that the surge in poverty since the Taliban took control of the country has contributed to an increase in childhood malnutrition.

The organization reported last month that it had treated 48,800 severely malnourished children in Afghanistan in April.

56% of the children treated, according to UNICEF, are girls.

According to UNICEF’s representative in Afghanistan, Fran Equiza, about 2.3 million children in the country are expected to experience acute malnutrition this year. Among them, 875,000 children who suffer from severe acute malnutrition, a disease that can be fatal, need medical attention.

Equiza further emphasized that 840,000 pregnant or nursing women are in danger of acute malnutrition, which might impair their capacity to give their children the best care possible.


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Authorities Confirm Closure of Teacher Training Centers Across Afghanistan

July 13, 2023

According to the letter sent from the Ministry of Education to Khaama Press on Wednesday, higher teacher training institutions have been eliminated from the Ministry of Education’s organizational structure.

The Ministry of Education of the Taliban confirmed the authenticity of the letter issued from the Ministry on Wednesday, claiming that the Teacher Training Centers were “Ineffective and Unnecessary” among the departments.

A separate letter from the Ministry of Education said that the teachers and staff at Teacher Training Centers will be hired to fill open positions at schools, Darul-Ulooms, and Seminaries.

However, Teachers expressed their concern and urged the Taliban authorities to review its decision. “In a letter, a special guideline, unfortunately, an educational entity, an administration of the Ministry of Education, a backbone of the society, has been demolished,” said an instructor.

As a result, more than 4,000 instructors and employees of the Teacher Training Centers across the country may need a more stable future, according to the centres’ instructors.

On the other hand, experts say that thousands of instructors will lose their jobs and the training centres and schools will face a shortage of teachers in the future, so it does not seem logical to eliminate the department.

According to data, more than 6,000 instructors and government employees are reportedly employed by “Teacher Training centres” nationwide.


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