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Islamic World News ( 7 Jan 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Media Reporting Of Killing Of 25 Afghans By Prince Harry Proves Muslim Lives Are Worthless In The Eyes Of The British Establishment

New Age Islam News Bureau

07 January 2023


Prince Harry. Editorial credit: ACHPF /


• Chief Imam Of Abuja Mosque Cautions Muslims Against Online Sexual Temptations, Condemns Indecent Dressing By Mature Ladies

• We’ll Never Recognise Secularism, Communism, LGBT, Says Malaysian Prime Minister

• Iran Executes Two Men In Connection To Anti-Regime Protests Sparked By The Death In Custody Of Mahsa Amini

• Harvard Rescinds Fellowship For Former Human Rights Watch Head Over 'Anti-Israel Bias'



• Dutch parliament calls for tighter EU sanctions against Iran

• Türkiye, Armenia start direct cargo trade: Sources

• Türkiye vows to 'do what's necessary' over Greek military chief's photo on Aegean island



• Stop playing politics in mosques, Raila warns Duale

• Jordan rejects Israeli ‘lies’ over West Bank at UN Security Council

• Al-Shabaab terror attack kills 7 in Somali village: Police

• Interpol arrests people smuggling kingpin in Sudan


Southeast Asia

• Brunei Imams Highlight Role Of Police In Preserving Peace, In The Friday Sermon

• Malaysia condemns Israel's incursion into the Al-Aqsa Mosque

• Jokowi greets Christians with call for stronger ties

• Muhyiddin ally nabbed as graft busters probe alleged misappropriation of $28b in Covid-19 packages

• Zahid has lost control over Umno, says analyst



• Ismaeelzahi, Top Iranian Sunni Cleric Says Torture of Protesters Is Un-Islamic

• Israel to suffer ‘severe consequences’ for defiling Al-Aqsa Mosque, Iran says

• Israel police arrest 2 teens in attack on Christian cemetery

• US repatriates stolen 2,700-year-old artifact to Palestine

• Far-right security minister begins drive to introduce stronger punitive measures for Palestinian prisoners

• Jerusalem churches in crosshairs of escalating extremist attacks: Churches Council


North America

• Biden Links 'Sick Insurrectionists' To Death Of Capitol Police Officer Killed By Nation Of Islam Supporter

• US sanctions target Iranian drone manufacturer

• Top Iraqi MP urges immediate withdrawal of all US-led forces from Iraq



• Muslim Writers Excluded From Kannada Sahitya Sammelan, Allege Eminent Writers, Scholars

• Uniform Laws On Marriage, Divorce Matter For Parliament To Decide: Supreme Court

• 20-Yr-Old Muslim Man Thrashed For ‘Walking With Hindu Girl’: Cops

• K’taka Minister Opposes Separate Literary Festival For Side-lined Muslim Writers

• LG constitutes Delhi State Haj Committee for 3 years



• Anger In Pakistan's South Waziristan Over Rise In Terror Incidents, People Take To Streets

• Attempts being made to kill Imran Khan by ‘slow poison’: Ally

• Iranian, Pakistani FMs speak out against Islamophobia in France

• Govt vows to complete terms of IMF programme, says PM Shehbaz

• PM seeks support from all provinces to fight terror

• Military still not ‘neutral’, claims Imran

• ECP wants Imran to explain how he can head party after ‘disqualification’

• Security Operation Claims 11 ‘Terrorists’ in South Waziristan


South Asia

• Islamic Emirate Acting Interior Minister Seeks Unity among Muslim Nations in Meeting with Clerics from Egypt, Sudan, and Palestine in Kabul

• Taliban Denounces UK’s Prince Harry For Remarks Over Afghan Killings

• British Ex-Commander Calls Harry’s Remarks He Killed 25 Taliban In Afghanistan Complete Nonsense

• Lack of hope driving Rohingya to flee Bangladeshi settlement camps


Arab World

• Saudi Arabia’s Inaugural Islamic Arts Biennale To Showcase Treasures Of Islamic Civilization At World’s Gateway To Makkah And Madinah

• Syria Kurds Say Arrested More Than 100 ISIS Suspects

• UAE sends second shipment of household generators to Ukraine

• Saudi doctor at University of California leads research projects for Silicon Valley companies

• Saudi Arabia condemns deadly twin bombings in Somalia

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Media Reporting Of Killing Of 25 Afghans By Prince Harry Proves Muslim Lives Are Worthless In The Eyes Of The British Establishment


Prince Harry. Editorial credit: ACHPF /


6th January 2023

Maria Akbar says Muslims should not be surprised by the casual way in which the media is reporting the killing of 25 Afghans by Prince Harry, because ultimately our lives are worth less in the eyes of the British establishment.

The recent media reports of Prince Harry’s imminent book mention the 25 Afghans that he murdered whilst serving as a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan during 2012-13. The prince describes those he killed as “chess pieces” removed from the board.

He also justifies these killings by saying they were “bad people” eliminated before they could kill “good people,” although how could he be sure of who exactly he was murdering when firing from a helicopter?

Muslims have been otherised for centuries now, and therefore something like this should not take us by surprise. In fact, the way that this has been reported across media outlets – a mere mention amongst other trivial family matters in his book – shows just how much they are minimising the extent of his crimes.

And where there has been discussion of this news, the focus has been on what he mentioned, should he have mentioned it or what codes he has violated by mentioning it, as opposed to the horrific fact that he murdered people in an unjustified war!

In turn, the general public will digest this as a minor story, focusing on insignificant details as opposed to the great atrocity of his war crimes and thereby contribute to the otherisation of Muslims.

On the other hand, there would have been outrage, without a doubt, had this been about the murder of civilians of any other nation; and it would have been reported as it deserves to have been – with horror, disgust and anger.

So it is up to us as Muslims to shift the focus to where it needs to be.


Otherisation refers to making a group of people, in this case Muslims, seem different to the general group of people, and therefore empathy, care, concern, moral and political values, cease to exist for them.

We can see this most recently in the response to the Russia-Ukraine war, where most people expressed extreme sadness, compassion and empathy for the victims, both Ukrainian and Russian. There was genuine care and concern for the victims of this war and for those witnessing it. Articles mentioned how to manage war-related anxiety after merely viewing or hearing about the war. The reports on this were unique to say the least.

On the other hand, the deaths and persecution of Muslims that have been happening for decades – in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syrian, East Turkestan and Palestine – have rarely been mentioned.

But Muslims are deeply affected after hearing about the suffering of our brothers and sisters across the world, since our values are such that we view the Ummah as one body; and when one part of it is hurting, all of it is hurting.

Who then sets the standard about who is deserving of empathy, care and concern? There is blatant hypocrisy, and a selective lack of empathy shown by media outlets, which in turn affects the views of the masses when it comes to the death of Muslim men, women, mothers and infants.

Yes as Muslims we show empathy for all people, all of the time. Our concern is not limited to a group of people who are somehow viewed as “superior” and “more deserving” of empathy due to some twisted standard set by the perpetrator.

This comes through a hadith where it is mentioned that:

“Allah has one hundred mercies, out of which He has sent down only one for jinn, mankind, animals and insects, through which they love one another and have compassion for one another; and through it, wild animals care for their young. Allah has retained ninety-nine mercies to deal kindly with His slaves on the Day of Resurrection.” (Al Bukhari and Muslim)

In fact, our care and compassion is not limited to humans, but extends to insects. What then can be said about how we should treat other humans? Every human life is viewed as sacred. No one is superior to another.

So how should Muslims respond to this otherisation? The first step in my view is to be aware of it and support those organisations that report on the lives of Muslims. Secondly, in our day-to-day dealings with individuals, these topics should come up for discussion and we should speak up for Muslims and against this hypocrisy.

Finally, we should continue to show those who do not show us empathy and compassion, that very thing since they are not the standard of how we deal with matters. Instead, our code of conduct, our values and morals are set through the Quran and the Sunnah. And this will always prevail.

Source: 5pillarsuk

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Chief Imam Of Abuja Mosque Cautions Muslims Against Online Sexual Temptations, Condemns Indecent Dressing By Mature Ladies


Chief Imam of Area 10 Garki, Abuja Mosque, Sheikh Yahya Al-Yolawi


January 6, 2023

The Chief Imam of Area 10 Garki, Abuja Mosque, Sheikh Yahya Al-Yolawi has cautioned Muslims against acts capable leading to committing unlawful sexual intercourse to avoid severe punishment in this world and in the hereafter.

Mr Al-Yolawi made the call while delivering his Jumma’at sermon titled, ‘Evil Consequences of Fornication and Adultery,” on Friday in Abuja.

He said fornication and adultery were some of the highly self-destructive and major sins in Islam, adding that an adulterer was one of the three people Allah would not talk to on the day of resurrection.

He said that Islam as a religion was very much concerned with establishing decent moral standards in individuals within the community, thus constituting laws that promote chastity and regulate strong sexual desires in a bid to control them.

Mr Al-Yolawi also said that Islam encouraged remaining firm in the faith (Iman) and warned against transgressing the limits of Shari’ah laws by all means.

The cleric said: ”Islam has preserved people’s dignity and protected families from being mixed. Therefore, fornication and adultery are forbidden and classified as major and destructive sins.

”Islam has forbidden not only committing fornication but everything that could lead to it, such as mixing of the opposite sexes.

“Others are the immoral exchange of looks between the two sexes, immoral words, seductive moves between a man and a woman or being in seclusion in a room, office, car, phone, shop, online and anything else which could lead to this awful sin.

He also listed three people to whom Allah, the Most High will not talk, nor will He forgive them of sins nor look at them: An aged person guilty of adultery, a King who lies and a poor beggar who is proud

Mr Al-Yolawi said fornication and adultery had personal, religious, social, economic, and health consequences such as; poverty, constant humiliation and disgrace as well as darkness of face that would be obvious to people and darkness of the heart.

He added: ”Fornication and adultery combine all evils; weakness in commitment to the religion, as we can see lack of piety, destruction of mind men and women and the decrease of praiseworthy jealousy.

”You will never find an adulterer or fornicator who is pious, fulfills his promises, truthful in his speech, maintains friendship or has protective jealousy over his wife.

“He will be characterized by lies, deception, betrayal, devil- agents and not being mindful of Allah.”

Mr Al-Yolawi condemned the increasing rate of indecent dressing of mature ladies in offices, campuses, parks and other social gatherings.

The cleric also enjoined Muslims to avoid online and offline temptations and keep away from anything that might stimulate desire.

They include: Looking at the opposite sex with desire, talking, touching, shaking, kissing, hugging, and watching sex pictures and movies.

Source: Daily Nigerian

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We’ll Never Recognise Secularism, Communism, LGBT, Says Malaysian Prime Minister


Anwar Ibrahim told the ‘Naratif Khas Bersama Perdana Menteri’ programme on RTM last night that he has proven he has strong support in Parliament. (Bernama pic)


January 7, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim says the concept of a secular state and communist ideology will never be recognised by the unity government.

In an interview with RTM on its “Naratif Khas Bersama Perdana Menteri” programme last night, Anwar said the matter was only raised by certain parties to spread lies.

“Sometimes these politicians will say that if Anwar becomes prime minister then Islam will be ruined, secularism and communism will gain a foothold, and LGBT will be recognised,” he said, referring to the acronym for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

“This is a delusion. Of course, it will never happen under my administration.”

On the claim that the cooperation agreement between Pakatan Harapan (PH) and the other coalitions in the unity government was forged because his administration was not strong, Anwar said it was done because the majority obtained at that time was too narrow.

However, to prove that he has the support, Anwar said he brought the confidence vote motion in parliament last month after being challenged by the opposition who questioned his legitimacy.

“This vote of confidence motion was being challenged by the opposition. They said Anwar had no support. In a democratic system, the best way to prove it is through a vote of confidence or a vote of no confidence, which was not proposed.

“So, I submitted this (the motion) and have proven that I have strong support,” he said.

On the first day of the Parliament sitting on Dec 19 last year, Anwar’s legitimacy as the 10th prime minister was proven when the motion of confidence tabled by deputy prime minister Fadillah Yusof was passed with a voice vote.

Asked about the lawsuits he filed against several individuals, Anwar said it was because their accusations touched his authority as a leader.

“Thousands of accusations have been made, slanders have been hurled and for decades I have accepted it but if I feel it is too much as they question my authority and credibility as a leader, then they should be taught that this freedom does not give them the freedom to slander.

“We use religion, then we slander, we make qazaf (accusations), I would like to ask their teachers, ustaz (religious teacher), to teach them first before teaching others,” he added.

Since taking the oath of office as prime minister on Nov 24 last year Anwar has filed lawsuits against several individuals including Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Muhyiddin Yassin for making false accusations against him.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Iran Executes Two Men In Connection To Anti-Regime Protests Sparked By The Death In Custody Of Mahsa Amini


Kurdish women hold portraits of Iranian Mahsa Amini during a protest condemning her death in Iran, in Qamishli, northern Syria. (AP/PTI)


07 January ,2023

Iran executed two men on Saturday after they were convicted of killing a paramilitary force member during protests sparked by the death in custody of a young woman, the judiciary said.

The latest killings double the number executed so far in connection with the nationwide protests. Two men were put to death in December, sparking global outrage.

“Mohammad Mahdi Karami and Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini, the main perpetrators of the crime that led to the martyrdom of Ruhollah Ajamian, were hanged this morning,” judicial news agency Mizan Online reported.

The court of first instance had sentenced the two men to death in early December, it said, and on Tuesday the Supreme Court upheld the death sentences, accusing them of killing Ajamian on November 3.

The victim was a member of the Basij militia - linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps - who died in Karaj, west of Tehran.

Prosecutors previously said the 27-year-old was stripped naked and killed by a group of mourners who had been paying tribute to a slain protester, Hadis Najafi.

Authorities have arrested thousands of people in the wave of demonstrations that began with the September death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman who had been arrested by morality police for allegedly breaching the strict dress code for women.

Since the beginning of the protest movement, courts have sentenced 14 people to death in connection with the demonstrations, according to an AFP count based on official information.

Among those, four have been executed, two others have had their sentences confirmed by the Supreme Court, six are awaiting new trials and two others can appeal.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Harvard Rescinds Fellowship For Former Human Rights Watch Head Over 'Anti-Israel Bias'




Cindi Cook 


DETROIT, Michigan

Harvard University has rescinded a fellowship offer for human rights advocate Kenneth Ross, the former Head of Human Rights Watch, over ‘anti-Israel bias,’ according to reporting by The Nation magazine.

The surprising turn of events came this week after Roth was offered a senior fellowship at the illustrious Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in April 2022. Roth has been involved in HRW since its founding in 1999 and has participated in debates at the school in the past.

Roth, 67, was the executive director of Human Rights Watch for 29 years, from 1993 to 2022. It is hailed as the premier international NGO defending human rights around the world. Roth, who is Jewish, is also an attorney by training as well as a writer. He has been dubbed the “godfather of human rights” by The New York Times.

After an initial interview on July 12 by the Carr Center’s Dean Douglas Elmendorf, the offer was retracted two weeks later. His reason: An anti-Israel bias on the part of HRW, played out on numerous occasions, particularly in numerous tweets by Roth.

But the withdrawal by the Carr Center did not fall in line with research done by the Center on other countries who had a similar track record of human rights violations.

This is not the first time Roth has been accused of anti-Israel bias.

The founder and former chair of HRW, Robert Bernstein, wrote as far back as 2009 in a New York Times opinion piece that “HRW has written far more condemnations of Israel than any other for violations of international law than of any other country in the region.”

The NGO monitor has also accused Roth of “playing a leading role in the demonization of Israel.”

The decision was met with outrage by some Harvard staff members.

In light of Harvard’s decision, Roth has accepted a visiting fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.

Source: Anadolu Agency
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Dutch parliament calls for tighter EU sanctions against Iran

06 January ,2023

The leaders of 10 Dutch parliamentary parties are calling on the European Union to increase pressure on the Iranian government with a new sanctions package.

The party leaders, representing the majority of parliament, proposed putting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the EU terrorist list and sanctioning key government officials and their family members for alleged human rights violations, according to a joint letter published in the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant on Friday.

The letter follows a similar motion that the Dutch parliament approved in December and comes ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the end of January.

Anti-government protests have gripped Iran since mid-September following the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for allegedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress codes.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Türkiye, Armenia start direct cargo trade: Sources

Tugba Altun 


Amid normalization talks between the special representatives of both countries, Türkiye and Armenia have lifted barriers and began direct air cargo trade as of Jan. 1, diplomatic sources said on Friday.

According to the sources, the decision was disclosed to the Turkish exporters' associations by the Turkish Trade Ministry.

After years of hostilities, Ankara and Yerevan resolved to mend ties. Last January, the first round of normalization talks was held in Moscow, and both parties agreed to continue negotiations "without any preconditions." Two more rounds of negotiations were then held in February and May.

On Feb. 2, 2022, the two countries resumed commercial flights after a two-year hiatus.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Türkiye vows to 'do what's necessary' over Greek military chief's photo on Aegean island

Harun Kutbe 


Türkiye's vice president lashed out on Friday over a photo of neighboring Greece's military chief posing on an Aegean Sea island that should be unarmed under international treaties, located just miles from the Turkish coast.

"Türkiye allows no such photos and will do what's necessary," said Fuat Oktay in an interview by a Turkish YouTube channel, referring to the photo by Greek Chief of General Staff Gen. Konstantinos Floros on the island of Keci (Pserimos), 8 kilometers (about 5 miles) southwest of Türkiye's Bodrum peninsula.

Citing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's oft-repeated warning that Türkiye could "come suddenly one night," Oktay said Ankara's words were not "empty" and that it would do "as it says."

The Turkish vice president also noted that Türkiye was on track to become an energy hub thanks to its relations with other countries, adding that "credibility is required for both international relations and diplomacy," he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Stop playing politics in mosques, Raila warns Duale

06 January 2023

ODM leader Raila Odinga has warned Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale against using the mosque as a political platform.

Speaking on Friday in Mombasa, Raila also warned the National Chairman of the Kenya Muslims National Advisory Council(KEMNAC) Juma Ngao of the same.

"Wasiende ndani ya msikiti na kuleta siasa ndani ya msikiti. Tunaonya Bwana Duale wakiwa na Juma Ngao (They should not take politics to the mosque. We are warning Duale and Ngao)," Raila said.

Acknowledging Ngao's activism against the mistreatment visited on Muslims, Raila said Azimio was committed to supporting him.

The opposition chief reiterated that places of worship should not be used as political platforms, pointing out that there are open places to be used for that.

Raila, once again, asked President William Ruto and his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua to cease their political talk in churches.

"Even you Ruto and Gachagua, stop using the church as a political platform. Let us meet outside and talk politics. But the church and the mosque should remain places of worship," he said.

On December 25, 2022, Raila accused Ruto of misusing churches, saying government programmes should be launched in government offices, not in churches.

"The top leadership in the country every Sunday they are in this church or the other shouting at us, the government has done this, the government is doing this," Raila said while speaking during a Sunday service at St Peters ACK Church in Bondo.

At the same time, the ODM leader accused the Anglican Church of Kenya leadership of being keen to impress the government at the expense of fighting injustices in society.

He claim that they wanted the Azimio team to drop their Supreme Court petition against President William Ruto's victory.

Source: The Star

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Jordan rejects Israeli ‘lies’ over West Bank at UN Security Council


January 06, 2023

AMMAN: Jordan has said that it never occupied the West Bank, as claimed by Israel, insisting its presence in the disputed territory was part of an administrative arrangement with the Palestinians.

During the UN Security Council’s special session on Jerusalem on Thursday, the Tel Aviv ambassador claimed that Jordan occupied the West Bank in 1950, a suggestion described by his Jordanian counterpart as “lies and misleading information.”

Jordanian Permanent Representative to the UN Mahmoud Hmoud said: “What happened in 1950 was a union between the two banks of the Jordan River for the Palestinians to exercise the right to self-determination, and half of the Jordanian government was from the West Bank.”

Jordan, according to Israel, occupied the West Bank in 1948

However, even after the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in 1967, the area was still administratively linked to Jordan and was considered an electoral district before the disengagement law of 1989.

In 1950, a Jordanian parliament in which Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank were equally represented voted unanimously to unite the West Bank with Jordan in order to safeguard the remaining Arab territory of Palestine from Israeli expansion.

On July 31, 1988, Jordan’s King Hussein announced the severance of all administrative and legal ties with the occupied West Bank, saying the move would allow Palestinians to determine their own future.

The dispute between the two diplomats in the UN echoed a diplomatic rift between Amman and Tel Aviv following the controversial visit of Israel’s new far-right Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is under Jordanian custodianship.

Jordan summoned the Israeli ambassador, and said Ben-Gvir’s visit had violated international law, and “the historic and legal status quo in Jerusalem.”

The status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque, preserved for decades, allows only Muslims to worship at the site.

The Jordanian lower house of parliament held a special session to discuss the Israeli violations, and issued a statement condemning Israel’s unilateral acts and voicing support for Jordan’s custodianship of Jerusalem’s holy sites.

The emergency Security Council meeting on Jerusalem was held on a joint Jordanian-Palestinian request, and with the support of the UAE, France, China and Malta.

Although the council made no commitment to any action during the session, member states expressed concern and stressed the need to maintain the status quo at the mosque compound in the holy city.

Delivering Jordan’s statement at the meeting, Hmoud voiced Amman’s condemnation of the “storming” of Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif by the Israeli minister under the protection of occupation forces.

He described the minister’s visit as a “provocative step that is rejected and condemned,” adding that it represents “a flagrant violation of international law, and the historical and legal status quo in the city of Jerusalem and its holy sites.”

Political analyst Hussein Al-Rawashdeh said that Israel has “finalized a scheme that targets both Palestine and Jordan.”

Jordan is certain of the “inevitability of the confrontation” with Israel, even after 29 years of peace following the Wadi Araba treaty in 1994, he said.

Al-Rawashdeh said that all events indicate Israel has hidden agenda against its neighbor, with the arrival of an ultra-Orthodox and far-right government in office being the first proof.

The analyst said that Jordan is facing an “existentialist threat and not only political maneuvering” from Israel and, therefore, needs to build a “Jordanian cause based on a convincing and concise narrative, and a coherent and unified internal front.”

Echoing those remarks, Mohammed Al-Tal, a veteran journalist and former editor-in-chief of Ad-Dustor Daily, said that Israel has “unfriendly” intentions against Jordan and is seeking to resolve the long-running conflict at the expense of the kingdom.

He claimed that through its repeated violations at Al-Aqsa Mosque, Israel is sending a menacing and disrespectful message to its neighbor.

During a recent interview with CNN, Jordan’s King Abdullah said that the country is ready to deal with any push against Hashemite custodianship.

The king also warned against extremists’ attempts to use Jerusalem to create conflict and violence.

On whether there are fears of a third intifada (uprising), the king said: “We have to be concerned about a next intifada. And if that happens, that is a complete breakdown of law and order, it is one that neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians will benefit from.

“If people want to get into a conflict with us, we are quite prepared. (However) let us look at the glass half full.”

Source: Arab News

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Al-Shabaab terror attack kills 7 in Somali village: Police

Mohammed Dhaysane  



The Al-Shabaab terrorist group on Friday attacked a Somali village in the Middle Shabelle region, killing at least seven people, police said.

An army colonel is among the people killed in the attack in the village of Hilowle Gaab on the outskirts of the recently liberated town of Runirgod, Abdifatah Mohamed, a police officer in the region, told Anadolu Agency.

Mohamed said the attack began with explosions followed by heavy fighting between terrorists and the military, backed by local clan militias.

“After five explosions, the terrorists attacked the village from three different directions but the army and local militias repulsed the terrorists and inflicted heavy casualties on them,” he said.

The terrorist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack and said it killed 31 soldiers, including five senior commanders, and seized eight military vehicles.

The attack is the second biggest attack by the group since the beginning of the year.

On Wednesday, the terrorist group attacked the town of Mahas in the Hiran province, leaving more than 35 people dead.

Somalia has been plagued by insecurity for years, with al-Shabaab being one of the main threats.

It has waged a deadly campaign against the Somali government and international forces since at least 2007, claiming thousands of lives.

The UN has warned of growing instability in the country, with periodic reports last year detailing attacks by al-Shabaab and pro-Daesh/ISIS terror groups.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Interpol arrests people smuggling kingpin in Sudan

Handan Kazancı 


A notorious people smuggler known for his extremely brutal and harsh treatment of refugees was arrested in Sudan in an Interpol operation, the global police coordination agency said Thursday.

“Kidane Zekarias Habtemariam was the subject of two INTERPOL Red Notices, by Ethiopia and the Netherlands, for migrant smuggling, human trafficking and other related crimes,” the France-based agency said in a statement.

The Eritrean national “is wanted for heading a major criminal organization behind the kidnapping, extortion and murder of East African migrants,” it said.

Quick action by the United Arab Emirates led to the arrest of Habtemariam, who had been on the global police agency’s radar since 2019 for reportedly smuggling and trafficking thousands of victims, the statement said.

His arrest came after nearly a year following a March 2022 meeting that gathered officials from Ethiopia, Sudan, the Netherlands, the UAE and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, or Europol.

“In March 2022, intelligence gathered by INTERPOL’s Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants unit prompted a task force meeting with participants from Ethiopia, Sudan, the Netherlands, the UAE, Europol and the Regional Operational Centre in support of the Khartoum process and the African Union Horn of Africa Initiative (ROCK),” the statement said.

This extensive cooperation produced fresh intelligence, enabling UAE officials to thoroughly investigate Habtemariam’s network and family members, uncovering money laundering activities and leading to Sudan, it added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Southeast Asia


Brunei Imams Highlight Role Of Police In Preserving Peace, In The Friday Sermon

January 7, 2023

Crime comes in many forms, with cybercrime on the rise in modern society. However, the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) remains ready to tackle all varieties of crime to maintain peace.

This was said by imams in the Friday sermon yesterday.

Imams said, “Peace and prosperity are blessings from Allah the Almighty. With it, religion may be preserved, progress will be generated and people will feel secure.

“The pillars of peace must be preserved and practised by holding fast to Islamic teachings, complying with national laws and living in harmony and unity.”

Source: Borneobulletin

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Malaysia condemns Israel's incursion into the Al-Aqsa Mosque

January 4, 2023

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia strongly condemns the incursion into the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its courtyard on Tuesday by the Israeli regime.

The orchestrated incursion led by Israeli National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Israeli forces, was a clear provocation and aggression against the political status quo of Jerusalem and Al-Haram Al-Sharif, according to a Foreign Ministry's statement today.

Malaysia, it said calls upon the international community to hold the Israeli regime accountable for such an illegal act and demands the regime to cease immediately any provocation in the interest of peace and stability.

"Malaysia continues to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine and reiterates the status of Al-Quds Al-Sharif as the holy site of the Muslim Ummah.

"Malaysia also reaffirms its unwavering support for the Palestinians and their cause to achieve freedom from the illegal Israeli occupation and realise their aspirations for an independent and sovereign State of Palestine based on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as their Capital," said the statement.

On Tuesday, Itamar Ben-Gvir entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, a day after announcing he had postponed the visit amid warnings of unrest.

Source: NST

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Jokowi greets Christians with call for stronger ties

Jan 06, 2023

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo called on Christians in the predominantly Muslim country to strengthen “bonds of brotherhood” and protect the environment in a Christmas message.

The president addressed the faithful on Christmas Day during a visit to the cathedral in Bogor, West Java.

“Let’s continue to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and our environment for the rise of the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia,” Widodo was quoted as saying.

Fr Yohanes Suparto, vicar general of the Diocese of Bogor, said he was pleased that Widodo visited the church.

“We were very, very surprised at how happy everyone really felt when Jokowi entered the church, after all, Jokowi turned out to be a person who always wanted to be close to anyone,” said the priest.

Widodo is popularly known in Indonesia by his nickname “Jokowi.”

Fr Suparto said the president’s visit “is history … because it is only Jokowi who has ever come as president to enter our church.”

“Jokowi’s message was also powerful for us, so we must keep being united and tolerant for the sake of the rise of the Indonesian country we love,” said the priest.

Rita Marcia, a choir member at the Bogor Cathedral Church, said the president’s visit was “amazing,” adding that the moment was “the most beautiful gift” during the Christmas celebration.

“This is the most wonderful Christmas gift for the people of the Bogor Cathedral. It is a beautiful present for us,” she said.

“A president who visits with humility, with all of the rites he must observe in the church. He had waited to enter. It’s most humbling, most appreciative, and most extraordinary for us,” said Marcia.

Source: Herald Malaysia

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Muhyiddin ally nabbed as graft busters probe alleged misappropriation of $28b in Covid-19 packages

Zunaira Saieed

KUALA LUMPUR - A close associate of former Malaysian prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin was nabbed by graft busters on Thursday over his alleged role in brokering government projects in exchange for bribes.

According to a well-placed source, the man – the chief executive of a private company – is being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in relation to alleged misappropriation of Covid-19 stimulus packages worth RM92.5 billion (S$28.2 billion) by the previous Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration.

“He is close to Mr Muhyiddin and is a divisional Bersatu leader as well,” the source told The Straits Times. Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Parti Islam SeMalaysia are the main components of Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s PN.

MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki has confirmed the arrest.

The man is accused of taking bribes to connect contractors to high-ranking officials. He will be detained until Jan 10.

He faces up to 20 years in jail and a fine of up to five times the amount of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if convicted, The Star Online reported.

ST has learnt that the 42-year-old is also a council member of the Tan Sri Muhyiddin Charity Golf Foundation.

According to its website, the charity foundation “aims to achieve a series of objectives through contributions made by corporations and individuals at a series of charity events held during the course of each year”.

MACC raided eight government agencies and nine companies in December 2022 as part of its probe into the alleged misappropriation of RM92.5 billion by the PN government.

An MAAC source told ST then that investigations had found that these agencies had received a “huge allocation” from the stimulus packages approved by the government in 2020 and 2021.

Mr Muhyiddin was Malaysia’s premier from March 2020 to August 2021 before he was replaced by Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob, whose party is now a member of the unity government.

Source: Straits Times

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Zahid has lost control over Umno, says analyst

Elill Easwaran

January 7, 2023

PETALING JAYA: Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has no control over the party as shown by what is happening in Sabah, according to political analyst Jeniri Amir.

Jeniri, a fellow of the Council of Professors, said that although Sabah Umno enjoys autonomy, it does not mean its leaders should be allowed to spark a crisis through political manoeuvres.

“Zahid must put his foot down. These political manoeuvres are very damaging for Umno and Barisan Nasional. People are sick of politicking and want stability,” he told FMT.

“A failure to rein in those pushing for a change in government in Sabah affects Zahid’s leadership credentials.

“This is no small matter. If Zahid knew about it, he should have stopped it. If he spoke against it, the question is why did the push continue anyway, especially when it can affect the unity between the different parties in Sabah.”

Last night, Sabah Umno chief Bung Moktar Radin announced the party was withdrawing support for Sabah chief minister Hajiji Noor, casting doubts over his support in the state assembly.

It is understood that Sabah Umno and Warisan are working together to oust Hajiji, who is chairman of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah.

Pakatan Harapan have pledged their support for him.

Another analyst, James Chin of the University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute, said that what is happening in Sabah will not have much impact on Anwar Ibrahim’s unity government.

“State-level politics in Sabah and Sarawak operates in a very different dynamic so I don’t see a direct connection to it, affecting the unity government. Of course, it is the same party but here you are talking about the dynamics of politics in Sabah and Sarawak which are very different,” he said.

Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs said the Sabah branches of the various West Malaysian parties have a great degree of autonomy in making decisions involving primarily state and not federal matters.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Ismaeelzahi, Top Iranian Sunni Cleric Says Torture of Protesters Is Un-Islamic

January 06, 2023


A top dissident Iranian Sunni cleric on Friday denounced as un-Islamic Iran's alleged use of forced confessions to convict detained protesters, as weekly demonstrations continued in the county's southeast.

Meanwhile, the authorities' crackdown following nationwide protests continued with arrests, including that of a celebrity chef and a prominent journalist.

Anti-government marches have been held on Fridays in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province as part of protests after the death in custody on September 16 of a young Iranian Kurdish woman detained by the morality police for flouting a strict dress code for women.

"If someone does not accept the accusation, they torture him to accept it. Confessions under coercion and the beating of the accused have no place in sharia [Islamic law] and our country's Constitution," Molavi Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi said in a Friday prayers sermon, according to his website.

Ismaeelzahi is based in Zahedan, capital of the impoverished Sistan-Baluchistan province, home to Iran's Baluch minority.

Authorities reportedly have pressured him by banning him from traveling abroad and restricting his travels and contacts within Iran.

Rights groups say convictions of dissidents in Iran's courts are often based on forced confessions. Iran denies that.

Ismaeelzahi, a powerful dissenting Sunni voice in the Shi'ite-ruled Islamic Republic, also denounced mass arrests in Zahedan, after state media said security forces had arrested more than 100 "thugs and armed robbers" there in the past few days.

After the sermon, demonstrators marched in Zahedan, chanting "Death to the Islamic Republic," according to videos posted on social media. Reuters could not immediately verify the footage.

Separately, the chef and influencer Navab Ebrahimi was arrested in the capital Tehran and taken to Evin prison, where many political detainees are held, the rights group HRANA said.

There was no immediate word from the judiciary on the reported arrest of Ebrahimi, who had 2.7 million followers on Instagram. His account was unavailable on Friday.

Postings on social media said his arrest may have been linked to a video showing him preparing Persian cutlets, which may have been seen as a taunt amid state-sponsored events marking the third anniversary of the killing of Iran's top general Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone attack.

Mehdi Beik, who headed the political desk of the moderate newspaper Etemad, was detained by security agents on Thursday, his wife said on Twitter. Officials are yet to announce the reasons for the detention of Beik, who had interviewed relatives of arrested protesters.
Source: VOA News

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Israel to suffer ‘severe consequences’ for defiling Al-Aqsa Mosque, Iran says

January 6, 2023

Amir Abdollahian made the remarks in a phone conversation with OIC Secretary General Hussein Ibrahim Taha.

Amir Abdollahian and Taha discussed the most recent events in the region and the Muslim world, including a controversial trip by far-right Israeli minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds.

The senior Iranian diplomat warned, "The consequences of this action would be harsh for the fraudulent Israeli regime," appreciating Taha on his prompt denunciation of the recent Zionist sacrilege of al-Aqsa Mosque.

Amir Abdollahian suggested the creation of an "effective legal and international framework to halt aggressive activities against religious authority and holy places" in reference to Israel's provocative actions against the al-Aqsa Mosque.

Ben-Gvir entered the al-Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday through the Moroccan Gate, commonly known as the Mughrabi Gate, in what the Palestinians referred to as an "unprecedented provocation."

During the phone call, Amir Abdollahian also praised the OIC chief for taking a stand against the French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo's most recent blasphemous attempt to offend the highest religious authority of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

He blamed the French government for the caricatures and emphasized that the Zionists' involvement goes beyond the notorious French magazine's serial offenses against religious sanctuaries.

The foreign minister also reaffirmed Iran's position on the need to put a stop to the hostilities in Yemen, Afghanistan, and Ukraine.

Taha also denounced the recent Israeli vandalism of the al-Aqsa Mosque and expressed his worry for the entry of the minister of the occupying regime into the sacred place.

"This conduct has wounded the sentiments of the Islamic Ummah," he said.

Taha emphasized that the Zionists' aggressive actions disrupt regional peace and stability and stated he is in discussions with several organizations to put pressure on the Israeli regime to stop taking such measures.

He also denounced the sacrilegious action taken by the infamous French magazine and emphasized that the subject is being looked into in order to respond to the move in a "proportionate" manner.

The Taliban's decision to forbid children and women from attending school in Afghanistan also drew strong criticism from both sides who asserted the move goes against Islamic law and teachings.

FM emphasizes legal means to stop demeaning holy places

Also, in another phone call on Thursday with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah, Amir Abdollahian called for creation of a legislative framework to halt the degradation of Islamic sanctuaries.

Iran’s top diplomat and Foreign Minister Al Sabah also spoke on bilateral relations, as well as local and global issues, including the recent defilement of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the sacrilegious action by the infamous French magazine.

Amir Abdollahian condemned the recent desecration of the mosque by the illegal entity and urged coordination and cooperation among Muslim nations to maintain the historical and legal status of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

He also emphasized the need to establish legal mechanisms to prevent desecration of Islamic sanctuaries.

In order to achieve peace and stability in the region, the senior Iranian diplomat emphasized the necessity of enhancing regional collaboration.

Al Sabah, also, reaffirmed the Kuwait's steadfast position on the Palestinian cause and severely denounced the Israeli regime for its recent vandalism of the al-Aqsa Mosque.

He also praised Iran's proposal for unified OIC measures to stop the occupying regime's offensive acts in harming regional peace and stability.

Source: Tehran Times

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Israel police arrest 2 teens in attack on Christian cemetery

January 06, 2023

JERUSALEM: The Israeli police on Friday arrested two teenagers who they said vandalized over two dozen Christian graves in a historic Jerusalem cemetery earlier this week.

The graves of Christian figures at the Protestant Cemetery were found pushed over and pulled from their foundations on Sunday, unsettling the contested city’s Christian minority and drawing worldwide condemnation. The cemetery is more than 170 years old and houses prominent members of the armed forces and clergy in the holy city.

Late Thursday, the US Embassy’s Office of Palestinian Affairs said it was “concerned” that the religious site was targeted again — the second time in a decade.

“Religious site vandalism by anyone is unacceptable,” the office said. “Jerusalem must be a city for all of its people.”

Israeli police did not name the suspected vandals but said they were ages 18 and 14 and residents of central Israel. Security camera footage of the attack showed two young men wearing a Jewish skullcap and tzitzit, the knotted ritual fringes worn by observant Jews, knocking over crosses, breaking tombstones and throwing debris over the graves.

“Any damage to religious institutions and sites is serious and harms the unique and delicate fabric of life that exists in the city,” the police said, describing the act as “intentional vandalism.” A Jerusalem court on Friday held a hearing to extend the detention of the two teenagers.

Source: Arab News

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US repatriates stolen 2,700-year-old artifact to Palestine

January 06, 2023

LONDON: US officials have repatriated a 2,700-year-old artifact to the Palestinian Authority following a legal investigation into stolen antiquities, the New York Times reported.

The cosmetic spoon was handed over by American representatives to Palestinian officials in the city of Bethlehem on Thursday, marking the first time that a stolen artifact had been repatriated by the US to the PA.

The spoon, produced between 700 and 800 B.C. within the Assyrian Empire, is thought to have been used to pour incense onto fire during religious rituals.

It was part of a large number of objects acquired by US billionaire Michael Steinhardt, who in 2021 surrendered his $70 million collection of antiquities and agreed to what officials called an “unprecedented” lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities.

The spoon first appeared for auction in 2003 when Steinhardt purchased it from an Israeli dealer who is accused of trading stolen artifacts.

Rula Maayah, Palestinian minister of tourism and antiquities who met with US officials in Bethlehem, said: “This artifact is important as it acquires its real scientific and archaeological value in its authentic location.”

Source: Arab News

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Far-right security minister begins drive to introduce stronger punitive measures for Palestinian prisoners


January 06, 2023

RAMALLAH: Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has initiated punitive measures against Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Ben-Gvir, who is also leader of the far-right Jewish Power party, announced in a tweet on Friday that he was proceeding with his plan to introduce the death penalty for prisoners found guilty of killing, or attempting to kill, Israelis.

The minister announced during his election campaign that he would push for the Knesset’s adoption of the death penalty, and on Jan. 1 he said that he would ensure that conditions for Palestinians in Israeli prisons became worse, adding that Israeli prisons were like “summer camps,” and that prisoners currently enjoy “comfortable and excellent conditions.”

The minister also said he had visited Nafha prison — where new cells were recently built — to ensure that those prosecuted for killing Israelis would be imprisoned in conditions worse than those offered by the older cells. Ben-Gvir was accompanied by the head of the Israel Prison Service, Katy Perry, and other senior command staff, on his visit.

Nafha desert is one of the most strongly fortified Israeli prisons and is regarded as one of the harshest.

According to the Palestinian Commission of Detainees’ Affairs, there were 4,700 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails at the end of 2022, including 29 women, 150 children, around 850 administrative detainees, 15 journalists and five deputies from the Palestinian Legislative Council. There are 330 prisoners who have been in jail for more than 20 years, and 552 prisoners serving a life sentence.

Ben-Gvir caused widespread international criticism of Israel after he stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday. On Thursday, former prisoner Karim Younis said in a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Palestinian prisoners were preparing to counter Israeli jailers’ restrictions in the near future.

Qadura Faris, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, told Arab News: “We are taking seriously all threats issued by Ben-Gvir (regarding the targeting of) Palestinian prisoners, because he is part of the Israeli government. He will face a difficult reality, as the matter does not depend on what he decides.

“Prisoners are not baggage to be moved from one place to another, and any harm to them will lead to a major crisis inside the prisons,” Faris continued.

Faris warned that such a crisis would likely escalate outside of prisons as Palestinians would not accept Ben-Gvir’s “racist, hateful policies.”

Senior Palestinian security sources told Arab News that the reason for the speed with which Israeli far-right ministers are implementing their crackdown against Palestinians is because they have realized that they may not have much time in power.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Cabinet discussed on Jan. 5 its response to the Palestinian appeal, via the United Nations, to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to give an opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

The head of Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories unit, Ghassan Olyan, presented Cabinet ministers with a list of potential sanctions, including the withdrawal of VIP cards from senior officials in the Palestinian Authority, as well as wide-ranging economic sanctions. Sources in the Israeli security apparatus favor the former, saying that the measures should focus on Palestinian leaders rather than the civilian population.

Ibrahim Melhem, spokesperson for the Palestinian government, told Arab News that Israeli sanctions against the PA and its leaders have been introduced every time that the Palestinian leadership has attempted to refute “the Israeli narrative” on the international stage.

Source: Arab News

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Jerusalem churches in crosshairs of escalating extremist attacks: Churches Council

Abdel Raouf Arnaout 



Churches in East Jerusalem are constantly concerned about the rise in Israeli extremist attacks on Christian property in the city.

Current and former church officials told Anadolu Agency that the frequent attacks on Christian property ended in most cases without punishing the perpetrators.

On Sunday, Israeli extremists destroyed 30 graves with crosses toppled at a Christian cemetery belonging to Evangelical Episcopal Church in East Jerusalem.

“The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns the act of vandalism at the Protestant Mount Zion Cemetery in Jerusalem,” the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a tweet on Wednesday.

History of assaults

On Dec. 27, 2022, dozens of settlers stormed the 5,000-square-meter (53,820-square-feet) plot of land in Silwan, south of Jerusalem’s Old City, under Israeli police protection.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate decried the settler raid as a “clear encroachment” on its properties in Jerusalem.

“This radical group has no right or judicial backing in their favor to allow them to enter or occupy the land,” it said in a statement.

The Patriarchate referred to the fact that two years ago, a settlement association tried seizing the Imperial and Little Petra hotels located in Omar Ibn Al Khattab Square in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Conviction awaiting punishment

The former bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Holy Land, Munib Younan, said: "The attack on a cemetery that tells the history of Lutherans since the 19th century is evidence of the hatred of the attackers."

During his interview with Anadolu Agency, Younan said the attack on the cemetery "is unacceptable and should not only be condemned but the perpetrators must also be punished.”

He stressed that the aggressors "aimed to seize the Hebron Gate by seizing the Imperial and Petra Hotels, which would lead to control of the local and international Christian pilgrimage to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City.”

Intentional narrowing

The recent attacks were not limited to the property of the Lutheran Church, but also included the property of other Christian denominations, including those owned by the Greek Orthodox Church.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate’s spokesman, Father Issa Musleh, said, "Extremists attack churches and monasteries, just as they attack the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

“Our Muslim brothers are exposed to the same attacks we are exposed to, our cause is the same," he added.

He attributed the increasing decline in the numbers of Christians in the Holy Land in part to Christians feeling targeted by extremists.

Father Musleh called on Christians to return to their lands to confront the "targeting of settlers," noting that "they are harassing us to displace us, but we will remain until the Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital is established."

Musleh said "the presence of an extremist right-wing government in Israel does not scare only us but the whole world."

Against unknown

Over the years, Wadih Abu Nassar, spokesman for the Council of Heads of Catholic Churches in Jerusalem, along with Israeli authorities, followed up on many attacks.

"We are not talking about singular attacks but rather dozens of attacks over the past few years, most of which were recorded against unknown persons," he noted.

"This matter cannot be accepted," Abu Nassar added. "Advanced security services must be used to stop hate crimes and bring perpetrators to justice."

He warned against the development of attacks in the future and their transgression of cemeteries.

"The continuation of the attacks will lead their perpetrators to believe that they are untouchable, their attacks will not end with graveyards," Abu Nassar noted.

He also pointed out that “hate crimes stem from an educational problem,” adding: “A radical solution is needed.”

Aggravating attacks

Abu Nassar narrated examples of how the Israeli authorities deal lightly with hate crimes.

“In the case of the attack on the church of the Grotto of Gethsemane in Jerusalem, the assailant was arrested, then declared mentally abnormal," he stressed, explaining: "The Israeli authorities behave strangely with such crimes. If the assault is documented through cameras, authorities say the faces are blurred, and when aggressors are arrested, they are always mentally ill.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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North America


Biden links 'sick insurrectionists' to death of Capitol Police officer killed by Nation of Islam supporter

January 6, 2023

By Houston Keene

President Biden linked "sick insurrectionists" spreading threats online to the death of a Capitol Police officer who was killed by a Nation of Islam supporter in an April 2021 attack. 

While speaking about the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, Biden referred to the death of Capitol Police Officer William Evans, who was killed by Noah Green, an apparent supporter of the Nation of Islam.

Biden attributed Evans' death to threats made online by the "sick insurrectionists" who stormed the Capitol in January 2021.

"Today is the ceremony to honor the heroes of Jan. 6. We also recognize the late U.S. Capitol Police Officer Billy Evans. His family is with us today," Biden said.

"Three months after Jan. 6, while they were still cordoning off the Capitol because threats by these sick insurrectionists continued to be propagated on the Internet. Again, all America saw what happened when Officer Evans was killed defending a checkpoint you had to go through to get up the Capitol because of these God-awful, sick threats that continued to move forward."

"And the whole world saw it," he added. "It’s just hard to believe. It’s hard to believe that it happened here in America."

Green allegedly slammed his sedan into two police officers near the Capitol’s North Barricade, the entrance where members of Congress and their aides come and go.

Evans was killed, and another officer was injured. Green was shot by officers shortly after emerging from the vehicle wielding a knife.

In the months leading up to his death, Green made many posts on Facebook professing his support of the Nation of Islam and its leader, Louis Farrakhan. 

Source: Fox News

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US sanctions target Iranian drone manufacturer

06 January 2023

The US imposes new sanctions against Iran, this time targeting an Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles manufacturer under the unsubstantiated and disproven pretext that the Islamic Republic has provided Russia with the UAVs to be used by Moscow against Ukraine.

The United States Treasury Department slapped the sanctions on Friday against six executives and board members of Iran's Quds Aviation Industries (QAI).

It described the targeted body as a key Iranian defense industry manufacturer responsible for designing and producing drones.

The Islamic Republic has, on repeated occasions, roundly rejected Washington's allegations.

Last month, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani said Ukrainian officials had failed to provide any evidence for their claim that Russia was using Iranian drones in its February-present war on Ukraine.

Speaking following a technical meeting between Ukrainian and Iranian specialists, he said the Ukrainian side had stopped short of "presenting any evidence" during the meeting "of Russia’s use of Iranian drones in the war with this country."

A month earlier, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian had also reacted to the US and other Western countries' allegations, noting that Iran had provided Russia with a limited number of drones, but the delivery had taken place months before the war in Ukraine.

On another occasion in October, the top diplomat had likewise responded to the Western claims by asserting, "We have not sold and will not sell any weapons and drones to be used in the war against Ukraine."

Russia has similarly denied deploying any Iranian UAVs in the war against Ukraine.

The US Treasury Department, however, alleged, "We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to deny [Russian President Vladimir] Putin the weapons that he is using...."

The Friday sanctions also targeted the director of Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization, which the Treasury claimed, was the key organization responsible for overseeing Iran's ballistic missile programs.

In July 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported that the US was planning a sanctions campaign against Iran’s defensive drones and guided missiles program, six months after the administration of President Joe Biden was sworn in.
Source: Press TV

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Top Iraqi MP urges immediate withdrawal of all US-led forces from Iraq

06 January 2023

The Fatah (Conquest) Alliance in the Iraqi parliament has called for an immediate withdrawal of all US-led foreign military forces from the country, days after the anniversary of the assassination of top anti-terror commanders by the US military.

Hadi al-Amiri, the head of the alliance, used the Iraqi Army Day on January 6 as an opportunity to reiterate the call for putting an end to the presence of foreign forces in Iraq.

The achievements of the Iraqi Army demonstrate its “complete competency and readiness” for fulfilling duties related to maintaining security and stability without any need for the presence of foreign forces on Iraqi soil, he said.

“Therefore, we ask for urgent withdrawal of all foreign military forces and establishment of national sovereignty,” he added.

While the US claims it has ended its combat mission in Iraq, some 2,500 US troops still remain inside the Arab country in what Washington describes as an “advisory” mission.

Anti-US sentiments have been steadily broiling in Iraq since the 2020 assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units, along with the region’s legendary anti-terror commander, Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

The two commanders were targeted along with their companions on January 3, 2020, in a cowardly terrorist drone strike authorized by then-US president Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport. Two days after the attack, Iraqi lawmakers approved a bill that required the government to end the presence of all foreign military forces led by the US.

US President Joe Biden and Iraq’s then-Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi declared in July 2021 that the US mission in Iraq would transition from combat to an “advisory” role by the end of that year.

Source: Press TV

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Muslim Writers Excluded From Kannada Sahitya Sammelan, Allege Eminent Writers, Scholars

06 January, 2023

New Delhi: A section of Kannada writers have alleged that the Kannada Sahitya Sammelan in Karnataka’s Haveri has ignored Muslim writers and poets, the New Indian Express reported.

When the Kannada Sahitya Parishat announced the names of writers and poets who are taking part in the sammelana, some writers objected to the exclusion of Muslim writers from the list. They told the newspaper in December that the state has hundreds of Muslim Kannada writers, however, only a few have been considered for the Sammelan.

Therefore, some senior Kannada writers told the daily they’re planning to organise an alternative literary festival, Jana Sahitya Sammelana, on January 8 at the Alumni Hall in Bengaluru’s K.R. Circle, in protest against the exclusion of Muslim writers.

However, an organising committee member told the daily: “There are six Muslim writers and poets who are part of the Haveri Sammelan. It has become a routine for some people to create controversy during the mega Kannada event.”

The three-day Sahitya Sammelan began on January 6, Friday, in Haveri, the home district of chief minister Basavaraj Bommai.

The Sammelan is funded by the Karnataka government and its activities, including the literary meet, are supported with taxpayer money, the News Minute reported.

According to the Hindu, some writers have alleged that the selection process has excluded even women writers, and Muslims, from key sessions. They have withdrawn from participating in the event as a mark of dissent.

The newspaper reported that H.R. Sujatha, who was supposed to chair one of the poetry meets at the sammelana, announced that she would not participate. In her letter, she said that she could see “deliberate exclusion of Muslim writers on the panels”.

She made the announcement soon after the schedule of various literary sessions was published, the daily said.

Chand Pasha N.S., who was among the few Muslim writers on the panels, also announced his decision to boycott the event, the report said.

He said the parishat was discriminating against writers based on religion, caste, and gender that too in Haveri, known as the land of Shishunala Sharif and Kanakadasa.

Another poet Ramesh Aroli, too, decided to stay away from the sammelana, the daily reported.

Source: The Wire

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Uniform laws on marriage, divorce matter for Parliament to decide: Supreme Court

Jan 07, 2023

ByAbraham Thomas

New Delhi: Having uniform laws on marriage, divorce, succession, adoption and maintenance is a matter for Parliament to decide and not for the courts to determine, the Supreme Court said on Friday.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud was hearing a clutch of petitions, including the one by Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who filed the petition in 2020 seeking uniform laws on the issue of marriage, divorce, adoption, maintenance and guardianship.

“This is a matter for Parliament to decide. We cannot make laws. This falls within Parliament’s sovereignty. We cannot tell the Parliament you shall enact a law,” said the bench also comprising justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala.

In his petition, Upadhyay pointed out the dichotomy that exists between laws applicable to different religions on the issue of marriage, divorce, adoption, maintenance and guardianship. Later, several other petitions were filed, some by Muslim women who were aggrieved by the discriminatory forms of divorce practiced under Muslim personal law.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, along with advocate MR Shamshad, appearing for the Muslim Personal Law Board, informed the court that Upadhyay in 2015 had raised similar prayers in a writ petition filed in the top court, which he withdrew. He later filed a petition seeking enforcement of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) before the Delhi high court which is still pending.

Ahmadi told the court that the petitioner has not mentioned this fact in the present set of petitions. Upadhyay, however, said the present petition filed by him had additional grounds.

“You (Upadhyay) must disclose to the Court and then you may say that you raised additional grounds as well,” the bench said.

Upadhyay told the court that these arguments were rejected by the apex court on September 5 last year when a bench headed by then CJI Uday Umesh Lalit recognised the importance of the issue and sought a comprehensive response from the Centre.

The bench told Upadhyay, “We will take this up some other day. But you need to first address us on this preliminary issue.

In September, the top court had observed, “These petitions are seeking common marriage, divorce, adoption, succession, and maintenance laws. They are all facets of Uniform Civil Code. Let a comprehensive response be filed indicating the stand of the Union government in respect of issues raised in this batch of petitions.”

Upadhyay requested the bench to consider his other prayer to refer the issue for consideration by the Law Commission of India. The court said, “Even on referring a matter to the Law Commission is in aid of something else. Can the Supreme Court direct that you shall enact a legislation. We will consider this aspect on the next date.”

Additional solicitor general (ASG) KM Nataraj, appearing for Centre, agreed with the bench that the matter in these petitions is a subject of legislative policy. “If there is a grievance, considering the gravity of situation, maybe it will be open for the Law Commission to take a call,” he said.

In his petition, Upadhyay pointed out that adultery is a ground of divorce for Hindus, Christians and Parsis but not for Muslims. Incurable leprosy is a ground of divorce for Hindus and Christians but not for Parsis and Muslims. Similarly, impotency is a ground of divorce for Hindus and Muslims but not among Christians and Parsis. While under age marriage is a ground of divorce for Hindus but not for Christians, Parsis and Muslims, the petition said.

Source: Hindustan Times

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20-Yr-Old Muslim Man Thrashed For ‘Walking With Hindu Girl’: Cops

Jan 07, 2023

Subramanya police registered a case against unknown persons for allegedly assaulting a Muslim man for roaming with a minor Hindu girl at the Kukke Subramanya, around 100 kilometres from Mangaluru district headquarters, police said on Friday.

According to police, the youth Afeed (20), from Kallugundi near Sullia, came with the minor girl to Kukke Subramanya temple on Thursday.

“A few youths noticed the interfaith couple and questioned them while they were going near the Kumaradhara river. When they came to know that the man and the girl were from other communities, they allegedly assaulted them,” police said.

Officials said Afeed is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Sullia and filed a complaint with the Subramanya police, which registered a case against 10-12 unknown persons under sections 323 (assault), 324 (assault), 307 (attempt to murder) and 365 (kidnap) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

A photo of Afeed in his undergarment lying on the ground with wounds from the attack has gone viral on social media.

Hours after the incident, the father of the 17-year-old minor girl, studying in the second year of a pre-university degree, filed a complaint with Subramanya police alleging that Afeed attempted to molest the girl while she was waiting for a bus at the KSRTC bus stand.

The father alleged that the man followed her for quite some time and asked for her mobile number. When she refused to give, he allegedly attempted to molest her taking her beside the river.

The police have registered a case under sections 506 (criminal intimidation) and 354(B) (sexual assault) of the IPC and section 12 (sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act against Afeed.
Source: Hindustan Times

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K’taka Minister Opposes Separate Literary Festival For Side-lined Muslim Writers

6th January 2023

Bengaluru: Karnataka Minister of Kannada and Culture, V. Sunil Kumar, on Friday objected to a parallel literary festival for sidelined Muslim writers in the 86th All India Kannada Literature Conference.

“Organisation of the parallel literary conference is not a good development,” Sunil Kumar said.

Speaking on the controversy, the Minister added, “There will be small mistakes in a large-scale event. That should be discussed and sorted out.”

The Kannada literary festival will help give a good message to the people. The festival is important in the view of development of the Kannada language, he said.

The 86th Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelana (All India Kannada Literature Conference) organised by the Kannada Sahitya Parishat was inaugurated on Friday with much fanfare in Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s native city Haveri.

However, the literary conference has run into controversy for sidelining Muslim authors and litterateurs.

Condemning this literary event for sidelining Muslim writers, Kannada activists and like-minded litterateurs have organised a single-day parallel literary conference in Bengaluru on January 8.

It has been decided to make well-known Kannada writer Bhanu Mushtaq as the President of this parallel literary event.

Source: Siasat Daily

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LG constitutes Delhi State Haj Committee for 3 years

6th January 2023

New Delhi: Delhi Lt. Governor V.K. Saxena has constituted the Delhi State Haj Committee for a period of three years with immediate effect.

“ln exercise of the powers under rule 3(2) of the Delhi State Haj Committee Rules, 2006 and the power of ‘State Government’ entrusted under section 24i) of the Haj Committee Act, 2002, the Lt. Governor, NCT of Delhi hereby constitutes the Delhi State Haj Committee with the following persons as the members under the various categories, for a period of three years with immediate effect,” said the notification from the LG Secretariat.

The Delhi State Haj Committee comprises one member of Parliament, two members from Delhi Legislative Assembly, one Muslim member from local body, one Muslim member with the knowledge of Muslim theology and one Muslim member from Muslim voluntary organisation.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Anger in Pakistan's South Waziristan over rise in terror incidents, people take to streets

Jan 6, 2023

NEW DELHI: Thousands of people in South Waziristan district of Pakistan on Friday staged protest against the recent wave of terrorism in the region and demanded that the civil administration fulfil its responsibilities to restore peace in the area.

Political workers, social activists, traders and youth participated in the protest march and chanted slogans for peace.

Over the past few months, the law and order situation in Pakistan has worsened with terrorist groups like the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, the Islamic State group, and the Gul Bahadur Group carrying out attacks with near impunity across the country.

Several leaders from political parties including PPP, PTM, PML-N and AWP addressed the rally and blamed the government for failing to control the rise of terrorism in the region.

"No one is safe in Wana, from political leaders to traders, tribal leaders and contractors. Today, thousands of people have taken to the streets to demand peace. We won’t sit quietly until the government guarantees peace,” Awami National Party leader Ayaz Wazir told Dawn.

At least 11 terrorists, including two suicide bombers, were killed during an operation carried out by a Pakistani intelligence-based operation (IBO) in South Waziristan on Thursday, Pakistan's military media wing said.

Earlier, TTP attacked a Pakistan government contractor, Mohammad Nisar's house, who was asked to pay a ransom of Rs 15 million which he refused. He alleged that the TTP member attacked his house in Rawalpindi's Dhamial area with a cracker after he refused to pay the ransom, reported The Dawn.

Pakistan's Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) was also involved in the case's investigation after a first information report (FIR) was registered with the police on Tuesday.

"The Pashtuns of South Waziristan came out in large numbers today in Wana to protest against terrorism and Talibanisation in our areas. Our people refuse to be used as cannon fodder and scapegoats in the new great game being imposed on the region," North Waziristan lawmaker Mohsin Dawar said on Twitter.

About 1,000 people were killed and injured in attacks by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan on the Pakistan government in 2022, according to statistics published by the TTP terrorist group, Khaama Press reported.

TTP said in a video, that most of their attacks took place in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. They also launched attacks outside the province, Khaama Press reported.

According to the speakers, peace and normalcy are the foundations of socioeconomic development and insecurity and uncertainty were the major causes of the backwardness of the tribal districts.

Source: Times Of India

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Attempts being made to kill Imran Khan by ‘slow poison’: Ally

7th January 2023

Rawalpindi: Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has alleged that the PML-N-led coalition government was trying to kill PTI chief Imran Khan by giving him “slow poison”, the media reported.

They hatched a plot to kill Imran Khan — first they (government) said Imran Khan was not hit by bullets then did your father’s firecrackers hit him?” he said while lashing out at the PDM leaders, the Express Tribune reported.

Rashid made these remarks on Friday while addressing an “anti-inflation protest rally” outside his Lal Haveli residence in Rawalpindi. “Now they are conspiring to eliminate Imran Khan through slow poison as they don’t want to contest elections against him,” he added, Express Tribune reported.

A day earlier, PTI chief Imran alleged that the gun attack in Wazirabad on November 3 was actually a plot to assassinate him like the killing of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer in Islamabad 11 years ago.

Imran was injured when shots were fired at the container on which he was standing, while leading his anti-government long march towards Islamabad, in Wazirabad town of the Gujrat district on November 3.

Imran had received bullet wounds to his leg.

Imran alleged that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz-led federal government hatched the assassination plot in connivance with the establishment.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Iranian, Pakistani FMs speak out against Islamophobia in France

06 January 2023

Iran and Pakistan have condemned the spread of Islamophobia in France, urging Muslim countries to act decisively to counter any move against Islam and violation of its sanctities.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari held a phone call on Friday following a decision by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish cartoons of Iran’s top religious authority.

During the phone conversation, Amir-Abdollahian criticized the Israel lobby for spreading Islamophobia around the world, but added that nothing annuls the responsibility of the French government vis-à-vis such incidents.

“Muslim countries should not allow certain Western countries to insult the sanctities and spread hatred in the name of freedom [of speech],” he said.

For his part, Zardari said the French magazine has a dark record of insulting Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) as well as religious figures and values and expressed Islamabad’s readiness to cooperate with Muslim countries and the OIC to counter any move to spread Islamophobia.

The French magazine is set to publish several insulting cartoons of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in a special edition later this week. The controversial right-wing magazine had in early December announced a competition for such cartoons.

In a statement on Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Tehran holds the French government responsible for an “anti-cultural and anti-human move” by the notorious French weekly to publish insulting caricatures of the country’s top politico-religious authority, announcing a decision to revise cultural relations with Paris in response.

Amir-Abdollahian and Zardari also denounced the Israeli regime’s aggressive measures, particularly its provocative actions against al-Aqsa Mosque.

The silence of countries in the face of injustice in occupied Palestine must come to an end, the Pakistani foreign minister asserted.

On Tuesday, far-right Israeli minister Itamar Ben-Gvir entered the holy site of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City through the Moroccan Gate, also known as the Mughrabi Gate, in what was described by Palestinians as an “unprecedented provocation.”

Source: Press TV

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Govt vows to complete terms of IMF programme, says PM Shehbaz

January 7, 2023

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday said he had expressed his government’s resolve to complete the terms of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) programme, in a conversation with the lender’s managing director yesterday.

“In a phone call with Managing Director [Kristalina Georgieva] of the IMF yesterday, I told her about the government’s resolve to complete the terms of IMF’s program,” PM Shehbaz said on Twitter.

“I also explained Pakistan’s economic difficulties especially after the devastating floods. IMF delegation will come to Pakistan soon.”

The premier’s statement comes a day after he said an IMF delegation would come to Pakistan in “two to three days” to finalise the ninth review of Pakistan’s $7bn Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

Pakistan entered a $6 billion IMF programme in 2019, which was increased to $7bn last year. The programme’s ninth review, which would release $1.18bn, is currently pending. It had earlier been put off for two months due to the PML-N-led government’s unwillingness to accept certain conditions placed before it by the Fund, and the disagreements have yet to be resolved.

Cash crunch

The country is currently in the midst of a severe cash crunch, with foreign exchange reserves in the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) depleting to an eight-year low of $5.576 billion during the week ended on Dec 30, 2022.

This amounts to fewer than three weeks of imports. This decline left no space for the government to pay back its foreign debts without borrowing more from friendly countries.

Despite fast dwindling SBP reserves, Finance Minis­ter Ishaq Dar is still hopeful about reverting the situation with expected financial help promised by the friendly countries, but nothing has been realised so far.

During the week the SBP foreign exchange reserves saw an outflow of $245 million for external debt repayments.

Foreign debt servicing is the most troubling question for the PMLN-led coalition government facing a serious threat of default. Several attempts to restart talks with the IMF for the release of the next tranche have so far remained unfruitful.

Source: Dawn

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PM seeks support from all provinces to fight terror

Syed Irfan Raza

January 7, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Prime Min­ister Shehbaz Sharif on Fri­day sought the cooperation of provinces to eliminate terrorism that has reemerged in the country, and asked for support from the business community to make the National Energy Conser­vation Plan (NECP) a success.

Presiding over a meeting on security, the PM emphasised the need for enhancing coordination among the federal and provincial institutions to wipe out terrorism from the country.

“Terrorists and militants will never be able to shake the nation’s resolve. No sacrifice will be avoided for the security of the homeland,” he maintained, and directed the interior minister, interior secretary and national coordinator of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) to hold consultations with the provinces and submit a report.

PM Shehbaz also instructed the provincial apex committees to meet regularly and enhance their coordination with other provinces.

The interior minister and secretary briefed the meeting on the security situation and the four chief secretaries and inspectors general of police talked about the situation in their respective territories as well as the measures being taken to curb the menace.

The prime minister directed the Nacta national coordinator to further en­­hance coordination with Counter-Terrorism Depart­ments and law enforcement agencies of the provinces.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Adviser Ahad Cheema, heads of law enforcement agencies, provincial chief secretaries and police chiefs attended the meeting.

IMF programme

Amid the opposition’s claims that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would not continue its ongoing programme in Pakistan, PM Shehbaz on Friday assured the world body that his government was committed to successfully completing the agreement, but could not further burden the already inflation- and flood-hit nation with more taxes.

During a telephonic conversation with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, the PM said: “Pakistan is committed to successfully completing the Fund’s ongoing programme,” adding the government had already taxed the rich but could not burden the poor more.

The PM sensitised the IMF head to the country’s economic situation adversely affected by the worst floods last year.

In response, the IMF chief assured the PM that her team would visit Pakistan for a rev­iew within two to three days, PM Shehbaz Sharif said later while addressing a ceremony for the establishment of Hazara Electric Company.

He also assured the IMF head that unlike the previous Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government, the incumbent rulers would abide by their commitments to the Fund without further burdening the masses.

According to the Prime Minister Office, Ms Georgieva expressed sympathy and concern over the human and material losses due to last year’s floods and reiterated her commitment to help Pakistan in the difficult period.

The PM invited the official to participate in the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan in Geneva. Ms Georgieva thanked the premier, saying she would be able to join the conference virtually as the IMF Board meetings had been prefixed for Jan 9-10.

Support for energy conservation

PM Sharif also appealed to the business community to support the government’s recently announced energy conservation plan seeking early closure of markets and restaurants, to ensure judicious use of national resources and reduced import bill.

“This will reduce the oil imports and bring down the dollar rate, which will later be spent on the country’s progress, including agriculture and medicine,” the PM said at the ceremony to launch Hazara Electric Company in Khyber Pakh­tun­khwa’s Hazara region.

Source: Dawn

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Military still not ‘neutral’, claims Imran

January 7, 2023

LAHORE: Seeing the es­­tablishment’s hand behind Punjab Chief Minister Par­vez Elahi’s confident statements about not taking a fresh confidence vote, PTI chief Imran Khan alleged on Friday that the military still didn’t seem to be neutral on the vote of confidence issue.

During an informal talk with a group of court reporters, Mr Khan accused the military of political enginee­ring against his party, claiming that PTI lawmakers were being pressured to skip the trust vote proceedings.

So far, three legislators had informed him that they had been approached for the purpose, he claimed. He also claimed the “neutrals” — a euphemism he uses for the military — were trying to install the PPP in Punjab.

Commenting on Elahi’s advice to him and the rest of the PTI to ‘be careful’ when talking about former army chief retired Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Mr Khan said: “He has his stance about Gen Bajwa and we have our position.”

Source: Dawn

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ECP wants Imran to explain how he can head party after ‘disqualification’

Iftikhar A. Khan

January 7, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday summoned former prime minister Imran Khan on Jan 11 to explain why he continues to hold the PTI chairmanship even after his disqualification in the Toshakhana case.

A notice has been issued to Mr Khan to appear before the commission on Jan 11, either in person or through his counsel, to give an explanation.

The notice has been sent to the PTI chairman through the district election commissioner of Islamabad, Waqas Ahmad Malik, and the case has been fixed for hearing on Jan 11 at 10am before the commission.

The notice explains that ECP had conducted hearing on Dec 20, 2022, whereby the order was passed that “after hearing the applicant, we have observed that the respondent Mr Imran Khan Niazi is holding the position as chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, despite having been disqualified/de-seated from NA-95, Mianwali-I, in the order passed on October 21, 2022, by the Election Commission on account of making false statements and incorrect declaration about his assets and liabilities”.

“It is further observed by the commission that pursuant to the pronouncement of the august Supreme Court of Pakistan reported as PLD 2017 SC692, he being a disqualified person, cannot hold post as chairman of a political party i.e. PTI. The respondent be put on notice to explain his position on 11.01.2023,” it says.

The ECP had last month set into motion the process to remove Mr Khan as chairman of PTI in light of the election watchdog’s verdict in the Toshakhana case, which disqualified him under Article 63(1)(p) for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”.

The PTI, while reacting to the development had asserted that the law did not place any bar on a convict from becoming an office-bearer of a political party.

According to Section 5(1) of the now defunct Political Parties Order (PPO), 2002, “Every citizen… shall have the right to form or be a member of a political party or be otherwise associated with a political party or take part in political activities or be elected as an office-bearer of a political party: provided that a person shall not be appointed or serve as an office-bearer of a political party if he is not qualified to be, or is disqualified from being, elected or chosen as a member of the Majlis-i-Shoora (Parliament) under Article 63 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan or under any other law for the time being in force.”

Source: Dawn

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Security Operation Claims 11 ‘Terrorists’ in South Waziristan

By Arif Ahmadi

January 6, 2023

WAZIRISTAN, Pakistan – At least 11 terrorists killed in an intelligence-based operation by the local security forces in Pakistan’s South Waziristan on Thursday, according to sources, aimed at curtailing the rising militancy in the country.

Earlier this week, Pakistani Taliban warned the country’s main ruling parties of “concrete action” for “declaring war” against it, months after the group ended ceasefire.

However, it remained unclear whether the declared terrorists belong to the Pakistani Taliban, known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

“While conducting the intelligence-based operation (IBO) in the general area, the security forces successfully “foiled a high-profile terrorist activity,” Inter-Services Public Relations Pakistan (ISPR), the country’s military’s media wing, was quoted as saying by the Geo News.

The eliminated 11 terrorists include the local terrorist commander Hafiz Ullah and two suicide bombers, where security forces also recovered  a huge number of weapons and ammunition.

“The killed terrorists remained actively involved in terrorist activities against security forces and target killing of police in South Waziristan district,” said the ISPR, as India Today quoted.

Last month, Pakistani Taliban announced they no longer abide by a month-long ceasefire with the government, urging fighters to resume attacks in retaliation towards a continuous military campaigns.

Mohammad Khurasani, a spokesman for the militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) told Reuters in a text message that its leadership had decided to end the ceasefire with Pakistan, as India Express reported.

According to a statement, the TTP leadership urged its fighters to resume attacks in retaliation towards a continuous military campaign against them.

The Pakistani military has carried out several offensives against the militants in their strongholds in remote lawless districts bordering Afghanistan.

There was no immediate response from the government.

Who are Pakistani Taliban

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – commonly known as the Pakistani Taliban – is an umbrella organization of various Islamist armed militant groups operating along the Afghan–Pakistani border.

Formed in 2007 by Baitullah Mehsud, its current leader is Noor Wali Mehsud, who has publicly pledged allegiance to the Afghan Taliban (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan).

Most Taliban groups in Pakistan coalesce under the TTP. Among the stated objectives of TTP is resistance against the Pakistani state. The TTP’s aim is to overthrow the government of Pakistan by waging a terrorist campaign against the Pakistan armed forces and the state.

Source: Khaama Press

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South Asia


Islamic Emirate Acting Interior Minister Seeks Unity among Muslim Nations in Meeting with Clerics from Egypt, Sudan, and Palestine in Kabul

6 January 2023

The acting interior minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, stressed the need for unity among Muslim nations as he met with religious scholars from Egypt, Sudan, and Palestine in Kabul on Friday.

Abdul Nafay Takor, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said that in this meeting, Haqqani asked the clerics to convey the voice of the Afghan people to the world.

“Khalifa Sahib welcomed the scholars and underlined the unity among the Muslim world,” Takor said.

The religious leaders arrived in Afghanistan at a time when women's employment and education had recently been suspended.

The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) said in a statement that the leader of the Islamic Emirate had rejected IUMS’s delegation request for a meeting with its delegation.

“This delegation aimed to open the Islamic and international doors to the Islamic Emirate or part of them and in addition to providing help for the Afghan people, to offer the necessary funds for education,” said Al-Qaradaghi, the Secretary General of the IUMS.

“The goal of this trip and this delegation was to learn about the situation in Afghanistan, to share ideas with Afghan government leaders and scholars, as well as to discuss opinions on key matters that demand an interchange of opinions and solutions from a Sharia aspect," said Fazlhadi Wazeen, a member of the IUMS.

Meanwhile, in an interview with CNN, former British Prime Minister James Gordon Brown criticized the ban on women from working and education in Afghanistan.

“Girls are being banned from secondary school, women are being banned from university, women teachers in university are being thrown out, women are being thrown out from public service jobs and they are not allowed to go out on their own without being accompanied by their male,” Brown said.

“If they have identified any issues with it or say that it needs reforms, they should clarify this and present it to the institutions to bring up reforms," said Abdul Sadiq Hamidzoi, a political analyst.

“In the month of Hamal (April 2023), our sisters should be able to continue their education in a secure environment because if this process continues, it will spread a bad reputation beyond in international politics against the Islamic Emirate,” said Mohammad Ajmal Zormati, an international relations analyst.

Source: Tolo News

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Taliban denounces Uk’s Prince Harry for remarks over Afghan killings

By Fidel Rahmati

January 7, 2023

Prince Harry has come under fire from the Taliban after the British prince revealed in his biography that he had murdered 25 people during his two military deployments in Afghanistan, referring to them as “chess pieces removed from the board.”

The memoir, released early in Spain, recalls Harry’s two tours in Afghanistan. He claims that he killed 25 people during his time in the country and saw them as “chess pieces” to be removed from the board.

He further states that “when I was caught up in the chaos of battle, I did not think of those 25 people as a human beings”.

Harry’s statement faced several condemnations by the interim government in Afghanistan, which described his action as committing “war crimes.”

The senior member of the IEA, Anas Haqqani, condemned the Duke of Sussex for his comments, pointing out that the people Harry killed had families.

He tweeted that “Mr Harry! The ones you killed were not chess pieces; they were humans,”

“The truth is what you have said; our innocent people were chess pieces to your soldiers, military and political leaders.

I do not expect that the ICC will summon you or that the human rights activists will condemn your action, but hopefully, it will be remembered in the history of humanity.

Source: Khaama Press

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British Ex-Commander calls Harry’s remarks he killed 25 Taliban in Afghanistan complete nonsense

By Fidel Rahmati

January 6, 2023

Colonel Richard Kemp, a former British army commander in Afghanistan, reacted against Prince Harry’s revelation that he killed 25 Taliban fighters.

He said the Spare, which is an autobiography of Prince Harry, where he admits not seeing the enemies as a human being would be seen as a “betrayal” of his former comrades.

He added that such comments would increase hatred of the armed forces and endanger his security.

Ex-commander said, according to Harry, the British Army taught him and other soldiers how to see the adversary. He also asserted that killing someone you perceive to be a human is impossible, which is nonsense.

It is wrong; it created the false impression that the British army indoctrinated or instructed its soldiers to degrade the Taliban or any other foe. They do not.

He added that they must be eliminated when necessary if they constitute a threat. However, troops are specifically instructed to treat their opponents respectfully and consider them as fellow human beings.

Source: Khaama Press

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Lack of hope driving Rohingya to flee Bangladeshi settlement camps

January 06, 2023

DHAKA: Fading hopes for a future and the desire to be reunited with family are pushing increasing numbers of Rohingya to flee overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh and make perilous journeys across the Andaman Sea.

Bangladesh hosts more than 1.2 million Rohingya Muslims, most of whom escaped persecution in neighboring Myanmar during a military crackdown in 2017. The majority live in Cox’s Bazar district, a coastal region in the east of the country, which is now the world’s largest refugee settlement.

But the recent rescue of dozens of starving Rohingya who had spent more than a month adrift on a stricken boat, has shone a spotlight on the increasing number of people trying to leave the squalid camps of Cox’s Bazar and cross the Andaman Sea in search of a better life.

The boat was one of several such vessels to leave Bangladesh in late November. But just a few days into the journey, its engines failed and its occupants were left adrfit. Appeals to the governments of several countries to rescue them fell on deaf ears, and it was not until late December, as the boat entered Indonesian waters, that local fishermen answered the call.

Another boat was intercepted by the Sri Lankan navy and a third by a Vietnamese offshore company, which handed the refugees over to the Myanmar navy. It was not immediately clear what would happen to them.

In early December, the U. N. refugee agency UNHCR issued an alert about the “dramatic increase” in the number of people, mostly Rohingya, attempting to cross the Andaman Sea from both Bangladesh and Myanmar. It estimated there had been a sixfold rise since 2020 and that at least 119 people had died making such crossings.

The figures did not include those who the rescued refugees said had been on the boats that left Cox’s Bazar in November but were now missing at sea, presumed dead.

“Since 2018, every year we have been noticing an increasing trend of Rohingyas taking perilous journey across the sea during November to February as the sea is calm and quiet in this period,” Asif Munir, an immigration and refugee affairs analyst, told Arab News.

For most, the dangerous crossings are the only option available to escape the limbo they face in Bangladesh.

“They are only receiving some food aid while living in the refugee settlements, but there are no other activities,” Munir said.

“Children are deprived of a proper education, they (the adults) are not allowed to engage in any productive work. These issues make the Rohingya desperate to leave.

“It’s been a long time they are living in the camps and on the other hand the repatriation process also seems to be uncertain.”

Despite multiple attempts from Bangladeshi authorities, a U.N.-backed repatriation and resettlement process in operation for several years has failed to tackle the problem, with only a handful of refugees being allowed to relocate.

At the same time, economic pressures on the South Asian nation, which despite not being a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention has taken in the biggest number of Rohingya asylum-seekers, are increasing. Hosting Rohingya costs Bangladesh an estimated $1.2 billion a year, while international aid for refugees has dropped since 2020.

Also, with the decreasing presence of foreign nongovernmental organizations in Cox’s Bazar, the number of opportunities for Rohingya to make a living there has diminished.

Rezuwan Khan, a Rohingya activist in Cox’s Bazar, whose sister was rescued off the Indonesian coast, told Arab News that many Rohingya had been laid off by the aid agencies that used to employ them.

“Many Rohingyas are desperate to flee the camps in search of a better life, better future, anywhere it’s possible,” he said.

Many are attempting to reunite with relatives who left earlier, mostly for Malaysia, where the people rescued by the Indonesia fishermen were initially bound.

“There are woman and children who want to be reunited with their husbands and fathers living in Malaysia. The men managed to reach Malaysia several years ago. This kind of people are desperate to leave the camps,” Khan said.

That desire is being exploited by traffickers who charge up to $5,000 for a place in one the boats leaving Cox’s Bazar.

“Rohingyas are risking their lives to save their lives,” said Mohammad Nur Khan, a Bangladeshi rights activist and expert on migration.

“In the camp, where most people are young, it’s living without any hope for the future. People aspire to a better life, it’s very natural.”

Source: Arab News

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Arab World


Saudi Arabia’s inaugural Islamic Arts Biennale to showcase treasures of Islamic civilization at world’s gateway to Makkah and Madinah

January 06, 2023

JEDDAH: Islamic art has rarely been the subject of a dedicated international exhibition, with the notable exception of the Islamic Art Festival in London in 1976. Now, four decades on, the inaugural Islamic Art Biennale is coming to Jeddah with a juxtaposition of traditional and contemporary works.

To be held at the iconic Western Hajj Terminal of King Abdulaziz International Airport from Jan. 23 to April 23, the aim of the biennale is to compare and contrast contemporary works alongside a collection of historical artifacts, many of them on loan from museums, with the scenography designed by Oma, an international firm specializing in architecture and urbanism.

Led by a team of renowned curators, including Sumayya Vally, Dr. Julian Raby, Dr. Saad Al-Rashid and Dr. Omniya Abdel Barr, the biennale’s theme is “Awwal Bait” — or “the first house” in Arabic.

“One of our points of strength is the location,” Abdel Barr told Arab News. “It is already a monumental site, an impressive place, and is literally the first place encountered by visitors coming for pilgrimage and sometimes for homage during Ramadan.

“In this way, it is also very much linked with our first theme for the biennale, which is ‘Awwal Bait’ or ‘the first house.’”

The terminal, which has served as the world’s gateway to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah since it opened in 1981, is only used during the six weeks of Hajj. Built by Skidmore Owings and Merrill, it won the 1983 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

The original design was inspired by the traditional tents used by pilgrims over many centuries during desert journeys to the holy cities. Its luminous translucent roof, made of a Teflon-coated fiberglass membrane, allows for natural lighting and ventilation, making for a poignant and striking exhibition space.

The theme of Awwal Bait will be expressed through two complementary sections: Qiblah, or “sacred direction,” showcasing artworks emphasizing the spirituality of Islam, and Hijrah, or “migration,” featuring large outdoor installations under the Hajj Terminal canopy.

The exhibition will be a multidisciplinary representation of what it means to be Muslim, with many pieces reflecting the central importance of the Kaaba, the most sacred pilgrimage site in Islam at the center of the faith’s most important mosque, the Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah.

The decision was made to stage the exhibition in Jeddah, instead of the Saudi capital Riyadh, because of the Red Sea port city’s strong connection with the Hajj as a crucial transit point for visitors.

Indeed, Jeddah has long been a principal gateway for pilgrims, past and present, on their way to Makkah and Madinah, making it a highly symbolic location for the exhibition. 

“At the same time, it reflects on the construction of ‘home’ through our spiritual and cultural rituals in Islam — acts which both unite us and celebrate our diversity and cultural hybridity,” curator Vally told SPA.

The exhibition is one of two biennales organized by the Diriyah Biennale Foundation, established in 2020 by the Saudi Ministry of Culture. The other is the Contemporary Art Biennale, launched in December 2021 and held in the JAX district of Diriyah.

January’s event will include contemporary artists from Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East. Among them is Farah Behbehani, a Kuwaiti artist and designer, who created the “Path of Light” for the event.

The kinetic piece, which is hand-embroidered with metallic and silk threads as well as rope and glass beads on linen, celebrates the birth of Prophet Muhammad and focuses on the concept of light, which is central to the Islamic faith.

“For this work, I selected a verse by Ahmed Shawi, the 19th-century Egyptian writer known as the Prince of Poets, that he wrote in tribute to Prophet Muhammad,” Behbehani told Arab News.

“The verse talks about how the good tidings of the prophet’s birth created a path of light out of the darkness, illuminating the world from East to West.”

Behbehani fitted the poetic verse within three panels designed according to Islamic geometric patterns, which are inspired by the domes found on mosques.

“The entire work has been hand-embroidered and references the brick-tile work that was created and designed in Islamic architecture in mosques and other buildings,” she said.

Cairo-based Egyptian artist, Huda Lutfi, has created “Inside the Black Enclosure,” an installation that takes its inspiration from the act performed by millions of Muslim pilgrims on the first and last days of pilgrimage.

The creation of a new embellished covering for the Kaaba is an act of veneration that dates to the early days of the faith. Through her work, Lutfi shows how, as early as the Abbasid period, black became the preferred color for the covering.

Produced with great care and expense, the woven adornment, known as the kiswa, is a paragon of Arabian craftsmanship.

In Lutfi’s work, viewers are invited to walk into the inner space of a dark cubic room, illuminated by black fluorescent lighting. The kiswa, which is meant to protect and adorn the Kaaba’s exterior while displaying the wealth and authority of its patrons, is concealed within the enclosed structure, where it serves a contemplative purpose.

Once inside the area of enclosed darkness, all that can be seen across the black walls is a shimmering white panel on which black inscriptions can be read. The embroidered calligraphy encircling the room is a Qur’anic verse, which reads: “To Allah belongs East and West, for wherever you turn, there is the face of Allah.”

Ultimately, the biennale’s aim is to celebrate and share the meaning of Islam through the art of the past and the present in an attempt to solidify continuity through artistic discourse, combining both the heritage of Islam and its contemporary appropriation.

“With the inauguration of the Islamic Arts Biennale in Jeddah we look forward to the future of Islamic arts, while also reflecting on its rich and diverse past,” Farida Al-Husseini, director of the Islamic Arts Biennale, told SPA.

Source: Arab News

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Syria Kurds say arrested more than 100 ISIS suspects

06 January ,2023

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said Friday they had arrested more than 100 “terrorists” in an eight-day operation against ISIS militants.

Kurdish-led forces launched the sweep dubbed Operation Al-Jazeera Thunderbolt last week, after thwarting an ISIS attempt to free fellow militants from prison in Raqa, the extremist group’s former Syrian stronghold.

The Syrian Kurds have been seeking to underline their value as a partner to the West in its campaign against ISIS as NATO ally Turkey keeps up its threats to launch a new cross-border assault against territory under their control.

“During the sweep and raid operations, our forces arrested 154 wanted terrorists... and criminals,” the SDF said in a statement.

They included 102 suspected ISIS cell members and 27 others suspected of providing logistical supplies or propaganda, the statement added.

SDF fighters swept 55 villages and farms in the east as well as “large areas of the Syrian-Iraqi border.”

The SDF said the operation was carried out alongside troops of the US-led coalition, although there was no immediate confirmation from the international force.

It prevented attacks on the main Kurdish cities of Hasaka and Qamishli during the Christmas and New Year holidays, the statement said.

Last week’s foiled prison break in Raqa was the most significant ISIS operation in Syria since a successful break from Ghwayran prison in Hasaka last January.

Dozens of jailed militants escaped and the ensuing clashes killed hundreds.

Three of the suspects detained in the past week’s sweep were implicated in providing bombs and other equipment for the Ghwayran attack, the SDF said.

Although ISIS is a pale reflection of the organization that seized vast swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq and declared a “caliphate” in 2014, it still boasts a network of sleeper cells on both sides of the border that remains capable of carrying out deadly assaults.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UAE sends second shipment of household generators to Ukraine

07 January ,2023

A UAE plane carrying the second shipment of household generators has arrived in Warsaw, Poland, as part of the ongoing assistance sent by the Emirates to help Ukrainian civilians affected by the ongoing crisis.

In December, the UAE announced that it would send 2,500 household generators to civilians affected by the ongoing crisis in Ukraine that has disrupted energy infrastructure and caused power outages, state news agency WAM reported Friday.

The generators will help civilians in the war-torn country to survive the harsh winter conditions.

The first shipment of 1200 generators were sent last month, while the rest was delivered on Friday.

The support is part of $100 million humanitarian aid package to Ukraine, ordered by UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in October last year.

At the time, Reem bint Ebrahim al-Hashimy, minister of state for international cooperation, said the aid stems from the belief of Sheikh Mohamed in the importance of solidarity in times of war and conflict, and the UAE's continued efforts to mitigate the humanitarian impact of the Ukraine crisis.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi doctor at University of California leads research projects for Silicon Valley companies

January 07, 2023

WASHINGTON: Saudi Computer Science Assistant Professor Faisal Nawab, who is based at the University of California, Irvine, has led a research team to develop projects for technology companies in Silicon Valley.

The largest of the projects was for the Meta platform, after the team Nawab led won the 2021 research company award for future technologies to improve the next generation of the Internet, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

“The project aims to process data to build systems around the world to match the huge user data that Meta owns, through protocols and algorithms that communicate efficiently, reduce data differences, and allow me to communicate in a more hierarchical manner,” Nawab said.

Nawab said the other two projects were with a start-up company to develop research ideas in the laboratory to process data in smart cities and universities through products that they transfer. The other was for the game company Roblox to solve the problem of data pressure during vacation periods, in light of the large number of users and the pressure of processing images, data and interaction among game players.

Nawab commended the huge and rapid leap that the Saudi education sector had enjoyed in the past decade, which made local universities compete with their international counterparts in well-known international rankings and raised research production.

He also praised the performance and level of Saudi scholarship students, especially those who received high academic and scientific qualifications from institutions such as King Abdulaziz University, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology; Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Foundation, and Aramco.

Source: Arab News

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Saudi Arabia condemns deadly twin bombings in Somalia

January 06, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Friday strongly condemned and denounced terrorist attacks that targeted civilians in central Somalia, which killed and injured dozens of people earlier this week.

A pair of suicide car bombings in Somalia early Wednesday killed at least 35, including nine members of the same family, in one of the worst attacks by Al-Shabab extremists in retaliation for a government offensive described as “total war.”

Police have said the attackers targeted a military facility in the Mahaas district in the Hiran region, which is at the heart of the government’s offensive against Al-Shabab militants.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirmed Saudi Arabia’s stance with “Somalia and its people against all forms of violence and terrorism, reiterating its total rejection of all criminal acts that target innocent people and attempt to undermine security and stability in Somalia.”

Source: Arab News

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