New Age Islam
Fri Feb 23 2024, 11:04 PM

Islamic World News ( 19 May 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Mosque Committee in Assam Ask People Not To Join Burial for Drug Addicts or Involved In Drugs Trade

New Age Islam News Bureau

19 May 2023

 

Assam mosque committee asks people not to join burial for those addicted to drugs

------

India

Uttarakhand BJP Leader's Daughter Set To Marry Muslim Man; Netizens Furious After Wedding Card

Goes Supreme Court to hear plea challenging ‘scientific survey’ of Gyanvapi Mosque

BJP leaders hold rally in Jaipur to protest land allotment for Muslim boys’ hostel

The Kerala Story: Supreme Court lifts West Bengal's ban on Islamic State film

--------

Southeast Asia

Malaysian church drops legal bid against ‘Allah’ use ban

Indonesia’s communication minister arrested in corruption case

Indonesia steps up trade engagement with Egypt to access larger African market

Identity politics to subside in 2024 elections: Istiqlal Grand Imam

--------

South Asia

7 Bangladeshis named in Forbes Asia 30 under 30 list

Iran’s President Warns Islamic Emirate to Take Water Issue Seriously

Qatar PM: Afghan People Need Intl Help to Avoid 'Internal Crises'

Afghanistan: Ministry of Defense Repairs 3,573 Military Vehicles

$717 Million Needed to Provide Life-Saving Aid to Afghans: UN

Afghanistan Extracts 250 Tons of Oil Daily From Qashqari Wells

--------

North America

US Asks India to Check ‘Continued Targeted Attacks’ On Minorities

Edmonton Police Investigate Alleged Hate Crime against Muslims on Whyte Avenue

CAIR-CA to Host 400+ Activists at 12th Annual Muslim Day at the Capitol

Man arrested in latest in string of mosque vandalism in Minnesota

Man charged after two separate mosque attacks in Scarborough

Case Study: Alt-Platform Discord Havens Islamist and Catholic Extremist Activity

--------

Mideast

Iran executes three men over recent protests across Islamic Republic

Islamic Banking Growth Outpaces Conventional Banks in the UAE

Jordan says storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque, flags march provocative and Israel has no sovereign over Jerusalem

Türkiye 'strongly condemns' storming of Al Aqsa Mosque

Egypt condemns Israeli “Flag march”, storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque

Bahrain condemns Al-Aqsa Mosque storming by Israeli officials and extremists

Palestine Abbas, Mohamed Ramadan meeting spark outrage

Senate Dems Host Event Celebrating Islamic Terrorists Killing Jews

Unless Israel acts, Islamic Jihad will establish rocket cells in Judea and Samaria

--------

Pakistan

66 US Lawmakers Urge Blinken to Push For ‘Democracy’ In Pakistan

‘Ill-Informed’ US Report on Religious Freedom in Pakistan Rejected

Punjab Govt Presents Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Involvement in Terrorism toECP

Peshawar blast leaves one dead, 3 injured

3 more leaders part ways with PTI over May 9 violence

Working to develop Islamic financial ecosystem: SECP

--------

Europe

Hajj: UK Muslims Face '10-Year Wait' As Saudi Arabia Slashes Quota

Blackburn Mosque Volunteers Are Honoured With Mayor's Award

Muslims in UK celebrate a newly-renovated mosque in North of England

Waterbury Public Schools discuss adding Islamic holidays to calendar

Police investigate after beer bottles thrown at Islamic centre

Major fire erupts during Minnesota's sixth mosque attack this year

UK ‘betrayal’ as aid to Afghanistan cut by more than half

UNICEF, Afghan Female Staff Delivering Aid despite Taliban Edicts

--------

Arab World

Saudi Surgeons Successfully Separate Nigerian Conjoined Twins

Jeddah summit another step to enhance Arab solidarity: Qatar envoy to Saudi Arabia

Botswana supports Saudi Arabia’s bid to host World Expo 2030 in Riyadh

Diplomatic Quarter: Norwegian ambassador hails ‘very solid relationship’ with Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia sponsors prizes at world science fair

First Saudi catering conference begins in Makkah

Saudi pavilion on show at Venice Architecture Biennale 2023

--------

Australia

88-Year-Old Australian Doctor Freed 7 Years After Kidnapping By Islamic Extremists In West Africa

--------

Africa

Why I Won’t Pray For Late Murphy Afolabi — Islamic Cleric

10th Senate: MURIC asks Muslim aspirants to withdraw for Southern Christian

Islamic teacher defiles six-year-old female pupil

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/mosque-assam-drug-addicts-burial/d/129810

-----

 Mosque Committee in AssamAsk People Not To Join Burial for Drug Addicts or Involved In Drugs Trade

 

Assam mosque committee asks people not to join burial for those addicted to drugs

------

May 19, 2023

Nagaon: In a bid to tackle drug menace, a mosque and a Qabristan committee in central Assam’s Nagaon district have decided not to participate in the burial of people who die due to consumption of drugs or have been involved in drugs trade the Committee officials.

The executive body of Juria Udmari Balugutia Jame Mosque and Juria Colony Jalah Anchalik Kabristan Committee said it took the decision to fight against drug menace in the area.

Imran Hussain, president of Juria Colony Jalah Anchalik Kabristan Committee told ANI that several youth of their locality are involved in the illegal drug trade and many children have become addicted to drugs.

“On many occasions we appealed to people, youths of our locality who are involved in the illegal drugs trade or addicted to drugs, to give up drugs, but they didn’t listen to our appeal. Police arrested them, but a few months later they came out on bail.

Now we have decided that we will not perform Janaza for such people who are addicted to drugs or involved in the illegal drugs trade and passed away. We want to send a message to our society that we, give up drugs and do good work. We want that, drugs menace should be ended from our society,” Imran Hussain said.

Meanwhile, the executive body of Juria Udmari Balugutia Jame Mosque has also taken a similar decision.

“When a person addicted to drugs or involved in the illegal drugs trade passes away, our Mosque committee will not make a public announcement of that person’s demise.

During the executive body meeting, we have also decided that the Mosque committee will not provide the Janaza carrier and no Imam will perform the Janaza Namaz for such person,” Fazlul Hoque Maral, president of Juria Udmari Balugutia Jame Mosque Committee said.

Notably, the present Assam government under the leadership of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has declared war against drugs and drugs worth more than Rs 900 crore were seized in the state since May 2021.

Source: siasat.com

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

https://www.siasat.com/assam-mosque-committee-ask-people-not-to-join-burial-for-drug-addicts-2469943/

--------

Indonesian Students' Sharia Support Worries Church; Meaning that Pancasila Can Be Replaced with Islamic Sharia Law

 

Students of St. Francis Xavier Senior High School in Ruteng on Flores Island. (Photo supplied)

-----

May 18, 2023

A new survey that said more than 56 percent of high school students across five cities in Indonesia stood for implementing the Islamic Sharia law has caused concern among Church leaders and educators.

"Support for the perception that Pancasila (secular ideology) is not a permanent ideology, meaning that it can be replaced, is also very large, namely 83.3 percent of respondents," according to the survey released on May 17 by the advocacy group Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace in association with the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID).

Father Antonius Benny Susetyo, a member of a presidential unit for promoting communal tolerance, said the findings were worrying because it happened in schools, where Pancasila was one of the concerns.

"All parties, including the Ministry of Education and Culture, must find out why intolerant views are growing in schools," the priest said.

"It is becoming increasingly important that Pancasila education be taught from an early age," he added.

Nearly 974 students (84.9 percent Muslims, 9.6 percent Protestants, and 3.3 percent Catholics) from state-run and private schools in Bandung and Bogor in West Java province, Surabaya in East Java province, Surakarta in Central Java province and Padang in West Sumatra province took part in the survey.

The survey findings show that 20.2 percent of students would not refrain from committing violence in response to insults to their religion and 33 percent of them were willing to defend their religion even at the cost of their lives.

Nearly 61.1 percent of students said that they felt more comfortable if all female students wore headscarves.

Franciscan Father Vinsensius Darmin Mbula, chairman of the National Council for Catholic Education, said the findings were a wake-up call for schools.

"The Ministry of Education and Culture has launched a campaign against intolerance. However, these findings make it clear that there is still a long way to go,” the priest told UCA News.

Retno Listyarti from the Federation of Indonesian Teachers' Union who is also a former member of the Indonesian Child Protection Commission, said learning in the classroom is not designed to respect differences.

“Teachers and students sometimes get stuck in passive intolerance," she said.

She said radicalism has entered schools as extracurricular activities of students are not monitored.

"As many as 51.8 percent of students agreed that the US, Britain and Australia are a threat to Indonesian religion and culture," according to the survey.

Halili Hasan, Setara’s executive director, said the survey was worrying because the number of students who were actively intolerant had almost doubled from 2.4 percent in the previous survey in 2016, while those exposed to radicalism were as much as 0.3 percent.

Setara and INFID have asked the Ministry of Education and Culture to continue to improve the quality and distribution of its programs to all levels of education.

Source: ucanews.com

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

https://www.ucanews.com/news/indonesian-students-sharia-support-worries-church/101355

--------

Bangladesh PM, Sheikh Hasina, Urges Islamic Scholars to Stand Boldly Against Militancy & Terrorism

 

File image of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina PID

-----

 19 May 2023

DHAKA, May 19, 2023 (BSS) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon the Hajj pilgrims and Alem-Ulema (Islamic scholars) to move forward to contribute in building a modern and knowledge-based developed nation by keeping the children away from militancy and terrorism.

 "I urge you (Hajj pilgrims) and Alem-Ulema to stand boldly against militancy and terrorism so our children can stay aside from it and equip with modern-technology to build a developed Bangladesh," she said.

 The premier made this call while inaugurating Hajj Programme-2023 (1444 Hijri) at the Hajji Office in the capital's Ashkona area as the chief guest.

 She said Islam is a religion of peace and it is always a religion of welfare of people which ensures the rights of people.

Mentioning that Islam is being denounced because of few people, who perpetrate militancy and terrorism in the name of Islam, she said, "Actually those people who create militancy and terrorism they have no religion."

 Sheikh Hasina noted that the people who are creating militancy and terrorism exist in all religions.

 "If someone thinks they will go to heaven by killing innocent people, it will never happen. Almighty Allah didn't say it, and our Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) also didn't say it," she said.

Sheikh Hasina continued that "Our Islam is the best religion of the world and these few people are becoming the reason for denouncement of Islam."

She opined that everybody has to take initiative to stop these people from doing this (heinous) job.

"All of us have to be aware of our children," she added.

The Prime Minister also sought doa from the hajj pilgrims for her younger daughter Sheikh Rehana and other family members.

 "My biggest demand to you (hajj pilgrims) is that you people will pray for my people of Bangladesh so that none could play ducks and drakes with the fate of them," the premier said.

 She also urged the hajj pilgrims to pray for keeping Bangladesh and its people protected from any manmade or natural disaster.

"I would like to request you to pray so that any disaster or crisis -either it manmade or natural calamity- can't damage Bangladesh and the people of Bangladesh," Sheikh Hasina said.

The Prime Minister said manmade disaster alongside natural calamity happens in Bangladesh as the people are killed here by resorting to arson violence and setting transport vehicles on fire.

 She asked the pilgrims to pray so that the development and the current progress of Bangladesh would continue in the future.

The first hajj flight is scheduled to depart from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport for Saudi Arabia at 2:45am on Saturday.

This year, a total of 122,221 pilgrims from Bangladesh are going to perform the holy hajj. The number of hajj pilgrims from Bangladesh was 57,585 last year due to Covid-19 restriction.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, 127,198 pilgrims from Bangladesh performed hajj in 2019.

The Hajj is expected to be held on June 27 depending on the sighting of the moon.

With State Minister for Religious Affairs Md. Faridul Haque Khan, MP in the chair, secretary of the ministry Kazi Enamul Hassan delivered welcome address.

 State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism M Mahbub Ali, Habib Hasan, MP, Saudi Ambassador to Bangladesh Essa Yussef Essa Al Dulaihan and president of Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) Shahadat Hossain Taslim also spoke on the occasion.

 At the outset of the ceremony, a video documentary on Hajj Management was screened.

Source: bssnews.net

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

https://www.bssnews.net/news-flash/126241

--------

US Top Court Shields Twitter, Google from Liability in Islamic State Endorsement Posts

 

Photo: Reuters

----

MAY 19, 2023

The US Supreme Court handed a victory to Twitter and Google on Thursday, saying the social media giants could not be held liable by victims of terrorist attacks for posts that endorsed the Islamic State group.

Crucially, the cases that targeted Google-owned YouTube and Twitter were seen as potential challenges to decades-old legal protections for tech companies.

The justices declined to wade into the debate, indicating that the cases fall outside the scope of the law because the platforms did not in any case “aid and abet" IS terror attacks by hosting postings supportive of the extremist group.

A law known as Section 230 gives internet platforms blanket immunity from any legal fallout of content that comes from a third party, even if it is pushed out as a recommendation by the website.

Section 230, which became law in 1996, is credited with allowing the no-holds-barred expansion of the internet but has increasingly been seen as helping cause the harmful effects of social media on society.

Without it, websites would potentially be open to lawsuits for content posted by users, making the free-wheeling discussions seen on social media subject to much stricter moderation.

A bitterly divided US Congress has failed to update the rules, and many US states are passing their own laws to make platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok more responsible for content.

“Enough is enough… Congress must step in, reform Section 230, and remove platforms’ blanket immunity from liability," said influential Democratic Senator Dick Durbin after the ruling.

- ‘Decline To Address’ -

The justices of the Supreme Court largely evaded the question. They said that the allegations against YouTube and Twitter did not amount to a liable infraction and therefore the debate over section 230 was not pertinent.

“We therefore decline to address the application of Section 230 (in a case) that appears to state little, if any, plausible claim for relief," they said.

The justices however gave no indication on how they could potentially address the immunity issue in the future, nor were their stances on the matter made clear at hearings in February.

Google welcomed the result.

“Countless companies, scholars, content creators and civil society organizations who joined with us in this case will be reassured by this result," said Halimah DeLaine Prado, Google’s general counsel.

An association representing US tech companies said the decision was good news.

“The Court correctly recognized the narrow posture of these cases and declined to rewrite a key tenet of US Internet law, preserving free expression online and a thriving digital economy," said Matt Schruers, head of the Computer & Communications Industry Association.

‘Fight Another Day’ -

The first of the two cases involved a US victim of the 2015 Paris attacks, claimed by the IS group.

The other case was brought by the family of a victim of a 2017 attack by the group on an Istanbul nightclub.

The family alleged that Twitter’s failure to take down and stop recommending IS tweets constituted aiding an act of terror.

The Supreme Court declines to hear the vast majority of the cases that come its way, and experts had predicted that by opting to decide on this one justices could be willing to modify the increasingly contested landmark law.

But in the hearings, the justices largely expressed doubts that the case would be fit to begin a debate about reworking Section 230.

Source: news18.com

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

https://www.news18.com/world/us-top-court-shields-twitter-google-from-liability-in-islamic-state-endorsement-posts-7856269.html

--------

Mutual Jewish-Muslim Scholarly Influence Explored At Dubai Conference

 

The "Interacting Philosophies, Shared Friendships" conference stage at the Crossroads of Civilization Museum in Dubai, May 3, 2023. (

(Photo credit: Omnia Al Desoukie/The Media Line)

-------

MAY 19, 2023

Scholars from New York’s Yeshiva University and Abu Dhabi’s Mohamed Bin Zayed University for Humanities held an academic conference at the Crossroads of Civilization Museum in Dubai in early May, the first such conference to be held between the two universities.

For more stories from The Media Line go to themedialine.org

Titled “Interacting Philosophies, Shared Friendships,” the conference discussed how medieval Muslim and Jewish scholars had influenced each other, focusing especially on the impact of 12th-century Muslim scholar Ibn Rushd on Jewish sage Moses Maimonides.

“Academic collaboration is a zone that can and should be apolitical,” said Rabbi Dr. Stuart Halpern, senior advisor to the provost at Yeshiva University and deputy director of the university’s Zahava and Moshael Straus Center of Torah and Western Thought.

The golden age between Jews and Muslims

He said the Middle Ages are considered a Golden Age between Jews and Muslims, and “we want to show how scholarship uncovered, through history, our shared values.”

The conference brought faculty members and students from both universities together in the United Arab Emirates. The Yeshiva University students flew in “to learn about the culture that exists here, one of tolerance, and to be exposed to the possibility of what the future holds,” Halpern said.

“I think it’s very easy to get caught up in the sound bite culture that social media is in love with, this idea that you can somehow summarize complicated things in a span of a tweet,” he said.

“We are trying to show people that when we were together centuries ago, we were living the best lives together. The Middle East was the shrine of values,” the founder of the Crossroads of Civilizations Museum, Ahmed Almansoori, told the conference. He said the event aimed to encourage a new way of thinking in the Middle East, “how we can change the game from a zero-sum game to a win-win game.”

Almansoori hosted the first Holocaust memorial in the region, in 2021, and collects Jewish artifacts from the Middle East. The first cultural event between Muslims and Jews at the museum took place in 2020 under the title “Rebuilding the Tent of Abraham.”

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan, a regular visitor to Dubai since the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020, said that bringing Yeshiva University to the UAE was “a real treat.” Describing the work of the museum, she said: “We have real partners here in the region for everything we want to do.”

Hassan said that Ibn Rushd and Maimonides are examples of the “bridgers” needed in the region.

“It is interesting to see the similarities between Ibn Rushd and Maimonides,” said Yeshiva University student Ruchama Benhamou, 20. “They both analyze Aristotelian philosophy in a different way and come to different conclusions about faith, and it’s fascinating to know their journeys and how they came to that.”

And another Yeshiva University student, Penina Spearman, 22, said: “I am really interested in philosophical texts and I happen to really like Maimonides. He was very entrenched in the Arab world, so to see where that scholarship has come from is very interesting.”

The Israeli consul general in Dubai, Liron Zaslansky, also addressed the event, saying: “Our cultures, though we come from the same place, are different, and we need dialogue.”

Source: jpost.com

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

https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/article-743573

--------

 

India

 

Uttarakhand BJP Leader's Daughter Set To Marry Muslim Man; Netizens Furious After Wedding Card Goes viral

May 19, 2023

By India Today News Desk: The wedding card of the daughter of a BJP leader has taken social media by storm. The bride is the daughter of Yashpal Benam from the Pauri region in Uttarakhand. The leader is drawing criticism from the masses as his daughter is marrying a Muslim man.

The photo of the card has gained traction on social media, with both supporters and opponents of the BJP criticising Benam.

While Hindutva hardliners are trolling the former MLA and the saffron party alleging “double standards", others are calling the marriage an attempt of "Love Jihad", comparing it with the recently released controversial movie The Kerala Stories.

“The BJP-ruled states are making films like ‘The Kerala Story’ tax-free while here a BJP leader’s daughter is marrying a Muslim man. These are double standards of the BJP and party workers will get demoralised,” said a Facebook user.

“Love jihad” is a term often used by BJP leaders as well as right-wing activists to allege a ploy by Muslim men to lure Hindu women into religious conversion through marriage.

Speaking to India Today, officials from the Pauri Temple Committee said, "It is a matter of concern. Getting daughters of Hindu families married to men from other religions is a part of propaganda. In India, the laws on conversion are being altered, the tombs built for and by people of other communities on government properties are being demolished by the Centre. Still, BJP's own leaders are getting their daughters married to a Muslim man," one of the committee members said.

He further said that people from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal should oppose this.

"BJP is a party for the protection of Hindus. It should immediately expel such people from the party," the man added.

People close to Yashpal Benam, on condition of anonymity, said that his daughter studied at Lucknow University and was in a relationship with the man whom she is going to marry.

The wedding is slated to take place at a resort in Pauri on May 28. Benam is the chairman of the Pauri Municipal Corporation. He was earlier with the Congress and won as an independent from the Pauri Assembly constituency in 2007.

Political leaders from both the BJP and the Congress have been invited to the wedding.

Source: indiatoday.in

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/bjp-leader-daughter-muslim-man-wedding-card-viral-netizens-furious-love-jihad-2381248-2023-05-19

--------

 

Supreme Court to hear plea challenging ‘scientific survey’ of Gyanvapi Mosque

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala agreed to list the plea for hearing on Friday after taking note of the submissions of senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing the Gyanvapi mosque management committee.

May 19, 2023

gyanvapiDuring a videographic survey, a structure — claimed to be a “Shivling” by the Hindu side and a “fountain” by the Muslim side — was found in the mosque premises on May 16 last year.

The Supreme Court on Friday will hear a plea challenging the Allahabad High Court order of conducting a “scientific survey” that included carbon dating, to determine the age of a ‘Shivling’ allegedly found at the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi.

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala agreed to list the plea for hearing on Friday after taking note of the submissions of senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing the Gyanvapi mosque management committee.

“The Allahabad High Court has passed an order pending the appeal,” news agency PTI quoted Ahmadi as saying.

Setting aside a lower court order, the Allahabad High Court on May 12 ordered a “scientific survey”, including carbon dating, of a “Shivling” said to have been found at the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi during a videographic survey last year.

During the survey, a structure — claimed to be a “Shivling” by the Hindu side and a “fountain” by the Muslim side — was found in the mosque premises on May 16 last year.

delhi, delhi chikungunya, chikungunya cases, chikungunya cases delhi, sheila dixit, delhi chikungunya, chikungunya deaths, chikungunya casualties, chikungunya delhi, india news, delhi news, indian express

After the Varanasi District Judge rejected their application for a scientific survey and carbon dating of the “Shivling” on October 14, 2022, petitioners Laxmi Devi and three others filed a plea in the High Court, challenging the order.

Source: indianexpress.com

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/gyanvapi-mosque-scientific-survey-supreme-court-plea-8617543/

--------

 

BJP leaders hold rally in Jaipur to protest land allotment for Muslim boys’ hostel

18 May, 2023

Jaipur, May 18 (PTI) BJP leaders in Jaipur’s Sanganer led a march on Thursday and the local market was shut in protest over the allotment of land for a hostel being built here for Muslim boys.

The shutdown call was given by the Sanganer Bachao Sangarsh Samiti, which is demanding the cancellation of the allotment.

According to BJP MLA from Sanganer Ashok Lahoti, the hostel is being built by the Waqf Board on land given “free” by the housing board to the state’s minorities commission.

Jaipur MP Ramchandra Bohra took part in the rally as well which saw placard-wielding protesters march from the Pinjarapol Gaushala to the Sector-5 Housing Board office and submit a memorandum.

“Earlier, the land was allotted for Haj House near the site. We protested, and the state government had to bow down and cancel the allotment,” Bohra claimed.

“Over 90 per cent of people living in the area are Hindus and work is going on to build a hostel for another community. This cannot be allowed,” the MP added.

Lahoti claimed, “Peace-loving people of the area will accept this at all. The Congress has affection for a particular community. We have given suggestions to allot land for the hostel where the Muslim population lives.” “The Congress is indulging in appeasement by allotting land worth crores for free to a community for building a 1,000-bed hostel in an area where 99 per cent of the population are Hindus,” the legislator alleged. PTI AG IJT IJT

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Source: theprint.in

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

https://theprint.in/india/bjp-leaders-hold-rally-in-jaipur-to-protest-land-allotment-for-muslim-boys-hostel/1581856/

--------

 

The Kerala Story: Supreme Court lifts West Bengal's ban on Islamic State film

India's Supreme Court has stayed a ban imposed by West Bengal state on a controversial film that shows three women from the country joining the Islamic State group.

The court also asked the film's makers to add a disclaimer that the film is "a fictionalised version of events".

The Kerala Story was banned in West Bengal last week.

The state government said the decision was in the interests of maintaining peace.

The film's makers say The Kerala Story is based on years of research, but critics have called it propaganda.

In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, an association of multiplex owners had also said they would stop screening the film, citing protests and low audiences.

The film's makers approached the Supreme Court against the ban in West Bengal and the move by multiplex owners, which they called a "de facto ban" against their work.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court asked authorities in Tamil Nadu to provide adequate security at theatres for people to see the film safely.

It also directed authorities in West Bengal not to take any steps to prevent screenings of the film.

The Kerala Story - based in the southern state of Kerala - had sparked controversy months before its release.

In its teaser, released in November, an actress had claimed that her character was one among 32,000 women from the state who had joined Islamic terror groups.

But after criticism and legal challenges, the makers updated the film's description on YouTube to the "compilation of the true stories of three young girls from different parts of Kerala".

In its Thursday's order, the Supreme Court asked the makers to add two disclaimers to the film as well - one which said that the was "a fictionalised version of events" and another saying that "there is no authentic data to back up the suggestion that the figure of converted people is 32,000 or any other figure".

The court said that it will watch the film before hearing other petitions against it in July.

After West Bengal had announced the ban, some filmmakers and several leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had criticised the move. The BJP is in power nationally but is in the opposition in West Bengal, which is governed by the Trinamool Congress.

Two state governments - Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, both governed by the BJP - have made the film tax-free.

Source: bbc.com

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

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-65559491

--------

 

Southeast Asia

 

Malaysian church drops legal bid against ‘Allah’ use ban

May 18, 2023

An Evangelical church in Malaysia has decided to discontinue its 16-year-long legal battle against a 1986 government ban on the use of the word ‘Allah’ in Christian publications for its Bahasa Malaysia-speaking members.

Sidang Injil Borneo (Evangelical Church of Borneo) based in Sabah state announced in a notice its decision to discontinue the court case against the Home Ministry, Malay Mail reported on May 17.

The court case was filed after the Home Ministry seized and withheld the church’s Christian education materials that carried the word “Allah” in 2007.

Allah is the word for god in the local language, Bahasa Malaysia, but Muslims maintain non-Muslims should not use it because it is exclusively reserved for the God of Muslims.

The church filed the case after the Home Ministry refused to return three boxes of books, only meant for the church’s children and not for sale, the report said.

The notice of discontinuance was confirmed by the church’s president Reverend Jerry Dusing.

The case was one of three high-profile cases from the Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Christian community challenging the government's ban on the use of the word "Allah" in Christian publications in Malaysia.

In March last year, following a legal battle for more than a decade, Malaysia’s High Court allowed the use of words including “Allah” by Christians and other non-Muslim communities for religious and educational purposes.

During the ruling, High Court judge Nor Bee Ariffin said the ban conflicted with the constitutional rights of religious freedom.

"There is no such power to restrict religious freedom under Article 11. Religious freedom is absolutely protected even in times of threat to public order,” the judge noted.

The verdict came 13 years after Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, a Christian from Sarawak state, filed a petition with the court for her right to use the word “Allah” for religious practices.

She moved court after the Malaysian government seized eight educational compact discs (CDs) that contained the word “Allah” at an airport in 2008 on her return from Indonesia.

In 2007, the Home Ministry banned the local Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald, from using the word "Allah" in its Bahasa Malaysia section.

The Catholic Church won at the High Court in 2009, but the Court of Appeal in 2013 and the Federal Court in a 4-3 decision in 2014 ruled in favor of the Home Ministry and the government, Malay Mail reported.

On January 21, 2015, the Federal Court's five-judge panel declined to have a fresh panel of judges review the 4-3 decision, it added.

With the Evangelicals dropping the case, there are no outstanding court cases involving Christians seeking the right to use the word “Allah.”

Malay-speaking Christians have been using Allah to address their God for generations, the report said.

Research studies found that the word "Allah" has been documented as having been used in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia in Christian publications since the 17th century.

However, Islamic radical groups opposed the use of the word by non-Muslims.

The ban on the use of Allah by non-Muslims was introduced during the time of an UMNO-led coalition government that ruled Malaysia since its independence from Britain in 1957. The coalition was ousted in the historic election of 2018.

In 2010, amid trials in Jill’s case, racial Islamic groups staged violent protests in which they firebombed and vandalized 11 churches in Malaysia.

Malaysia is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation with an estimated population of 33.5 million. More than 60 percent of the population are Muslims while Christians make up about 10 percent.

The majority of Christians are based in Sabah and Sarawak states, where they make up about two-thirds of the population.

Source: ucanews.com

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

https://www.ucanews.com/news/malaysian-church-drops-legal-bid-against-allah-use-ban/101358

--------

 

Indonesia’s communication minister arrested in corruption case

17 May 2023

Indonesia’s communication and information technology minister has been arrested in a corruption case related to a telecommunications project that resulted in a loss of more than $500m to the state exchequer.

Johnny G Plate was taken into custody on Wednesday after showing up for questioning at the attorney general’s office in the capital, Jakarta, said Kuntadi, the director of investigation at the prosecutor’s office.

Footage showed Plate leaving the prosecutor’s office in handcuffs and wearing a detainee pink vest. He did not respond to journalists’ questions.

If he is formally charged, it may further tarnish President Joko Widodo’s credibility when it comes to fighting corruption. Most recently, his social affairs and fisheries ministers were jailed in 2021 on corruption charges.

The project was initiated at the end of 2020 to handle more than 7,900 dark spots in mobile coverage in Indonesia’s outermost, underdeveloped and remote areas of Papua, Sulawesi, Borneo, Sumatra and East Nusatenggara. Due to be completed this year, the ministry data showed that only 4,200 locations have received the equipment so far.

It is believed that the corruption case cost the state 8 trillion rupiahs ($539m), said Muhammad Yusuf Ateh, head of the development finance control at the prosecutor’s office. He said the losses included fictitious payments for the base stations that have not been built.

“Based on today’s investigation, we concluded there has been sufficient evidence that he [Plate] was involved in a base transceiver stations corruption case,” said the AGO’s investigation director for extraordinary crimes, Kuntadi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

Plate was apprehended along with five other suspects, including three from the private sector, after some 60 people were questioned about the procurement process.

His arrest also sparked speculation over the fate of his NasDem Party, which is part of the government coalition with seven others. NasDem had earlier endorsed a popular opposition politician, Anies Baswedan, as a presidential candidate in 2024. Widodo has referred to the party as an “outsider” in the coalition.

According to global corruption watchdog Transparency International, Indonesia dropped four points on its corruption perception index last year to 110 out of 180 countries.

Source: aljazeera.com

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

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/5/17/indonesias-communication-minister-arrested-in-corruption-case

--------

 

Indonesia steps up trade engagement with Egypt to access larger African market

May 18, 2023

JAKARTA: Indonesia is increasing its trade engagement with Egypt as a gateway for exports to other African countries, its trade minister said on Thursday, following an official trip to Cairo.

Zulkifli Hasan led a trade delegation to the North African country this week as Jakarta seeks to explore export potential in non-traditional markets on the continent.

“(Egypt) is a gateway country to access other African countries,” Hasan told Arab News. “The trip to Egypt was smooth and successful as it strengthened relations between the two countries.”

During his trip Hasan held talks with Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Ahmed Samir with whom he signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint trade committee with the aim of boosting commercial relations.

Hasan said Indonesia wanted meetings under the committee to take place soon so the two countries could “start identifying and discussing bilateral issues.”

“We both agreed that bilateral trade is not yet optimal and there is a need to find breakthroughs,” he said.

“We also agreed that the JTC will be the first step to discuss an Indonesia-Egypt PTA, which we hope will further boost trade relations between our two countries.”

A preferential trade agreement would stimulate trade by reducing or eliminating tax duties on certain goods.

Two-way trade between the countries totaled $1.57 billion last year, with palm oil, coffee beans and coconut oil being Indonesia’s main exports to Egypt.

Coffee beans were in high demand in the North African nation, Hasan said, making the sector a potential growth market for Indonesian exporters.

Indonesia is the world’s fourth-largest coffee producer, accounting for about 7 percent, and the second largest in Asia, after Vietnam.

Also during Hasan’s visit, Indonesian and Egyptian businesses signed preliminary agreements with a potential value of more than $865 million.

Source: arabnews.com

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2306151/world

--------

 

Identity politics to subside in 2024 elections: Istiqlal Grand Imam

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Grand Imam of the Istiqlal Mosque Nasaruddin Umar said the massive instrumentalization of identity politics witnessed in the 2019 General Elections (Pemilu) would subside in the upcoming 2024 Parliamentary and.Presidential Elections.

"God willing, I believe that the use of it (identity politics) will subside," Umar told journalists at the General Elections Commission (KPU) office in Jakarta, Friday, after chairing a hearing session of several leaders of high religious assemblies to the KPU.

According to the grand imam, the use of identity politics, especially in terms of religious affinity, would experience a decline in the 2024 elections, as the public today has gained a deeper maturity about religion and politics.

"The Indonesian public's maturity in religious and political affairs is getting better. We can now see people from different political parties having dinner together, even covering each other's bill," he stated.

Earlier, after chairing the hearing session, the imam stated that the KPU, along with several religious figures from religious high assemblies, agreed to work in collaboration to ensure that the 2024 elections did not disrupt harmony and interfaith concord in the homeland.

"This is a new tradition that we will exercise under the cooperation between religious high assemblies and KPU. I believe these are unprecedented efforts wherein we strive to find a way, so that people do not drag their religious emotion too far just to fight for a short-term interest," he pointed out.

He affirmed that this cooperation aims to ensure that the festival of democracy did not instead become an obstacle to the efforts to foster interfaith harmony in the nation.

To follow up on the cooperation agreement, Umar remarked that religious leaders would proceed to give directives to members of religious assemblies at the regional level to encourage the society to refrain from bringing in their religious emotions into the 2024 elections.

"It is necessary to ensure that people do not use their religious emotion out of place only for the sake of a momentarily interest," he stressed.

Moreover, he said, religious leaders will provide support to the KPU in the efforts to prompting contesting candidates of the elections to not use worship places as their stage to carry out their campaign.

The imam also invited all related parties to participate in the festival of democracy without committing anything that may interfere with the interfaith brotherhood in Indonesia.

Source: en.antaranews.com

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

https://en.antaranews.com/news/282210/identity-politics-to-subside-in-2024-elections-istiqlal-grand-imam

--------

 

South Asia

 

7 Bangladeshis named in Forbes Asia 30 Under 30 list

18 May 2023

DHAKA, May 18, 2023 (BSS) - Seven Bangladeshis under the age of 30 have taken place in the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia 2023 list for their contributions in three areas- consumer technology; media, marketing and advertising; and social impact.

The Bangladeshis who named in this year's list are: Tasfia Tasbin and Rubaiyat Farhan, founders of Markopolo.ai under Media, Marketing and Advertising category, Jahnnobi Rahman, Co-founder of Relaxy; and Anowar Sayef and Saraban Tahura, founders of Turtle Venture Studio under Social Impact category, and Aziz Arman, founder of Jatri and Diptha Saha, cofounder of Agroshift Technologies under Consumer Technology category.

Tasfia Tasbin and Rubaiyat Farhan:

Tasbin and Farhan are founders of the startup Markopolo.ai, which offers digital marketing solutions for small- and mid-sized enterprises, allowing firms to quickly generate ad copy and seamlessly cross-post on social media. The company's subscription-based app uses machine-learning models, which can recognize patterns, to make predictions on an ad's performance and peak conditions to post. It also has a massive consumer dataset to help businesses automate and optimize social media ads, create content and reach receptive audiences.

Jahnnobi Rahman:

A recent computer science graduate, Jahnnobi Rahman cofounded Relaxy to provide a convenient digital solution to a growing number of young Bangladeshis dealing with mental health issues. Relaxy offers free options like mood check-ins and meditations, but earns revenue from virtual therapy sessions on-demand for an affordable price. The company plans to introduce subscription services on its app to cater to users' schedules and needs. Its app recently was named second runner-up in Huawei's ICT Incubator 2022 in Bangladesh and has been downloaded by over 15,000 users.

Anowar Sayef and Saraban Tahura:

Tahura and Sayef are cofounders of Turtle Venture, Bangladesh's first venture studio that supports and encourages local entrepreneurs. Since 2018, it has worked with 90 startups, helping them raise over $15 million in seed capital. In addition to running accelerator programs for women in technology, Turtle Venture also runs a program called "Young Turtle" that promotes entrepreneurship among university students.

Aziz Arman:

Arman cofounded Jatri to help solve the chaotic transportation problem in Bangladesh with the help of technology. Last year, the Dhaka Bus Owners' Association agreed to use the startup e-ticketing system for 5,650 public buses operating in the capital city, a move expected to ensure fair pricing for consumers. Jatri also offers chartered and car rental services. In 2021, the company raised $1.2 million pre-seed series A from investors like Reflect Ventures, Brain-Too-Free Ventures and SBK tech venture, which bring its total funding to $5.25 million to date.

Diptha Saha:

Saha is cofounder and COO of the Agroshift Technologies, an agricultural supply chain platform, established in 2022. Agroshift enables businesses to source directly from farmers, reducing costs for consumers and helping farmers to get a fair price. Last year, the agritech company won H&M's STITCH for RMG Global Innovation Challenge, which aims to improve the livelihoods of women in the garment sector. In October, it raised $1.8 million in a pre-seed round led by Shorooq Partners and Anchorless Bangladesh, reportedly the largest such funding in the country so far.

From 2016 to 2022, a total of 25 Bangladeshis were named to the list for their exceptional efforts across a diverse range of categories. This year, seven Bangladeshis under the age of thirty were recognised for their contributions.

Source: bssnews.net

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

https://www.bssnews.net/news/top-news/126122

--------

 

Iran’s President Warns Islamic Emirate to Take Water Issue Seriously

18-05-23

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi said that the current Afghan government should ensure Iran's water rights of the Helmand River based on international treaties, Iranian media reported.

Addressing reporters during a visit to Sistan and Balouchestan province on Thursday, Raisi said the current Afghan authorities should "immediately" provide Iran with its share of water.

“I will remind the rulers of Afghanistan that they should not regard our demand as being ordinary and must take it very seriously,” Raisi said.

Rights to water from the Helmand River has recently become a contentious issue between Iran and Afghanistan.

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian called on the current Afghan government to open the floodgates of the Kajaki Dam so that both the people of Afghanistan and Sistan will have access to water.

Regarding the issue of water, acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi stressed that Afghanistan’s stance is based on the water treaty between the two countries, said Takal, the deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hafiz Zia Ahmad Takal.

Takal said the acting foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, held a telephone conversation with Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, during which the two sides stressed the need for cooperation in the fields of commerce, energy, power, railways, the border, water and Afghan refugees in Iran.

“We have a water treaty of 1973 with the Iran Islamic Republic and we will be committed to it in the future as well,” said Matiullah Abid, a spokesman for the Ministry of Energy and Water.

The political analysts said that Afghanistan and Iran should solve the problem of Helmand water rights through diplomatic paths.

“To remove any kind of dispute and misunderstanding, it is better that the technical delegations from the two sides have their meetings through diplomatic paths and investigate the issue seriously,” said Hamidullah Yalani, former head of Water Management.

According to the 1973 treaty, Afghanistan is committed to sharing water from the Helmand River with Iran at the rate of 26 cubic meters of water per second, or 850 million cubic meters per annum.

Source: tolonews.com

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

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-183419

--------

 

Qatar PM: Afghan People Need Intl Help to Avoid 'Internal Crises'

18-05-23

The Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani said that in his meeting with the German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, there was emphasized “the necessity" for the "international community to cooperate to strengthen the capabilities of the people and enable them to avoid any internal crises."

The German Foreign Minister arrived in Qatar and met the country’s officials, including Al Thani.

According to a statement of Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, “both sides stressed the importance of having the international community continue cooperating to enhance the capabilities of the people and empower them against any internal crises, and the importance of moving forward in building peace, respecting human rights, especially women's rights, providing education for girls and achieving development for all segments of Afghan society.”

Al Thani earlier visited Kandahar province where he held talks with the Islamic Emirate’s Prime Minister, Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, who has currently not active in this position due to illness.

“The current government of Afghanistan can also reach itself to the level of the world within a structure which is described by Islam,” said Maisuam Kazemi, political analyst.

The Islamic Emirate welcomed Qatar’s stance toward cooperation with Afghanistan, saying that the interim government is trying to resolve the concerns of human rights in Afghanistan.

“The Islamic Emirate is committed to making efforts to address concerns that exist regarding human rights as well, and we are trying to find a solution for the issues which have yet to be solved,” said Zabiullah Mujahid.

Earlier, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said that Qatar has been trying to create a political path between Afghanistan and the international community.

Source: tolonews.com

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

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-183414

--------

 

Afghanistan: Ministry of Defense Repairs 3,573 Military Vehicles

By Fidel Rahmati

May 19, 2023

 The ministry also said that the repaired vehicles are ready for operation and are at the logistical support base of the 201 Khalid Ibn Walid Army Corps in Laghman province, Afghanistan.

In addition to the repaired vehicles, the ministry added that 11 tanks from the 303 Central army corps were also repaired and are ready for operation.

Earlier in March, the Taliban defence ministry had also confirmed that the group had repaired around 300 military vehicles. 

According to the ministry, American forces damaged these vehicles when they withdrew from the country in August 2021.

The Defense Ministry regularly announces the repair of the military vehicles left by the US forces in Afghanistan.

According to US officials, more than seven billion dollars worth of military equipment has been left behind in the country after the withdrawal of their troops.

The US also expressed concern over the use of military equipment by terrorist groups or would be accessed by its rivals, China and Russia.

Earlier, several reports indicated that the Taliban might ask for help from Russia and China to repair the damaged military vehicles in Afghanistan.

Source: khaama.com

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

https://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-ministry-of-defense-repairs-3573-military-vehicles/

--------

 

$717 Million Needed to Provide Life-Saving Aid to Afghans: UN

May 19, 2023

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that Afghans will face unprecedentedly high levels of challenges including food insecurity, lack of water, diseases and natural disasters in the coming months.  

UN OCHA in a tweet said that the organization needs roughly $717.4 until June 2023, to provide essential aid to vulnerable families across Afghanistan.  

OCHA states that $450 million of the total fund will be spent on providing food and agricultural facilities for people in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, much of the funds will be invested in providing safe drinking water and healthcare services in remote rural parts of the country.

This comes as the volume of international humanitarian aid to Afghanistan has decreased in the past months. This is partly due to the caretaker regime’s reluctance to protect and respect the rights of Afghan women, girls, religious groups and ethnic minorities.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) latest assessment of 2022, data estimating 34 million Afghans were living below the poverty line.

Since the return of the Taliban to power in August 2021, poverty, hunger, security and economic challenges have led to a humanitarian crisis, making the living conditions further complicated for ordinary people who are struggling for survival across the country.

Source: khaama.com

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

https://www.khaama.com/717-million-needed-to-provide-life-saving-aid-to-afghans-un/

--------

 

Afghanistan Extracts 250 Tons of Oil Daily From Qashqari Wells

May 19, 2023

According to the ministry, three more wells have now been operational, along with four previously active wells. Daily oil extraction from these wells amounts to 250 tons (more than 1,800 barrels), and more than 17,000 tons of oil have been refined.

 “Our extraction level is currently 250 tons per day, which was 200 tons in the past,” stated Homayoun Afghan, a Ministry spokesman.

“13,669 tons of raw oil have been refined in the Qashqari area and 3,659 tons in the Angot area.”

The Qashqari oil field in the north of the country, which consists of the three regions of Aqdaria, Qashqari, and Angut, covers a total area of 1723 square km.

19.6 million tons of oil can be used from this field, and in the not-too-distant future, if additional wells are drilled, that amount of oil will be extracted from it and will reach nearly 1000 tons in one day.

According to the Engineer of Qashqari Oil, the extraction of the Qashqari oil has been halted since 2018; however, since the de facto authorities’ return, the oil extraction has been contracted to the Chinese National Company.

It should be noted that the provinces of Sar-e-pul, Faryab, and Jawzjan in the country’s north contain most of the nation’s estimated 120 million tons of proven oil reserves.

Source: khaama.com

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

https://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-extracts-250-tons-of-oil-daily-from-qashqari-wells/

--------

 

North America

 

US Asks India to Check ‘Continued Targeted Attacks’ On Minorities

16 May 2023

The United States wants India to condemn persistent religious violence, says a senior government official, a month before a state visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The US State Department on Monday released its annual report on religious freedom which listed attacks against religious minorities including Muslims and Christians in the world’s most populous nation.

A senior US official, briefing journalists on the report on condition of anonymity, spoke of India’s “vast potential” and said he was “saddened” by the “continued targeted attacks” on the country’s religious minorities.

“Regarding these concerns, we are continuing to encourage the government to condemn violence and hold accountable [those] who engage in rhetoric that is dehumanising towards religious minorities,” the official said.

Among the concerns the official noted was “open calls for genocide against Muslims, lynching and other hate-fuelled violence, attacks on places of worship and home demolitions, and in some cases impunity and even clemency for those who have engaged in attacks on religious minorities”.

The official promised to speak “directly” with Indian officials and said: “We will continue to work very closely with our civil society colleagues on the ground [and] with courageous journalists that are working every day to document some of these abuses.”

The State Department report, based on direct research as well as accounts by media and advocacy groups, pointed to concerns about home demolitions against Muslims and public flogging by police of Muslims in Gujarat, Modi’s home state.

Muslims comprise nearly 14 percent of India’s 1.4 billion people while Hindus are nearly 80 percent of the population and Christians at 2 percent.

New Delhi has long pushed back against US criticism on religious freedom, particularly by the autonomous US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which earlier this month once again recommended that the State Department put India on a blacklist over its record.

The body, in its annual report, said the Indian government “at the national, state and local levels promoted and enforced religiously discriminatory policies” in 2022. Those included “laws targeting religious conversion, interfaith relationships, the wearing of hijabs [headscarves] and cow slaughter”.

The USCIRF said the US State Department should designate India as a “country of particular concern” on religious freedom because of “systematic, ongoing [and] egregious violations” of religious freedom in the Hindu-majority nation.

Later this year, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will list the “countries of particular concern” but it is virtually certain he will spare India, with which the US has been building warmer relations for decades, partly as a bulwark against China.

Blinken, presenting the report on Monday, did not mention India as he voiced alarm by actions by authorities in China, Iran, Myanmar and Nicaragua.

“We defend the right to believe – or to not believe – not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because of the extraordinary good that people of faith can do in our societies and around the world,” he said.

Source: aljazeera.com

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

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/5/16/us-asks-india-to-check-continued-targeted-attacks-on-minorities

--------

 

Edmonton police investigate alleged hate crime against Muslims on Whyte Avenue

May 18, 2023

City police are investigating an alleged hate crime last week on Whyte Avenue where a man hurled slurs at two Muslim men with an Islam information booth and poured liquid on their holy books.

Edmonton Police Service (EPS) confirmed on social media Wednesday the hate crimes unit has opened an investigation into an incident May 10 on Whyte Avenue. A short video began circulating on social media this week showing a man apparently hurling derogatory comments at two other men before pouring liquid on the literature on top of their information booth.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), and several politicians including Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi, federal Housing, Diversity and Inclusion Minister Ahmed Hussen and Alberta MPs Tim Uppal, Jasraj Singh Hallan and Randy Boissonnault have condemned the incident as Islamophobic and unacceptable.

The video shows two men standing beside a podium with “Know Islam” and “Know Peace” written on the side, set up on a sidewalk north of Whyte Avenue east of 107 Street. A tall, white man wearing a long-sleeved orange and black plaid shirt arrives on a motorcycle and parks near the booth in the Circle K parking lot.

Moments after removing his helmet to reveal short dark hair and a moustache, the man hurls multiple expletives at the two men from several metres away. He dons a black baseball cap, backwards, and curses at them again. He enters the convenience store for about 30 seconds before returning with a beverage.

He stands beside his motorcycle intermittently watching the two men, looking at what appears to be a cellphone, and drinking a beverage for around two mintues. At one point, he removes his long-sleeved shirt, placing it into a compartment on his motorcycle, revealing a black tank top with a white print on the front, and tattooed arms.

He then approaches the booth using derogatory and homophobic language to describe their religion and the prophet Muhammad.

“Why do you guys think anyone wants to hear about your (expletive) prophet, huh? Muhammad is a (expletive),” the man said.

The two men at the booth look away.

“What do you think about that?” the man continues. “He’s a (expletive).”

One of the two Muslim men responds, “I don’t have anything to say (about) that.”

The aggressor then steps forward and pours the remainder of his beverage onto the podium, soaking what appears to be several copies of the Quran. He says “look at that” and, when the container is empty, drops it on the soaked books, then turns, walks away and curses at them again.

One of the Muslim men responds, “Does that make you happy, bro?”

The man walks back to his bike as the two others shake liquid off the wet books and pamphlets. He puts on a helmet and walks toward the two again, appearing to film them with his phone for several seconds. He yells something indistinguishable before driving away.

‘Disturbing’ and ‘unfortunate’: NCCM

Said Omar, Alberta advocacy officer with the National Council of Canadian Muslims, called the incident “very disturbing” and “unfortunate.”

“Anyone in Canada should not feel in any way that they are being targeted for their faith or their beliefs,” he told Postmedia on Thursday. “People should be able to believe in what they want to believe in, and they should be able to express their belief outwardly.”

Hate crimes have increased in Canada in recent years.

Edmonton experienced a rash of hate-motivated attacks predominantly targetting Black Muslim women from late 2020 into 2021. Omar said this incident will be a painful reminder for members of the local Muslim community.

Article content

“I personally believe when these incidents occur it does cause fear in the community, and it does make individuals kind of think twice before they can outwardly express their faith or what they believe.”

He said local communities have a good grasp of current issues and how to solve them, and urges all levels of government to listen and to take their solutions into consideration.

“Hearing from the community members in a meaningful, sustained way is really integral to developing an effective approach to this situation and developing policies and programs to combat these forms of hate.”

He asks anyone with information about this incident, or if they see others, to report it to EPS.

On Twitter, Sohi said there is “no place for Islamophobia in our city, and I vehemently condemn hate-based violence and intimidation.” He said he’s pleased this is being investigated and he stands in solidarity with Edmonton’s Muslim community.

Source: calgarysun.com

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

https://calgarysun.com/news/crime/edmonton-police-investigate-alleged-hate-crime-against-muslims-on-whyte-avenue/wcm/39eb25ec-4ee3-4926-8224-d06b7ae0eb6d

--------

 

CAIR-CA to Host 400+ Activists at 12th Annual Muslim Day at the Capitol

May 18, 2023

(SACRAMENTO, CA – 5/18/2023) – On Monday, May 22, the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) will host its 12th Annual Muslim Day at the Capitol (MDAC) with more than 450 participants expected to attend. 

At MDAC, Muslims from across California will have an opportunity to meet state legislators and their staff to discuss issues of concern and advocate for positive social change.  

This year, attendees will be advocating for SB 309, which protects freedom of religious expression for incarcerated individuals; SB 461, which would provide state employees with time off to observe religious or cultural holidays; and AB 1503, which would provide K-12 students with eight hours of excused absence for religious holidays. 

WHAT: 12th Annual Muslim Day at the Capitol

WHEN: Monday, May 22, 2023, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Press conference: 11–11:30 a.m.; Keynote speech featuring Senator Aisha Wahab: 2 p.m.

WHERE: California State Capitol (1315 10th St, Sacramento, CA)

SPEAKERS:   

CAIR-CA CEO Hussam Ayloush 

Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-San José) 

Senator Dave Cortese (D-Santa Clara) 

Senator Aisha Wahab (D-Hayward)

LIVESTREAM: facebook.com/cairca

CAIR-CA is a chapter of CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims. 

– END –  

Source: cair.com

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

https://www.cair.com/press_releases/cair-ca-to-host-400-activists-at-12th-annual-muslim-day-at-the-capitol/

---------

 

Man arrested in latest in string of mosque vandalism in Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A 42-year-old man is jailed after a mosque in St. Paul was severely damaged by a fire that authorities say was deliberately set — marking the sixth attack on Muslim houses of worship in Minnesota in 2023.

The fire was reported early Wednesday at the Oromo American Tawhid Islamic Center. The suspect was arrested later Wednesday and booked into jail on suspicion of first-degree arson.

Deputy Chief Roy Mokosso said the mosque and a community center were “extensively” damaged. No one was inside the mosque at the time and no injuries were reported.

Jaylani Hussein, executive director for the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said at a news conference Wednesday that mosques across Minnesota should increase their security and asked for police to bolster patrols around them, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

Minnesota Gov. Walz condemned the mosque attacks.

“In the last several months, Minnesota’s Muslim community has experienced several attacks motivated by hate,” Walz said on Twitter. “In Minnesota, we have a zero tolerance policy toward violence. We continue to stand with our Muslim friends and neighbors.”

The fire comes three weeks after several instances of vandalism and arson fires on consecutive days at Muslim mosques in Minnesota.

Source: apnews.com

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

https://apnews.com/article/mosque-arson-minnesota-arrest-13f354f3a0d304aa57680c9c56b0e861

--------

 

Man charged after two separate mosque attacks in Scarborough

May 18, 2023

A 28-year-old man has been charged with multiple offences in an anti-Islamic hate-motivated investigation.

Toronto Police say on April 6, between 5:30 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., they responded to calls at two Scarborough mosques, one located near Lawrence Ave. E. and Markham Rd. and the other close to Lawrence Ave. E. and Midland Ave.

It’s alleged the accused was driving a dark-coloured vehicle and entered the parking lots of both mosques, attempting to hit worshippers and other vehicles.

Police further allege the accused travelled to the Scarborough Town Centre and entered the mall where he harassed and threatened several customers, shouting anti-Islamic and derogatory comments.

Sharan Karunakaran is charged with two counts each of Dangerous Operation of a Conveyance and assault with a weapon, five counts of criminal harassment, uttering threats of bodily harm, assault, indecent exhibition in public place and commit an indecent act with intent to insult/offend another.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-3506, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or at 222tips.com.

Source: torontosun.com

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

https://torontosun.com/news/local-news/man-charged-after-two-separate-mosque-attacks-in-scarborough

--------

 

Case study: Alt-platform Discord havens Islamist and Catholic extremist activity

19 April 2023  

By Jakob Guhl

This Dispatch is based on one of three research case studies from ISD and CASM Technology’s report Researching the Evolving Ecosystem: Telegram, Discord and Odysee. The project investigated research methodologies for monitoring and analysing smaller platforms to better inform the debate around research tools that could be equally systematic, ethical and legal. While the general report outlines the research phase of the project by ISD and CASM, funded by Omidyar Network, here we will focus on the thematic findings from researching Discord (the only English-language case study from the investigation).

_________________________________________________________________________

This Dispatch is based on one of three research case studies from ISD and CASM Technology’s report Researching the Evolving Ecosystem: Telegram, Discord and Odysee. The project investigated research methodologies for monitoring and analysing smaller platforms to better inform the debate around research tools that could be equally systematic, ethical and legal. While the general report outlines the research phase of the project by ISD and CASM, funded by Omidyar Network, here we will focus on the thematic findings from researching Discord (the only English-language case study from the investigation).

Discord is a free video-gaming platform designed to assist gamers in communicating with each other while playing. Since its debut in 2015, Discord’s userbase has grown dramatically; it is currently estimated to have 140 million monthly active users worldwide and a total of 6.7 million active servers (servers are spaces created by communities or individuals and can be public or invitation only).

Even though Discord is primarily aimed at gamers and designed for non-political purposes, the platform’s role in a diverse range of online-subcultures adjacent to extremism and violence has been repeatedly highlighted. Recent examples include the 2022 Buffalo shooting and the Highland Park Parade shooting of that same year. In both cases, the attackers’ digital footprint contained messages left on Discord, including content that documented their planning and preparation. In April 2023, we also saw the case of the US National Guardsmen Jack Teixeira who was arrested after allegedly leaking classified US intelligence files (the so-called ‘Pentagon Files’) to a Discord chat, where he had previously posted racist and violent comments.

As part of a wider project funded by Omidyar Network, ISD aimed to identify the online spaces used by extremist, hate and disinformation actors and communities as they increasingly move away from mainstream social media platforms. During the second phase of this project, ISD tested existing research methodologies to analyse the technical, legal, ethical, and fragmentation barriers that constrain researchers analysing smaller social media platforms: Telegram, Discord and Odysee (in German, English and French respectively). Our full report on the second phase of this project discusses the methodological approaches and their implications for digital policy in-depth.

The English-language research case study focused on Discord communities promoting two types of religious extremism, Catholic extremists and Islamist extremists. We selected these communities as previous research by ISD on Discord had shown that both Islamist extremists and the extreme right have a presence on the platform. Given the increased reporting around a growing interest within the US far right in concepts such as Catholic Integralism and traditionalism, including among adherents of the far-right America First and ‘Groyper’ movements that have mobilised on Discord, [1] ISD chose to focus specifically on hateful and violent content in Catholic Integralist and traditionalist servers. Our findings point towards a significant presence of hateful, anti-democratic and violent content within these communities. 

Overview of the Servers

ISD researchers identified support for Catholic extremist views in 31 servers on Discord, with an overall total of 9,585 followers in late August 2022, and support for Islamist extremism in 16 Discord servers with a cumulative 4,757 followers during the same time frame. 

It should be noted that despite community-building being one of Discord’s main purposes, there is significant diversity within as well as between servers. It is therefore more accurate to say that our analysis focused on Catholic integralism and Islamist extremism activity within Discord servers where other topics are also discussed, rather than servers that are exclusively focused on Catholic integralism or Islamist extremism. Despite this, server rules often state that comments may not violate religious teachings, offend believers or attack religious authorities, and that users may be expelled for breaking these rules. Additionally, irony and gamification (i.e. the application of video game elements to – in this case – facilitate radicalisation, promote extremist views or design extremist or terrorist content) are prominent in most servers. It is often unclear whether users actually support authoritarian religious states or movements or merely find them aesthetically interesting or ‘cool’ [2].

Users in both Catholic extremist and Islamist extremist servers often outline their vision for an ideal society. Sometimes admins will state their positions in the server rules. In line with ISD’s definition of extremism, these utopian visions generally claim the superiority and dominance of one identity-based ‘in-group’ (in this case Catholics or Muslims) over all ‘out-groups’, thereby advancing a world view that appears incompatible with pluralism and universal human rights. The exact form the ideal Catholic state would take is unclear; researchers identified users supporting left-wing anti-capitalist integralists, fascists, monarchists and Christian nationalists, among others.

Among Islamist extremists, calls to re-establish a totalitarian modern version of the Caliphate that would unify all Muslims are also common. In this Caliphate, all aspects of life, including political, scientific and spiritual matters, would be subjugated to Islamist extremist interpretations of Islam. This includes a strict legalist interpretation of the Sharia, comprising corporal punishments and limits on freedom of belief, freedom of expression and the rights of sexual and religious minorities. Sunni Islamist extremists in the analysed Discord servers reserved particular scorn for Shia Muslims, Sufis, atheists and liberal Muslims.

Hateful Rhetoric

The following sections outline different types of hateful and offensive content targeting out-group communities that was identified in the various servers. While the exact shape of an ideal society can be hotly debated, these communities are united by their hate against all out-groups and those regarded as political enemies. Hateful rhetoric targeting groups considered ‘despicable’ or ‘abnormal’ therefore helps these communities to establish what is considered ‘normal’ or ‘based’ [3] and form an in-group identity.’

Some server admins appear aware that the ideological leanings of their communities could come into conflict with Discord’s policies around hate speech or the promotion of violent extremist content. For example, two Catholic servers asked their members in their rules to try to not target protected groups or ‘BAME’ communities (‘Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic’ – this server was likely linked to the UK where this acronym has been most commonly used) to not violate Discord’s Terms of Service (TOS) [4].

Among both Catholic extremist and Islamist extremist users on Discord, hate against LGBTQ+ communities serves as a unifying factor. Despite the ideological divergence on many issues within these servers, there appears to be a near-consensus in the rejection of homosexuality as well as trans rights. During discussions in both extremist servers, users generally articulated what they perceive to be the normative position of their religions.

Antisemitism similarly unites Catholic and Islamist extremist servers on Discord. Both often emphasise religiously grounded antisemitism that draws on persistent, historical forms of antisemitism. While antisemitic narratives among Islamist extremists are at times loosely connected to hatred of Israel, most of the antisemitic content within both Catholic and Islamist extremists on Discord is unconnected to Israel, instead portraying Jews as Satanists (or even controlling Satan), demons, greedy or sub-human. Other content claims that Judaism is not just demonic but also intertwined with advocacy for trans rights; this is a popular talking point in far-right circles, one which argues that Jews are trying to weaken patriarchal societies by undermining binary gender norms.

Opposition to feminism is another unifying factor both within and between Catholic and Islamist extremist servers on Discord. Users often mock feminists or complain about feminists being ‘triggered’ by their views on gender norms. One common angle to attack feminism is claiming that traditional gender and family norms would in fact make women happier while feminist values produce old, childless, lonely and regretful women.

Another more frequent form of opposing feminism and women’s rights found among Catholic extremist servers is opposition to abortion (while there is some diversity of views within Islam as well as among Islamists, opposition to abortion under all circumstances is relatively rare). Users in Catholic servers generally praised the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022, with a left-wing Integralist server even denouncing the right to abortion as ‘individualist and intertwined with liberalism’, arguing that this was why Khrushchev had legalised abortion as part of his ‘de-Stalinisation’ reforms in the 1950s. In some Islamist extremist servers supportive of the Taliban, users also expressed opposition to women’s rights to education. One video dreamed of travelling back in time in order to make sure Malala Yousafzai’s assassins were trained well enough to actually kill her [5]. 

Violent Rhetoric

Violent rhetoric can include a range of content, including implying that violence is necessary; celebrations of, or support for, known violent offenders or groups; calls to join violent movements; non-specific calls for violence or even instructional material and information that could leave individuals or groups exposed to violence.

While there were few specific calls for violence in our Discord analysis, researchers identified a range of unspecific calls for violence, celebrations of violence and posts that implied a need for violence, especially within Islamist extremist servers. For example, users expressed hope that God would allow the Mujahideen (those who engage in Jihad) to kill homosexuals and their supporters, or to initiate an insurgency against the Pakistani state. Some memes portrayed the killings of Westerners or the hanging of Hindus (depicted as Pepe the Frog characters named Pajeet, a derogatory online term used to refer to Indians).

Within Islamist extremist servers, users similarly expressed support for extremist and terrorist organisations, including ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Hamas. This included the sharing of official ISIS and Taliban content (including execution videos) and the creation of their own memes and video game graphics that celebrate extremist or terrorist groups. Interestingly, pro-ISIS content and comments appear to be particularly controversial and tend to trigger more critical reactions than statements supportive of other Islamist extremist movements; for example, the Taliban seem to enjoy more support, with a wide variety of memes celebrating their successful re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in September 2021.

It should be noted that this does not indicate a coherent ideology within the servers analysed. Firstly, the different extremist groups often opposed each other; for example, the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Hamas oppose to ISIS. In the case of Afghanistan, for example, the Taliban and ISIS-K (the Afghan branch of ISIS) are engaged in military combat with each other. Secondly, as previously noted, there is often a diversity of ideological views within servers, and disagreement between users is common. 

Violent rhetoric was less frequent within the Catholic integralist servers analysed. However, users and admins at times implied that there was a need for violence to fight ‘degeneracy and the modern society.’ In one instance, a user similarly shared a quote by 2015 Charleston shooter Dylann Roof that asks readers to start fighting for the ‘white race’ rather than for alleged Jewish interests (see the previous section on Hateful Rhetoric). Lastly, there were some memes shared that centred around the mythical figure of St. James the Moor Slayer and celebrated the killings of Muslims.

Conclusion

Our analysis of Catholic and Islamist extremist Discord servers suggests that there is a small but significant presence of harmful communities that share, at times, very extreme, hateful, anti-democratic and violent content. It should be noted that our findings likely only show a fraction of the true scale of similar activity on the platform, as Discord’s TOS prohibit the collection of user data via its API, thereby limiting researchers to qualitative rather than systematic analysis.  

We contend that platforms should provide permissioned data access to third-party researchers conducting public interest research. Such research on extremist communities is critical to provide the evidence base for policymakers to design legislation and civil society to trial countermeasures to curb the radicalisation within some Discord servers. Data access should be accompanied by clear, consistent and accessible documentation that includes guidance on the types of data that can be collected and sufficient limits on the collection of sensitive personal data to protect user privacy. 

Source: isdglobal.org

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

https://www.isdglobal.org/digital_dispatches/case-study-alt-platform-discord-havens-islamist-and-catholic-extremist-activity/

--------

 

Mideast

 

Iran executes three men over recent protests across Islamic Republic

MAY 19, 2023

Iran executed three men on Friday over recent protests, the judiciary of the Middle East nation said on Twitter.

Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaghoubi were executed in the central city of Isfahan, it said.

They were implicated in the deaths of two members of the Basij paramilitary force and a law enforcement officer.

Source: jpost.com

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

https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/article-743582

--------

 

Islamic banking growth outpaces conventional banks in the UAE

Sunil Singh

May 19, 2023

Islamic banking growth in the UAE outpaced that of conventional banks last year on the back of growing investor demand for Islamic products and deep distribution networks, Fitch Ratings has said.

Islamic banks grew by 8 per cent in 2022, higher than conventional banks, which grew by 3 per cent, the rating agency said in its latest report.

High oil prices and solid economic conditions will continue to support UAE Islamic banks’ credit fundamentals in 2023, limiting the impact of rising profit rates on borrowers, Fitch said.

“Islamic banks in the UAE have a product offering that matches the conventional banks, meaning they can attract non-Islamic customers in addition to those who require Sharia-compliant products,” Bashar Al Natoor, global head of Islamic finance at Fitch Ratings, told The National.

The gross financing/deposits ratio remained stable at 91 per cent at the end of 2022 – still well above that of conventional banks.

Islamic banks continue to be mainly deposit-funded, at 86 per cent of total funding, higher than the conventional banks’ 79 per cent.

Margins were also supported by Islamic banks’ sizeable low-cost current account savings account deposits, reflecting their strong retail franchises, and remained significantly above those of conventional banks.

Islamic banks’ liquidity also remains supported by the wider availability of instruments in the UAE compared to most other countries, Fitch Ratings said.

The UAE has been issuing treasury bonds and sukuk as part of plans to build a local currency bond market and diversify its financial resources.

The first auction of the UAE's dirham-denominated treasury sukuk for this year was oversubscribed by 7.6 times, receiving bids worth Dh8.3 billion ($2.26 billion), the government said last week.

The value of the first auction stands at Dh1.1 billion.

According to Fitch Ratings, this is an important step in the development of the nascent domestic debt capital market.

“It gives all banks more options to invest their liquidity and should help build the domestic yield curve,” it said.

Continued digitalisation will enhance the need for further mergers and acquisitions to defend market share and find cost synergies, particularly among smaller Islamic banks that risk being left behind, it added.

The global Islamic finance industry is expected to grow by about 10 per cent in 2023-2024 despite the economic slowdown, after posting a similar expansion in 2022, mainly led by Gulf Co-operation Council countries, according to S&P Global Ratings.

Demand for Sharia-compliant financing is set to outpace conventional funding in 2023, driven by strong economic growth and development agendas in key markets including Saudi Arabia amid higher oil prices, Moody’s Investors Service recently said.

Source: thenationalnews.com

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

https://www.thenationalnews.com/business/banking/2023/05/19/islamic-banking-growth-outpaces-conventional-banks-in-the-uae/

--------

 

Jordan says storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque, flags march provocative and Israel has no sovereign over Jerusalem

AMMAN, Thursday, May 18, 2023 (WAFA) - Jordan today denounced the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by Jewish extremists, including members of the Israeli government and parliament, as well as the flags march planned for today in the Old City of Jerusalem, stressing that Israel has no sovereignty over occupied Jerusalem.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Sinan Majali said in a statement that the ongoing storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the extremist settlers' provocative actions amount to a flagrant violation of international law, as well as of the historical and legal status quo in Jerusalem and its sanctities, warning of a deterioration in the situation in light of allowing the provocative flags march in occupied Jerusalem, stressing that East Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian territory and Israel has no sovereignty over the city and its holy sites.

He emphasized that the walled holy compound, which covers a total area of 144 dunums, is a solely Muslim place of worship, and that the Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs Department is the body with exclusive jurisdiction to manage all affairs of the compound and organize entry to it, demanding that Israel, as the occupying power, immediately cease all efforts to alter the legal and historical status quo in the holy compound.

Source: english.wafa.ps

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

https://english.wafa.ps/Pages/Details/135860

--------

 

Türkiye 'strongly condemns' storming of Al Aqsa Mosque

19-05-23

Türkiye has "strongly condemned" the raid by fanatical Jewish groups on the Al Aqsa Mosque under Israeli police protection.

"We strongly condemn the storming of the Al Aqsa Mosque on 18 May by fanatical Jewish groups under police protection and their attempts to perform prayers in this area, violating once again the historical status quo at Haram Al Sharif," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Türkiye urged the Israeli government not to allow such "provocative actions."

"We expect the necessary measures for the preservation of status quo in the holy places to be taken seriously and without delay," it added.

Hundreds of illegal Israeli settlers on Thursday forced their way into the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

This came as the settlers prepared to celebrate the 56th anniversary of occupation of East Jerusalem along with their planned "flag march" to walk through East Jerusalem's Old City areas.

Earlier this week, Jewish extremist groups announced that they were seeking to mobilise nearly 5,000 illegal Israeli settlers to break into the Al Aqsa Mosque complex on the day of the "flag march" on Thursday.

The "flag march" is staged by illegal Israeli settlers every year to mark what they call the 'reunification' of Jerusalem, in reference to Israel's occupation of the city in 1967.

Source: trtworld.com

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

https://www.trtworld.com/turkiye/turkiye-strongly-condemns-storming-of-al-aqsa-mosque-13288689

--------

 

Egypt condemns Israeli “Flag march”, storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque

Thursday 18 May 2023

“Such irresponsible escalation fuels emotions, increases tension, and aggravates the existing frustration in the occupied territories,” the Ministry said in a statement on Thursday evening.

The statement further condemned "the provocative acts and practices that aim to restrict the access of worshipers and incite negative sentiments among the Palestinian people".

On Thursday, thousands of Jewish nationalists, some of them chanting “Death to Arabs” and other racist slogans, paraded through the main Palestinian thoroughfare of Jerusalem’s occupied Old City, in an annual display that caused new friction between Jews and Palestinians in the tense city.

Egypt reiterated its longstanding position that insists on "upholding the legal and historical status quo in Jerusalem and emphasizing that Al-Aqsa Mosque is a purely Islamic sanctuary".

In its statement, Egypt unequivocally reaffirmed that East Jerusalem is an integral part of those Palestinian territories that have been illegally occupied by Israel since June 1967.

It emphasized that this occupation violates international law and the resolutions of the international community, which do not recognize the Israeli annexation of these territories.

Egypt has been calling for a two-state solution whereby a Palestinian state is established on the borders of the 4 June 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Thousands of Israel's ultra-nationalists and fanatic settlers, led by a couple of Israeli ministers, marched through East Jerusalem, storming the courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque to celebrate the city's capture in the 1967 war.

Source: english.ahram.org.eg

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

https://english.ahram.org.eg/News/501152.aspx

--------

 

Bahrain condemns Al-Aqsa Mosque storming by Israeli officials and extremists

18 May 2023

Manama, May 18 (BNA): The Kingdom of Bahrain strongly condemned the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by a member of the Israeli government, Knesset members and extremists, under the protection of the Israeli police, as a violation of the rules of international law.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed the need to respect the existing historical and legal situation in Jerusalem, and not to prejudice the role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in managing endowments, caring for and protecting holy sites in accordance with international resolutions, providing full protection for worshipers, and stopping any racist or provocative practices which would fuel tension and instability.

In a statement, the ministry reiterated Bahrain's unequivocal stance in support to international and regional efforts aimed at achieving de-escalation, promoting  just and comprehensive peace in the region.

It affirmed Bahrain’s unwavering support to the inalienable rights of the  Palestinian people to establish their independent state on the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy, the two-state solution, and the Arab Peace Initiative.

Source: bna.bh

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

https://www.bna.bh/en/news?cms=q8FmFJgiscL2fwIzON1%2bDh3vGU4h5NrEiJ3r6ml4XtE%3d

--------

 

Palestine Abbas, Mohamed Ramadan meeting spark outrage

May 16th, 2023

ALBAWABA - A meeting that brought together Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Egyptian artist Mohamed Ramadan raised the ire of social media's users, especially the Palestinians, given that the meeting took place on the day of Nakba.

The well-known Egyptian artist published photos he had taken with the Palestinian President on Monday in New York.

"In New York today, I had the honor to meet President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen, President of the beloved State of Palestine," Ramadan captioned the photos on his official social media platforms.

The photos showed a handshake between Abbas and Ramadan. The artist seemed very happy to see the Palestinian president that they even had a cup of coffee together.

In a video that Ramadan also published, Abbas said to the Egyptian actor and singer: "How are you? By God, it is good that we finally saw you... It's been a while since we hear about you all the good news and great art."

Abbas was criticized by observers because of the timing of the meeting, especially since besides that the photos were taken on the anniversary of Nakba, large parts of Palestine have also been witnessing an escalation of tension between the Palestinian factions in Gaza and the Israeli Defense Forces, recently.

Some Palestinians accuse Abbas of failing to act by staying silent no matter what happens in Palestine.

The Palestinian president had participated in the activities commemorating the 75th's anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba that took place at the United Nations headquarters, in New York.

We leave with some with of the tweets,

Source: albawaba.com

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

https://www.albawaba.com/node/palestine-abbas-mohamed-ramadan-meeting-spark-outrage-1519077

--------

 

Senate Dems host event celebrating Islamic terrorists killing Jews

May 18, 2023

(JNS) In Israel, Inga Avramyan, 82, died under a collapsed ceiling. The elderly immigrant from Armenia heard the sirens warning of an Islamic terror strike, but did not reach a bomb shelter in time because she was trying to help her disabled husband make it along with her.

Sergei, Inga’s husband, had lost a leg in a car accident and needed a wheelchair to get around. The rocket smashed through the side of the building, the ceiling collapsed and Inga was killed.

Four days before the Palestinian Arab Islamic Jihad rocket killed Inga, Senator Bernie Sanders helped host an event in the Senate building promoting the terror group.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had canceled a House event by antisemitic politician Rep. Rashida Tlaib commemorating “Nakba Day”—mourning the failed effort by invading Muslim armies to exterminate Israel’s Jewish population.

“I think it’s outrageous that Speaker McCarthy threw them out of a room they had reserved,” Sanders fumed.

The socialist senator then arranged to have the terrorist supporters host their event promoting the destruction of the Jewish state by abusing his chairmanship of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee to use its hearing room.

What does the Senate’s oversight of pensions have to do with destroying Israel? Ask Bernie.

Inside the event, Noura Erakat boasted, “It is of utmost importance to say that here because we are within the very institution that has sustained the ongoing nakba.”

The institution is the United States government, and the nakba [“catastrophe” in Arabic] is the existence of Israel.

In Canada, Erakat had generated a political controversy when an Ontario New Democratic Party (ONDP) politician retweeted her message calling dead Islamic Jihad leader Khader Adnan a “martyr.” In the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., Erakat read a quote about “resisting,” a euphemism for terrorism, from the dead terrorist.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is not just a problem for Israel. The terrorist group was spun off from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic Jihad operation in Egypt. That terror group, often described as Egyptian Islamic Jihad, to avoid confusion, became part of Al Qaeda and eventually took it over.

In the months before 9/11, Islamic Jihad and Al Qaeda became a single organization. When Al Qaeda’s hijacked planes killed thousands of Americans, the U.S. Capitol, suspected to be the target of the last plane, was rapidly evacuated.

Now Al Qaeda’s stepbrother terrorists are hailed in the offices of the Senate.

Khader Adnan, hailed in the offices of the Senate, has been described by the media as an “activist,” “detainee” and a “hunger striker.” Those are long-winded ways of saying terrorist. The “martyr,” whose hunger strike was a prolonged suicide, can be seen on video at the funeral of another terrorist, urging the crowd on to more attacks.

“Who among you is Hassan Abu Zaid [the suicide bomber, who murdered seven people]?” he demanded. “Who among you is the next martyrdom-seeker? Who among you has the next explosive belt? Who among you will carry out the next shooting?”

TheNew York Times responded by comparing the Islamic Jihad terrorist to Gandhi. And the Senate allowed Sanders to hijack its facilities to hold an event promoting the destruction of Israel and celebrating an Islamic terrorist.

There’s no room in the Senate to discuss an 82-year-old woman crushed under a ceiling while trying to help her amputee husband reach safety, but there’s always room to praise terrorists.

Nor was it Noura Erakat’s first time in Congress.

When Pelosi and the Democrats took Congress, Erakat, a key BDS figure, became a legal counsel for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. She attained this position even though her uncle, Saeb Erakat, was a top official in the PLO terrorist group. Her cousin, Ahmed Erekat, was killed while carrying out a terrorist attack that injured a female Israeli officer.

This is the murderous terrorism that House and Senate Democrats choose to enable.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who when politically convenient occasionally claims to be Jewish, was not outraged over Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s murder of Inga Avramyan, but by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy denying Rep. Rashida Tlaib space in which to promote the terrorists trying to kill Jews.

The only reason that Rep. Tlaib had to resort to the socialist senator’s assistance was that Republicans held the House majority. Had Pelosi and the Democrats still been in charge, there is no doubt that the event celebrating terrorism and attacking Israel would have gone forward.

“People should be allowed to congregate, to have discussions, to express their viewpoints and ideas,” Rep. Pete Aguilar, the third ranking House Democrat, had complained about Speaker McCarthy’s decision to cancel Tlaib’s Nakba event “That’s who we are.”

Supporting Islamic terrorists killing Jews is who the Democrats are.

Senate Democrats, who could have intervened and stopped this ugliness, carefully ignored it.

Senate Majority Leader Schumer’s allies claimed that he was “totally unaware of this event.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy, the Republican ranking member on the pension committee, condemned Senate Democrats for allowing the hearing room to be used to “legitimize anti-Semitic bigotry.”

Once controversial, antisemitic House members like Rep. Tlaib and Rep. Omar have been embraced by Biden and the Democrat establishment. When Speaker McCarthy booted Rep. Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee, Democrats held the line in supporting the antisemitic politician. The hate fest at the Dirksen Office Building shows where the Democrats are headed.

Democrats defiled the Capitol by turning into a haven for celebrating Islamic Jihad terrorists, who are backed by Iran and closely related to Al Qaeda. They did it while Islamic Jihad was firing rockets into Israel in a ruthless effort to kill Jews.

Islamic Jihad celebrated Inga’s murder by gloating that “our Palestinian people raise their heads high with this blessed and sacred response from the Palestinian resistance.”

What better way for the Arab Muslim invaders to “raise their heads high” than with the “blessed and sacred” murder of an 82-year-old Israeli woman.

Perhaps Sanders can arrange to allow Rep. Rashida Tlaib to hold an event celebrating this latest heroic “resistance” of the Islamic Jihad in the Senate office building.

Source: israelnationalnews.com

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

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/371619

--------

 

Unless Israel acts, Islamic Jihad will establish rocket cells in Judea and Samaria

May 19, 2023

(May 18, 2023 / Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) On May 9, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief Ronen Bar revealed that Israel had recently broken up a terror cell near Jenin that was in the process of producing rockets intended to be fired at Israeli targets from Samaria.

A recent video broadcast by Palestinian media showed the firing of a Qassam-type rocket in the Jenin area, apparently an experiment by the same squad. Security sources in Israel say that Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives in Jenin and Nablus are also trying to weaponize civilian drones.

Since the end of the Israel Defense Forces’ “Operation Guardian of the Walls” in Gaza in May 2021, PIJ has been establishing armed terrorist groups in northern Samaria, called “battalions,” in coordination with Iran.

To advance these efforts, PIJ Secretary-General Ziyad al-Nakhalah traveled to Tehran in August 2022, where he met with Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, to receive funding and coordinate the smuggling of weapons into Judea and Samaria through Jordan.

The establishment of rocket cells in Judea and Samaria is another step toward implementing former IRGC Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani’s strategy of surrounding Israel with hundreds of thousands of rockets, missiles and drones.

The Jenin rocket squad was directed by senior PIJ leader Tarek az-Aldin, who was killed by an IDF strike on May 9. The targeted killing was one of the essential components of the IDF’s “Operation Shield and Arrow,” with the goal of disrupting PIJ’s military establishment in northern Samaria.

“We have no intention of turning Afula into a target for terrorist attacks,” said Bar.

Az-Aldin, 49, was originally from the village of Araba in Samaria—the hometown of senior PIJ leader Khader Adnan, whose death in an Israeli prison due to a hunger strike served as the trigger for the recent round of fighting between Israel and PIJ.

Having served as a PIJ operative in the first and second intifadas, az-Aldin was arrested in 2002 and sentenced to life imprisonment for directing a suicide attack in the Israeli city of Hadera. He was released as part of the prisoner exchange deal for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011, and deported to Gaza. In recent years, he advanced to the terrorist group’s command level in Gaza.

He was responsible for the connection between PIJ’s operations in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria, including the transfer of funds, and incited and directed terrorist attacks in Israeli territory from Gaza.

He was very close to Saleh al-Arouri, the head of Hamas’s military wing in Judea and Samaria (but based in Beirut), and had close operational and intelligence cooperation with him.

The activities of the Israeli security services to thwart PIJ’s plans in Judea and Samaria are essential. Still, there may be no escape from an extensive military operation in northern Samaria to arrest or kill the terrorists who have established themselves there during the past two years.

Yoni Ben Menachem, a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israeli radio and television, is a senior Middle East analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He served as director general and chief editor of the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

Source: jns.org

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

https://www.jns.org/opinion/unless-israel-acts-islamic-jihad-will-establish-rocket-cells-in-judea-and-samaria/

--------

 

Pakistan

 

66 US lawmakers urge Blinken to push for ‘democracy’ in Pakistan

May 19, 2023

WASHINGTON: As many as 66 US lawmakers have urged Secretary of State Antony Blinken to push for democracy and human rights in Pakistan, although the Biden administration is still reluctant to take sides in the current political dispute.

“We write to express our concerns about the current situation in Pakistan and urge you to use all diplomatic tools at your disposal to pressure the government of Pakistan towards a greater commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter they sent to Secretary Blinken.

The lawmakers also urged Blinken to persuade Islamabad to “investigate any infringement upon freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in Pakistan”.

But at a series of recent news briefings in Washington, the US State Department made it clear that Washington would not favour one political party or candidate in Pakistan over another.

“You have heard me say this a number of times now, for the past few weeks, but I will use this opportunity to say again that we do not choose a political party or a particular candidate when it comes to Pakistan,” the department’s spokesperson Vedant Patel had said.

Responding to a journalist who raised the issue again on Tuesday, he said: “As it relates to Pakistan, our view is that a strong, stable, prosperous Pakistan is key to a strong and stable US-Pakistan relationship.”

Meanwhile, the Pakistani American Political Action Committee (PAKPAC), which initiated the move, has commended the 66 lawmakers for writing the letter to Secretary Blinken.

The letter, coauthored by Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat, and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, was released days after former prime minister Imran Khan was arrested. The arrest brought large crowds to the streets in Pakistan and led to violent clashes between the protesters and law enforcement personnel.

At least 10 people were killed in those clashes and several government buildings were ransacked and set on fire, which led to more arrests across the country.

“This alarming turn of events has sparked immense concern amongst the Pakistani American community and amplified the urgency for immediate action to protect democratic institutions, independent judiciary, freedom of press and human rights in Pakistan,” the PAKPAC said in a statement.

The group’s president Asad Malik emphasised the importance of providing bipartisan — Democrats and Republicans — support to the Pakistani people during this challenging time.

“At this critical juncture, with the foundations of democracy in Pakistan under threat, it is heartening to see members of both parties uniting to express their deep concern and stand up for the principles we hold dear,” he said.

“The bipartisan support for this letter demonstrates the unwavering commitment of our elected officials to upholding democracy and human rights, regardless of our political differences.”

The letter reminded Secretary Blinken that “supporting democracy in Pakistan is in the national interest of the United States”.

Source: dawn.com

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1754276/66-us-lawmakers-urge-blinken-to-push-for-democracy-in-pakistan

--------

 

‘Ill-informed’ US report on religious freedom in Pakistan rejected

May 19, 2023

Pakistan on Thursday “categorically” rejected the US State Department’s report on religious freedom in the country, saying “baseless” assertions were made in it.

Speaking during a weekly presser, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that Pakistan assured religious freedom and provided protection to its citizens.

“We categorically reject the baseless assertions made about Pakistan in the International Religious Freedom Report released by the US Department of State. Such ill-informed reporting exercises about internal affairs of sovereign states are pointless, irresponsible and counterproductive,” the spokesperson said.

The remarks of the spokesperson came days after the US state department published a report highlighting the need to improve “interfaith tolerance, inclusion, and harmony” in the country.

Based on several events in 2022, the US-based report noted that “several political leaders used inflammatory religious language to attack their political rivals”.

Taking issue with the report, the spokesperson denied its findings and said that Pakistan wanted to work with the world to end racial discrimination and Islamophobia.

“We are proud of our religious diversity and pluralistic social fabric. Pakistan’s Constitution sets a robust framework for wide-ranging legal, policy and affirmative measures to safeguard and advance the rights and freedoms of all Pakistanis irrespective of their faith.

“These rights and constitutional guarantees are protected, upheld and reinforced by an independent judiciary,” Baloch asserted.

Source: pakobserver.net

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

https://pakobserver.net/ill-informed-us-report-on-religious-freedom-in-pakistan-rejected/

--------

 

Punjab Govt Presents Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Involvement in Terrorism toECP

May 19, 2023

The caretaker Punjab government has presented evidence of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s involvement in terrorism to the Chief Election Commissioner, Sikander Sultan Raja in a bid to declare it a banned organisation.

The CEC arrived at the Chief Minister House in Lahore to meet Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi on Thursday. A high-level briefing session was held under their chairmanship. The meeting strongly condemned the terrorist incidents of May 9 and expressed complete solidarity with the Pakistan Army.

During the meeting, the CEC and members were presented with solid evidence of the involvement in the May 9th “terrorist” incidents by a political party, including briefings, images, videos, and messaging proofs.

Speaking on the occasion, Mohsin Naqvi said that on May 9, a political party disgraced the entire nation and carried out planned attacks on military installations.

He said that evidence of contacts between attackers and party leadership present in Lahore’s Zaman Park came to light through geo-fencing. “A dirty game was played in the guise of politics, and the

initial estimate suggests a loss of Rs600 million to the national exchequer,” he added.

Sultan Raja said that under the leadership of Mohsin Naqvi, the Punjab government has taken the best and courageous steps to protect the people in the current situation.

“I am confident that the Punjab government’s team is fulfiling its responsibilities with integrity. The purpose of the ECP is to conduct free, fair, and peaceful general elections. We have no affiliation with any political party and no political agenda,” he added.

Inspector General of Police, Dr Usman Anwar, provided details of the attacks on Jinnah House and other military installations to the delegation.

The Additional Chief Secretary on Interior gave a briefing on the damages caused by the terrorist attacks.

Source: pakobserver.net

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

https://pakobserver.net/punjab-govt-presents-terrorism-evidence-to-ecp/

--------

 

Peshawar blast leaves one dead, 3 injured

May 19, 2023

A middle intensity explosion in the outskirts of the provincial metropolis on Thursday resulted in the killing of at least one person and serious injuries to three others of which the condition of one wounded person has been described as precarious.

Reports said the blast took place near a hotel on the Ring Road in the outskirts of Peshawar. The explosive device as the police believe was planted in a Motor Cycle parked at a workshop. The workshop and the adjacent shops as well as buildings sustained damages.

One person succumbed to his injuries while three others sustained serious wounds and were shifted to hospital by the rescue teams where the condition of one victim was stated to be precarious. Bomb disposal unit said in a statement that a 200-gram magnet improvised explosive device was used in the explosion.

Source: pakobserver.net

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

https://pakobserver.net/peshawar-blast-leaves-one-dead-3-injured/

--------

 

3 more leaders part ways with PTI over May 9 violence

19-05-23

ISLAMABAD: The number of PTI leaders to quit the party in the aftermath of May 9 violence increased to six on Thursday after Malik Amin Aslam, Dr Muhammad Amjad and Dr Imran Ali Shah announced their decision to part ways with the party.

Earlier, on Wednesday, three leaders, including former federal minister Aamer Mehmood Kiani, MNA from Karachi Mahmood Baqi Moulvi and MPA in Sindh Assembly Dr Sanjay Gangwani, also announced their decisions to part ways with the Imran Khan-led party.

In separate press conferences at the National Press Club in Islamabad, Mr Aslam and Dr Amjad said that after the incidents of May 9, it had become impossible to remain a part of PTI.

They added that the PTI was becoming “a reason for the country’s destruction and hatred against institutions”.

Amin Aslam, Muhammad Amjad, Imran Ali Shah quit party

Mr Aslam, who remained adviser to the PM on climate change when Imran Khan was the prime minister, said he spent 13 years with PTI. “But it is not possible for me to continue after the attacks on military installations and Jinnah House Lahore.”

“Imran Khan should have immediately condemned the incidents and announced an inquiry against the workers who were involved in the riots but unfortunately he did nothing,” Mr Aslam added.

Expressing his shock over the attack, Mr Aslam added that he couldn’t understand why only military and state installations were targeted by the PTI workers.

He said that he had joined the PTI to eradicate corruption and prepared a “green agenda” to save Pakistan from climate change.

He advised PTI chief Imran Khan “to look right and left and identify the black sheep and expose them rather than demanding a judicial inquiry.

“It is the agenda of our enemies to create differences between the army and masses,” he said.

He dispelled the impression that he was under pressure to quit PTI and said he had not decided to join any party yet.

Another leader, Dr Amjad, gave more or less similar reasons for his decision to part ways with PTI.

“I cannot become part of politics which is destroying the country,” he said, claiming that there were few people who had been encouraging Mr Khan “to make wrong decisions”.

Dr Amjad, who served as PTI’s deputy information secretary, said Mr Khan cannot identify true and sincere friends and always follows those who mislead them.

Imran Ali Shah jumps ship

In Karachi, PTI’s lawmaker in Sindh Assembly Dr Imran Ali Shah expressed regret over the violent protests by PTI leaders and supporters.

Dr Shah announced his decision to leave the PTI at a presser at the Karachi Press Club.

He said the vandals “didn’t even spare national institutions” and the May 9 events changed his mind about his political future.

Meanwhile, eight former PTI lawmakers of the Punjab Assembly also announced their decisions to quit the party.

Source: dawn.com

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1754304/3-more-leaders-part-ways-with-pti-over-may-9-violence

--------

 

Working to develop Islamic financial ecosystem: SECP

May 19, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) is formulating laws to convert all non-banking financial services, including the capital market, insurance sector, leasing and savings funds, to Sharia-compliant mode.

However, a weak understanding of tax authorities and banking channels is one of the key impediments in this regard to meeting the Federal Shariat Court’s directive of converting all kinds and types of banking and financial services to the Islamic system by 2027.

While the entire banking system is the domain of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the other financing including insurance, leasing, capital markets, modarabas, etc are under the jurisdiction of the SECP.

Media was informed at a capacity-building workshop on Thursday that the popularity of Sharia-complaint products was increasing globally but the Muslim countries lagged in this regard.

Giving an overview of Islamic finance, Tariq Naseem, head of the Islamic Finance Department of SECP, highlighted its basic principles and informed the participants about the regulator’s efforts in developing a local Islamic financial ecosystem.

He added that as the government was striving for the complete implementation of Sharia-compliant financial products all the solutions will be eventually subjected to the test of Shariah.

However, he added Malaysia ranked 33 out of 150 countries that follow the principles of Sharia in their financial sector whereas Pakistan stood at 145.

The top slots were occupied by the Scandinavian countries.

The Islamic finance industry has been implemented in more than 57 countries and was worth around $3.06 trillion by the end of 2021, showed the figures compiled by international bodies.

Mr Naseem added that Islamic finance was gaining public acceptance in the Pakistan Stock Exchange.

Mr Naseem added that the concept of an Islamic finance system, not just Islamic banking, was introduced in Pakistan in the 1973 Constitution. Later in 1985, the government decided to implement non-riba-based banking but the matter remained under litigation in the 1990s.

The first Islamic bank licence was awarded in 2002 and the Islamic finance department was established in the SECP in 2015.

The target to accelerate the growth of Islamic finance in regulated sectors includes implementing the proposal of Islamic stock trading, re-activate commodities, murabaha facility at PMEX, ensure the availability of retail sukuk [Islamic bonds].

Amina Aziz, SECP Director, informed the participants of the regulatory sandbox initiative, which allows for live testing of new products, services, or business models not covered under existing laws.

This programme, launched in 2020, is now entering its fourth cohort, inviting applications covering both Islamic financing and conventional financing, with preference given to Shariah-compliant digital finance models.

Source: dawn.com

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1754283/working-to-develop-islamic-financial-ecosystem-secp

--------

 

Europe

 

Hajj: UK Muslims Face '10-Year Wait' As Saudi Arabia Slashes Quota

18 May 2023

British Muslims may have to wait for up to 10 years to attend the Hajj because of a sharp reduction in the number of places made available to pilgrims from the UK by Saudi Arabia, Middle East Eye can reveal.

Under a new system introduced by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the quota of Hajj places allocated to the UK for this year’s pilgrimage is set to be reduced to about 3,600 compared with more than 25,000 before the Covid-19 pandemic.

But just weeks before the Hajj, the final figure appears to be up in the air, with some people who have booked and paid for packages through the new system complaining that they are still waiting for confirmation of whether they have a place.

MEE has learnt that members of parliament plan to meet the Saudi ambassador in London next week to ask for the quota to be restored to pre-pandemic levels.

Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hajj and Umrah held an emergency meeting in parliament on Tuesday to discuss the situation.

It comes after members of the parliamentary group, which is chaired by Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi, travelled to Saudi Arabia in February to meet officials at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, including Deputy Minister Abdulfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat.

According to the minutes of a subsequent APPG meeting seen by MEE, the MPs were told that under the new system “the Hajj quota for pilgrims would be in line with Muslim majority countries and that the UK would have around 3,600 Hajj quota instead of the 25,000+ (pre COVID)”.

According to the minutes, the MPs urged the ministry to reconsider its decision because, they said, the UK had met and exceeded its Hajj quota.

“The reduction would have a detrimental effect on Muslims wanting to perform Hajj from the UK as they could end up waiting between five and 10 years. Concerns were also raised over the mechanism to monitor and record Hajj applications and [the] process to make it fair for people to go on Hajj,” the minutes said.

Calls to increase quota

Muslims view Hajj as a key pillar of the Islamic faith and are obligated to attend at least once in their lifetime if they are healthy and financially able to.

This year’s Hajj takes place between 28 June and 1 July.

Rashid Mogradia, the chief executive of the Council for British Hajjis, an organisation which serves as the secretariat of the APPG, told MEE: “Yasmin Qureshi will be meeting the Saudi authorities to raise issues faced by British Muslims with the new booking platform and to explore the idea of expanding and restoring the quota to pre-pandemic levels in order to meet demand."

According to the minutes of the APPG meeting, Saudi officials told the MPs that new quotas for the UK and other western countries would bring them in line with Muslim-majority countries which have historically been allocated one place per every thousand Muslims in the population.

The quota figure for Muslim-majority countries, however, can vary depending on the arrangements made between Saudi Arabia and individual countries.

It remains unclear whether the Saudi government intends to revise the number every year or what data it will draw on to calculate how many Muslims would be eligible to go from western countries.

Concerns around the quota have come to light after the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah launched a new booking system known as Nusuk, replacing the decades-old system of allowing local travel agencies to organise Hajj tours for western pilgrims.

'Country capacity full'

But some British pilgrims who used the system told MEE they could not book packages because of messages that claimed the “country capacity is full” for the UK.

Speaking at the emergency meeting, members of the APPG also highlighted their intention to raise concerns with the Saudi ambassador regarding the Nusuk system.

Naz Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West, which has the largest Muslim population among all UK constituencies, told the group she had previously raised issues about Nusuk with the ambassador.

The Hajj pilgrimage is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world with 2.5 million pilgrims attending the event.

This year, Saudi Arabia said there would be no limit to the number of pilgrims attending the Hajj after three years of restrictions because of the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, around 25,000 Muslims from the UK were allocated to go to Hajj each year.

But after Saudi Arabia announced that the pilgrimage was to be scaled down in 2022 - with numbers cut to one million pilgrims worldwide instead of the pre-pandemic total of 2.5 million - the UK quota was cut to 12,348.

Last year, Saudi also ended the use of travel agencies organising the Hajj, and introduced a new system where western pilgrims had to book the Hajj via a company called Motawif - similar to Nusuk.

But pilgrims who used Motawif complained of their packages being "downgraded", of being left with no hotel room days before the Hajj, and of being stranded in the desert.

The APPG also added that they used their meeting with the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to voice their concerns over the Motawif system and called on Saudi Arabia to process the refunds of pilgrims whose packages were downgraded.

Source: middleeasteye.net

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

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/hajj-uk-muslims-face-decade-wait-saudi-arabia-slashes-quota

---------

 

Blackburn mosque volunteers are honoured with Mayor's Award

19-05-23

A Blackburn mosque which has inspired pupils to raise funds for a number of good causes has been presented with a Mayor's Award.

Principal of Madrasah Zeenatul Quran, Maulana Faruk was presented the award at the Town Hall by Cllr Suleman Khonat, Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen.

Cllr Khonat said: “Volunteers give their time, skills and care to support the homeless and vulnerable people in our town and some campaign for a better world.

"Every contribution is valuable to our community. It gives me great joy to announce the Mayor’s Volunteer Awards.

"It has been particularly humbling to see the humanitarian spirit thriving in Blackburn with Darwen borough and I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you who generously give your time,energy and funds to support our community.”

Maulana Faruk, one of the recipients, added: "We are honoured to be one of the Blackburn's charities to be presented a special volunteer award by the borough's Mayor Suleman Khonat."

Source: lancashiretelegraph.co.uk

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

https://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/23525167.blackburn-mosque-volunteers-honoured-mayors-award/

--------

 

Muslims in UK celebrate a newly-renovated mosque in North of England

19-05-23

BALA CHAMBERS

For many years the Muslim living around the Pleckgate neighbourhood in Blackburn would take half an hour’s journey on foot to travel towards the centre of the town for their daily prayers.

On May 12, Moughees Abdul Hakeem, 20, a student at Blackburn College, joined a horde of men as they took off their shoes, assembled in queues behind the imam on the newly-marbled floor of a Taqwa mosque to offer midday Asr prayers.

What made Hakeem even more excited was the fact that the mosque was once a church.

"I was really passionate about it because it was the first time that I ever went into a mosque that was turned from a Church into a Mosque, so it was really pleasant for me," 20-year-old Blackburn resident Moughees Abdul Hakeem tells TRT World.

The young student from Blackburn College attended the inaugural 'asr prayer' on 12th May at the newly converted Mosque called Masjid-e-Taqwa that lies in the Northern Industrial town of Blackburn - once made famous for lifting the coveted Premier League title in 1995.

Previously known as St Chad's Church and located on Pleckgate Road in the British county of Lancashire, the building was a single-level stone construction built around 1870.

It was eventually turned into a school while local reports say the building continued to function until the 1970s.

Previously plans had been afoot to change the abandoned church into housing, reportedly for 7 new homes, which never came to fruition - as the local volunteers united to restore the building under a new guise - a mosque.

Funding for the project was donated by locals while the renovation work to the inside and outside of the building got underway around a year ago.

Hakeem says the first prayers to take place at Masjid-e-Taqwa were attended by a wide number of the community while a number of attendees prayed outside the mosque.

He said the worshippers were enthused by the new instalment after there had been no mosques in the area for a number of years, while the local community in the area previously had to travel by car to pray due to the distance to their homes.

Reflecting back on the day, Hakeem, who attended the occasion with his uncle and cousins, believes that the mosque will not only serve as a place of prayer but also as a community centre, fostering deeper ties among the Muslim community in Blackburn.

"I could see people all over from Blackburn celebrating the first prayers and also their staff were really nice. They had sweets and had everything arranged for the community. There was a talk after the ceremony and they talked about how the Masjid will bring us together as a community," he says.

Others in the local community have come out in favour of the initiative, expressing their enthusiasm for the mosque.

Zahid Muhammad, a local resident and Facilities Manager, says he is "very excited to support Masjid-e-Taqwa”.

"It was empty and lying derelict. It was put on the market to be sold with the hope of a housing developer purchasing it," he tells TRT World. "Luckily for the community, that didn't go ahead, and it was purchased to be used as a mosque.

Once operating as a church, Muhammad is pleased to see it restored in keeping with its tradition as a place of worship once again for the community.

Following the recent renovations, Muhammad says, "the quality of work is of an excellent standard, and it is a beautiful mosque to look at internally and externally."

A mosque spokesperson told the Lancashire Telegraph that “we tried to keep to the original features of the building and attempted to incorporate these into the new design."

“Most notably inside the prayer hall, the wooden beams make up the most defining feature," added the spokesperson.

Masjid-e-Taqwa now has space for around 180 attendees and for Wudu, the Islamic process of cleansing parts of the body.

Nevertheless, for the community in Blackburn, the Masjid-e-Taqwa, they say, has been a unifying force, fostering togetherness for those that may have settled in the UK from overseas.

Hakeem, who has familial ties to Pakistan, says "the thing that I like about the UK is that we have our own Muslim community here and especially in Blackburn and it doesn't feel like you're away from your home in countries like Türkiye, Pakistan, India and you don't feel away from there because you find that community. "

Source: trtworld.com

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

https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/muslims-in-uk-celebrate-a-newly-renovated-mosque-in-north-of-england-13284275

--------

 

Waterbury Public Schools discuss adding Islamic holidays to calendar

May. 19, 2023

WATERBURY, Conn. (WFSB) - A group of people are trying to get a religious holiday added to the calendar of Waterbury Public Schools.

There are four mosques in the Waterbury area.

Tonight, at the school board meeting, the Muslim community made their case as to why their religion is just as important as any other holiday.

On the Waterbury Public Schools calendar, there are both Jewish and Christian holidays that are recognized, but nothing that represents Islam.

Islam is the world’s second most popular religion, and where Waterbury leads Connecticut in worshippers.

“These are the two most important holidays within the Islamic tradition. And usually, kids have to choose between going to school or attending prayers with their families and we don’t want them to make that decision anymore,” said Farhan Memon, Chairperson - CT Islamic.

Memon is the chairperson of the Connecticut Islamic Council, and the holidays he’s talking about are Eid Al-Adha and Eid Al-Fitr.

Thursday night, he led a group of Muslims at the Waterbury Public Schools meeting to urge the school board to make the day’s school holidays.

“Of course, the school system has made accommodations for that for people who are Christian and Jewish. It’s time they made accommodations for people who are Muslim,” Memon said.

“Students are being forced to go to school or fulfill their religious duty. If they choose school, they’re being pulled away from a tradition that is dear to them, and it hurts us,” said one attendee.

“The children in school that are classmates that are not Muslim can understand more about what their classmates believe in, what they celebrate, why do they celebrate it. That can actually increase less bullying,” added another.

No decision was made tonight, and school leaders did not comment.

Source: wfsb.com

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

https://www.wfsb.com/2023/05/19/waterbury-public-schools-discuss-adding-islamic-holidays-calendar/

--------

 

Police investigate after beer bottles thrown at Islamic centre

19-05-23

POLICE are investigating a hate crime after beer bottles were thrown at an Islamic education centre.

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police said it happened at 8.55pm on Saturday when a vehicle drove up outside a property in Lidget Terrace, in the Lidget Green area of Bradford and threw a glass bottle smashing a window.

The property is Madrasah Madania Tahfeezul Quran - which offers adult and children learning courses in Islam.

The centre shared CCTV footage with the Telegraph & Argus which shows multiple bottles being thrown outside the car window at the building.

A window was badly damaged and some of the bottles smashed on the ground.

The car then drives off from the scene.

The spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police confirmed it is investigating criminal damage at the property and is treating it as a hate crime, with enquiries underway.

Neighbourhood Policing Patrols have been stepped up in the area to provide reassurance.

Police would like to speak to anyone who might have information that could help them with the investigation.

If you can assist, you should contact police on 101, or using the contact options on the West Yorkshire Police website.

You should quote crime reference number: 13230265824.

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this article.

Staying informed about what's happening in Bradford is more important than ever before. That's why we are committed to providing you with comprehensive and accurate coverage of the events and developments that matter most to you.

We do this through our dedicated team of local reporters and staff, who work tirelessly to cover the stories that affect your daily life. However, trusted local journalism comes at a cost, we need your support.

By subscribing to the Bradford Telegraph and Argus, you're not only investing in quality journalism, you’re also supporting the important work of our local team and investing in our local community.

Subscribe today and in return you’ll get unlimited access to all of our articles, puzzles and a host of other subscriber benefits.

We appreciate your support.

Source: thetelegraphandargus.co.uk

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

https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/23532719.police-investigate-beers-thrown-islamic-centre/

--------

 

Major fire erupts during Minnesota's sixth mosque attack this year

18 May, 2023

Minnesota has seen the sixth attack on a mosque in 2023, this time a major fire, putting the state on track for a record year for mosque attacks.

This latest incident occurred at the Oromo American Twhid Islamic Center in Saint Paul, which caught fire on Wednesday morning. The blaze, suspected to be arson, caused extensive damage. The structure was empty at the time, and no one was hurt.

It has, however, shaken local residents and Muslim worshippers, largely from the Somali community, who have been put on edge by the repeated mosque attacks over the past several months.

"Unfortunately, today, this morning, this mosque has been completely burned," Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Minnesota, said at a press conference hours after the incident.

"This is one of the most serious or burning attacks against a mosque that we know of today in the state of Minnesota," he added.

He noted that they will be asking for an increase in security patrols and will ask law enforcement to pay close attention to mosques.

Hussein emphasised, "We are not going to be quiet about this. We're going to make sure that all houses of worship are protected in the state of Minnesota. And we will not allow this trend, where we are now, six mosques, that's the most in the country. The majority of attacks against mosques in America are happening in our state, a state that I personally believe has incredibly hospitable and welcoming people."

"We will rebuild, and we will continue to practice our faith without fear," he said.

"The fire at our Oromo American Twhid Islamic Center is another attack in a growing and disturbing trend of violence against our Muslim neighbours," Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter wrote in a tweet on Wednesday.

"An affront to one of our houses of worship is an affront to us all. Religious intolerance and bigotry have no place in Saint Paul," he added.

Minnesota's previous mosque attack occurred on Friday, also in Saint Paul. Prior to that, there were two mosque attacks in Minnesota on two consecutive days in April. Last year, the state saw nine attacks on mosques, among the highest number in the country.

Source: newarab.com

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

https://www.newarab.com/news/major-fire-minnesotas-sixth-mosque-attack-year

--------

 

UK ‘betrayal’ as aid to Afghanistan cut by more than half

May 18, 2023

LONDON: The UK is set to cut foreign aid to Afghanistan by more than half, with Britain’s humanitarian watchdog warning that the government is “turning its back” on the country, The Independent reported on Thursday.

Britain will provide Afghanistan with £100 million ($124 million) in humanitarian assistance in 2023-2024, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact said.

But last year Afghanistan received £246 million, with the massive drop attributed to aid budget cuts and reallocation of funds toward housing refugees in the UK, ICAI added.

Sir Hugh Bayley, ICAI commissioner, said: “As the humanitarian situation continues to worsen in Afghanistan, and women and girls’ hard-won rights are being lost, we felt it was important to look again at how the UK is supporting the people of Afghanistan through the aid program.

“While the UK has played an important role in the international aid response since the Taliban takeover, our information note shows that the reduction in UK aid funding has led to programs that directly benefited Afghan people being stopped or postponed.

 “It also highlights the lack of a UK diplomatic presence in Afghanistan which might undermine the effective management of the UK’s contribution to the international aid response.”

The UK was previously a “significant donor” to Afghanistan, the watchdog said, highlighting an earlier government pledge to provide £286 million per year from 2021 onward.

But that figure had already been cut by 2022, resulting in delays to vaccination programs as well as land mine and IED clearance in Afghanistan.

Stephanie Draper, CEO at Bond, the UK network for NGOs, said: “The UK is turning its back on the people of Afghanistan, who are facing a worsening humanitarian crisis.

“Cuts to programs in the country mean the government has abandoned women and girls at a time when their rights are deteriorating.

“The government must deliver on its commitment to the Afghan people by reversing cuts to programs in the country.”

Preet Kaur Gill, Labour’s shadow cabinet minister for international development, said: “This report paints a stark vision for the future for Afghanistan’s people, and Britain’s waning influence in the world.

“Today famine looms over the country, while millions of women are denied their basic rights. It is farcical and a betrayal of the Afghans who supported the allied mission that this government is cutting lifesaving support for them in order to prop up its failing asylum system.”

Source: arabnews.com

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2305801/world

--------

 

UNICEF, Afghan Female Staff Delivering Aid Despite Taliban Edicts

May 18, 2023

NEW YORK —

The U.N. children’s agency representative in Afghanistan says his agency, including its female Afghan staff, continue to work in the country despite a Taliban decree banning local women from working for the organization.

“I would say that all women of the U.N. in Afghanistan are working,” UNICEF’s Fran Equiza told reporters during a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York. “They are working some from home, some of them from offices, some of them from the field.”

He said this applies to UNICEF and other U.N. agencies in Afghanistan.

“The Afghan women are not going to give up, no matter what,” he said, speaking of their resilience and commitment to their country.

When the ban was announced in early April, the U.N. said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres found it “unacceptable” and “inconceivable” and feared it would further undermine the organization’s humanitarian work in the country. He convened a meeting of countries with special envoys for Afghanistan earlier this month in Doha, Qatar, to discuss what could be done about the intensifying Taliban crackdown on women.

Following the April edict, U.N. staff were instructed to work from home where possible until the organization could get clarity from Taliban authorities.

Equiza would not comment on whether female staff members have been physically or verbally harassed by the Taliban for defying their edict, stressing that the organization takes seriously its duty of care for its staff.

“We are still subject to threats and to a number of risks,” he told reporters. “We don’t take any decision that’s an unacceptable risk for anyone.”

The ban on Afghan women working with the U.N. followed a series of restrictions on women's and girls’ rights, including prohibiting women from working with domestic and international aid groups and banning girls from attending secondary schools and universities.

The Taliban said last month that their decision to bar local women from working for the United Nations was an "internal social matter of Afghanistan" that all countries should respect. So far they have ignored an April 27 U.N. Security Council resolution demanding they swiftly reverse their restrictions.

Humanitarian emergency

More than 28 million people, including more than 15 million children, need humanitarian and protection assistance in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan’s conservative society, female aid workers are critical to reaching a large portion of the population.

Children are particularly hard hit by rampant poverty, which is estimated to affect nearly 90% of the population.

"They wake up hungry. They go to bed hungry. They don’t have clean water to quench their thirst, or soft blankets in which to sleep,” Equiza said. “They have become all too used to laboring at home, on the streets, in fields, in mines and in shops. Too many live in fear of violence or early marriage. Too many are burdened by the weight of adult responsibility. Too many have been robbed of an education — their one hope of a better life.”

UNICEF says 2.3 million Afghan children are expected to face acute malnutrition in 2023. Of that number, 875,000 of them need treatment for severe acute malnutrition, which can be deadly.

UNICEF has appealed for $1.65 billion this year to reach 19 million Afghans, including 10.3 million children. The appeal is less than a quarter funded, with the year nearly half over.

Source: voanews.com

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

https://www.voanews.com/a/unicef-afghan-female-staff-delivering-aid-despite-taliban-edicts-/7099536.html

--------

 

Arab World

 

Saudi surgeons successfully separate Nigerian conjoined twins

May 18, 2023

RIYADH: A team of Saudi surgeons on Thursday successfully separated Nigerian conjoined twins Hassana and Hassina after a 14-hour operation in Riyadh.

The specialist surgical team earlier announced the twins were in a stable condition at King Abdullah Specialist Hospital for Children in King Abdulaziz Medical City.

Hassana and Hassina, who were born in Kaduna, Nigeria, on Jan. 12 last year, shared an abdomen, pelvis, liver, intestines, and urinary and reproductive systems.

The 85-member multidisciplinary team, which includes 35 medical and surgical specialists as well as nursing and technical staff, is led by Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, an advisor to the Saudi Royal Court and supervisor-general of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center .

Before the operation began, Al-Rabeeah said the operation would include eight stages. The surgery was undertaken on the directives of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.

Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian initiatives have previously assisted with 130 cases of conjoined twins from 23 countries over a period of 33 years, and Hassana and Hassina will be the 56th set of twins to be separated as a result.

Nigeria’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Yahaya Lawal, said: “I take this opportunity to once again thank the custodian of the two holy mosques, the crown prince, and the entire leadership of the Kingdom for this kind humanitarian gesture extended to these conjoined Nigerian twins, Hassana and Hassina.

“Nigeria is so delighted to see this day, the operation to separate these conjoined twins which is ongoing, and I am so pleased also on behalf of the federal government of Nigeria to state that we look forward to a very successful operation.

“We thank the medical team led by Dr. Al-Rabeeah and all the team who are involved in this very delicate operation. May Allah bless them, bless the efforts, bless the Kingdom, and bless the entire people of Saudi Arabia. Nigeria shall ever remain grateful for this kind humanitarian act.”

The ambassador added: “We understand a number of stages have been successfully carried out and look forward to successfully finishing the remaining stages.”

Source: arabnews.com

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2305921/saudi-arabia

--------

 

Jeddah summit another step to enhance Arab solidarity: Qatar envoy to Saudi Arabia

May 19, 2023

RIYADH: The 32nd Arab League summit will be another step toward achieving Arab solidarity, developing political relations and economic ties, according to Bandar bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, Qatar’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

The summit was a chance to establish priorities that would ensure the achievement of the supreme Arab interest and consolidate the concept of comprehensive Arab national security, Al-Attiyah added, in a report from state news agency SPA.

“We are waiting for an important Arab summit that meets the aspirations of the Arabs and establishes a new bright future for this nation,” he added.

The ambassador praised the efforts of the Kingdom in promoting dialogue, limiting crises and supporting Arab development paths.

He also emphasized the importance of the summit being held in Saudi Arabia due to its economic, political and religious position among the Arab world.

Source: arabnews.com

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2306351/saudi-arabia

--------

 

Botswana supports Saudi Arabia’s bid to host World Expo 2030 in Riyadh

May 19, 2023

RIYADH: President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi received the Adviser at the Saudi Royal Court, Ahmed Kattan, during his visit to the country, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

During the meeting, Kattan conveyed greetings from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the president, and wishes to the government and people for further progress and prosperity in Botswana, while Masisi reciprocated the greetings.

The two sides discussed bilateral relations and means to enhance them in all fields as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Masisi voiced his country’s support for the Kingdom’s bid to host the World Expo 2030 in Riyadh following Botswana’s membership to Bureau International des Expositions — an intergovernmental organization in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos.

Kattan expressed the Saudi government’s appreciation for this support, which reflects the distinguished ties between the two countries.

The Saudi envoy also held talks with Botswana’s Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation Lemogang Kwape to discuss ties.

Kattan arrived in Botswana from Lesotho, where he had similar meetings with senior officials, as part of a tour that also included Eswatini.

Source: arabnews.com

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2306206/saudi-arabia

--------

 

DiplomaticQuarter: Norwegian ambassador hails ‘very solid relationship’ with Saudi Arabia

May 18, 2023

RIYADH: Norway’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia said his country’s relationship with the Kingdom was “very solid,” as the Scandinavian country celebrated its national day on Wednesday.

Thomas Lid Ball told Arab News said that the long-established bonds between the two countries in various sectors would only strengthen over the coming years.

“I think we have had a very solid relationship between Saudi Arabia and Norway for many years. We have several things in common, notably that we are nations that have been dependent on oil and gas,” he said.

“Our shared ambition is a green transition, in which we are producing oil and gas in a cleaner way and are shifting toward renewable energy. And in this, we have a lot in common and a lot of things to gain, I think from cooperating more closely.

“We have many new ways from companies within oil and gas supply that are working here and I think more are coming, with great opportunities in the Kingdom undergoing transformation.”

Norway has enjoyed good diplomatic relations with the Kingdom since they were established in 1961.

“To all Saudi brothers and sisters who are here tonight, I would like to say that we greatly appreciate our long-standing bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia,” Ball told guests at an event at the Norwegian Embassy to mark his country’s national day.

“As a Norway ambassador, I would like to further those relations in the years to come.”

Among the guests at the event were Deputy Governor of Riyadh Region Prince Muhammad bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud, government officials, diplomats and business leaders.

Ball told Arab News there were many industries in which Norway and Saudi Arabia were cooperating, including fisheries and construction.

“We have a long coastline in both countries. So we have shipping, we have fisheries, we have all sorts of companies that are interested in Saudi Arabia these days,” he said.

“At the national day reception here, we have some seafood from Norway. There are many companies now. I am joining five, six of them in Jeddah next week, where we are going to look at aquaculture opportunities in Saudi Arabia, so we actually can produce the seafood inside the Kingdom. Some of it will be land based, so there are exciting opportunities.”

Norway has a thriving aquaculture industry, producing more than half of the world’s farmed Atlantic salmon and exporting to more than 100 countries. Sales of Norwegian salmon to Saudi Arabia totaled $27 million in 2019.

Ball also thanked the Kingdom for its support in evacuating Norwegian and other citizens from Sudan.

“I used this opportunity to thank the deputy governor for what I think was outstanding assistance by Saudi Arabia during the big crisis in Sudan,” he said.

“There was first the evacuation out of Khartoum and other cities, but then it was out of Port Sudan through Jeddah and onto the capitals in our countries.

“We could not have made it without Saudi Arabia. We have evacuated 133 Norwegians from Sudan.”

Source: arabnews.com

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2306191/saudi-arabia

--------

 

Saudi Arabia sponsors prizes at world science fair

May 18, 2023

WASHINGTON: Saudi Arabia, represented by the King Abdulaziz and his Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba), is taking part in the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

The event is being held in Dallas, US, from May 12-19.

As a key sponsor, the foundation will provide 18 special prizes for the best projects across a range of scientific fields.

Basil Al-Sadhan, deputy secretary-general for gifted services at Mawhiba, said that the prizes include 12 scholarships at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, and six scholarships to attend the Mawhiba Universal Enrichment Program, an interactive  educational initiative by top academics from a variety of the world’s leading universities.

He added that Mawhiba, since 2010, has presented special prizes each year for a number of participants at ISEF in various fields of interest to the Kingdom, which, in the past 12 years, totaled 109 prizes for 139 students from 23 countries.

This year, Saudi students are competing with more than 1,700 students from over 70 countries for major prizes at ISEF 2023, with a team of 35 students from educational departments within the Saudi National Team for Science and Engineering presenting 35 scientific projects.

Source: arabnews.com

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2306186/saudi-arabia

--------

 

First Saudi catering conference begins in Makkah

May 18, 2023

MAKKAH: The first Saudi International Conference on Catering opened in Makkah this week, bringing together experts and businesses to discuss the Kingdom’s burgeoning food industry.

The conference was inaugurated by the Undersecretary for Development Affairs of the Emirate, Eng. Ala'a Alnofaie, under the auspices of the Deputy Governor of Makkah, Prince Badr bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz.

Its session will cover challenges facing the food industry such as providing meals for millions of pilgrims and how to best use new technologies, as well providing opportunities for local and international businesses to network.

Member of the Board of Directors of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce, Nabil Al-Thaqafi, highlighted the importance of the supply chain sector as an engine for all other industrial, commercial and service sectors, including nutrition.

“Thank God our country had taken care of this sector and advanced in rank on the supply chains list according to the reports issued by the World Bank,” Al Thaqafi said.

“We aim to reach the 25th rank in the Logistics Performance Index in compliance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. Therefore, we achieve food security goals, as the food and beverage market constitutes around SR 153 billion ($41 million), 78 percent of which is imports.”

The first session focused on ready and pre-prepared meals, food safety and food quality, a vital topic in a country where nearly 80 companies prepared 1.2 million meals for pilgrims during the last Hajj season.

Executive Vice President of the Aircraft Catering Sector at Saudi Airlines Catering Co., Dr. Rashed Alarfaj, conducted the dialogue.

Executive Director of the western sector at the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, Fahd bin Ali Al Naseri, presented a talk on how legislation helps maintain food safety.

Executive Vice President of Development at Local Content and Government Procurement Authority, Eng. Sami Alhojilan, spoke about the improvement of economic growth following the support provided to the industry.

Deputy Governor for Regulatory Affairs at the Public Authority for Food Safety, Dr. Mohammed Al-Omari, also tackled the topic of limiting food loss and food waste.

Associate Professor at the Department of Food Sciences and Nutrition at King Saud University, Dr. Ghedeir Alshammari, held a presentation on the safe handling of pre-prepared meals.

Senior Director of Business Development at the Saudi Airlines Catering Co. Mansour Al-Sobhi, with the participation of the menu planning team, presented the Saudi Airlines Workshop.

Another workshop presented by the Professor of Clinical Nutrition at Umm Al-Qura University, Prof. Dr. Firas Sultan Al-Azzeh focused on foods that aid the immune system.

A workshop on nutrition education was presented by the Associate Professor at Umm Al-Qura University, Dr. Al Sayyed Ali Bakr.

The conference runs until Friday at the Makkah Chamber for Exhibitions and Events Center.

Source: arabnews.com

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2306171/saudi-arabia

--------

 

Saudi pavilion on show at Venice Architecture Biennale 2023

May 18, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Architecture and Design Authority has announced the participation of the Saudi National Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023, Saudi Press Agency reported.

A ceremony was held on Thursday ahead of the pavilion’s official opening on Saturday. The pavilion will feature the work of Albara Saimaldahar, which is curated by Noura and Basma Bouzo.

“We are proud that for the third time the Saudi National Pavilion will be participating in the Venice Architecture Biennale for its 18th edition, which will be held under the theme Laboratory of the Future,” Sumaya Al-Sulaiman, CEO of the Architecture and Design Authority, said.

In keeping with the exhibition’s theme, the Saudi pavilion will explore how individuals see their relationship to their surroundings.

The pavilion includes six arched gates made of large octagonal metal structures. The inside of these structures are made of wooden panels, while the outside is constructed out of 3D printed traditional ceramic tiles. The wavy and uneven designs are reminiscent of desert sand dunes.

Source: arabnews.com

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2306146/saudi-arabia

--------

 

Australia

 

88-year-old Australian doctor freed 7 years after kidnapping by Islamic extremists in West Africa

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An 88-year-old Australian doctor held captive by Islamic extremists in West Africa for more than seven years has been freed and has returned to Australia.

Ken Elliott was safe and well and was reunited with his wife and their children on Thursday night, Foreign Minister Penny Wong said.

“I’m very pleased to advise that Dr. Ken Elliott, who’s been held hostage in Western Africa for some seven years, has been reunited in Australia with his family,” Wong told reporters in Sydney.

Elliott and his wife were kidnapped in Burkina Faso, where they had run a medical clinic for four decades. Jocelyn Elliott was released three weeks later.

“We wish to express our thanks to God and all who have continued to pray for us,” Elliott’s family said in a statement released by Wong’s department.

“We express our relief that Dr. Elliott is free and thank the Australian government and all who have been involved over time to secure his release,” the family statement said.

Wong said no ransom was paid to secure Elliott’s freedom, but no other details on his release were disclosed. Media reported he was reunited with his family in Perth, the west coast city where he is from.

“At 88 years of age, and after many years away from home, Dr. Elliott now needs time and privacy to rest and rebuild strength,” the family added.

The militant group behind the kidnapping, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, rose to prominence in large part through kidnap-for-ransom operations targeting foreign aid workers and tourists.

On the day the Australian couple were kidnapped — Jan. 15, 2016 — 30 people were killed in an extremist attack in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou. Al-Qaida’s North Africa wing claimed responsibility for that attack and other high-profile strikes in West Africa months earlier, including killing 20 people in an attack on a hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako.

The Elliotts were kidnapped near the northern Burkina Faso town of Djibo, near the border with Mali and Niger.

Jocelyn Elliott was freed in neighboring Niger. Niger’s then-President Mahamadou Issoufou had worked with Burkina Faso intelligence services to secure her release, his office said at the time.

Australia had not paid ransom to secure Ken Elliott’s release, Wong said.

“The Australian government has a clear policy that we do not pay ransoms,” Wong said.

“What we have done over the last seven years is ensure that we worked with other governments and local authorities in relation to Dr. Elliott,” she added.

Source: apnews.com

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

https://apnews.com/article/australia-kenneth-elliott-freed-8dfa523296f047a7df5f87be6e3285de

--------

 

Africa

 

Why I won’t pray for late Murphy Afolabi — Islamic cleric

18th May 2023

By

Deji Lambo

An Islamic cleric, Sheikh Yelma’e, has said Islam forbids him from praying for the departed soul of popular actor, Murphy Afolabi, because he mostly used his roles in movies to promote actions that are against the Islamic religion.

The cleric, in a video clip posted on YouTube and reposted by @mufasatundeednut on Instagram on Thursday, said he would never pray for Afolabi because he usually acted as herbalist, among other roles forbidden in Islam.

Noting that there was a need for religious teachers and students to start reflecting on the portrayal of actions against Islamic teachings, the cleric said praying for Afolabi’s departed soul especially when most of his roles in films contravened Islamic practice would amount to hypocrisy.

He said, “What we posted yesterday was that we cannot pray for (late) Murphy Afolabi because in the movies he usually acts, and particularly Yoruba movies, it has a lot of forbidden things including traditional sacrifices and it is rare for the actors not to be involved in such traditional sacrifices.

“They might be acting that way with the thinking that they are joking but anything that has to do with Almighty Allah should not be joked with. Acting like herbalist, witch, or wizard, is against Islamic teachings and Islam is against such actions.

“What will make a Muslim start using what nonbelievers do to make people laugh? It is common in Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo films, but mostly in Yoruba films. I feel it is time for religious teachers and students to start looking into these issues.

“When any of these actors with a Muslim name acts like herbalist in Yoruba movies and later dies, it becomes hypocritical for people to expect us to pray for them. As for Murphy Afolabi, I won’t pray for him, and neither will I curse him because he might not know.”

Reacting to the development, a lecturer in Film and Media Arts, Department of Theatre Arts and Music, Lagos State University, Dr Femi Olugboji, said scholars have argued that Islam forbids the portrayal of images of human beings whether through television, photography or the creation of statues, but they also argued about the importance of information whether through entertainment or news stories or other means.

He said, “They (scholars) said Islam does not forbid education through the portrayal of human images but what Islam forbids is the way human beings, especially women, are portrayed through their mode of dressing, and as well as the content that misleads the public.

“What is the intent of Murphy Afolabi’s acting roles in line with what the cleric mentioned? Is it to correct society? Were his actions in those films to correct the ills in society or was it to mislead the society? We need to be very objective by taking a deep look at his works to see what he was trying to achieve or achieved through the actions he displayed in his films.

“The cleric to some extent may be wrong; if for example I assume a role of an herbalist and through that role I used it to correct something wrong in society, does it mean I have committed a sin? What exactly does the cleric know about the media and media content? He is looking at the issue from his personal belief and not Islamic religion.”

Explaining further, Olugboji said there was a need for movie practitioners to understand the audience and what they want from the media, adding that entertainers and performers would want to satisfy the needs of the audience.

He said, “If the audience felt that Murphy Afolabi’s works during his lifetime were misleading, he wouldn’t have been as popular as he was when he was alive. This means that to a large extent, he achieved a goal in society through his works.

“We should understand that every individual in the society evolves from a socio-cultural and religious background and based on the background that we evolve from; we have enough that can build media literacy that can help us to judge or decide between what is good or bad in the media.”

The PUNCH had reported that Nollywood stars and entertainment lovers were thrown into mourning when news of the death of the Osun-born actor became public knowledge.

He died at the age of 49 and had been buried.

Source: punchng.com

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

https://punchng.com/why-i-wont-pray-for-the-late-murphy-afolabi-islamic-cleric/

--------

 

10th Senate: MURIC asks Muslim aspirants to withdraw for Southern Christian

By Miftaudeen Raji

May 18, 2023

Foremost Islamic human rights group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has urged Muslim aspirants vying for the position of the President of the 10th Senate to withdraw from the race, in order to allow for a Southern Christian.

The Executive Director, MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola, made this appeal in a statement made available to Vanguard on Thursday.

MURIC noted that it wants the Senate presidency to go to a Christian from the South, because Nigeria needs the cooperation of both Muslims and Christians for collaboration that can engender peace and development.

The group therefore, called on all Muslims vying for the post to withdraw from the Senate Presidential race.

The statement reads, “As the clock ticks away for the 29th May inauguration date of the Bola Tinubu administration, elected lawmakers and politicians have intensified the lobby game. We have seen how the different geo-political zones as well as individual politicians and stakeholders have demanded key positions in the National Assembly.

“Chief among those positions is the Senate presidency as it is the Number 3 position in the country after the president and vice president. As a major stakeholder in the affairs of Nigeria, we have followed with keen interest the imbroglio which greeted the Muslim-Muslim ticket and how it ended in Nigeria having a Muslim President-Elect and a Muslim Vice President-Elect.

“In view of this outcome and considering the multi-religious character of our dear country, Nigeria, it is our considered opinion that the post of senate president should go to a Southern Christian. Nigeria needs the cooperation of both Muslims and Christians because only such collaboration can engender peace and development.

“Although we are a Muslim group, we believe very strongly that Muslims should not take all the top posts despite being the undisputed majority group in the country. Muslims must be ready to share power with their Christian compatriots. Politics is a game of give and take and Nigerian Muslims must play it right.

“We must all be ready to demonstrate willingness to work together as a people in spite of our religious differences. Afterall there is no Muslim electricity supply, no Christian roads, no Muslim public transport system and no Christian naira. Our problems are identical and whatever affects our country affects both Muslims and Christians together.

“A good example is COVID-19. Hunger knows no Muslim and malaria knows no Christian. Poverty is common among the adherents of both faith. Let us therefore share what belongs to all with love and find solutions to our common problems together.

“MURIC therefore calls on all Muslim candidates vying for the position of senate president to withdraw in order to allow Christian candidates from the South to have a free hand in the competition (preferably the South South because the South East has occupied the post on several occasions).

“In addition, MURIC tips any suitable candidate from the North West for the post of deputy senate president in view of the fact that the zone gave the largest number of votes to the party and the candidate that won the election.”

Source: vanguardngr.com

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

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2023/05/10th-senate-muric-asks-muslim-aspirants-to-withdraw-for-southern-christian/

--------

 

Islamic teacher defiles six-year-old female pupil

By

Naomi Chima

A 24-year-old Islamic teacher, Mosediq Toheeb, was on Wednesday remanded by a Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court for sexually assaulting a six-year-old pupil at a Quranic school.

The court presided over by Magistrate Patrick Nwaka, remanded the defendant who was arraigned on two counts of sexual violation preferred against him by the state police command.

The police prosecutor, Thomas Nurudeen, told the court that the incident happened on May 7, 2023, at the University of Lagos Central Mosque.

According to Nurudeen, that was the second time that the teacher would defile the child.

The victim’s mother told the court that on the day of the incident, the child returned home from school with blood stains on her clothes and when asked what happened, she told her that her class teacher took her to a separate classroom, tied her mouth and hands and defiled her with a stern warning that she should not tell anybody.

According to the prosecutor, the offences committed are punishable under Sections 261 and 137 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2015.

The charge read in part, “That you, Mosediq Toheeb, on May 7, 2023, around 4pm at UNILAG Central Mosque, in the Yaba Magisterial District, did sexually assault one six-year-old female (name withheld), who lives at No. 26, Femi Adebule Street, Fola Agoro, in the Somolu area of Lagos, by inserting your finger into her vagina and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 261 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.”

Nurudeen prayed the court to remand the defendant for 30 days pending legal advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecution.

Toheeb’s lawyer, Patrick Onochie, pleaded with the court to consider the defendant who he claimed was a final year student of the University of Lagos and would be starting his final examinations in two weeks.

Magistrate Nwaka did not take the plea of the defendant but ordered that he should be remanded.

He said there was no document before the court to show that the defendant was a student and in his final year or about to begin an examination.

He ordered that the case file be duplicated and sent to the Director of Public Prosecution for legal advice and copies of his school documents attached to the case file.

He adjourned the case till June 19, 2023.

Source: punchng.com

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

https://punchng.com/islamic-teacher-defiles-six-year-old-female-pupil/

--------

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/mosque-assam-drug-addicts-burial/d/129810

 

New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Loading..

Loading..