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

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Love Abounds As Coptic Christians Join And Assist Muslims For Iftar In Egypt To Foster A Spirit Of Tolerance And Unity

New Age Islam News Bureau

01 April 2023

Archpriest Raphael Helmy, priest of the Church of the Virgin Mary, Pope Kyrollos in Alexandria, and Sheikh Saad Khalif, the imam and preacher of the Al-Aziz Al-Rahim Mosque, adjacent to the church, during the preparation of Ramadan boxes. (Supplied)


• Ram Navami Violence: Police Forgot Last Year’s Lesson, Says Intelligence Report

• Rabbis Ask Netanyahu To Allow Passover Sacrifice On Temple Mount During Ramadan

• Toronto Police Investigate 'Hateful Messages' Spray-Painted On West-End Mosque

• Ramzan Stampede Kills 12, All Women And Children,  In KarachiAt A Charity Food Distribution Event


Arab World

• Egypt’s Al-Azhar Joins Global Ramadan Campaign Supporting Refugees

• Russia protests about ‘provocative actions’ by US forces in Syria

• Iraq sandstorm blankets Baghdad

• Iran says IRGC officer killed in Israeli strike in Syria

• UAE says Israel trade pact to go into effect on April 1



• UP: Four held for disturbing peace outside mosque during Ram Navami procession

• 5 held for hoisting saffron flag in mosque during Ram Navami celebration in Haryana

• Local Muslims Help Perform Last Rites of Hindu CISF Jawan in JK's Kulgam

• Mathura: Men climb atop shops near mosque to place saffron flag, brought down by police

• Kashmir’s Islamic scholars seek meeting with L-G over Mirwaiz’s ‘house detention’

• Ram Navami festivities end with iftari at RH Railway Colony in Ahmedabad's Maninagar

• UP: Muslims welcome Ram Navmi rally by showering flowers



• Hamas slams participation of Arab, African figures at normalization conference in al-Quds

• Ansarullah leader condemns burning holy Quran, calls for economic sanctions

• Houthis Prevent Aid Delivery to Yemenis During Ramadan

• Israeli forces fire on Palestinian at entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque

• Türkiye strongly condemns repeated attack on Muslim holy book, Turkish flag in Denmark

• Over 200,000 Palestinians at al-Aqsa for second Friday prayers of Ramadan

• Foreign Ministry: ICJ Verdict Reiterates Iran's Legitimate Stances

• Man grabs Israeli cop’s gun near al-Aqsa mosque, is shot dead: Police

• Iran’s state TV apologizes for airing images of couple kissing


North America

• Minaret Foundation Improves The Lives Of Texas Muslims By Looking Outward

• Kushner talks about why he wanted Trump to go to Middle East on first trip

• Thieves made off with large quantities of US weapons in Iraq, Syria: Report

• US Economic Sanctions 'Backfiring' As Shown In Iran-Saudi Deal: Analysts



• Judge Threat Case: Islamabad Court Converts Imran’s Non-Bailable Arrest Warrants Into Bailable Again

• Day after Hindu doctor, Sikh businessman shot dead in Pakistan

• Cracks in SC ranks laid bare as another judge leaves bench

• Pak-China border trade set to resume next week

• PML-N pressurising CJP like it did in 1997, says Imran


South Asia

• Afghan Interim Govt Believes in Electoral System, IEA Official Says

• Abbas Stanikzai Calls for Reopening of Afghan Girls’ School, University

• Daesh is not a Major Threat to Afghanistan: Mujahid

• HRW Urges Bangladesh To Halt Rohingya Repatriation Plan

• UN Human Rights Office expresses concern over arbitrary arrests in Afghanistan

• UAE Sends Urgent Medical and Food Supplies to Afghanistan


Southeast Asia

• Japanese PM Hails Ties With Islamic Countries At Ramadan Dinner

• Filipinos join hands to support Muslims during Ramadan

• Dedicated firefighters sacrifice comfortable Ramadan break to respond to distress call

• Court orders man who attempted to attack imam sent to Permai Hospital

• Perspective on the developing ties between Türkiye and Malaysia



• Ramadan: Kano Police Declare War Against Illicit Drugs, Social Vices, Arrest 14 Suspects

• Tunisia to cut off public water supplies overnight in response to drought

• Tunisia introduces quota system for potable water amid drought

• Jordan witnessing evolution in political modernization: Hanns Seidel official

• At least 14 workers dead in gold mine collapse in Sudan



• Scotland's New First Minister, Humza Yousaf, Inspires Young Muslims, But Challenges Lie Ahead

• Muslims represented 10% of French population in 2019-2020: Report

• Danish Muslim converts fight silent battles every day

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Love Abounds As Coptic Christians Join And Assist Muslims For Iftar In Egypt To Foster A Spirit Of Tolerance And Unity


April 01, 2023

Archpriest Raphael Helmy, priest of the Church of the Virgin Mary, Pope Kyrollos in Alexandria, and Sheikh Saad Khalif, the imam and preacher of the Al-Aziz Al-Rahim Mosque, adjacent to the church, during the preparation of Ramadan boxes. (Supplied)


CAIRO: With the advent of Ramadan, several Christian churches and organizations have organized Rahman or Mercy banquets for Muslims at Iftar, to foster a spirit of tolerance and unity.

Maya Morsi, president of Egypt’s National Council for Women, praised Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, for providing food to help the poor, and his supervision of the packing of the cartons that are titled “Love Never Falls.”

Morsi posted on her Facebook account, saying: “Love never falls. Pope Tawadros II helps collect charitable donations for distribution in Ramadan. We are in a bond until doomsday.”

Last week, Pope Tawadros II participated in the preparation of Ramadan food aid as part of the Coptic Orthodox Church’s charity drive, through several programs and institutions affiliated with the Pontifical Office for Projects.

In the city of Luxor, in southern Egypt, a number of Copts set up daily Ramadan iftar tables.

Romani Ramzi Ajaibi, one of the organizers of the iftar project, said 10 years ago he started with a number of his brothers and other relatives to provide food for iftar, a tradition initiated by his father.

Ajaibi told Arab News: “The organization of the banquet confirms that the Coptic and the Muslim are brothers in one homeland. Everyone is currently fasting, with some minor differences between them.”

He explained: “The iftar banquet table contains all meals daily, including meat and poultry, and professional chefs working in hotels are used to prepare it. And more than 500 meals are provided for hospital patients.”

BishoyRamzy, another organizer, told Arab News: “There are other meals that are distributed to the poor daily and delivered to their homes by those who are ashamed to go to the iftar banquet table (to take charity).”

Ramzi stressed: “I believe that compassion and cohesion between Muslims and Christians only generate love among all.”

In Alexandria Governorate, in northern Egypt, the Church of the Virgin Mary and Pope Kyrillos VI in the El-Zawaida area, east of Alexandria, distributed 250 bags of Ramadan necessities to the most vulnerable families in the Montazahneighborhood.

YonesAdeeb, pastor of the Catholic Church in Hurghada, a Red Sea Governorate city, also joined Muslims for iftar, taking food to people on the streets. Adeeb participates regularly in Islamic celebrations, including distributing sweets on Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

Adeeb said: “This year, we prepared Ramadan bags to distribute to the needy, as the blessed month of Ramadan carries spiritual and humanitarian meanings.”

“I always share iftar with our Muslim brothers on the first days of Ramadan.”

Source: Arab News

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Ram Navami Violence: Police Forgot Last Year’s Lesson, Says Intelligence Report

KinsukBasu   |   Calcutta  


Security personnel patrol a road at Shibpur in Howrah on Friday. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta


Enough arrangements had not been made to ensure that there was no repeat of last year's violence when a Ram Navami procession was moving down a pocket of the mixed population of communities in Howrah's Shibpur on Thursday, an intelligence report that reached the home department said.

The report reached the home department hours before police clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC on Friday following fresh violence at Kazipara, the scene of Thursday's violence.

The police said some youths had attacked them with stones late on Friday afternoon in Kazipara where a strong force had been posted since Thursday night. The windshields of a few cars were smashed and some signboards of shops were damaged.

The intelligence report pointed to last year's violence on the occasion of Ram Navami in Howrah and how adequate measures could have been taken to prevent a repeat this time.

Last April, groups of men had poured out from four lanes in Kazipara near PM Busty during violence that rocked Shibpur on the occasion of Ram Navami when a procession was crossing the area, close to Shibpur police station, along GT Road.

Police sources said there were two separate rallies organised in the same pocket of Howrah by two wings of the saffron ecosystem on Thursday.

Thursday's violence broke out in the same spot and around the same time as last year's — around 5.30 pm — and no special measures were taken in terms of police deployment to "cover" these four lanes and a handful of buildings inside, senior officers privy to the report said.

"We are yet to find out whether inputs from the special branch about the possibility of a repeat of last year's violence around the same spot in Kazipara were taken into account while drawing up the deployment plan," said a senior police officer. 

Mobile Internet was suspended in Howrah on Friday evening in view of the deteriorating law and order.

Source: TelegraphIndia

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Rabbis ask Netanyahu to allow Passover sacrifice on Temple Mount during Ramadan

Rina Bassist

March 31, 2023

Palestinians pray outside the Dome of the Rock shrine at Al-Aqsa mosque compound, during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in Jerusalem on March 29, 2023. - HAZEM BADER / AFP


Fifteen rabbis have asked the Israeli government on Thursday to ascend the Temple Mount and al-Haram al-Sharif next Wednesday, when the Jewish holiday of Passover begins, a move that could exacerbate tensions in Jerusalem during the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The rabbis have put a request to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Thursday to ascend to the Temple Mount and for Jews to be allowed to offer the Passover, the way it was practiced in biblical times.

Over the years, a majority of rabbis has ruled that Jews are not allowed to ascend the Temple Mount site, since purification rituals cannot be performed in times when the temple is destroyed. Most rabbis also object to reviving biblical sacrifices of lambs or goats. Still, far-right religious activists have registered a clear trend in recent years of an increase in the number of Jews ascending the Temple Mount compound.

The request by the rabbis to enable Passover sacrifice is not new. Temple Mount activists have been making similar demands frequently in recent years, mostly ahead of the major Jewish traditional holidays. Israeli police is monitoring for such attempts regularly. Ten people were detained by police in 2016, on their way to offer the Passover sacrifice on the Temple Mount. A well-known far-right activist who purchased a young goat was arrested last year for intending to take it to the site as a Passover sacrifice.

The movement “Back to the Mountain,” which preaches for Israel to take over control of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif complex from the hands of the Muslim Waqf authorities, offered on Thursday prizes for Jews who would try sneaking a lamb into the holy site. A person detained by police trying to get into the complex with a lamb would receive a prize if 1,200 Israeli shekels ($330), a person arrested inside the complex with a lamb would be awarded 2,500 shekels ($690) and a person succeeding to offer a lamb or a young goat on Temple Mount would get 20,000 shekels ($5,500).

The calls for a Passover sacrifice come on the backdrop of especially high tensions in Jerusalem this year, as Ramadan and Passover overlap. Traditionally, Jerusalem police limits the entry to the site for Jews during Ramadan in order to minimize frictions, especially in the last 10 days of the holy Muslim month. The fact that Ben-Gvir, who had called over the years for Jews to ascend Temple Mount, is currently responsible for Israel's police, seems to aggravate the already volatile situation. Ben-Gvir’s wife is a known Temple Mount activist.

In parallel, measures were put into place last week to enable Muslims from the West Bank and Gaza Strip to enter Israel in order to pray at the Muslim holy sites and to celebrate Ramadan with family members living in Israel. A report by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Friday around noon said that more than 100,000 Palestinians entered Israel, most of them heading to Haram al-Sharif for the Ramadan prayers, twice the number compared with last Friday. Still, the IDF decided Friday morning to close all West Bank and Gaza crossing points on the first and last days of Passover.


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Toronto police investigate 'hateful messages' spray-painted on west-end mosque

Mar 31, 2023

Toronto police say they received a call for a reported hate crime on Thursday at approximately 5:30 a.m., at an Islamic Centre after two suspects spray painted graffiti that contained 'hateful messages.' (Michael Wilson/CBC)


Toronto police are looking into a suspected hate-motivated incident after graffiti was spray painted outside a mosque in the city's west end.

Police say they received a call about a reported hate crime at an Islamic Centre in the area of Oak Street and Weston Road at around 5:30 a.m. Thursday.

The words "Allah is a lie" and "Death to dictator" could be seen outside the Towfiq Islamic Centre Friday.

In a news release Friday, police said two suspects spray painted graffiti that contained "hateful messages" on the property at approximately 12:26 a.m. earlier that day. The suspects were last seen wearing dark clothing and fleeing the area on foot heading east on Oak Street.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims called the incident "disgusting and disturbing," saying it was was an example of "Islamophobic vandalism."

"This is gravely concerning," it said in a tweet.

Muslims are currently marking the month of Ramadan.

After consulting with the hate crimes unit, the investigation is now being treated as a suspected hate-motivated offence, police said.

In a tweet Friday, Toronto police Chief Myron Demkiw said police are committed to investigating "every potential hate crime" in the city and urged residents to report suspected hateful acts.

Police are looking to speak with anyone who may have witnessed the incident or was driving in the area at the time.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-1200 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).


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Ramzan Stampede Kills 12, All Women And Children, In Karachi At A Charity Food Distribution Event

Apr 1, 2023

People mourn the death of a relative, who was killed with others in a stampede during handout distribution, in Karachi. (Reuters)


ISLAMABAD: At least 12 people, all women and children, died in a stampede on Friday at a Ramazan charity food distribution event among families of employees working at a private company in Karachi.

Irfan Ali Baloch, a senior police official, said around 400 women had arrived at the dyeing company in Karachi’s Sindh Industrial and Trading Estate (SITE) . Fearing a large crowd, the company staff closed the doors as there were no arrangements in place for organising a queue.

The people panicked and started pushing each other to collect the food. Some fell into a nearby drain, police said, adding that several women fainted.

Baloch said the factory owner, identified as Zulfiqar, would be arrested soon. MukhtiarAbro, a senior administrative official, said the owner had not obtained a no-objection certificate, nor asked for security.

Source: Times Of India

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Arab World 

Egypt’s Al-Azhar joins global Ramadan campaign supporting refugees

Aya Salah

31 Mar 2023

The month-long campaign, which is carried out under the motto “In hardship: Your gift is support and ease”, comes amid the increasing numbers and severity of humanitarian emergencies, the AIRA said in a statement on Thursday.

This campaign is the second launched by the academy in cooperation with the UN refugee body.

The first campaign, which was carried out in December 2020 under the motto 30 Days of Kindness, raised awareness on the situation of refugees and internally displaced people.

The new campaign seeks through various stories to spotlight the humanitarian suffering of displaced people and so urge Muslims to show solidarity and support, Secretary-General of AIRA Nazir Muhammad explained.

It will also include recorded messages from Al-Azhar scholars supporting the campaign and religious edicts (fatwas) directing Zakat to displaced people, Nazir noted.

Zakat (alms-giving), which is one of the five pillars of Islam, obliges financially-able Muslims to give 2.5 percent of their annual income to the poor and needy.

The UNHCR said in a statement on Tuesday that this year's campaign invites the public to look closer and see the people behind the headlines and the statistics.

According to the UNHCR, over 100 million people remain forcibly displaced from their homes in 2022 due to war, violence, persecution and human rights abuses.

Many have been struggling to survive for years as many crises remain unresolved.

Any gift during this holy month will be a lifeline to millions of displaced people observing Ramadan away from home, the UNHCR's statement added.

Source: Ahram

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Russia protests about ‘provocative actions’ by US forces in Syria

31 March ,2023

Russia has protested to the American-led coalition against ISIS about “provocative actions” by US armed forces in Syria, Tass news agency said on Friday.

Tass cited a senior Russian official as saying the incidents had occurred in the northeastern province of Hasakeh. The United States has been deploying troops in Syria for almost eight years to combat ISIS.

Hundreds of ISIS fighters are camped in desolate areas where neither the coalition nor the Syrian army exert full control. Russia - which together with Turkey is carrying out joint patrols in northern Syria - has agreed special zones where the coalition can operate.

But Russian Rear Admiral Oleg Gurinov, head of the Russian Reconciliation Centre for Syria, told Tass that US forces had twice been spotted in areas which lay outside the agreed zones.

“Provocative actions on the part of US armed forces units have been noted in Hasakeh province ... the Russian side lodged a protest with the coalition,” he said, without giving details of timing.

Last week the US military carried out multiple air strikes in Syria against Iran-backed groups that it blamed for a drone attack that killed an American contractor at a coalition base in the northeast of the country.

Russia intervened in the Syrian Civil War in 2015, tipping the balance in President Bashar Al-Assad’s favor.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iraq sandstorm blankets Baghdad

31 March ,2023

A sandstorm enveloped central Iraq, including Baghdad, on Friday, the first such weather event to hit the arid country this year.

In 2022, Iraq experienced more than a dozen sandstorms, an unprecedented number that was attributed to desertification.

Iraqis who ventured outside on Friday afternoon were greeted with the increasingly familiar ochre sky and unbreathable air typical of sandstorms, with AFP journalists reporting greatly reduced visibility and a film of dust covering cars and houses.

Driven by westerly winds, the storm moved from Al-Anbar province before reaching Baghdad and Salaheddin province by late Friday.

Local authorities were unable to provide figures on the number of people so far requiring medical treatment for respiratory problems related to the storm.

Orders were issued for “health facilities to be on alert,” Health Minister Saleh al-Hasnawi said in a statement.

Transport ministry spokesman Maythem al-Safi told AFP that flights into and out of Iraq “are continuing normally.”

Last year’s sandstorms caused disruption to air traffic and frequent closures of schools and offices. Thousands of people were admitted to hospital with respiratory problems.

The United Nations places Iraq among the five countries in the world most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

The environment ministry has warned the country can expect to experience “272 dust days” per year, rising to more than 300 by 2050.

Amer al-Jabri, a spokesman for Iraq’s meteorological department, said the storms are a result of desertification caused by “drought, lack of rain (and the) drying up of rivers.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran says IRGC officer killed in Israeli strike in Syria

31 March ,2023

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said on Friday one of its officers stationed in Syria was killed in an Israeli strike near Damascus earlier in the day.

“At dawn today, Friday, Milad Heydari, one of the IRGC’s military advisors in Syria, was martyred in a criminal attack by the Zionist regime near Damascus,” the IRGC said in a statement carried by state media.

The IRGC has vowed to retaliate for Heydari’s death, saying: “Undoubtedly, the fake and criminal Zionist regime will receive a response for this crime.”

According to a military source cited by Syria’s state news agency SANA, an aerial attack was carried out by the Israel at 00:17 local time (21:17 GMT) using multiple missiles fired from the occupied Syrian Golan, with one of the positions near Damascus being the target.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), a war monitoring organization based in Britain, said the airstrikes were aimed at locations in southwest Damascus that were occupied by both the Syrian military and groups that are aligned with Iran.

Iran, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has been heavily involved in Syria since the beginning of the conflict there in 2011, sending thousands of Iranian and foreign fighters to back the Syrian regime.

Israel has not commented on the attack, as is typical for the country.

Iran tends to avoid publicly assigning blame to Israel for the deaths of its military personnel in Syria, as doing so would put pressure on Tehran to retaliate.

“With Iran’s regime coming out so publicly and attributing the death of IRGC’s Milad Heydari to the Israeli strike in Syria overnight, this likely means the regime is setting the table to retaliate. One option is against US forces as has been done before,” Iran analyst Jason Brodsky said on Twitter.

“If it didn’t want to retaliate, there would have likely been a vague announcement of the death of an IRGC officer in Syria carrying out his duties.”

The air strike marks the sixth attack by Israel in Syria in March, according to OSDH.

Israel has been conducting these attacks for years, targeting what it says are Iran-linked targets in Syria.

Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Iraqi paramilitary groups, both backed by Iran, have established positions throughout Syria.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UAE says Israel trade pact to go into effect on April 1

31 March ,2023

The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed between the UAE and Israel in 2022 will go into effect on Saturday, April 1.

The trade agreement will see reduced or removed tariffs on more than 96 percent of product lines, according to the UAE’s Ministry of Economy.

In addition to the new tariff structures, “the agreement with Israel removes unnecessary barriers to trade, improves market access for services suppliers, opens opportunities in government procurement, provides a platform for SMEs to expand internationally, establishes parameters for digital trade, protects intellectual property, and creates transparent trade remedy mechanisms,” the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

The agreement is expected to increase non-oil bilateral trade from $1.3 billion recorded in 2021 to $10 billion by the end of the decade.

In 2022, bilateral non-oil trade reached $2.49 billion, with re-exports from Israel growing 71.2 percent and non-oil exports to Israel climbing 48.6 percent, WAM reported.

The UAE-Israel CEPA is the second of the Gulf nation’s new foreign-trade deals to be ratified following a similar deal with India in 2022.

It has also concluded CEPA deals with Indonesia, Turkey and Georgia.

The UAE and Israel normalized ties in 2020 in a US-brokered deal. However, ties between Israel and its neighbors have been shaky following uncivil comments made by a minister in Netanyahu’s coalition-led government.

The UAE issued a statement condemning the Israeli finance minister Betzalel Smotrich’s call to destroy a Palestinian village earlier this month.

At the time, the UAE called for strengthening tolerance and coexistence, and stressed the need to “confront hate speech and violence.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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UP: Four held for disturbing peace outside mosque during Ram Navami procession

01st April 2023

MATHURA (UP): Four men were arrested for disturbing the peace outside Jamal Masjid during a Ram Navami procession here in Uttar Pradesh, a police official said Friday.

On Thursday, when a procession being carried out by the Ram Janma Mahotsav Samiti from the Ram temple located in the Ghiyamandi area, reached the Chowk Bazar intersection, some miscreants who were riding a van climbed on the roofs of shops built outside the mosque and hoisted saffron flags there.

Video of the entire incident has been widely circulated on social media.

This incident has stroked communal tensions among people of Hindu and Muslim communities, police said.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Shailesh Kumar Pandey said immediately after the incident, a large number of police forces were deployed on the spot and on the basis of the video footage, a case was registered against the four accused namely Kavya, Honey, Rajesh and Deepak for trying to disturb the peace.

Source: New Indian Express

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5 held for hoisting saffron flag in mosque during Ram Navami celebration in Haryana

Pawan Rathi

Mar 31, 2023

The Sonipat Police arrested five people for raising religious slogans and hoisting a saffron flag in Kharkhoda mosque on the occasion of Ram Navami that was observed on Thursday.

According to police, a procession was taken out by Hindu outfits to mark Ram Navami in Sonipat's Kharkhoda in Haryana on Thursday.

A group of people chanted religious slogans and went inside the Kharkhoda mosque during namaz, where they hoisted saffron flags.

A CCTV footage has also emerged which shows a group of men entering the Kharkhoda mosque with saffron flags.

The Kharkhoda Police has registered a case and arrested five people so far. The process to identify the other men in the CCTV footage is underway.


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Local Muslims Help Perform Last Rites of Hindu CISF Jawan in JK's Kulgam

MARCH 31, 2023

Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kulgam district Friday helped perform the last rites of a Hindu CISF jawan who died of cardiac arrest, officials said.

Balbir Singh, 55, a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) jawan died Thursday evening of cardiac arrest at his home in Karkan area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam, the officials said.

Singh, posted in Amritsar, had taken leave to attend the first death anniversary of his brother who was killed by militants last year, they said.

Singh’s family is the only Hindu Rajput family living in the village, so, his friends and the local Muslim community came forward to help perform his last rites, they said.

People from the Muslim community also shouldered his ‘arthi’ and arranged wood for the cremation, they added.

A team of CISF also paid floral tributes to their colleague.


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Mathura: Men climb atop shops near mosque to place saffron flag, brought down by police

Siraj Qureshi

Mar 31, 2023

A major communal incident was averted in Mathura on Thursday after the police caught a few young men who had climbed atop several shops to place saffron flags.

The incident took place when a Ram Navami procession was passing through Chowk Bazar area. According to police, a few young men who were taking part in the procession climbed atop several shops around a local mosque and started planting saffron flags on them.

The local Muslims objected to this and accused them of trying to desecrate the mosque. Acting quickly, the police force accompanying the procession forced the miscreants to come down with their flags and moved the procession away from the mosque.

A large police contingent has been deployed in the area to prevent any late reactions to the incident by either community.

Speaking to India Today, MP Singh, Superintendent of Police, Mathura City, said that the Shri Ramlila Sabha and Shri Ram Mandir Ghiya Mandi organise a religious procession every year on the occasion of Ram Navami. On Thursday, when the procession was passing through Chowk Bazar area, some youths climbed atop the shops surrounding the Jama Masjid carrying saffron flags, which prompted angry reactions from the local Muslim community.

MP Singh said that following the protest by the Muslim community, the youths were forced to come down by the police force accompanying the procession and it was taken away from the mosque.


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Kashmir’s Islamic scholars seek meeting with L-G over Mirwaiz’s ‘house detention’

March 31, 2023

Top religious figures of Kashmir have sought a meeting with J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha over the house detention of Valley’s chief cleric and Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who could not deliver his sermon for the 188 th consecutive Friday today.

In a bid to connect with the L-G this month to discuss the detention of the Mirwaiz, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU), a conglomerate of religious bodies in Kashmir representing different schools of thought, wrote a joint letter to Mr. Sinha on March 13.

“A delegation of the MMU and the Muslim Personal Law Board, Kashmir, led by Mufti Azam J&K Mufti Nasir ul Islam, requests a meeting as per your convenience. We would appreciate the meeting in Srinagar before the commencement of the Holy month of Ramzan. We hope to hear from your office soon, confirming the time and date of the meeting,” the letter reads.

According to the Anjuman Auqaf, a caretaker body of the historic Jamia Masjid, the Mirwaiz is not being allowed to perform his important religious duty of Friday prayer and other official responsibilities even in the blessed month of Ramazan.

The MMU’s letter comes in the wake of the statements made by L-G Sinha in August last year, when he dropped hints at allowing the Mirwaiz to move around freely. “The Mirwaiz needs to decide what he wants to do. He is neither under house arrest nor detained,” Mr. Sinha said in an interview last year.

A spokesman of the Anjuman-e-Auqaf, however, said the L-G’s words “proved to be a statement made in jest and to ward off international pressure”.

Speaking to The Hindu, the Mirwaiz said it’s disappointing that the L-G administration is not allowing him to play the role of the Mirwaiz “to fight social evils like drug addiction, dowry cases, waywardness etc”.

“Ramzan is the month when I would visit multiple shrines for over 20 days to educate people about the social evils and the importance of Islamic events and the religious figures.

“This is the time of the year when we used to address the issues of social evils and galvanise support for social causes. We would arrange special sections for women during sermons in shrines for their education and awareness. I am flooded with calls to preside over religious events in shrines. I am denied basic religious obligations,” the Mirwaiz told  The Hindu.

The Mirwaiz was detained ahead of the Centre’s move to end J&K’s special constitutional position on August 5, 2019. He was later shifted to his residence in Srinagar’s Nigeen area and allegedly placed under house arrest. However, the administration has not clarified if the Mirwaiz remains under preventive detention or could move freely.


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Ram Navami festivities end with iftari at RH Railway Colony in Ahmedabad's Maninagar

Apr 1, 2023

AHMEDABAD: When news of violence during Ram Navami processions in various parts of the country including Vadodara came in, 125-odd Muslim residents of a railway colony in Maninagar were breaking their fasts at a Ram Navami pandal with their Hindu brethren singing hymns to Lord Ram in the backdrop.

For 60 years, the Ram Navami festival has been celebrated at RH Railway Colony near Bal Vatika in Kankaria, with railway employees of all castes and creeds participating.

According to a railway employee, they organize an Akhand Ramayana Path (recitation from the Ramayana) which ends with aarti and a feast. "We held this AkhandRamayan Path for the 50th time on Thursday, with our Muslim colleagues present. Every year, they take part in the Ram Navami festival and help us with preparations.

As the holy month of Ramzan is going on, our Muslim colleagues observe roza (fast) and break their fasts with iftari in the evening," said one of the organizers, Sanjay Suryabali, joint divisional secretary of Western Railway Employees Union (WREU) and a loco pilot with Western Railway.

Suryabali said that some Muslim colleagues told him that they would not be able to attend the aarti this year as it would coincide with their iftari time.

"I asked them if I could arrange the iftari food and other necessary things. They immediately told me it would be even better this way. So the AkhandRamayan path ended at around 7pm, and meanwhile our Muslim colleagues had done their iftari. After this at about 7.15pm, we all performed aarti to Lord Ram," said Suryabali.

Misbah-ul-Hasan, another joint secretary of WREU, said holding of Ram Navami festivities in the railway colony is a long-standing tradition and it was a beautiful coincidence when their iftari and Ram Navami aarti took place together.

"We broke our fast while prayers to Lord Ram were going on in the backdrop. We believe Allah is everywhere if your heart is pure and a person of the Islamic faith can do iftari anywhere. He or she should just be mindful of the time," said Hasan, adding that certain people in today's time are instilling hatred in society and their event sent out a message of love.

Another railway employee, Akhtar Qureshi, a chief luggage clerk, said he and his community members provide all possible logistic support for the Ram Navami festivities.

Source: Times Of India

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UP: Muslims welcome Ram Navmi rally by showering flowers

31st March 2023

A video of people from the Muslim community welcoming a Ram Navmi procession in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad went viral on social media.

The video garnered attention as the country witnessed violence in several parts of the country on the occasion of Ram Navmi.

Many termed the video as a sign of ‘religious harmony’ and praised the gesture.

The Yatra, which marched through many parts of Moradabad was welcomed by Muslims. They also put up garlands to honour the people who participated in the Ram Navami procession. Police personnel who arrived for ensuring law and order were also garlanded.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Hamas slams participation of Arab, African figures at normalization conference in al-Quds

31 March 2023

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has harshly condemned the participation of a number of Arab and African personalities in a conference centered on normalization with the apartheid Tel Aviv regime, and their meetings with several high-profile Israeli authorities and political leaders.

“Hamas deplores the delegation's participation in a conference organized by a fascist Israeli research center, which does not recognize the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and adamantly advocates their forcible expulsion and re-settlement,” Abdul Latif al-Qanou, the group’s spokesman, said in a statement.

He added, “Hamas reiterates its rejection of all forms of normalization with the occupying Israeli regime, as the step runs contrary to achievement of justice for the oppressed Palestinian people and restoration of their right to freedom and self-determination.”

“We call on all states and concerned organizations to condemn and reject this event, and boycott the usurping and apartheid Israeli entity, which openly denies the existence of Palestinians,” the statement pointed out.

According to the Arabic-language Arabi21 online newspaper, more than 20 personalities are participating in a three-day normalization conference in the occupied al-Quds, which would apparently explore avenues to promote diplomatic ties between Israel and Arab states of the Persian Gulf region as well as African countries.

Among the participants is a Saudi reporter, who has attended the conference after having obtained an approval from the government.

Itamar Eichner, a political correspondent for the Hebrew-language Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, revealed that among the guests are representatives of research and diplomatic institutes and journalists.

The conference has reportedly been organized by the so-called Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA).

Eichner added that among the participants were representatives from Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Djibouti, Tunisia, Mauritania, and Sudan, which do not have diplomatic relations with Israel, as well as delegates from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somaliland, South Africa, South Sudan and Uganda.

He pointed out that, in addition to panel discussions on enhancement of relations between Israel and Arab countries of the Persian Gulf region as well as African states, the Arab and African guests visited the Knesset (parliament), and met with its speaker, Amir Ohana.

Israeli president Isaac Herzog sent a recorded greeting to the participants, while the head of the so-called national security council, Tzachi Hanegbi, addressed them in a speech.

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed US-brokered normalization agreements with Israel in an event in Washington in September 2020.

Sudan and Morocco followed suit later in the year and inked similar US-brokered normalization deals with the occupying regime.

The move sparked widespread condemnations from the Palestinians as well as nations and human rights advocates across the globe, especially within the Muslim world.

Source: Press TV

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Ansarullah leader condemns burning holy Quran, calls for economic sanctions

31 March 2023

The leader of Yemen's Ansarullah resistance movement has strongly condemned the crime of burning the Holy Quran in Europe and emphasized the need for Muslims to take a stand against the war against Islam.

According to al-Masirah TV, Seyed Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said in his Ramadan speech that those who stand behind these crimes and frequent attacks against Islamic sanctuaries are the Israeli lobby.

“Our religious attachment requires us to be angry and express our fury when they start a war with our religion,” he emphasized.

Referring to the materialistic nature of the West, al-Houthi said that the Muslim nation should confront them with the weapon of economic sanctions.

“We, as Muslims, should sanction all countries that have allowed the burning of the Holy Quran and have legally supported it, because sanctions are enough to deter the enemies and force them to stop insulting Islam,” he said.

The Ansarullah chief reiterated the importance of Muslim unity in punishing the countries that were involved in burning the Quran.

“If Muslims were united to seriously sanction the countries that were involved in the burning of the Holy Quran, these countries would refrain from doing it again and they would give up,” he concluded.

The frequency of insults against Islam and its holy book has been on the rise in Europe.

Several European countries have been playing host to such despicable acts on their soils over the past months, drawing far-and-wide condemnation from the world's Muslim countries.

In January, dual Danish and Swedish citizen Rasmus Paludan burned a copy of the Holy Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, and later again in front of a mosque.

Days later in the Netherlands, far-right extremist, Edwin Wagensveld, who leads the anti-Muslim PEGIDA party, tore a copy of the Quran apart before setting it on fire.

Most recently last week, members of a Danish far-right group, Patrioterne Gar Live, gathered outside Turkey’s embassy in Copenhagen, displayed anti-Muslim placards and burned a copy of the Quran along with the Turkish national flag, while broadcasting it live to their Facebook page.

The hateful act drew a sharp condemnation from Ankara the very next day, with the Turkish Foreign Ministry saying it will never accept such “vile actions being allowed under the guise of freedom of expression”.

Source: Press TV

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Houthis Prevent Aid Delivery to Yemenis During Ramadan

31 March, 2023

Houthi militias have prevented merchants and donors from distributing aid to the poor in Sanaa and other regions since the beginning of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat Friday.

“More than 13 merchants and donors were arrested in the last five days on charges of violating these bans and of distributing aid to the poor,” the sources said.

They added that Houthis instead forced merchants and affluent people in the Yemeni capital and elsewhere to distribute this aid to militia members, claiming they know best to whom it should be offered.

Bashir, a retired and a father of six children, confirmed that contrary to the previous Ramadan, his family has not received any assistance this year, whether food or cash.

He explained that his family used to receive one to three food baskets, and some cash, which donors offered to needy families.

Bashir held the Houthi militia responsible for depriving the poor of access to aid and for deteriorating their living conditions, explaining that the group continues to impose its policies of starvation and looting.

Khaled, a resident of the Al-Sunaina neighborhood in Sanaa, confirms that the Houthi restrictions on merchants and donors deprived thousands of poor families from alms for the fourth year in a row.

In his neighborhood, he said many families suffer from the most severe conditions, and that they eagerly await Ramadan to obtain aid.

Khaled accused the Houthi group of imposing these restrictions to steal aid and cash and to monopolize the distribution of the Ramadan alms to its loyalists.

The residents’ complaints were confirmed by Sanaa merchants, who told Asharq Al-Awsat that the militias continue to steal money and food aid allocated for the needy and poor Yemenis.

A donor in Sanaa said he and many merchants stopped offering assistance to the needy after Houthis threatened dozens of merchants and philanthropists.

The militia’s restrictions came as international organizations warned that Yemenis are facing a devastating humanitarian crisis with over 17 million people still experiencing high levels of food insecurity, 75 percent of them are women and children.

Oxfam issued a press release Wednesday saying that rounds of currency depreciation, an economy on the brink of collapse, and sharp increases in the cost of fuel and other key commodities, have left millions more Yemenis in danger of catastrophic hunger.

“As Yemen enters its ninth year of war, its people are facing a devastating humanitarian crisis with more than two million children acutely malnourished,” it warned.

Country Director of Oxfam in Yemen, Ferran Puig, said: “The people of Yemen are exhausted by war. Rising food prices and unpaid salaries mean even basic food items have been pushed beyond the reach of many Yemeni people.”

He said donors must not turn their backs on what remains of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises.

“It is past time that world leaders exerted real pressure to bring all sides back to the table so they can bring a permanent end to the conflict,” Puig affirmed.

Source: Aawsat

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Israeli forces fire on Palestinian at entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque




Israeli forces opened fire on a Palestinian at the entrance of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem late Friday, according to security sources.

Israeli police claimed in a statement that a Palestinian attempted to take the weapon of an Israeli policeman near the Bab al-Silsila (Chain Gate) -- one of Al-Aqsa Mosque's main gates, in Old City.

Israeli police "neutralized" the Palestinian by shooting, it said.

Israeli forces were not harmed in the incident, while additional police forces were sent to the area, it said.

The statement did not give details about the status of the Palestinian and the incident.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces attacked Palestinians at the Bab al-Qattanin, one of the gates which leads into Al-Aqsa Mosque from the western side.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Türkiye strongly condemns repeated attack on Muslim holy book, Turkish flag in Denmark




Türkiye on Friday strongly condemned the recurrence of a “vile attack” on the Muslim holy book, the Quran, and a Turkish flag in Denmark.

"We condemn in the strongest terms that the hate crime committed in Denmark on 24 March against our Holy Book, the Quran and our glorious flag was allowed to be perpetrated again on 31 March in Ramadan," said a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.

Saying that the Danish Ambassador Danny Annan was summoned to the ministry, Ankara informed that diplomat that "we strongly condemn and protest this vile attack."

"We once again firmly call on Danish authorities to take necessary actions against the perpetrators of this crime and to take effective measures to prevent the recurrence of such provocations," the ministry added.

Reaffirming that "giving permission to this heinous act under the guise of freedom of expression is absolutely unacceptable and that such an approach can never be justified," Ankara further took note of the "insistence on this mistake."

"It is clearly seen that the inadequacy of legal and administrative measures and the lack of political will to prevent such acts as well as impunity of perpetrators have encouraged further provocations," a statement said.

Noting that the latest act "is a clear proof that Islamophobia, xenophobia, discrimination and racism have recently increased in Europe," the ministry further stressed that "such acts of hate crime also constitute an offense to those who believe in tolerance, culture of peaceful coexistence and democratic values."

"Being unable to see this fact and condoning these acts is a grave negligence," it added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Over 200,000 Palestinians at al-Aqsa for second Friday prayers of Ramadan


MARCH 31, 2023

250,000 Palestinians arrived at al-Aqsa Mosque for the second Friday prayers of Ramadan, according to Waqf in Jerusalem. The prayers were conducted without any unrest reported.

Over 70,000 Palestinians crossed through various checkpoints to get to al-Aqsa on Friday. Some Palestinians were also photographed by Palestinian media illegally climbing over the security wall around parts of the West Bank.

After the prayers, a group of Palestinian young men gathered near the Dome of the Rock and raised flags supporting terrorist groups and chanted "a nation led by Muhammad will not kneel."

Last week, flags and banners in support of terrorist groups were raised near the Dome of the Rock by young Palestinians and subsequently taken down by Israeli police. Several suspects involved in the act were arrested.

Before the prayers on Friday, Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai and Jerusalem District commander Doron Turgeman held a situation assessment near the Western Wall.

"We are in the second week of the month of Ramadan, which began relatively quietly given the professional treatment of the Jerusalem district and all of our partners, in particular the Border Police, the Shin Bet and the IDF," said Shabtai.

"It is important to maintain the readiness and operational vigilance of the police officers, in particular at the points of friction. The treatment of exceptional incidents must continue to be specific, professional and focused," added the police chief. "The issue of awareness must also be well handled in relation to incidents of incitement and in relation to false publications and rumors. We need to continue the smart operational preparation, and preserve the existing situation on the ground as much as possible."

Turgeman thanked the police officers for their work, saying "Since the beginning of Ramadan, we have mainly seen the atmosphere of the holiday, including the cooperation of the public, and accordingly more people come to the Old City and the Temple Mount compared to previous years."

"We are working to enable freedom of movement and worship in a number of circles of preparation, from the crossings encircling Jerusalem to the Old City and the Temple Mount," added Turgeman. "At the same time, there is quite a bit of handling that is being carried out for those who cause incitement on social networks, and the significant operational preparation that includes a combined effort to thwart terrorist attacks, will continue the whole time with all the axes and tools we have."

Israeli police activity at holy sites

The police noted that there has been a spike in incitement efforts on social media in recent days, including false publications about threats that do not actually exist to holy sites.

2,300 Border Police officers operated in the Jerusalem area and the West Bank on Friday in preparation for the Friday prayers.

Border Police commander Amir Cohen visited officers operating at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron on Friday and held a situation assessment with the senior command staff of the Border Police.

Source: JPost

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Foreign Ministry: ICJ Verdict Reiterates Iran's Legitimate Stances


On Thursday, the International Court of Justice ruled that the US seizure of Iranian assets was wrong and ordered Washington to pay compensation to Tehran, the amount of which will be determined later.

The Iranian foreign ministry in its statement on Thursday evening praised the decision as highlighting the legitimacy of Iran positions and expressing the wrongful behavior of the United States.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the decision issued by the International Court of Justice shows the solidity of the arguments and rightness of Iran's demand," the foreign ministry statement said.

"In this important decision, the ICJ has rightly rejected all wrong defenses the US presented and stressed that it violated its obligations while it has recognized Iran as the rightful side. Obliging the United States to compensate for the losses [Iran has suffered] is the most important testimony to the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic of Iran's demand," it added.

The Iranian foreign ministry further said that the Islamic Republic of Iran considers the demand for the rights of the Iranian nation as one of its intrinsic duties and will use all diplomatic, legal and judicial means and methods to secure the rights of the noble Iranian people and the national interests of Iranians.

Judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague have ruled that Washington had violated international law by allowing American courts to confiscate nearly two billions of dollars in assets from Iranian companies, and ordered the United States to pay compensation, the amount of which will be determined later.

On Thursday, the court said Washington's freezing of funds belonging to several Iranian individuals and companies, including $1.75 billion from the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), was “manifestly unreasonable.”

Source: Fars News Agency

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Man grabs Israeli cop’s gun near al-Aqsa mosque, is shot dead: Police

01 April ,2023

A man detained by Israeli police near a flashpoint mosque compound in Jerusalem on Saturday grabbed an officer’s gun and fired it, prompting the unit to shoot him dead, the force said on Saturday, describing the incident as a terrorist attack.

The incident at the al-Aqsa mosque compound, an icon of Palestinian nationalism, came at a high point of Muslim attendance for the holy month of Ramadan.

The police statement identified the slain man as a 26-year-old resident of Hura, a Bedouin town in south Israel. There were no police casualties, it added.

Reuters could not immediately verify the account independently.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran’s state TV apologizes for airing images of couple kissing

31 March ,2023

Iranian state television has issued an apology after broadcasting images of a couple sharing a brief kiss, local media said Friday.

Any display of physical contact between men and women is forbidden on the Islamic Republic’s official TV networks.

In a Thursday broadcast, the Nasim entertainment channel showed a young couple kissing for a few seconds at a park, as they were passing in front of a hidden camera recording a prank show.

The segment from the show, “The Four Incredibles,” went viral on social media.

The couple is seen for about three seconds walking through a park in the capital Tehran as a prank was being filmed.

In a statement published by the ISNA news agency on Friday, Nasim apologized for an “error that resulted from the negligence of the production team.”

It added the channel “will firmly handle those responsible for the negligence following an inquiry.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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North America


Minaret Foundation improves the lives of Texas Muslims by looking outward

March 31, 2023

By Kyle Desrosiers  

Houston (RNS) — More than a dozen years ago, Shariq Abdul Ghani, a local Muslim leader, and Rabbi Steve Gross, of the Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism, decided to make the best of one of the most uneventful days of the whole year for their respective communities. Their goal was simple — to bring together their communities for what became known as “Muslim-Jewish Christmas.”

“I realized they have nothing to do on Christmas,” Ghani told Religion News Service in a recent interview. “We realized we have nothing to do on Christmas, so why don’t we just get our communities together and see what happens,” he said.

The event has grown into an annual ritual, as each Christmas Eve, Muslims and Jews share meals and have difficult conversations about religiously motivated hate, interfaith solidarity, mercy and forgiveness in the Holy Scriptures and contentious topics in interfaith work, including the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

“Every year we switch between a mosque and synagogue, and one year we rented out the Museum of Natural Science. Everyone is off, so you have no excuse, so it’s easy to pack the house.”

That same year, 2010, Ghani, who was born in Pakistan and raised in Houston, founded the Minaret Foundation to raise awareness of Islam in one of the most religiously diverse cities in America — Houston, Texas. Naming his organization for the towers attached to traditional mosques from which Muslims are called to prayer, he wanted to change mistrust facing the Muslim community at the height of the “War on Terror.”

His approach was to collaborate with leaders of other faiths and find partners in both political parties to find common ground. And he would work on issues confronting citizens across all backgrounds: child-welfare, food security and religious freedom.

“When we started, the goal was to bring people together by building relationships, breaking bread, by having dialogue and discussions, breaking down barriers through frank discussion,” said Ghani. Instead of talking about “the Muslims,” he said, he wanted the conversation to be about “Muslims — our neighbors, our fellow Americans.”

The Minaret Foundation began holding speaking engagements, community service projects and fellowship events at other houses of worship and schools around the Houston metro area. “We would always start our programs off by saying, ‘You can never offend us, you can never hurt us, we want you to be able to ask the questions you want to ask, because that’s the only way we get to know each other,’” Ghani said.

Minaret’s signature became its interfaith community events that promoted understanding through dialogue — and friendly competition. “Competing in Goodness” challenges local mosques, churches and synagogues to outdo each other for fundraising and food bank collections. Last year the program gathered seven tons of canned goods. (Congregation Beth Yeshurun won.)

Kait Ewoldt, Minaret’s social media coordinator, is a Christian married to a minister. “You have these world religions that always seem to be at odds with each other, and we bring them together,” she said.

But the organization’s interfaith work doesn’t attempt to dissolve all distinction among different faiths. A recently launched effort sponsored by Minaret and its partners known as “Angels and Messengers” brings people together to probe the differences rather than similarities among the three so-called Abrahamic religions. Coming from a place of good will, Ghani believes, education promotes better understanding.

Minaret Foundation has also built relationships across lines of political difference. “In order to resolve conflicts and bring people together, all stakeholders have to be present,” said Ghani. “That means Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, Democrats. Everyone’s perspectives should not just be heard, but respected and honored as well.”

For some, this might sound like a tall order in a state whose government is often viewed as a Republican bastion, but Ghani said their work is inherently bipartisan. “There’s this misconception that Texas is a one-party, ultra-partisan state, and that’s just not true. Nothing in the state happens without Democrats and Republicans working together,” he said.

Because of this commitment, the foundation has spent the last few years building relationships, circulating policy proposals and forming coalitions involving elected officials across the political and religious spectrum in Texas in the pursuit of civic engagement.

Noor Saleh, government relations coordinator for Minaret Foundation, said the group’s political activity is as dependent on dialogue — and acknowledgment of difference — as their community-building programs are. “I have had really strong relationships with folks I never thought I’d have strong relationships with simply because they lay on an opposite political party than I do,” she said. “I have begun to realize that we need to have these difficult conversations about common-ground issues so we are able to move forward.”

Rep. Jacey Jetton, a Republican from nearby Fort Bend County, one of the most diverse districts in the state of Texas, began working with Minaret Foundation as a freshman legislator and has helped pass bills recognizing religious and cultural diversity in Texas.

“I’ve traveled around the country and around the world,” said Jetton. “In some places they still think of Texas as the Wild West, riding around on horses. But in Houston and more specifically in Fort Bend County, you can go to any community and see people from all over the world coming together. We have very diverse schools, neighborhoods and workforces here in Texas.”

Jetton regards religious freedom as a key to preserving the social contract in as diverse a community as Texas has become. “As a Christian, I recognize that those of the Muslim faith and the Hindu faith and different backgrounds all want the best for their families, for their children and for themselves, and in turn that makes a better society for us all to prosper,” he said.

In the 2023 Texas state legislative session, the Minaret team worked with clergy and its legislative allies to support a policy push known as MOSH — Multifaith Optional School Holidays.

Jetton, supported by state Reps. Salman Bhojani, a Democrat from Tarrant County near Dallas and one of the first Muslims elected to the Texas Legislature, and Steve Allison, a Republican of San Antonio, sponsored a bill that would allow a student to be excused for a religious holiday with a simple letter from a parent.

This would replace a patchwork of practices across Texas, including school districts where a note from clergy might be required and where students are asked to choose between unexcused absences and their faith commitments.

A second bill sponsored by Bhojani would eliminate standardized testing on a religious holiday or the day following one. The holidays named in the bill are Eid al Adha, Eid al Fitr, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Vaisakhi, Vesak, Diwali, All Saints Day and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Minaret is also working with state Rep. Tom Oliverson, a Republican, to create a religious freedom commission that would identify systemic barriers to the free practice of faith and advise the executive branch on solutions.

While much of their focus is on religious freedom and Islamic community interests — Minaret is promoting the creation of a Texas Muslim Heritage Month — the organization is also involved in efforts such as “No Kids in Cuffs,” which addresses the use of excessive restraint by law enforcement in schools, and “Handle with Care,” which seeks to give schools tools to better support children affected by trauma outside of school.

Ewoldt, the social media coordinator, said, “The Bible tells us to care for widows and orphans, to feed the hungry, and everything we do at Minaret, whether it’s child welfare, food insecurity or religious freedom, it goes back to those beliefs.”

The organization still faces mistrust. “We have a lot of doors that get closed to us, we are continually asked, ‘Why are the Muslims working on this?’” Ghani said. The answer, said Ghani, is his faith.

Source: ReligionNews

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Kushner talks about why he wanted Trump to go to Middle East on first trip

31 March ,2023

Jared Kushner, former US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, said Friday that the Abraham Accords proved that there is “no such thing as permanent enemies.”

Kushner was speaking at the annual Future Investment Initiative (FII) Priority summit being held in Miami this week.

The former senior advisor to Trump also spoke highly about Saudi Arabia and Vision 2030, launched under King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Kushner explained why he pushed Trump to make his first foreign visit to the Middle East.

Traditionally, the first trips by US presidents are to Canada, Mexico or Europe. “A lot of the traditional people we were working with were saying ‘Let’s go to Canada or Mexico and kiss the baby,’ and… do some, you know, worthless thing,” Kushner said Friday.

But on the 2016 campaign trail, the fight against ISIS was a major issue, as was the chaos in the Middle East.

Kushner said the preceding Bush and Obama administrations had “really made a big mess over there.”

After Trump agreed to make his first official visit abroad to the Middle East, Kushner said he was able to meet “a young leader of Saudi Arabia at the time,” referring to now-Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

He revealed that Prince Mohammed was sending messages that he wanted to do a “big transformation.”

According to Kushner, “traditionalists” and policy planning officials told him the Saudis would never come through, and the transformations would not happen.

“And me having no [political] experience, if somebody’s telling you, they want to change, and if we agree with the change, let’s give them a shot to try to do it,” Kushner said. “And so we worked very hard on the trip, and the deliverables from it were truly historic.”

Apart from the economic and political deals signed during Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, one of the more critical agreements was to open a center to counter extremism in the country.

Kushner highlighted the counter-terror financing center, which gave the US access to the Middle East’s banking system and allowed them to “really fight money that was going to bad actors.”

Abraham Accords

Trump’s son-in-law spoke about the importance of the peace deals between Israel and several Arab neighbors, which he helped broker.

The UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco normalized ties with Israel during the summer of 2020.

As a result, Kushner said, Arabs and Muslims are now able to say “nice things about Israel and Jews,” and there is a human connection between the populations.

He cited regular ties and coexistence between Christians, Muslims and Jews before World War II, saying that “it’s a beginning of the return to that time.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Thieves made off with large quantities of US weapons in Iraq, Syria: Report

31 March 2023

A huge amount of US weapons and munitions meant for US forces in Syria and Iraq have been stolen and lost, eventually ending up in the wrong hands, a new report has revealed.

The Intercept reported on Thursday that US military hardware worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, "including artillery equipment, unspecified weapons systems, and specialized ammunition," had been stolen in recent years.

Criminal investigation files, which were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by The Intercept, showed that at least four large-scale thefts and one loss of US equipment, valued at some $200,000, occurred in Iraq and Syria between 2020 and 2022. The lost items include 40mm high-explosive grenades stolen from US Special Forces.

The manner of the thefts followed a repeated pattern. The Intercept notes further that a 2020 audit by the Pentagon’s inspector general found that Special Operations Joint Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve, the main unit that partners with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to illegally occupy northeast Iraq, did not properly account for $715.8 million of equipment purchased for the SDF.

The recent failure to prevent the theft of US-supplied weapons is concerning because this previously played a key role in the rise of Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, including Daesh and the al-Nusra Front, in Iraq and Syria.

In the spring of 2015, an extremist coalition led by the al-Nusra seized Syria’s Idlib governorate, in large part thanks to US-manufactured and supplied TOW anti-tank missiles. The missiles were originally supplied to Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups working closely with al-Nusra.

Following Russia's presence in Syria a few months later, which helped to stop the anti-Damascus forces – including al-Nusra, Daesh, and Ahrar al-Sham – in September 2015, the US military drastically escalated TOW missile shipments to FSA units working with these groups.

Back then, internationally-renowned journalist SharmineNarwani asked US military officials why the US-supplied weapons and munitions were ending up in the hands of the anti-Damascus forces.

CENTCOM spokesman Lieutenant Commander Kyle Raines replied, “We don’t ‘command and control’ these forces – we only ‘train and enable’ them. Who they say they’re allying with, that’s their business.”

Conflict Armament Research (CAR), a UK-based organization that tracks the supply of weapons into conflict zones, reported that the Daesh terrorist group was a major receiver of US-supplied weapons.

“Unauthorized re-transfer – the violation of agreements by which a supplier government prohibits the re-export of materiel by a recipient government without its prior consent – is a significant source of [Daesh] weapons and ammunition. The US and Saudi Arabia supplied most of this material without authorization, apparently to Syrian opposition forces,” CAR revealed.

CAR, for example, pointed out that it had recovered US-supplied anti-tank missiles used by Daesh takfiri forces in Ramadi in February 2016. CAR confirmed that the missiles had been exported to the United States in December 2015. This indicates that the weapons were transferred to Daesh forces “in a matter of days or weeks after their supply.”

The US and its allies invaded Syria in 2014 under the pretext of fighting Daesh. The Takfiri group came into being when Washington was running out of excuses to extend its meddling in West Asia or enlarge its scale.

The US-led coalition fighting Daesh had been conducting airstrikes against what was said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate in this regard.

However, the US-led forces were repeatedly accused of targeting and killing civilians in the region.

The US-led forces were also embarrassingly incapable of achieving their declared goal of destroying Daesh.

Syria had been grappling with the Western-backed anti-Damascus forces since March 2011. The Syrian government reported the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies were aiding the Takfiri terrorist groups that were wreaking havoc in the country.

In related news, the International Criminal Police Organization, Interpol, has warned that many of the US-supplied weapons and munitions currently being sent by the West to Ukraine will ultimately end up in criminal hands in Europe and beyond.

Interpol Secretary General Juergen Stock raised the alarm over western arms supplies to Ukraine last year -- just months after Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine.

“The high availability of weapons during the current conflict will result in the proliferation in illicit arms in the post-conflict phase,” Stock said, urging countries to start scrutinizing arms-tracking databases.

Interpol fears that such a huge flow of arms to Ukraine will only empower organized crime groups that have become increasingly involved in global operations, capable of exploiting the chaos created after the onset of the war in Ukraine.

Several European countries, including France and Germany, along with the US, have so far shipped tons of military equipment, artillery munitions, and guns with a declared aim of helping Ukraine against the Russian troops.

“This will come, I have no doubts... Criminals are already now, here as we speak, focusing on that,” Stock told the Anglo-American Press Association in Paris, where he traveled to from Interpol’s headquarters in Lyon, southeast France.

His remarks came just a day after US President Joe Biden announced that Washington would continue to send “more advanced rocket systems and munitions” to Ukraine.

Stock further warned that even the heavy weapons used by the military would be available on the criminal market.

“We are already encouraging member countries, we have a database on sharing information on weapons, to use these databases because no region or country can deal with it in isolation,” he added.

Source: Press TV

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US Economic Sanctions 'Backfiring' As Shown In Iran-Saudi Deal: Analysts

31 March 2023

Experts say the United States' use of economic sanctions is "backfiring" as it leads to a "look East" strategy that was seen when China brokered a deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to resume diplomatic relations.

Speaking during an online webinar on Thursday hosted by the Arab Center Washington DC, Barbara Slavin said that Washington needs to "rethink" its approach.

"I would advocate that it means that the United States has to rethink its approaches, particularly towards the use of economic sanctions, which I think are backfiring more and more," said the distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center.

"We have to make sure we maintain ties with not only the countries in the region but also with the Chinese to make sure that we are not putting ourselves in a situation where we are no longer capable of brokering agreements among adversaries," she added.

The remarks come as Tehran and Riyadh agreed to restore diplomatic ties earlier this month after intensive talks mediated by China in Beijing. Observers say the agreement can boost the stability in the region while noting that it was a blow to the US hegemony in the region amid the rising power of China.

According to Slavin, the deal may be part of a “look East” strategy as Iran and Saudi Arabia as the two main oil producers are enhancing ties with China which is the biggest oil consumer.

She also said that the trend could potentially lead to "de-dollarization" in the next years as oil producers may consider selling their products in yuans.

Experts have in recent years pointed to the ineffectiveness of sanctions as China has emerged as an equal rival to the US in the international financial market. In a major development this week, China and Brazil cut a deal to ditch the US dollar when paying each other for trade goods.

The deal will enable China, the top rival to US economic hegemony, and Brazil, the biggest economy in Latin America, to conduct their massive trade and financial transactions directly, exchanging yuan for reais and vice versa instead of going through the dollar.

Earlier this month, an expert said Western-imposed sanctions have proved to be self-defeating as they have forced targeted countries to join forces against the United States and promoted economic independence among them.

“These sanctions have backfired and they have united the world against the United States,” John Bosnitch, a Belgrade-based journalist and activist, told Press TV, citing Serbia, Cuba and Russia’s success in neutralizing the sanctions.

He said that despite the unilateral sanctions, Iran and other countries subjected to the boycotts are becoming more self-sufficient.

Source: Press TV

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Judge threat case: Islamabad court converts Imran’s non-bailable arrest warrants into bailable again

Umer Burney

March 31, 2023

An Islamabad district and sessions court on Friday converted former prime minister Imran Khan’s non-bailable arrest warrants in a case related to alleged threats made to a judge into a bailable warrant till April 18.

On March 13, a non-bailable arrest warrant was issued for the PTI chairman after he failed to appear in court in the same case. The next day an Islamabad district and sessions court suspended the same warrant.

On March 24, another Islamabad lower court converted the non-bailable arrest warrant into a bailable warrant. It had also dismissed the former premier’s plea to extend the suspension of the said arrest warrant. Subsequently, on March 29 an Islamabad court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Imran in the case as he failed to appear before the court.

Additional Sessions Judge Sikandar Khan converted the non-bailable arrest warrants into bailable ones while hearing a review petition today against the issuance of the non-bailable arrest warrants.

He also ordered the PTI chairman to furnish surety bonds worth Rs20,000.

Imran was represented by lawyer Zakarya Arif. Sub-Inspector Sagheer Ali appeared before the court with the case record instead of Margalla Police Station’s investigation officer.

Prosecutor Adnan Ali was unable to appear before the court because he was busy in an Anti-Terrorism Court.

The hearing

At the hearing’s outset, Imran’s lawyer contended that his client’s senior counsel could not appear in court because he was being treated in the hospital for his heart disease. “The hearing should be adjourned till Tuesday,” Arif appealed.

The court directed any senior counsel of Imran to appear in person.

Subsequently, the court took a break till 10:30 am. When the hearing resumed, the prosecutor’s junior lawyer and PTI chief’s junior counsel Qamar Inayat appeared in court.

The government’s junior lawyer informed the court that the public prosecutor in the case was Rizwan Abbasi but he was busy in the Supreme Court. “Prosecutor Rizwan Abbasi is coming,” he said, adding that “there should be a break in the hearing till 11:30am.”

At this, the judge said Imran’s power of attorney had the names of Qaiser Imam and Ali Bukhari. To which, Imran’s junior counsel again told the court that Ali Bukhari was in the hospital and urged the court to adjourn the hearing till Tuesday.

“Imran’s power of attorney also includes the name of Qaiser Imam. Where is he?” the judge said. “Then we should restore the warrants again if no lawyer is coming from your side”.

The judge subsequently adjourned the hearing till 11:30am.

When the hearing resumed for the second time, Imran’s lawyer Faisal Chaudhry appeared in court.

“I’m here at a risk,” he said, highlighting that he left the Supreme Court to appear in a sessions court. At this, the judge remarked saying: “Be it a session or high court. A court is a court”.

“Imran is due to appear in court on April 18. What is the situation regarding his arrest?” Chaudhry asked the judge to which he replied the matter could be looked at when the special prosecutor arrived.

At this, Chaudhry said: “Imran appears before every court before getting murdered,” to which the judge asked him to clarify his remarks.

“We want every court to be safe for every accused person,” the judge said. At this, Chaudhry reminded the court that if there wasn’t an assassination attempt on Imran, there would be no security threats.

Imran’s lawyer repeatedly urged the judge to adjourn the hearing to which he said: “If the hearing is adjourned then the non-bailable warrants will be restored”.

Chaudhry replied by saying that the judicial magistrate’s decision was illegal. “It is not a crime to be named Imran Khan. Adjourn the hearing till Monday and keep the warrants suspended.”

Prosecutor Abbasi finally appeared in court and opposed Imran’s review appeal against the arrest warrant.

“First bailable arrest warrants were issued,” he said. “Now non-bailable arrest warrants had to be issued. Have you ever heard that the decision regarding the non-bailable warrant of arrest for non-appearance was in favour of the accused?” the prosecutor added.

He said that Imran’s lawyers themselves had first asked for bailable and then non-bailable arrest warrants to be issued and the court had done just that, adding that the judicial magistrate had issued non-bailable arrest warrants based on the arguments forwarded by the PTI chief’s lawyers.

Abbasi further highlighted that the sessions court had ordered that first bailable and then non-bailable arrest warrants should be issued and that is what had happened.

As the hearing continued, Chaudhry told the court that Imran was only charged with bailable sections in the case.

“The sessions court had first directed the judicial magistrate to issue bailable arrest warrants,” he said. “When bailable arrest warrants were not issued then how can non-bailable arrest warrants be brought into action?”

He reminded the court that Imran was subject to the same legal procedure as any other accused person.

“Were bailable warrants issued after the session’s court verdict? No, they weren’t.”

At this, Prosecutor Abbasi said an accused person is summoned to court through a notice or warrant. “Imran Khan was told to appear before the court through a warrant. Why didn’t he appear?

“When warrants are issued for an ordinary person then the decision over the warrant is taken when the accused appears in court,” he said. “Judicial Magistrate Malik Awan issued the non-bailable warrants according to the verdict of Additional Sessions Judge Faizan Haider”.

The prosecutor maintained that Imran knew about every court date but still did not appear. “What Imran Khan wants is that he doesn’t even appear in court nor should any warrants be issued against him”.

He appealed to the court to dismiss Imran’s appeal against his non-bailable arrest warrants.

“Did the court bailiff get Imran’s warrant implemented?” the judge asked. At this, the prosecutor replied by saying: “Ask the investigation officer. If an investigation officer goes to Zaman Park, he will be tortured”.


The PTI chairman had on August 20, 2022 condemned the police as well as the judiciary over the alleged custodial torture of Shahbaz Gill and announced that his party would file cases against then-Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Akbar Nasir Khan, the DIG and Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry.

Initially, Imran was booked under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). Besides, Islamabad High Court (IHC) also initiated contempt of court proceedings against him.

A month later, the IHC removed the terrorism charges against Imran and also pardoned him after he tendered an apology in the contempt case.

Source: Dawn

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Day after Hindu doctor, Sikh businessman shot dead in Pakistan

Mar 31, 2023

AMRITSAR: An unidentified motorist gunned down a Sikh businessman in Peshawar city of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in broad daylight on Friday. Dayal Singh was shot dead around 3.30pm, a day after the killing of a famous Hindu ophthalmologist in Karachi.

Sikh activist Radesh Singh Tony said Hindu ophthalmologist Dr Birbal Ginani, the former director of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, was shot dead on Thursday on Lyari Expressway while he was in his car.

Sarop Singh, a resident of Peshawar and member of Pakistan's National Commission for Minorities (NCM), said that Dayal had a small grocery shop at Jamil Chowk in Atta Mohammad Garhi village near Peshawar.

“Despite being a poor person, he used to give Iftar parties to Muslims and yet he was killed in cold blood,” said Saroop, adding that there had been over 10 killings of Sikhs in Peshawar in the past two years.

“Targeted killing of many Sikhs had happened during the month of Ramadan when they gave Iftar parties to the Muslims,” he said.

Dayal is survived by three children, wife and two brothers who also live in Peshawar.

Sikh members of the NCM said the minority community was living in fear in Pakistan and many families had moved to the Sikh-populated areas such as Nankana Sahib, Hasan Abdal, Lahore.

Notably, on May 15, 2022, two Sikh businessmen Kuljit Singh and Ranjit Singh, both relatives of Dayal were shot dead by two unidentified gunmen in Peshawar. Both had grocery shops in Bara Market in Sarbad town near Peshawar.

Source: Times Of India

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Cracks in SC ranks laid bare as another judge leaves bench

Nasir Iqbal

April 1, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court witnessed high drama on Friday, with one more judge recusing himself from the remaining four-member bench hearing a PTI petition against the delay in elections to the Punjab Assembly, with the chief justice making a passionate appeal to the warring parties to forget the past and engage in dialogue.

Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail withdrew himself from the bench a day after Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan did so on Thursday.

But before Friday’s proceedings commenced, a circular was issued by the registrar office, followed by one-page court order, disregarding the directives of a different three-judge bench that had ordered that all cases instituted under Article 184(3) of the Constitution be postponed by stating that the bench had travelled beyond the case before it.

Thereafter, CJP Umar Ata Bandial constituted a smaller three-judge bench consisting of himself, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar to proceed with the PTI petition.

The CJP also made it clear that the judges were united, despite differences of opinion and, with his voice welling up with emotion, referred to the agony Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman suffered when he had to resign from the Supreme Court.

At the outset of the hearing, CJP Bandial announced that Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail would like to make a statement. Justice Mandokhel announced he was withdrawing from the bench, adding that since he was not consulted before constituting the bench, he would like to recuse himself.

However, before postponing the hearing, the CJP asked Attorney General (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan to bring the defence and finance secretaries along with him on Monday and hinted that the court might even call the armed forces and issue directives for managing finances to hold elections in Punjab.

“The state of Pakistan cannot remain rudderless and has to reach its destination in accordance with the Constitution,” the CJP observed, adding that elections should be held to hand over government to the people of Pakistan.

Pointing towards the AGP, he observed that the court was not here to make things difficult, but asked the top law officer to come up with good reasons which the court may accept, otherwise it was duty-bound to give a judgement.

The CJP made it clear that the apex court was not pushing anyone but political parties should resolve issues among themselves or the court would take its own course.

‘Great deal of respect’

When the hearing commenced after Friday prayers, CJP Bandial tried to dispel an impression of discord among the judges. Though he conceded that differences have cropped up, he said relations between the judges were very cordial and despite recusals, they have mutual respect and regard for each other.

“We have sworn allegiance to the Constitution which is very important for us; for this nation, for this society - since it holds the federation together, it keeps alive democracy. Today, when you go to parliament, you find people addressing the parliament who were till yesterday in captivity, imprisoned, declared traitors. They are now talking over there, and being respected because they are representatives of the people,” the CJP observed.

“Unfortunately, political issues have created a hype, which was further fuelled and fanned by the media and press conferences, but we remain calm though perturbed with the fact that some individuals are criticising some judges while others are criticising other judges.

“If only external impression and perception are not there, we will have a peaceful life. This has become a way of life since our friends in the media say something which sometimes was incorrect, but we still respect them since they were eyes and ears of the society,” he observed.

The CJP recalled how several judges were ousted from the office and suffered house arrest and, while comparing with his counterparts from 1980 to 1990, and observed that he found himself undeserving to be in this office.

Political battle

Naming Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the CJP regretted that “we suffered when the full court sat to try a colleague. We were punished and the judge was punished — an incident which left scars. No one bothers about this institution to realise how much we suffered”.

“Now again a political battle is going on and other colleagues are being disputed on the basis of hearsay when we should bridge the gap and in many respect we all judges are united and will remain united. There are audio-video leaks and we are again being asked to butcher another brother. We have picked finest judges who were giving excellent judgements, but our wives and children who cannot respond are being dragged into.

“We are trying to do our job honestly and fairly in the fear of Allah Almighty as we have unhappy task to write judgements,” CJP observed and, while referring to former judge Iqbal Hameedur Rehman, who had to resign because he could not face his father, regretted that the judge was still heartbroken.

When the AGP referred to an earlier order in which a nine-member bench was reduced to a five-judge bench, the CJP asked who told him that the judges have recused themselves, adding that when “you start crossing our wall, you are engaging in our privacy. It is the choice of the CJP to reconstitute the bench and it is none of anyone’s business how many judges recused, etc.”

Earlier, Chairman of Executive Committee of the Pakistan Bar Council Hassan Raza Pasha requested the court to hold a full court meeting of the Supreme Court to resolve all internal issues, while the AGP requested the bench to consider constituting a full court and informed it that the country was facing a deficit of Rs1.4 trillion by the end of current fiscal year.

Turning down the request for a full court, the CJP explained that while constituting benches, “we have to ensure that ordinary litigants must not suffer and their cases should continue to be heard, besides sometimes the judges were not available. And when AGP repeats his request for full court, he in fact is making insinuation”.

Later, Irfan Qadir, representing the Election Commission of Pakistan, said if the bench gets emotional then the other side would also get emotional. He said freedom of expression should not be discouraged, wondering why the apex court had not stopped Hameedur Rehman from resigning.

Judge’s note

Justice Mandokhel explained in his note that the order of constituting a three-judge bench after the recusal of Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan was not dictated in the open court, rather in his absence and without contacting him for participation in the deliberations.

“I felt that the three members of the bench, for reasons best known to them, opted not to involve me in the consultation,” he said, adding that the present petition was the outcome of the previous proceedings which were dismissed by two members of the bench (Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Athar Minallah) through their respective short orders, followed by him and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah.

Right from the first date of hearing of the present matter, Justice Mandokhel said, he wanted this bench to resolve the controversy of the March 1 order regarding elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and its ‘order of the court’, which has still not been issued till date, as it is of great significance to the present matter.

No heed was paid to this issue, despite raising it repeatedly, he said, adding that the AGP, members of the legal fraternity and counsel for the political parties also requested for resolution of this issue, but received no response from the other members of the bench.

Source: Dawn

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Pak-China border trade set to resume next week

Jamil Nagri

April 1, 2023

GILGIT: After remaining closed for three years, trade and travel activities between Pakistan and China through the Khun­jerab Pass will resume on Monday.

All arrangements have been finalised on both sides to reopen the border point for bilateral trade and other activities under the China-Pakistan Eco­nomic Corridor (CPEC).

Under an agreement, trade and travel activities between the two countries through the Khunjerab Pass start in April 1 and close on November 30, while there was a daily bus service from Sost Valley of Gilgit-Baltistan to Xinjiang province of China. The first trade activity between China and Pakistan under CPEC had started via the Karakoram Highway in November 2016.

However, to contain the transmission of coronavirus between the two countries, the Khunjerab Pass was closed as soon as in November 2019.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar told Dawn that the federal government had been working for the revival of CPEC activities and all hurdles in the way of bilateral trade would be removed.

According to officials, the prolonged closure of Khunjerab Pass had caused immense financial hardships to the local business community, while thousands of workers had become jobless. During last three years, the Khunjerab Pass had been opened occasionally for emergency cargo transportation from China to Pakistan on specific days.

GB Home Secretary Rana Mohammad Saleem Afzal told Dawn that the officials on both sides had agreed to reopen Khunjerab Pass for trade and travel activities from Monday (April 3) and process of issuing border pass would start soon.

“Most important aspect is that it’s CPEC route. CPEC consignments will enter Pakistan through Khunjerab Pass from China,” said the GB home secretary.

GB Collector of Customs Syed Fawad Ali Shah told Dawn that the volume of trade between two countries would increase after the reopening of the Khunjerab Pass. He said all the required arrangements had been finalised for normal trade at Sost dry port, adding that he had held a meeting with traders, the port management and other stakeholders in this regard.

Mr Shah claimed that all stakeholders were happy and assured the administration of their cooperation in smooth trade activities at Sost dry port.

Source: Dawn

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PML-N pressurising CJP like it did in 1997, says Imran

Ahmad Fraz Khan

April 1, 2023

LAHORE: PTI Chair­man Imran Khan has said PML-N is trying to create a 1997-like situation when its workers attacked the Supreme Court to pressurise the then chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah hearing a contempt petition.

In a tweet on Friday, the ex-premier said the PML-N is targeting the incumbent chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) exactly as it targeted the then CJP in 1997 because it is scared of elections.

It was for this reason that he wanted people to get ready for streets protests to protect democracy and rule of law, he said, urging legal fraternity in particular to play their part as they did in 2007 for the protection of the Constitution.

Mr Khan also wrote he was ready to hold talks with the parties, which were ready to oppose the “conspiracy” against the constitution and court.

Meanwhile, senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry while responding to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s media talk in London during which he demanded Supreme Court’s full court to hear the poll delay case, said the nation would never allow a “convict and fugitive of law” to dictate the top court.

He said elections were a constitutional demand and the nation woud not accept any attempt to delay the polls.

Before making any statement on the issue, he said, it would be better for Mr Sharif to realise that the present situation is not like the one in 1997.

Source: Dawn

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South Asia


Afghan Interim Govt Believes in Electoral System, IEA Official Says

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

April 1, 2023

Mawlavi Abdul Kabir, the acting Deputy Prime Minister of the Taliban in a meeting with UNAMA Chief Roza Otunbayeva has said the group believes in an “electoral system”.

During the meeting, Abdul Kabir said the Taliban “want to hold an election that is based on expertise and qualification” Bakhtar news agency reported.

Neither the news agency nor the United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) has provided further details in this regard so far.

Certain senior Taliban members including the Minister of Information and Culture, and Anas Haqqani, the Interior Minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani’s brother attended the meeting.

Abdul Kabir reiterated the Taliban group has met every single requirement and should be recognized as the legitimate government of Afghanistan by the international community. 

The Taliban senior leader speaks of fair and transparent elections as the group seized power using force and violence, and has no legal and international legitimacy.

Meanwhile, the Taliban-run administration has repeatedly asked people to show their allegiance to the group, obey the orders of the supreme leader, and accept the group’s system. 

Following the overtake of Afghanistan, the Taliban dissolved all elected institutions, including election commissions, and took over the government using force. 

Since their return to power in August 2021, the Taliban have dissolved National Assembly, including the parliament and senate house, provincial councils, State Ministry for Elections as well as Afghanistan’s Constitution.

The de facto regime has also revoked the license of political parties and denied women and girls basic rights to education, work and travel.

Source: Khaama Press

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Abbas Stanikzai Calls for Reopening of Afghan Girls’ School, University

By Fidel Rahmati

March 31, 2023

The deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, called for the reopening of Afghan women and girls’ schools and universities on Friday.

Stankizai tweeted that he has supported women and girls’ education in Afghanistan and stressed reopening the doors of schools and universities.

“98 per cent of scholars are in favour of women and girls’ education; the deputy foreign minister for political affairs, Sher Mohammad Stankizai is one of those people who is always in favour of women and girls’ education and insist on opening the doors of schools and universities to girls every speech,” he said in a tweet.

His remarks came after a week that the Ministry of Education reopened schools except for girls beyond the sixth grade on 21 March 2023.

The new academic has started in Afghanistan, but girls and women beyond sixth grade have yet to be allowed to continue their education for the third consecutive year.

National and international organizations, including the United Nations, have slammed the Taliban’s suppressive policies regarding girls’ education and work.

Earlier, Richard Bennett, the UN special envoy for Afghanistan and a group of experts expressed their concerns, saying that “the ongoing unlawful denial for girls’ right to education in Afghanistan is impacting an entire generation and the country’s future” in a statement.

The statement also stressed that the Taliban administration “has no justification for denying the right to education, on any ground, including religion or tradition.”

The UN urged the Taliban authorities to reverse their policy and reopen girls’ schools and universities for all in the country.

Source: Khaama Press

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Daesh is not a Major Threat to Afghanistan: Mujahid

By Fidel Rahmati

April 1, 2023

The security forces of the Afghan interim government destroyed Daesh, and it has not a major threat as it was a year ago, according to Zabihullah Mujahid, a senior interim government spokesperson.

In a recent interview with Voice of America, Pashto, Mujahid said that the Afghan security forces “since August 2021, have arrested and imprisoned around 1,600 to 1,700 Islamic State militants and have killed more than 1,100.”

The remarks came as the Taliban usually downplaying the presence and the threat of Islamic State Khorasan Province militants in the country.

He said that the Daesh hideout had been destroyed across the country, including Zabul, Kunar and Jawjzan provinces, and that primarily ISKP militants were supported by the previous government. Some of them escaped from the prisons during the regime change.

However, he added that the Afghan security forces either killed, arrested, or imprisoned them.

However, a top US general, Michael Kurilla, commander of US Central Command, recently claimed while speaking to Congress that ISIS is stronger today than it was in Afghanistan.

Kurilla added, “at least hundreds of thousands” of US people could be at risk from an attack by ISIS, which has the “ultimate goal of striking on the US homeland.”

“ISIS-Khorasan grows emboldened, seeking to expand its ranks and inspire, enable and direct attacks in the region and beyond – with the ultimate goal of striking on the American homeland,” he added.

The American General estimated that there are at least 6,500 Daesh militants in Afghanistan, of which 4,000 are positioned close to the Tajikistan border.

Nevertheless, Taliban spokesman Mujahid denied the American claims, saying that Daesh militants had already been suppressed and their numbers had already been decreased, contrary to what US authorities had claimed to be the case.

Source: Khaama Press

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HRW urges Bangladesh to halt Rohingya repatriation plan

April 1, 2023

DHAKA: Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday urged Bangladesh to suspend plans to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, warning conditions there would not be safe for the persecuted and stateless minority.

Bangladesh is home to around a million Rohingya, most of whom fled a 2017 military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar that is now subject to a UN genocide investigation.

A delegation from Myanmar’s military regime travelled to Bangladesh this month to interview potential candidates for return and jump-start a stalled repatriation scheme.

But any return to Myanmar would put the lives and liberty of refugees “at grave risk”, Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

“Voluntary, safe, and dignified returns of Rohingya refugees to Myan­mar are not possible while the military junta is carrying out massacres around the country,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW’s South Asia director.

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Rohingya in the camps told HRW they “were lied to, deceived, or otherwise coerced by Bangladesh administrators” into meet­ing the Myanmar delegation, the watchdog said.

Some of the 15 refugees interviewed by the watchdog said they had been lured into the meetings on the understanding they were to discuss possible resettlement to a third country.

The Rohingya are widely viewed in Myanmar as interlopers from Bangladesh, despite roots in the country stretching back centuries, and are stateless after Myanmar ceased recognising their citizenship in 2015.

Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing, who has dismissed the Rohingya identity as “imaginary”, was head of the armed forces during the 2017 crackdown.

The International Court of Justice is probing allegations of systematic rape, murder and arson against Rohingya by Myanmar’s security forces.

Rights groups have accused the junta of planning to orchestrate a “token” return of refugees to avoid the court’s censure.

‘Repatriation will be voluntary’

A junta spokesman said this month that Myanmar could accept “around 1,000” members of the minority as soon as mid-April.

But a senior foreign ministry official in Bangladesh, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the amount of preparation still needed made that timeframe doubtful.

He also denied his country would force refugees to return.

“Repatriation will be voluntary,” he said.

Human Rights Watch said Bangladesh had been intensifying restrictions on livelihoods, movement and education in an apparent effort “to coerce refugees into considering returning to Myanmar.”

Thousands of Rohingya risk their lives each year making perilous journeys from camps in Bangladesh and Myanmar to reach Muslim-majority Malaysia and Indonesia.

Last week, around 180 Rohingya attempting to flee to Malaysia from Myanmar’s Rakhine state were arrested by authorities, according to a security official.

Source: Dawn

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UN Human Rights Office expresses concern over arbitrary arrests in Afghanistan

30 March, 2023

Kabul [Afghanistan], March 30 (ANI): The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) on Wednesday expressed deep concerns over ongoing arbitrary arrests in Afghanistan including the recent detention of a girls’ education activist, journalists and media workers by the Taliban, Afghanistan based Khaama Press reported.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called on the Taliban to immediately release activists detained for advocating women’s rights.

OHCHR Spokesperson Jeremy Laurence in a statement said: “No one should be detained for speaking out in defense of their fundamental rights and the rights of others.”

The Taliban has since the start of 2023, arrested several civil society activists, journalists and women’s rights advocates for speaking up about their fundamental rights and the rights of others.

On March 27, unidentified men arrested MatiullahWesa, head of PenPath, a civil society organization campaigning to reopen girls’ education, whose whereabouts remain unknown.

Following Wesa’s detention, the UN Human Rights Office, and other rights groups have repeatedly called on the ruling regime to release the education activist, however, no progress has been seen in this regard so far, Khaama Press reported.

According to the OHCHR website, “Other activists and journalists have also been detained with no clear information as to their whereabouts, well-being, or any charges against them. Among those held are Nargis Sadat, Zakaria Osuli, Sultan Ali Ziaee, KhairullahParhar and MortazaBehboudi.”

According to Khaama Press, since the return of the Taliban to power in August 2021, the group has deepened restrictions on journalists, media and social activists, according to which individuals or groups are not allowed to criticize the ruling regime or speak against the Taliban members.

Source: ThePrint

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UAE Sends Urgent Medical and Food Supplies to Afghanistan

By Fidel Rahmati

March 31, 2023

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates on Friday announced the provision of urgent medical and food supplies to those affected people by the recent earthquake in Afghanistan.

“Today, the UAE sent a plane carrying 38 tons of urgent medical and food supplies to Afghanistan to meet the needs of thousands of Afghan families affected by earthquakes that recently struck northeastern Afghanistan.”

The statement said that providing these supplies would enhance humanitarian support for vulnerable groups, including women, children and the elderly.

“Providing these supplies is part of the UAE’s enduring efforts to provide urgent relief to countries affected by natural disasters and enhance humanitarian support for vulnerable groups such as women, children, and the elderly.”

The UAE’s humanitarian efforts for Afghanistan from 2021-2022 included launching a relief air bridge that sent 28 aircraft carrying 623 tons of medical and food supplies, benefiting approximately 1.1 million people, including 850,000 women and children, the statement read.

UAE relief also helped mitigate the impact of the earthquake that struck Khost in southeastern Afghanistan last June. The UAE built a 1,000-square-meter field hospital with 75 beds and receives 200 patients daily. Moreover, the statement added that the UAE sent medical supplies, equipment, and teams specialized in treating injuries caused by natural disasters.

Last week, Afghanistan his by a powerful earthquake of 6.5 magnitudes, which resulted in killing more than ten people and injuring several others.

The earthquake has caused financial and economic damage, including over 665 houses destroyed across Afghanistan, including Badakhshan, Takhar, Panjshir, and Kunar.

Source: Khaama Press

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Southeast Asia


Japanese PM hails ties with Islamic countries at Ramadan dinner

April 01, 2023

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio hosted a dinner at his office in Tokyo on Thursday to mark the holy month of Ramadan and spoke of the tolerance of Islam needed to combat conflicts in the world.

The event was attended by the heads of Islamic diplomatic missions in Japan, Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa, top Foreign Ministry officials, parliamentarians and representatives of Islamic organizations.

“After experiencing the pandemic, the international community stands at a historic turning point,” Kishida said in his address. “Now, more than ever, we must lead the international community toward cooperation instead of division and conflict. I feel that the ‘wifaq’ or harmony and ‘tassmoh’ or tolerance that both Japan and Islamic countries embrace are becoming more important.

“In that connection, the plan of a free and open Indo-Pacific, or FOIP, which I announced recently, is an important tool. The vision of FOIP honors inclusivity and diversity. Under this plan, we have launched four pillars to make clear our intention to expand cooperation with regions and countries. We would also like to upgrade our relationships with Islamic countries as we continue to advance such efforts.”

Kishida said he had worked hard through meetings, phone calls and events such as TICAD8 to “deepen the bonds of trust and friendship” with the Islamic world.

“Since I was the foreign minister, I have long embraced our ties with the Islamic World, which stretches from Southeast Asia through the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and Europe.”

Kishida concluded his remarks by wishing, “tonight’s occasion, where we share our moments with friends from Muslim communities, will be a great opportunity to deepen the friendship between Japan and your countries.”

Source: Arab News

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Filipinos join hands to support Muslims during Ramadan

March 31, 2023

MANILA: Throughout Ramadan, representatives of the Roman Catholic Church and other religious groups in the Philippines are pooling their resources to support the Muslim community in their fast and observance of the holy month.

Muslims constitute roughly 5 percent of the nearly 110 million, predominantly Catholic population of the Southeast Asian nation.

The minority communities live mostly on the island of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago in the country’s south, as well as in the central-western province of Palawan, and the capital, Manila.

As Ramadan began last week, interfaith events, especially iftars to break fasts, have been frequently organized by Muslims for non-Muslims and vice versa.

One such meeting was held in Manila on Thursday evening by Uniharmony Partners, a coalition of churches and faith organizations. Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus celebrated the special time together.

“There are a lot of programs and activities ... for people of different faiths just to come together appreciate one another and enjoy each other’s culture,” Dr.PablitoBaybado, Uniharmony coordinator and theology professor at the University of Santo Tomas, told Arab News.

The programs include mutual support that Muslims extend to Christians and other groups during Christmas and other major holidays, and that is reciprocated when the Islamic fasting month arrives.

“During Ramadan, you have the Catholic Church through the Quiapo Church, and then the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pulling together resources so that every Sunday we go to some communities or Muslim communities in Metro Manila like Culiat, Taguig and Quiapo and distribute food packs,” Baybado said.

“During this time of Ramadan, we are doing this because it’s a way of showing respect to one another.”

For Alvaro Centuria, a pastor of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Ramadan, besides inspiring a sense of unity, also has a spiritual dimension.

“It is it is very important because it reminds us, Christians, to also do fasting too ... It’s scientifically as well as religiously necessary,” he said.

“The essence of a meeting like this is that we are able to show that religions can unite for good, religious people can unite and can be in fellowship with one another.”

For Kerem Sadik, a Muslim member of Uniharmony, inter-faith meetings and activities, especially during Ramadan, which is not only the month of fasting but also charity, are a chance to foster a more tolerant and inclusive future generation.

“We try to nurture new generations from the start, without giving them any chance to grow stereotypes from the beginning rather than breaking them later,” he told Arab News, hoping that the examples set would foster mutual understanding and support.

Source: Arab News

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Dedicated firefighters sacrifice comfortable Ramadan break to respond to distress call


01-04- 2023

FOR A NUMBER of Muslims during Ramadan, they have a fixed time as to when they can break their fast comfortably while some others have to sacrifice that kind of comfort due to the nature of their jobs.

A video on Twitter has recently made rounds online of a group of firemen receiving a distress call a few minutes before breaking their fast.

As we take a peek into the firemen’s daily routines, this video shows the sacrifices they make to ensure first and foremost, people’s safety.

The food was already prepared and the drinks were nicely laid out on a couple of dining tables awaiting the firemen to dig but alas, duty calls and they rush into the firetruck.

In the firetruck, it was shown that the firemen were breaking their fast with a drink instead, which they presumably rushed to store in the firetruck together with some steel cups.

Netizens lauded the fire brigade’s dedication and commitment to their duty in aiding the people in distressing situations, while others jokingly quipped about the rushed situation.

“I salute these firemen!” a netizen said.

“I hope their drinks jug did not spill in the truck,” a netizen said jokingly.

Meanwhile, a healthcare worker related their experience in having to rush for an operation just before they could break their fast.

Source: TheSunDaily

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Court orders man who attempted to attack imam sent to Permai Hospital

31-03- 2023

KUANTAN: The Magistrate's Court here today ordered a man who attempted to attack an imam who was leading a prayer at a mosque here to be referred to Permai Hospital, Johor, for psychiatric examination.

Magistrate Tengku Eliana Tuan Kamaruzaman made the order against ex-soldier Ahmad Paijan Abd Rashid (pix), 38.

This followed a request by deputy public prosecutor Ezuain Farhana Ahmad made under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The man was charged with disturbing a religious assembly in the prayer hall of the Sultan Ahmad Shah State Mosque 1, here, at about 6.30 am, last Sunday (March 26).

He was charged under Section 296 of the Penal Code which provides for imprisonment of one year or with a fine or both, on conviction.

Source: TheSunDaily

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Perspective on the developing ties between Türkiye and Malaysia


APR 01, 2023

Throughout my childhood, we read and realized why the Ottoman Empire collapsed, the backwardness of Islamic countries and how colonialist states exploited the world of Muslims one by one and ruined the cultures of our countries. The wealth of the decolonized Arab countries in the '50s and '60s, the expenditures of the kings, the luxurious lives of youngsters there or the shares of the multinationals they bought in the Western stock markets were among our favorite topics. We were well aware that this wealth did not play a role in the development of such countries, nor put them in competition with the West.

Malaysia was one of the few countries in the Islamic world that could establish a balanced state order while adopting technology early on, nourishing its people, developing international trade and increasing its national income.

The country, whose income was not only based on oil and a well-operated democracy but also set harmony between traditional kingdoms and democracy, gradually began to attract the attention of the Islamic world and the West.

Türkiye: Rising star of Islamic world

Since the days of our childhood with that painful reading, many new countries and ideas emerged in the Islamic world. We are, of course, proud of the emergence of Türkiye as a rising star of Islam among these countries.

Today, Türkiye and Malaysia rely on non-oil resources and technology, growing gradually with their developed middle class and have established critical infrastructures from academics to the defense industry.

When we met Malaysian officials and sat down with them, it was surprising and striking to see how close they keep abreast of Türkiye, how deeply they wonder about the results of the upcoming elections, and how eager they are to talk about the latest developments in Turkish politics.

Of course, wherever you go in the Islamic world today, everyone is curious about the upcoming elections in Türkiye, and Islamic countries are waiting for it more than other countries.

Interestingly, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has connected not only with the electorate in Türkiye but also with the broad masses in the Islamic world. Many Muslims all around the globe today are as curious about Erdoğan's success in the upcoming election as we are.

From the great-grandfather to the grandson

During our visit to Malaysia last week, we had the opportunity to visit the sultan of Johor, His Excellency Sultan Ibrahim ibniAlmarhum Sultan Iskandar. The sultan is the sovereign ruler of the Malaysian state of Johor.

In general, kings in countries lead reclusive lives. But the sultan of Johor draws an extraordinary portrait of a king who, on the one hand, carries out his daily routine as a king, is interested in sports like Polo, racing, and cars; and on the other hand, has a well-developed social side.

Sultan Ibrahim, who paid a post-quake trip to Türkiye and visited President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Beştepe Presidential Complex earlier last month, is as curious about the elections in Türkiye as everyone else. We had intellectual discussions with the sultan on Turkish politics.

The great-great-grandfather of Sultan Ibrahim, the late Sultan Abu Bakar al-Khalil, came to Istanbul in 1879 and met Sultan Abdulhamid II. During his visit, Sultan Abu Bakar was awarded Nishan-i Osmani, the top Ottoman insignia, by Sultan Abdülhamid.

Sultan Abdülhamid also introduced RukiyeHanım, a Circassian lady from the palace who companied Sultan Abu Bakar back home and married the sultan’s brother UngkuAbdulmecid. So RukiyeHanim was included in the Johor royal family. It was not a simple marriage of its time. It tied the two countries to each other. The brotherly bonds made by Sultan Abdülhamid and Sultan Abu Bakar by then continue today.

Something that makes us proud is the realization that Türkiye's state power, success in diplomacy, and several fields, especially in the defense industry, are followed closely, acknowledged and appreciated by the outside world at least as much as we do. It is impressive to hear from Malaysian officials the success stories written in Türkiye over the last decades. They know Türkiye's progress better than many in our country.

A unique car museum

Besides many of his virtues, the sultan of Johor has an unbelievable collection of cars. Enthusiasts usually gather items without being fully aware of the technicalities of what they collect. However, the sultan of Johor is an enthusiast who knows all the technical details of his trove, all the cars, years of manufacture, qualities, and everything about them.

Each of the cars works as if they are new. Their batteries are charged, and the vehicles are neat, well-maintained and ready for service. The collection is closed to visitors but designed almost like a tourist exhibit. It would not be an exaggeration to call this collection a car museum. There is probably no other place in the world where one can come across so many different cars together in the same arena.

While we were saddened by reading about the deplorable situation of Islamic countries during our childhood days, there is a justified pride in sitting at a table as children of two developed countries now. From the Far East, from Malaysia, Türkiye looks developed, grown and increased its influence in the Islamic world politically, strengthened its influence on Turkic states, and at the same time, as a state that is influential in global politics.

Source: DailySabah

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Ramadan: Kano Police declare war against illicit drugs, social vices, arrest 14 suspects

March 31, 2023

By Khaleel Muhammad

Police in Kano State have declared war against illicit drugs and other social vices, especially during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Kano State spokesman SP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa stated this in a statement issued to DAILY POST.

He said the arrest is part of the command’s efforts to rid all forms of crimes and criminality, especially the menace of thuggery (Daba), Drug Abuse (Kwaya), and other social vices in the state.

He explained that the move is In line with the directives of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, on community-based policing, round-the-clock visibility patrols, and Operation Restore Peace.

He said that based on the move, Kano State CP Mamman Dauda declared total war against all forms of thuggery, illicit drugs, and other forms of social views, especially during Ramadan.

According to him, “Fourteen suspects have been arrested over suspected criminal activities and other social vices.”

The Commissioner further warns that anyone found possessing any weapon or illicit drugs during the Ramadan Fasting period and beyond will be arrested and punished according to the law.

CP. Mamman further called on all criminals to repent or leave the State completely. Otherwise, they will be arrested and face the full wrath of the law.

He thanked the good people of Kano State for their prayers, continuous support, understanding, encouragement, and cooperation.

Source:DailyPost Nigeria

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Tunisia to cut off public water supplies overnight in response to drought

31 March ,2023

Tunisia will cut off water supplies to citizens for seven hours a night in response to the country's worst drought on record, state water distribution company SONEDE said in a statement on Friday.

The country’s agriculture ministry earlier introduced a quota system for potable water and banned its use in agriculture until September 30, as the country battles with a drought that is now in its fourth year.

SONEDE said in a statement that the water will be cut off daily from 9 p.m until 4 a.m, with immediate effect.

MosbahHlali, its head, said the drought in the country was unprecedented due to the scarcity of rain during four consecutive years, and called on Tunisians to understand the decision which it attributed to climate change.

Tunisia recorded a drop in its dam capacity to around 1 billion cubic meters, or 30 percent of the maximum, senior agriculture ministry official Hamadi Habib said.

The agriculture ministry has also banned the use of potable water to wash cars, water green areas and clean streets and public places. Violators face a fine and imprisonment for a period of between six days to six months.

Residents said Tunisian authorities have been cutting off drinking water at night in some areas of the capital and other cities for the last two weeks in a bid to cut consumption, a move that has sparked widespread anger.

The new decision threatens to fuel social tension in a country whose people suffer from poor public services, high inflation and a weak economy.

The Sidi Salem Dam in the north of the country, a key provider of drinking water to several regions, has declined to only 16 percent of its maximum capacity of 580 million cubic meters, official figures showed.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Tunisia introduces quota system for potable water amid drought

31 March ,2023

Tunisia on Friday introduced a quota system for potable water and banned its use in agriculture until September 30 in response to a severe drought that has hit the country, the agriculture ministry said.

Tunisia, which is suffering a fourth straight year of serious drought, recorded a drop in its dam capacity to around 1 billion cubic meters, or 30 percent of the maximum, due to a scarcity of rain from September 2022 to mid-March 2023, senior agriculture ministry official Hamadi Habib said.

The agriculture ministry also banned the use of potable water to wash cars, water green areas and clean streets and public places. Violators face a fine and imprisonment for a period of between six days to six months, according to the Water Law.

Residents said that Tunisian authorities have for the last two weeks been cutting off drinking water at night in some areas of the capital and other cities in a bid to cut consumption, a move that has sparked widespread anger. The government declined to comment on the claim.

The new decision threatens to fuel social tension in a country whose people suffer from poor public services, high inflation and a weak economy.

The Sidi Salem Dam in the north of the country, a key provider of drinking water to several regions, has declined to only 16 percent of its maximum capacity of 580 million cubic meters, official figures showed.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Jordan witnessing evolution in political modernization: Hanns Seidel official

March 31, 2023

AMMAN: Jordan is witnessing a remarkable transformation in its modernization of the political system, a Hanns Seidel Foundation official said on Friday.

Christoph Dewartz, the regional representative of the HSF’s Jordan office, said: “The country is moving toward the goals set to enhance the role of youth and women in partisan and political participation.”

He told the Jordan News Agency that the country’s legislation allowed people to participate in a way that moved civil society toward the future it wants, while giving it new impetus to face challenges.

The HSF, which is a political research foundation, has been committed to its fundamental philosophy of “serving democracy, peace and development,” since its formation in 1966.

Dewartz told Petra that the HSF and the Jordanian government both wanted to increase and strengthen the participation of women and youth in public work.

He added that this would be through programs implemented by the foundation in partnership with the government and CSOs.

He said: “[The] HSF sought to achieve the recommendations of the Royal Commission to reform the political system, since it established several programs and projects to educate Jordanians about the new partisan laws and the need to participate in decision making and policies.”

The foundation has supported the training of 4,500 public officials and youths on the subjects of good governance, integrity and combating corruption.

Source: Arab News

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At least 14 workers dead in gold mine collapse in Sudan

March 31, 2023

KHARTOUM, Sudan: At least 14 workers are dead after a gold mine collapsed in northern Sudan, state mining authorities said Friday.

According to the state-run news agency, SUNA, the fatal collapse happened after one of the hillsides that surround the Jebel Al-Ahmar gold mine — situated near the Egyptian border — gave way Thursday afternoon.

Many other miners are still missing among the rubble, it said.

Witnesses cited by SUNA said the workers were searching inside mining wells for gold using heavy machinery which caused the collapse.

Several of the bodies, mostly of young men, have been recovered from the site and search efforts are ongoing, SUNA said.

A security source cited by the state agency said workers are feared to be trapped beneath the mine’s groundwater. Few further details were given.

Collapses are common in Sudan’s gold mines, where safety standards and maintenance are poor.

Source: Arab News

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Scotland's New First Minister, Humza Yousaf, Inspires Young Muslims, But Challenges Lie Ahead

AysuBicer and Muhammed Enes Calli



A photo showing a man leading his family in prayer after breaking fast at Bute House in Edinburgh went viral on Twitter on Tuesday.

The tranquil scene marked a special moment — the first evening of Humza Yousaf's residency at the country's historical seat of power as the first Muslim to hold the position of Scottish first minister after a key parliamentary vote.

Yousaf, just 37 years old, became the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) on Monday after receiving 52% of the vote in a second ballot.

The son of a Pakistani immigrants in Glasgow, he has been involved in community and volunteer work from an early age.

"In December 2003, this young man, 18-year-old Humza, walked into our office to look for voluntary work. I said, no problem, you can do it. I think he just graduated in politics at the time," Habib Malik, a former colleague of Yousaf, told Anadolu in an interview.

He was recounting Yousaf's first days on the Scotland regional team of Islamic Relief, a UK-based aid group.

Yousaf began his volunteer work at a charity shop, where people donated second-hand clothes and other items. He was assigned to sort clothes out, shelf, and clean them.

"Then, he moved on and he showed interest in a fund-raising activity. So, he was involved in organizing fundraising activities such as concerts, dinners, games, and recreational events," said Malik, a former head of Islamic Relief Scotland.

Yousaf was part of Malik's core team and he drew attention with his energy and resolve while working for the charity.

"He always had a very positive attitude and was an excellent team player. He helped organize a fundraising concert. One of them was for Sudan in 2004 to raise money, when the country had a crisis."

Yousaf and Malik worked together as volunteers from 2003 to 2011.

While studying politics at the University of Glasgow in 2005, Yousaf joined the Scottish National Party (SNP) in 2005, working as an assistant for members of the Scotland's parliament before becoming the youngest-ever lawmaker in the country at the age of 25.

He was appointed minister for transport and the islands in 2016. During his tenure, he came under fire for driving without insurance, for which he was fined £300 (about $372) and handed six penalty points.

Yousaf then became the health secretary in 2021 and, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, received criticism for long hospital wait times.

Role model for young Muslims

Yousaf's new role as leader of Scotland did not come as a surprise to Malik.

"He has worked tirelessly and very hard, whatever job he has had. So, I am not surprised. He's a very likable person and a high team member. He had plenty of leadership qualities. He knows how to lead and to motivate people."

"He is a strong believer, very passionate Scottish. He loves Scotland, born in Scotland. He strongly believes in an independent Scotland country as part of Europe."

Yousaf will face some challenges as first minister, including in a dispute with the UK over Scottish independence.

In his victory speech, Yousaf highlighted the importance of independence for Scots. "I will ensure our drive for independence is in fifth gear. The people of Scotland need independence now more than ever and we will be the generation that delivers it."

However, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak rejected his call for another referendum for Scottish independence.

In 2014, Scotland held an independence referendum in which 55% voted to remain in the UK and 45% voted for independence.

Since the surprise victory of pro-Brexiters in a 2016 referendum – with most Scots voting to stay in the EU – Sturgeon has pushed for a fresh referendum on Scottishindependence, but the UK’s Conservative government has said it will not give permission.

Asked what Yousaf's origins symbolize for the Muslim community in Scotland, Malik said coming from a Pakistani background and being a Muslim send a very positive message to the country's ethnic minority communities.

"I have spoken to young (Muslim) people, and they see him as a role model and as a truly inspirational figure. This has given a boost to the young Muslims and ethnic minority communities that they see hope that if you work hard, you can achieve to be at the top."

Muslim people in Scotland are proud of their new leader, according to him.

"He set a beautiful example for a Muslim community. And I have no doubt he will leave a beautiful legacy as well for young people, who would like to choose politics as a career. "

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Muslims represented 10% of French population in 2019-2020: Report




Muslims represented 10% of the French population in 2019 - 2020, according to figures by the national statistics bureau, Insee.

A total of 29% of the population, aged 18 to 59, declared themselves Catholic, 10% Muslim, 10% other religions and 51% had no religion, according to the report published Thursday.

"Immigrants coming from traditionally Muslim countries are more engaged in religion," while those from European, except Portugal, or Asian countries, claimed less frequently a religious affiliation, said the report.

"Only 20% of the Muslims regularly go to mosques," said Insee. "Religion's place in identity is clearly most significant for Jews (54%) and Muslims (30%), compared to Catholics (6%), and has decreased among Muslims in 11 years."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Danish Muslim converts fight silent battles every day

Ebad Ahmed 



This is the third Ramadan for Cemal Mathias as a man of faith. He converted to Islam in January 2021, currently living in Aarhus city and is a truck driver by profession – this is how he introduced himself at a Turkish mosque hours before Iftar.

He likes being in the mosque. Because this is where he has found his new community. A community that appreciates his presence among them, makes him feel part of themselves and makes him forget his loneliness – albeit only for a few hours.

“Ramadan is different for a reverted Muslim,” the bespectacled Mathias who is in his late twenties told Anadolu.

“People of faith from Muslim-majority countries even if they are living in non-Muslim countries find their support systems like family and friends. And especially in this month, they have a home, closed ones who share the fasting experience,” he said.

Mathias said: “But for the reverted Muslim like me from the Muslim-minority countries, we don’t really have support systems beyond mosques, like family and friends who can understand or share our religious experience. And that feeling of loneliness is felt more in Ramadan.”

"No one in my family is Muslim so there is no one there to celebrate with. When I go home it is just me and when people now ask me about marriage if I would prefer to get married to a Danish revert, I always tell them that I want someone who grew up Muslim because then when it comes to religious festivities like Ramadan and Eid, we have a family to celebrate with," he added.

While loneliness remains a bigger personal issue for the converted ethnic Danes, there is something bigger that often remains unacknowledged. An estimated 5% of Denmark’s population is Muslim. Most Muslims in Denmark are either immigrants or descendants of immigrants from countries such as Türkiye, Pakistan, Iraq, and Somalia – along with a sizeable number of converted ethnic Danes.

For Mathias, an an-anti Muslim wave is creeping into Danish society that he believes cannot be camouflaged despite official claims.

In recent years, there have also been political debates and controversies regarding the integration of Muslims into Danish society, including issues such as the wearing of the hijab and halal slaughter. Experts suggest that the genesis of all this debate goes back to an elephant in the room that is often not admitted in the mainstream political spectrum: Islamophobia.

The European Islamophobia Report 2022 named Denmark as the most vulnerable country for Muslims, along with France and Austria.

According to Amna Hassani, research director at the Center for Muslim Rights in Denmark, Muslims on the lowest rung of the social and economic ladder, as well as refugees, face discrimination not only due to the rising anti-Muslim sentiments but also stricter citizenship and the country’s ghetto policies targeting low-income Muslim communities.

Islamophobia is taking away their avenues to have a voice in society, and one way of doing that is by removing citizenship or the ability to gain citizenship, she said while speaking to Anadolu earlier this week, further adding that the Muslim community in Denmark can experience different kinds of discrimination, including ‘microaggressions’ from people that question Muslims’ belonging to Denmark and its society to structural discrimination which is seen in policies where someone from a Muslim-majority country may have harder access to housing or jobs.

“Another way of expressing discrimination is actual hate and violence on the streets. We have seen an increase in hate crimes against Muslims in recent years,” said Hassani. A 2018 report by the Danish National Police indicates that out of 112 hate crimes that were religiously motivated, 56% were Muslim victims.

Mathias rubbished the claims of certain Danish politicians who have publicly maintained that there is no space for Islamophobia within the borders of the country.

“I have been spit on the roads by two middle-aged men after they spotted me praying in a corner. I have been told in a family gathering through a nonchalant manner that perhaps I like oppressing women that is why I reverted to Islam,” she said, while still maintaining a smile on her face.

“Islamophobia is a reality. Dismissing that as if it is not there is untrue,” she said.

Moments later, Mathias joined Iftar and later Maghrib prayers. The people started to leave the mosque, but he stayed for Isha and later Taraweeh prayers.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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