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Islamic World News ( 1 May 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Kerala CM Slams 'The Kerala Story' For Raising Love Jihad Issue through Sangh Parivar Propaganda

New Age Islam News Bureau

01 May 2023

 

Adah Sharma in a poster of The Kerala Story

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India

Karnataka Polls: After Mosques, Candidates Throng Churches to Woo Voters

Muslims Lagging Behind On Most Socio-Economic Parameters in Delhi: Report

BJP Bets Big On Muslims in Aligarh, Fields 19 Contenders

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South Asia

UN Hosting Meeting of Special Envoys from Several Countries on Afghanistan in Qatar Today

Afghanistan’s central bank sells USD 14 million to keep local currency stable

Afghanistan Is Transit Route for Exporting Turkmenistan’s Gas to Pakistan

General Elections Provide Solution to the Current Afghan Crisis: NRC

Deputy PM Mawlavi Kabir meets scholars, elders of Paktia

Bangladesh Dance Troupes, Artists Celebrate Int'l Dance Day

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Mideast

Iranian President,Ebrahim Raisi,Goes To Syria To ‘Celebrate Victory’ – Officials

Turkey's Intelligence Forces Eliminate Islamic State Leader in Syria, Erdogan Announces

Wars, Pious Muslim and Football: Five Faces of Turkish President Erdogan

Islamic extremists in Malta charged with terrorism related acts

Dozens of Israeli Settlers Invade Courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque

Dukhan Bank named ‘World’s Best Islamic Private Bank’

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North America

Pope Says Vatican Involved In Secret Ukraine Peace Mission

Paramus Declaration as an Islamophobia-Free Zone Just Ahead of State Declaration of January as Muslim Heritage Month

CAIR-MN Welcomes Arrest of Suspect in Two Minneapolis Mosque Arson Attacks

Canadian Muslim Organization Condemns 'Violent Arrest' of Black Man by Edmonton Police

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Southeast Asia

Johor Islamic Dept, police to investigate ‘missing’ gravestones at Pandan cemetery

Najib's application not discussed at Pardons Board meeting on Friday

PM Anwar: Changlun Mosque project in Kedah to continue with additional allocation of RM3.07m

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Europe

Brits Urged To Swear Oath to Their King for First Time

Hungary issues NATO rebuke to Zelensky

UN sends emergency envoy to Sudan

Blackburn community mosque toilet block gets backdated approval

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New Zealand

King Charles' Coronation: Mosque Attack Hero Surprised To Be On Invitation List

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Pakistan

In A First, Islamabad Mosque Sets Up Free-Of-Charge Marriage Hall for Needy Families

Pakistan walking diplomatic tightrope between US, rivals

ECP official to move Supreme Judicial Council against CEC

No evidence of terrorism in Swat blasts: report

Discussion between PM, junior minister leaked: Pakistan can’t afford middle ground between US, China, says Khar

Pakistan minister warned against sacrificing partnership with China for US: Report

Rulers term PTI chief’s demands ‘impractical’

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Arab World

Saudi Foreign Minister Reiterates Call for De-Escalation during Meeting with Sudan Envoy

Japan Certified To Export Halal Kobe Beef to Saudi Arabia

King Faisal University shortlisted for world sustainability award for third time

Masam project clears 836 Houthi mines in Yemen

Saudi commission discusses developing design sector

Saudi shield initiative to train 3,000 mentors in drug prevention

Indian minister’s Saudi visit to boost strategic partnership

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Africa

Togo President Faure GnassingbeSays 140 People Killed In Jihadist 'War'

Port Sudan the exit point for some foreign nationals

51 South Africans evacuated from Sudan return home

Sudan's former PM warns the country staring at worst civil war

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Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/kerala-love-jihad-sangh/d/129680

 

Kerala CM Slams 'The Kerala Story' For Raising Love Jihad Issue through Sangh Parivar Propaganda

 

Adah Sharma in a poster of The Kerala Story

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30.04.23

Kerala Chief Minister PinarayiVijayan on Sunday slammed the makers of 'The Kerala Story' film, saying they were taking up the Sangh Parivar propaganda of projecting the state as a centre of religious extremism by raising the issue of 'love jihad' -- a concept rejected by the courts, probe agencies and even the Union Home Ministry. Vijayan said that the trailer of the Hindi film, at first glance, appears to be "deliberately produced" with the alleged aim of creating communal polarisation and spreading hate propaganda against the state.

He said that despite the issue of 'love jihad' being rejected by probe agencies, courts and the MHA, it was being raised in connection with Kerala as the main premise of the film only to humiliate the state in front of the world.

The CM, in a statement, said that such propaganda films and the alienation of Muslims depicted in them should be viewed in the context of Sangh Parivar's efforts to gain political advantage in Kerala.

He also accused the Sangh Parivar of trying to destroy the religious harmony in the state by "sowing the poisonous seeds of communalism".

Vijayan alleged that since the Sangh Parivar's politics of division was not working in Kerala, as it did in other places, it was trying to spread it through a film based on "fake stories", unsupported by any fact or evidence.

"In the trailer of the movie, we see a hoax that 32,000 women in Kerala were converted and became members of the Islamic State. This bogus story is a product of the Sangh Parivar's lie factory," the CM contended in his statement.

He said that freedom of expression cannot be a justification for using cinema to spread sectarianism in the state and create divisions.

"It is not a licence to spread lies and communalism and divide the people in the state," he added.

Viayan urged Malayalis to reject such moves and be vigilant against the attempts to spread communal unrest in the society through false propaganda.

He also warned of legal action against anti-social activities.

A couple of days ago, both the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala and the opposition Congress hit out at the controversial upcoming movie 'The Kerala Story', saying freedom of expression was not a licence to spew venom in society, and the film was an attempt to destroy the communal harmony of the state.

The Congress urged the government not to give permission to screen the controversial movie as it aimed to create "communal divisions in society through false claims".

The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the ruling CPI(M), had also lashed out against the film and said its trailer itself hurt religious sentiments and sought stern action against it.

'The Kerala Story', starring Adah Sharma, is set to be released in cinemas on May 5.

The Kerala Story', written and directed by SudiptoSen, is portrayed as "unearthing" the events behind "approximately 32,000 women" allegedly going missing in the southern state. The film falsely claims they converted, got radicalised and were deployed in terror missions in India and the world.

The film's writer-director SudiptoSen's earlier movies are 'Aasma', 'Lucknow Times' and 'The Last Monk.' 'The Kerala Story' is backed by Sunshine Pictures Private Limited, founded by VipulAmrutlal Shah, who serves as the producer, creative director and co-writer on the film.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

Source: telegraphindia.com

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/kerala-chief-minister-pinarayi-vijayan-slams-makers-of-the-kerala-story-for-raising-love-jihad-issue-through-sangh-parivar-propaganda/cid/1933463

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Bangladesh Journalists Living in Fear after PM’s ‘Enemy of the People’ Remark

 

Protesters take to the streets of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, to challenge the Digital Security Act. Photograph: Abu Sufian Jewel/Zuma Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

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Kaamil Ahmed

Mon 1 May 2023

Four weeks ago, a reporter in Bangladesh was hauled from his office, badly beaten - and then thrown from the roof of his building, leaving him with fractures in his back, three broken ribs and a machete wound on his head.

The journalist, Ayub Meahzi, believes he was targeted for reporting on alleged local government ties to a criminal group. The attack in Chattogram, south-east Bangladesh, has compounded fears of a deterioration in press freedom in the country, which languishes near the bottom of a global press freedom index due to be updated later this week by the group Reporters Sans Frontières.

In late March, Bangladesh police arrested a journalist working for the country’s largest newspaper, Prothom Alo, for a seemingly innocuous report that went viral, on the subject of high food prices and living costs. The reporter, Shamsuzzaman Shams, has been charged with producing “false news” and the newspaper labelled an “enemy of the people” by the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina.

Journalists and press freedom groups say the country has suffered since the 2018 introduction of the Digital Security Act (DSA), a cybercrimes law the government says is aimed at stopping propaganda and extremist material online but which has led to dozens of arrests, as well as intimidation and violence against journalists.

A Bangladeshi journalist working for an online news publication said the law’s vague wording has made reporters and their editors extremely cautious about the stories they write. “Ever since the DSA, we were cautious to not put ourselves into jail because it was easy … it is an absolute fear,” the journalist said.

Media workers say they have avoided critical stories on the ruling party or its projects, but the attack on Prothom Alo, which involved protests and intimidation by supporters of the ruling Awami League party, has emphasised how journalists can face repercussions for a range of issues, including damaging the “national image” or upsetting a minister or official.

“Reporting on issues like a price hike seemed harmless. But after the arrest of Shams, it seems obvious we can’t report on these seemingly innocuous issues as well,” the journalist, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

They added that it was not only fear of facing a lawsuit under the DSA, but also the threats and intimidation journalists and their families face. “It’s a way of creating panic among journalists. These police arrests happen mostly in the middle of the night, and in some cases they [the journalists] are taken for a few days, and no one knows where you are.”

In 2021, the writer Mushtaq Ahmed died in custody after suddenly falling ill, nine months after being detained for social media posts criticising the government’s response to the Covid pandemic. Cartoonist Kabir Kishore, who was arrested alongside Ahmed, said he himself was tortured and that Ahmed had spoken about receiving electric shocks.

According to the Digital Security Act Tracker, run by the Centre for Governance Studies in Bangladesh, there have been more than 600 cases filed against journalists using the law. Almost half of all cases filed under the law between October 2018 and August 2022 were by people affiliated with a political party or government officials.

“We didn’t know which pieces could land us in trouble. We didn’t have a clear picture of what might happen to us or our contributors, so we tended to exercise random, arbitrary judgment on which stories to run,” recalled Nazmul Ahasan, who worked on the opinions team at English-language newspaper the Daily Star.

“There were very ordinary pieces we declined to publish … you have to think twice before publishing a story on a mid-level police officer or ruling party member of parliament,” said Ahasan.

Ahasan, now living in the US, says this has left many journalists considering their futures, with some looking to move abroad and others hoping that a change, perhaps through elections, could ease pressure on them. In the meantime, they avoid covering sensitive topics and tone down the language they use in reporting.

Ali Riaz, a professor of politics at Illinois State University, said the DSA “put serious constraints” on journalists. “They’re exercising what is described as self-censorship but it’s not self-censorship – it’s creating an environment of fear, and they have to comply.”

Riaz said many publications are owned by business-owners affiliated with the ruling party or who fear damage to their interests if they upset the wrong people. He said the country as a whole is suffering because journalists are scared of doing investigative work on issues such as corruption.

“Journalists no longer think: ‘This is something happening in front of me, whatever it takes I’ll find out who’s behind it.’ No, they think: ‘What’s the minimum I can write and stay alive?’”

Source: theguardian.com

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

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2023/may/01/bangladesh-journalists-living-in-fear-after-pms-enemy-of-the-people-remark

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High-Ranking Clerics and Friday Prayers Imams in Iran Demand an End to Economic Crisis

 

Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard delivering sermons during the Friday Prayers of Tehran on April 28, 2023

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01-05-23

With no prospect of controlling Iran’s economic crisis, even high-ranking clerics representing Supreme the Leader have begun speaking out and demanding solutions.

Friday Prayers Imams in some major cities expressed their unhappiness over the government's performance, similar to criticism by many conservatives who backed President Ebrahim Raisi’s election less than two years ago.

HashemHosseiniBushehri, the Friday Prayers Imam of Qom, the venue of the country's most important seminary said in his sermon on Friday: "State officials spend most of their time in meetings with unknown results." He suggested that "Decisions made in those meetings should be followed up seriously by executive officials."

Referring to the declining value of Iran’s currency, he said, "The government's monetary policies should not change constantly. Some investors say they cannot count on the government's monetary regulations even for one day as things might change."

Bushehri also echoed Ali Khamenei’s recent remarks criticizing discord among the executive, legislative and judiciary bodies.

Friday Prayer Imams are appointees of the Supreme Leader and often reinforce his messages. Their demand for economic improvement can be seen as a sign that Khamenei’s patience is running out, as high inflation can trigger more protests.

Without mentioning the ongoing strikes and protests in the country's industrial centers, Bushehri called on the government on the occasion of Labor Day to find legal ways to help Iranian workers.

While inflation has topped 50 percent and the rial has halved in value, workers’ monthly salaries hover around $120-150. In the past ten days workers at more than 100 companies and plants went on strike.

Bushehri also called for "a competitive parliamentary election, so that the enemies will not be able to talk sarcastically about low turnout in Iranian elections."

The temporary Friday Prayers Imam of Mashhad, another religious city in Iran, Mohammad BagherFarzaneh, who was standing in for the firebrand cleric Ahmad Alamolhoda criticized the government for the worsening situation and said: "Economic problems cannot be concealed."

He said more than 51 percent of Iranians in big cities do not own a home and inflation has impoverished ordinary people.

However, also echoing Khamenei he said that the "economic problems can be solved if officials stand united, obey the Supreme Leader and have sympathy for each other." He added that it was a shame that 43 years after the Islamic revolution, the country's leader has to point out discords among the heads of the three powers of the government.

Recently, GhasemSaedi, a senior lawmaker from Khouzestan Province had said that "The government has ruined the country's economic security," and warned the government that it cannot protect its credibility by chanting meaningless slogans.

In another part of his sermons, Farzaneh said: "Today, no one can claim that the United States does not have any infiltrators in Iran." He said that infiltrators are the main element behind the discord among the country's officials, without saying which high-ranking official in the government is a US infiltrator.

Meanwhile, the Friday Prayer Imam of Tehran, Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard, the only Imam with some executive experience under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also criticized the government for making economic decisions without thinking about the consequences and without considering the financial resources needed for implementing those decisions.

Aboutorabi-Fard warned the country's "rulers and managers" that their performance will inevitably affect all aspects of people’s life.

However, it was interesting that he also warned the government that measures to enforce hijab should be taken in a way to boost national unity rather than creating discord among the people and the government.

In recent weeks, as more women have defied the regime’s dress code and appear in public without a veil, hardliners in the government have been pushing for more enforcement measures.

Already, harsh policies against women triggered major nationwide protests leading to more than 500 deaths.

Source: iranintl.com

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

https://www.iranintl.com/en/202304308742

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 “We Are Many – United against Hate” Wisconsin Muslim Project Connecting Muslims and Non-Muslims to Combat Racism

 

“We Are Many – United against Hate” Wisconsin Muslim Project

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Apr. 30, 2023

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A new project offers people a glimpse into the lives of Muslim Wisconsinites.

The Wisconsin Muslim Project, which launched Saturday, encompasses a traveling photography show and a PBS Wisconsin special meant to build bridges between Muslims and non-Muslims in Wisconsin.

Nonprofit “We Are Many – United against Hate” President and Founder Masood Akhtar says fear and misunderstandings fuel hate and racism, which the project is working to combat.

“Generally speaking, some people have misconceptions about Islam and Muslim, so this whole thing is designed to change it,” Akhtar said. “Whether there are portraits we are trying to do, engagement that we’re talking about, or doing whatever is necessary.”

The exhibition focuses on 16 Muslim Wisconsinites and their families, telling their stories to connect communities.

Source: nbc15.com

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

https://www.nbc15.com/2023/04/30/wisconsin-muslim-project-connecting-muslims-non-muslims/

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Malaysia Ranks Highest Among Asean Countries In RSF's Latest World Press Freedom Index

 

Journalists in Kuala Lumpur read newspapers with reports about the local killing of a North Korean man believed to be Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Feb. 17, 2017.

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Monday, 01 May 2023

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia jumped six places to 113 in the World Press Freedom Index 2022, which was recently released by the non-profit group Reporters Without Borders.

Malaysia's position at 113 out of 180 countries is up six places from the previous year and is the highest among Asean countries, ahead of Thailand (115), Indonesia (117), Singapore (139), Cambodia (142), Brunei (144), Philippines (147), Laos (161), Vietnam (174) and Myanmar (176).

Earlier, national journalism laureate Tan Sri Johan Jaafar was reported to have said media freedom in the country had taken a massive leap after the 14th General Election (GE14) in 2018.

"We have to understand that there is no absolute freedom in the media world, or anywhere else. But overall, there is a very good change after 2018, there is encouraging freedom in terms of the media," he told national news agency Bernama.

According to him, freedom of the media begins with the commitment of the government for the media to perform its role as the fourth estate after the executive, legislature and judiciary.

The veteran journalist also said media agencies should not be deemed as opposing the government when they publish articles that are critical of the policies or actions taken by the government.

Meanwhile, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil was reported to have said that media freedom was one of the commitments of the unity government led by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in ensuring there was an effective check and balance process of the administration.

National Journalists Day (Hawana) celebrations which will be held in Ipoh, Perak, from May 27 to 29 this year carry the theme "Media BebasdanSelamat, TunjangDemokrasi (Free and Secure Media, A Pillar of Democracy)" to re-emphasise the issues of media freedom and the safety of journalists in carrying out their duties.

Source: thestar.com

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

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2023/05/01/malaysia-ranks-highest-among-asean-countries-in-rsf039s-latest-world-press-freedom-index

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India

 

Karnataka polls: After mosques, candidates throng churches to woo voters

01st May 2023

By Mohammed YacoobExpress News Service

BENGALURU:   After making the rounds of mosques on Friday, candidates of various parties lined up before churches in their respective Assembly constituencies to woo voters.  Jayanagar BJP candidate C K Ramamurthy met Christian voters at a church in his constituency and appealed to them to support him with their votes on May 10, the day of polling.

Similarly, CV Raman Nagar Congress candidate Anand Kumar S, while campaigning at New Baiyappanahalli on Old Madras, met people of the Christian Tamil community, seeking their backing in the hustings.

In Sarvagnanagar, Congress candidate and former minister KJ George attended Sunday Mass with his wife and sought blessing  from the priest. He also appealed to his community members to back him in the elections.

Govindrajnagar candidate Priya Krishna met Christian community members at a church in the constituency. He interacted with people and said all their issues will be addressed once the Congress government comes back to power in Karnataka.

Shantinagar MLA MA Harris, who has a good equation with the Christian community, met members of St Patrick’s Church, Sacred Heart Church, All Saints Church and Infant Jesus Church in his assembly constituency. He said he had also meet people from the Hindu community at Sai Baba Temple on Thursday.

Source: newindianexpress.com

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2023/may/01/karnataka-polls-after-mosques-candidates-throng-churches-to-woo-voters-2570904.html

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Muslims Lagging Behind On Most Socio-Economic Parameters in Delhi: Report

May 01, 2023

Ziya Us Salam

Muslims are lagging behind their contemporaries on most socio-economic parameters in Delhi. The Aam Aadmi Party’s much-talked about improvement in schools has failed to reach the Muslim majority areas of the national capital. The community suffers from one of the highest unemployment and maternal mortality rates and limited political representation.

According to the findings of the Delhi-based Institute of Policy Studies and Advocacy (IPSA) and the Indian Muslim Intellectuals Forum (IMIF), “the distribution of government educational institutions in the Muslim pockets has not improved even under the present government as noted from the fact that there are an average of four schools per ward run by the State government and the MCD in the Muslim concentration wards as compared 10 in all wards.”‘

‘No promising status’

The research report, ‘Muslims of Delhi: A Study on their Socio-Economic and Political Status’, which was released in New Delhi on Sunday, claimed “the educational performance of Delhi’s Muslims does not reveal any promising status in the midst of the hype of special achievements of the State’s educational department, though their literacy rate is somewhat better than in many other States. There is a big gender gap between Muslim males (15%) and females (30%) in terms of illiterates, contrary to the lower national average”. In other words, the percentage of illiterate Muslim women is a cause for grave concern amid all the talk of “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”.

The study underlined that the fiscal share in the overall State budget for the development of SC/ST/OBC/Minorities’ department, that directly takes care of 83% population of the NCT of Delhi, including Muslims, has come down from 0.98% in 2013-14 to almost 0.60% since 2015, though the actual amount has partially increased over the years along with the overall State budget.

Increase in MMR

Like education, the Muslims seem to be lagging behind on health indices also. The Mother Mortality Rate (MMR) in Delhi, despite tall claims of improvement in healthcare system and proliferation of mohalla clinics, has increased from 37 in 2015 to 54 in 2020. The community’s women must be worst sufferer of the situation as Non-Institutional Delivery is the highest for them (13.7%) as compared to others at 8.2%.

In terms of living conditions, the report underlies that only 69.70% Muslims avail of piped drinking water. It is significantly lower than the 76.3% of Delhi’s overall residents.

The report revealed too that autonomous agencies such as Delhi Minorities Commission, Delhi Waqf Board, Urdu Academy, etc are not functioning at their optimal level. It attributed their community’s dismal showing to the absence of Muslim representation at various levels of government.

“The number of Muslim MLAs in Delhi remains static at around 5.5% while the Muslim population is three times the number. The representation in the MCD is even lesser,” the report stated. Most political parties seem averse to giving tickets to Muslim candidates to contest elections from seats with a non-Muslim majority.

Source: thehindu.com

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

https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/delhi-muslims-la

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BJP bets big on Muslims in Aligarh, fields 19 contenders

April 30, 2023

THE BJP in Aligarh has fielded 19 Muslim candidates – the most in the state – for the coming urban local body polls. The party will be fielding around 350 Muslim contenders across the state.

The polls will be held on May 4 and 11 for a total of 760 urban local bodies for 14,684 posts which include 17 mayoral ,199 for municipal council chairpersons and 544 nagarpanchayat chiefs and the counting will be held on May 13.

In Aligarh, the BJP is banking on Muslim candidates contesting on the party symbol to pave the way for the party’s new strategy in achieving ‘Mission 80’ in UP in the 2024 LS polls.

The BJP has allotted the party symbol to four Muslim candidates in Varanasi, the constituency represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Also, there are faces from the community who, for the first time, are contesting on the lotus symbol in Prayagraj, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s bastion Gorakhpur, Jhansi, Agra, Firozabad and Mathura municipal corporations.

The BJP candidates will be contesting for the post of the chairman in Nagar Palika (municipality) Firozabad, Rampur, Tanda, Afzalgarh and Amroha municipal councils. Zahida Begum from Zakir Nagar ward, Noor Bano from the Mualana Azad Nagar,Mohammed Anwar from TantanPada ward etc are among the 19 Muslim candidates who will be contesting on the lotus symbol for the Aligarh Municipal Corporation in the polls.

“Our motto is ‘Sabka saath, sabkavikas’ and we have never discriminated on caste and communal lines while for the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party , Muslims are only a vote bank. We want adequate representation from the minority community in power to ensure development for all, without bias,” said Vineet Sharda, the BJP’s trade cell chief in Meerut.

Countering the BJP’s logic for “providing a platform for a share in power” to Muslim candidates, Rajpal Singh, former chief of the Samajwadi Party’s Meerut unit, said,” This is the latest gimmick from a party that never fulfilled its promises.

The BJP is a party that engineers riots, sow seeds of communal disharmony for political gains. They operate only for apnavikas (self development).”

That Aligarh would be a test case for BJP’s latest strategy in preparing the ground for the coming Lok Sabha polls was evident when former vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, Tariq Mansoor was picked by the party as a nominee for the UP Legislative Council.

The BJP is eyeing the marginalised Muslim community members, such as Pasmandas, to make inroads into the vote banks of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has been emphasising on “triple engine government” in all the public meetings he has addressed so far after beginning the BJP’s campaign for the urban local body polls.

Source: indianexpress.com

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/lucknow/bjp-bets-big-on-muslims-in-aligarh-fields-19-contenders-8583428/

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South Asia

 

UN Hosting Meeting of Special Envoys From Several Countries on Afghanistan in Qatar Today

By

Fidel Rahmati

May 1, 2023

 The United Nations is hosting a meeting of special envoys from several countries on Afghanistan in Qatar on Monday to discuss key issues, including human rights, particularly women’s rights, inclusive governance, countering terrorism and drug trafficking.

“The meeting is intended to achieve a common understanding within the international community on how to engage with the Taliban on these issues,” the UN said in a statement issued on Sunday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will facilitate the two-day gathering. It will focus on several other issues of mutual interest, including drug trafficking and human rights, particularly those of women and girls.

The Taliban returned to power in August 2021 and have restricted Afghan women and girls from participating in most public and daily life areas.

Women nationals have also been barred from working with the UN in a country where nearly 29 million people depend on humanitarian assistance.

Last week, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution denouncing the decision, stating that it violates human rights and humanitarian principles.

The 15-member body called for the “full, equal, meaningful and safe participation of women and girls in Afghanistan.”

Source: khaama.com

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

https://www.khaama.com/un-hosting-meeting-of-special-envoys-from-several-countries-on-afghanistan-in-qatar-today/

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Afghanistan’s central bank sells USD 14 million to keep local currency stable

30th April 2023

Kabul: Afghanistan’s central bank Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) sold $14 million by auction on Sunday to stabilise the exchange rate of the national currency afghani, the bank said in a statement released here on Sunday.

The local currency afghani has been tumbling against foreign currencies, especially the US dollar, over the past couple of months. The exchange rate of 1 US dollar increased from last week’s 86 afghani to 87.15 afghani on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Afghanistan’s central bank has injected millions of US dollars into the country’s money-exchange market over the past month to prevent the fall of the afghani against foreign currencies.

Afghanistan has received more than 2 billion dollars in cash over the past 18 months as part of the international community’s humanitarian aid to prevent the economic collapse of the cash-strapped country.

Source: siasat.com

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

https://www.siasat.com/afghanistans-central-bank-sells-usd-14-million-to-keep-local-currency-stable-2579462/

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Afghanistan Is Transit Route For Exporting Turkmenistan’s Gas to Pakistan

By

Fidel Rahmati

May 1, 2023

 Mohammad Yunus Mohmand, the head of the country’s Chamber of Commerce and Investment, said the gas transfer from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan is a crucial milestone in economic development.

Previously, Turkmenistan’s gas was transferred to Pakistan via Iran; however, since the arrival of the de facto administration, now transferring cargo is saved via Afghanistan to South Asia, he said.

“This year, our exports are approximately $1,868 million, which shows a significant increase. I sincerely thank the Supreme leader of the Taliban, HebatullahAkhundzadah, who made the environment favourable for all businessmen and investors and considered them the economic army of Afghanistan,” he added.

According to officials, the initial shipment included 50 Gas tankers that entered Pakistan through Kandahar’s Spin Boldak port.

Geographically Afghanistan is connecting Central Asia and South Asia, which can play a significant role in regional connectivity, and the transfer of goods and products has the potential to improve the country’s economy.

Source: khaama.com

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

https://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-is-transit-route-for-exporting-turkmenistans-gas-to-pakistan/

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General Elections Provide Solution to the Current Afghan Crisis: NRC

By

Nizamuddin Rezahi

April 30, 2023

 The grand council comprises renowned former Afghan politicians currently in exile, including former vice president Yunus Qanouni, former Balkh governor Ata Mohammad Noor, and Mohammad Mohaqeq and others, who formed the union after the overthrow of the previous government of Afghanistan.

In the announcement published by the council, it is stated that underestimating the massive crisis in Afghanistan does not help the Afghan people escape the current violent situation, but requires significant changes.

The National Resistance Council for the Salvation of Afghanistan prior to the Doha meeting to be chaired by the United Nations Secretary-General on Monday, May 1st, in an announcement said that the way forward to reach a comprehensive solution is not to ignore the Afghan crisis and recognize the Taliban regime as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan.

The two-day meeting to be chaired by António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General will be held in the capital city of Doha, where representatives from around the world will participate to discuss Afghanistan.

This meeting has received the attention of the media and people’s criticism from various aspects due to the statements of Amina Jane Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, which she made about two weeks ago at Princeton University.

Ms. Mohammad highlighted that pathways to the legitimacy of the Taliban-run administration will be discussed in the upcoming meeting. Her remarks raised speculations that the UN is trying to convince the international community to recognize Afghanistan’s de facto regime formally.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/general-elections-provide-solution-to-the-current-afghan-crisis-nrc/

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Deputy PM Mawlavi Kabir meets scholars, elders of Paktia

May 1, 2023

KABUL: Deputy Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate for Political Affairs Mawlavi Abdul Kabir met with a number of scholars, youths and influential figures of Paktia province, the Prime Minister’s office said in a statement Sunday. In the meeting, the elders and youths called the Islamic system in the interest of Afghans and assured of their full support to the Islamic Emirate as well as assured of any necessary cooperation with the current system, said the statement. Also, they shared problems and suggestions relating to the province with the Deputy Prime Minister, said the statement. Meanwhile, the Deputy Prime Minister appreciated their sacrifices and efforts for supporting the Islamic Emirate and taking a constructive and active part in Jihad and assured that special attention will be paid to address their challenges, the statement added. “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is a common home for all Afghans and all officials are ready to honestly serve the war-affected people and country,” the statement quoted the Deputy Prime Minister as saying. The Kabul Times

Source: thekabultimes.com

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https://thekabultimes.com/deputy-pm-mawlavi-kabir-meets-scholars-elders-of-paktia/

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Bangladesh dance troupes, artists celebrate Int'l Dance Day

2023-04-30

DHAKA, April 30 (Xinhua) -- International Dance Day was celebrated Saturday in Bangladesh to promote art and culture and raise awareness among the public regarding the art of dance.

Dance troupes and artists celebrated the day by participating in different programs held across the South Asian country.

The main program to mark the day, held at the National Theater Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in Dhaka, the national fine and performing arts academy, featured a procession, a seminar, a discussion session, an awards ceremony and a dance show.

International Dance Day was initiated by the Dance Committee of the International Theater Institute in 1982.

Dancers perform during a ceremony marking the International Dance Day in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, on April 29, 2023. The International Dance Day was celebrated Saturday in Bangladesh. (Xinhua)

Source: english.news.cn

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https://english.news.cn/20230430/724f9c052dd048cab64c4ddf07b11b1e/c.html

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Mideast

 

Iranian President,Ebrahim Raisi,Goes To Syria To ‘Celebrate Victory’ – Officials

1 May, 2023

Ebrahim Raisi will become the first Iranian president to visit Syria in over a decade when he travels to Damascus this week for talks that Tehran’s ambassador to Damascus has touted as a “turning point” in regional relations.

The two-day trip to Damascus will foster closer ties between embattled nations that oppose Western world dominance, Ambassador Hossein Akbari said on Sunday in an interview with Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency, apparently alluding to America’s hegemonic foreign policy. “This trip will not only be beneficial for Tehran and Damascus, but it is a very good event that other countries in the region can also take advantage of.”

The timing of the visit makes it all the more important because of changes happening in the region, Akbari said. Iran and Saudi Arabia reportedly plan to open embassies in each other’s countries within days after agreeing last month to normalize relations under a deal brokered by China. Meanwhile, some Arab countries are normalizing relations with Damascus after years of joining the US in backing rebel fighters in a failed regime-change campaign against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian uprising began in 2011, triggering a war that killed over 500,000 people and created a massive refugee crisis. Assad emerged victorious, regaining control of most of his country, thanks largely to military and economic support from Iran and Russia. Iranian officials hope that success will inspire other nations opposed to US hegemony.

“This trip can open a space and chapter of interaction between the countries that oppose the domination system, especially the countries that are in the area of sanctions and have common interests,” Akbari said. “Other countries can also use it.”

Mohammad Jamshidi, Tehran’s deputy presidential chief of staff for political affairs, said Raisi’s trip to Syria will be a “celebration” for the so-called “axis of resistance.” He added, “West Asia has undergone a tense period of geopolitical change with two results: victory of Iran and failure of the US.”

General Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian military commander who was assassinated by US forces in January 2020, taught his country’s leader that “successful diplomacy is rooted in being powerful in the field,” Jamshidi said.

The last Iranian president to visit Damascus was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who traveled to the Syrian capital in 2010.

Source: rt.com

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https://www.rt.com/news/575591-iran-president-visit-syria/

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Turkey's Intelligence Forces Eliminate Islamic State Leader in Syria, Erdogan Announces

May 01, 2023

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan confirmed on Sunday that Turkish intelligence forces had successfully eliminated Islamic State leader Abu Hussein al-Qurashi during an operation in Syria. In an interview with TRT Turk broadcaster, Erdogan stated, "This individual was neutralized as part of an operation by the Turkish national intelligence organization in Syria yesterday."

Erdogan revealed that Turkish intelligence had been tracking Qurashi for an extended period. According to Syrian local and security sources, the raid took place in Jandaris, a northern Syrian town controlled by Turkey-backed rebel groups that was severely impacted by the Feb. 6 earthquake affecting both Turkey and Syria.

The Syrian National Army, an opposition faction with a security presence in the area, has yet to issue any comment. A resident reported that clashes began on the outskirts of Jandaris from Saturday night into Sunday morning, lasting approximately an hour before a large explosion was heard. Security forces later surrounded the area to prevent anyone from approaching.

Al-Qurashi became the leader of IS in November 2022 after the previous leader was killed in an operation in southern Syria. In 2014, Islamic State captured vast territories in Iraq and Syria, and its leader at the time, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, proclaimed an Islamic caliphate across the region. However, IS eventually lost control of these territories due to campaigns led by U.S.-backed forces in Syria and Iraq, as well as Iranian, Russian, and various paramilitary-backed Syrian forces.

Despite being reduced to a few thousand militants hiding in remote areas of both countries, IS remains capable of executing significant hit-and-run attacks. The U.S.-led coalition, along with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), continues to carry out raids against IS officials in Syria. In some instances, high-ranking IS members have been targeted while hiding in areas where Turkey has significant influence.

Source: btimesonline.com

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https://www.btimesonline.com/articles/158508/20230501/turkeys-intelligence-forces-eliminate-islamic-state-leader-in-syria-erdogan-announces.htm

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Wars, Pious Muslim and Football: Five Faces of Turkish President Erdogan

APRIL 30, 2023

Abhorred and adored, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been compared to sultans and pharaohs while stamping his outsized personality and domineering style on Turkey over 20 years.

Elected as prime minister and then as an uber-powerful president under a tailor-made constitution, Erdogan has become Turkey’s most important and polarising leader in generations.

A builder, a political brawler and a campaign beast, here are five of Erdogan’s most emblematic traits.

BUILDER

Filling Turkey with bridges, highways and airports, Erdogan has propelled the developing country into the 21st century with mega-investments, stimulating growth.

He calls them his “crazy projects": a towering third bridge over the Bosphorus, another one across the Sea of Marmara, a third spanning the Dardanelles Strait.

They all set records, as did Istanbul’s Camlica Mosque — the largest in Turkey, replete with six minarets and space for 30,000 worshippers.

But perhaps the grandest of the megaprojects is the Istanbul Canal, being built just west of the Bosphorus on land the city once envisioned as an evacuation zone in case of a long-feared earthquake.

There is much more, including high-speed rail, a third Istanbul airport — designed to be the world’s largest — and power plants, including the country’s first nuclear one, controversially built by Russia.

FOOTBALL PLAYER

Raised in Istanbul’s working-class district of Kasimpasa, the young Erdogan dreamt of little but football, kicking around a ball made of paper and rags, according to popular lore.

His tall frame — 1.85 metres, or just over six feet — made him a sought-after centre-forward.

He received offers from several professional clubs, including Istanbul’s Fenerbahce.

But his father, an austere sailor from the Black Sea, told him to pursue religious studies.

Erdogan gave up reluctantly but remained a big fan, mingling with players throughout his career.

In 2014, businessmen with ties to Erdogan’s ruling party acquired Basaksehir, the least storied of Istanbul’s six clubs.

Based in a conservative district of the same name, Basaksehir quickly became a powerhouse, winning the league in 2020.

PIOUS MUSLIM

Erdogan’s father would have approved if the future president had instead become an imam.

In the secular Turkey created by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Erdogan attended one of the first religious public schools, combining studies of the Koran with other subjects.

Islam became the rallying cry of his electorate and its new movement, called the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Erdogan advocates piety, frowns on smoking and drinking, and defends traditional family values at the expense of the LGBTQ community and emancipated women.

The AKP celebrates motherhood as well as the wearing of headscarves at school and in the civil service — a right that Ataturk had abolished with Turkey’s formation in 1923.

GIFTED ORATOR

A master campaigner who comes alive on stage, Erdogan is a gifted public speaker who relishes a challenge, priding himself on never losing a national election.

Derailed by stomach issues in recent days, past campaigns have seen Erdogan hop between eight cities in a day, giving impassioned speeches to crowds of supporters.

A populist and a performer, he announces pay hikes, kisses babies, hugs elderly women and even hands out small change to kids — a custom on religious holidays.

Pro-government media, which now dominates, lap it all up, broadcasting his performances live across the nation and replaying them deep into the night.

REGIONAL POWERBROKER

Erdogan has leveraged Turkey’s strategic position between Europe and the Middle East — guarding the southern shores of the Black Sea and the northern ones of the Mediterranean — to diplomatic advantage.

He assumed the role of mediator when Russia invaded Ukraine, becoming one of the few world leaders with open access to Vladimir Putin and Russia’s vast energy resources.

But he also supplied Kyiv with weapons and won international plaudits for helping broker a deal to resume Ukraine’s grain exports.

On the other hand, he drew Western wrath for launching incursions into Syria. At one stage, he appeared to be simultaneously brawling with all of Turkey’s neighbours, stretching from Iraq to Greece.

He broke off relations with Israel and Egypt, intervened in the war in Libya, and helped Azerbaijan defeat Armenia in their 2020 war over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Facing a new economic crisis, Erdogan has been mending fences, seeking investments and engaging in “earthquake diplomacy" with Greece after a massive February shock killed more than 50,000 people.

Source: news18.com

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https://www.news18.com/world/wars-pious-muslim-and-football-five-faces-of-turkish-president-erdogan-7680499.html

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Islamic extremists in Malta charged with terrorism related acts

30 April 2023

by Kurt Sansone / Marianna Calleja

Updated with court details

Seven young people from Syria appeared in court on Sunday to face terrorism related charges, including teaching others how to use explosives and firearms.

Aged between 21 and 27, the men were arrested on Saturday morning by the police in an operation that also involved Europol, the European law enforcement agency.

The accused Ajil Al Muhsen, Adnan Maashi, YazanAbduklaziz, Ahmed Kadas, Khalil Al Mahmoud, Ahmed Ahmed and Mohammed Mohammed are believed to be Islamic extremists.

They appeared before duty magistrate Astrid May Grima and pleaded not guilty to the charges. Bail was not requested and they remained under arrest.

The arraignments happened in the evening amid tight security in and outside the law courts in Valletta.

Five of the men live in Hamrun, one lives in Pietà and the other in Birkirkara.

Police accused the men of disseminating extremist messages inciting and glorifying terrorism, and recruiting or attempting to encourage others to commit terrorist acts.

They were also accused of teaching others how to use explosives and firearms, and attempting to travel to the EU to take part in terrorist acts.

The court accepted the prosecution’s demand for a freeze on the money and assets belonging to the accused.

No bail was requested and the seven men were remanded in custody.

Source: maltatoday.com.mt

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https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/court_and_police/122607/several_to_be_charged_with_disseminating_extremist_material_terrorism#.ZFAJQnZByM8

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Dozens of Israeli Settlers Invade Courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque

30 April, 2023

Dozens of colonial Israeli settlers backed by Israeli forces invaded Sunday, 30 April 2023, the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque and performed provocative rituals.

Local media sources reported that Israeli settlers broke into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa and performed provocative Talmudic rituals in some of its yards under the Israeli occupation forces’ protection.

The former Israeli Knesset member Rabbi Yehuda Glick led the settlers’ invasion into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, sources added.

Meanwhile, Israeli occupation forces are widely spread across the compound of the Al-Aqsa Mosque to protect the colonial settlers, prohibiting the presence of Palestinians.

Colonial settlers’ backed by the Israeli occupation forces repeatedly invade Muslims and holy places in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem in a flagrant violation of all international conventions and laws, guaranteeing Palestinian people’s right to worship in their sacred sites.

Israeli colonial settlers repeated violations of Muslim, as well as Christian, symbols as a deliberate attempt to Judaise the occupied Jerusalem, with the progressive expulsion of the local population; the Palestinians.

In 2022, 56670 colonial Israeli settlers invaded Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyards and performed Talmudic provocative rituals in its squares, according to Palestinian figures.

Source: daysofpalestine.ps

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https://daysofpalestine.ps/dozens-of-israeli-settlers-invade-courtyards-of-al-aqsa-mosque-12/

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Dukhan Bank named ‘World’s Best Islamic Private Bank’

01 May 2023

Doha: Dukhan Bank has achieved another worldwide recognition for the outstanding quality of its private banking service by winning the World’s Best Islamic Private Bank award at Global Finance World’s Best Islamic Financial Institutions Awards for 2023 for the second year in a row.

This significant achievement follows bank’s successful transformation into a Qatari public shareholding company by listing its shares on the Qatar Stock Exchange and commencement of trading from 21 February 2023.

Year after year, Dukhan Bank has led the Islamic banking sector as demonstrated by its unrivalled private banking proposition offering an end-to-end portfolio of financing, banking and investment products and services for high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs).

Global Finance is a leading international magazine and industry analyst that evaluates and awards the top performers among banks and other financial services providers on global and regional levels in technology, leadership, brand and sustainability categories in more than 150 countries.

The winners of this year’s awards are institutions that contributed to the growth of Islamic financing. They successfully met their customers’ needs for Shariah-compliant products with modern and efficient delivery channels, while creating the foundation for continued growth and safety in the future.

Dukhan Bank Acting Group Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Hashem said: “We are extremely proud to win this award and to be named for the second consecutive year as the World’s Best Islamic Private Bank by the respected experts at Global Finance. I would like to dedicate this award to our committed and hardworking teams from senior management, head of departments to the entire employees of Dukhan Bank who have worked extremely hard over many years to achieve this level of global recognition.”

He added: “This award is a testament to Dukhan Bank’s unrelenting efforts to offer innovative Shari’ah-compliant products and services to the banking industry for an enhanced customers’ experience. The award recognizes Dukhan Bank’s position at the pinnacle of Islamic banking as we meet and exceed the growing sophistication and increasing demands of private banking clients, particularly within the digital realm.”

Dukhan Bank was selected as the winner of the award by the Global Finance editorial team after extensive consultations with bankers, corporate finance executives and analysts throughout the world.

The selection team follow a wide array of criteria, ranging from growth in assets, profitability, geographic reach, strategic relationships, new business development and innovation in products. Other criteria considered were reputation, customer satisfaction and the opinions of analysts and others involved in the industry.

ChaoukiDaher, GM-Head of Private Banking, said: “We are honored to receive this award once again. Winning the award back-to-back reflects the unwavering dedication of our team to service excellence and the high level of trust our clients repose in us. We will continue to introduce pioneering approaches to maintain our leading position in the Islamic banking market and across all our operations.”

Source: thepeninsulaqatar.com

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http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/01/05/2023/dukhan-bank-named-worlds-best-islamic-private-bank-1

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North America

 

Pope says Vatican involved in secret Ukraine peace mission

Monday, 01 May 2023

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE, May 1 — The Vatican is involved in a peace mission to try to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Pope Francis said yesterday, adding that it was also ready to help repatriate Ukrainian children taken to Russia or Russian-occupied land.

“There is a mission in course now but it is not yet public. When it is public, I will reveal it,” the pope told reporters during a flight home after a three-day visit to Hungary.

“I think that peace is always made by opening channels. You can never achieve peace through closure... This is not easy.”

The pope added that he had spoken about the situation in Ukraine with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and with Metropolitan (bishop) Hilarion, a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Budapest.

“In these meetings we did not just talk about Little Red Riding Hood. We spoke of all these things. Everyone is interested in the road to peace,” he said.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Francis has pleaded for peace practically on a weekly basis, and has repeatedly expressed a wish to act as a broker between Kyiv and Moscow. His offer has so far failed to produce any breakthrough.

Pope Francis, 86, has said previously that he wants to visit Kyiv but also Moscow on a peace mission.

Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal met the pope at the Vatican on Thursday and said he had discussed a “peace formula” put forward by Ukrainian President VolodymyrZelenskiy.

Shmyhal also asked for help in the repatriation of children. Kyiv estimates nearly 19,500 children have been taken to Russia or Russian-occupied Crimea since Moscow invaded in February last year, in what it condemns as illegal deportations.

“The Holy See is willing to do this (help repatriate the children) because it is the right thing,” Francis said on the plane. “All human gestures help but gestures of cruelty don’t help. We have to do all that is humanly possible”.

Francis, who appeared in relatively good condition during the trip, also spoke of his health following his hospitalisation in late March for what the Vatican said at the time was bronchitis.

He said he felt a strong pain at the end of his general audience on Wednesday, March 29 and tried to sleep.

“I did not lose consciousness but I had a high fever and at 3pm the doctor took me to the hospital right away,” he said.

“It was a strong and acute pneumonia in the lower section of the lung. Thank God I can talk about it. The body responded well to the treatment, thank God,” he said. He was released on April 1.

A part of one of his lungs was removed when he was a young man in Argentina more than half a century ago.

The pope said there were no changes to plans to go to Lisbon in August for an international youth gathering and then separately to Marseilles and Mongolia. — Reuters

Source: malaymail.com

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/world/2023/05/01/pope-says-vatican-involved-in-secret-ukraine-peace-mission/67151

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Paramus Declaration as an Islamophobia-Free Zone Just Ahead of State Declaration of January as Muslim Heritage Month

April 30, 2023

PARAMUS, NJ - The Borough Council declared Paramus an islamophobia-free zone last week, and over the weekend, Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill that would designate January of each year as Muslim Heritage Month.

“I am extremely pleased that this was signed into law today and I would like to thank Senator Stack for joining me in sponsoring this legislation,” said Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26), a sponsor of the legislation, said on Saturday, April 29. “There are nearly 300,000 Muslim Americans in New Jersey, including numerous current and former elected officials dedicated to public service in their communities. It is long past time to recognize our Muslim brothers and sisters for their contributions to the diverse fabric of New Jersey.”

With the joint resolution, SJR-105, Pennacchio seeks to elevate awareness and appreciation of the Muslim American community and their accomplishments in New Jersey.

"We are excited to be celebrating the Governor's signing into legislation the Muslim Heritage Resolution, a historic moment for the Muslim community in New Jersey," said Zainab Syed, President of American Muslims for Democracy, one of the coalition organizations that worked hard to make this signing possible. "New Jersey will be among a few states that recognize the

American Muslim legacy. We are extremely grateful for the support from the governor's office and legislators that contributed to the passing of this legislation.”

The 3.45 million Muslims in the United States represent diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, including immigrants and native-born Americans, and comprise approximately 1.1% of the nation’s population, according to Pennacchio's weekend news release on the matter.

Muslims are the world’s second-largest religious group, with 1.9 billion adherents representing approximately 25 percent of the world’s population. Significant Muslim achievements helped shape our world, including notable milestones in philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, medicine, architecture, music, literature, and the arts.

Paramus Mayor Christopher DiPiazza offered his support for the Paramus proclamation on April 25.

“I speak on behalf of the governing body who have enjoyed celebrating Ramadan with everyone in the Muslim community. I always say, that’s what makes Paramus one of the best towns to live in,” Mayor DiPiazza said.

“Paramus has led the way in many great initiatives in the past, making it a welcoming town for everyone and this is a great next step. Our children need this, and it is time for Paramus to take the lead and show the way in how to create a safe space for everyone. We welcome the passing of this proclamation,” a Paramus resident said.   

Source: tapinto.net

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https://www.tapinto.net/towns/paramus/sections/government/articles/paramus-declaration-as-an-islamophobia-free-zone-just-ahead-of-state-declaration-of-january-as-muslim-heritage-month

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CAIR-MN Welcomes Arrest of Suspect in Two Minneapolis Mosque Arson Attacks

April 30, 2023

(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 4/30/23) – The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today welcomed the arrest of the suspect allegedly involved in arson attacks targeting two mosques in Minneapolis.

SEE: Arrest made in suspected Minneapolis mosque arsons

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2023/04/30/arrest-made-in-suspected-minneapolis-mosque-arsons

In a statement, CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein said:

“We welcome the arrest of the arson suspect and express gratitude to law enforcement for their swift action. This arrest brings some relief to our community, which has been on edge for the past week. We hope to learn more about the suspect’s motivations and any potential accomplices who may have incited these attacks on our houses of worship.”

Yesterday, CAIR-MNjoined leaders and members of the Muslim community for a solidarity event for Minneapolis mosques targeted by arson.

Last week, CAIR-MN held a news conference with Minnesota Muslim leaders to respond to arson attacks targeting the two mosques.

Video: CAIR-MN Calls for Bias Crime Probe in Back-to-Back Mosque Arsons

Masjid Al Rahma (Mercy Mosque) was damaged by fire, with the flames found on the third floor. Firefighters evacuated several people, including children, and no one was injured. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

In a separate incident, a man reportedly attempted to set another Mall 24 Mosque in Minneapolis on fire using gasoline. Police are searching for the suspect, and it is unknown whether the two incidents are related.

Earlier this month, CAIR-MN called to for an investigation vandalism targeting Ummatul Islam Mosque in Minneapolis., Minn., as a possible hate crime.

CAIR-MN is urging the local Muslim community and Islamic institutions nationwide to take extra security precautions by using advice offered in CAIR’s booklet, “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety.” 

Last year, CAIR released a report, titled “Still Suspect: The Impact of Structural Islamophobia,” documenting more than 6,720 complaints to CAIR offices nationwide involving a range of issues including immigration and travel, workplace discrimination, denial of public accommodations, law enforcement and government overreach, hate and bias incidents, incarceree rights, school incidents, anti-BDS/free speech, among other reported issues.        

CAIR-MN’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR-MN esprotegerlaslibertadesciviles, mejorar la comprensióndel Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los EstadosUnidos.

Source: cair.com

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https://www.cair.com/press_releases/breaking-cair-mn-welcomes-arrest-of-suspect-in-two-minneapolis-mosque-arson-attacks/

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Canadian Muslim Organization Condemns 'Violent Arrest' of Black Man by Edmonton Police

April, 30, 2023

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The National Council of Canadian Muslims reported that a man who was restrained on the ground with a knee to his neck by an Edmonton Police Service officer following a traffic stop is filing a formal complaint.

In a video shared by the organization on social media, the man can be seen being restrained by two Edmonton Police Service officers, with one of them having his knee on the back of the man's neck, a use of force that has been criticized following the 2020 killing of George Floyd in the United States. The group also provided CBC News with the full-length video.

According to the police, officers stopped the man for driving 47 km/h in a playground zone. The man was leaving a mosque on April 21 with his wife and two children, following Eid al-Fitr prayer. The man refused to give officers his name, license, insurance, or registration, which led to police warning the man he would be arrested. The man felt officers were agitated, and he asked for a supervisor to be present before providing documentation. Officers removed the man from his car, restrained him, and arrested him. In the video, filmed by the man's wife, the man can be heard calling the two officers racist and screaming. Young children can also be heard crying in the background.

The man was ticketed for speeding, failure to provide his driver's license, and registration and insurance, then told he was free to go. The man asked to be taken to the hospital, saying he had a sore shoulder. The NCCM said the man suffered injuries from the interaction, and he and his family had significant mental distress.

The NCCM said the man is filing a complaint to the EPS professional services branch. "Having a knee violently pinned on the back of a man's neck over an alleged minor speeding infraction — there were no criminal code charges — could have, as all Canadians know, produced far more tragic results," said Omar, NCCM's Alberta advocacy officer. NDP members of parliament, Blake Desjarlais and Heather McPherson, released a statement expressing their concerns over the rise in hate-motivated attacks in Canada and particularly in Edmonton.

Kevin Walby, a University of Winnipeg associate professor of criminal justice, said the video "represents the violence of policing in response to a very minor transgression." Dan Jones, associate chair of justice studies at NorQuest College and a retired Edmonton police officer, said police training needs to do more to teach officers to meet agitation with calmness.

Islamophobia has manifested itself in the vandalism of mosques as well as physical assaults, including violence against Muslim women wearing hijab. The violence has turned tragically deadly on several occasions.

Last August, a report released by the government agency, Statistics Canada, revealed that hate crimes against Muslims across the country had jumped by 71 percent in 2021.

The study found that the number of recorded attacks against Muslims increased from 84 incidents in 2020 to 144 in 2021. In 2019, a total of 182 incidents targeting Muslims had been reported.

Street racism is often inspired by online hate speech and extremism, which has increased in the country.

A 2016 Forum Poll revealed that 41 percent of Canadian adults expressed some level of bias against racial groups, with Muslims having the highest negative rating at 28 percent.

Another survey published in 2016 by the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, found that only 32 percent of Ontarians had a “positive impression” of Islam.

Source: tasnimnews.com

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https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2023/04/30/2887360/canadian-muslim-organization-condemns-violent-arrest-of-black-man-by-edmonton-police

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Southeast Asia

 

Johor Islamic Dept, police to investigate ‘missing’ gravestones at Pandan cemetery

Sunday, 30 Apr 2023

JOHOR BARU, April 30 — The Johor State Islamic Religious Department (JAINJ) and the police will investigate the issue of ‘missing’ gravestones at the MukimTebrau Muslim Cemetery in Taman Istimewa, Pandan, here, recently.

JAINJ director Jamaludin A Hamid meanwhile urged the public to remain calm and not make any speculations over the matter that had gone viral on Facebook since Friday (April 28).

“JAINJ is aware of a viral screenshot of the missing gravestones in the cemetery which has caused concern among the next of kin and members of the community.

“Therefore, we have suggested the appropriate measures to be taken by the cemetery’s management in order to prevent theft,” he said in a statement today.

Yesterday, Bernama reported that 11 gravestones at the cemetery were missing, believed to have been stolen by irresponsible individuals for resale.

Checks carried out at the cemetery yesterday found that most of the gravestones stolen were made of river stones which cost more than RM450 per set.

Also missing was a white gravestone believed to cost RM350 a set. — Bernama

Source: malaymail.com

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/04/30/johor-islamic-dept-police-to-investigate-missing-gravestones-at-pandan-cemetery/67093

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Najib's application not discussed at Pardons Board meeting on Friday (April 28)

Monday, 01 May 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib TunRazak’s application for a royal pardon was not discussed at the meeting of the Pardons Board for the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya.

The Board had it's 59th meeting on on Friday (April 28) at the Istana Negara

Its secretary Datuk Seri KhairulDzaimee Daud said the application will be discussed at the appropriate time, according to applicable legislation and regulations.

KhairulDzaimee, who is also the director-general of the Legal Affairs Division of the Prime Minister’s Department, said the Pardons Board had considered a total of 10 cases of pardon appeals under Regulation 54 and Regulation 113 of the Prisons Regulations 2000.

“According to Article 42 of the Federal Constitution, the Yang di-PertuanAgong has the authority to grant pardons, postponements and legal relief in relation to all offences which have been tried by military courts and all offences committed within the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya.

“Rulers and Yang di-PertuaNegeri of a state also has the power to grant pardons, postponement of the law and legal relief in relation to all other offences committed within those states,” he said in a statement today. – Bernama

Source: thestar.com

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https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2023/05/01/najib039s-application-not-discussed-at-pardons-board-meeting-on-friday-april-28

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PM Anwar: Changlun Mosque project in Kedah to continue with additional allocation of RM3.07m

30/4/2023

KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — The government has agreed to continue the construction of the Changlun Mosque in Kedah with an additional allocation of RM3.07 million, taking the total cost of the project to RM5.77 million.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the project would be implemented as soon as possible for the benefit of the local community.

“The unity government is concerned and committed to ensuring balanced development in all states of the country,” he said in a statement today.

Anwar also reiterated that the unity government had never sidelined any state for the sake of the people’s welfare.

“This is the commitment of the unity government in shouldering the responsibility by placing the people’s rights as the main pillar,” said Anwar, who is also Finance Minister. — Bernama

Source: malaymail.com

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/04/30/pm-anwar-changlun-mosque-project-in-kedah-to-continue-with-additional-allocation-of-rm307m/67101

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Europe

 

Brits urged to swear oath to their king for first time

King Charles III leaves Westminster Palace after the presentation of addresses by both houses of Parliament last September in London. © Getty Images / Ian Vogler

Next week’s coronation of King Charles III will feature an invitation for all British people to swear their allegiance to the new monarch and his descendants in what organizers have billed as a “chorus of millions.”

The ceremony has been revised to include a “homage of the people,” rather than the traditional “homage of peers” in which dukes pledge their allegiance to the sovereign, according to plans announced on Saturday by the Church of England.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will call upon “all persons of goodwill” in the UK and its territories – those attending the ceremony at Westminster Abbey and those watching on television or the  internet – to recite the following vows: “I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty and to your heirs and successors according to the law, so help me God.” The archbishop will then proclaim, “God save the king” and ask all to respond: “God save King Charles. Long live King Charles. May the king live forever.”

The public pledge is among several tweaks to a ceremony with ancient traditions, some of which date back nearly half a millennium. “Our hope is at that point, when the archbishop invites people to join in, that people wherever they are, if they’re watching at home on their own, watching the telly, will say it out loud – this sense of a great cry around the nation and around the world of support for the king,” a Lambeth Palace spokesperson said.

Among other changes to the traditional ceremony, the coronation will feature female clergy taking a prominent role and leaders of other faiths presenting the king with regalia for the events, including his robe, ring and bracelets. A hymn will be sung in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic. The service will celebrate tradition while adding “new elements that reflect the diversity of our contemporary society,” the archbishop said.

However, King Charles III will take the traditional oaths, including a pledge to maintain “the Protestant Reformed religion.” The archbishop will preface the oath by saying that the Church of England will seek to foster an environment where “people of all faiths and beliefs may live freely.”

Source: rt.com

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https://www.rt.com/news/575589-uk-coronation-public-oath-to-king/

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Hungary issues NATO rebuke to Zelensky

30 Apr, 2023

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has rebuked statements by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who has publicly accused Budapest of behaving “inappropriately” for a NATO member state.

It was “fortunately” not for Zelensky to decide on Hungary’s behavior, Szijjarto said in a Facebook post on Sunday, suggesting also that Budapest already provides enough support for Kiev.

“Hungarian people have already paid an extremely high price for this war,” Szijjarto wrote, adding that multiple representatives of Ukraine’s Hungarian ethnic minority had persisted in the ongoing hostilities between Kiev and Moscow.

If this statement means ‘I respectfully thank the Hungarians for letting in and taking care of more than a million refugees from Ukraine, and I respectfully thank you for continuously sending aid’ then [the response is] ‘You are welcome and can count on us in the future as well.’

The sarcastic remarks by Hungary’s top diplomat apparently came in response to statements made by Zelensky in an interview with Nordic media outlets on Friday. The Ukrainian president accused Budapest of siding with Russia in the ongoing conflict and of treating NATO as an “adversary” altogether.

“It seems to me that confusion reigns among the Hungarian political elite. This is a very strange situation. Can a NATO country simultaneously be with Russia and against NATO?” Zelensky stated, adding that Budapest has been displaying “inappropriate behavior” for a member of the US-led NATO alliance.

NATO member questions Stoltenberg’s pledge to UkraineREAD MORE: NATO member questions Stoltenberg’s pledge to Ukraine

Hungary has taken a reserved stance on the ongoing hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, which have been raging since February 2022. The country has opposed EU sanctions against Russia, particularly those harming its own interests, such as restrictions in the nuclear and conventional energy fields. Apart from that, Budapest has repeatedly said it will not support Ukraine’s applications to either NATO or the EU. Hungary has also refrained from providing military aid to Kiev and has refused to allow such shipments from elsewhere to flow through its territory.

Hungary and Ukraine have long been at odds over the fate of the ethnic Hungarian minority in Ukraine. Some 150,000 ethnic Hungarians, living primarily in the Transcarpathian region of the country, have been affected by the Ukrainianization efforts undertaken by the authorities of post-Maidan Ukraine. While the crackdown has primarily focused on Russian speakers, it affected other minorities as well.

Kiev, for its part, has long accused Budapest of meddling in the country’s domestic affairs, with its practice of issuing Hungarian passports to Ukraine’s ethnic Hungarians resulting in multiple diplomatic incidents.

Source: rt.com

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https://www.rt.com/news/575572-hungary-ukraine-nato-zelensky/

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UN sends emergency envoy to Sudan

1 May, 2023

The United Nations emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, has been appointed to lead the international body’s effort to mediate the crisis in the East African nation. Violence between rival military factions in Sudan entered its third week, even as a ceasefire was extended on Sunday for another 72 hours.

“I am on my way to the region to explore how we can bring immediate relief to the millions of people whose lives have turned upside down overnight,” Griffiths said on Sunday night, after United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres named him as a special envoy.

“The scale and speed of what is unfolding is unprecedented in Sudan,” Guterres’s spokesman StephaneDujarric said in a statement announcing Griffiths' “immediate” deployment.

Around 500 civilians are thought to have lost their lives since the conflict broke out in the politically turbulent country on April 15, between army forces controlled by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and those controlled by Mohamed HamdanDaglo – otherwise known as Hemedti – who is the commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

On Sunday both sides agreed to extend a humanitarian ceasefire for another 72 hours, but accused the other of violations and maintained the right to respond in the event of “transgressions.” None of the previous truces have firmly taken hold, as violence continues in the country’s capital, Khartoum – which has reported widespread outages of electricity, as well as food and water shortages.

The worsening armed conflict could prompt a full-blown civil war, which would be a “nightmare for the world,” former Sudanese prime ministerAbdallaHamdok warned on Saturday.

“God forbid if Sudan is to reach a point of civil war proper,” he said, speaking at an event in Nairobi, Kenya. He added that he believed civil wars in Syria, Yemen, and Libya would be “small play” compared to what he fears might break out in Sudan.

Source: rt.com

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https://www.rt.com/africa/575593-sudan-un-special-envoy/

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Blackburn community mosque toilet block gets backdated approval

30th April

Backdated planning permission has been granted for a toilet extension to a community mosque in a former Blackburn Church.

The addition is to the 19th Century former home of St. Chad’s Church and Day School in Pleckgate Road.

In January last year Pleckgate Community Centre was given approval to use the building, previously been used as a workshop, as a place of Islamic worship and religious instruction.

Now Blackburn with Darwen planners have granted retrospective permission for the extension.

A report recommending approval by town hall officer Nick Blackledge says: "The application site relates to the former St. Chad’s Church and Day School.

"Most recently it has been is use for commercial storage.

"The building has since been vacated and is subject to the grant of planning permission for a place of Public Worship and Religious Instruction including demolition of outbuilding.

"The site is located and accessed to the east of Pleckgate Road, between its junction with Wilworth Crescent to the north and Woolridge Playing Fields to the south, in a predominantly residential area.

"Although recognised as a building of some architectural and culture significance, it is neither nationally of locally listed.

"No additional prayer capacity is proposed, by virtue of the extension providing for WC’s.

"The proposed extension represents a sympathetic addition, being well proportioned and reflecting the architectural style of the host building, including gable roof profile, stone elevations and slate roof.

"A soft landscaping scheme will assist in integrating the scheme into the natural environment.

"Seventeen neighbours were consulted by letter. No comments were received."

St Chad’s was a single-storey stone-built building constructed circa 1870.

It later became a day school and also had a Sunday School. It is understood that services continued to be held in the building until the 1970s.

The approval has four conditions attached including the submission of a scheme detailing hard surfacing and marking out of the car park.

The January 2022 planning permission specified that the building will not be used for Friday prayers or for weddings and funerals, nor would there be a resident imam.

Source: lancashiretelegraph.co.uk

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https://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/23486056.blackburn-community-mosque-toilet-block-gets-backdated-approval/

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New Zealand

 

King Charles' coronation: Mosque attack hero surprised to be on invitation list

01-05-23

Abdul Aziz, who confronted the terrorist who attacked Linwood Islamic Centre, is preparing to travel to the UK as part of the country's official delegation at King Charles' coronation.

Aziz was armed with only an eftpos machine when he chased away the terrorist on 15 March 2019.

Now the New Zealand Cross recipient is heading to the UK, as a part of the country's official delegation accompanying Prime Minister Chris Hipkins to the King's coronation at Westminster Abbey in London this weekend.

Other delegation members include Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro, Opposition leader Christopher Luxon, the head of the Kīngitanga movement, KīngiTūheitiaPōtatauTeWherowhero VII, and his wife, MakauArikiAtawhai, former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and Victoria Cross recipient Willie Apiata.

Aziz told First Up he was surprised and honoured to receive an email invitation and it will enable him to visit Britain for the first time.

He said his family and friends were also happy for him to be chosen.

He met both King Charles and Prince William on their visits to Christchurch after the mosque attacks and expressed the hope that he would get a chance to speak to them again during any social events organised around the coronation.

When told that coronation quiche could be on the royal menu - an initiative of King Charles - he said he had never eaten it before but if it has been chosen by the King he was confident it would be "amazing".

Aziz was hopeful he would have some time after the coronation to visit a UK-based family who lost an uncle in the mosque attacks.

"They know I'm coming and they are very happy."

He will take time after the main royal event to go sight-seeing for about a week before returning home.

Source: rnz.co.nz

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https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/489072/king-charles-coronation-mosque-attack-hero-surprised-to-be-on-invitation-list

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Pakistan

 

In a first, Islamabad mosque sets up free-of-charge marriage hall for needy families

Monday May 01, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Masjid Rehmat ul Alamin F/8 in Islamabad has established a free-of-charge marriage hall in the federal capital to help deserving families celebrate their daughters' weddings with respect and dignity.

This compassionate initiative aims to make the special day of deserving families even more memorable by providing a free-of-charge marriage hall equipped with a stage for the bride and groom, as well as crockery, tables, chairs, and trained waiters to serve food to the guests of orphan and deserving brides.

The hall has a three-hour time limit and includes a stage for the bride and groom. The mosque management allows parents to either solemnize the Nikkah of their daughter themselves or choose a Khateeb of their choice for the ceremony.

To book the hall, deserving parents can contact the mosque management committee.

Taj Qamar, a member of the mosque committee, said that the marriage-related activities will continue uninterrupted even during prayer times.

He advised people to associate the departure of their daughters with the call to prayer (Azan) and prayer (Salah) to eliminate some superstitions and create a blessed environment that will facilitate a new life.

According to Qamar, the mosque recommends that families planning to attend the event should limit the number of guests to 100 or 120 individuals, with an equal number of men and women, and prioritise Islamic teachings while avoiding extravagance by religious teachings.

To ensure a successful event, three men and three women from the family should take responsibility for arranging and maintaining order, with one man and one woman appointed to oversee the event and ensure that the mosque administration does not participate in the ceremony.

Source: geo.tv

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https://www.geo.tv/latest/484812-mosque-in-islamabad-sets-up-free-of-charge-marriage-hall-for-needy-families

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Pakistan walking diplomatic tightrope between US, rivals

Anwar Iqbal

May 1, 2023

WASHINGTON: Classified documents — released recently by a US airman — show that Pakistan, and some other nations, have been quietly distancing themselves from the United States on key issues like Ukraine.

The documents, published by The Washington Post and other US media outlets, include two Pakistani memos warning policymakers not to annoy China to maintain links with the United States.

In one of the memos, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar argues that Pakistan can “no longer try to maintain a middle ground between China and the United States.”

The internal memo was sent to official recipients in Pakistan in March.

Titled “Pakistan’s Difficult Choices”, the memo cautions Islamabad should avoid giving the appearance of appeasing the West. It warns that the instinct to preserve Pakistan’s partnership with the United States would ultimately sacrifice the full benefits of the country’s “real strategic” partnership with China.

Another document, dated February 17, details Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s deliberations with a subordinate about an upcoming UN vote on the Ukraine conflict. It also anticipated renewed Western pressure to back the UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion.

Pakistan is among the 32 countries that have abstained from voting every time a US-backed resolution on the Ukrainian conflict was raised in the UN General Assembly.

In the memo, one of his aides advises PM Sharif that supporting the measure would signal a shift in Pakistan’s position following its earlier abstention on a similar resolution.

The aide says Pakistan has the ability to negotiate trade and energy deals with Russia, and backing the resolution could jeopardise those ties.

Last week, Pakistan placed its first order for buying crude oil from Russia and its US Ambassador Masood Khan said Islamabad had consulted Washington before placing the order. The US administration, he said, had no objection to the proposed deal.

A Washington Post report says the leaked documents show how major developing nations seek to “evade the intensifying standoff between the United States, Russia and China and, in some cases, exploit that rivalry for their own gain.”

The documents provide a rare glimpse into how key emerging powers — including India, Brazil, Pakistan, and Egypt — are balancing their relations between the US and Russia and China.

Matias Spektor, a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said developing nations were reluctant to take sides on the US-China, US-Russia disputes. “It’s unclear who will end up in a pole position in 10 years’ time, so they need to diversify their risk and hedge their bets,” Mr Spektor added.

The Biden administration, however, has told these countries that it’s not asking them to pick sides between the US on one hand and China and Russia on the other.

The Post notes that India, too, is avoiding taking sides between Washington and Moscow. One leaked document details a Feb 22 conversation between Indian national security adviser Ajit Kumar Doval and his Russian counterpart, NikolayPatrushev.

Mr Doval assures Mr Patrushev of India’s support for Russia in multilateral venues and tells him that New Delhi would ensure the war does not come up during a Group of 20 meeting chaired by India, despite “considerable pressure” to do so.

At the meeting of G-20 foreign ministers in New Delhi a week later, disagreement over Ukraine resulted in a failure to forge a consensus on broader global challenges.

Mr Doval cites India’s resistance to pressure for supporting Western-backed UN resolutions over Ukraine, saying his country “would not deviate from the principled position it had taken in the past”.

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1750266/pakistan-walking-diplomatic-tightrope-between-us-rivals

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ECP official to move Supreme Judicial Council against CEC

Iftikhar A. Khan

May 1, 2023

ISLAMABAD: An official of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) performing duties as district election commissioner in Faisalabad has decided to move the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for the removal of ECP chief Sikandar Sultan Raja over “abuse of administrative authority”.

Incensed over the rule of ‘outsiders’ in the Election Commission and controversial promotions, DEC Irfan Kausar also decided to challenge the appointments of key ECP officers, including its secretary Omar Hamid Khan. In multiple letters written to the ECP secretary, the official expressed his intention to follow in the footsteps of another ECP officer, Adnan Bashir, and file a reference against the ECP chief in the SJC. Mr Bashir, a few months ago, had moved the judicial council against his boss.

Grounds for CEC’s removal

The letter sent to the secretary through the provincial election commissioner said the reference against the CEC will include the alleged use of undue influence for the furtherance of pecuniary interests in real estate and private businesses, and getting lucrative postings for the extended family of bureaucrats. Other accusations include spending of public funds during a financial crunch, failure to comply with constitutional commands, abuse of administrative authority, and tarnishing the administrative fabric of the ECP to influence general elections.

The official also sought a statement of assets of CEC Raja and his dependents, minutes of Departmental Development Working Party (DDWP) meetings, and allocations made to the Public Works Department in the financial year 2022-23. A copy of service rules along with amendments, and the seniority list of the ECP officers were also demanded.

In separate letters to the ECP secretary, he declared his intention to challenge the appointments of Secretary Omar Hamid Khan (retired federal secretary), Special Secretary Zafar Iqbal Hussain (retired ECP officer), Additional Secretary (HR) Khalid Siddique (a retired civil servant), noting that these appointments had been made unlawfully.

The ECP official also wrote a letter addressed to President Arif Alvi, the National Assembly speaker, the Senate chairman, and members of parliament to invite their attention towards alleged illegal appointments in the ECP made in the absence of service rules.

The letter added that the ECP chief has the “sole administrative authority without the oversight of the commission in the absence of the service rules”.

“Now the ECP’s organisational structure is at the mercy of the commissioner who has appointed his retired colleagues and class fellows to senior administrative posts. Mid-career ECP cadre officers are being promoted arbitrarily,” the letter said, seeking the intervention of parliament and the president.

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1750240/ecp-official-to-move-supreme-judicial-council-against-cec

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No evidence of terrorism in Swat blasts: report

Umer Farooq

May 1, 2023

PESHAWAR: No evidence of terrorism and militancy was found in the blasts inside the police station of Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in Swat, according to a report submitted by the fact-finding committee.

The fact-finding committee, formed following blasts inside CTD police station in Swat, has submitted its report to the government, saying no evidence of sabotage was found in the explosions.

Officials told this scribe that a lesser known militant group, which recently came into the limelight, claimed responsibility for the CTD police station blasts in Swat. However, the fact-finding committee comprising secretary of home and tribal affairs and deputy inspector general of special branch of police visited the blast site and ruled out possibility of any militant attack on the police station, they added.

Sources didn’t say what triggered the incident, adding the detailed report will bare it all.

On April 25, two powerful explosions inside the CTD police station left 18 persons dead and leaving 57 injured including police officials and civilians. The roofs of the CTD office, the police station and the nearby mosque also collapsed in the incident.

On the same day, home and tribal affairs department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa constituted the fact-finding committee to probe the nature of blasts with the direction to submit a comprehensive report covering all aspects of the incident.

“A detailed report has been submitted and there is no evidence of a vehicle-borne or a suicide blast inside the CTD police station in Kabal, Swat district. No militant factor is involved in it,” sources privy to the developments told Dawn.

They said militants always wanted more damage including loss of life and property. For that reason, militants always used ball bearings, shrapnel or any other lethal material but the fact-finding committee did not find even a single ball bearing or its signs at the site, they added.

Sources, who requested anonymity keeping in view sensitive nature of the issue, said that the team visited the blast site and found that there was no impact of ball bearings on the damaged buildings.

“To the naked eye, there is no evidence of vehicle-borne or suicide blast. Even the gates of the buildings are intact as per the report,” they said.

When asked if the team found anything related to negligence on part of those, who had to handle the explosives dumped inside the police station, they said that it wasn’t possible to say anything about it as there was nothing left.

“The room where the explosive material was kept and its attachments are all gone,” they said. They added that it was evident that the explosives placed in the Malkhana as case property caused the explosions.

The explosions, which reportedly occurred on the premises of CTD office, shattered the roof of the police station, the office, and a mosque located inside the station. The blasts also caused fire. According to senior officials, at least 20 policemen were trapped under the debris of the roof, which collapsed due to the intensity of the explosion.

On April 26, Inspector General of Police Akhtar Hayat Khan told journalists that the blasts occurred after rocket-propelled grenades, mines and other arms seized in different cases and stored in the warehouse went off owing to short-circuiting of electricity.

On the same day, a preliminary investigation carried out by the police department into the twin blasts found that the explosions were caused by an electricity short-circuit at the warehouse and ruled out the possibility of a militant attack on the CTD police station.

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1750176/no-evidence-of-terrorism-in-swat-blasts-report

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Discussion between PM, junior minister leaked: Pakistan can’t afford middle ground between US, China, says Khar

 By By Muhammad Saleh Zaafir

May 01, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar suggested that Pakistan must stop maintaining a “middle ground” between China and the United States, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.

President Biden’s global agenda faces significant challenges as major developing nations seek to evade the intensifying standoff between the United States, Russia and China and, in some cases, exploit that rivalry for their own gain, classified American intelligence assessments show, according to the newspaper.

The documents, among a trove of US secrets, leaked online through the Discord messaging platform, provide a rare glimpse into the private calculations by key emerging powers, including India, Brazil, Pakistan and Egypt, as they attempt to straddle allegiances in an era when America is no longer the world’s unchallenged superpower.

Among the leaked data is a record of an important discussion between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Minister of State Hina Rabbani Khar wherein the two, along with an assistant, were talking about Pakistan’s ties with the United States during the month of March this year.

The record of the discussion on crucial foreign policy, which has been named Discord Leaks, also reveals the prime minister’s conversation on the United Nations’ voting on the Ukraine and Russia conflict, according to the Washington Post.

During the discussion, an assistant advised the prime minister that supporting the resolution could jeopardise Pakistan’s trade and energy deals with Russia and would give the impression of a change in Pakistan’s position. When the UN General Assembly voted on February 23, Pakistan was among 32 countries that abstained.

According to the leaked documents, Khar said that Pakistan should avoid appeasing the West and that the country’s desire to maintain a strategic partnership with the US would sacrifice the full benefits of its original strategic partnership with the long-term friendly nation China.

“According to one of the leaked documents, Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan’s minister of state for foreign affairs, argued in March that her country can ‘no longer try to maintain a middle ground between China and the United States’,” the Washington Post wrote in its story.

Pakistani officials, according to the US news outlet, have refused to comment on the matter. The White House also did not respond to a request for comment.

The story by Washington Post, in which the record has been leaked, revolved around the declining support for the US on the war between Russia and Ukraine. The American publication’s story comes at a time when the US has already confirmed that it has no objection to Pakistan’s decision to import oil from Moscow. “Each country is going to make its own sovereign decisions as it relates to its energy supply,” US State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said during a weekly briefing.

The statement was issued in response to a question regarding Pakistan’s deal with Russia after it placed its first order for crude oil. Accordingly, one cargo ship will dock at the Karachi Port in May.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping for two days of closely-watched talks in March this year — a meeting crucial for the region’s altering political and diplomatic atmosphere.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office has declined to comment on the reported conversation between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar that appeared in a US newspaper.

Highly-placed sources in the Foreign Office told The News Sunday evening that in accordance with the established policy, the Foreign Office doesn’t offer any comments on such reported leaks. The government does not discuss such subjects publicly, it said.

In the meanwhile, the government is considering a thorough probe as such “spying” activities are detrimental to the national interests. A decision to initiate a formal probe is likely to be taken this week, the sources added. Another source told this scribe that relevant agencies have been tasked to look into the matter.

Source: thenews.com.pk

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https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/1065693-pakistan-can-t-afford-middle-ground-between-us-china-khar

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Pakistan minister warned against sacrificing partnership with China for US: Report

May 01, 2023

In March, Khar argued that her country can "no longer try to maintain a middle ground between China and the United States," the report revealed.

The latest US intelligence documents revealed that Minister of State for Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar had cautioned the country against sacrificing its strategic partnership with China to maintain a cordial relationship with the United States, ARY News reported.

In March, Khar argued that her country can "no longer try to maintain a middle ground between China and the United States," the report revealed.

The highly classified findings of the US intelligence revealed the internal assessment of Pakistan's policymakers on how to tackle the challenge of the growing tussle between the United States and China.

The US - in the leaked documents - had been able to gain access to the top-secret memo written by Khar.

The leaked intelligence findings offer new insights into the challenges facing President Biden as he seeks global support for his efforts to reject the spread of authoritarianism, contain Russia's belligerence, and counter China's growing global reach.

In an internal memo she titled "Pakistan's Difficult Choices," Khar cautioned that Islamabad should avoid giving the appearance of appeasing the West, and said the instinct to preserve Pakistan's partnership with the United States would ultimately sacrifice the full benefits of what she deemed the country's "real strategic" partnership with China, according to ARY News.

Meanwhile, another document, dated February 17, describes PM Shehbaz Sharif's deliberations with a subordinate about an upcoming UN vote on the Ukraine conflict, and what the government anticipated would be renewed Western pressure to back a resolution condemning Russia's invasion.

The aide advised the prime minister that support for the measure would signal a shift in Pakistan's position following its earlier abstention on a similar resolution, the intelligence document says.

The aide noted that Pakistan had the ability to negotiate trade and energy deals with Russia, and backing the Western-backed resolution could jeopardise those ties. When the UN General Assembly voted Feb 23, Pakistan was among 32 countries that abstained, according to ARY News.

Source: hindustantimes.com

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https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/pakistan-minister-warned-against-sacrificing-partnership-with-china-for-us-report-101682904202707.html

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Rulers term PTI chief’s demands ‘impractical’

Zulqernain Tahir

May 1, 2023

LAHORE: After PTI chief Imran Khan demanded the dissolution of the National Assembly by May 14 to pave the way for a successful outcome of talks, the federal coalition termed his ultimatum ‘imp­racticable’ and asked him to be more flexible for the success of this dialogue bet­ween the government and the opposition.

Ahead of the third round of talks between the PML-N-led federal coalition and the PTI scheduled for Tuesday (tomorrow), the PML-N warned that Mr Khan’s party will be the “ultimate loser” if the negotiations failed — the general elections may be “delayed for a year under a constitutional provision”.

Reacting to Mr Khan’s demand to dissolve the National Assembly by May 14 to go into polls on the same day, PML-N Secretary General and Federal Minister for Development Ahsan Iqbal said: “We want to tell Imran Khan that he cannot hold talks at gunpoint. The first condition of talks is, there are no pre-conditions. Mr Khan is so desperate that he wants his way or the highway.”

In a conversation with Dawn on Sunday, Mr Iqbal said the federal coalition parties sat with the PTI with an ‘open mind’; however, if Imran Khan continued to stick to his demand for the dissolution of assemblies (National, Sindh and Balochistan) by May 14, then this was not acceptable to the federal coalition.

“The people of Sindh and Balochistan cannot be punished for the folly of Imran Khan who dissolved Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies to force elections…under the patronage of his ‘handlers’ in the institutions,” the minister said, adding the PTI would have to agree on a code of conduct for polls besides the same-day elections.

‘Ultimate loser’

“And let me tell…if talks fail the ultimate loser will be the PTI as there is a provision for delaying elections for a year under the Constitution. Imran Khan has warned of creating a law and order situation in the country (if polls are not held this July) and in such a scenario the elections will be delayed for another year,” Mr Iqbal warned.

When asked if the elections would be held in Punjab in May in light of the Supreme Court’s order in case of no breakthrough in parleys, the minister said: “We clearly see politics behind this apex court’s verdict.”

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif also does not see a ‘positive outcome’ of talks. “What will be the result of the negotiations with the PTI as they are setting conditions,” he said.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which pushed the PML-N to hold parleys with the PTI on elections, is still optimistic. “I hope that dissolution of the assemblies by May 14 is a proposal and not a condition set by Mr Khan. This suggestion is not viable. Who will present the budget if the National Assembly is dissolved in May? It cannot be left to the caretaker setup to negotiate with the IMF and present the budget (for the upcoming financial year),” PPP senior leader and PM’s special assistant Qamar Zaman Kaira told Dawn.

Mr Kaira said despite such a suggestion the PPP believed better sense would prevail and that these talks would not end up in failure.

Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq, who recently called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Imran Khan to push them for a consensus on polls, said: “We are hopeful for a breakthrough in the dialogue and that both the federal coalition and the PTI will not head for a deadlock.”

On the other hand, the PTI has also shown optimism that its parleys with the government will succeed.

“PTI wants the success of talks with the government, but it has formulated a strategy in case of failure. It is not possible for the PTI to sit silently if the Constitution is considered as a piece of trash and the public as insects,” PTI senior leader Fawad Chaudhry said in a tweet.

Mr Chaudhry also called on the people to prepare for a ‘movement’. “The movement is starting tomorrow (Monday) with rallies in Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar, culminating in a historic long march,” he said.

Source: dawn.com

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Arab World

 

Saudi foreign minister reiterates call for de-escalation during meeting with Sudan envoy

April 30, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received in Riyadh on Sunday Special Envoy of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereign Council’s President Dafallah Al-Haj Ali.

During the meeting, the foreign minister reiterated Saudi Arabia’s call for de-escalation in Sudan, where deadly clashes between rival generals’ forces have entered their third week.

He called for prioritizing national interest to save lives and preserve Sudan’s gains, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Fighting erupted on April 15 between forces loyal to the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), leaving over 500 people killed and thousands wounded while uprooting tens of thousands more from their homes.

Source: arabnews.com

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Japan Certified To Export Halal Kobe Beef to Saudi Arabia

May 01, 2023

TOKYO: Japan has become the third country certified to ship beef to the Muslim world including Saudi Arabia.

The certification for the Kingdom was confirmed at a signing ceremony attended by Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al-Saud and TomoshigeKanzawa, president of the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association.

Beef in Saudi Arabia can only be eaten if it is processed in a way prescribed by religious rules and is certified as halal. Saudi company Fam Al-Ghidha was appointed as an authorized halal Kobe beef distributor for 13 Arabic-language countries.

Prince Faisal traveled to Japan to sign the contract and tasted Kobe beef. The ceremony was also attended by Hyogo Prefecture Gov. Motohiko Saito and Masao Imanishi, the deputy mayor of Kobe City.

In October last year, the meat centre in Sanda City in central Japan met the standard of halal certification for the first time in the country.

This year, 145 head of halal Kobe beef are scheduled to be shipped to Saudi Arabia.

In addition to the Sanda Meat Center, Kumamoto Chuo Meat Center and Sugimoto Honten, both based in southern Japan, have also been approved to export beef to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Source: arabnews.com

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King Faisal University shortlisted for world sustainability award for third time

April 30, 2023

JEDDAH: King Faisal University in Al-Ahsa has been shortlisted in the International Green Gown Awards for the third year in a row, this time for its participation in five sustainability-focused initiatives.

The awards, which were established in 2004 by the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the International Association of Universities and the UN Environment Program, recognize the exceptional sustainability initiatives undertaken by universities and colleges around the world.

Khaled Al-Barrak, supervisor of the university’s strategic planning and corporate identity department, said: “This nomination reflects the university’s development of its corporate identity which is aimed at contributing to achieving food security and environmental sustainability, and the projects that have a sustainable impact.”

He added that the university had adopted a “clear and effective institutional identity and strategy, with the impact reflected in its position in international forums and awards.”

Among the initiatives that led to the university’s nomination is its 2020-24 strategy, which was launched to provide a sustainable educational and research environment.

It was also recognized for the efforts of its women’s development unit, which aims to support Saudi women and enable them to contribute more to the academic and research community, the Al-Bilad Bank Chair Project for Food Security, which aims to develop sustainable research solutions, and its Climate Action 2030 initiative.

Source: arabnews.com

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Masam project clears 836 Houthi mines in Yemen

April 30, 2023

RIYADH: An ongoing Saudi program to clear landmines in Yemen saw 836 devices laid by the Iran-backed Houthis dismantled in the fourth week of April.

Overseen by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, special teams destroyed one anti-personnel mine, 217 anti-tank mines, 614 unexploded ordnance, and four other types of explosive devices.

The KSrelief project, known as Masam, is one of several initiatives undertaken by Saudi Arabia on the orders of King Salman to help the Yemeni people.

It clear routes for much-needed humanitarian aid aimed at supporting the country’s citizens.

The demining operations took place in Marib, Aden, Jouf, Shabwa, Taiz, Hodeidah, Lahij, Sanaa, Al-Bayda, Al-Dhale, and Saada.

A total of 396,558 mines have been cleared since the start of the project.

More than 1.2 million mines have been planted by the Houthis, claiming the lives of hundreds of civilians.

The project trains local demining engineers and provides them with modern equipment. It also offers support to Yemenis injured by the devices.

In June 2022, the project’s contract was extended for another year at a cost of $33.29 million.

Source: arabnews.com

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Saudi commission discusses developing design sector

April 30, 2023

RIYADH: The Saudi Architecture and Design Commission organized an open meeting on Sunday in conjunction with the celebration of International Design Day, which falls on April 27 each year.

The meeting reviewed the role of design and its ability to effect positive change. It also reviewed the commission’s role in developing the design sectors.

The commission’s CEO Dr. Sumaya Al-Sulaiman addressed the commission’s objectives under the “Square Strategy,” which reflects the aspiration to launch a new era for architecture and design in Saudi Arabia.

The meeting is part of a series of open meetings that the commission has been organizing as a channel of communication and social engagement. It aims to enrich the cultural landscape of architecture and design, provide a space for constructive dialogues, and exchange visions and ideas to advance the sector. 

The main objectives of the strategy include developing the sector, contributing to the gross domestic product, fostering talent, obtaining global recognition, achieving sustainability, and supporting innovation. 

Al-Sulaiman said that the commission focuses on impacting the lives of practitioners in the field by providing job opportunities in the creative sectors.

This will be facilitated through simplifying licensing procedures to regulate design professions and raise the quality of output, she said. 

Holding events to create a space for Saudi professionals to network while bringing in the latest insights and ideas through direct investment and support for academic institutions in the field will also contribute to the growth of the sector, Al-Sulaiman added.

Source: arabnews.com

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Saudi shield initiative to train 3,000 mentors in drug prevention

April 30, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education launched the second phase of the Shield initiative for public education, one of the initiatives of the National Drug Control Strategy, to train mentors in educational institutions and proactively protect students from the dangers of drugs.

The project aims to equip students with knowledge and life skills and enhance their participation in community development.

The ministry hopes to train over 3,000 student mentors across all education departments through programs that will qualify them in awareness-building and prevention methods in the fight against drug abuse.

During the first phase of the Shield initiative, the Ministry of Education trained over 100 mentors in all education departments, helping to raise community awareness of the harms of drugs and promote positive behavior in students.

Source: arabnews.com

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Indian minister’s Saudi visit to boost strategic partnership

April 30, 2023

NEW DELHI: India’s junior foreign minister will seek to further the country’s strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia when he arrives in Riyadh on Monday, according to New Delhi.

Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan will also visit Bahrain as part of a five-day trip, which includes meeting his counterparts and the Indian diaspora in both countries, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said on Sunday.

Muraleedharan’s visit comes after India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar made his first official trip to Saudi Arabia in September. He and his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, co-chaired the inaugural ministerial meeting of the Committee on Political, Security, Social and Cultural Cooperation under the framework of the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council.

Saudi-Indian ties reached new highs when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Delhi in February 2019. In October that year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Riyadh at the invitation of King Salman, and the Strategic Partnership Council was established.

The partnership is focused on political issues, security, sociocultural relations and defense corporation.

While in Riyadh, Muraleedharan will meet Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Al-Khuraiji as well as various Indian companies and organizations. On Wednesday, he will visit the Eastern Province to meet its top leaders.

The trip comes just days after Muraleedharan’s visit to Jeddah, where he coordinated the evacuation of Indian nationals from Sudan under Operation Kaveri.

Observers said Saudi Arabia’s support for the operation had helped bolster relations between India and the Kingdom as most Indians were evacuated by sea through the port of Jeddah.

Delhi said it was extremely grateful to the Kingdom on Thursday, when the first group of evacuees from Sudan reached the Indian capital after fleeing intense fighting that has so far killed over 500 people and injured at least 4,200 others.

After visiting the Kingdom, Muraleedharan will travel to Bahrain, where he “will hold discussions with various dignitaries and meet Indian community organizations,” the ministry said.

Source: arabnews.com

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Africa

 

Togo President Faure GnassingbeSays 140 People Killed In Jihadist 'War'

01-05-23

Around 40 soldiers and 100 civilians have been killed in a jihadist "war" in northern Togo, President Faure Gnassingbe has said, in a ground-breaking interview.

The small West African nation, along with neighbouring Benin, Ghana and Ivory Coast, is increasingly facing threats of a jihadist spillover from Burkina Faso and Mali.

"We have paid a heavy price, especially our defence and security forces, who have lost around 40 men unfortunately, and then we add civilian victims, a hundred or so civilian victims in the country," Faure Gnassingbe said in an interview with local private station New World TV broadcast on Thursday. The president's family has ruled Togo since 1967.

The interview -- his first since taking over from his father in 2005 -- marked mark the 63rd anniversary of the country's independence from France.

"What is happening to us is a form of aggression by two groups... one is called the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara and the other, the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims," he said, referring to a group linked to al-Qaeda. This campaign by "two terrorist organisations... is a form of war," said Gnassingbe.

The president said a three-tiered strategy had been put in place to confront the threat, including launching a military operation known as Koundjoare in September 2018.

"It was a preventive operation at first, which then became defensive, and now occasionally we are also on the offensive," he said.

The 56-year-old, reelected three times in polls contested by the opposition, addressed concerns over the government and military's choice to stay mum over the more frequent attacks when questioned by the media including AFP.

"There is something indecent about proclaiming someone's death," he said.

"It is not because we don't issue statements that we don't have successes. We do have successes."

Members of the political opposition and civil society have often criticised the authorities' silence over the situation in the north.

An official asking to remain anonymous recently told AFP that this was "a choice, because we have to protect our defence and security forces."

- Thousands displaced -

Gnassingbe warned the Togolese people "should expect a long fight with dramatic moments, which is is inevitable in times of war."

"But I want to assure my countrymen that in the end, we will win," he said.

In addition to military operations, he said the government had set up "an interministerial committee for the prevention and fight against violent extremism."

The aim, he said, was "to try and deradicalise or prevent radicalisation, because it is men, young people, who are being used to conduct these attacks."

The president said that nearly 12,000 people had been from their homes by the government in order to "better protect the border."

The region is also hosting people displaced from Burkina Faso, and the president said that about half of the 100 civilians killed in the jihadist "war" in the north were not Togolese citizens.

Earlier this month, the country's parliament voted to extend a state of emergency in the north, a measure that allows security forces and local authorities more flexibility to take urgent measures to combat threats from militant groups.

Source: africanews.com

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Port Sudan the exit point for some foreign nationals

30-04-23

Port Sudan has become a focus for foreign nationals hoping to escape the violence by sea -- with passenger ships making crossings to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

But despite the huge numbers trying to get out, there are some who are making their way back to the war torn country so they can be with their families.

One passenger said: "Death will find us anywhere, it is important we are with our families."

Warring factions trying to seize control of the east African nation of Sudan have plunged the country into chaos with at least 400 dead and thousands displaced.

Water and food are in short supply.

One woman told how she had left her one-and-a-half year old child at home while she went on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

"I'm suffering a lot 'til I found a ticket," she said.

At Port Sudan hundreds of displaced people from all over the world were waiting to try and leave on a ferry.

A woman, who was also displaced by the Syrian war, said "We are suffering. Even in Syria we didn't see war like this."

The violence is a result of a struggle for power between two powerful generals and their armies: Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, who leads the Sudanese armed forces, and Gen. Mohammed HamdanDagalo, the head of a paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces.

Source: africanews.com

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51 South Africans evacuated from Sudan return home

30-05-23

Following an anxious wait for their families in the arrivals hall of Johannesburg's OR Tambo airport, more than fifty South African citizens return home after being evacuated from Sudan following clashes between two rival generals.

A ministerial delegation headed by South Africa's international relations minister NalediPandor is there to greet them. "It was traumatic... it feels good to be back home in our own country," evacuee Nelson Newel says.

All South Africans including the ambassador to Sudan are now back home.

"Mixed feelings, I'm excited to be home, I'm very said for the people of Sudan because I made some good friends and I've left some staff members and colleagues behind." says  AshwiinRamraj, evacuated from Sudan.

"It feels very good man, it feels good to be safe, it feels good not to be worrying about bombs, ja it was very tough that side."

Foreign nations have scrambled to evacuate thousands of their citizens by air, road and sea since the fighting plunged the country into deadly turmoil on April 15.

"We just want South Africa to be assured because all of us have been waiting for you to come back, and we are absolutely happy that you have been able safely return home."  international relations minister NalediPandor told journalists.

President Cyril Ramaphosa had initially said there were 77 South Africans who had been rescued a few days ago.

Source: africanews.com

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Sudan's former PM warns the country staring at worst civil war

01-05-23

Sudan's former prime ministerAbdallaHamdok has issued red flag over the ongoing violence in his country warning the clashes could deteriorate into one of the worst civil wars than those experience in Syria and Libya if the fighting is not stopped.

The former premier is now calling for a truce between the warring generals from both the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces.

The former leader further insisted that there should be a defined role of the military in Sudan rather than engaging in politics and the leadership of the country.

Hamdok was answering questions for Mo Ibrahim who is the founder of the Ibrahim Foundation when he also called for a strong and unified approach by the international community in helping end the conflict that poses greater risk to millions of Sudanese.

The fighting is the culmination of a power struggle between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed HamdanDaglo, head of the RSF and also known as Hemeti.

The violence has killed at least 528 people and wounded about 4,600, the health ministry said, but those figures are likely to be incomplete, with fighting in 12 out of Sudan's 18 states.

Khartoum authorities on Sunday put civil servants on open-ended leave "due to the security situation".

The UN World Food Programme has warned the unrest could plunge millions more into hunger in a country where 15 million people already need aid to stave off famine.

Source: africanews.com

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