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Islamic World News ( 3 Nov 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Lollywood, Maulviwood, Hollywood—Pakistani actor attacked for Bushra Bibi Halloween costume

New Age Islam News Bureau

03 November 2022

Yawar Iqbal as Bushra Bibi for Halloween | Yawar Iqbal/Instagram


• Taliban-Carrying Bus Explosion in Afghan Capital Injures 7 People

• 140 civilian homes demolished by YPG/PKK terrorists in Syria

• Palestinians fear a Netanyahu win in Israeli election could lead to more violence

• Mumbai Police register FIR against 4 Muslim clerics for 'hurting religious sentiments'

• China, Pakistan express opposition to 'politicisation' of counter-terrorism issue

• Ethiopia warring parties agree to cease hostilities

• Religious accommodations for Sikhs in Marine Corps backed by Muslim, Jewish groups

• Briton who petrol bombed migrant center ‘posted anti-Muslim rants online’: Metro



• Pakistan ambassador calls for deeper trade ties with US

• Christian community wants Islamabad LG polls postponed due to Christmas

• Taliban militants claim responsibility for 43 attacks in Pakistan

• Pakistan's Religious Affairs Minister visits Ahmed Al-Fateh Islamic Centre

• Four years on, provinces failed to protect rights of transgenders: Federal Sharia Court

• Pak minister claims Imran Khan is inviting martial law

• Pakistan seeks explanation on Russian lawmaker's nukes claim

• Pakistanis named among 'The World's Most Influential 500 Muslims'

• Award in Reko Diq case a ‘nuclear bomb’: SC judge

• Islamabad police seek ‘armed units’ to protect anti-riot personnel during long march

• ATC acquits six MQM leaders in three cases of listening to Altaf’s speeches

• Imran Khan wants appointment of new COAS on merit


South Asia

• UNAMA Records Over 200 Reporter Human Rights Abuses Since Taliban Took Control

• Journalists Safety Committee Reacts to Afghan TV Channel Shut Down

• 'Afghanistan Is Hell': Supporters Of Late Afghan General Claim Taliban Killings, Persecution


Arab World

• In Bahrain, pope's message may get caught in Shi'ite-Sunni Muslim divide

• Iran says report about Iranian threats against Saudi Arabia a ‘baseless accusation’

• Arab summit supports Palestinians, calls for political solution in Syria

• Arab League: Officials push for joint Arab action to tackle current challenges

• Syria backs ally Iran amid ‘attack’: Foreign minister

• Indonesian President Joko Widodo wins Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace Award

• Forthcoming elections solely aimed at strengthening tyranny in Bahrain, prominent Shia cleric says

• Saudi Arabia intensifies targeting dissidents in US using Israeli spyware

• Iraq's new PM hopes to continue hosting Iran-Saudi Arabia fence-mending talks

• Saudi dissidents targeted in US, other Western countries amid crackdown: Report

• Britain’s 1917 Balfour Declaration to blame for Israeli crimes in Palestine: Syria



• Iran sanctions several Canadian officials, entity over 'terror support'

• Erdogan says he wants to maintain Israel ties regardless of election outcome

• Russia tells Iran Western media trying to stir Gulf tensions

• Khamenei accuses West of manipulating Amini protests

• Iran's Leader: US Surly to Pay Price for Assassination of Gen. Soleimani

• Israeli troops kill Palestinian man who drove van into solider

• Iranian Speaker Underlines US Harms to International Community

• Analysis: Arabs view revived Netanyahu with concern but as balance against Iran

• Anger in Iran at ‘forced confession’ of jailed rapper

• Iran to send team to Austria to discuss nuclear work with IAEA

• Turkey says Russia concerned over security, exports in grain deal

• Iran police to probe video of officers beating man: Reports

• Yemen security forces bust Houthi cell in Shabwa

• Palestinian prisoner’s wife says they aren’t allowed to meet; tactic to 'demoralize prisoners'



• Supreme Court affirms death penalty of LeT terrorist in 2000 Red Fort attack case

• In First, Gujarat High Court Quashes FIR Under 'Anti-Love Jihad Law'

• Muslims Face Terror Charges in India’s Assam for Setting up Museum

• After Nov 15, UP govt to take a call on 8K ‘unauthorised’ madrasas

• 7 Kerala VCs move court against governor’s notice

• Uttar Pradesh: Girl hangs self hours after kin 'beat' Muslim beau to death in Saharanpur

• Kodathi Vilakku and Muslim munsiff connection

• Rishi Raj and after: Liberal fallacy of connecting India’s plurality with a Muslim Prime Minister

• China, Pakistan claim ‘politicisation’ of terror issue, rake up Kashmir


Southeast Asia

• 'I am deeply concerned about security of Chinese people in Pakistan,' Xi tells Sharif

• Landmark book on Muslim family law launched

• Indonesia, Muslim World League hold first-ever G20 religion forum

• GE15: Candidates, party leaders, workers prohibited from taking over as imam and khatib in Perak, says state Islamic Religious Dept

• VP Amin, ADFP discuss collaboration in promoting moderate Islam

• GTA fields Islamist hardliner and former Ummah, Isma leader Aminuddin Yahaya in Temerloh

• Malaysian Christians urged to vote responsibly

• Dr Mahathir: GTA will free government from yoke of criminals



• Gunmen kidnap 21 children from farm in Nigeria

• 4, including paramedics, abducted by suspected al-Shabaab terrorists in Kenya

• US targets weapons trafficking with sanctions on Islamic State in Somalia

• Ethiopian government, Tigray rebels sign cease-fire deal ending 2-year war

• Ohanaeze kicks as Miyetti Allah demands creation of ministry of nomadic affairs

• Heat and tremors: Survivors of Somalia's deadly car bombings narrate harrowing stories


North America

• US to act unilaterally against terrorist threats from Afghanistan

• US moves to remove ‘unfit’ Iran from UN women's commission



• UK: Muslim students launch campaign to disaffiliate from NUS after Shaima Dallali sacking

• Is Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s elevation dividing British Muslims?

• Czech Republic to close its embassy in Afghan capital

• British Prime Minister Sunak pivots to attend UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt

• German chancellor praises Türkiye's efforts to keep Ukraine grain deal in force

• British army veteran Shareef Amin nicknamed ‘Rambo’ after surviving Russian attack in Ukraine

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Lollywood, Maulviwood, Hollywood—Pakistani actor attacked for Bushra Bibi Halloween costume


2 November, 2022

Yawar Iqbal as Bushra Bibi for Halloween | Yawar Iqbal/Instagram


New Delhi: A Pakistani actor has caused a stir over his choice of costume for Halloween. Yawar Iqbal has drawn flak for dressing up as Bushra Bibi—former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s third and current wife. Criticism has been swift and intense, bringing the hijab back into focus.

As calls for apologies grow louder, the actor has now made his Instagram account private and removed his profile photo.

But ‘damage’ has been done. Images of Iqbal in an all-white ensemble, channelling the former First Lady of Pakistan, is now a meme of choice on social media.

His costume has sparked massive outrage and angered various factions in the country. Some have called him out for being ‘disrespectful’ to Bushra Bibi, while others have accused him of mocking the hijab. Many have called his outfit ‘anti-feminist’ and accused him of “ridiculing” a woman’s personal style of dressing.

Actor Areeba Habib unwittingly stepped into the controversy by sharing a picture of Iqbal in his Halloween get-up on social media.

Lollywood, Maulviwood, Hollywood

Yawar Iqbal’s costume was quite convincing. He wore a white hijab, abaya and niqab and completed his look with a handbag and a pair of sunglasses.

In the viral Instagram picture, he was seen posing with producer Asad ul-Haq and his wife, Farah. He captioned it, “Lollywood, Maulviwood and Hollywood.”

Iqbal soon posted another selfie with his stylist Tabesh Ali Khoja, captioned ‘Pinky and me’. ‘Pinky’ is a nickname Pakistani media often uses for Bushra Bibi.

Pakistani celebrities in soup

It isn’t just Iqbal—all those responsible for helping the actor put his look together, or resharing it on social media handles, have been caught in the crossfire.

Nabila salon, a high-end beauty parlour responsible for the actor’s makeup, is being criticised for creating this look and for “making fun of the Hijab.” Some are even urging people to boycott their business.

Areeba Habib, a Pakistani model and television actor, was also criticised for sharing Iqbal’s viral look on her Instagram story. She was condemned for supporting “such a frivolous sense of humour”. Habib shared a brief public apology post the backlash, attributing her misjudgment to ‘human error’ and ‘ignorance.’ While reiterating her respect for Islam and the hijab, Habib said she only wanted to appreciate the designer and makeup artist.

Meanwhile, some Twitter users are quoting Iqbal’s example to comment on how celebrities and the country’s elite are “touching new lows.”


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Taliban-Carrying Bus Explosion in Afghan Capital Injures 7 People

By Saqalain Eqbal

November 2, 2022

Seven people were injured by a blast that struck a bus carrying Taliban administration personnel in Kabul, the Afghan capital, on Wednesday morning, according to Taliban security officials.


The Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development employees were traveling in a transport vehicle when it was targeted in an explosion in Kabul city’s police district 5, according to Taliban Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran.

The Taliban security official, Zadran, stated that the explosion in Kabul injured at least 7 people, who are said to be the administrative employees of the Taliban.

Khalid Zadran further stated that the explosion that injured at least 7 people on Wednesday, November 2, was caused by the detonation of a roadside mine.

No group or organization has so far claimed responsibility for the explosion in Kabul. However, the Khorasan branch of the ISIS terrorist group has claimed responsibility for other recent similar explosions.

Five medical staff working for Taliban security forces were slain last month in a shooting attack on a vehicle in western Afghanistan, which the Islamic State claimed responsibility for.

The recent incidents show that the Taliban’s assertions that they have maintained security in the country are futile, as the group itself suffered losses in the recent explosions and attacks.

Source: Khaama Press

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140 civilian homes demolished by YPG/PKK terrorists in Syria

Ethem Emre Özcan  


The YPG/PKK terrorist group has demolished 140 civilian homes in al-Hasakah city’s East Ghweran and al-Zuhour neighborhoods in northeast Syria, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The New York-based rights group said YPG/PKK terrorists, who rebranded themselves as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), raided several neighborhoods in the period between Jan. 21 and Feb. 11 while “trying to capture fleeing detainees and Daesh/ISIS fighters who attacked a nearby prison.”

HRW said Daesh/ISIS terrorists attacked al-Sina’a prison in Ghweran neighborhood on Jan. 20, sparking a 10-day battle with YPG/PKK terrorists, who were supported by US and UK ground and air forces as part of a US-led coalition against Daesh/ISIS.

“The US provides the SDF with hundreds of millions of dollars in technical and financial support,” the rights group said.

The UN said its analysis of satellite imagery relating to 40 affected buildings in neighborhoods near the prison revealed that some had been destroyed by “military grade bulldozers.”

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Palestinians fear a Netanyahu win in Israeli election could lead to more violence

02 November, 2022

Palestinians clash with Israeli forces during a protest demanding Israel reopen closed roads leading to Nablus, in Deir Sharaf, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, October 20, 2022. (Reuters)


The prospect of Benjamin Netanyahu returning to power at the head of one of the most right-wing coalitions in Israeli history has prompted concern among Palestinians who said they feared it was a prelude to further escalation of conflict with Israel.

Netanyahu’s comeback in Tuesday’s election is set against the backdrop of the deadliest spell of violence in years between Israel and the Palestinians, whose hopes of statehood appear as distant as ever with Middle East peacemaking in the doldrums.

More than 100 Palestinians from the Israeli-occupied West Bank have been killed by Israeli forces this year while a string of fatal street attacks by Palestinians has killed 20 people in Israel and Israeli settlements.

Palestinian officials in the West Bank and Gaza Strip said the ultra-nationalist complexion of Netanyahu's likely alliance, including the firebrand Itamar Ben-Gvir, who once advocated expelling Palestinians, prompted concern over further tension.

“No doubt the result of such a coalition will increase the hostile attitude towards the Palestinian people and make occupation measures more extreme,” Bassam Salhe, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, told Reuters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The Palestinian group Hamas, which has fought several wars with Israel over the last decade, predicted the results meant more potential violence.

“It is clear that the Israelis are leaning towards more extremism, which also means aggression against our people would increase,” Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem told Reuters.

“Netanyahu-led governments that launched several wars against our Palestinian people, and the presence of the most extreme figures in a coalition means that we are going to face more of the Zionist terrorism,” Qassem told Reuters.

“No peace”

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Palestinian Authority exercises limited autonomy over Palestinian towns and cities in the West Bank, declined to comment on the preliminary election results, saying they would await the final outcome.

While negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel have been at a standstill, the sides have had contacts this year, with Abbas meeting Defense Minister Benny Gantz to calm tensions and coordinate security measures.

In September, Abbas welcomed Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s call for a two-state solution as a “positive development.”

Netanyahu, by contrast, has long opposed a Palestinian state.

Reham Owda, a Palestinian political analyst in Gaza, said the peace process and the Palestinian Authority, in particular, may be the prime loser of a Netanyahu comeback, given his “personal enmity with ... Abbas and his opposition to the two-state solution.”

“With Netanyahu, the slogan will be, no peace, no two-state solution, more settlement and the focus will be on Iran,” she told Reuters. “His biggest challenge will be how to regain calm in the West Bank, face Palestinian escalating resistance, and protect settlements and settlers.”

In the latest West Bank violence, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian man on Wednesday after a suspected car-ramming attack at a checkpoint that left a soldier severely injured, Palestinian and Israeli officials said.

Violence also escalated in August in Gaza. At least 49 people including 17 children were killed in 56 hours of fighting that started with what Israel described as preemptive air strikes against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, which fired hundreds of missiles into Israel during the flare-up.

“The Palestinian people will get nothing from this government except war, destruction, killing, bloodshed, house demolition, razing of land and the building of more settlements at the expense of the Palestinian people,” said Youssef Khattab, a TV director in Gaza.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Mumbai Police register FIR against 4 Muslim clerics for 'hurting religious sentiments'

November 02, 2022

The Mumbai Police have registered an FIR against four Muslim clerics for allegedly hurting sentiments of the Shia community, an official said on Wednesday.

Based on a complaint by a Mumbai-based man, the JJ Marg police on Tuesday registered the case against the four accused hailing from Lucknow, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kashmir, he said.

"We have registered the FIR after receiving multiple applications. We have asked the complainant to submit the audio/video evidence. No arrest has been made so far. We are conducting a probe into the case," the official from the J J Marg police station said.

The complainant claimed that one of the accused had in September supported a Pakistan-based cleric as well as hurt the Shia community sentiments, the official said.

The complainant also charged the other three accused with hurting the religious sentiments and speaking against the nation, he said.

The FIR has been registered against the accused under Indian Penal Code Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc), 153-B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), the official said.

Source: TheWeek

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China, Pakistan express opposition to 'politicisation' of counter-terrorism issue

Nov 2, 2022

BEIJING: China and Pakistan on Wednesday expressed their opposition to the "politicisation" of the issue of counter-terrorism, days after India indirectly hit out at them for blocking its efforts to blacklist Pakistan-based key conspirators of the terror attacks on its soil who continue to remain "protected and unpunished" there.

A joint statement issued after wide-ranging talks between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif here, mentioned the Kashmir issue, saying the two sides "emphasised the importance of resolving all outstanding disputes through sincere dialogue."

"The two sides condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and expressed opposition to the politicisation of the issue of counter-terrorism," the joint statement said.

China reiterated that it recognised Pakistan's contributions and sacrifices in the fight against terrorism. “The two sides agreed to further enhance counter-terrorism cooperation to promote international peace and security," it said.

Last week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that when it comes to sanctioning terrorists, the United Nations Security Council has been "regrettably" unable to act in some cases because of "political considerations", in an apparent swipe at China which has blocked the UNSC sanction of Pakistan-based terrorists on several occasions.

In October, China put a hold on a proposal by India and the US at the United Nations to blacklist Pakistan-based militant Hafiz Talah Saeed, the son of Lashkar-e-Taiba chief and 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, who is already on UN's most wanted list.

It was the second time in less than two days that Beijing put a hold on the bid submitted by India and the US to designate a Pakistan-based terrorist as a global terrorist.

China placed a hold on the proposal by India and the US to designate Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Shahid Mahmood, 42, as a global terrorist under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.

This was the fifth occasion in four months that China put a hold on listing proposals to designate Pakistan-based terrorists under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee regime.

While there was no reference to the Kashmir issue in the lengthy statement issued by China on Xi's meeting with Sharif earlier, it figured in the joint statement.

"The two sides reiterated that a peaceful and prosperous South Asia is in the common interest of all parties. They emphasized the importance of resolving all outstanding disputes through sincere dialogue," the joint statement said.

"The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the situation in Jammu & Kashmir. The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir issue was a dispute left from history that should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements," it added.

India has previously rejected third party intervention on the Kashmir issue, saying that matters related to the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir are entirely its internal affairs.

"Other countries including China have no locus standi to comment. They should note that India refrains from the public judgment of their internal issues," the Ministry of External Affairs had said in March this year.

Source: Times Of India

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Ethiopia warring parties agree to cease hostilities

November 3, 2022

The warring sides in Ethiopia announced on Wednesday an agreement to silence their guns after two years of devastating conflict that have claimed thousands of lives and left millions needing aid in Africa’s second most populous country.

The surprise deal between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and Tigrayan rebels was unveiled after little over a week of negotiations led by the African Union in South Africa and was hailed by the UN and the US among others.

“We have agreed to permanently silence the guns and end the two years of conflict in northern Ethiopia,” the government and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said in a joint statement after marathon talks.

The breakthrough was announced by the African Union’s mediator, former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, almost exactly two years to the day since the war erupted in November 2020.

Read: Ethiopian disarray

“Today is the beginning of a new dawn for Ethiopia, for the Horn of Africa and indeed for Africa as a whole,” he said.

“The two parties in the Ethiopian conflict have formally agreed to the cessation of hostilities as well as the systematic, orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament,” Obasanjo said at a briefing in Pretoria.

They also agreed on a “restoration of law and order, restoration of services, unhindered access to humanitarian supplies, protection of civilians … among other areas of agreement”, he added.

It was not immediately clear how the deal would be monitored to ensure it was implemented, and there was no mention by Obasanjo of international and rebel calls for Eritrea’s feared army to withdraw from the battlefield.

‘Welcome first step’

Diplomatic efforts to bring Abiy’s government and the TPLF to the negotiating table had taken on renewed urgency after combat resumed in late August, torpedoing a five-month truce that had allowed limited amounts of aid into war-stricken Tigray.

The talks were launched on Tuesday last week and were initially scheduled to run until Sunday but were extended.

They were the first formal dialogue between the two sides since the start of the conflict that had raised concerns about the stability of Ethiopia and the volatile Horn of Africa region.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres hailed Obasanjo’s announcement as “a welcome first step” that could “bring some solace” to millions of suffering civilians, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

Editorial: Ethiopia conflict

The United States also described it as an “important step towards peace”, with State Department spokesman Ned Price hoping it would lead to a “durable cessation of hostilities to set the stage for an end to human rights abuses and atrocities”.

The delegations in Pretoria said it was now up to both sides to honour the agreement, while Abiy himself vowed a “strong” commitment to its implementation.

The head of the government team, Abiy’s national security adviser Redwan Hussein, praised the sides for their “constructive engagement to allow the country to put this tragic period of conflict behind us”.

Tigrayan delegation chief Getachew Reda said they were ready to “implement and expedite this agreement”, adding: “In order to address the pains of our people, we have made concessions because we have to build trust.”

Dire shortages

The war has forced well over two million people from their homes, and according to US estimates killed as many as half a million.

Despite the peace process in Pretoria, intense fighting had continued unabated in Tigray, where government troops backed by the Eritrean army and regional forces waged artillery bombardments and air strikes, capturing a string of towns from the rebels.

The international community had voiced increasing alarm over the combat and the toll among civilians caught in the crossfire.

Asked about Eritrea, South Africa’s former vice president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who was facilitating the negotiations, said only: “These two parties (Ethiopia’s government and Tigrayan authorities) are not the only two groups that are relevant for peace to happen in Ethiopia.

“So we are entrusting them with the responsibility of going back home to socialise this agreement … to ensure that many more people embrace this agreement.”

Tigray, a region of six million people, has been under a communications blackout for much of the conflict, lacking basic services and facing dire shortages of food, fuel and medicines.

The conflict erupted on November 4, 2020, when Nobel peace laureate Abiy sent troops into Tigray after accusing the TPLF, the regional ruling party, of attacking federal army camps.

The fighting followed months of seething tensions between Abiy and the TPLF, which had dominated the ruling coalition in Ethiopia for almost three decades before he came to power in 2018.

Source: Dawn

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Religious accommodations for Sikhs in Marine Corps backed by Muslim, Jewish groups

By Mark A. Kellner

November 2, 2022

Members of the Sikh religion asking for Marine Corps accommodations for long hair and turbans have gained new allies, including a former secretary of the Army.

Attorneys representing three Sikh Marine Corp recruits — Jaskirat Singh, Aekash Singh and Milaap Singh Chahal — filed an appellate brief as they wait for a ruling on whether the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will grant an injunction allowing them to be inducted without having to cut their hair and shave their beards.

Muslim and Jewish groups, as well as a retired Jewish Army chaplain and an organization of Sikh Army veterans have filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting the Sikhs.

Wearing uncut hair and beards are two ritual requirements of Sikhism, a religion that has approximately 30 million adherents globally and an estimated 700,000 followers in the United States. Most males contain their hair in turbans.

Sikhs who enlist in the Army, Navy and Air Force are able to obtain religious exemptions for beards, long hair and turbans

The Marines told the three they could have beards and long hair after completing training, but the Sikhs and their advocates say the requirement not only impinges on their religious free exercise, but also would cause them to violate deeply held religious tenets.

Eric Fanning, Army secretary under President Obama, was joined by two retired Amy officers, Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling and Brig. Gen. R. Patrick Huston and retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Kendall in a brief supporting the appeal.

The four Pentagon veterans wrote, “Every other branch of the military has offered Sikhs religious accommodations, resulting in a track record of remarkable success, not disaster,” later adding, “the government’s claims of disruption defy credulity.”

They added, “Requiring a recruit to violate the tenets of his faith as a condition of participating in recruit training undermines recruits from within, withdrawing an important source of resilience when soldiers need it most. And telling adherents of one faith — but not others — that they cannot obtain comparable religious accommodations is no way to foster diversity or recruit a highly skilled fighting force.”

Support also came from the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the American Islamic Congress, which also filed a brief supporting the Sikhs. The two organizations asserted Marine Corps restrictions close off that avenue of military service for Sikhs, Muslims, Jews and Native Americans.

“Forcing religious minorities to make the impossible choice between duty to their country and duty to their God causes immense — and irreparable — harm,” the Muslim groups argued.

Other briefs supporting the Sikh Marina recruits came from retired Army chaplain Jacob Goldstein, who received a religious accommodation to keep his full-length beard; the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty, the Anti-Defamation League and the Interfaith Alliance; and the Sikh American Veterans Alliance and the Women Veterans and Families Network.

• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at

Source: Washington Times

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Briton who petrol bombed migrant center ‘posted anti-Muslim rants online’: Metro

November 02, 2022

LONDON: The man police say petrol bombed an immigration facility in the UK on Sunday appears to have been motivated by far-right causes based on his social media posts, Metro reported.

Andrew Leak threw homemade explosives over the wall of the Western Jet Foil center in Dover. He was later found dead at a nearby petrol station.

Leak’s Facebook posts may reveal his motives, though North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale described the 66-year-old as suffering from “severe mental health difficulties.”

An investigation by counterterrorism police into the attack and Leak’s death has been launched, but authorities have refused to comment on possible motives.

A series of posts shared by Leak show a pattern of Islamophobia, racism and invective against migrants in the UK.

On Aug. 9, he posted: “The next time the job center sanctions your money for not looking for enough work ask them about the thousands of people getting benefits who cannot speak English and cannot write English. How are they looking for work?

“Unemployment benefits clearly state you cannot claim benefits if not looking for work. All of these people should be excluded from benefits.

“You can clearly not look for work if you cannot read English or speak English. They are breaking the law, time to stand up.”

Another post by Leak on July 24 said: “All Muslims are guilty of grooming, they never spoke out because it wasn’t their daughters.

“They only rape non-Muslims. That’s a religious hate crime.”

Leak also appeared to dislike the royal family, with one post at the beginning of the year criticizing the then Prince of Wales.

He said: “Prince Charles says he’s going to house Ukrainian refugees in one of his properties that belongs to the British people. What about soldiers and members of the public sleeping in doorways?

“Disgrace. End the royal family now.”

Source: Arab News

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Pakistan ambassador calls for deeper trade ties with US

November 2, 2022

WASHINGTON: Islamabad offered ideal conditions for American investors and entrepreneurs to explore, invest and expand their businesses in Pakistan, Ambassador Masood Khan told a delegation of young businessmen from Pakistan on a visit to the United States.

In this regard, the envoy cited factors such as a consumer market of 230 million, a median age of 22, a fast-growing middle class, more than 110 million mobile broadband subscribers, and a tech-savvy young human resource.

The delegation is visiting the US on the Professional Fellows Programme (Entrepreneurship) offered by the State Department in partnership with the University of Oklahoma.

The programme empowers, connects and supports the next generation of young entrepreneurs from the four South Asian emerging economies — Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka — by providing them with the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers.

The fellows work with entrepreneurs in Oklahoma who focus on the same business sectors as them and learn the best practices from each other. This year five successful, creative, innovative youth entrepreneurs were selected from Pakistan out of a total of 20 participants from four different countries.

In his remarks to the delegation, Ambassador Khan described the entrepreneurs as engines of growth,  and with their talent and expertise are the architects of the country’s bright future.”

He congratulated young entrepreneurs on being selected for the programme and getting an opportunity to represent the country on an international stage. He also appreciated the utility of such exchange programmes and advised the participants to use the opportunity as a platform to further strengthen their networks and forge robust professional linkages.

While highlighting the impressive performance of Pakistan’s exports to the US market, he acknowledged that in the past 18 months, the Pakistan-based tech startups alone have earned around $1.5 billion out of which 60 percent has been funded by American venture capital firms.

Top VC firms — such as Kleiner Perkins, Tiger Global Management and Sequoia Capital — have started funding successful Pakistan startups at the pre-seed, seed and incubation stages.

Khan emphasised the need for a continued engagement between Pakistan and the United States to further promote trade and investment as well as to enhance cooperation in the health, agriculture and tech sectors.

Concerted efforts were being made, he said, to create strong linkages at all levels including government-to-government, business-to-business and most importantly people-to-people contacts.

Responding to the questions, the ambassador said that Pakistan is streamlining its tax system to attract more tech startups, and also taking additional steps to build tourism infrastructure sufficiently equipped to host foreign tourists.

He also identified several business opportunities for entrepreneurs to link up with their potential counterparts.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Christian community wants Islamabad LG polls postponed due to Christmas

November 3, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Christian community of the federal capital has written a letter to the chief election commissioner (CEC) to postpone local bodies elections in the city as they will be coinciding with Christmas and will affect preparations for the festival.

Manzoor Masih, member minorities of the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), in the letter, stated that the NCHR’s vision was to see a progressive Pakistan where human rights of all faiths, races and ethnicity were respected and celebrated.

“Through our dedicated team across Pakistan, NCHR is committed towards fulfilling its mandate of promoting and protecting the human rights of all citizens. Being the NCHR member minorities, I want to bring the concern of Christian residents of Islamabad to your kind notice regarding the election of local government in Islamabad Capital Territory being held on Dec 24. The day of polling is not suitable for the Christian residents of Islamabad as majority of them will be busy in preparation for Christmas,” he added.

Source: Dawn

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Taliban militants claim responsibility for 43 attacks in Pakistan

3 November, 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], November 3 (ANI): The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for carrying out 43 attacks in 18 districts of Pakistan, saying that most of the time it was either in retaliation or in defence, according to the report published by TTP.

According to the report, most of the attacks were carried out in Khyber Agency. In Khyber, 9 attacks were taken out by militants, North Waziristan 6, Dera Ismail Khan 4, Lakki Marwat: 4, Bajaur Agency: 3, South Waziristan: 2, Charsadda: 2, Bannu: 2, and Peshawar: 2

In addition to it one attack each was carried out in Karachi, Lahore, Kohat, Chaman, Pishin, Tank, Nowshera, Karak, and Mardan.

Earlier, the report issued by its media wing ” Umar Media”, claimed that overall 113 security personnel including 60 troops, 30 policemen, 19 FC, and 4 intelligence agencies personnel were killed and injured. Five vehicles and 03 constructions of security forces were destroyed. Militants got two AK 47 rifles, 1 G3 gun, and 1 LMG as booty. Ten militants were also killed in clashes and raids.

Earlier, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West raised concerns about increasing attacks by TTP in Pakistan.

“The [increase in] attacks led by banned TTP is a challenge that Pakistan has been dealing with,” said US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Afghanistan in a recent interview, as quoted by The News International newspaper.

Over US ties with the Afghan Taliban, West said: “I don’t believe that there will be any practical partnership between the US and Taliban.”

He pointed out that the Taliban’s harboring of slain Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was a clear violation of the Doha agreement.

The warning on TTP-led violence was given amid a sharp rise in attacks in recent months that has set alarm bells ringing in both Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Pakistan media reports have flagged the growing presence of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in the northwest part of the country, following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August last year.

Earlier this month, Pakistan’s State Minister for Law Shahadat Hussain conceded that terror activities had increased sharply.

The highest number of terror incidents in Pakistan this year was recorded in September. An Islamabad-based think tank pointed to the resumption of attacks by the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.

The number of terror attacks increased in September compared to August this year, the Dawn said in an earlier report citing the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS).

September witnessed 42 militant attacks with an increase of 35 per cent compared to August. The Pakistani think tank also observed an increase of 106 per cent in violence in erstwhile Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Source: ThePrint

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Pakistan's Religious Affairs Minister visits Ahmed Al-Fateh Islamic Centre

02 Nov 2022

Manama, Nov. 2 (BNA): Pakistani Minister of Religious Affairs, Mufti Abdul Shakur Sardar Khan, has paid a visit to the Ahmed Al-Fateh Islamic Centre, where he was welcomed by the Head of Religious Guidance, Shaikh Farahat Al Kindy.

During the visit, the Pakistani minister was briefed about the features and facilities of Ahmed Al-Fateh Islamic Centre, which is the largest mosque in the Kingdom, and is characterised by its splendid Islamic architectural style.

He toured the historical monument, expressing his admiration for the urban style, designs and Islamic inscriptions of the Al-Fateh Grand Mosque, which is a cultural landmark that reflects one of the aspects of the kingdom's urban and civilisational progress.


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Four years on, provinces failed to protect rights of transgenders: Federal Sharia Court

Nov 3, 2022

Four years after the Transgender Persons (Protection of Riqhts) Act, 2O18, was enacted, provincial governments have failed to satisfactorily implement it with quotas to hire people who are transgender in different departments mostly lying vacant.

This was disclosed in a report submitted by the federal human rights ministry submitted to the Federal Sharia Court. The report was subsequently taken up on Wednesday by a two member bench of the court led by Justice Syed Muhammad Anwar as it heard a case on the implementation of the 2018 law.

Reviewing the report, the court expressed its dissatisfaction, noting that data from Punjab was incomplete. The report added that Sindh had failed to hire any person who is transgender

Moreover, the ministry told the court that according to the data collected from different ministries, none of them could fully implement the quota for employing people who are transgender.

The court directed the ministry to submit a report complete with all requisite data on the implementation of transgender’s quota on employment.

The ministry conceded that data in the report for Punjab was incomplete as the provincial government failed to collect and provide it to the ministry.

Justice Anwar remarked that the implementation of the law would have protected the rights of people who are transgender.

He further asked that the law was passed in 2018, why have the provinces failed to implement it during the extended intervening period.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, how has been opposed to recently introduced transgender law in the upper house of parliament, said that after passing the law, some 28,000 people had approached the National Database and Regulatory Authority (Nadra) for record correction while the federal government allocated a hefty amount for the welfare of transgenders.

Moreover, Senator Ahmed urged the court to ask the government to submit a report on the funds it had received and one which it had spent from the transgender welfare fund.

Meanwhile, the court also directed ministry of human rights to submit a reply over questions raised by Senator Ahmed.


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Pak minister claims Imran Khan is inviting martial law

Nov 3, 2022 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that PTI chairman Imran Khan wanted martial law in the country which reflected his "fascist" and "autocratic" mindset.

In a statement on Wednesday, she said that innocent people were losing lives due to the "bloody march" of the former Prime Minister, "who is bent upon creating chaos and anarchy to satisfy his ego in achieving ulterior motives", The Express Tribune reported.

She said that the "foreign-funded fitna (mischief)" had admitted that he was in pain for not getting an opportunity to appoint the new army chief but in fact, it was Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's constitutional rights to make the appointment.

The "mark of disgrace" was clearly visible on his (Khan) face, she said, adding: "The people are fully aware that Imran Khan is a thief, dacoit, liar, incompetent and foreign-funded fitna... Imran's conspiracies will not work."

Aurangzeb asked why Khan had failed to produce a single piece of evidence against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in a court of law to prove the false cases filed by the PTI government, The Express Tribune reported.

"If Rana Sanaullah is a murderer then why did your government arrest him on the fake charges of carrying drugs," she said, adding where were the proofs and videos that his government claimed to have against the Interior Minister.

Aurangzeb said it was Khan's government which allowed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif to go abroad.

Source: Times Of India

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Pakistan seeks explanation on Russian lawmaker's nukes claim

Nov 3, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has sought an explanation from Russia over a Russian lawmaker’s claim that Pakistan and Ukraine had discussed technologies to develop nuclear weapons.

Igor Morozov, a Russian senator, claimed on Tuesday that Ukrainian specialists (of nuclear technology) travelled to Pakistan and also received a delegation from Islamabad to discuss technologies for making nuclear weapons.

“We are surprised by such an unfounded and baseless statement. It is without any rationale, and is entirely inconsistent with the spirit of Pakistan-Russia relations,” the Pakistan foreign ministry said hours after the Russian legislator’s claim was reported by RIA Novosti, Russia’s state-owned news agency. “We are seeking clarification on this from Moscow,” Asim Iftikhar, the foreign office spokesperson, said. 

Mozorov, who is also a member of Russia’s Federation Council defence committee, had levelled the allegation against Pakistan at a press conference on “Nuclear Provocations in Ukraine: Who needs It?” His comments surfaced as Moscow has ramped up its rhetoric regarding Kyiv’s alleged preparations to use a radioactive “dirty bomb”.

The Russian lawmaker said Ukraine’s ability to produce a “dirty bomb” is not a secret to anyone. However, he contended the fundamental issue was lack of financing. “The threat is real,” Morozov said as he discussed Kyiv’s potential to use a “dirty bomb” as a provocation.

Source: Times Of India

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Pakistanis named among 'The World's Most Influential 500 Muslims'

2 Nov, 2022

The Jordan-based Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (RISSC) has released its latest list of World’s 500 most influential Muslim personalities.

A number of Pakistani politicians, religious personalities and a social activist have made it to the list, which consists of various categories.

In Top 50 category, religious scholar Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani has been placed at the sixth spot while the 32nd spot is reserved for scholar and preacher Maulana Tariq Jameel.

Maulana Nazur ur-Rehman, Amir of Tablighi Jamaat, is at the 42nd spot while Sheikh Muhammad Ilyas Attar Qadiri, Founder of Dawat-e-Islami Movement, is at the 50th place.

Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud has been placed at the top spot followed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Hajj Sayyid Ali Khamenei at the second place.

Here is the list of all Pakistanis named in the list of “The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims”.

Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani

Justice Sheikh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani is a leading scholar of Hadith, Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic finance. He is considered to be the intellectual head of the Deobandi School of Islamic learning, as well as an authority outside of the Deobandi School. He served as Judge of the Shari’at Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan from 1982 to May 2002.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan and former prime minister Imran Khan is the only from PakistanIn “Rulers and Politicians”

Maulana Tariq Jameel

Maulana Tariq Jameel is a prominent Deobandi scholar who is also one of the most popular preachers in Pakistan. He belongs to the Tablighi Jamaat group and his lectures focus on the subject of self-purification, avoidance of violence, observance of Allah’s orders and pursuing the way of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Maulana Nazur ur-Rehman

Maulana Nazur ur-Rehman is the fourth Amir of the Pakistani Tablighi Jamaat. He succeeded Hajji Abdul-Wahhab who passed away in November 2018, aged 96.

Sheikh Muhammad Ilyas Attar Qadiri

Sheikh Qadiri is an Islamic scholar belonging to the Qadri Razawi order and is the leader of Dawat-e-Islami, a global religious organization spread over 195 countries. Sheikh Muhammad Qadiri studied for 22 years under the former Grand Mufti of Pakistan, Sheikh Mufti Waqar udDin Qadri Razavi. He has authored over 30 books, including Faizan-e-Sunnat on the merits of good deeds.

Imran Khan

Imran Khan became the Prime Minister of Pakistan in 2018 amid huge expectations that he could bring the country forward on issues of governance, accountability and reduction of corruption. He endured a tough time before being ousted in April 2022 through a no-confidence motion. He has maintained that foreign interference played a major role in his ousting and pointed fingers at various institutions in the country. In August 2022, Khan himself was charged by the Pakistani police under anti-terror laws and is currently on bail. Khan still maintains massive popular support in the country as well as with the large and powerful Pakistani diaspora. His challenges are seen as part of the inevitable results of trying to change a system rife in corruption and of trying to reduce the role of the military.

Professor Akbar Ahmed

Professor Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at the American University in Washington, DC and the former Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland. In addition to his academic and public sector careers, Ahmed has produced a number of noteworthy films and authored more than a dozen award-winning books. He produced the Jinnah Quartet and feature film, Jinnah (1998). He was awarded the 2017 Sir Syed Day Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in Poetry, Literature, Arts and the Sciences and declared the 2017 Scholar/Teacher of the Year of the American University School of International Service. Ahmed was awarded the Diplomatic Leadership Award in 2019 from PakPac USA for outstanding academic endeavour. He has produced two films: Journey into America and Journey into Europe, which are both accompanied with books with the same titles.

Malala Yousufzai

Yousufzai’s rise to prominence began tragically when the Taliban shot her in a school bus for encouraging girls to go to school in Swat. After the assassination attempt, Malala was flown to England, where she recovered and continued her schooling. She received high-profile support for her campaign to ensure that all children worldwide be schooled. In 2013, Yousafzai addressed the UN, received the prestigious Sakharov Prize, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, which she co-received in 2014 at the age of 17, thereby becoming its youngest-ever recipient. She has been granted audiences with royalty and world leaders, and this along with her high-profile international exposure has led some in her native Pakistan to question whether she has overreached. Now graduated from Oxford University, books published and contracts from media companies, her global profile continues to rise.

Dr Farhat Hashmi

Dr Farhat Hashmi is an influential Islamic teacher, public speaker, and scholar. She is a prominent name in the burgeoning field of the role of women in Islam. In addition to the academic aspects of Islamic teachings, Hashmi also focuses on its relatable and practical aspects, thereby ensuring that her message resonates with a multitude of women across the globe. She holds a PhD in Hadith Sciences from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. She is the Founder of Al-Huda International, a non-profit institute founded in 1994. Al-Huda promotes Islamic learning and serves in the field of social welfare and has branches across Pakistan as well as internationally

Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Hussain Najafi

Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Hussain Najafi is the only marja in South Asia. Based in the Sargodha district of the Punjab province in Pakistan, he was the first scholar from that country to be given the status of marji’iyya and is one of only two Ayatollahs from Pakistan

Sheikh Dr Tahir Al-Qadri

Sheikh Tahir Al-Qadri is a Professor of law and the founder of Minhaj ul Qur’an International Worldwide and the Minhaj Welfare Foundation. Al-Qadri has authored some 450 published works and given more than 6,000 lectures on various subjects which are aired on international satellite channels. In March 2010, Qadri issued a 600-page fatwa declaring that terrorists and suicide bombers are unbelievers. He has continued to be outspoken against terrorists. His attempts to lead popular revolts against the Pakistani government has led to a fall in his standing. He is based in Canada

General Qamar Javed Bajwa

General Qamar Javed Bajwa is the current Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of the Pakistan Army having been appointed so in 2016, ahead of two more senior generals, by then prime minister Nawaz Sharif. His tenure of the post was extended for another three years by then prime minister, Imran Khan, in August.

He is set to retire in the running month.

Shehbaz Sharif

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif became the 23rd prime minister of Pakistan in April 2022 after a no-confidence motion against former Prime Minister Imran Khan. Sharif is the brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and has himself had a long political career, being the President of the Pakistan Muslim League and serving as the Chief Minister of Punjab three times (1997, 2007, and 2013). He was arrested in 2020 on charges of corruption and money laundering and spent a few months in jail before being granted bail in April 2021. Although enjoying a reputation as a competent administrator, he has much work to do to build national and international trust in his government.

Nawaz Sharif

Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif served as Prime Minister of Pakistan on 3 occasions: from 1990- 1993, from 1997-1999 and from 2013-2017. On the last occasion he was forced to resign over corruption charges and in 2018 was convicted of corruption.

He received a 10-year sentence and spent 2 months in prison before the Pakistan High Court suspended the sentence (the same happened to his daughter, Maryam). Sharif was then found guilty of fresh corruption charges and an accountability court sentenced him to 7 years in prison and fined him $25 million. He was allowed to leave for London to receive medical treatment in November 2019 and has yet to return to Pakistan. It is widely expected that this will happen now that his brother has become Prime Minister.

Sayed Sajid Ali Naqvi

Ayatollah Syed Sajid Ali Naqvi leads the Shia Ulema Council (previously called Tehrik-e-Jafaria (TJP) of Pakistan). He was chosen by the Supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Syed Ali Khamenei, to lead Shia Muslims in Pakistan and is now his religious representative.

Siraj ul Haq

From humble beginnings, Ul-Haq has worked his way up to senior leadership positions in both religious and political parties. He is a former finance minister of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in Pakistan, resigning in protest against US drone strikes. In 2019, Ul-Haq was re-elected Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islaami, one of the most influential Islamic movements in Pakistan. He became the Vice-President of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal in March 2018. He served as Senator of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the Parliament of Pakistan from 2015-2021.

Khanum Tayyaba Bukhari

Bukhari is one of very few female religious scholars in Pakistan and has significant influence. She is a sought-after speaker who excels in six languages: Urdu, Arabic, Persian, English, Punjabi, and Siraiki. She also has a large following in Europe, North America, and Australia. Ms Bukhari is the founder of Bukhari Relief Foundation, a well-known, non-governmental charitable organisation that helps people all over Pakistan who have been displaced by major natural disasters.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi is a Pakistani public intellectual and Qur'an scholar. He is the founder of Al-Mawrid Institute of Islamic Sciences and its sister organisation, Danish Sara. He was a member of the Council of Islamic Ideology and in 2009, Ghamidi was awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz, the third highest civilian honour of Pakistan. He appears regularly on TV shows and has a large middle-class professional following.

Professor Dr Adib Rizvi

Dr Rizvi is one of Pakistan’s leading humanitarians, having established the largest free health organisation in Pakistan. He works as a doctor and an administrator at SIUT in Karachi, which was founded in 1971 as an eight-bed unit but is now the largest health organisation in Pakistan. SIUT provides free and comprehensive services in urology, nephrology, transplantation and liver-related diseases. He is the recipient of many awards for his life’s work.

Bilquis Edhi

The wife of the late Abdul Sattar Edhi, Bilquis Edhi was a professional nurse and philanthropist in her own right. She ran several non-profit organisations for orphans, widows, and elderly people. Serving the nation for more than 50 years, she was known by the honorific title “Mother of the Nation”. In 2015, she received the Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice.

Muniba Mazari

Muniba Mazari is an artist, motivational speaker, humanitarian, TV host, model and Pakistan's First Goodwill Ambassador to UN Women Pakistan. She derives her strength from the tragic car accident that took place when she was 21 which left her wheelchair-bound. Since then, she has been a pioneering voice heard in different countries around the world, being a motivational speaker through TEDx, Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO), Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), VCon Malaysia, VCon Dubai, and several others. In June 2019, Muniba was appointed by former Prime Minister, Imran Khan, to be a part of Pakistan’s first-ever National Youth Council. She has over 5 million followers on different social media platforms.

Professor Atta-Ur Rahman

Atta-Ur Rahman is the Coordinator-General of the OIC’s COMSTECH, the Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation for the promotion and cooperation of science and tech nology activities among the OIC member states. In 1999, he became the first Muslim scientist to win the UNESCO Science Prize. In 2013, in recognition of his work in the field of science, the largest Malaysian university, Universiti Teknologi Mara, named its Research Institute of Natural Products after Professor Atta-ur-Rahman. In 2014 he was awarded the International Cooperation Award, the highest award of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 2016, he was elected as Emeritus Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, thereby becoming the first scientist from the Islamic world to be granted this honour. The same year, Professor Rahman was appointed Co-Chairman of a United Nations Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation covering the member countries of UNESCAP.

Umar Saif

An award-winning scientist, entrepreneur, innovator, and a tech tycoon, Dr Saif studied at Cambridge University and was a core member of the $50 million Project Oxygen at MIT. He created the first start-up incubators in Pakistan: the Saif Center of Innovation. He is also the founding Vice-Chancellor of the Information Technology University in Punjab and is one of the main forces behind the IT ecosystem in Pakistan. The MIT Technology Review named Saif in its list of the “World’s Top Young Innovators for the year 2011”, and he was named “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum in 2010. In recognition of his services to the country, in 2014 the Government of Pakistan conferred on him the Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence), one of the highest civilian awards in Pakistan. In 2017, he received the British Council Alumni Award for Professional Achievement. In 2019 he received an investment directly from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop innovative Artificial Intelligence models for data collection

Irfan Siddiqi

Irfan Siddiqi is an award-winning pioneering scientist who is best-known for the development of the Josephson bifurcation amplifier. He was born in Karachi and moved to the USA where he studied at Columbia, Harvard and Yale universities. He is Director of the Advanced Quantum Testbed and Professor of Physics at the Quantum Nanoscience Laboratory (established by him) and the Department of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2021, he received the Joseph F. Keithley Award.

Al-Hajj Siddiq Ismail

Al-Hajj Siddiq Ismail is a world-renowned naat and hamd reciter, philanthropist, and spiritual leader. He has been reciting for the past 50 years in over 10 languages. Ismail has performed in the presence of presidents, prime ministers, governors, chief ministers, and foreign dignitaries. He was presented with Pakistan’s national award, the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, and the prestigious Pride of Performance Award, which he donated to the victims of Swat and Malakand.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Obaid-Chinoy is an internationally acclaimed journalist, filmmaker and activist. Initially known for her filmwork highlighting women's rights, she has gone on to win two Oscars, six Emmy awards for her films (three personally), and become the first artist to co-chair the World Economic Forum. The Government of Pakistan has honoured her with the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, the second highest civilian honour in the country, and Canada has awarded her a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2020, it was announced that Sharmeen will be co-directing the “Ms. Marvel” series for Disney+, bringing a Muslim super-hero to the big screen.

Abida Parveen

Abida Parveen is an internationally acclaimed vocalist, often referred to as “the Queen of Sufi mystic singing”. She is the only woman to reach this level of influence in devotional music. She specialises in traditional ghazals, and often performs before stadium-sized audiences across South Asia and globally. In 2017, she was designated a Peace Ambassador by SAARC. In 2020, Parveen received the PISA Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2021 was awarded the highest civilian award, the Hilal-e-Imtiaz, by the President of Pakistan.

Muhammad Owais Raza Qadri

With millions of followers, Qadri is considered a legend in the field of naat recitation. He is known for his passionate performances as well as his beautiful voice. A devout Muslim, he is particularly vocal on the subject of his love for the Prophet Muhammad. He has over 4 million followers on social media and his Youtube videos have over 235 million views.

Zaid Hamid

One of the most influential television and social media personalities in Pakistan, Zaid Hamid is a security consultant and strategic defence analyst by profession. He is also a popular political commentator, former host of a highly popular TV series on geo-politics and Islamic history, and is the founder of Brass Tacks, a Pakistani think tank on global politics. He maintains a huge audience within Pakistani society, with millions of followers on social media, especially among the youth and Armed Forces. In 2015, he was arrested by Saudi authorities while on Umrah because of his opposition to the proposed Pakistani participation in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. He was released shortly afterwards after intervention by the Pakistani army

Salman Iqbal

Salman Iqbal owns ARY Digital Network, the largest media network in Pakistan. The network’s reach covers Pakistan, the Middle East, Europe, North America, and many other regions of the world. He is recognised as an independent media voice in Pakistan and one of the most powerful and influential media personalities in the Muslim World.

Source: DailyPakistan

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Award in Reko Diq case a ‘nuclear bomb’: SC judge

Nasir Iqbal

November 3, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Justice Munib Akhtar of the Supreme Court on Wednesday desc­ribed the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes’ (ICSID) $6.5 billion award against Pakistan as a “nuclear bomb” since it could be taken up anywhere in the world for implementation.

The observation came when a five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial, was hearing the presidential reference on the Reko Diq case.

Justice Akhtar’s observation followed the argument made by Amanullah Kanr­ani, who represented the Balochistan Bar Council, that the jurisdiction of Baloch­istan High Court had to be invoked for implementing the ICSID’s award.

CJP Bandial responded that such international penalties always addressed the country and not a province. He said when certain sovereign guarantees were given on behalf of the country, its violation entails attachment of the country’s assets in any part of the world.

On July 12, 2019, the World Bank tribunal slapped a cumulative $6.5bn penalty on Pakistan while deciding a dispute between the government and Tethyan Copper Com­pany Pty (TCCP). The award came after the Mining Authority of Balochistan turned down a TCCP’s application seeking the multimillion-dollar mining lease in the province following the SC’s 2013 judgement.

Threat of an additional $2-3bn award in an arbitration pending before the Inter­national Chamber of Commerce looms large in case Pakistan failed to strike a deal by Dec 15, 2022.

The presidential reference has been filed to seek the SC’s opinion whether its 2013 judgement prevents the federal and provincial governments from entering into the implementation agreement afresh as well as the constitutionality of the proposed Foreign Investment (Protection and Promotion) Bill, 2022.

In 2013, the SC had annulled the Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement for exploring gold and copper in the Reko Diq area.

During the hearing, Mr Kanrani urged the court to direct the government to seek timeline from the international investor. He alleged that Barrack Gold Corporation (BGC), with which the government has entered into the agreement, enjoyed monopoly over gold and they wanted to cap it rather than exploring the precious mineral.

‘No corruption found’

Justice Bandial explained that he had gone through the 2013 judgement but could not find any instance of corruption on part of the international investors in the earlier agreement. Had there been a direct allegation of corruption against the investors, the arbitration at ICSID could have been stalled.

He further said that there should be a direct allegation of corruption against the investor to disengage from the international arbitration.

The CJP observed that the only reference in the 2013 judgement is that the “investors took advantage by exerting their influence” since the Balochistan government at that time lacked capacity to enter into an agreement of such huge size. He compared a similar agreement of Afghanistan, noting how Kabul had made the deal with zero investment and yet got 75 per cent royalty in return though there was unrest in the country at the time.

Additional Attorney General (AAG) Chaudhry Aamir Rehman explained that BGC would get 50 per cent share for $4.5bn whereas the federal and provincial governments would get 25pc royalty each for $900 million.

Source: Dawn

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Islamabad police seek ‘armed units’ to protect anti-riot personnel during long march

Munawer Azeem | Malik Asad

November 3, 2022 

ISLAMABAD: Amid reports that the participants of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) long march will be carrying weapons, capital police on Wednesday approached the district administration seeking deployment of armed police units to protect the lives of anti-riot force and other ‘unarmed’ personnel deployed to counter the protest.

“In light of the information, deployment of a suitable number of armed police and other units to protect the precious lives of Anti-Riot Force of Police, Frontier Constabulary and Punjab Rangers is utmost necessary in order to ensure right of self-defence by LEAs and for protection of people of Islamabad, including participants of forthcoming long march/dharna,” the letter written by the Central Police Office said.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Sohail Zafar Chattha submitted that there was “credible information from open sources…regard to unlawful use of lethal weapons, lethal pointed batons, catapults and other weapons etc by some PTI workers and protesters during the upcoming long march against law enforcement agencies deployed at the moment for protection of law and order…in the capital.

The letter claimed that the PTI supporters were “amassing unlawful paraphernalia on the boundaries of capital in the limits of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab”.

“Some of the potential miscreants of the plan have also reached the capital and are working to materialise the designs to disrupt the harmony and peace,” it added.

“It is therefore, requested that the interior ministry may kindly be approached on priority basis with the request to accord necessary guidance, if they believe otherwise, for deployment of these armed units during the upcoming PTI long march/dharna exercising the right of self-defense as per the laws,” the letter said, calling the deployment of armed units “utmost necessary”.

IHC issues notice

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued notice to the district administration on the PTI petition seeking permission to stage a sit-in in the federal capital.

IHC Justice Aamer Farooq resumed hearing on PTI’s petition.

The petition filed by PTI leader Ali Nawaz Awan came amid a “deliberate delay” in the issuance of a no-objection certificate (NOC) by the Islamabad administration to the former ruling party for its long march.

During the course of hearing, Justice Farooq inquired as if the district administration has rejected the application.

PTI’s counsel informed the court that the matter was pending as the administration was using “delaying tactics” instead of responding to the application submitted by the former ruling party.

Justice Farooq then directed the district administration to depute a senior officer to assist the court and apprise the court on the matter.

The petition further stated that the PTI approached the deputy commissioner for the NOC, but the DC office did not pay any heed to its request in spite of a letter by the PTI on Oct 26, deeming the delay “mala fide”.

The deputy commissioner was contacted on Oct 28 again, but to no avail, the plea claimed, saying the refusal to grant permission to the former ruling party for a jalsa in Islamabad was a “sheer attempt to usurp, hamper and infringe the fundamental rights of freedom of assembly, association, and speech”.

In a related development, interior minister Rana Sanaullah linked the permission for the sit-in with the judicial nod.

Source: Dawn

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ATC acquits six MQM leaders in three cases of listening to Altaf’s speeches

Naeem Sahoutara

November 3, 2022

KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Wednesday acquitted six senior leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and some others in three cases pertaining to organising and listening to the controversial speeches of London-based party found Altaf Hussain in 2016.

Senior leaders Dr Farooq Sattar, Amir Khan, former Karachi mayor Wasim Akhtar, Rauf Siddiqui, Khawaja Izharul Hasan, Mehfooz Yar Khan and some others were exonerated from the charges due to lack of evidence.

Earlier in June 2021, the same set of accused persons along with several others were acquitted in 21 identical cases by an ATC. At least three cases against the central leadership are still pending trial.

On Wednesday, the ATC-I judge, who conducted the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, pronounced the verdict reserved after recording evidence and final arguments on acquittal applications filed by the accused persons.

Concluding six-year-long trials, the judge allowed the applications filed under Section 265-K of the criminal procedure code and acquitted them.

Earlier, defence counsel Shaukat Hayat moved the acquittal applications on behalf of the MQM leaders including Salman Baloch, Mehmood Abdul Razzaq, Muhammad Javed, stating that they had no role in the speeches, which were delivered by their party leader from London over the phone.

He argued that there was no sufficient evidence to connect his clients with the commissioning of the alleged offence. Therefore, he pleaded the judge to acquit them.

On the other hand, the state prosecutors insisted that there was sufficient material as well as ocular and forensic evidence available to corroborate the prosecution’s case and establish the role of the accused persons in the commissioning of the offences. They pleaded the court to punish them in accordance with the law.

According to the prosecution, a citizen, Nasreen Ali, had reported to the Malir City police station on Feb 26, 2016 that she was surfing the internet when she came across a video about the gathering of MQM leaders and workers, where its London-based chief Altaf Hussain was seen making remarks about the natural reproduction process of human beings in the presence of a large number of the women and used inappropriate words openly.

It further mentioned that after listening to such remarks of their leader, the female party workers felt embarrassed while their leaders continued to endorse such remarks of Altaf Hussain, who seemed to be under the influence of some intoxicant and spoke uncontrolled.

Similarly, another citizen, Dilawar Khan, had lodged a case at the Sachal police station on March 4, 2016. He also came across a video while surging the internet.

The third case was lodged by Inspector Ghulam Nabi Afridi of the Brigade police station on May 12, 2016. He stated that the MQM leaders without seeking prior permission from local administration had held a gathering for by blocking Shahrah-i-Quaideen in front of a gate of the Quaid’s mausoleum.

The prosecution alleged that Mr Hussain addressed the gathering from London in violation of the ban imposed by the Supreme Court on his telephonic speeches by using loudspeakers, wherein he hurled threats to the army, Rangers and other law enforcement agencies’ chiefs and officers by taking their names.

It further alleged that Mr Hussain by levelling baseless allegations incited his workers against the state to prompt their clash with the state institutions and spread terrorism in an attempt to sabotage the army’s Zarb-i-Azb operation.

The MQM founder and senior leaders were booked in three separate cases registered against them at the Brigade and Sachal police stations.

Source: Dawn

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Imran Khan wants appointment of new COAS on merit

November 2, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan has said he had no ‘favorites’ but wants the appointment of the new COAS on merit.

Chairman PTI Imran Khan in his interview said “I do not have any favorite, the appointment of the Chief of Army Staff should be based on merit.”

Imran Khan said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Zardari should not appoint COAS because both are ‘criminals’ of the nation.

The former prime minister ruled out the possibility of PTI long march failure and said they are going to Islamabad and his ‘whole plan’ is ready.

“My whole plan is ready, what will I do after Islamabad March is a secret.”

Regarding negotiations with the incumbent federal government, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief said that there can be no more negotiations with thieves, who have looted the country’s resources while being in power.

Replying to a question regarding the dissolution of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments, Imran Khan replied he can do ‘anything.’

Source: Pakistan Today

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South Asia 

UNAMA Records Over 200 Reporter Human Rights Abuses Since Taliban Took Control

By Saqalain Eqbal

November 2, 2022

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists reported that since August 2021, it has recorded over 200 human rights breaches of reporters.

On the occasion of the International Day to End of Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, Wednesday, November 2, UNAMA wrote in a tweet that this unprecedented number includes arbitrary arrests, maltreatment, threats, and intimidation.

The UNAMA office further stated that the Afghan media is in “peril” and called for the media in Afghanistan to be protected and that impunity to be ended.

In addition, Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, stated that more than 70 journalists have died this year as a result of their job.

Additionally, according to Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, over 70 journalists have passed away this year as a direct result of their work because they were merely performing their vital role as journalists in society.

This morning, he stated that the vast majority of journalist murder cases have not been looked into, remaining unsolved.

“We must end the common culture of impunity and enable journalists to do their essential work,” Guterres wrote on his Twitter handle.

Even though there have been fewer documented murders of journalists and media workers since the Taliban assumed power, the Taliban have nonetheless put severe limitations on the press, while also threatening and detaining journalists.

Source: Khaama Press

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Journalists Safety Committee Reacts to Afghan TV Channel Shut Down

By Saqalain Eqbal

November 2, 2022

The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) expressed profound regret that the Kabul News TV channel has ceased broadcasting saying that the closure of media outlets will leave a void in the country’s reporting and information transmission.

This committee announced on Tuesday, the 1st of November, that the Kabul News news media has ceased operations after ten years of operation, creating a gap in the country’s information and news.

The director of the news department of Kabul News, a private TV channel, confirmed the permanent closure of the channel’s media activity on Tuesday, November 1, but did not provide any other details.

“Kabul News is dealing with a number of challenges with its broadcasts,” Nikmal said, “and there is optimism that the closure will be temporary.”

He said that this private media outlet will continue its social media activities, despite the fact that, according to AJSC, a number of other media outlets, particularly provincial stations, have recently shut down owing to difficulties, often financial.

Abdul Karim Khorram, a close relative of Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, founded the Kabul News private television 10 years ago, and it started broadcasting in Dari and Pashto Afghan languages.

Kable News was shut down because of “many pressures,” according to a source close to the channel’s management who declined to be identified in the report. The source did not provide any other details about the situation.

Reporters Without Borders recently reported that 219 print, aural, and visual media outlets in Afghanistan have been closed for the past 12 months.

This organization stated that there were 547 media outlets in Afghanistan prior to the Taliban taking control, but only 328 are operational today.

Additionally, organizations in Afghanistan that support journalists and the media have expressed concern over the ongoing suspension of media activities in Afghanistan, citing a number of reasons why private media broadcasts have been stopped.

Source: Khaama Press

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'Afghanistan Is Hell': Supporters Of Late Afghan General Claim Taliban Killings, Persecution

November 02, 2022

By Abubakar Siddique

Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers declared a general amnesty for their former foes who fought them for two decades as part of the Western-backed Afghan government.

But supporters of a late Afghan general say they have been under relentless Taliban persecution for the more than 14 months since the Taliban seized power.

Senior figures close to General Abdul Raziq, the former police chief of southern Kandahar Province, say his supporters, primarily members of his Pashtun Achakzai tribe, have faced killings, forced disappearances, torture, detention, displacement, and property seizures.

The Taliban denies any revenge targeting of Raziq’s supporters or members of the Achakzai tribe.

Ongoing Persecution

But tribal members say Taliban persecution has continued since the seizure of Spin Boldak, a border town and Achakzai stronghold in Kandahar, a month before the Taliban seizure of Kabul on August 15, 2021.

“Afghanistan is hell for the supporters of the late General Abdul Raziq,” Akhtar Mohammad Khan Badezai told RFE/RL. The exiled former Afghan presidential adviser speaks to the media on behalf of Raziq’s family.

“People are being killed merely for carrying a photo of General Raziq,” he says.

Badezai claims some 4,000 of Raziq's supporters, including women and children, have been killed in Taliban reprisals. He adds that thousands more have forcefully disappeared or remain in Taliban captivity.

“Those killed and persecuted were not only members of the Achakzai tribe but members of other Pashtun tribes and even ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks,” he says.

When pressed about the evidence of the persecution and killings, he cited the names of a few prominent Achakzai figures who were killed after the Taliban takeover and claimed that the Taliban has killed some 50 former members of the Afghan security forces in eastern Nangarhar Province because they had served under Raziq.

He says a list is now being compiled of all the alleged victims killed, tortured, and forcefully disappeared by the Taliban.

“The Taliban amnesty is a lie,” he says. “There is no province in Afghanistan where our people have not been martyred.”

Badezai's claims cannot be independently confirmed. But reports by leading human rights organizations have accused the Taliban of extensive abuses, including extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture, and denying Afghans -- women and girls in particular -- their fundamental human rights.

Achakzai Targeted

Mohammad Naeem Lalai Hamidzai, a former Kandahar lawmaker, also claimed extensive persecution by the Taliban. He told RFE/RL that the Taliban systematically targeted the estimated 18,000 members of the Spin Boldak border force and Kandahar police that Raziq led until he was killed in 2018.

Hamidzai alleged that more than 300 members of the two forces were killed during the first days of the Taliban takeover.

“These people are well known. They were all members of our tribe,” he said, referring to the Achakzais. An estimated 500,000 members straddle Kandahar and the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan. Most Achakzais are traders benefiting from vital trade and smuggling routes crisscrossing their homeland.

In a report released in November 2021, the global rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) documented some killings and disappearances of former members of security forces in Kandahar.

“The Taliban summarily executed some former security force members in front of their families,” the report said. “Others who were well known for fighting against the Taliban are among those forcibly disappeared.”

Hamidzai said that the Taliban also detained up to 1,800 alleged supporters of Raziq, many of whom remain missing, even after the Taliban released more than 700 of them.

“This persecution that began during the Taliban takeover 14 months ago still continues,” he said, claiming that targeted assassinations extend into Balochistan, where the Achakzai live near a strategic pass connecting Spin Boldak to the provincial capital, Quetta.

On October 11, the Pakistani English-language daily Dawn reported the assassination of Abdul Samad Achakzai in Quetta. He was a former police commander in Kandahar’s Panjwai district and reportedly a close confidant and relative of Raziq.

For many years, Quetta and other Balochistan districts were the scenes of tit-for-tat killings in which Raziq targeted fugitive Taliban figures who retaliated by targeting members of his Adozai clan. Adozai are one of the several Achakzai clans straddling the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

'Torturer In Chief'

Raziq’s influence grew because of his reputation as a formidable Taliban foe. He joined the anti-Taliban forces in late 2001. In subsequent years, he became the powerful commander of a border force.

In 2011, Raziq was made Kandahar police chief. His influence in Kabul and his Western allies made him the most powerful Afghan military figure in southern Afghanistan.

In 2017, HRW called him “Kandahar’s torturer in chief." After multiple failed assassination attempts against him, he was killed in an insider attack in October 2018.

Tribal Feud

Hamidzai alleges that the Taliban have seized his house, the properties of Raziq, and other assets of Achakzai members.

He says the Achakzais now want to avoid reigniting a tribal feud with Nurzai, a rival Pashtun tribe. Some Nurzai members are now senior Taliban leaders in Kandahar. Achakzai leaders and others in Kandahar accuse them of turning the crackdown on Raziq’s supporters into a tribal vendetta. The two tribes have engaged in a century-old tribal feud that has claimed hundreds of lives.

“There is an effort to light a fire that will keep on burning for a long time,” he says, alluding to disputes among Pashtun tribes that go on for generations.

Hamidzai says that delegations of Achakzai tribal leaders have repeatedly petitioned Taliban leaders in Kandahar and Kabul to seek an end to their persecution. But these efforts, he adds, have failed.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid rejected the charges that the Taliban is engaged in widespread, ongoing atrocities against Raziq’s supporters or the Achakzai tribe.

But he did acknowledge that in the days following the Taliban's seizure of Kandahar in July and August 2021, a few of Raziq’s supporters were killed in retaliation for his alleged atrocities.

“The atrocities Raziq had committed had prompted personal feuds and rivalries, which resulted in the killing of six or seven of his supporters,” he told RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi. “But the Islamic emirate acted swiftly and arrested the culprits while warning others that violators of our general amnesty will face severe consequences.”

In September, the Taliban said it was investigating a mass grave in Spin Boldak where the remains of 12 people were discovered. Taliban officials claimed the victims were killed in 2012 when Raziq was Kandahar’s police chief. Raziq’s supporters deny the mass grave is filled with his alleged victims. They claimed that the mass graves are from the time of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Patricia Gossman, an associate Asia director for HRW, said the organization is unable to probe all of the alleged abuses by the Taliban in Kandahar. But she says the militant group is determined to crush any sources of resistance and has also let its forces carry out vendettas.

Source: Gandhara

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Arab World 

In Bahrain, pope's message may get caught in Shi'ite-Sunni Muslim divide

By Philip Pullella

November 3, 2022

VATICAN CITY, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Pope Francis leaves on Thursday for Bahrain, a trip aimed at improving ties with the Islamic world but which could thrust him into a human rights conflict between the Sunni-led monarchy and its Shi'ite Muslim opposition.

It is only the second visit by a pope to the Arabian Peninsula, following his 2019 visit to the United Arab Emirates, when he became the first pontiff to visit and say a Mass in the peninsula.

"The pope is moving forward with a certain logic to open new paths to the different realities of the Muslim world," said Bishop Paul Hinder, who has worked in the region for nearly two decades and is the Vatican's apostolic vicar for Southern Arabia.

During the Nov. 3-6 trip, Francis is due to address the "Bahrain Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence," have talks with King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, and meet with the Muslim Council of Elders in a mosque in the royal palace compound.

Bahrain is about 70% Muslim and, unlike Saudi Arabia, allows its small community of about 160,000 Catholics - made up mostly of foreign workers - to practice their faith publicly in two churches.

It is home to the first Catholic church to be built in the Gulf area in modern times, which opened in 1939, as well as the cathedral of Our Lady of Arabia, the largest Catholic church on the Arabian Peninsula.

While the pope's visit is a dream come true for the island state's Catholics, it has drawn attention to tensions between the Sunni-led government and the Shi'ite community that led a sizeable pro-democracy uprising in the 2011 "Arab Spring", which Bahrain quashed with Saudi and UAE help.

Bahrain has imprisoned thousands of protesters, journalists and activists - some in mass trials - since the uprising and cracked down on later sporadic unrest and dissent.

Families of death row inmates in Bahrain have appealed to the Argentine-born pope to speak out against capital punishment and defend political prisoners during his trip.

The London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) and other human rights groups have urged the pope to speak out on what they say are rights abuses, including the imprisonment of pro-democracy dissidents.

Bahrain rejects criticism from the United Nations and others over its conduct of trials and detention conditions. It says it prosecutes in accordance with international law and that its legal and judicial system continues to be reformed.

A Bahrain government spokesperson, in response to a Reuters request for comment, said in a statement that "no individual in the Kingdom is arrested or in custody because of their beliefs" and that the constitution protects freedom of expression.

Hinder said he believed that while the pope may discuss human rights broadly in public, any Vatican mention of the appeals by the Shi'ite Muslims or their advocates would be made in private.

Bahrain has said the interfaith forum it is hosting during the pope's visit aims to "further cement the values of peace and tolerance," including dialogue to promote coexistence.


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Iran says report about Iranian threats against Saudi Arabia a ‘baseless accusation’

02 November, 2022

Iran rejected the Wall Street Journal report citing intelligence shared by Saudi Arabia with the US warning of an imminent Iranian attack on the Kingdom and said it contains “baseless accusations,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

“Such biased news production by some Western and Zionist parties aims to create a negative atmosphere against Iran and destroy the current positive trends with the countries of the region,” IRNA cited Nasser Kanani as saying.

He added: “Iran continues the policy of good neighbourliness with its neighbors based on mutual respect and within the framework of international principles and accords, and considers the establishment and promotion of stability and security in the region inherent to constructive interaction with its neighbors.”

The WSJ reported on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia shared intelligence with the US warning of an “imminent attack” from Iran on targets in the Kingdom. The report added that Saudi Arabia, the US and other neighboring countries in the region have raised the level of alert for their military forces.

Washington expressed concern on Tuesday about the Iranian threat against Saudi Arabia and said it would not hesitate to respond if necessary.

“We are concerned about the threat picture, and we remain in constant contact through military and intelligence channels with the Saudis,” said the spokesperson from the National Security Council.

“We will not hesitate to act in the defense of our interests and partners in the region.”

Iran had issued a veiled threat and a warning to Saudi Arabia, when top commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami said last month that Saudi leaders should not rely on Israel, adding that Saudi leaders lived in “glass palaces”.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Arab summit supports Palestinians, calls for political solution in Syria

Hassan Jibril  


The Algeria-hosted Arab summit on Wednesday reiterated support to the Palestinian people and called for a political solution to the Syrian conflict.

In a final communique issued at the end of their two-day summit, Arab leaders emphasized on the centrality of the Palestinian cause and their absolute support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

The leaders underscored that they stick to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which offers Israel full diplomatic recognition from the Arab states in return for an Israeli withdrawal from Arab land occupied in 1967 and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

They also stressed the need to protect the city of Jerusalem and its holy sites against Israeli violations.

The final statement, dubbed the “Algeria Declaration”, also reiterated support to Palestine’s efforts to seek to obtain full UN membership.

The Arab leaders also voiced full solidarity with the Libyan people and efforts aimed at ending the Libyan crisis.

The statement also emphasized support to the legitimate Yemeni government and called for Arab collective efforts to reach a political solution to the conflict in Syria.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Arab League: Officials push for joint Arab action to tackle current challenges

02 November, 2022

Arab presidents and officials voiced the importance of consolidating joint Arab action to confront current challenges and crises and reaffirmed their rejection of foreign interference in other member states’ internal affairs.

During the second and last day of the Arab League Summit which was held in Algeria, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan warned that geopolitical conflicts risk undermining the world’s ability to confront challenges, adding that it’s important to unify stances to achieve the aims of joint Arab action.

The Arab League held its first annual summit for three years in Algeria after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the meetings’ suspension.

Prince Faisal also said that foreign interference requires unified efforts, and strongly rejected the approach of imposing domination at the expense of others.

He reiterated the Kingdom’s support to establish an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Commenting on the situation in Yemen, the FM said the international community must persist with efforts to push for peace in the embattled country.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that Arab national security is indivisible, noting that current challenges require adopting “a comprehensive and joint approach” that contributes to maintaining stability and security and solidifying the pillars of good governance.

“[It’s also important] to eliminate terrorist organizations and armed militias and thwart any attempts… by international and regional powers to establish zones of influence in the Arab world,” al-Sisi added.

He also said that threats against Arab countries are mainly due to the interference of “foreign regional powers” which have fueled conflicts and have gone as far as launching “direct military attacks” on some Arab states.

Kuwait’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah and Jordan’s Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II also echoed al-Sisi and Prince Faisal’s sentiments, by highlighting the importance of solidifying joint Arab action.

“We must [strengthen] joint Arab action through further coordination and cooperation to face the serious threats our Arab world faces,” Sheikh Mishal said.

He also rejected foreign interference in Arab countries’ internal affairs, adding that friendly ties must be based on respecting the sovereignty of countries.

In addition, Jordan’s Crown Prince also noted that current crises which the world is currently facing, such as the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, require integrated Arab work.

“Given that the challenges we face are similar… we must make use of the promising potential in the sectors of trade, investment, industry, tourism and agriculture,” he said.

Addressing the situation in Palestine, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of undermining a two-state solution, and called for establishing an Arab legal committee to look into crimes committed against his people.

“Israel’s insistence to undermine a two-state solution and its violations of international law… have left us no choice but to reconsider the relation with it,” Abbas said.

Meanwhile, Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) President Rashad al-Alimi said the internationally-recognized government is committed to a truce in Yemen even though the Iran-backed Houthis has refused to extend it after it expired in October.

He also said that the Houthis have recently targeted the ports of Hadramawt and Shabwa, adding that they continue to pose a threat to economic facilities on a daily basis in Yemen, as well as in neighboring countries.

Last month, Yemen’s government said that its forces intercepted armed drones launched against al-Dhabba oil terminal in Hadramawt, as an oil tanker was preparing to dock.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Syria backs ally Iran amid ‘attack’: Foreign minister

02 November, 2022

Syria's top diplomat on Wednesday reaffirmed his country's support for Iran as he visited the Islamic Republic, which has been rocked by weeks of protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini.

The 22-year-old died in custody on September 16, three days after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of Iran's strict dress rules for women.

Dozens of people, mainly demonstrators but also members of the security forces, have been killed in nationwide protests. Hundreds more, including women, have been arrested.

“We reaffirm Syria's support for the brotherly and friendly people of Iran,” Foreign Minister Faisal al-Meqdad said.

Damascus welcomes “the failure of those who have supported the attack against this country financially, in the media, politically and internationally,” he told a press conference, standing alongside his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

Iranian authorities have accused the West of stirring unrest in the country.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo wins Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace Award

03 November, 2022

President Joko Widodo of the Republic of Indonesia on Wednesday won the 2022 Imam Hasan bin Ali International Peace Prize presented by the Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace, under the patronage of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, President of the Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace, presented the award to the Indonesian Vice President Dr. Marouf Amin, who accepted it on behalf of the President of Indonesia at a reception held at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, according to a report by Emirates News Agency (WAM).

Speaking on the occasion, Bin Bayyah said, “It is my pleasure, on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace, to offer the 2022 Imam Hasan bin Ali International Peace Prize to President Widodo in recognition of his commitment and contribution towards the remarkable efforts Indonesia has demonstrated in spreading peace and tolerance both regionally and internationally. The great nation of Indonesia is a paradigm for coexistence, enriched through its diverse ethnicities and faiths living in conviviality side by side.”

For his part, the Indonesian Vice President expressed his gratitude for receiving this award on behalf of President Widodo and the people of Indonesia and remarked that this is a sign of honour for both the Indonesian President’s efforts and the significant position that Indonesia enjoys in the promotion of tolerance and coexistence.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Forthcoming elections solely aimed at strengthening tyranny in Bahrain, prominent Shia cleric says

03 November 2022

Bahrain’s most prominent Shia cleric has dismissed the country’s upcoming parliamentary polls, saying the ruling Al Khalifah regime wants to maintain its grip on power and strengthen tyranny in the Persian Gulf kingdom by means of the ballots cast in the elections.

“Elections in Bahrain are more only meant to reinforce tyranny, and people play into the hands of the ruling regime and are treated as playthings,” Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim wrote in a post published on his Twitter page.

“Does common sense dictate participation in such elections?” he questioned.

Earlier, Bahrain’s main opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, had called for a boycott of the upcoming parliamentary elections in the country, amid an escalation of political repression and absence of meaningful reforms.

In a statement released on September 14, al-Wefaq described the boycott of November 12 polls as a national duty, emphasizing that the ruling Manama regime maintains absolute control over the electoral process and seeks to install a weak legislature, whose main task would be to burnish the image of the corrupt Al Khalifah dynasty and cover up its human rights abuses.

It added that the constitutional and political rift between the Bahraini regime and the nation is deepening day by day, the main reason for which, it said, is the lack of any social agreement between the two sides.

In the absence of a real administration, the Al Khalifah regime continues its authoritarian rule by imposing its political, economic, security and social wills on the Bahraini nation, al-Wefaq said.

Demonstrations have been held in Bahrain on a regular basis ever since a popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.

Source: Press TV

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Saudi Arabia intensifies targeting dissidents in US using Israeli spyware

02 November 2022

An investigative report says Saudi Arabia has stepped up its crackdown on dissidents on the United States' soil, using an Israeli spyware.

The report compiled by the Associated Press and published on Wednesday found out that the Saudi kingdom had been monitoring dissidents' communications using the "military-grade" Israeli software.

Upon spotting instances of dissent, the kingdom would then resort to handing out heavy sentences and imprisoning the targeted individuals if they return home.

"Over the last five years, Saudi surveillance, intimidation, and pursuit of Saudis on US soil have intensified as the kingdom steps up repression under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the FBI, rights groups, and two years of interviews with Saudis living abroad," the report said.

This is by far not the first time that the kingdom has been found culpable of practicing the procedure, which is known as "transnational repression".

The AP report cited the instance of Abdullah bin Faisal Al Saud, a Saudi Prince, who is a graduate student at Boston's Northeastern University.

The royal was arrested and jailed on a trip back home after Saudi officials found out that he had been discussing Riyadh's imprisonment of his cousin -- a fellow prince -- with his relatives while in the US.

"Abdullah was imprisoned because of those calls. An initial 20-year sentence was hiked to 30 years in August," the report said.

In the same month that Prince Abdullah's sentence was lengthened, Saudi Arabia gave a 72-year-old Saudi-American, Sa'ad al Madi, a virtual life sentence for tweets that he had posted from his home in Florida. Al Madi was also imprisoned on a visit home.

Freedom House, a research and advocacy group, says Saudi Arabia has targeted critics in 14 countries. "The aim is to spy on Saudis and intimidate them, or compel them to return to the kingdom," AP reported, citing the group.

"It’s disturbing, it’s terrifying, and it’s a major violation of protected speech,” Freedom House's Nate Schenkkan said of the recent imprisonments of Western-based Saudis.

Ever since bin Salman became Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler in 2017, the kingdom has been implicated in a litany of human rights abuses. They include Riyadh's arresting of hundreds of activists, bloggers, intellectuals, and other people for their political activism, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnation of the crackdown.

Source: Press TV

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Iraq's new PM hopes to continue hosting Iran-Saudi Arabia fence-mending talks

02 November 2022

Iraq’s new Prime Minister Mohammed says he hopes to continue hosting tension-easing talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia since the two sides have already held several rounds of negotiations in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad since last April.

Addressing his first press conference since the new government won the Iraqi parliament’s vote of confidence on Thursday, Shia al-Sudani said his administration has received signals for Iraq to continue hosting the dialogue between the two Persian Gulf countries.

“We were asked to continue,” he said, without providing further information.

Back on September 24, the Iraqi foreign minister highlighted his country’s efforts to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia and said Baghdad is ready to host the fresh round of negotiations between Tehran and Riyadh.

In a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly in New York, Fuad Hussein pointed to the positive trend of long-running talks between the two countries.

Iraq will continue to do its best to this end and invites Iran and Saudi Arabia to normalize their ties and reopen embassies in their capital cities, he stated.

The country has hosted several rounds of talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran at the level of intelligence and security heads since last April.

In July, Amir-Abdollahian appreciated the “constructive” role played by Iraq in advancing the regional dialogue and said there has been “progress” in the last five rounds of talks with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has also said his country intends to establish a close and friendly relationship with Iran.

“We certainly have the intent to build a positive relationship with our neighbors in Iran,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud told English-language France 24 television news network in an interview on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly in New York.

He, however, added that there were still differences with Tehran that prevented a possible meeting with his Iranian counterpart.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the Saudi execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, stormed its embassy in Tehran.

The kingdom then pursued a confrontational foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic, especially during the administration of former US president Donald Trump, with whom the Saudi rulers shared close ties.

Saudi Arabia appears to have recently changed course, showing willingness through diplomatic channels and third parties to mend fences with Tehran and resume bilateral relations.

Source: Press TV

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Saudi dissidents targeted in US, other Western countries amid crackdown: Report

02 November 2022

Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is scaling up his vicious crackdown against dissidents, exiles, and members of the extended royal family in the United States and other Western countries, according to rights groups.

The Associated Press, citing global human rights groups and interviews with the Saudi diaspora, reported that surveillance, intimidation and pursuit of Saudi nationals on American soil have intensified under bin Salman over the past five years.

Prince Abdullah bin Faisal Al Saud, who was attending graduate school in Boston, is the latest person targeted as part of the overseas crackdown.

Prince Abdullah seldom mentioned he was a member of the royal family and avoided talking about Saudi politics. But after a fellow prince was imprisoned back home, he discussed it with relatives in calls made from the United States.

On a trip back to Saudi Arabia, the prince was imprisoned for those calls. An initial 20-year sentence was hiked to 30 years in August.

Prince Abdullah’s case, detailed in Saudi court documents obtained by AP, has not been previously reported. But it is not an isolated case.

In August, Saudi Arabia gave a 72-year-old Saudi American, Saad al- Madi, a virtual life sentence for tweets he had posted from his home in Florida.

Madi was unexpectedly accused and imprisoned on a visit home to the kingdom. In sentencing Madi, the kingdom split from a longstanding practice of sparing US citizens, its longtime military protector, from the worst of punishments.

In the same month, Riyadh announced a 34-year prison sentence – over tweets – to a 34-year-old Saudi student in Britain, Salma al-Shehab, when she, too, visited the kingdom.

All three sentences were handed down weeks after President Joe Biden of the United States set aside his past condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record to travel to the kingdom, despite criticism from rights groups and Saudi exiles.

It was a moment when the US urgently needed the kingdom to keep up oil production. But the Biden administration has ended up with no more oil or any improvement in human rights.

Saudi rights advocates say Biden’s attempts to soothe the crown prince have only emboldened him.

Saudi authoritarian authorities illicitly monitor and strike out against their citizens in the US and other Western countries.

Freedom House, a research and advocacy group, says Saudi Arabia has targeted critics in more than a dozen countries. The group says the aim is to spy on Saudis and intimidate them or compel them to return to the kingdom.

Since the gruesome murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Saudi crown prince has been emboldened to commit more crimes against dissidents. Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at the mission in October 2018.

A report back then in the Washington Post said the Israeli regime had been directly involved in the sale of sophisticated spyware to Saudi Arabia to help the kingdom purge and assassinate dissidents.

Since bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has arrested hundreds of activists, bloggers, intellectuals and others for their political activism, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnation of the crackdown.

Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured as freedom of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied by the kingdom's authorities.

Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.

Saudi courts recently convicted and sentenced more than a dozen anti-regime activists to death following unfair trials and based on confessions coerced through torture and ill-treatment.

Source: Press TV

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Britain’s 1917 Balfour Declaration to blame for Israeli crimes in Palestine: Syria

02 November 2022

Syria's top legislative body says the 1917 Balfour Declaration, through which Britain executed its plan of establishing a Jewish national home in Palestine, is primarily responsible for war crimes and unrelenting aggression by the Israeli regime against Palestinians.

“What is currently taking place in Palestine is the upshot of the entitlement then-UK Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour gave to the global Zionist movement on November 2, 1917,” said a statement by the People's Assembly of Syria on Wednesday.

The statement coincided with the 115th anniversary of the infamous treaty, Syria's official news agency SANA reported.

The parliament rejected the declaration as a "flagrant violation of the most basic principles of the international law", reaffirming that the Syrian government and the Syrian nation will continue to support Palestinians until their legitimate rights are fully restored.

It termed the declaration "null and void" and in clear contravention of the most fundamental standards of international law, added that it symbolizes a brazen attack on all human rights principles and international humanitarian law standards.

The Balfour Declaration came in the form of a letter from Britain’s then-foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a figurehead of the British Jewish community. It was published on November 2, 1917.

The declaration was made during World War I (1914-1918) and was included in the terms of the British Mandate for Palestine after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

It is widely seen as the precursor to the 1948 Palestinian Nakba, when Zionist armed paramilitary groups, who were trained and created to fight side by side with the British in World War II, forcibly expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland.

The Jewish population of Palestine at the time of the Balfour Declaration, according to reports, varied from 60 to 80 thousand within the existing indigenous Palestinian population of 700,000.

As the Balfour Declaration clearly asserted, the British Empire sought to "facilitate" the growth of Jewish people in the land of Palestine.

"In Palestine, we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country…” because Zionism, “be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far more profound import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land," Balfour was quoted at the time.

The Syrian legislature highlighted that “the Palestinian cause has always been the main and central issue in Syria".

Source: Press TV

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Iran sanctions several Canadian officials, entity over 'terror support'

03 November 2022

Iran's Foreign Ministry has imposed sanctions on eight Canadian officials and one institution over their support for anti-Iran terrorists and acts of terror among other things.

The ministry announced the sanctions in a statement, saying it has adopted the measures over, inter alia, the targeted individuals' support for the anti-Iran terrorist cult of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO).

The MKO is responsible for causing the largest part of the 17,000-plus-strong Iranian fatalities that have been resulted by acts of terror since the 1979 victory of Iran's Islamic Revolution.

The ministry named the sanctioned individuals as Canada's Minister of Public Safety, Marco Mendicino; Minister of National Defense, Anita Anand; Chief Justice, Richard Wagner; Chief of the Defense Staff, Wayne Eyre; Commander of the Royal Air Force, Eric Kenny; Navy Commander, Angus Topshee; Commissioner of the Royal Mounted Police, Brenda Lucki; and Judge David Brown, who has ordered seizure of Iranian assets in Canada.

The sanctioned entity has been named as Canada's National Post, which has been found liable for backing anti-Iran sanctions as part of an Iranophobic agenda.

The targeted individuals and body have also been found responsible for encouraging terrorist and violent activities against the Iranian people, disseminating misinformation about the Islamic Republic, and contributing to enforcement of oppressive sanctions on the Iranian nation.

Source: Press TV

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Erdogan says he wants to maintain Israel ties regardless of election outcome

02 November, 2022

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday he wanted to maintain Turkey's relations with Israel based on mutual understanding, no matter the election outcome, as former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looked set to return to power.

Erdogan's comment, in an interview with Turkish broadcaster ATV, came amid a thaw in long-strained ties between Turkey and Israel. Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited Ankara this year in the first visit to Turkey by an Israeli leader since 2008.

“Whatever the election result, we want to maintain relations with Israel on a sustainable basis, based on mutual respect for sensitivities and common interests,” Erdogan said.

Netanyahu was set to gain power in one of the most right-wing coalitions in Israel's history, causing jitters among Palestinians and Arab neighbors who fear it could ratchet up tensions across the Middle East.

Relations between Israel and Turkey have been strained for more than a decade, with Ankara having expelled Israel's ambassador following a 2010 Israeli raid on an aid ship to Gaza, which killed ten Turkish citizens.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Russia tells Iran Western media trying to stir Gulf tensions

02 November, 2022

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his Iranian counterpart on Wednesday that Western media had launched a campaign that could trigger escalation in the Gulf, his ministry said.

In a telephone call with Hossein Amirabdollahian, Lavrov commented on “the harmfulness of the information campaign that has been launched by Western media”, the ministry said in a statement summarizing his remarks.

Lavrov told Amirabdollahian that such actions could result in a dangerous escalation of tension in the strategically important region, the ministry added.

Washington expressed concern on Tuesday about unspecified threats from Iran against Saudi Arabia and said it would not hesitate to respond if necessary.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Khamenei accuses West of manipulating Amini protests

November 3, 2022

TEHRAN: Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday accused the US of seeking to manipulate the people by supporting protests sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death, as authorities ordered an investigation into a video showing officers savagely beating a protester that rights groups said exposed the sheer brutality of the police repression against protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini.

The Islamic republic has been rocked by six weeks of protests that flared over Amini’s death after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of the country’s dress code for women.

In a joint statement last week, Iran’s intelligence ministry and its Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence services accused Washington of conspiring with its allies to “spark riots” in the country.

“The reports of intelligence agencies show that the enemy had established a plan for Tehran and the country’s large and small cities,” Khamenei said, referring to the US.

Probe ordered into shocking video of police brutality

He was speaking to a group of schoolchildren, invited to mark the anniversary of the start of the 1979 hostage crisis at the US embassy in Tehran.

“Their plan, their objective is to get the Iranian people to follow them, and the opinion of the Iranian peop­­le to become identical to the opinion of the British and American leaders,” Khamenei said.

The protest movement that erupted over Amini’s death has spread to schools where, according to online videos, girls have removed their headscarves and chan­ted anti-government slogans.

Shocking video

Separately, a shocking video that surfaced late on Tuesday on social media, shot at night on a mobile phone purportedly in a district of Tehran, showed a squad of around a dozen policemen in an alley kicking and beating a man with their batons, as other officers on motorbikes looked on.

The man initially tried to cover his head with his hands, before the sound of a gunshot is heard and he is run over by a police motorbike. His motionless body is then abandoned.

“This shocking video sent from Tehran is another horrific reminder that the cruelty of Iran’s security forces knows no bounds,” Amnesty International said.

“Amid a crisis of impunity, they’re given free rein to brutally beat and shoot protesters,” it added, calling on the UN Human Rights Council to “urgently investigate these crimes”.

Source: Dawn

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Iran's Leader: US Surly to Pay Price for Assassination of Gen. Soleimani


Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks during a meeting with students from across Iran on Wednesday ahead of the national Student Day and the National Day of Fight against Global Arrogance.

Iran will “never forget” the US assassination of General Soleimani, the Supreme Leader said, assuring that the revenge for the blood of the anti-terror commander will be taken from the masterminds and perpetrators of his assassination in the proper time.

“We will never forget the martyrdom of Lieut. Gen. Soleimani … We have said something about (avenging Gen. Soleimani), and we stand by that word. It will be done in its own time, in its own place, God willing,” Iran's Leader stressed.

Making a reference to the takeover of the Washington Embassy in Tehran, also known in Iran as the “Den of Espionage” in 1979, Ayatollah Khamenei noted that "this day is the embodiment of the evil of the United States and its defeat".

"So, for those who think that the US is an unwavering power, it becomes evident that it is not the case when we look at the events that took place on this day," he stated.

"The US is completely vulnerable," he affirmed.

"In its propaganda, the US says the overtaking of the Spy Den was the start of the conflict between the Iranian nation and the US. They lie. The conflicts between Iran and the US started with the 1953 coup. Why did you overthrow a national government elected by popular vote?" the Leader added.

He recounted atrocities committed by the Americans against the Iranian nation over the last 70 years, saying that the nation, to the Americans’ chagrin, has thwarted all their enmities.

"The US today is the same US of August 1953, but with 2 key differences. First, the ways it shows its hostility have become more complicated. Second, the US was the dominant power at the time of the 1953 coup. It is not today. The US's power is diminishing little by little," the Supreme Leader added.

"One can see a trace of the US in most of the events that take place against Iran. Then they claim they care about the Iranian nation! You have imposed the most severe sanctions - the like of which they admit have never been imposed on any nation in history - against Iran," Ayatollah Khamenei declared.

"The world is approaching a new order in which the US will be isolated and Asia will rise to power," he stressed.

"The signs of the US decline are obvious. They have economic, social, and moral problems inside the US. There are discords and bloody divisions. These are their domestic problems. And there are their miscalculations in global affairs," the Leader noted.

"A sign of the US decline is the election of people like the current and the former presidents. One was a man like [Donald] Trump whom the world considered to be crazy. After he was defeated, a man like this current one [Joe Biden] comes into power, and you know about him!" he continued.

Ayatollah Khamenei then pointed to recent unrest that erupted in mid-September, and said the joint statement of Iran’s top intelligence bodies contained important information about the unrest and showed that the enemy had orchestrated detailed plots for Tehran and other cities.

"Those who were linked to foreign powers and committed crimes across the country, unlike the provoked youth, must be dealt with," he added.

He called the unrest part of the enemy’s “hybrid war” against Iran rather than mere street riots.

“The enemy, namely the United States, the Zionist regime, some insidious and malicious European powers and some groups, came to the field with all of their capabilities,” Iran's Leader said, adding that they used their intelligence agencies, media capacity and the internet as well as their experiences in Iran and other countries to harm the Iranian nation.

On the Shiraz terrorist attack last week, for which Daesh (also known as ISIL or ISIS) claimed responsibility, the Supreme Leader called for tough punishment for the masterminds and perpetrators of the crime.

He also censured the so-called supporters of human rights for their silence after the terrorist attack, noting, “Why have they not condemned the Shiraz incident and why do they repeat a false claim thousands of times on their platforms on the internet?”

READ MORE: Iran Calls on US to Surrender Trump to Justice over Assassination of Gen. Soleimani

Tehran stresses Americans and Zionists rest assured that it is serious about revenge for the assassination of Martyr Soleimani, and they continue to live under the shadow of Iran's reprisal since they don't know when and where they come under attack.

Lieutenant General Soleimani, his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s PMU, and ten of their deputies were martyred by an armed drone strike that was directly ordered by the White House as their convoy left Baghdad International Airport in January 2020.

Both commanders were highly revered across the Middle East because of their key role in fighting the Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) Takfiri terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

Days later, the the IRGC targeted the US-run Ein Al-Assad in Iraq’s Western province of Al-Anbar by launching a volley of missiles in retaliation. According to the Pentagon, at least 110 American forces suffered “traumatic brain injuries” during the counterstrike on the base. Iran has described the missile attack as a “first slap".

Source: Fars News Agency

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Israeli troops kill Palestinian man who drove van into solider

02 November, 2022

Israeli troops killed a Palestinian on Wednesday after he seriously injured a soldier with a van, authorities said, as votes were counted in an Israeli general election.

The army said the man was “neutralized” in the shooting at the Maccabim checkpoint, near the Israeli town of Modiin. The Palestinian health ministry later confirmed he had been killed.

“The assailant got out of his vehicle with an axe to attack the officer, who fired at the attacker and neutralized him,” the army said. “The officer was seriously injured and taken to hospital.”

The Palestinian health ministry identified the dead man as Habas Rayan, 54.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iranian Speaker Underlines US Harms to International Community


Speaking at the session of the parliament on Wednesday, Qalibaf stressed that "the world is a more beautiful place without the US."

About the National Day of Fight Against the Global Arrogance and the Seizure of the Den of Espionage (the US Embassy in Iran), the speaker noted that the United States as "the emblem of global arrogance" has attempted to harm nations by resorting to different methods such as "coups, civil wars, equipping extremist groups, occupation and preplanned revolutions".

"The Iranian nation decided to stand against the global arrogance four decades ago and seized the den of spies in order to impose its own will on the hegemon," the official continued.

The senior lawmaker added that the Iranians reached the point that the highest official of their country "should not be a pawn of the US", so the will of no imperialist should not be able to disintegrate a part of the country.

"Therefore, the Iranian people seized the US Embassy in November 1979 to show that the era of coup d'etats has come to an end," Qalibaf stressed.

"In the recent incidents, the US and a spy network and their saboteurs projected a sophisticated plan, but they made another mistake this time as well," the Iranian speaker argued.

He noted that the US knows that people around the world are on the verge of acquiring the same historical know-how against the global arrogance; thus, the Americans made all-out efforts to propagate that there is a kind of deadlock in Iran.

Protests erupted in several cities across Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who fainted at a police station in mid-September and days later was pronounced dead at a hospital. The demonstrations soon turned violent.

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

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

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei severely censured the deadly riots, saying they were orchestrated in advance by the United States and the Israeli regime.

“I state it clearly that these developments were planned by America, the Zionist regime and their acolytes. Their main problem is with a strong and independent Iran and the country’s progress. The Iranian nation proved to be fairly strong during recent events and will bravely come onto the scene wherever necessary in the future,” he added.

In recent days, Iranian officials have blamed the United States, the European Unions, and several Western states for meddling in Iran's internal affairs over the death of Mahsa. They advised the US and its allies against "opportunism and instrumentalization of the issue of human rights" by misusing the incident.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Analysis: Arabs view revived Netanyahu with concern but as balance against Iran

03 November, 2022

Benjamin Netanyahu’s likely return to power will fuel concern about deepening tensions with Arab neighbors, but Gulf states which forged ties with Israel under his leadership will see him as a regional balance against Iranian power.

Arab leaders were largely silent on Wednesday over Netanyahu’s triumph in Israel’s election. Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister predicted a new maritime border deal would hold, while Palestinians and Jordanian experts forecast new strains.

In the Gulf, where Arab concern over Iran’s regional power dominates security strategy, Netanyahu’s record of hardline opposition to the Shia Muslim-dominated Islamic Republic has helped forge ties with Sunni Muslim Arab leaders.

It was under Netanyahu’s government that Israel normalized relations in 2020 with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and Morocco a few months later.

Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a prominent Emirati political analyst, said for Gulf states like the UAE, Iran is a main concern and Israel, no matter which government, has always taken a strong line against Iran and its nuclear deal with global powers.

“Netanyahu was part of the Abraham Accords and signed it so there is no change in the course of normalization,” he said.

“People here (in the Gulf) will consider this as Israeli politics and Israeli internal issues that we have nothing to do with and we are happy to deal with whomever the Israeli people choose as their leader.”

Abdulla said the victory of what he described as the “worst of the worst in Israeli politics” would have an impact mainly on Palestinians and kill any talk of a two-state solution.

Regional power Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, has yet to normalize relations although it has taken some steps towards rapprochement.

Saudi academic Aziz Alghashian said further moves by Riyadh should not be expected.

“In order for there to be any significant changes ...a process of peace between Palestinians and Israelis should be present - this is now unlikely with the new government,” Alghashian said.

Lebanon deal

With Lebanon, Netanyahu has threatened to “neutralize” the maritime deal brokered by the United States while Lebanon still considers itself at war with Israel, although Beirut says it was assured by Washington that the deal would not be torpedoed.

“We’re not afraid of a change in the authorities in Israel. Whether Netanyahu wins or someone else, no one can stand in the way of this (deal),” Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati told Reuters by phone.

He said US guarantees would protect a maritime border deal with Israel despite opposition from Netanyahu, who has said it could benefit the militant group Hezbollah which has fought Israel.

“Israel cannot go too far against US wishes because it needs US protection, and therefore it is unlikely that a Netanyahu-led government will tear up the US-brokered maritime border agreement... despite Netanyahu’s strong rhetoric,” said Lina Khatib at London’s Chatham House.

Palestinians, Jordan

Leaders at a summit in Algiers glossed over their own divisions over relations with Israel and repeated their support for a Palestinian state - something Netanyahu has steadfastly opposed - but made no reference to the election.

Netanyahu, whose policies towards Palestinians have angered many in the Arab world since he first came to power 26 years ago, pledged that a government under his leadership would act responsibly, avoid “unnecessary adventures” and “expand the circle of peace.”

But in Jordan, home to millions of Palestinian refugees and their families, his expected triumph was met with concern.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated under Netanyahu’s last premiership to the extent that King Abdullah terminated part of their 1994 peace deal which allowed Israel the use of two areas of land along their border.

“Israeli policy under Netanyahu was confrontational with Jordan’s official policy,” said Hamad Faraneh, a former deputy in Jordan’s parliament - where a majority of deputies called on the government in April to revoke the peace treaty.

“Jordan is worried more tensions and violence in Palestine would push more displacement and immigration of Palestinians to the kingdom,” Faraneh said.

Jordan’s Islamist opposition urged Arab countries to take a robust stance.

“Today the Israeli right is talking about expelling Palestinians, they are saying there is no (Palestinian) state… so what is left for Arabs?” said Murad Adailah, secretary-general of Jordan’s Islamic Action Front.

“What’s required of these Arab countries is to depend on their people... and support the resistance of the Palestinians.”

Egypt, the first Arab country to sign a peace deal with Israel and a mediator during Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, was likely to find a way to work with Netanyahu again, said HA Hellyer, non-resident fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Anger in Iran at ‘forced confession’ of jailed rapper

02 November, 2022

Activists on Wednesday condemned a video, published by Iran’s state-run media and purporting to show a dissident rapper, as a forced confession extracted under duress amid ongoing anti-regime protests.

Toomaj Salehi, well known in Iran’s rap scene, disappeared at the weekend after bitterly denouncing the regime and supporting protests that have erupted over the last six weeks following the death of Mahsa Amini, rights groups said.

US-based campaigner Omid Memarian said there was “clear evidence of the use of torture and mistreatment of protesters” in the video.

“The regime is addicted to inhuman practice of forced confessions,” he said, expressing anger that Twitter had allowed the video to be posted there.

The video, posted on the social media channels of the state-run IRNA news agency, claimed to show the “first pictures” of Salehi after his arrest.

It depicts a tattooed man in a sleeveless black T-shirt sitting on the ground, wearing a blindfold and looking bloodied and bruised.

The man says: “I am Toomaj Salehi. I said I made a mistake. I said... that you should run. I didn't mean you.”

In an attempt to provide context, IRNA also showed pictures of a previous video Salehi had posted, in which he addresses security forces by saying: “You must run. This is not friendly advice.”

Rights groups have repeatedly accused Iran of extracting confessions from political prisoners by force, which are then broadcast for propaganda purposes. AFP could not immediately confirm the identity of the man in the video.

“Extremely disturbed Iran state media are sharing forced confessions of rapper Toomaj Salehi under clear duress,” freedom of expression group Article 19 wrote on Twitter.

“Salehi has done nothing but practice his freedom of expression. He must be freed. The perpetrators of his torture must be accountable.”

Salehi is the latest prominent figure to be arrested in a mass crackdown that has seen dozens of journalists, lawyers, civil society and cultural figures arrested.

His detention came shortly after giving an interview highly critical of the regime to the Canadian Broadcasting Cooperation.

“You are dealing with a mafia that is ready to kill the entire nation... in order to keep its power, money and weapons,” Salehi said in the interview.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran to send team to Austria to discuss nuclear work with IAEA

02 November, 2022

An Iranian delegation will visit Vienna in the coming days to try to narrow differences with the UN nuclear watchdog, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said.

“We will send a delegation from Iran to Vienna in the coming days to start talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and we hope to resolve remaining issues based on what we have agreed in the past days,” he told a news conference.

Amirabdollahian also said he would speak to the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, to discuss efforts to revive Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkey says Russia concerned over security, exports in grain deal

02 November, 2022

Russia is concerned about its security and the obstacles it faces exporting fertiliser and grains, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlu Cavusoglu said on Wednesday, days after Moscow suspended its participation in a UN-brokered export deal.

Ankara, in talks with Kyiv and Moscow to fully resume the agreement that it helped broker in the summer, has sounded optimistic that a solution can be found after Russia announced its suspension on Saturday.

Speaking at a panel in Ankara, Cavusoglu cited two reasons for Moscow’s move.

“Russia has some security demands after the recent attack on its ships,” he said of an attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet over the weekend.

Moscow is also concerned about its fertiliser and grain exports, “which are not on the list of sanctions but the ships that are carrying these still cannot dock,” Cavusoglu said, echoing comments by Russian officials.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran police to probe video of officers beating man: Reports

02 November, 2022

Iran’s police force has opened an investigation after a video posted online showed officers beating a man amid protests sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, media reported.

The footage appeared Tuesday on social media, and it comes with Iran rocked by more than six weeks of protests that flared over Amini’s death after her arrest for an alleged breach of the country’s strict dress code for women.

Shot at night on a mobile phone, it shows a squad of around a dozen policemen in an alley kicking and beating a man with their batons, as other officers on motorbikes watch on.

The man initially tries to cover his head with his hands, before the sound of a gunshot is heard and he is run over by a police motorbike. His motionless body is then abandoned.

“A special order was immediately issued to investigate the exact time and place of the incident and identify the offenders,” the police announced in a statement published by state news agency IRNA.

“The police absolutely do not approve of violent and unconventional behaviour and will deal with the offenders according to the rules,” the statement added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Yemen security forces bust Houthi cell in Shabwa


November 02, 2022

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s security forces in the southern province of Shabwa have busted an Iran-backed Houthi cell responsible for deadly attacks on security and military personnel in the area.

The country’s official news agency SABA reported that the security forces discovered a “terrorist” operation that had planted several roadside bombs and other explosive devices in the province’s capital.

Also uncovered, was a plot to assassinate Shabwa’s governor, officers of the Coalition for the Restoration of Legitimacy in Yemen, and other security and military officers.

In October, members of the cell detonated an improvised explosive device that ripped through a military vehicle staffed by Giants Brigades personnel, as well as a roadside bomb that exploded by a car belonging to a former Shabwa security commander, killing his son, and injuring three others.

Yemini authorities have so far not disclosed the number of members of the cell or how it was discovered.

The energy-rich province of Shabwa, which is controlled by the Yemeni government, has seen a series of drive-by shootings and explosions that have killed numerous government personnel and generated fear in the province’s capital, Attaq.

Shabwa Gov. Awadh Al-Wazer has escaped several murder attempts since taking over the province in December last year.

The Houthis suffered a huge blow earlier this year when the Giants Bridges evicted them from the Bayhan, Ouselan, and Ain areas of Shabwa, which led to the province becoming Houthi-free.

Security officials said that the Houthis had surreptitiously dispatched agents to Shabwa and other freed areas to destabilize security and assassinate government leaders.

Meanwhile, Yemeni army officials in the southern city of Taiz said the Houthis had continued their shelling and attacks on government-controlled areas of the heavily populated city on Tuesday night, sparking combat that lasted until Wednesday morning.

Government troops exchanged heavy machine-gun and artillery fire with the Houthis stationed on the city’s eastern, western, and northern edges.

A UN-brokered truce, which went into force on April 2, resulted in a dramatic reduction in hostilities throughout the country, as well as the departure of commercial aircraft from Sanaa airport and the docking of fuel ships at Hodeidah port.

However, people in Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city, which has been under a Houthi siege since early 2015, say that the militias have neither ceased their deadly and arbitrary shelling of civilian areas nor reduced their blockade.

Also, in Taiz, the international organization Save the Children said on Tuesday that a three-year-old boy and his father had died, and four other people were injured on Sunday after a shell burst in a residential neighborhood, bringing the number of child deaths in October to 11.

Source: Arab News

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Palestinian prisoner’s wife says they aren’t allowed to meet; tactic to 'demoralize prisoners'

02 November 2022

Fatima, the wife of Palestinian prisoner Mohammed Mortaja, says she was prevented from meeting him at an Israeli prison, calling it a tactic used by the Israeli regime to demoralize prisoners.

The Israeli regime’s policies with regard to Palestinian prisoners have led to economic and emotional pressures on the families of detainees.

Mortaja’s family members recently spoke to WANN (We Are Not Numbers), a youth-led Palestinian nonprofit project in the Gaza Strip, on the situation around the arrest and the behavior of the apartheid regime.

Explaining the circumstances behind Mortaja’s arrest and Israeli accusations against him, his wife said that the occupation forces arrested Mortaja in early February 2017 while he was seeking to pass the Erez Crossing as part of his plan to attend various conferences related to his work at TIKA, a Turkish charity.

“Their accusation was based on the fact that, since the 2014 war on Gaza left huge losses and destruction, TIKA had received additional aid to support those who lost their homes,” she said, adding that the regime accused her husband of supporting terrorism by using this aid to develop weapons and tunnels.

He was handed a 9-year sentence after two months of interrogation.

Referring to the economical hardships that her family is facing in the absence of Mortaja, she said they live in financial hardship, "but thanks to God and my neighbors in the building who support me and spare me from paying the water and electricity bills, we are getting along.”

Israeli tactic to demoralize prisoners

The immediate family of a prisoner has the right to hold ten 45-minute visits before the sentence is issued, she said.

"Unfortunately, we were barely allowed two visits, and were denied access to him after that," the wife lamented.

She noted that Israeli authorities did not allow her to visit her husband during the two visits, calling it an "Israeli tactic to discourage the prisoners".

As children below the age of eight are allowed to touch and hug their fathers in prison, Mortaja had asked his wife to bring one of their sons, Farouk, who later managed to see his father accompanied by his grandmother.

Remembering the day when he visited the prison, Farouk said, “They made me wait for more than five hours without any reason, then searched me brutally and started interrogating me in a horrific way, as if I had committed a crime when visiting my dad.”

While desperately searching for his dad, Farouk later saw him behind a thick glass partition that separates prisoners from families. The phone that was installed for communication between the sides had much noise that they could hardly hear each other, according to the son.

“Actually, this is one of Israel’s malicious policies to harass the prisoners and demoralize them,” Farouk added.

After pleading with the guards, Farouk was allowed to feel his father’s “warm embrace”, wishing “for time to freeze at that moment.”

On the second and final visit, the older son Abd El-Rahman accompanied the grandmother for visiting Mortaja.

“The hardest part of that 45-minute visit was when I desperately pleaded with the jailer to let me in so that I could touch and hug my dad, but I couldn’t change his mind,” said Abd El-Rahman.

The harder point, he maintained, was to “stay strong despite the pain of seeing my father behind bars” so as to “not let him down.”

Source: Press TV

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Supreme Court affirms death penalty of LeT terrorist in 2000 Red Fort attack case

Nov 3, 2022

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the plea of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist Mohammad Arif alias Ashfaq seeking review of its judgement awarding death penalty to him in the 2000 Red Fort attack case that left three people, including two Army jawans, dead.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi said that it has accepted the prayers that electronic records be considered.

“We have accepted the prayers that electronic records must be placed in consideration. His guilt is proved. We affirm the view taken by this court and reject the review petition,” the bench said.

Source: Times Of India

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In First, Gujarat High Court Quashes FIR Under 'Anti-Love Jihad Law'

2 NOV 2022

In a first, the Gujarat High Court quashed an FIR filed by Gujarat Police against a Muslim man, his parents and a priest under the state's ‘anti-love jihad’ law after the husband and wife settled the matter "amicably" among themselves.

Justice Justice Niral R. Mehta observed, "...this Court is of the considered view that further continuation of the criminal proceedings in relation to the impugned FIR would be nothing but unnecessary harassment to the parties and trial thereon would be futile and further continuation of the proceedings would amount to an abuse of process of law," reports Live Law.

According to the FIR, the woman alleged that her husband and his parents, and the priests who performed the matrimonial ceremony had forcibly converted her religion through marriage.

They were all booked under Sections 498A, 376(2) (n), 377, 312, 313, 504, 506(2), 323, 419, and 120B of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 4, 4(A), 4(2)(A), 4(2)(B) and 5 of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021 and Sections 3(1)(r)(s), 3(2)(5), 3(2)(5-a), 3(1)(w)(1)(2) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities).

The woman and the accused further moved the High Court seeking to quash the FIR filed by the Gujarat Police and alleged that they had brought the Love-Jihad angle on its own and that it contained grossly incorrect and untrue facts, particularly regarding the all.

Importantly, the woman alleged that she had approached a local police station in Vadodara to report petty matrimonial discord, however, the cops, on their own, brought in the “love jihad” angle.

Source: OutlookIndia

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Muslims Face Terror Charges in India’s Assam for Setting up Museum

By Snigdhendu Bhattacharya

November 02, 2022

In late October, the police in the northeast Indian state of Assam, which shares borders with Bengali-speaking Bangladesh and the West Bengal state of eastern India, sealed a humble museum depicting Miya culture, or the culture of Bengal-origin Muslims, and arrested three persons associated with the event. The arrested were booked under India’s anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

This episode emerged as a new entry in a long list of alleged persecution of Muslims, a religious minority in India who comprise 14.23 percent of India’s population according to the last census in 2011. Persecution of religious minorities has surged since 2014 when the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in India. Assam, where ethnic conflict between Assamese-speaking and Bengali-speaking populations is not new, is at present ruled by the BJP.

Authorities shut down the Miya museum soon after it was inaugurated on October 23 in the Muslim-majority Goalpara district. The museum had on display some agricultural and fishing equipment, hand towels, and the lungi, a men’s skirt generally associated with Bengali-speaking Muslims, even though some Bengali Hindus also wear it. Mohor Ali, who created the museum at his home, said these were the items that the Miya community identified with.

Police sealed the museum, citing it was housed in a home built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), a government housing scheme for the poor. They said that the premises were being used for the wrong purposes – PMAY houses are to be used for residential purposes only.

Soon, the top brass in the Assam government and BJP leaders challenged the very idea of highlighting Miya identity. At a press conference, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma asked, “Is there any community in the name of Miya?” He said that the organizers would have to face police action if they failed to prove that items displayed at the museum belonged exclusively to the Miyas. Except for the lungi, everything else is used by the Assamese people, he said.

Assam police, however, claimed that the arrest and slapping of terror charges happened in connection with a separate case. Organizers of the museum were accused of receiving funds from banned terror organizations such as al-Qaida and the Bangladesh-based Ansarullah Bangla Team.

Speaking to this writer over phone, Nasir Uddin, a resident of Goalpara district who was formerly with the Asom Miya Parishad, a forum of the Miya people, said that the charge of terror funding was “ridiculous.”

“The museum displayed bamboo and cane-made, hand-crafted items of daily use, collected mostly from local people. It wouldn’t have cost more than a few thousand rupees. Who would approach terror organizations for such small funds? The charge is unbelievable,” he said.

For the BJP, and the state’s chief minister, however, the very assertion of Miya identity is dangerous.

The cultural assertion of Miya identity came to the limelight in 2016 onwards. The main trigger was the Indian Supreme Court’s 2013 direction to Assam to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for the state. People who would fail to prove the existence of their family names in Assam’s electoral roll before midnight of March 24, 1971 — just before Bangladesh’s Liberation War began — would be deemed infiltrators and deported.

Ethnic conflict between the Assamese and migrants, especially of Bengali identity, has been a dominating force in Assam’s politics for many decades, often leading to clashes, bloodshed, and destruction of property. It has been alleged that migration from Bangladesh has changed the demography of the state.

The old ethnic conflict took a new turn with the rise of the BJP in the state in 2016. After the NRC excluded 1.9 million Bengali-speaking residents of Assam from the citizenship list in 2019, Hindu nationalist forces sought to protect Bengali-speaking non-Muslims through the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

People excluded from the NRC included both Hindus and Muslims, predominantly of Bengali ethnicity. However, the implementation of the CAA, when it happens, would leave only Muslims to bear the brunt.

Miya poetry became a talking point in Assam in 2019, with the NRC list coming close to completion, and hundreds having already landed in detention centers. In 2019, Miya poets were targeted in police cases. In 2020, an Indian National Congress legislator from the state had mooted the idea of building a Miya museum, a proposal that triggered strong reactions from Biswa Sarma, who was then the state’s finance minister. He became the chief minister last year.

Sarma, who has often been branded “communal,” has been targeting the assertion of Miya identity since 2020, when he said: “It is a fight between two cultures. The so-called migrants — Bangladeshi Muslims — have started a new concept in Assam. They call it Miya culture, Miya poetry… Miya language… We have to protect the composite Indian culture and more particularly Assamese culture… And Assamese Muslims are firmly by our side.”

In 2021, he said that “Miyas are a threat to Assam’s culture and identity” and that he did not want “Miya votes.”

After the recent incident, Biswa Sarma cited his past comments against the Miya community to say that he had been right all along. “We have now witnessed Miya poetry, Miya school, and Miya Museum. I have been talking about these challenges all the time.”


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After Nov 15, UP govt to take a call on 8K ‘unauthorised’ madrasas

Nov 02, 2022

LUCKNOW The Yogi 2.0 government would take a call on the nearly 8,000 odd ‘unauthorised’ madrasas that have been found across the state, after November 15, the time when district magistrates are expected to send a combined report to the state government.

“The report would be studied in detail. A final decision would be taken in consultation with chief minister Yogi Adityanath. Our resolve is to ensure that all children, across all castes and communities, get such education that helps them keep pace with the times,” said minority affairs minister Dharampal Singh.

Around 8,000 ‘unauthorised’ madrasas have so far been detected in the madrasa survey, government officials said.

However, it is still not clear if the list of ‘unauthorised’ madrasas also includes globally renowned Islamic seminaries like Darul-Uloom, Deoband in Saharanpur, set up over 100 years back.

The seminary has already cleared it has no plans to seek affiliation with the state’s madrasa board and that it would continue to impart largely theological teaching to students who enrol with it.

While Darul Uloom was set up in 1866, Lucknow-based Islamic seminary, Nadwatul Ulama, was set up in 1898. These are registered under the Society Act and considered to be among the few Islamic seminaries across South Asia imparting teaching in Arabic.

Mohammad Rabey Hasani Nadwi, president of All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), is also the chancellor of Nadwatul Ulama and the AIMPLB has already raised a question mark over the madrasa survey.

“There hasn’t been any (government) communication (since the survey exercise),” said a Nadwa official, when asked if they have learnt anything from the government about the survey.

Minority affairs minister Dharampal, had categorically told HT in an interview that while in a secular, democratic set-up, all are free to pursue the religion of their choice, he had also stated that mere ‘deeni taleem (religious education)’ won’t help madrasa students.

“Mere religious education can’t make the students, who study here, become successful as doctors, engineers, bureaucrats and managers. They should also learn Hindi, English, mathematics and other relevant subjects,” he had said.

With Darul Uloom making it clear that they won’t allow any change in teaching methodology and would continue with the theology-based teaching, the response of the government on the issue is still not clear.

Ashraf Usmani, spokesperson of Darul Uloom said, “We are registered under the Societies Registration Act and already impart both types of teaching – religious as well as modern. There is no need for seeking affiliation.”

Madrasa owners say they impart “deeni taleem” (religious education) to students who, after becoming well-versed in theology, go on to become teachers, qazis, imams, and muezzins of mosques. “We impart ‘deeni taleem’, but we also impart English teaching to our students. We have produced scholars who are doing well across the globe,” said a senior official at Nadwatul Ulama.

Source: Hindustan Times

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7 Kerala VCs move court against governor’s notice

K.M. Rakesh   |   Bangalore  


Vice-chancellors of seven Kerala universities have moved the high court on Wednesday seeking direction to cancel the chancellor’s show cause notice against their continuance in office.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, who is the chancellor of state universities, had on October 24 served show cause notices to nine vice-chancellors for not following his orders to submit their resignations by 11.30am that day. The pleas came with just a day to go for sending their responses to the notice.

The single bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran on Wednesday sought counter-petitions, if any, from the counsel for the chancellor and posted the matter for Thursday before the deadline to respond to the show cause notice expires.

The governor had cited non-compliance of UGC norms in the appointments of the vice-chancellors, in an open battle with the Left Democratic Front government.

His orders were based on the Supreme Court judgment on October 21 that set aside the appointment of M.S. Rajasree, vice-chancellor of APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, for not complying with UGC regulations.

Kerala High Court had on October 24 given temporary relief to eight of the vice-chancellors, who had moved the court against the chancellor’s diktat seeking their resignation, by asking them to remain in office until they are removed in keeping with law.

In a special hearing in spite of Diwali holiday, the court had observed that the governor’s order seeking their resignations had lost relevance on account of the show cause notice.

While the state government has not yet appointed an interim vice-chancellor for the university, Mohanan Kunnummel, vice-chancellor of Kerala University of Health Sciences has since been given additional charge of Kerala University until a fresh appointment is made. Kerala University vice-chancellor V.P. Mahadevan Pillai had recently retired, but is among the seven petitioners since he too was served a show cause notice.

In another case related to the Kerala University, the court extended the stay on the removal of 15 senate committee members. The governor had removed the senate committee members on October 15 as they refused to send in their nomination for the search and selection committee for a new vice-chancellor. The high court that had then given them interim relief, will hear the matter again on Tuesday.

Sources said the governor had sought legal opinion on recovering the salaries paid to the vice-chancellors who were allegedly appointed by flouting UGC norms. Although some of the appointments were made by him, Khan had recently accused the state government of providing just one name instead of the three mandated by the UGC.

The governor has been engaged in an open battle with the Left Democratic Front government ever since he assumed charge in 2019. The tussle had intensified with the state government putting its foot down and questioning the powers and duties of the governor.


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Uttar Pradesh: Girl hangs self hours after kin 'beat' Muslim beau to death in Saharanpur

Nov 3, 2022

MEERUT: An inter-faith love affair ended in tragedy on Wednesday when a 19-year-old college-going girl hanged herself to death hours after her family called her boyfriend, 20, who was also her classmate, to their house, allegedly thrashed him mercilessly following which he died in a hospital in Dehradun.

The incident happened at Islampur locality of Rampur Maniharan region in UP's Saharanpur district. The teenager, Tannu Saini, was a BSc student as was the youth, Zia-Ur-Rehman.

Police said they are "yet to receive any complaint from either families", adding that appropriate action would be taken after the postmortem report of the dead man arrives.

The girl's autopsy report mentions death due to hanging. No FIR has been filed, said police.

Soon after news of the deaths spread, local markets remained shut fearing communal unrest as the couple belonged to different faiths. "Police force has been deployed. Probe is on and action will be taken accordingly," said Saharanpur SSP Vipin Tada.

Source: Times Of India

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Kodathi Vilakku and Muslim munsiff connection

03rd November 2022

By Gopika Varrier

THRISSUR: Kodathi Vilakku, held as part of the Ekadasi festival at the Lord Krishna Temple in Guruvayur, got its name perhaps due to the fact that it was started by a Muslim munsiff named Keyi at the Chavakkad court more than a century ago. A trust formed by advocates at the court continued the practice.

Earlier, Guruvayur temple used to have just one week of ‘vilakku’ offerings for Ekadasi, with temple workers and privileged members of society offering it. Later, as the vilakku gained popularity, local merchants, police officials and others too joined. The ritual became a group offering, with its members staging cultural performances on that evening of the vilakku day.

“Over years, many judges have been joining Kodathi Vilakku voluntarily. They did it not in their official capacities as it is the Guruvayur Ekadasi Kodathi Vilakku committee which books the offering. However, instead of mentioning the trust’s name, the devaswom continued to use Kodathi Vilakku. Just because the term Police Vilakku is being used by the devaswom, it doesn’t mean that the state police department is making the offering,” said a source on condition of anonymity.

Chavakkad Bar Association president Siju Muttath said the association was not part of the offering and it has been managed exclusively by the trust. However, the official document provided by the devaswom clearly mentions Munsif, Chavakkad Munsif Court, as the person who offers the vilakku.

Source: NewIndianExpress

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Rishi Raj and after: Liberal fallacy of connecting India’s plurality with a Muslim Prime Minister

November 02, 2022

In an ironic twist to the fulfilment of the Macaulayian wish of having a class of people, “Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect”, Rishi Sunak has been called upon to rule the United Kingdom.

For a people, denigrated by their colonial masters as incapable of self-rule, this is a moment of poetic justice. The euphoria it has generated among Indians has an interesting side show — the taunts are being hurled at India for not yet having a prime minister of foreign origin, or, more specifically, a Muslim.

The fact, however, is that for about a thousand years, till a mere 75 years ago when we became independent, our rulers had been foreigners — not merely of foreign origin, but self-avowed foreigners.

One may ask, does Sunak represent the Indian desis, and has he acquired power on their behalf, or is he so integrated in the British society and culture, so steeped in its ethos, and so committed to its interests that his skin colour doesn’t matter for the British?

Would they still be so accepting of him, if the Indians had ruled over the British Isles for centuries, and when the time came for them relinquish power, they partitioned it into three; keeping two parts for their exclusive ethno-religious rule, while having equal rights in the remaining third part, where they continued with the old separatist politics with an ever sharpening Hindutva ideology?

Would Sunak be acceptable if he were an identitarian, and not an integrationist; if he wore identity politics on his sleeve and foregrounded his ethnic and religious identity before his British one?

If the identity politics is shunned, Islam is depoliticised, and the Muslim community ceases to be a political group, in the fullness of time, India might have its own Obama and Sunak — someone who is Muslim in religion, but Indian in taste, opinions, morals and intellect.

Kalam’s case

Actually, we did have one such in APJ Abdul Kalam. True, he wasn’t an executive president. But seeing his enduring popularity among the masses, there is little doubt that if he were made the prime minister, in the manner of Manmohan Singh, he would be as popular as he was as president.

Fifteen years after he demitted office, his pictures are ubiquitous in public places and private spaces; they are painted in the rear of buses and printed on the covers of students’ notebooks; his inspirational quotes circulate in social media and his books remain best sellers.

His mausoleum at Rameshwaram has become a pilgrimage place. His religion — he was regular with his namaz and roza — never came in the way of his popularity. However, the Indian Muslims and the official liberals remained cold towards him. He wasn’t Muslim enough for them. He didn’t belong to the elite Muslim class of Ashrāf which has a monopoly on high offices; he didn’t speak Urdu, and didn’t wear sherwani. He played Veena and quoted from Bhagwad Gita.

As Missile Man he added muscles to India’s military might. He neither wasted money on Iftar party in Rashtrapati Bhavan nor, after retirement, ever felt insecure for being a Muslim. Naturally, he couldn’t be a darling of the identitarian Muslims and official liberals.

Analysis of Owaisi’s dream

The AIMIM chief, Asaduddin Owaisi, has a dream of seeing a Hijabi woman as prime minister of India. Why does he specifically want a Hijabi woman, and not a Muslim woman irrespective of her dress?

Could such a strident communal identity represent the whole country?

Does identity politics facilitate the modus vivendi of acceptance and mainstreaming or it leads to social secession and self-inflicted marginalisation?

Even if Owaisi’s wish were to be granted, shouldn’t charity begin from home, and AIMIM, in order to set an example, have a hijabi woman chief for itself, and propose another for All India Muslim Personal Law Board?

But, would it be possible till the time Muslim women continue to be half a person with half a right under the Muslim Personal Law, instead of a full person with full rights as envisaged by the Constitution?

Moreover, since a hijabi woman is foregrounding her religious identity, what about her right to equality in the mosque, and opportunity to lead her fellow Muslims in prayer? Shouldn’t she first have an equal access to the mosque — to the main hall, and not some sequestered section in the rear? Would she have the confidence to lead the country if she couldn’t lead her own faith mates in the mosque?

Opposite historical trajectories

India might have overtaken the UK as the fifth largest economy of the world, but the historical trajectories of the two have been the exact opposite of each other. The UK has been a colonising, not a colonised country. It has ruled the world, and not been ruled by any. India, on the other hand has been a colonised country, and been subject to the rule of foreign invaders for many centuries.

The British didn’t settle here. The ruled; drained the wealth, and left at the end of their tenure. The Muslim invaders, however, settled here, colonised the country, and lived here to rule.

If the British system was like a sponge, “drawing up all the good things from the banks of the Ganges and squeezing them down on the banks of the Thames”, the Muslim ruling class’ extravagant consumption poured the country’s wealth down the drain.

Broadly speaking, the rulers and the subjects were divided by race and religion. The rulers came as foreigners and remained here as foreigners. By choice, expediency and ideology.

They predicted the legitimacy of their rule on racial superiority as foreign conquerors. Till the mid-18th century, the Muslim ruling class replenished itself with new arrivals from Arabia, Iran and Central Asia. So much so that the founders of some of the succession states in the 18th century had freshly arrived from abroad.

Islam’s religious claim to rule the world was the ideological justification for their racial superiority. Till the end of the Muslim rule, 70-80 percent of the ruling class were foreigners.

They proudly claimed foreignness. Bernier very perceptively notes, “The Great Mogol is a foreigner in Hindustan…he finds himself in a hostile country…he is under the necessity of keeping up numerous armies, even in the time of peace.”

Their descendants, the upper class Muslims — the Ashrāf — continue to base their social superiority and political entitlement not only on their foreign origin but on their perpetual foreignness.

Assimilation in the broad Indian society has been an anathema to them since it would end the distinction between them and their former subjects.

Such an attitude wouldn’t let them forge any relation with the land of their domicile except the political. They regarded India merely as their Rajbhoomi. The idea of Matribhoomi, Motherland or India as Mother, was considered idolatrous.

Idol worship, being the Hindu way, was an abomination. The idea of Punya Bhumi, sacred land, became the extreme form of apostasy, even though, Muslims all over the world adore their respective countries as sacred.

The concept of Punyabhoomi is different from Teerth Sthal or place of pilgrimage. Christians from all over the world have their holiest shrines in Israel-Palestine, and Buddhists in India. Their reverence for these places has nothing to do with their love and adoration for their respective motherlands.

Likewise, for Indian Muslims, reverence for the holy sites of Islam in Arabia, shouldn’t interfere with their sense of nationalism. If it does, it’s a case of bad theology which has less to do with religion and more with politics.

This practice of separateness led to the ideology of separatism in politics, and theology of puritanism in religion. The process culminated in the partition of India. Now, the same current has resurfaced in the avatar of identity politics.

After the partitioned independence, this process gathered even more momentum. Besides being a religion, Islam has also been the political ideology of the Muslim ruling class, the Ashrāf.

But with the rise in literacy level, and exposure to Islamic literature, the indigenous Muslims — about 80 percent of the Muslim population, those who had converted to Islam during the Muslim rule — became more indoctrinated with the ideological claim of Islam to rule the world.

Thus, while the Ashrāf created a culture industry out of the so called Ganga-Jamni Tahzeeb, the indigenous Muslims, with the characteristic zealotry of the convert, fanatically seceded from their past, history and culture in order to climb the mobility ladder customised by their converters, the Ashrāf.

The official liberals cheered this process as they needed the Muslim mercenaries on their side in the fight against the cultural nationalists.


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China, Pakistan claim ‘politicisation’ of terror issue, rake up Kashmir

Nov 3, 2022

NEW DELHI: China and Pakistan on Wednesday expressed their opposition to the “politicisation” of the issue of counter-terrorism, days after India indirectly hit out at them for blocking its efforts to blacklist Pakistan-based key conspirators of terror attacks who continue to remain “protected and unpunished” there.

Ajoint statement issued after wide-ranging talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif in Beijing mentioned the Kashmir issue, saying the two sides “emphasised the importance of resolving all outstanding disputes through sincere dialogue”. While there was no official response from India, government sources said J&K has always been and will always remain an integral part of India and that China and Pakistan must not do anything to change status quo in areas under illegal occupation of latter.

“The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the situation in J&K. The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir issue was a dispute left from history that should bepeacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements,” it said. “The two sides condemned terrorism in all its forms and expressed opposition to the politicisation of the issue of counter-terrorism,” it added.

Source: Times Of India

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Southeast Asia 

'I am deeply concerned about security of Chinese people in Pakistan,' Xi tells Sharif

Nov 2, 2022

BEIJING: President Xi Jinping on Wednesday expressed "deep concern" over the security of Chinese nationals working in Pakistan on the CPEC projects and sought "reliable and safe environment" for them during his talks with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who is here on his maiden visit to bolster the all-weather friendship.

Sharif, who arrived here on Tuesday night on a two-day visit, held wide-ranging talks with Xi during which they agreed to strengthen the all-weather friendship and the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

"I am deeply concerned about the security of Chinese people in Pakistan and hope that Pakistan will provide a reliable and safe environment for Chinese institutions and personnel going to Pakistan for cooperation," Xi told Sharif in their meeting at the ornate Great Hall of People here, according to an official statement here.

Sharif is the first Head of the State to felicitate Xi on his recent record victory as General Secretary of the once-in-a-five-year Congress of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), a privilege accorded only to party founder Mao Zedong.

This is the second time in about two months Xi expressed concern over the recurring attacks on Chinese nationals working in Pakistan by the Baloch Nationalist Army and other militant groups that oppose the Chinese investments in the troubled province under the CPEC.

India has objected to China over the CPEC as it is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Sharif met Xi last month on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit at Samarkand in Uzbekistan.

In the Samarkand meeting, Xi had called for providing solid protection for hundreds of Chinese working on the CPEC projects.

With recurring attacks on its workers, China is reportedly pressing Pakistan to permit the Chinese security agencies to provide security for their personnel which, according to press reports, Islamabad is resisting as it meant boots on the ground for Chinese armed forces.

A joint statement issued later said both sides "expressed satisfaction with the close cooperation, trust and communication between the armed forces of the two countries".

"Underscoring that stronger strategic defence and security cooperation between China and Pakistan is an important factor of peace and stability in the region, the two sides agreed to maintain high-level mil-to-mil visits and exchanges and deepen cooperation in areas of training, joint exercises and military technology," it said.

While there was no reference to the Kashmir issue in the lengthy statement issued by China on Xi's meeting with Sharif, it figured in the joint statement.

"The two sides reiterated that a peaceful and prosperous South Asia is in the common interest of all parties. They emphasized the importance of resolving all outstanding disputes through sincere dialogue," the joint statement said.

"The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the situation in Jammu & Kashmir. The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir issue was a dispute left from history that should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements," it added.

India has previously rejected third party intervention on the Kashmir issue, saying that matters related to the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir are entirely its internal affairs.

The joint statement said that China and Pakistan expressed their opposition to the "politicisation" of the issue of counter-terrorism, days after India indirectly hit out at them for blocking its efforts to blacklist Pakistan-based key conspirators of the terror attacks on its soil who continue to remain "protected and unpunished" there.

In his meeting with Sharif, Xi, who is expected to be in power for his life like Mao and accorded priority to China's ties Pakistan in his last 10 years with the CPEC, said China and Pakistan are "good friends, good partners and good brothers” and they demonstrated "iron-clad friendship” by supporting each other in a “chaotic world”.

"China has always viewed China-Pakistan relations from a strategic height and long-term perspective, and has always placed Pakistan in priority in our neighbouring diplomacy," he said.

China is willing to work with Pakistan to enhance all-round strategic cooperation, accelerate the construction of a closer China-Pakistan community of shared future in the new era, and inject new impetus into the all-weather strategic cooperation partnership between China and Pakistan, he said.

He said both sides should make good use of the mechanism of the Joint Cooperation Committee of the CPEC to promote the construction of the projects more efficiently and build it into a high-quality development demonstration project of the BRI.

Recent reports said China is deeply unhappy over the inordinate delays of the CPEC projects which Sharif says will be accorded priority to complete with new deadlines.

"We should accelerate the construction of supporting infrastructure of Gwadar Port, and give play to the role of the port in radiating and driving the development of regional connectivity," Xi said.

The CPEC connects Xinjiang with Pakistan's strategic Gwadar port in Balochistan.

"Both sides should make joint efforts to create conditions for the early implementation of the upgrading and reconstruction project of Mainline No. 1 railway line and the Karachi ring railway project," Xi said.

The Mainline No. 1 railway line refers to the Karachi-Peshawar rail line, which the previous Imran Khan government was not keen on as it was estimated to cost about $10 billion, increasing Pakistan's debt burden.

According to reports from Pakistan, Sharif is expected to make a case for Beijing to provide more help for his government to shore up the balance of payments position to avert a crisis similar to Sri Lanka.

The International Monetary Fund said Pakistan's total non-Paris Club bilateral debt currently stands at about $27 billion, of which Chinese debt is about $23 billion.

Pakistan's state-run APP news agency reported that in his meeting with Sharif, Xi announced 500 million yuan ($70 million) as relief for the victims of recent floods in Pakistan. China earlier announced $70 million in aid for flood relief.

On his part, Sharif told Xi that the world cannot live without China.

"The world cannot live without China, and no force can contain China's development in isolation. It is believed that President Xi Jinping's foresight will not only continue to lead China to create more brilliant achievements, but also lead the world to a brighter future," the Chinese statement quoted Sharif as saying.

"I am very honoured to be one of the first foreign leaders invited to visit China after the successful convening of the landmark 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which fully demonstrates the deep 'iron-clad' friendship between Pakistan and China," Sharif said.

Source: Times Of India

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Landmark book on Muslim family law launched

K.C. Vijayan

02 Nov 2022

SINGAPORE - When veteran lawyer Ahmad Nizam Abbas and two others completed a book on Muslim family law, he hoped to dispel the misconception that legal practice in the Syariah Court is the exclusive domain of Muslim lawyers.

The Syariah Court settles disputes and related matters in relation to divorcing parties under the Administration of Muslim Law Act. All such parties are either Muslims or married under Muslim law. The court also may issue inheritance certificates to facilitate estate distribution under Muslim law.

“(Unlike elsewhere), the lawyer in Singapore can be of any religion. What matters is the knowledge and the capacity to represent clients in the Syariah Court,” said Mr Ahmad in a recent interview with the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL). The 55-year-old runs his own law firm, Crescent Law.

The book – Muslim Family Law In Singapore – is the first targeted textbook on the practice of Muslim family law here, and is co-written with Ms Istyana Putri Ibrahim from the Legal Aid Bureau and Ms Maryam Hasanah Rozlan from Kaplan Singapore.

Launching the book on Oct 18, Justice Valerie Thean noted that there “has been no equivalent textbook touching on this area of practice in Singapore since Ahmad Ibrahim’s textbook on Islamic Law in Malaya in 1965”, referring to Singapore’s first attorney-general, who was also a prolific legal expert and law professor.

“Now, we have a useful and practical guide to the many questions we have on substantive Muslim family law and procedure.”

She added: “Reading the draft the authors sent me, I wish I had had the benefit of the last chapter when I dealt with an inheritance case just two months ago. I congratulate our authors and SAL on its publication.”

Published by SAL’s Academy Publishing, the 664-page book provides a comprehensive survey of topics, analyses reported cases and relevant developments, and carries insights as well as commentary on various issues.

One case concerns a woman based in India who made a deed of gift (hibah) of her Housing Board flat to her daughter in 2011.

The daughter argued that the unit was a gift and did not form part of her late mother’s estate, relying on a fatwa (Islamic ruling) she obtained from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) in December 2016 that the hibah was valid under Muslim law.

The son objected when the case went to court, pointing out that the HDB’s consent was not obtained for the transfer, as required under the Housing and Development Act.

Justice Choo Han Teck held that the Act made it clear that no HDB flat shall be disposed of without the prior written consent of the board. As consent was not sought, the transfer was void.

The judge added that Muis’ fatwa considered the validity of the hibah only in accordance with Muslim law governing formal requirements.

The authors noted that the case is the only reported decision so far on a hibah ruqba, which is a unique instrument under Muslim law.

Source: StraitsTimes

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Indonesia, Muslim World League hold first-ever G20 religion forum


November 02, 2022

JAKARTA: Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, kicked off on Wednesday the Group of 20’s first-ever Religion Forum ahead of the upcoming G20 summit in Bali.

The forum, R20, organized by Indonesia’s biggest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama and the Muslim World League, is part of a series of events initiated under Indonesia’s presidency of the group of the world’s 20 leading economies.

More than 300 religious leaders and scholars from around the globe attended the opening of the two-day meeting.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who inaugurated the forum, called on participants to work together to help resolve global challenges and put an end to wars for the future generation to inherit a peaceful, united world.

“I hope you succeed in building understanding and agreement and will concur on concrete steps so that religion will have a bigger contribution for civilization and humanity, and for a happier world for everyone,” he said, addressing on a large screen the audience in Nusa Dua, Bali — the venue of the G20 Summit, which Indonesia will host on Nov. 15 to 16.

MWL Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa announced in his opening speech the launching of the Building Bridges Between the East and West initiative under the R20 forum’s platform.

“I am pleased to launch the initiative of Building Bridges Between the East and West for a better world understanding, peace, and mutually accepting societies,” the league’s chief said.

“We discussed in this platform many initiatives comprising human diversity, religious diversity, and civilizational diversity on the platform of human brotherhood. This diversity is important. God has wanted it from us in his wisdom.”

Yahya Cholil Staquf, head of Nahdlatul Ulama, said the R20 initiative came from a “sincere concern of all believers” about the future of humanity.

“On behalf of the Nahdlatul Ulama, I want to express our utmost gratitude to the MWL and especially to Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa for the willingness to have a collaboration with NU to co-host this forum for all of you.

“May God’s blessings, guidance, and help always be with us during this event and afterwards, and our joint endeavor contribute in a positive and constructive way for all humanity,” he added.

Ulil Abshar-Abdalla, head of NU think tank Lakpesdam, told Arab News from the summit’s venue that the very fact the forum had been initiated by the organization — which with a membership of 90 million was also the largest Muslim body in the world — highlighted its importance.

“The purpose of this forum is, among others, to promote an honest conversation among religious leaders from diverse faith traditions through rethinking religious doctrines and traditions that hamper dialogue and peaceful coexistence,” he said.

Source: Arab News

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GE15: Candidates, party leaders, workers prohibited from taking over as imam and khatib in Perak, says state Islamic Religious Dept

02 Nov 2022

IPOH, Nov 2 — Candidates, political party leaders and political party workers are prohibited from taking over the role of imam and khatib from mosque officials in Perak throughout the 15th general election (GE15) campaign period.

That is among the rules and guidelines regarding programmes and activities in mosques, suraus, maahad tahfiz and religious schools issued by the Perak Islamic Religious Department (JAIPk) effective this Friday (from Maghrib prayers) until the dawn prayers on November 20.

JAIPk director Harith Fadzilah Abdul Halim in a circular today said that this was based on the decree issued by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, in order to protect the sanctity of Islam and to ensure that Islamic institutions are protected from being contaminated by political activities.

“Friday sermons that are not issued by the Perak Islamic Religious Department as well as holding talks, speeches, announcements and visits that have elements of campaigning are prohibited.

“Also prohibited are announcing aid, handing over donations, sponsoring a feast as well as organising groundbreaking events or launching mosques, suraus, maahad tahfiz and religious schools,” he said.

Apart from that, he said the installation of party symbols and flags as well as candidate posters at the compound of mosques, suraus, maahad tahfiz and religious schools as well as distributing campaign leaflets and manifestos are also prohibited.

Source: MalayMail

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VP Amin, ADFP discuss collaboration in promoting moderate Islam

03 Nov 2022

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Vice President Ma'ruf Amin discussed the importance of cooperation in promoting moderate Islam to achieve world peace with the president of the Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace (ADFP), Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, on Wednesday.

"The current global situation, which is full of challenges, requires commitment from all countries to jointly maintain peace and promote peaceful solutions (to those various challenges),” Amin said during the meeting in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to a statement issued on Wednesday.

There have been a number of areas of bilateral cooperation between Indonesia and the UAE for promoting moderate Islam, for instance, the sending of Indonesian mosque imams to the UAE.

Furthermore, Amin said that Indonesia and the UAE are also working together to construct a replica of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque as well as an Islamic Center in Solo city, Central Java province.

The mosque will be inaugurated by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his UAE counterpart Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in mid-November 2022, he informed.

Further cooperation between the countries includes a plan to establish a School of Future Studies in Indonesia under a collaboration between Nahdlatul Ulama University (UNU) and Mohammed bin Zayed University for Humanities (MBZUH).

"I expect the plan to establish this educational institution to be realized soon," the Indonesian Vice President said.

Indonesia and the UAE have the same vision and mission of building a spirit of brotherhood and realizing world peace, he noted.

"We, in Indonesia, build three ukhuwah (brotherhood) principles, namely ukhuwah islamiyah (brotherhood among Muslims), ukhuwah wathoniyah (brotherhood of nation), and ukhuwah insaniyah (brotherhood of mankind). Indonesia also has a mission according to our (1945) Constitution to realize world peace," he added.

Amin said he expects the 9th Abu Dhabi Peace Forum, which will be organized by ADFP on November 8–10, 2022, to further solidify cooperation between Indonesia and the UAE.

"I hope that through this forum, we can realize peace and prosperity in the region and the world together," he added.

Meanwhile, the ADFP president said that his party has assessed that Indonesia has an important role in disseminating the values of tolerance and harmony by promoting moderate Islam.

ADFP is ready to improve cooperation with Indonesia in promoting moderate Islam for world peace, he added.

Source: AntaraNews

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GTA fields Islamist hardliner and former Ummah, Isma leader Aminuddin Yahaya in Temerloh

By Shahrin Aizat Noorshahrizam

Wednesday, 02 Nov 2022

BANGI, Nov 2 — Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) announced today that the former chairman of Islamist coalition Gerakan Pembela Ummah, Aminuddin Yahaya, will contest under its banner in Temerloh for the 15th general election (GE15).

Aminuddin joined GTA as part of the civil societies coalition called Gagasan Bangsa.

He was most recently the president of Malay-Islamist lobby group Pembela, and was the deputy president of the controversial Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) before leading Ummah.

As Ummah chairman, Aminuddin was part of the leaders of the December 2018 rally opposing the Pakatan Harapan administration’s ratification of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s decision not to ratify the United Nations’ International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Ummah later held another rally in May 2019 opposing ICERD, the Rome Statute, PH’s stance on the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) and Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI), and the untimely death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim during riots at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Seafield.

At least five more former Isma members and leaders were also fielded by GTA, all of them members of PAS splinter party Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia or Berjasa.

This includes Berjasa president Zamani Ibrahim, a former Seremban Isma chief, contesting in Tampin, and its Youth chief Fahmi Bazlan Muda — formerly Subang Jaya Isma Youth chief — in Kota Raja.

Others were Hamidi Abu Hassan (ex-Seberang Perai Isma chief) in Kepala Batas, Anuar Salleh (ex-Hulu Langat Isma chief) in Bangi, and Nazriq Abdul Rahman (Melaka Tengah Isma member) in Alor Gajah.

GTA named eight candidates from Berjasa out of the 121 it announced today, including its deputy president Datuk Rosli Ramli in Putrajaya.

Source: MalayMail

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Malaysian Christians urged to vote responsibly

November 02, 2022

An ecumenical forum in Malaysia has asked Christians to take an informed decision while casting their votes to choose their leaders in the upcoming general election.

“To vote means to stand up and be counted. God has entrusted to us this stewardship to work for the common good of everyone,” reads a pastoral letter from Archbishop Simon Poh, chairman of the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) issued on Oct. 31.

The ACS covers Sarawak, the largest state in Malaysia in the northern part of Borneo Island and the only Christian-majority state of the Muslim-majority country.

Archbishop Poh, head of Kuching Catholic Archdiocese, said that the 15th general election on Nov. 19 is a time to properly exercise their voting rights as responsible citizens of the country.

“This is to ask Christians to vote as responsible citizens of our country… as part of our moral responsibility in society and nation building,” Archbishop Poh told the Borneo Post while explaining the letter.

The prelate said the ACS does not endorse any politicians or party.

The letter urged Christians to not cast their votes for popular candidates blindly but look for qualities that make them good leaders.

“ACS exhorts church members to seek and elect godly leaders who will ensure the common good of all people of all races, religions, and social standing in our nation,” the letter read.

A candidate being “capable and competent, accountable and transparent, trustworthy, having integrity, as well as a God-fearing person who seeks to do what is right before God,” were the values Christians were urged to look for.

The letter also added concern for the poor, honesty, not taking advantage of their position to exploit the poor and unprotected, sense of justice and equality, “rejecting religious fundamentalism and bigotry, and protecting harmony” among other desirable traits for the candidates.

The letter also reminded the Christian community that they must also cultivate the traits that they demand from their leaders.

“Christians are called to strive for these qualities as part of our stewardship and leadership in respective families, workplace, and position of leadership that have been entrusted to us,” the letter further read.

The ACS has been cautious in its stand to maintain communal harmony and peace across the multi-cultural and inter-denominational socio-political landscape in Malaysia.

Muslims make up more than 60 percent of Malaysia’s estimated 32 million people. Buddhists are the largest minority with 20 percent, Christians are 10 percent and about 6.3 percent are Hindus, according to 2018 government estimates.

Among Malaysia’s 13 states, Sarawak and Sabah on the island of Borneo account for about two-thirds of the country’s Christians where they make up one-third of the population, making them a major voting bloc to register an election win.

Sarawak is the largest state in terms of area where Christians make up the majority with 1.2 million (50.1 percent) in a population of 2.4 million. Muslims make up 800,000 (34.2 percent) and Buddhists account for about 300,000 (12.8 percent).

Protestants, mostly Anglicans, are the majority among Christian denominations.

The Catholic Church has also a sizable following with more than 441,300 members spread in the Archdiocese of Kuching and Miri and Sibu dioceses.

Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia that holds state elections separately from federal elections. Under the Malaysian constitution, Sarawak enjoys a higher degree of autonomy than other states.

Political analysts say Malaysia’s long-ruling United Malays National Organization (UNMO) is expected to win the general election as the opposition alliance remains in disarray due to power struggles and infighting.

The UNMO, a Malay nationalist party, has been in power uninterrupted since independence in 1957. However, it got embroiled in corruption, especially in 1MDB graft, and was defeated in the 2018 general election.

The multi-billion-dollar 1MDB corruption scandal has landed UNMO leader and former Prime Minister Najib Razak in jail.

The party has nominated current PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob as the Prime Minister candidate again. Yaakob dissolved the parliament on Oct. 10 and called snap elections, saying this would end years of political uncertainty in the country.

Source: UCANews

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Dr Mahathir: GTA will free government from yoke of criminals

By Kenneth Tee

03 Nov 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 3 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) has the ultimate aim of changing a “criminal-led government” to a clean and trustworthy administration.

In yet another attempt to shore up support for the unregistered coalition that was formed recently, Dr Mahathir said GTA is a movement founded by Malays capable of replacing another mainstream but tainted Malay-centric party, Umno.

“Umno has been hijacked by Malay criminals and are fighting for cash, to save their leaders from being charged in court and imprisoned.

“The fate of the Malays no longer depends on Umno,” he said in a statement on Facebook.

Dr Mahathir, who is also Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) chairman, said GTA has the capability to replace Umno since the informal coalition he founded comprises capable Malays who are passionate about nationalism and their love for the country.

He later further claimed that Malaysia will return as an Asian Tiger country, where Malays will be respected and admired.

“That is our promise to Malaysia and its people.

“Leaders and independent candidates from GTA are free from criminal acts and do not face charges in court.

“GTA will fight with Umno so Malaysia will not be ruled by criminals who have spoiled their party and the country,” he said, insisting that GTA has what it takes to restore political stability and social harmony.

Last month, Dr Mahathir made a similar plea by attempting to downplay the heavy Malay representation in GTA, saying such representation does not mean those within GTA were racist or hostile to non-Malays in multiracial Malaysia.

Source: MalayMail

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Gunmen kidnap 21 children from farm in Nigeria

Olanrewaju Kola  



Gunmen have kidnapped at least 21 children, most of them girls, working on a farm in northwestern Nigeria, police and local officials said on Wednesday.

Gambo Isah, a police spokesperson, told Anadolu Agency that “18 young women and three young men” were taken away from a farm in Faskari, an area in Katsina State, on Sunday.

He said the victims are daily wage workers, but refused to confirm their ages.

However, the head of a local vigilance group, who requested anonymity, said all the victims are between 10 and 14 years old.

According to Isah, the incident is likely linked to recent extortion threats faced by the farm owners.

He said authorities have warned the farm owners and community leaders against negotiating with the kidnappers.

According to local media reports, the kidnappers are demanding a ransom of 30 million naira (around $68,500).

Source: Anadolu Agency

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4, including paramedics, abducted by suspected al-Shabaab terrorists in Kenya

Andrew Wasike 



Suspected al-Shabaab terrorists have abducted four people in northeastern Kenya, near the border with Somalia, police said on Wednesday.

The suspects crossed over from Somalia late on Tuesday night and ambushed an ambulance in Mandera county, according to a police statement.

The people abducted include two paramedics from the Lafey Sub-County Hospital, identified by police as Abdirashid Billow Hussein and Aden Dai.

The other two are a patient named Moulid Abdi and Hassan Shaaban, the driver.

They were “driven towards Somalia,” the police report said.

The incident comes after a significant decline in al-Shabaab attacks in Kenya.

The terror group, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda, has a history of abductions in the Horn of Africa.

In Kenya, the group kidnapped an Italian aid worker in 2018, followed by two Cuban doctors a year later.

Al-Shabaab has also targeted security officials, teachers, and medics in past attacks, most of which were in Mandera and Kenya’s coastal regions.

In 2011, Kenya sent its troops to fight al-Shabaab in Somalia.

The terrorist group has carried out two particularly deadly attacks in Kenya in the past decade.

In 2013, al-Shabaab terrorists killed at least 67 people during a four-day siege of a mall in the capital Nairobi.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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US targets weapons trafficking with sanctions on Islamic State in Somalia

02 November, 2022

The United States on Tuesday issued sanctions targeting Islamic State in Somalia, designating members of the group and others it accused of being involved in a "terrorist weapons trafficking network" in Eastern Africa.

The US Treasury Department in a statement said several of the people designated in Tuesday's action have sold weapons to or were active al-Shabaab members.

The al Qaeda-linked Islamist group claimed responsibility for two car bombs that exploded outside the education ministry in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Saturday, killing at least 120 people in the deadliest blasts since a truck bomb killed more than 500 people at the same location five years ago.

Tuesday's action comes as Washington seeks to increase focus on exposing and disrupting terrorist financing networks in Africa, a senior Treasury official told reporters.

While Tuesday's move is the first from the Treasury targeting the Islamic State in Somalia, the official said additional action is expected in the coming weeks and months as the United States seeks to expose and disrupt terrorist financing in Africa.

The US State Department in 2018 designated the Islamic State in Somalia a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

The Treasury said the Islamic State in Somalia "commonly works with other terrorist organizations" such as al-Shabaab and Somali pirates and smuggling groups.

"Many of the relevant individuals are also involved in other illegal activities, including piracy and environmental crimes, demonstrating their integration with illicit networks operating in the region," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a separate statement.

Those designated on Tuesday include Abdirahman Mohamed Omar, whom the Treasury accused of being an ISIS-Somalia member and, as of 2020, considered the most active illicit arms importer in Puntland state in Somalia.

Also designated was Isse Mohamoud Yusuf, who Treasury said is an ISIS-Somalia weapons and logistics facilitator in Bari in Puntland and an arms smuggler; Abdirahman Fahiye Isse Mohamud, who it said is an ISIS-Somalia emir; and Mohamed Ahmed Qahiye, who the Treasury said is the head of the Amniyat, al Shabaab's intelligence wing, among others.

The move freezes any of their US assets and generally bars Americans from dealing with them. Those that engage in certain transactions with those designated on Tuesday also risk being hit with sanctions.

Source: The New Arab

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Ethiopian government, Tigray rebels sign cease-fire deal ending 2-year war

Andrew Wasike  



Peace talks between Ethiopia's government and Tigray rebels on Wednesday bore fruits as the two warring sides agreed to a new cease-fire deal, a diplomatic breakthrough two years into a war that has killed thousands of people.

Announcing the development, Olusegun Obasanjo, the high representative of the chairperson of the African Union Commission, said: “Today is the beginning of a new dawn for Ethiopia, for the Horn of Africa and indeed for Africa as a whole. Let me hasten to thank God for this new dawn.”

He added that “we are seeing in practice and actualization what we have tried to achieve for ourselves over the years – African solutions for African problems. We also see in today’s peace agreement signing exercise the implementation of Agenda 2063 which embodies silencing the guns in Africa.”

Obasanjo, who is a former Nigerian president, added that the two parties in the Ethiopian conflict have formally agreed to the cessation of hostilities as well as to systematic, orderly, smooth, and coordinated disarmament, restoration of law and order, restoration of services, unhindered access to humanitarian supplies and protection of civilians especially women, children, and other vulnerable groups.

The agreement also takes care of assurance of security for all concerned within and outside Ethiopia.

In a statement, Kenyan President William Ruto commended the parties to the Ethiopia peace process for signing the peace agreement.

"The commitment demonstrated by the two parties to the African Union-led peace process aligns with our collective desire for peace and security within our region," Ruto said.

In a report released on Oct. 29, the UN said that 2.75 million people in Ethiopia are internally displaced and 12.5 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance.

There has been intense fighting in the northern Ethiopian region since a months-long truce was shattered in late August, with reports of mass casualties and other rights violations.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Ohanaeze kicks as Miyetti Allah demands creation of ministry of nomadic affairs

By Nnamdi Akpa, Abakaliki and Uzoma Nzeagwu, Awka

03 November 2022

The Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, kicked against demand by Myetti Allah for creation of grazing reserves and nomadic ministry, describing the demand as ridiculous and illusive.

In a statement in Abakaliki, the Secretary General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, noted that creation of ministry of nomadic affairs would amount to duplicating duties of the Ministry of Education, as well as that of Humanitarian Affairs, insisting there is no need for such.

He maintained that the use of threats of violence by Myetti Allah to give conditions for peace shows that the Fulani organisation indirectly indicted itself for being responsible for the crisis associated with farmers and herders across the country.

The statement reads: “Ohanaeze has faulted resolutions of Myeitti Allah for creation of grazing reserves and nomadic ministry as unreasonable, unrealistic, and hallucinations of daydreamers, because cattle businesses all over the world remain an individual enterprise like other people who are in businesses of garments, mechanics and food v endors.

“Ndigbo has responded that the perceived demands for 415 grazing reserves across the country have sinister and wicked motives aimed at fuelling disintegration of the country, and land grabbing against indigenous people is a threat to national security and peace.”

IN another development, the South East Chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Allahaji Gidado Siddiki, has alleged continued attacks on the group by hoodlums across the country.

Siddiki appealed to the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar, and other stakeholders across the six geo-political zones, to engage government at all levels to ensure adequate protection of their cattle and people.

In a congratulatory message to the newly elected National Executives of MACBAN, led by Alhaji Baba Ngelzarma, signed and made available to newsmen, yesterday, in Awka, Siddiki alleged that members of the group had suffered greatly in the hands of criminal gangs, as well as malicious ethnic loyalists in the course of doing their legitimate businesses.

While appreciating those who have worked closely with him in the South East, he lamented that challenges of the moment is a clarion call for members of MACBAN to close ranks and genuinely seek collective good.

Source: Guardian Nigeria

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Heat and tremors: Survivors of Somalia's deadly car bombings narrate harrowing stories

Mohammed Dhaysane  



It was a Saturday afternoon, with many people busy in the hustle and bustle of the Somali capital when one of its central road junctions shook with the force of twin car bombings that left dozens dead.

The al Qaeda-linked terrorist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in Mogadishu that killed 120 people and injured over 300 others. Authorities fear the toll could rise as many have been reported missing.

Survivors who spoke to Anadolu Agency said the dual bombings were one of the most severe to befall the city.

Safiyo Abdullahi, 26, was traveling in a rickshaw at the time of the blast. She survived unscathed, but her driver was not so lucky.

"I was traveling from Dharkinley district and was going to Kulan hospital to visit a friend. The intersection was very busy. There were cars, motorcycles, rickshaws, and people everywhere and suddenly I was hit by the heatwaves and the ground was shaken and then I heard the blasts. Miraculously, I survived," Abdullahi told Anadolu Agency.

The attack took place at the Zoobe intersection -- one of the busiest in Mogadishu.

It was at this same junction that five years ago on Oct. 14, a truck laden with bombs exploded, killing more than 600 people. More than 1,000 others, mostly civilians, were wounded.

Ali Abdi Bulle, 37, a businessman in Mogadishu recounted that he was near a bank and was about to deposit money when the explosion erupted.

After the first attack, dozens of people rushed to the scene, Bulle said.

"The situation was chaotic, there was blood and debris everywhere. Then, security forces arrived and told us to go back," he said, adding that shortly after that, a second bomb exploded in a massive blast.

"By the grace of Allah, I survived. But, seven of my close friends died on the spot," Bulle said as tears welled up in his eyes.

- Hospitals under pressure

Journalists, students, traders, and security officials were among those killed in the attack, with Mogadishu's already-fragile health facilities strained as they tended to the wounded.

Hospitals are overcrowded due to the high number of injured people and families taking care of them. While many others have flocked to them in search of their loved ones.

Somali authorities have formed a committee, led by Health Minister Ali Haji, to coordinate the emergency response after President Hassan Sheikh Mahamud called for international help following the terror strike.

Somalia has asked Türkiye, Egypt, neighboring Kenya, and Saudi Arabia to send doctors to treat the injured.

The Somali presidency said Mohamud had spoken to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who conveyed a message of condolence to the government and people of Somalia following the terrorist attack in Mogadishu. Both leaders reiterated the urgent need to root out international terrorism.

Due to years of conflict, Somalia has been rebuilding its health sector, though it remains weak as it struggles with hundreds of complicated emergencies.

Ayub Mohamed, a nurse at the Daarushifa hospital in Mogadishu, told Anadolu Agency that despite the country having a "very fragile" health sector, people united to help their brothers in need.

"After the attack, we saw young people uniting, organizing themselves, and going to hospitals to donate their blood but this isn't enough," Mohamed said.

The government also launched a blood donorship campaign to help hospitals deal with the wounded from Saturday's attack.

The Health Ministry said it was a difficult job to provide air evacuation for the hundreds of injured.

Somalia lacks a national blood bank and private hospitals charge victims for transfusions.

- Türkiye condemns terror attack

Türkiye's President Erdogan on Monday strongly condemned the "heinous" terrorist attack in Somalia.

"No reason can be an excuse for killing innocent civilians, children going to school, people praying in mosques," he said.

"We condemn this vile and treacherous attack and wish our Somali brothers and sisters to get well soon," Erdogan said, adding that Türkiye would continue to stand with Somalia in difficult times.

Somalia has been grappling with security threats for years, with al-Shabaab being one of its main concerns.

Since 2007, the al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group has waged a deadly campaign against the Somali government and international forces that have claimed thousands of lives.

The UN has warned of growing instability in the Horn of Africa nation, with its periodic reports on Somalia this year detailing attacks by al-Shabaab and groups aligned with the Daesh/ISIS terror group.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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North America 

US to act unilaterally against terrorist threats from Afghanistan

Anwar Iqbal

November 2, 2022

WASHINGTON: The United States will continue to act unilaterally to address emergent terrorist threats from Afghanistan, the US State Department has warned.

The warning followed news reports that Al Qaeda, the Islamic State militant group — which the US refers to as ISIS — and other terrorist groups have been reactivated in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover and were gradually becoming a major threat to the US and its allies.

“We’ve been very clear that the United States and our partners around the world won’t allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for international terrorists who pose a threat to the United States, to our partners around the world,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said when asked what Washington was doing to deal with these threats.

On Aug 15, 2021, Kabul fell to the Taliban following a hasty US withdrawal from Afghanistan. President Joe Biden justified pulling all American troops by saying that Al Qaeda was no longer in Afghanistan.

But a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee minority report claimed in August that Afghanistan had once again become a hotbed of terrorists and the Biden administration’s mishandling of the situation had contributed to a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan as well.

Mr Price did not reject the suggestion that Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers were again sheltering terrorist leaders, including its chief Ayman al Zawahiri, who was killed in a recent US drone strike at his refuge in Kabul.

He noted that al Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul “flies in the face of the Doha Agreement and the Taliban’s repeated assurances to the world that they would not allow Afghan territory to be used by terrorists to threaten the security of other countries”.

“Of course, we know how that story ended,” said the US official while reminding the Taliban how a US drone eliminated al Zawahiri in his compound.

President Biden, he said, “has been very clear that we will maintain the capacity to act unilaterally if necessary to address any emergent terrorist threats or concerns when it comes to Afghanistan”.

US special representative for Afghanistan Tom West recently met the Taliban in Doha and discussed a number of US interests, including counterterrorism, with them, Mr Price said.

“We’ll continue to engage with the Taliban pragmatically. And following the sheltering of al Zawahiri, I think it’s fair to say that the Taliban will have to earn the trust of the world, and they’ll only earn that through their own actions.”

Poppy cultivation spikes

Separately, the UN’s drugs agency said on Tuesday that Afghanistan’s opium poppy cultivation this year is up by a third, in its first report on the issue since the Taliban took power in 2021, according to AFP.

The country is the world’s biggest producer of poppies, the source of sap that is refined into heroin, and in recent years production and exports have boomed.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said prices have soared after the Taliban’s ban in April on poppy cultivation.

This year’s harvest was largely exempted from the decree, UNODC said.

Source: Dawn

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US moves to remove ‘unfit’ Iran from UN women's commission

02 November, 2022

Vice President Kamala Harris vowed Wednesday that the United States would work to remove Iran from a UN body on women's rights as she saluted the “bravery” of women-led protests against the clerical state.

Harris said that the United States would work with other nations to oust Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women, whose members are elected to four-year terms.

“Iran has demonstrated through its denial of women's rights and brutal crackdown on its own people that it is unfit to serve on this Commission,” Harris said in a statement.

“Iran's very presence discredits the integrity of its membership and the work to advance its mandate,” she said.

Iran is witnessing some of the most significant protests since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in the wake of the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who had been detained by the notorious “morality police” that enforces strict codes on women's dress.

“To all of those protesting I say again, we see you and we hear you. I am inspired by your bravery, as are people around the world,” Harris said.

The United States and European allies have imposed a series of sanctions on Iran over the protests and worked to help restore internet access disrupted by authorities.

Nations on the women's commission are elected by the UN Economic and Social Council, whose members in turn are voted on by the General Assembly.

Iran, ruled by Shia Muslim clerics, was elected to a term that ends in 2026. The United States is serving through next year.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UK: Muslim students launch campaign to disaffiliate from NUS after Shaima Dallali sacking

By Areeb Ullah

2 November 2022

Muslim students doubled down on calls to disaffiliate from the UK's National Union of Students after the national body dismissed its elected president Shaima Dallali, following an investigation into allegations of antisemitism. 

Dallali, a Black Muslim woman of Tunisian and Sudanese descent, was elected in March to lead the national student body, although she had not taken up the post after being suspended, pending the investigation.

She is the first president to be dismissed in the NUS's 100-year history.

The NUS announced its decision on Tuesday night after reports began to emerge that Dallali was dismissed by the national body.

The NUS said the decision could be subject to an appeal but defended the process, which had led to Dallali's dismissal. The decision was based on a disciplinary panel hearing on 27 October 2022.

A statement by her lawyers, Carter-Ruck, on Wednesday announced that Dallali is considering legal action against the decision.

"Remarkably – and in keeping with her treatment throughout her brief tenure since being elected in March 2022 – the news of Ms Dallali’s dismissal had already been briefed to and published on at least two national news websites before Ms Dallali had even been informed of the decision, let alone been provided with the written reasons for it," the statement read.

"The position was further aggravated by the publication of follow-up articles, citing an unnamed NUS source and falsely denying that this briefing or leak had occurred."

The statement added that Dallali rejects the findings of the disciplinary panel as well as the allegations about her that were investigated in the context of those investigations.

"She considers the process to have constituted – and that it continues to constitute – discriminatory treatment of her as a black Muslim woman and her beliefs concerning the plight of the Palestinian people," the statement said. 

Disaffiliation campaign

Meanwhile, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), representing Muslim students across the UK and Ireland, said the NUS had undermined its democratically elected leadership by dismissing Dallali as president.

Describing the NUS as "no longer fit for purpose", FOSIS said it would launch disaffiliation campaigns against the national body in response to Dallali's dismissal.

"Following numerous attempts to engage NUS and its leadership, no satisfactory outcome has been reached," FOSIS said in a statement.

"The investigation into Shaima has been deeply politicised from the outset, and due process has not been followed, opening Shaima up to the court of public opinion and denying her the opportunity to fairly represent herself.

"NUS' failings with regards to Shaima reflect its failings towards Muslim students at large - and these reflect its dereliction of duty towards its membership at large."

Following her election, Dallali told the Guardian that she feared for her safety after receiving a torrent of online abuse and threats.

Before she was elected NUS president, Dallali served as president at City University in London.

Dallali was then elected to serve as NUS president at the body's last national conference, which saw hundreds of delegates from across the UK vote for her.

She was due to start her new role in July and serve in that position for a two-year term.

After her election, Dallali was placed under investigation following complaints of antisemitism and homophobia relating to several tweets dating back to 2012.

Dallali apologised for the tweets and welcomed the investigation into her actions.

'Torrent of Islamophobic' abuse

More than a dozen organisations signed a joint letter condemning the NUS on Tuesday night for failing to protect Dallali from death threats and a "torrent of Islamophobic" abuse after being elected president of the national body.

The open letter's signatories include the Muslim Association of Britain and the Finsbury Park Mosque, which supported FOSIS's calls for students to disaffiliate from the NUS.

The Muslim Council of Britain echoed FOSIS's concerns and found Dallali's dismissal as "deeply troubling and raises questions on proper due process."

The umbrella body, which represents hundreds of Muslim organisations, said it had written to the NUS in July with concerns about Islamophobia, but had not received a response.

It said Dallali had been subjected to a "deluge of Islamophobic abuse".

Source: MiddleEastEye

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Is Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s elevation dividing British Muslims?

2nd November 2022

New Delhi: Rishi Sunak’s rise to the top in British politics has come with its share of ‘shock and awe’.

Sunak became the prime minister of the UK within a month of serious unrest in Leicester — a city of three lakh people known for its inter-community harmony, well, until now.

The Muslim-Hindu unrest in a tranquil city ruffled Royal feathers besides creating news across the world. A number of independent inquiries are in the offing over the communal clashes.

Jubilant reactions among Hindus have been documented in detail by the media not just in the UK and India but across the world. Among British Muslims, while some notable personalities have voiced their support for Sunak, influential sections — some with connections with the Left and the Labour Party — have focused on the Prime Minister’s riches, his so-called pronounced Hinduism, his Tory thought as well as foreign policy disposition towards Palestine and India.

A past interview by Sunak on “grooming gangs” — wherein predominantly Pakistani men have been charged, has been dug out. Sunak is seen promising action on a sensitive race issue which has been buried in the UK due to ‘political correctness’ despite its acute criminality.

Even as Sunak remains under microscopic scrutiny, a Muslim organisation has been running a campaign against him. The Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK) posted a series of tweets between October 24 to 26 — all criticising Sunak.

It began on October 24 by saying: “Sunak doesn’t have the support of his own Party’s membership, nor most of his colleagues in Parliament, and definitely not of the country. MPACUK demands a General Election NOW!”

By October 25 MPACUK said: “Here’s our reasons for why the Muslim community should be dissatisfied with Sunak as PM and released a video on why Rishi Sunak is bad news for Muslims.”

The committee is also rallying the Muslims to be prepared for elections as it feels general elections in the UK are round the corner.

A day later the MPACUK released another video saying why Rishi Sunak is “bad news” as Prime Minister of the UK.

Among the issues it lists, which it thinks makes Sunak ‘bad news for Muslims’ are his Conservative Party thinking, support to Israel, his wife’s ownership of Infosys and that “Rishi Sunak is not the best for Britain let alone for the Muslims here

Despite the MPACUK’s strident anti-Sunak campaign, some constituents have voiced support for Sunak.

Foremost among them is writer and commentator Wasiq Wasiq who has been battling the anti-Sunak sentiment on social media.

He was among the few to have clapped his approval for Sunak even before the Indian-origin leader took on the mantle as the Prime Minister.

Another Muslim figure, researcher and culture writer, Dr Rakib Ehsan has come to Sunak’s defence many a times.

Ehsan has taken a swipe at the powerful Left-Liberal combine for vilifying Sunak’s elitism and wealthy background. He has also stood his ground over communal attacks on Sunak and defended his policies.

That Sunak is a practicing Hindu and has been photographed with cows also led to a social media kerfuffle.

Well known Pakistani writer-in-exile, Ayesha Siddiqa alluded to his Hindu roots while making a confusing comment on his ties with India. Siddiqa said: “He recently went to a cow temple and other signs of support. But there will be pressure on him so not easy to deal with India

Siddiqa’s comment obviously drew sharp comments over the term “cow temple” after which she tried to decry Sunak as not only rich but Hindutva.

“We are generally weary of owning our own Hindus unless it is to showcase liberalism so what to speak of Richie Sunak who is not just Tory but Hindutva.”

Sunak’s elevation has caused more than a flutter among the Muslims in Britain.

Large sections are keeping quiet over the UK’s youngest and first Hindu Prime Minister. Many others are watching his policies from an Islamic point of view while some have already announced that a Hindu Prime Minister is just not going to be right for the Muslims.

Source:Siasat Daily

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Czech Republic to close its embassy in Afghan capital

Askin Kiyagan 



The Czech Republic will close its embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul on Jan. 1, 2023 as no improvement in the country’s security situation is expected anytime soon, local media reported Wednesday.

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky has decided to close the Czech embassy in Kabul, said the Czech News Agency (CTK).

Source: Anadolu Agency

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British Prime Minister Sunak pivots to attend UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt

Karim El-Bar  



British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Wednesday that he will go to Egypt to attend the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP 27, reversing his previous decision to skip it.

"There is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change,” Sunak said in a statement posted to Twitter.

"There is no energy security without investing in renewables. That is why I will attend COP27 next week: to deliver on Glasgow's legacy of building a secure and sustainable future," he added, referring to the last conference in the series, COP26, hosted in the Scottish capital in fall 2021.

Initially, Sunak said he would not go in order to focus on “other pressing domestic commitments,” a nod to the difficult economic situation at home. A critical financial statement will be made by the government on Nov. 17.

This decision was widely condemned, however, and he was urged to go to the UN climate conference.

Ed Miliband, the opposition Labour Party’s shadow climate secretary, said on Twitter: "The prime minister has been shamed into going to COP27 by the torrent of disbelief that he would fail to turn up. He is going to avoid embarrassment not to provide leadership."

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas also said on Twitter: "Glad to see Sunak's screeching U-turn on COP27, but what an embarrassing mis-step on the world stage. Let this be a lesson to him – climate leadership matters.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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German chancellor praises Türkiye's efforts to keep Ukraine grain deal in force

Erbil Basay 



Germany’s chancellor appreciates Türkiye's efforts to maintain grain exports from Ukraine through the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a government spokesman said Tuesday.

Steffen Hebestreit said Olaf Scholz exchanged views with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the latest developments in the Russia-Ukraine war.

He said the two leaders criticized “Russia's nuclear rhetoric” and Scholz flatly rejected Moscow’s accusation that Ukraine is preparing to use a "dirty bomb," saying it was unfounded.

He also noted that Scholz and Erdogan agreed to stay in close contact over the current security situation.

Russia announced Saturday that it would suspend its participation in the UN-brokered Black Sea grain export deal due to Ukrainian attacks on its Black Sea Fleet’s ships.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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British army veteran Shareef Amin nicknamed ‘Rambo’ after surviving Russian attack in Ukraine

November 02, 2022

LONDON: A British Army veteran fighting for Ukraine has been nicknamed “Rambo” by his comrades after surviving being shot several times, and dragging himself out of a trench to safety, the Metro reported.

Shareef Amin, an Afghanistan veteran who served nine years in the 1st Battalion, The Rifles, said he went to Ukraine almost immediately after the war began in February and initially provided humanitarian aid.

However, as the fighting intensified, he began using the skills and experience in the British military to train Ukrainians before eventually enlisting as a soldier.

In October, Amin and his unit were targeted by intense artillery fire after being spotted by the Russians, the Metro reported.

The attack left him with bullet wounds, lung punctures, and shrapnel nested in all four limbs.

“I shouldn’t be alive. I was in a shallow trench with my friend, a Ukrainian we called Professor, as the rounds just kept coming,” Amin told the Metro.

“Next thing I hear this almighty thud. It felt like someone had dragged me underground. I just saw red.”

“Professor’s body just went limp. He landed on top of me. At that point I knew I’d been hit. I thought, ‘I’m dead here. This is where I die.’ So I accepted it.”

Trapped, Amin recalled shouting to another comrade, Oleh Shumov, to see if he was still alive and told him that he could not get out.

He told the Metro how, despite the fact that he was still under fire, Shumov jumped out of his trench, grabbed Professor by the helmet, and dragged his body away.

It was then that Amin realized the extent of his own injuries.

“I pushed myself up and felt almighty agony through my lungs, through my arm. I looked down and my hand was hanging off,” he told the Metro.

“I don’t know how I got the strength to pull myself out of that ditch but I did. As I did, I sort of rolled into a front crawl and saw this huge piece of shrapnel sticking out of my leg. It was like a tin can.”

Amin and Shumov were soon rescued by Kozak Warrior armored personnel vehicles and driven to waiting ambulances before being taken to the hospital.

With both lungs punctured and limbs broken, surgeons removed three pieces of shrapnel, which now lie beside his hospital bed in a jar.

Despite his extensive injuries, Amin has defied medical odds and is already walking again. However, he has lost most of the feeling in his right hand and foot.

His nickname is a reference to Sylvester Stallone’s film character John Rambo, who survives overwhelming odds in battle on numerous occasions.

Friends are crowdfunding to return Amin, who is originally from Bristol, to the UK with his Ukrainian fiancée Helen Vitvickaja and her 10-year-old son.

Source: Arab News

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