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Islamic World News ( 11 March 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Islamic State Fighters in Iraq, Africa Giving Bay'ah, Or Pledging Allegiance, To the New IS Emir, Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi

New Age Islam News Bureau

12 March 2022

 

FILE - An Islamic State flag is seen in this undated photo illustration.

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• US To Miss Deadline for Release of 9/11 Documents on Saudi Involvement: Justice Department

• Facebook Removes Media Watchdog Posts Repeating Boris Johnson’s Anti-Muslim Comments

• Blasphemy Accusations, Mob Lynching Against Religious Minorities on a Rise in Imran Khan's Pakistan: Think Tank

• Delhi High Court Asks Centre to Come With Clear Instructions on Opening of Mosque at Markaz Premises

 Arab World

• Muqtada al-Sadr, Major Figures Hold Talks to End Iraq's Political Crisis

• Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi Released After Spending 10 Years in Prison for 'Insulting Islam'

• New Islamic State leader is brother of slain caliph Baghdadi, say Iraqi and Western sources

• Egypt executes seven over Islamist attacks that killed policemen

• Top diplomat slams politicization of Syria chemical file, disregard for terrorists’ crimes

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North America

• Christians, Jews and Muslims Experience Workplace Discrimination Differently, According to a New Study

• US envoy discusses political, economic issues of Afghanistan with Taliban in Antalya

• Qatar hosts Taliban-US meeting on side-lines of Turkey summit

• US welcomes Turkiye's diplomatic efforts in Ukraine conflict

• US says ball in Moscow, Tehran camp to revive nuclear deal

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Europe

• External factors force pause in Iran nuclear talks: EU’s Borrell

• Ukrainian embassy says 86 Turks sheltering in Mariupol mosque

• Russia promised to respond in few days on Iran guarantees: EU senior official

• Russia to recruit 16,000 fighters from Middle East for Ukraine war

• UN chief calls for political solution to 11-year-long Syrian civil war

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Pakistan

• Pakistan Opposition files privilege motion over police storming Parliament Lodges

• Jamaat empowers emir to take decision on no-trust move

• Pakistan inducts China-made J-10C multi-role fighter jets into PAF

• Pak summons India's diplomat over alleged violation of airspace by ‘Indian-origin projectile'

• Pak PM Imran Khan, Facing No-Confidence Vote, Turns To Insults, Threats: Report

• Hitman in plot to kill Pakistani blogger Ahmad Waqass Goraya gets life imprisonment

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India

• Panel Dispels Myth on the Growth of Muslim Population

• 34 Muslim Candidates Win UP Polls, 10 More Than Last Time

• India ‘deeply regrets accidental’ firing of missile inside Pakistan

• 4 terrorists killed, 1 held in separate encounters in J&K: Police

• Encounter breaks out in Ganderbal; 1 terrorist killed in Pulwama encounter

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Mideast

• Israeli Parliament Passes Law To Keep Out Palestinian Spouses

• Jerusalem Mufti Slams US' Pence For Ibrahimi Mosque Tour With Israeli Lawmakers

• Turkey begins evacuation of Kyiv embassy: Official

• Yemen hits targets deep inside Saudi Arabia in retaliatory drone attacks

• We’re all Qassem Soleimani: Turks chant in anti-Israel protest

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Africa

• Terrorists Invade Kaduna Mosque, Abduct Several Worshippers

• Concerned Nigerians call for release of Sheikh Zakzaky’s passport

• Libya armed groups step back after Tripoli escalation

• Sudan gunmen kill 17 civilians in new Darfur clashes

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South Asia

• Recognition, Release Of Assets Is Afghans’ Legitimate Right: Acting Minister IEA

• UNICEF: Japan provides $3 Million for Afghanistan’s health sector

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Southeast Asia

• Islamic Affairs Minister Confirms Squid Rings Issue Still Being Investigated, Says Samples Given Priority for Lab Analysis

• Police helps accelerate booster vaccinations ahead of Ramadan

• Indonesian police charge music teacher over student rapes

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/islamic-state-iraq-africa-allegiance-emir/d/126557

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Islamic State Fighters in Iraq, Africa Giving Bay'ah, Or Pledging Allegiance, To the New IS Emir, Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi

 

FILE - An Islamic State flag is seen in this undated photo illustration.

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March 11, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Islamic State group is moving to solidify support for its new leader, sharing photos on social media showing fighters uniting behind his rule.

One set of photos obtained by JihadoScope, a company that monitors online activity by Islamist extremists, and shared with VOA on Friday, shows a small group of fighters in Kirkuk, Iraq, giving Bay'ah, or pledging allegiance, to the new IS emir.

A second set of photos shows a larger group of fighters purportedly from the group's West Africa affiliate raising their weapons to the sky as they surround the black IS flag, also pledging allegiance to the new leader.

Additional pledges have come in from some of IS group's media divisions.

It also appears IS has set up specific social media accounts and channels, on apps such as Telegram, to collect and distribute more photos of IS followers pledging to follow the new leader, JihadoScope told VOA.

IS on Thursday issued an audio recording in which the group confirmed the death of its former leader and his top spokesman and introduced its new leader, Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi.

The statement, allegedly from the group's new spokesman, Abu Umar al-Muhajir, said Abu al-Hassan was handpicked by his predecessor and had been in command since early February.

FILE - A flag of Islamic State militants is seen above a destroyed house in Raqqa, Syria, Oct. 18, 2017.

U.S. officials have declined to comment on the rise of Abu al-Hassan to IS emir or on his true identity.

Reuters on Friday, citing Iraqi and Western officials, reported Abu al-Hassan is actually Juma Awad al-Badri, the brother of former IS caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In a separate report, New Lines Magazine said last month that the new IS leader is likely a man known as Bashar Khattab Ghazal al-Sumaidai, a top judicial official. The author of the report, Hassan Hassan, stood by his report Friday, tweeting that it appears al-Badri is actually the new spokesperson.

Regardless of the new IS leader's identity, officials and analysts expect the group to intensify its media campaign to demonstrate that he has the confidence of not only the group's top officials but also its rank and file.

IS followed the same strategy after the death of Baghdadi in October 2019, flooding social media with images of fighters around the world pledging allegiance to Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi.

U.S. and Western intelligence officials later determined that Abu Ibrahim was actually Amir Muhammad Sa'id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla (also known as Hajji Abdallah, among several other names), a religious scholar who had been imprisoned with Baghdadi in 2004 at Camp Bucca, a U.S.-run facility in Basra, Iraq.

Source: VOA News

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

https://www.voanews.com/a/islamic-state-fighters-in-iraq-africa-line-up-behind-new-leader-/6481266.html

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US To Miss Deadline for Release of 9/11 Documents on Saudi Involvement: Justice Department

 

The Tribute in Light art installation is seen from Empire State Building, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, in New York City, New York, U.S., September 11, 2021. REUTERS/Go Nakamura

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Friday, 11 March 2022

The US Justice Department has acknowledged it would miss a deadline set by President Joe Biden’s executive order to release documents on Saudi Arabia’s role in the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Relatives of the victims of the September 11 attacks have been pushing for years for more information about what the FBI discovered in its investigation and have contended that the documents would show Saudi authorities supported the plot.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers that orchestrated the attacks were from Saudi Arabia. Yet the kingdom says it had no role in the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure damage in the United States.

According to the US Justice Department, the FBI has released over 700 documents and over 2,700 pages in accordance with the process outlined in Biden’s September 3 executive order.

On Thursday, 9/11 Families United, a group that represents families and survivors of the attacks, sent a letter to Biden, urging him to raise the September 11 attacks in any meetings with the Persian Gulf country.

Media reports said Biden was considering a visit to Saudi Arabia, but the White House has said there are no current plans for Biden to travel there.

9/11 Families United further said no reset of US-Saudi ties could succeed “without proper reconciliation for the attacks on September 11, 2001.”

Last September, Biden directed the Justice Department and other agencies to review and release certain documents related to the FBI’s investigation, which reportedly contain evidence of Saudi involvement in the strikes.

“We must never forget the enduring pain of the families and loved ones of the 2,977 innocent people who were killed during the worst terrorist attack on America in our history. For them, it was not only a national and international tragedy,” Biden said in a statement at the time.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/03/11/678371/US-miss-deadline-release-9-11-documents-Saudi-role

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Facebook Removes Media Watchdog Posts Repeating Boris Johnson’s Anti-Muslim Comments

 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote a column in August 2018 for the Daily Telegraph newspaper in which he said Muslim women in burqas resembled post boxes. (AFP)

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March 11, 2022

LONDON: Controversial comments made in 2018 by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson were posted by a media watchdog under dummy Facebook accounts and were then removed by the social media platform for hate speech.

Big Brother Watch (BBW) devised the experiment to test Facebook’s content policies — and found that the social media site, owned by tech giant Meta, views words used by Johnson to be “harassment and bullying.”

Johnson wrote a column in August 2018 for the Daily Telegraph newspaper in which he said Muslim women in Burqas resembled post boxes.

Repeating those comments, the BBW dummy account posted a picture of Muslim women with the caption: “It is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes.” The account was blocked for harassment and bullying.

A remark made by shadow Chancellor Angela Rayner in February this year — “Shoot your terrorists and ask questions second” — was also blocked by the platform for breaching its violence and incitement policy.

The UK Conservative Party has often found itself criticized for controversial comments and its attitude towards Muslims. After an independent investigation, Johnson’s comments were found not to have breached the party’s code of conduct.

Johnson has also previously referred to Muslim women as looking like “bank robbers.”

Conservative ministers have been accused of dragging their feet in tackling Islamophobia within the party and wider country. Earlier this year, the senior Conservative politician Nusrat Ghani, who was the UK’s first female Muslim minister, claimed that she had been discriminated against by the party when she was demoted from the position of Under Secretary of State for Transport because her “Muslimness” was “making colleagues uncomfortable.”

In the aftermath of that row, Qari Asim, an imam appointed by the government in 2019 to tackle Islamophobia, said he had received no “meaningful engagement” from ministers “in years.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2040686/world

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Blasphemy Accusations, Mob Lynching Against Religious Minorities on a Rise in Imran Khan's Pakistan: Think Tank

 

Pakistan- Blasphemy Photograph :( AFP)

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Mar 11, 2022

There have been daily attacks against the properties of minorities and their religious sites in Pakistan due to blasphemy charges that are fake or erroneous.

In a recent study on the blasphemy issue in Pakistan, a local think tank, the Centre for Research and Security Studies, disclosed that 89 people were extra-judicially killed over blasphemy allegations in the country between 1947 and 2021.

The report also found that 1,287 citizens were accused of blasphemy between 2011 and 2021, which is when TLP was most active and expanded its support base across the country.

Pakistan has the second-strictest blasphemy laws in the world after Iran, according to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom Report (2016). But the most worrying fact is that, in most blasphemy cases, the perpetrator is either eulogised as the "saviour" of Islam, in case they receive a judicial sentence, or released under the pressure of religious extremists.

Mob justice is not a new phenomenon in Pakistan.

Some of the cases that gained prominence include that of a mentally challenged man being stoned to death by an angry mob on February 12 for allegedly desecrating the Holy Quran.

A mob vandalised and set ablaze a police station in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Charsadda district in November 2021 after the local authorities refused to hand over a man arrested for allegedly desecrating the Holy Quran.

The lynching of Priyantha Kumara, a Sri Lankan factory manager, in Punjab's Sialkot city in December is still fresh in the memory.

In Pakistan, extrajudicial vigilantism isn't the only reason for killings over blasphemy accusations. The reasons for their actions range from religious to political to personal and petty disputes, as well as international connections.

Extremists support the most severe implementation of draconian blasphemy laws in order to subjugate lower-class citizens, Ahmadiyyas and Shias, as well as Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs.

These laws are a legacy of the Islamic military dictator General Ziaul Haq, who used them to appease hard-line Islamist forces in Pakistan.

Under Imran Khan, however, the menace of blasphemy killings has reached a new height with the government giving space to Islamist groups such as Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a Sunni Barelvi outfit.

As a result of the Taliban's victory in Afghanistan, hard-line Islamist forces in Pakistan have gained strength. All of these factors point to more blasphemy killings in the future.

Source: WIO News

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

https://www.wionews.com/south-asia/blasphemy-accusations-mob-lynchings-against-religious-minorities-on-a-rise-in-imran-khans-pakistan-461262

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Delhi High Court Asks Centre To Come With Clear Instructions On Opening Of Mosque At Markaz Premises

 

File Pic | PTI

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Mar 11, 2022

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Friday asked the Central government's counsel to come up with clear instructions as to which portion of Masjid Bangle Wali at Markaz can be opened for devotees to offer namaz. The Court has listed the matter for hearing on Monday.

Public entry was banned at the Nizamuddin Markaz in the aftermath of Tablighi Jamaat members testing positive for COVID-19 in 2020.

The counsel for the Centre submitted that they have no objection to the opening of the first floor of the masjid for offering the namaz during Shab-e-Barat and Ramzan after that the premises would be handed back to the petitioners.

Earlier, Centre had submitted that the offering of namaz by five people were allowed earlier. This can be done this year also in the religious festival.

Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri asked the Central Government Counsel Rajat Nair, "why only for religious days, why not for all days, if there is a clear demarcation of the masjid and there is no restriction on the number of people by Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA)."

Advocate Nair submitted that there is no problem with the opening of the first floor. If the petitioner is seeking the reopening of the entire premises, then I have an objection and have a submission to make, Nair said.

Justice Ohri asked, "why only first floor if there are four floors in the Masjid? Come with clear instructions on Monday."

The counsel for the applicant/petitioner Delhi Waqf Board placed on record the order of February 26, 2022, issued by DDMA withdrawing all the COVID-19 restrictions.

Advocate Wajeeh Shafiq, the counsel for the applicant argued that the Markaz premises should be reopened according to the recent order issued by DDMA. "What DDMA has said about other religious places will govern this place also. It has been lying closed since 2020," Shafiq said.

He submitted that there was a joint inspection pursuant to this court order in which the entire premises was demarcated as a residential complex, Masjid Bangle Wali and Hostel.

He also submitted that there are seven floors in the masjid. "It is difficult to understand why the Central government wants to put all the devotees only on the first floor. Why these restrictions are imposed on religious places in the national capital," he said.

Senior Advocate Rebecca John appearing for the Management committee argued that there is no reason why there should be a restriction on the opening of the premises.

Advocate Nair submitted that the Markaz was close pursuant to FIR and it is a case of property. There is 1500 FIR. Besides, it is not clear who is the rightful owner of the premises. The locus of the claimant is to be decided.

Delhi Waqf Board to place on record the recent order of DDMA on the application seeking reopening of Markaz premises at Nizamuddin. Board has approached the High Court seeking reopening of Markaz in view of Shab-e-Barat and the coming month of Ramzan.

The counsel for the applicant submitted that the people in limited number were allowed during the first phase of the pandemic. At the time, they were preventing the large gathering and other activities. Now, the DDMA has withdrawn all the restrictions through its order of February 26, 2022.

Petitioner Delhi Waqf Board through advocate Wajeeh Shafiq has sought to reassess the necessity of keeping the waqf premises, situated at Basti Hazrat Nizamuddin between Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin and police Station Hazrat Nizamuddin, under their locks.

The petition said that the respondents have put the waqf premises Masjid Bangle Wali, Madarsa Kashif-Ul-Uloom and the attached hostel situated as Basti Hazrat Nizamuddin, Delhi under their locks since March 31, 2020. It is submitted that the premises is popularly known as 'Markaz' and has been used for religious purposes.

In the affidavit filed through advocate Amit Mahajan and Rajat Nair, the Central government had submitted that no case of interference is made out by the petitioner Delhi Waqf Board.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/delhi-high-court-asks-centre-to-come-with-clear-instructions-on-opening-of-mosque-at-markaz-premises/articleshow/90151892.cms

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Arab World

 

Muqtada al-Sadr, major figures hold talks to end Iraq's political crisis

Ali Jawad 

11.03.2022

BAGHDAD

Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held talks with top Iraqi officials on ways to form a government and end a crippling political crisis in the country.

He held phone calls with Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi, Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the State of Law Coalition, and Khamis al-Khanjar, leader of the al-Azm Front, al-Sadr’s office said in a statement on Thursday evening.

Discussions focused on resolving the crisis of government formation and other “important issues related to the current situation in Iraq,” the statement said.

Owing to differences between various political forces, Iraq has been unable to form a new government since last October’s contested parliamentary elections.

A spokesman for the State of Law Coalition confirmed that al-Maliki, a former Iraqi prime minister, received a phone call from al-Sadr to discuss ways to “end the current crisis.”

Talks between al-Sadr and al-Maliki signal a remarkable development in efforts to finalize a government, since the influential Shia cleric, who leads the biggest parliamentary bloc, has in the past refused to support any government that includes al-Maliki.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/muqtada-al-sadr-major-figures-hold-talks-to-end-iraqs-political-crisis/2531848

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Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi Released After Spending 10 Years In Prison For 'Insulting Islam'

March 11, 2022

After 10 years in prison for "insulting Islam", Saudi blogger and human rights activist Raif Badawi, who has become a symbol of freedom of expression around the world, was released on Friday."

Raif called me. He is free," his wife Ensaf Haidar, who lives in Canada with their three children and had been fiercely advocating for his release, told AFP.

Badawi's release was also confirmed by a Saudi security official who said on condition of anonymity that "he was released today.

"I jumped when I found out. I couldn't believe it. I can't wait to see my dad, I'm so excited," one of his daughters, Nawja Badawi, 18, told AFP.

The winner of the Reporters Without Borders prize for press freedom, who is now 38 years old, was arrested and detained in Saudi Arabia in 2012 on charges of "insulting Islam," and at the end of 2014 was sentenced to 10 years in prison as well as 50 lashes a week for twenty weeks.

His first flogging in Jeddah square in Saudi Arabia in 2015 shocked the world, and was described by the United Nations as "cruel and inhuman." After the outcry, he would not be lashed again.

"Raif Badawi, human rights defender in Saudi Arabia, has finally been released!" Amnesty International tweeted.

"Thousands of you have mobilized alongside us in the defense of Raif Badawi for 10 years. A big thank you to all of you for your tireless support."

Colette Lelievre, a Montreal-based campaign organizer with Amnesty who has worked on Badawi's case, said his release was "a great relief."

"Ensaf was at a loss for words," Lelievre said Friday after speaking with her. "She worked so hard to free her husband that emotions overwhelmed her."

"This is a big step forward for her," she added.

Saudi travel ban

Every Friday for almost seven years, Haidar -- who fled to Canada after Badawi's arrest and has since become a Canadian citizen -- had held a public vigil for him.

She'd told AFP in late February at the 374th vigil in Sherbrooke, Quebec where she lives that she'd been able to maintain contact with her husband, speaking with him "up to three times a week" by telephone.

Canada's Quebec province has paved the way for Badawi to come to this country if he chooses by placing him on a priority list of potential immigrants for humanitarian reasons.

No details of his release conditions were immediately available.

But Amnesty noted that the Saudi blogger could still face a 10-year ban on all travel outside Saudi Arabia following his release.

The NGO added in an email to AFP that it would "actively work to have any conditions lifted."

"Finally! I keep thinking about the children who will finally see their father!" Quebec Premier François Legault tweeted Friday.

International NGOs and the United Nations continue to denounce the brutal repression of dissenting voices and the imprisonment of activists in Saudi Arabia, despite the kingdom's efforts to improve its image by undertaking certain reforms.

Raif Badawi's sister, Samar Badawi, as well as activist Nassima al-Sadah, released in 2021, remain stranded in the kingdom.

A Sunni Muslim like most Saudis, Raif Badawi studied economics and ran an institute for learning English and computer techniques, according to his wife. He enjoys reading and is known for his writings in support of freedom of expression.

Source: Raw Story

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

https://www.rawstory.com/saudi-blogger-raif-badawi-released-after-10-years-in-prison/

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New Islamic State leader is brother of slain caliph Baghdadi, say Iraqi and Western sources

11 March, 2022

The new leader of the Islamic State group, whose appointment the group announced on Thursday, is the brother of slain former caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to two Iraqi security officials and one Western security source.

The Islamic State group named its new leader Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi in a recorded audio message distributed online.

The announcement came weeks after the death last month of Abu Ibrahim al-Quraishi, the man who in turn succeeded Baghdadi in 2019 and became the group's second so-called caliph. Both Baghdadi and Quraishi died by blowing themselves and family members up during US raids on their hideouts in northern Syria.

The Islamic State group, a successor to al Qaeda's notoriously bloodthirsty Iraq branch, has its roots in an Islamist insurgency against US forces after they invaded Iraq and toppled Sunni Muslim dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.

The group calling itself Islamic State in its current form emerged from the chaos of the civil war in neighbouring Syria last decade and took over vast swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014. Baghdadi declared an Islamic caliphate from a mosque in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014 and proclaimed himself caliph of all Muslims.

The Islamic State group's brutal rule, during which it killed and executed thousands of people in the name of its narrow interpretation of Islam, came to an end in Mosul when Iraqi and international forces defeated the group there in 2017.

Its remaining thousands of militants have in recent years mostly hid out in remote territory but are still able to carry out significant insurgent-style attacks.

The new leader's real name is Juma Awad al-Badri, he is Iraqi and Baghdadi's elder brother, two Iraqi security officials told Reuters on Friday. A Western security official confirmed the two men were brothers, but did not specify which was older.

It is the first time this has been revealed since the Islamic State group announced the new leader. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to speak to media.

Little is known about Badri, but he comes from a close circle of shadowy, battle-hardened Iraqi jihadists who emerged in the aftermath of the 2003 US invasion.

"Badri is a radical who joined salafi jihadist groups in 2003 and was known to always accompany Baghdadi as a personal companion and Islamic legal adviser," one of the Iraqi security officials said.

The official said Badri has long been head of the Islamic State group's Shura Council, a leadership group that guides strategy and decides succession when a caliph is killed or captured.

Research by the late Iraqi Islamic State group expert Hisham al-Hashemi published online in 2020 said Badri was leader of the five-member Shura Council.

The audio recording announcing the new leader said he had been named by Quraishi as his successor before his death.

Badri's nom-de-guerre, also Quraishi, indicates that like his brother and his predecessor he is believed to trace his lineage from the Prophet Mohammed, giving him religious clout among fellow jihadists.

Iraqi security officials and analysts have said that the new leader will continue trying to wage attacks across Iraq and Syria and that he might have his own vision for how those attacks are carried out.

Source: The New Arab

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

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/new-islamic-state-leader-brother-slain-caliph-baghdadi

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Egypt executes seven over Islamist attacks that killed policemen

11 March 2022

CAIRO — Egypt has executed seven people convicted of Islamist attacks in the past week, human rights activists said on Friday.

Three of those executed had been found guilty of a 2016 attack claimed by the Islamic State group that left eight policemen dead in Helwan, on Cairo’s southern outskirts, judicial and security sources told AFP.

Another four had been sentenced to death for attacks on police coordinated by the “Soldiers of Egypt,” a jihadist group that carried out attacks between 2014 and 2015, rights groups said.

Amnesty International says Egypt has handed down hundreds of death sentences, and that it carried out 107 in 2020 — the third highest in the world.

Friday’s report was “the first round of executions in the last six months,” a representative of Human Rights Watch said.

“Egypt is one of the top executioners in the world, and the number of executions is increasing yearly, mainly in cases of political violence.”

Following the military ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi by marshal-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2013, a series of attacks were carried out in Egypt by jihadists and Islamists, killing dozens of officials and security forces.

Authorities launched a crackdown that first targeted Islamists before widening to curtail all public space for dissent.

“Sisi’s government has been instrumentalizing the judicial system to repress and punish opponents,” the HRW representative said, adding trials often “lack basic due process and fair trial guarantees.”

Source: Times Of Israel

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

https://www.timesofisrael.com/egypt-executes-seven-over-islamist-attacks-that-killed-policemen/

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Top diplomat slams politicization of Syria chemical file, disregard for terrorists’ crimes

11 March 2022

Syria’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations has voiced regret over the politicization of his country’s chemical file by certain countries, stating that the practice comes as criminal acts by Takfiri terrorist groups across Syria are being blatantly ignored.

“On March 19th, 2013, terrorist groups fired a shell laced with toxic chemicals on the city of Khan al-Assal in Aleppo province, claiming the lives of 25 people, mostly members of the Syrian Arab Army. Another 110 people suffered breathing difficulties,” Qusay al-Dahhak said at a session of the UN Security Council on Thursday.

He added, “Syria called on the former UN secretary-general (Ban Ki-moon) at the time to form an independent technical mission to investigate the incident. Unfortunately, it took several months for the mission to be formed. Neither have its members visited the site of the incident, nor has any investigation been conducted up until now.”

Dahhak pointed to the Khan al-Assal chemical attack as “a clear example of certain countries’ attempts to conceal the crimes being committed by terrorist organizations, and the scope of manipulation and politicization concerning the so-called Syrian chemical file.”

The diplomat highlighted that Syria voluntarily joined the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) on October 14, 2013, eliminated its stockpile of chemical warfare, destroyed its production facilities, and remains interested to address the lingering issues through cooperation with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to close the file permanently.

Dahhak emphasized that the OPCW would not successfully accomplish its missions if it bows to external pressure and opts to politicize the work of its affiliated agencies.

Iran demands full implementation of CWC

Moreover, Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the UN has called for the full, effective, and non-discriminatory implementation of the CWC, stating that Syria has fulfilled its obligations under the treaty.

Speaking at the same Security Council session, Majid Takht-Ravanchi criticized the world body for holding regular meetings on “The Situation in the Middle East: (Syria – Chemical).”

He called for the complete, effective, and non-discriminatory implementation of the CWC, and underscored that OPCW’s authority must be preserved.

“Syria has complied with its obligations under the convention and continues to cooperate with the OPCW. It submitted its 98th report on the destruction of chemical weapons and associated production sites on its territory on January 17, 2022.

“In addition, Syria regularly provides information to the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW and the General Secretariat of the UN about the possession and use of chemical materials by some terrorist organizations, as well as fabrication of chemical incidents in order to blame the Syrian Army for such heinous acts,” Takht-Ravanchi noted.

The Iranian diplomat went on to note that members of the Takfiri terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), previously known as Jabhat al-Nusra, have recently staged a false-flag chemical attack in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib to implicate Syrian government troops.

The Iranian UN ambassador also pointed to the “disastrous and horrific repercussions of the systematic use of chemical weapons” by the slain Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the eight-year bloody war against Iran in the 1980s, emphasizing that the Islamic Republic “reiterates its opposition to the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, at any time, and under any circumstances.”

“Only the complete destruction and elimination of all chemical weapons on a global scale, as well as the implementation of all essential measures to prevent their production, can ensure that chemical weapons are never used again,” Takht-Ravanchi said.

“We reiterate once again our call on the Security Council to utilize its meetings on Syria. Dedicating one monthly meeting of the council to the repetition of positions and unfounded allegations against the Syrian government is not conducive to the Security Council’s efficiency.”

Moscow and Damascus have on many occasions said members of the so-called White Helmets civil defense group stage gas attacks in a bid to falsely incriminate Syrian government forces and fabricate pretexts for military strikes by the US-led military coalition.

The group, which claims to be a humanitarian NGO, has long been accused of collaborating with anti-Damascus militants.

On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain, and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of the capital Damascus.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/03/11/678374/Syrian-chemical-file-politicized-certain-countries

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North America

 

Christians, Jews And Muslims Experience Workplace Discrimination Differently, According to a New Study

March 12, 2022

Two-thirds of Muslims, half of Jews and more than a third of evangelical Protestant Christians experience workplace discrimination, albeit in different ways, according to a new study from Rice University’s Religion and Public Life Program (RPLP).

“When we conducted interviews, we were able to get much deeper into how people are experiencing religious discrimination,” said Rachel Schneider, a postdoctoral research fellow in RPLP and lead author of “How Religious Discrimination is perceived in the Workplace: Expanding the View.” “We found that it’s not just about hiring, firing and promotion, which are the things that people usually think about.”

While Muslims, Jews and Christians each said they experienced negative or harmful comments, stereotyping and social exclusion, Muslims and Jews felt targeted by anti-Islamic and anti-Semitic rhetoric tied to being seen as part of a larger group. Evangelical Christians, meanwhile, felt singled out when taking an individual stand based on their moral views.

“Sometimes they were called ‘Ms. Holy’ or ‘Holy Roller,’ and many evangelical Christians felt like they were perceived as being judgmental, narrow-minded and/or right wing,” Schneider said.

In addition, co-author Denise Daniels, the study’s co-principal investigator and the Hudson T. Harrison Professor of Entrepreneurship at Wheaton College, said many of the Christians surveyed gave examples of feeling isolated at work.

“This was due to their co-workers’ presumptions about the kinds of conversations or outside-of-work events they would want to participate in,” she said.

All three groups — but especially Muslims and Jews — described feeling uncomfortable asking to observe religious holidays or wearing religious attire at work and mentioned negative experiences they’d had with supervisors and co-workers. Muslims and Jews were most likely to feel they needed to downplay or hide their religion in the workplace.

“Identity concealment is often used by people who are part of stigmatized groups,” said co-author Deidra Coleman, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Centre at Houston. “It’s a proactive way to ‘manage’ anticipated religious discrimination, but it can have negative impacts on one’s mental health.”

Principal investigator Elaine Howard Ecklund, director of RPLP and the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences at Rice, said the findings challenge employers to reconsider how they think about religious discrimination. She said figuring out how to balance different groups and perspectives while showing sensitivity to all involved is complicated.

Source: Eurasia Review

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

https://www.eurasiareview.com/12032022-christians-jews-and-muslims-experience-workplace-discrimination-differently/

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US envoy discusses political, economic issues of Afghanistan with Taliban in Antalya

March 12, 2022

US Special Representative Thomas West met acting Afghan foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in the Turkish city of Antalya on Friday and discussed the political and economic situation in Afghanistan.

“IEA [Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan] Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi met this morning in Antalya in a bilateral with the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Mr Tom West and accompanying delegation,” the Afghanistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hafiz Zia Ahmad said in a tweet.

The two sides held detailed discussions on the current political and economic situation in Afghanistan, the spokesperson added.

The two representatives met at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum amid a high-level gathering of diplomats and other leaders to exchange ideas and address international challenges.

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan, who met with the Taliban delegation said he covered critical issues for the Afghan people.

“With colleagues, Amb Beth Jones, Coordinator for Afghan Relocation Efforts and Charge d’Affaires McCary @USAmbKabul, spent productive time with Taliban delegation. Covered critical issues for the Afghan people: economic stabilization & growth, education, & commercial air travel,” West tweeted.

In a subsequent tweet, the US envoy said the international community must work on human rights and protecting gains in Afghanistan.

Source: The Statesman

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https://www.thestatesman.com/world/us-envoy-discusses-political-economic-issues-afghanistan-taliban-antalya-1503051496.html

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Qatar hosts Taliban-US meeting on side-lines of Turkey summit

11 March ,2022

On the sidelines of a summit in Turkey, Qatar acted as host for a face-to-face meeting on Friday between the Taliban-appointed foreign minister and an American diplomat for Afghanistan, according to reports from Qatar.

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani spoke first with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West.

Video footage released by Qatar shows the Taliban-appointed foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, walking into the room where West was with Sheikh Mohammed. The footage then shows the three men all sitting together.

“During the meeting, they reviewed the security and political developments in Afghanistan, and ways of coordination and cooperation to achieve stability for the Afghan people and avoid any humanitarian crisis,” the Qatari statement said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/03/11/Qatar-hosts-Taliban-US-meeting-on-sidelines-of-Turkey-summit

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US welcomes Turkiye's diplomatic efforts in Ukraine conflict

Servet Günerigök  

12.03.2022

WASHINGTON

The US welcomes Turkiye's role in finding a diplomatic solution to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, a State Department spokesman said Friday.

"We welcome it, precisely because our Turkish allies have done so in full coordination and consultation with United States," Ned Price told reporters at a briefing when asked about Ankara's role to resolve the fighting.

He said US President Joe Biden "had an opportunity to speak to" Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a tripartite meeting Thursday between Ankara, Moscow and Kyiv on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in southern Turkiye.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had also a telephone discussion with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu ahead of the meeting.

"So any diplomatic effort that is conducted just as we had conducted our diplomacy with the Russian Federation, that is to say in full consultation and coordination with our allies and partners, that is something that we welcome," he added.

'Appreciation' for Ankara's efforts

During their phone talk, Biden and Erdogan shared concerns about Russia's war on Ukraine, The White House said in a statement.

"They reaffirmed their strong support for the government and people of Ukraine, underscored the need for an immediate cessation of Russian aggression, and welcomed the coordinated international response to the crisis," it said.

Biden expressed "appreciation" for Turkiye's "efforts to support a diplomatic resolution to the conflict," along with its "recent engagements with regional leaders that help promote peace and stability," it added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-welcomes-turkiyes-diplomatic-efforts-in-ukraine-conflict-/2532565

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US says ball in Moscow, Tehran camp to revive nuclear deal

March 11, 2022

WASHINGTON: The United States Friday urged Moscow and Tehran to take the “decisions” needed to revive the 2015 nuclear accord, putting the ball squarely in their camp as last-minute Russian demands threatened to derail the process.

“There will need to be decisions made in places like Tehran and Moscow,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters after the European Union announced a pause in negotiations on the deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program.

“We are confident that we can achieve mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA if... those decisions are made in places like Tehran and Moscow,” Price said, using the acronym for the deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The current round of talks between world powers and Iran, taking place in the Austrian capital Vienna, had appeared close to its goal until Russia made a sudden new set of demands last week.

Russia said it wanted guarantees that the Western economic sanctions imposed in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine would not affect its trade with Iran.

Price told reporters that “the new Russia-related sanctions are wholly and entirely unrelated to the JCPOA” and “shouldn’t have any impact” on the talks.

“We have no intention of offering Russia anything new or specific as it relates to these sanctions,” he added.

Price confirmed that the US negotiator, Rob Malley, had returned to Washington with his team for the time being.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2040876/world

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Europe

 

External factors force pause in Iran nuclear talks: EU’s Borrell

11 March ,2022

Iran and world powers will pause talks on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal due to “external factors,” the European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Friday, after last-minute Russian demands threatened to torpedo otherwise largely completed talks.

“A pause in #ViennaTalks is needed, due to external factors,” Josep Borrell said on Twitter. “A final text is essentially ready and on the table.”

Tehran on Thursday suggested there were new obstacles to reviving the deal. Washington underlined that it had no intention of accommodating Russia’s demands, which it has said have nothing to do with the Iran talks. It added that a small number of outstanding and difficult issues were still yet to be resolved for a deal to be reached.

Parties in the talks had been expecting to conclude by last Sunday a deal that would bring Iran back into compliance with restrictions on its rapidly advancing nuclear activities, and see the United States rejoining the accord. Nearly four years ago the then US President Donald Trump decided to leave the 2015 nuclear deal, and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.

However, on Saturday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov unexpectedly demanded sweeping guarantees that Russian trade with Iran would not be affected by sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine - a demand Western powers say is unacceptable and Washington has insisted it will not entertain.

Russia’s demand initially angered Tehran and appeared to help it and Washington move towards agreement on the few remaining thorny issues, diplomats said, but a sudden volley of public comments by Iranian officials including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Thursday suggested the wind had turned.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/03/11/External-factors-force-pause-in-Iran-nuclear-talks-EU-s-Borrell

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Ukrainian embassy says 86 Turks sheltering in Mariupol mosque

March 11, 2022

ISTANBUL, March 11 (Reuters) - The Ukrainian Embassy in Ankara said on Friday there are 86 Turkish citizens sheltering in a mosque in the besieged southern Ukrainian port of Mairupol, as Russian forces continue shelling the city.

Citing local authorities, the embassy said Russian forces had been shelling the city, including the mosque, since the early morning hours. It said 34 of the Turkish citizens hiding there were children.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry did not immediately comment. Turkey has been helping its citizens leave Ukraine via buses and trains since Russia's invasion began. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said 13,719 citizens had been evacuated.

Source: Reuters

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

https://www.reuters.com/world/ukrainian-embassy-says-86-turks-sheltering-mariupol-mosque-2022-03-11/?rpc=401&

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Russia promised to respond in few days on Iran guarantees: EU senior official

11 March ,2022

Russia has promised to respond in a few days over the question of the guarantees it has asked for in the Iran nuclear talks, a senior EU official said, adding that there were still some technical issues to be ironed out between the US and Iran.

“They are thinking about that reaction and in the meantime, we cannot advance,” the official said after Moscow had been told that its demands for economic guarantees would not be accepted.

“It has said it will respond in a question of days. We cannot continue like this.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/03/11/Russia-promised-to-respond-in-few-days-on-Iran-guarantees-EU-senior-official

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Russia to recruit 16,000 fighters from Middle East for Ukraine war

March 12, 2022

MOSCOW, KYIV: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday approved plans to recruit 16,000 fighters from the Middle East to take part in the war in Ukraine.

Dozens of men in camouflage uniforms, holding Kalashnikov assault rifles and waving pro-Russian banners, appeared in video footage that Russia’s Defense Ministry said was a gathering of soldiers in Syria ready to join the Ukraine conflict.

“If you see that there are people who want of their own accord — not for money — to come to help … then we need to give them what they want and help them get to the conflict zone,” Putin told Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu at a security council meeting in Moscow.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country was battling an enemy “who collects reservists and conscripts from all over Russia to throw them into the hell of war, who came up with the idea of bringing in mercenaries against our people, thugs from Syria.”

Presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said the move was a sign of the Russian army’s weakness. “Where’s the powerful Russian army if they can’t get by without Syrians?” he said. “If they want us also to kill 16,000 Syrians, let them come.”

On the ground in Ukraine, Russian forces bearing down on Kyiv were regrouping northwest of the capital, a Russian airstrike hit a psychiatric hospital near the eastern town of Izyum, and four people died in an attack on an airfield in the city of Lutsk — Russia’s first strike in western Ukraine.

Russia has been pounding Ukraine’s cities while its main attack force north of Kyiv has been stalled on roads since the invasion began on Feb. 24, having failed in what military analysts say was an initial plan for a lightning assault.

Satellite images showed Russian armored vehicle units maneuvering in and through towns close to an airport on Kyiv’s northwest outskirts.

Other elements had repositioned near the settlement of Lubyanka just to the north, with artillery howitzers being towed into firing positions.

“Russia is probably seeking to reset and re-posture its forces for renewed offensive activity in the coming days,” Britain’s Ministry of Defense said. “This will probably include operations against Kyiv.” It said Russian ground forces were still making only limited progress, hampered by logistical issues and Ukrainian resistance.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2040886/world

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UN chief calls for political solution to 11-year-long Syrian civil war

Betül Yürük  

11.03.2022

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for a political solution to the civil war in Syria that began 11 years ago and has devastated the country and its people.

The civil war began when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protesters. Hundreds of thousands of people have since been killed and millions more displaced, according to UN estimates.

"We cannot fail the Syrian people. The conflict must cease. International humanitarian law must be respected," Guterres said in a statement. "I call on all parties to meaningfully engage in the UN-facilitated political process and appeal for further support to scale up the humanitarian response. We must choose peace."

Guterres said the past 11 years of brutal conflict have exacted an unconscionable human cost, and "millions of internally displaced and refugees struggle to survive in the most difficult circumstances."

But, he argued, "we must not lose hope," move beyond "rhetorical commitments" to peace and to do all that is necessary to reach a negotiated political solution in line with Security Council resolution 2254 (2015). "This is the path to a solution that meets the aspirations of all Syrians," he said.

The UN chief called for ensuring greater humanitarian access to address the needs of people throughout the country. "Cross-line and cross-border deliveries are essential to reach millions of people in need," he said.

Guterres also urged "collective action" to end the practice of arbitrary detention and forcible disappearance of tens of thousands of people. "It is time to respond to the urgent calls of families across Syria who are seeking to clarify the fate and whereabouts of their missing loved ones," he said. "As families seek truth for their loved ones, thousands continue to languish in prisons in unimaginable conditions."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/un-chief-calls-for-political-solution-to-11-year-long-syrian-civil-war/2531754

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan Opposition files privilege motion over police storming Parliament Lodges

12 March, 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], March 12 (ANI): Opposition parties in Pakistan submitted a privilege motion at the National Assembly Secretariat against the officers of the Islamabad police and district administration for contempt of the assembly and breaching their privilege, local media has reported.

The development comes after police forces on Thursday night stormed Parliament Lodges and made 19 arrests including key opposition members of the National Assembly, the highest legislative body of the country.

The privilege motion claimed that a heavy contingent of the Islamabad police force along with senior district administration of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) forcibly entered the parliament lodges and physically manhandled elected members of the parliament, The Dawn reported on Friday.

Separately, Senator Kamran Murtaza of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) [JUI-F] lodged a complaint at the Secretariat police station against the police and administration officers for cordoning off the parliament lodges, breaking into the lodge of Member of National Assembly (MNA) Salahuddin Ayubi and taking people hostage, the report said.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, accompanied by Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif held a press conference denouncing the police action and threatening Imran Khan.

“Imran Khan, listen, we can jam you, as we jammed the whole country yesterday in reaction to the police raid at parliament lodges,” Rehman said.

Talking about the upcoming no-confidence motion, Rehman said, “We are waging jihad against you (Imran Khan). If the motion fails, the country will plunge into anarchy and you will be responsible for that. At any cost, we will move forward to remove him (the PM).”

The police action had come after members of Ansarul Islam, a uniformed volunteer force set up to protect the leadership of the JUI-F, entered the Parliament Lodges in large numbers, reported Dawn.

Source: The Print

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

https://theprint.in/world/pakistan-opposition-files-privilege-motion-over-police-storming-parliament-lodges/870085/

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Jamaat empowers emir to take decision on no-trust move

March 12, 2022

LAHORE: The Central Working Committee (CWC) of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) has empowered its emir Sirajul Haq to take a final decision “whether to support the opposition’s no-trust move against the prime minister or stay neutral on the issue”.

According to insiders, the CWC debated the matter till late on Thursday night, but was unable to reach a consensus decision, and finally it gave powers to the party’s emir to take a final decision on the issue as dictated by circumstances.

Held in the background of Mr Haq’s meeting with Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad and former president Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to the party headquarters to request support in the lower house, the CWC decided to let the party chief take the final decision on the matter.

Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai also met Mr Haq on Wednesday for the same purpose.

Meanwhile, Mr Haq on Friday made it clear that his party, instead of becoming part of any political circus, would continue its “struggle for the rights of people”.

Speaking at the Friday congregation at Mansoora, he said that leaders of opposition parties and from the government side had approached him for support during the last few days, but they were clueless when he asked them about their future plan to put the country on track.

He said the ruling elite class was united in keeping the country under the US pressure and its interest-based corrupt capitalist system.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1679531/jamaat-empowers-emir-to-take-decision-on-no-trust-move

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Pakistan inducts China-made J-10C multi-role fighter jets into PAF

Mar 11, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday formally inducted an unspecified number of J-10C multi-role fighter jets, acquired from its all-weather ally China, into its air force to bolster the country's combat capabilities.

Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed a ceremony held at Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Base Minhas Kamra in Attock district of Punjab province to induct the new fighter jets.

“Unfortunately, efforts are being made to create an imbalance in the region and to address this, a big addition has been made today to our defence system,” he said, apparently referring to India's acquisition of Rafale fighter jets from France.

Khan described it as a big movement for Pakistan after about 40 years when F-16 provided by the US were inducted into the PAF.

“When F-16s were inducted 40 years ago, the whole nation was jubilant and now that time has come again as Pakistan is strengthening itself. There was an attempt to create an imbalance in the region however, the induction of the fighter aircraft has again created an equilibrium,” he said.

He also thanked China for providing the aircraft in a short span of about eight months when it often takes years to acquire modern jets.

In a veiled reference to India, Khan said any country would have to think twice before harbouring any aggression towards Pakistan, asserting that the armed forces were well-equipped and trained to defeat any threat.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Babar Sidhu, said the JC-10 was a fully integrated weapon, avionic and combat system and its induction into the PAF would further strengthen its professional capabilities.

The new jet can be equipped with a bigger active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar than the one used by the JF-17 Block 3, and it can also carry more advanced, fourth-generation air-to-air missiles including the short-range PL-10 and the beyond-visual-range PL-15.

The J-10C is a 4.5-generation medium-sized fighter jet and is more powerful than the China-Pakistan jointly developed lightweight fighter jet, the JF-17, currently being used by the PAF.

Pakistan had announced the display of the new jet on March 23 at the annual Defence Day Parade. The exact number of aircraft provided by China so far is not known.

The Dawn newspaper reported that prime minister Khan witnessed the landing of five J-10C aircraft.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said in December Pakistan had acquired a full squadron of 25 Chinese multirole J-10C fighter jets in response to India's purchase of Rafale aircraft.

The minister told reporters in his home city of Rawalpindi that a full squadron of 25 all-weather aircraft comprising J-10C will attend the Pakistan Day ceremony on March 23 this year.

Many experts believe that the J-10C is Pakistan's answer to the Rafale jets.

The J-10C aircraft were part of the Pak-China joint exercise in 2020, where experts from Pakistan had the opportunity to have a close look at the fighter jets.

The joint exercises started on December 7 in Pakistan and lasted about 20 days, with China sending warplanes including J-10C, J-11B jets, KJ-500 early warning aircraft and Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft, while Pakistan participated with the JF-17 and Mirage III fighter jets.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-inducts-china-made-j-10c-multi-role-fighter-jets-into-paf/articleshow/90156154.cms

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Pak summons India's diplomat over alleged violation of airspace by ‘Indian-origin projectile'

Mar 11, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has summoned India's Charge d'Affaires here and conveyed its strong protest over the alleged unprovoked violation of its airspace by an “Indian-origin super-sonic flying object” and sought a thorough and transparent investigation of the incident.

The Indian diplomat was on Thursday night told about the alleged violation of its airspace by an Indian-origin “super-sonic flying object” which entered into Pakistan from ‘Suratgarh' in India at 6:43 PM (local time) on March 9, the Foreign Office said in a statement issued after midnight.

The object later fell on the ground near Mian Chunnu city in Pakistan's Punjab province at around 6:50 PM on the same day, causing damage to the civilian property.

“The Indian diplomat was conveyed that the imprudent launch of the flying object not only caused damage to civilian property but also put at risk human lives on ground,” the Foreign Office (FO) said.

Besides, the flight path of the flying object endangered several domestic/international flights within the Pakistani airspace and could have resulted in a serious aviation accident as well as civilian casualties, it said.

There was no immediate reaction from the Indian side.

“The Indian Cd'A was told to convey to the Government of India Pakistan's strong condemnation of this blatant violation of Pakistani airspace in contravention of the established international norms and aviation safety protocols,” the FO said.

Pakistan also asked India for a thorough and transparent investigation of the incident, the outcome of which must be shared with it.

Moreover, the Government of India is cautioned to be mindful of the unpleasant consequences of such negligence and take effective measures to avoid the recurrence of such violations in future, said the FO.

Separately, Pakistan Army spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar said that on March 9, a hi-speed flying object was picked up inside the Indian territory by the Air Defence Operations Center of the Pakistan Air Force.

“Pakistan strongly protests this flagrant violation and cautions against recurrence of any such incident in future,” he said.

From its initial course, the object suddenly maneuvered towards the Pakistani territory and violated the Pakistani air space, ultimately falling near Mian Channu, Khanewal district of Punjab at 6:50 PM, also damaging some civilian property but no loss or injury to human life was caused.

“PAF continuously monitored the complete flight path of the flying object from its point of origin Sirsa in India till its point of impact near Mian Channu and initiated requisite tactical actions in accordance with standard operating procedures,” he said.

"It was a supersonic flying object, most probably a missile, but it was certainly unarmed," Iftikhar said.

It is important to highlight that the flight path of this object endangered many international and domestic passenger flights both in Indian and Pakistani airspace as well as human life and property on ground, according to the spokesperson.

He said India should explain whatever caused this incident to happen, which showed their disregard for aviation safety and reflects very poorly on their technological prowess and procedural efficiency.

Air Vice Marshall Tariq Zia told reporters that the projectile travelled 124 kilometres inside the Pakistani territory in three minutes and 44 seconds.

Iftikhar also made it clear that there was no sensitive installation in Mian Channu where the projectile fell.

Ties between India and Pakistan nose-dived after a terror attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016 by terror groups based in the neighbouring country. Subsequent attacks, including one on an Indian Army camp in Uri, further deteriorated the relationship.

The relationship deteriorated after India announced withdrawing the special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories in August, 2019.

India's move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 outraged Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad.

It also snapped all air and land links with India and suspended trade and railway services.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pak-summons-indias-diplomat-over-alleged-violation-of-airspace-by-indian-origin-projectile/articleshow/90146984.cms

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Pak PM Imran Khan, Facing No-Confidence Vote, Turns To Insults, Threats: Report

March 12, 2022

Islamabad: Ahead of the no-confidence motion against his government, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday used derogatory language for Opposition leaders and threatened them with consequences once the motion fails, local media reported.

Imran Khan launched a scathing attack on the troika of opposition figures, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Asif Zardari and Shehbaz Sharif, the three leaders who are spearheading the no-trust move against him while addressing a public meeting at Dir Scouts Ground in Balambat, Pakistan's Dawn reported.

Imran Khan referred to the trio of Opposition leaders as "Showbaz Sharif, Diesel and Dakoo".

Imran Khan, however, kept his choicest slur for the Jamaat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) [JUI-F] chief, brushing aside advice that he himself said had been received from the head of the country's armed forces, the report further said.

"I was just talking to Gen Bajwa (Pakistan Army Chief) and he told me not to refer to Fazl as 'diesel'. But I am not the one who is saying that. The people have named him diesel," Imran Khan reportedly said referring to JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman lashed out at Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and told him to "keep his fight political," after the Pakistani PM's verbal assault.

He was speaking at the press conference organized by JUI-F chief along with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif in Islamabad, Pakistani broadcaster Geo News reported.

Imran Khan, in his address also threatened that a sea of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers would storm Islamabad a day before voting on the no-confidence resolution tabled by the opposition in the National Assembly against him.

The Prime Minister reiterated that opposition leaders would face his wrath after the no-trust motion failed. "It was my dream that the opposition submits a no-confidence resolution against me in the NA (National Assembly)," he said, adding that the move would fail and the opposition would meet a shameful defeat, the report further said.

Source: ND TV

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

https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/pakistan-pm-imran-khan-facing-no-confidence-motion-turns-to-insults-threats-report-2818526

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Hitman in plot to kill Pakistani blogger Ahmad Waqass Goraya gets life imprisonment

Atika Rehman

March 12, 2022

LONDON: Mohammad Gohir Khan, a 31-year-old British man convicted of conspiring to murder Netherlands-based dissident Pakistani blogger Ahmad Waqass Goraya was sentenced to life in prison at the Kingston-upon-Thames court on Friday.

The court held that Mr Khan will serve 13 years before he is eligible to apply for parole. The days served in custody will count towards his sentence.

Conspiracy to murder is an offence by virtue of section 1(1) of UK’s Criminal Law Act 1977. If found guilty, convicts can face sentences ranging between a few years to the maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

In January this year, a jury returned a unanimous verdict finding Mr Khan guilty of conspiring to kill self-exiled blogger Mr Goraya in Rotterdam.

Mr Khan, born on Feb 16, 1990, was charged in June last year with one count of conspiracy to murder Mr Goraya. The blogger is an activist who left Pakistan after he and five other bloggers were abducted and later released in Islamabad in 2017.

During the trial, the prosecution maintained that Mr Khan was hired by persons who appeared to be based in Pakistan to carry out the “intended killing” of Mr Goraya.

The prosecution said that Mr Khan had travelled to Rotterdam, Netherlands last year as part of a conspiracy to murder Mr Goraya, and that he had undertaken a reconnaissance mission outside his home and even bought a tool with the aim to succeed in his mission.

The financial rewards for his actions were believed to be significant, with a payment of £100,000 on offer. At the time, the prosecution said, the defendant was in significant debt, with no clear means of paying his creditors.

Mr Khan was “enthusiastic” about “carrying out the killing to earn the money and to carry out further attacks” in the future, the prosecution told the jury.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1679511/hitman-in-plot-to-kill-pakistani-blogger-ahmad-waqass-goraya-gets-life-imprisonment

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India

 

Panel Dispels Myth on the Growth of Muslim Population

Mar 12, 2022

Kolkata: If Muslims have a high birth rate, Hindus are a close second; fertility of all communities is dependent on socio-economic factors, like literacy, income and delivery of family planning education; fake news by propaganda machinery of the right-wing organisations must be countered by facts. These were the talking points in a panel discussion on ‘Population: Are Muslims Overtaking the Hindus in the city’ on Friday evening.

Panellists included former chief election commissioner of India S Y Qureshi, RS Trinamool MP Jawahar Sircar, former deputy chief of Indian Army and ex-VC, Aligarh Muslim University, Zameer Uddin Shah, former mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya and cardiac surgeon Kunal Sarkar.

“There has been a sustained campaign propaganda by right-wing organisations on the growth of Muslim population. This has given rise to various myths, which in turn stoke majoritarian fears of a skewed demographic,” said Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP.

Quereshi argued that Quran and Hadith show Islam may have been one of the first religions to advocate smaller families. “Most Islamic nations have very robust population policies in place and the clergy in those countries takes the initiative to educate the masses on family planning,” said Qureshi. “In India, the total fertility rate of Muslims is 2.6 while that of Hindus is the second highest at 2.1.”

“We often hear that the country should harness the benefits of its population dividends. But whether our population is our asset or our liability is not clear to anybody,” said Kunal Sarkar, cardiac surgeon and managing partner of Calcutta Debating Circle.

“There is very little difference between the fertility rate of Muslims and Hindus. This indicates there is a sustained propaganda to spread myth that Muslims will overtake Hindus in the future,” said Jawahar Sircar, Rajya Sabha MP.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/panel-dispels-myth-on-muslim-population/articleshow/90160566.cms

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34 Muslim candidates win UP polls, 10 more than last time

Mar 12, 2022

LUCKNOW Thirty-four Muslim candidates won in the UP assembly elections, which was 10 more than the previous state elections. They were fielded by the Samajwadi Party (SP) and its alliance partners. The BSP, Congress and the All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) had fielded a number of Muslim candidates but they could not win.

Among the prominent victorious Muslim candidates were SP leader Azam Khan and his son Abdullah Azam Khan, jailed gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s son Abbas and his nephew Suhaib. The Apna Dal (Sonelal), an ally of the BJP, had fielded Haidar Ali Khan from Swar seat in Rampur but he lost to SP’s Abdullah Azam by over 61,000 votes.

Political analyst Rajendra Dwivedi said Muslim candidates can’t win by just banking upon their community’s support. Candidates having strong vote bank win the polls, he said.

“Muslim candidates cannot win only by banking on the support of Muslim votes. They need the support of the party’s base vote bank. For example, the core vote bank of the Samajwadi Party is Yadavs,” he said, adding that the Muslim-Yadav combination ensures their win.

“The Muslims felt that it is only the SP, which can defeat the BJP,” he said. He added that the Congress does not have its own vote bank and there were no chances of its candidate winning the elections. When asked about the dismal performance of the AIMIM, Hisam Siddiqui of an Urdu newspaper said, “The Muslims of UP know very well that one cannot win the elections by only banking on Muslim votes. So, they are not convinced by Asaduddin Owaisi and completely ignore AIMIM candidates.”

He said Muslims attend Owaisi’s rallies in large numbers but do not vote for him. As a result, the vote share of the AIMIM in this UP elections stood at 0.49%, he said.

Qasim Kashmiri, former secretary, Anjuman-e-Khudam-e-Rasool and political expert from Bareilly, said there was a time when the Muslim community used to vote for any party that stood against the BJP. “But this time, it decided to vote for the SP. “All Muslim votes have gone to the SP this time, but Muslims alone cannot make a difference,” he said.

He said SP chief Akhilesh Yadav failed to utilise party leaders from different communities due to which the SP lost.

According to the Election Commission website, the Muslim candidates who got elected to the state assembly on the SP ticket are – Mohammad Azam Khan (Rampur), Mahboob Ali (Amroha), Ataur Rehman (Baehri), Umar Ali Khan (Behat), Jahid (Bhadohi), Shahjil Islam (Bhojipura), Mohammad Faheem (Bilari), Naseer Ahmed (Chamraua), Nafees Ahmed (Gopalpur), Mohammad Tahir Khan (Issauli) and Mohammad Hasan (Kanpur Cantonment).

Kamal Akhtar (Kanth), Shahid Manzoor (Kithaur), Jia-ur-Rehman (Kundarki), Arman Khan (Lucknow West), Maria (Matera), Rafiq Ansari (Meerut), Suhaib (Mohammadbad) and Mohammad Nasir (Moradabad rural) also won on the SP ticket.

The other Muslim MLAs of the SP are Tasleem Ahmed (Najijabad), Alam Badi (Nizamabad), Nadira Sultan (Patiyali), Fareed Mahfooz Kidwai (Ramnagar), Iqbal Mehmood (Sambhal), Jiauddin Rizvi (Sikandarpur), Haji Irfan Solanki (Sisamau), Nawabjan (Thaurdwara), Syeda Khatoon (Domariyaganj) and Ashu Malik (Saharanpur). Abbas Anasri, son of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, won from Mau on the SBSP (Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party) ticket. Ghulam Mohammad and Ashraf Ali won on the RLD ticket from Siwalkhas and Thanabhawan, respectively.

Source: Hindustan Times

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https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/lucknow-news/34-muslim-candidates-win-up-polls-10-more-than-last-time-101647023836344.html

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India ‘deeply regrets accidental’ firing of missile inside Pakistan

March 11, 2022

The Indian defence ministry regretted on Friday that a missile "accidentally" entered Pakistan and fell in Khanewal district's Mian Channu area on Wednesday, attributing the incident to a "technical malfunction".

"On March 9, 2022, in the course of routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile," the ministry said in a statement. "It is learnt that the missile landed in an area of Pakistan."

"The government has taken serious view and ordered a high-level court of enquiry," the statement added.

The ministry said while the incident was "deeply regrettable, it is also a matter of relief that there has been no loss of life due to the accident".

The Indian defence ministry's statement comes a day after Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar briefed the media about the incident, calling for an explanation from Delhi.

"On March 9, at 6:43pm, a high-speed flying object was picked up inside the Indian territory by Air Defence Operations Centre of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF)," he told media persons in Islamabad, adding the object suddenly manoeuvred towards Pakistani territory from its initial course and violated Pakistan's air space, ultimately falling near Mian Channu at 6:50pm.

"It was a supersonic flying object, most probably a missile, but it was certainly unarmed," he said at the time.

"It is important to highlight that the flight path of this object endangered many international and domestic passenger flights — both in Indian and Pakistani air space — as well as human life and property on ground," he added.

"Whatever caused this incident to happen, it is for the Indians to explain. It, nevertheless, shows their disregard for aviation safety and reflects very poorly on their technological prowess and procedural efficiency," he further stated.

He said Pakistan "strongly protests this flagrant violation and cautions against recurrence of any such incident in the future".

Earlier today, the Foreign Office (FO) summoned the Indian envoy to register Pakistan's protest over the unprovoked violation of its airspace, saying such "irresponsible incidents" reflected the neighbouring country's "disregard for air safety and callousness towards regional peace and stability".

It also called for a thorough and transparent investigation of the incident, the results of which should be shared with Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed concern over the incident, saying that the international community and aviation bodies should take notice.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1679443/india-deeply-regrets-accidental-firing-of-missile-inside-pakistan

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4 terrorists killed, 1 held in separate encounters in J&K: Police

Mar 12, 2022

SRINAGAR: Four terrorists were killed and one was arrested in three separate encounters with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, police said on Saturday.

The encounters took place in Pulwama, Ganderbal and Kupwara districts of the Kashmir valley, a police official said.

He said two Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists, including a Pakistani national, were killed in an overnight encounter in the Chewaklan area of Pulwama in south Kashmir.

A gunfight broke out between the forces and terrorists in the Serch area of Ganderbal district in central Kashmir early in the morning, the official said.

He said one member of proscribed terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has so far been killed in the exchange of fire.

Another encounter broke out in the Nechama Rajwar area of Handwara in north Kashmir's Kupwara district in the morning, in which one ultra of the LeT was killed, the official said.

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, said the security forces had launched anti-terrorism operations at four-five locations.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/4-terrorists-killed-1-held-in-separate-encounters-in-jk-police/articleshow/90162750.cms

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Encounter breaks out in Ganderbal; 1 terrorist killed in Pulwama encounter

Mar 12, 2022

SRINAGAR: An encounter broke out at Serch area of Ganderbal, said Kashmir Zone police.

The Kashmir Zone Police tweeted from its official Twitter handle, "#Encounter has started at Serch area of #Ganderbal. Police and security forces are on the job. Further details shall follow. @JmuKmrPolice."

Meanwhile, in another encounter, which happened in Pulwama, the Kashmir Zone Police confirmed that one terrorist has been killed. The encounter operation was carried out in Pulwama early in the day.

The police tweeted, "#PulwamaEncounterUpdate: 01 #terrorist killed. #Operation going on. Further details shall follow. @JmuKmrPolice."

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/encounter-breaks-out-in-ganderbal-1-terrorist-killed-in-pulwama-encounter/articleshow/90161349.cms

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Mideast

 

Israeli parliament passes law to keep out Palestinian spouses

11 March 2022

The Israeli parliament has passed a law that bars Israeli settlers from extending citizenship or even residency to Palestinian spouses from the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip, forcing thousands of Palestinian families to either emigrate or live apart.

The so-called citizenship law passed late on Thursday just before the Knesset disbanded for a holiday recess by a 45-15 majority vote. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party allied with right-wing factions in the opposition to pass the legislation.

Dozens of lawmakers in the 120-seat chamber did not cast votes on the highly divisive legislation.

The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law replaced a similar temporary order that was first enacted during the height of a Palestinian uprising in 2003 and was renewed annually until it expired last July because it did not have the support of left-wing and Arab members of the governing coalition.

Israeli interior minister Ayelet Shaked took measures to prevent family unification during the several months when the law languished while campaigning for its renewal.

Proponents say the law helps ensure Israel’s security and maintains its “Jewish character”.

Critics say the law discriminates against the 21 percent Palestinian minority – who are Palestinian by heritage and Israeli by citizenship – by barring them from extending citizenship and permanent residency rights to Palestinian spouses.

Lawmaker Gaby Lasky of the left-wing Meretz political party called the law “a black spot on the book of laws in Israel” and wrote on Twitter that, “Meretz as a whole voted against racism.”

Mansour Abbas, the head of the United Arab List (Raam) party, also opposed the legislation.

Ayman Odeh, an Arab lawmaker, retweeted Shaked, calling it a victory for “an apartheid regime.”

Reut Shaer, a lawyer with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, said, “It comes off as more xenophobic or racist [than other laws] because it’s not only giving extra rights and privileges to Jewish people but also preventing certain basic rights only from the Arab population.”

She added that the law mostly affects Palestinian women and children.

It is a form of “collective punishment”, Shaer noted, because it infringes on the rights of an entire population based on the assumption they are all prone to “terrorism”.

Several rights groups have announced they will challenge the law in Israel’s Supreme Court.

Israel occupied East al-Quds, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip during the Six-Day Arab-Israeli War in 1967. It later had to withdraw from Gaza.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/03/11/678379/Israeli-parliament-passes-law-to-keep-out-Palestinian-spouses

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Jerusalem Mufti slams US' Pence for Ibrahimi Mosque tour with Israeli lawmakers

March 11, 2022

The Palestinian Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, today condemned the visit by former US Vice President, Mike Pence, to the Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron.

In a statement, the Mufti said, "The Ibrahimi Mosque is an Islamic Mosque and a worship place for Muslims alone. What the US Vice President did was a provocative act and extremely dangerous. The occupation authorities bear its consequences."

"What the US Vice President did is a provocative and dangerous act for which the Israeli occupation authorities bear the consequences," he added.

Along with Itamar Ben Gvir, a far-right Israeli lawmaker, and Baruch Marzel, who was banned from running for parliament elections due to his extreme racist views against Palestinians, Mike Pence toured the Ibrahimi Mosque, also known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs.

It is a highly contested site and was listed as a Palestinian UNESCO World Heritage site in 2017.

Israel has steadily taken control of the Mosque to facilitate worship by the small group of illegal Jewish settlers who have moved into the centre of the Old City at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants. Access to the Mosque for Muslim worship is controlled tightly by the occupation authorities and, on occasion, is banned altogether.

According to Wafa News Agency, Sheikh Hussein also condemned the excavation and construction work carried out by the Israeli authorities in the courtyards of the Ibrahimi Mosque, which he said aims to build an elevator "to facilitate the extremist settlers' incursions into the Mosque, in addition to changing the Mosque's features."

Source: Middle East Monitor

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

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20220311-jerusalem-mufti-slams-us-pence-for-ibrahimi-mosque-tour-with-israeli-lawmakers/

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Turkey begins evacuation of Kyiv embassy: Official

11 March ,2022

Turkey has begun evacuating its embassy staff in Kyiv as Russian troops edged closer to the Ukrainian capital, an official told AFP on Friday.

The advance of Russian forces continued Friday against the capital Kyiv, which risks being entirely surrounded.

“We are evacuating embassy staff for security reasons,” the official, who wished to remain anonymous, told AFP.

The Turkish embassy will be relocated to Chernivtsi near the Romanian border.

Turkey was one of the last countries – along with Poland – which remained in Kyiv despite the deteriorating situation on the ground.

Nearly 20,000 people have already been evacuated Wednesday and Thursday from the Kyiv region, according to Ukrainian authorities.

Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said Thursday that half the city’s population had fled and the capital “has been transformed into a fortress.”

“Every street, every building, every checkpoint has been fortified.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/03/11/Turkey-begins-evacuation-of-kyiv-embassy-Official

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Yemen hits targets deep inside Saudi Arabia in retaliatory drone attacks

11 March 2022

The Yemeni army and allied fighters from popular committees have conducted drone attacks on several targets deep inside Saudi Arabia in retaliation for the ongoing siege imposed on Yemen by a Saudi-led military coalition.

Yahya Saree, the spokesman for Yemen’s army, said in a televised address on Friday that an operation dubbed “The first operation to break the siege” had been carried against Saudi Arabia in retaliation for the intensified aggression and the banning of fuel ships from entering the impoverished country.

The spokesman said nine drones — three of them of the Sammad-3 type — targeted a Saudi Aramco refinery in the capital, Riyadh. He added that the Yemeni forces also targeted facilities belonging to Aramco in the southwestern regions of Jizan and Abha, as well as other “sensitive” positions in the kingdom, using six Sammad-1 drones.

Saree vowed that the Yemeni forces “would not hesitate to respond to the unjust siege” imposed on their country.

He further said the Yemeni forces were on high alert to carry out military operations in response to the ban imposed on Yemen-bound petroleum products.

But he did not specify when the operation had taken place.

Earlier on Friday, Saudi state news agency SPA cited an Energy Ministry official as saying that a drone attack had targeted a refinery in Riyadh on Thursday morning, claiming that it had not affected the supplies of petroleum and its derivatives.

Essam al-Mutawakel, a spokesman for the Yemen Petroleum Company (YPC), said earlier this month that the Arab country was experiencing the toughest crisis since the start of the Saudi aggression and siege nearly seven years ago.

Yemen’s Minister of Oil and Minerals Ahmad Abdullah Dares has warned that the Saudi seizure of ships carrying petroleum products to Yemen could lead to the suspension of the service sectors and cause “a humanitarian catastrophe.”

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies — including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — launched a brutal war against Yemen in March 2015. The war was meant to eliminate Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstall a former regime. The conflict, accompanied by a tight siege, has failed to reach its goals, but has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people.

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/03/11/678383/Yemen-hits-targets-deep-inside-Saudi-Arabia-in-retaliatory-drone-attacks

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We’re all Qassem Soleimani: Turks chant in anti-Israel protest

12 March 2022

Turkish protesters have taken to the streets of the capital Ankara to vent their outrage at a controversial visit by Israeli president Isaac Herzog.

In Friday’s demonstration, the participants carried the flags of the Lebanese and Yemeni resistance movements, Hezbollah and Ansarullah, as well as pictures of Iran’s top anti-terror and anti-Zionist commander General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the United States in early 2002.

They chanted slogans such as, “Down with the US,” “Down with Israel,” “Hello to jihad (endeavor for the sake of God),” “Hello to Hezbollah,” and “We are all Qassem Soleimani”.

Herzog visited Turkey on Wednesday at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the most senior Israeli visit since 2008.

Erdogan described his Israeli counterpart's trip “a new turning point” in long-strained ties, expressing Turkey’s readiness to cooperate with the occupying regime in the energy sector.

Relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv hit a low in 2018 when they expelled ambassadors in a dispute over the killing by Israeli forces of dozens of Palestinians during the Great March of Return protests near the Gaza fence erected by Israel. 

It halted years of reconciliation following a row over a 2010 Israeli raid on Gaza-bound aid ship Mavi Marmara that killed 10 Turkish pro-Palestinian activists.

On Wednesday, Turkish people held protests in the cities of Ankara, Istanbul, Gaziantep and Burdur against Herzog's visit.

They urged Ankara to reverse the "mistake" of boosting ties amid lingering animosity over the killing of the activists.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/03/12/678416/Turkey-Turks-chant-anti-Israel-protest

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Africa

 

Terrorists invade Kaduna mosque, abduct several worshippers

11th March, 2022

Terrorists have invaded a mosque in Kaduna State and abducted about 14 worshippers during jumat prayer on Friday.

The incident occurred in a village at Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Daily Trust quoted a resident as saying that the bandits  surrounded the mosque and abducted 14 people, as well as carted away an unspecified number of cattle from Tudun Amada village in Giwa

The bandits, it was gathered, had been trying to invade the village for a long time, but were prevented by vigilante members.

According to another resident, the gunmen divided themselves, while some where operating at the mosque, others moved from house to house, thereby abducting more than ten women.

Source: PM News Nigeria

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

https://pmnewsnigeria.com/2022/03/11/terrorists-invade-kaduna-mosque-abduct-several-worshippers/

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Concerned Nigerians call for release of Sheikh Zakzaky’s passport

March 12, 2022

A group of concerned Nigerians have urged the West African nation to release the passport of leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat.

The group, under the auspices of Concerned Abuja Indigenes, said Sheikh Zakzaky was brutalized during the 2015 Zaria massacre, resulting in the murder of his six sons and thousands of his followers.

They said the Islamic cleric has remained resolute and law abiding, so there is need for the court to resolve the issue of his travel documents immediately.

The Abuja Concerned Indigenous said IMN leader have dangerous levels of lead and cadmium in their blood and required medical treatment overseas. They said delaying the medical trip is an infringement on their rights.

Source: ABNA24

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

https://en.abna24.com/news//concerned-nigerians-call-for-release-of-sheikh-zakzaky%e2%80%99s-passport_1238305.html

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Libya armed groups step back after Tripoli escalation

11 March ,2022

Libya’s parliament-appointed prime minister said Friday that armed groups backing him had withdrawn from positions around Tripoli, after the UN warned of a new escalation in the divided country.

Libya has had rival administrations since the eastern-based assembly swore in a prime minister earlier this month in a challenge to interim premier Abdulhamid Dbeibah.

Dbeibah has refused to hand over power to Fathi Bashagha, arguing that his own administration, installed last year under a United Nations-led peace process, has a mandate to rule until elections.

Pro-Bashagha forces had deployed on the eastern edges of Tripoli on Thursday, prompting the UN mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to warn against any escalation.

But Bashagha’s office said in a statement in the early hours of Friday that the groups had “opted not to use arms, and to return to their bases.”

The groups had mobilized “to provide security, not to wage war,” it said.

Libya has been riven by conflict since the 2011 revolt that toppled former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, and has had two rival governments before: from 2014 until Dbeibah was sworn in last year.

Washington’s ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, had also warned Thursday against spiraling tensions.

Late Thursday evening he said he had spoken to both Dbeibah and Bashagha, praising what he said were moves to resolve the standoff peacefully.

He commended Dbeibah’s “commitment to protect lives” and Bashagha’s "willingness to de-escalate tensions.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2022/03/11/Libya-armed-groups-step-back-after-Tripoli-escalation-

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Sudan gunmen kill 17 civilians in new Darfur clashes

11 March ,2022

At least 17 civilians have been killed in Sudan’s Darfur region, officials said Friday, in the latest violence between rival ethnic groups that has left dozens dead this week alone.

Recent fighting has seen heavily armed forces battle in the rugged Jebel Moon mountains in West Darfur state, close to the border with Chad.

On Thursday, fighting killed 17 people and also left “dozens of injured and missing” as well as “four villages completely burned”, said Adam Regal, spokesman for the General Coordination for Refugees and Displaced in Darfur, an independent aid organization.

In fighting from last Sunday to Monday, 16 people were killed in clashes between the Masalit - a non-Arab people of largely settled farmers - and Arab groups of herders in Jebel Moon, according to an independent union of medics.

Darfur was ravaged by a civil war that erupted in 2003, pitting ethnic minority rebels who complained of discrimination against the Arab-dominated government of then-president Omar al-Bashir.

Khartoum responded by unleashing the Janjaweed militia, mainly recruited from Arab pastoralist tribes, who were blamed for atrocities including murder, rape, looting and burning villages.

The scorched-earth campaign left 300,000 people dead and displaced 2.5 million, according to the UN.

The region remains awash with weapons and deadly clashes erupt, often over access to pasture or water.

Regal accused the Janjaweed - many of whom have since joined the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, now integrated into government security forces - of taking part in recent fighting.

The latest peace deal was signed in 2020, but since a military coup in October, Darfur has seen violence spike, with hundreds killed since the takeover in fighting between herders and farmers.

Regal warned that “new attacks could occur.”

Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide in Darfur, was ousted in April 2019 and jailed after mass protests against his three-decade rule.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2022/03/11/Sudan-gunmen-kill-17-civilians-in-new-Darfur-clashes

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South Asia

 

Recognition, Release Of Assets Is Afghans’ Legitimate Right: Acting Minister IEA

11 Mar 2022

Acting Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Amir Khan Mottaqi said that recognition of the interim government and release of frozen reserves of Afghanistan is a legitimate right of the Afghan people that lead to economic and political relations’ growth, Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Amir Khan Mottaqi added that the situation in Afghanistan is the most conducive ever for positive diplomatic interaction.

The acting Foreign Minister expressed the remarks in his meeting heading a delegation with US special representative for Afghanistan Thomas West and Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Shiekh Muhammad Bin Abdurahman Al-Thani.

The meeting was arranged at the sideline of Antalya’s Diplomatic Forum in Turkey on Friday, March 11, 2022.

Qatari Foreign Minister discussed the US and Qatar’s diplomatic missions in Kabul and added that meetings as such are fruitful for all sides.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/recognition-release-of-assets-is-afghans-legitimate-right-mottaqi-6567587/

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UNICEF: Japan provides $3 Million for Afghanistan’s health sector

12 Mar 2022

United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has provided $3 million so that people in Afghanistan access health services.

UNICEF in a press release said that the money will benefit nearly 69 thousand people especially the IDPs in different provinces of Afghanistan.

Further, the statement reads that a portion of this money will be allocated to child care, children’s nutrition, and support to Afghan children.

The UN agency has said that they plan to assist 12.9 million children in 2022, a thing that is impossible without urgent assistance. It has also called on the International Community to increase their aid for the health sector in Afghanistan.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/unicef-japan-provides-3-million-for-afghanistans-health-sector-7658756/

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Southeast Asia

 

Islamic affairs minister confirms squid rings issue still being investigated, says samples given priority for lab analysis

11 Mar 2022

BY IDA LIM

KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 — The frozen squid rings product that was alleged on social media to be pig intestines is still under investigation by Malaysian authorities, Islamic Affairs Minister Datuk Idris Ahmad confirmed today.

In a statement, Idris also said priority is being given to the analysis of the product samples.

Idris, who is a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, explained the action taken by government bodies since the issue of the squid rings became viral.

He said the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) had together with the relevant state Islamic affairs departments taken early action as soon as the matter became viral, by carrying out investigations and taking samples to be analysed.

He said the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) had also at the same time contacted Shandong Halal Certification Services (SHCS) — which is the halal certification body in China — to obtain verification regarding the product’s halal certificate, but did not say what was the outcome of such communications.

Without specifying the date, Idris said there was a discussion held recently between Jakim, KPDNHEP, and the three state Islamic affairs departments for Selangor, Kedah and Perlis, and that the report of the meeting was that investigations are still ongoing and that the food sample had been sent to the Chemistry Department of Malaysia for analysis and verification.

On behalf of his department overseeing the religious affairs portfolio, Idris thanked KPDNHEP and the three state Islamic affairs departments for quickly investigating and scrutinising the issue from all aspects, further thanking the Chemistry Department for “having given priority” for the analysis of the samples.

“The outcome of investigations will be notified officially by the relevant authorities after the result of the lab analysis is issued by the Chemistry Department of Malaysia,” he said in the statement, without giving a timeline of how soon this would be.

Idris concluded by saying that his department would take stern action if there is any non-compliance by any quarters towards rules that have been set, and said that the public could make complaints and refer to Jakim for further explanation if they have any doubts about products on the market.

On March 4, Jakim said it took note of the viral issue regarding squid rings alleged to be pig intestines or pig rectums, and that it was investigating this together with several state Islamic affairs departments and KPDNHEP and urged all against engaging in speculation until the investigation results are officially announced.

On March 9, the company which sold the squid rings said it would take legal action against two Internet users who had spread the fake news of the squid rings being pig intestines, and said a police report had been made against the duo.

The company said the fake accusation had damaged its reputation and sales in Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Selangor and Putrajaya.

The company reportedly said the authorities had taken eight boxes of samples from Kedah and six boxes of samples from Selangor on the mornings of March 5 and March 7 for testing, but that the government’s investigation results were not yet out.

The chief representative in Malaysia of SHCS — which assisted the company in receiving Jakim-approved Halal certification — Datuk Abd Aziz Jamaluddin had also on March 9 reportedly vouched for the product and said that the matter could be easily resolved with a lab test.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2022/03/11/islamic-affairs-minister-confirms-squid-rings-issue-still-being-investigate/2046874

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Police helps accelerate booster vaccinations ahead of Ramadan

12 Mar 2022

Jakarta (ANTARA) - National Police Chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo has called for the acceleration of the third COVID-19 dose administration ahead of the Muslim holy month Ramadan, which starts in early April.

"We will welcome Ramadan soon. Thus, we have to ensure that the community has carried out the vaccination properly," he said while reviewing the implementation of vaccinations in 5,214 regions throughout Indonesia virtually and in person at Sleman District Hall, Yogyakarta, on Friday.

Vaccination is one of the attempts to protect the public from the transmission of COVID-19, minimize the severity of the symptoms when people are exposed to the virus, and enhance herd immunity against the virus, he said.

Hence, vaccination is key to curb the transmission of the virus, he continued.

He said he believed that if vaccination is optimized, community activities can run safely and improve the people’s economy.

"Thus, we must cooperate to achieve the vaccination coverage targets," he said.

The administration of complete vaccination to the community is one of the government's strategies for turning the COVID-19 pandemic into an endemic, he pointed out.

A number of conditions are required to transition from a pandemic to an endemic phase, including a high vaccination rate, low death rate, and a low number of COVID-19 cases, he noted.

Prabowo said that an evaluation will be carried out soon regarding the plan to change the COVID-19 pandemic status into endemic by considering the conditions.

He further said he is optimistic that if all elements collaborate to pursue the fulfillment of the conditions, the strategy to achieve endemicity can be implemented soon.

“We must stay optimistic,” he remarked.

Still, the disciplined implementation of health protocols must continue to be strengthened, he added.

Source: Antara News

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

https://en.antaranews.com/news/219665/police-helps-accelerate-booster-vaccinations-ahead-of-ramadan

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Indonesian police charge music teacher over student rapes

By Katharina R. Lestari

March 11, 2022

Indonesian police have charged a 32-year-old music teacher with raping and sexually assaulting at least seven students at a school in Central Java province, prompting calls for him to be chemically castrated.

The teacher at a state-run junior high school, who has yet to be identified, was arrested last week in Purbalingga district following several complaints by parents of the alleged victims.

Police said the offenses took place in the school’s music room between 2013 and 2021.

When raping his victims, who were 14 years old on average, the teacher threatened to give them bad grades if they refused him, police said, adding that some of the attacks were filmed and stored on his laptop.

Five out of the seven victims were forced to have sexual intercourse by the suspect, who also had a collection of more than 4,000 pornographic pictures on his mobile phone and laptop, police said.

The case prompted calls for the teacher to face the harshest punishment possible under the law, including chemical castration.

One such call came from the Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry.

“There must be zero tolerance against those committing sexual abuse,” Nahar, deputy chief of the ministry’s child protection desk, said in a statement published on the ministry’s website on March 10.

“We want him to be given the maximum sentence possible,” said the official, who like many Indonesians only uses one name.

Under Indonesian law, the teacher could face a maximum 15-year prison sentence and chemical castration under a regulation introduced by President Joko Widodo in December 2020.

Nahar said the case demonstrated the urgency of preventing sexual abuse in educational institutions.

This case is the latest in a string of similar cases reported in Indonesia in recent times.

Last month the head of an Islamic boarding school in Bandung, West Java, was jailed for life for raping at least 12 teenage girls.

Speaking with UCA News, Franciscan Father Vinsensius Darmin Mbula, chairman of the National Council of Catholic Education, said such cases showed a failure in the education system.

Source: UCA News

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

https://www.ucanews.com/news/indonesian-police-charge-music-teacher-over-student-rapes/96466

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