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Mon Sep 26 2022, 12:42 AM

Islamic World News ( 24 Aug 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Muslim Bodies Welcome Kerala Government Move to Drop Gender-Neutral Uniform

New Age Islam News Bureau

25 August 2022

 

Photo: The News Minurte

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• Zakir Naik’s Speech on Chinese, Indians Received ‘Stinging Reception’, Court Told

• Saudi Cinema Revenue Rose by 2,605 percent since Theatres Opened: Report

• Taliban Say Body of Al-Qaeda Leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Not Found

• Libya's representative to the UN Discusses With His Chinese Counterpart Libyan Political Developments

 

India

• Voices From Within Gujarat: Group Of Artists And Writers Describe The Remission Of The Sentences By The Gujarat Government As An “Outright Act Of Bad Faith”

• Bilkis Bano Case: SC Issues Notice to Gujarat Govt, Centre

• Prophet Remarks: Three Non-Muslim Protestors Detained In Old City

• Prophet Row: Hyderabad Cops Arrest Youth from Homes after Protests Intensify

• Temple Purified in Bihar’s Gaya after Muslim Minister Entered into It with CM Nitish Kumar

• Complaint Filed In Bihar Court against Muslim Minister for Visiting Temple

• Gyanvapi was never a mosque, stands on temple ruins: Plaintiffs

• Family Court Can’t Restrain a Muslim Man from Pronouncing Talaq: Kerala HC

• Court reserves Gyanvapi mosque order till September 12

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Southeast Asia

• Cancel International Concerts They Encourage Hedonism and Are Incompatible with Values of Muslim Life in Malaysia Or We Will Protest, Says PAS Youth

• Sharia financial products can reduce MSME investment risk: minister

• Non-Muslims the root of corruption? Is this ‘Keluarga’ Malaysia?

• Singapore’s LGBTQ buyers face a higher housing hurdle

• Indonesia Considers Objection to Bali Bomber’s Early Release

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Arab World

• Back to School: Saudi Arabia Allows Children of Undocumented Residents to Enrol

• Iraq Forces Bomb Islamic State Hideouts in Anbar Province

• US service member wounded in new Syria attack: Military

• Lebanon investigates recorded death threats against Saudi embassy

• Saudi Arabia to approve visas for World Cup Qatar ticketholders: Ministry

• Saudi King grants order of merit to recognize 200 organ donor citizens

• Three American forces injured in rocket attack on US-occupied bases in Syria

• Defence ministry: Russian jets bomb terrorist positions in Syria’s militant-held Idlib region

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South Asia

• Taliban Kills Two Robbers in Northern Afghanistan

• Bloodshed, Curbs on Civil Rights Show Taliban's Afghanistan Will Remain Unstable

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Africa

• First US envoy to Sudan in 25 years arrives in Khartoum

• Over 2,000 Tunisian minors reach Italy in 2022: Rights group

• Visiting Macron may find Algeria's leaders hard to woo

• UN chief calls for immediate cessation of hostilities in Ethiopia

• Tunisia says committed by Arab boycott of Israel

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Mideast

• Hezbollah Leader Nasrallah Meets With Palestinian Islamic Jihad

• Hamas Rages at Spanish Tourist Who Posed In ‘Immodest’ Clothes at Al-Aqsa Mosque

• Islamic Jihad holds Gaza rocket parade in defiant display after recent flare-up

• Iran tests drones amid US concern of possible supply to Russia

• Palestinian hunger striker held by Israel could die at any moment: Lawyer

• Israel’s former PM Netanyahu criticizes US, Biden administration over Iran deal

• Iran says it will only allow inspections agreed in 2015 nuclear deal

• Israeli forces arrest 13 Palestinians during raids in West Bank, al-Quds

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North America

• Biden Orders Strikes against ‘Iran-Backed Militias’ In Syria

• US has responded to Iran comments on nuclear deal proposal: State Department

• US promises expanded visa services in Turkey after Ankara criticism

• US urges permanent end to conflict in Ethiopia amid renewed violence

• US threatens NATO member Turkey with sanctions over ties with Russia

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Europe

• Ukraine War Chance For Faster Green Transition But Need Saudi Arabia: Albania PM

• NATO important platform to boost ties with Türkiye: North Macedonia's top diplomat

• Türkiye says 2 more grain ships leave Ukraine

• US warns of sanctions against Turkey over Russia ties

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Pakistan

• Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Challenges PEMRA Decision to Ban Live Speeches Of Former PM Imran Khan

• Pakistan Urges World to Take Cognisance of Growing Islamophobia In India

• Pakistan condemns sacrilegious remarks by another BJP official

• Supreme Court sets aside objections to PTI pleas on voting rights

• Doha declares intent to invest $3bn in Pakistan

• Pakistan rejects India's closure of missile firing incident into its territory

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:     https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/muslim-bodies-kerala-gender-neutral-uniform/d/127797

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Muslim Bodies Welcome Kerala Government Move to Drop Gender-Neutral Uniform

 

Photo: The News Minurte

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AUGUST 24, 2022

Samastha to go ahead with sensitisation drive

The Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama, the biggest Muslim organisation in Kerala, on Wednesday welcomed the State government’s decision to withdraw from the move to impose ‘gender neutrality’ in classrooms.

Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama State president Syed Jifri Muthukoya Thangal said it was good that the government would not impose gender-neutral uniform and seating positions on school campuses.

The Samastha had planned to launch an awareness campaign through Juma masjids under it against the government’s gender-neutral uniform move. Mr. Thangal said the Samastha would go ahead with its sensitisation programme. “We do not want the community to deviate from a value system it follows,” he said.

The Kerala Muslim Jamaath (KMJ) headed by Kanthapuram A.P. Aboobacker Musliyar too welcomed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s statement that the government would not impose gender-neutral uniform in schools.

“Gender-neutral ideology is unacceptable. What we want is gender justice,” said Mr. Musliyar, appreciating the government for heeding the concerns raised by the Muslim community.

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) reiterated here on Wednesday that the gender-neutrality controversy was created “deliberately” by the government to divert attention from some major issues facing the State.

IUML State general secretary P.M.A. Salam said the government should first ensure that there are facilities for the students to pursue higher education before talking about where they should sit.

“Thousands of children who passed SSLC are facing a bleak future because of a severe seat shortage for higher secondary studies in Malabar, particularly Malappuram district. Let the government first provide enough seats for our students, we can later talk about where they should sit and what they should wear,” said Mr. Salam.

He said the government had tried to unnecessarily create a controversy by trying to portray itself as “too liberal”. “Most people in our country are religious and they have a value system. By trying to impose a westernised culture in the name of gender neutrality, the government was offending a lot of people. It was a ploy to divert people’s attention from some serious issues,” he said.

Source: The Hindu

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/muslim-bodies-welcome-kerala-government-move-to-drop-gender-neutral-uniform/article65805525.ece

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Zakir Naik’s Speech On Chinese, Indians Received ‘Stinging Reception’, Court Told

 

In October and December 2019, Islamic preacher Zakir Naik filed two separate suits alleging that Penang deputy chief minister II, P Ramasamy, had issued five statements against him.

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V Anbalagan

August 24, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik received a stinging reception following a speech he gave in Kota Bharu three years ago, the High Court heard today.

Penang deputy chief minister II, P Ramasamy, said Naik’s comments provoked a strong and critical response from a large section of Malaysians.

“They continue to call for his deportation from Malaysia and to be banned from speaking publicly,” Ramasamy said in response to defamation suits filed by Naik, who is now a permanent resident here.

He said Naik’s comments on the Malaysian Chinese were widely covered and condemned by many quarters, including the media.

“The Star ran an article on Aug 14, 2019 with the headline ‘Zakir Naik plays pendatang card, says Chinese should go back before he does’,” Ramasamy added.

He said in labelling the Malaysian Chinese as “guests” and calling on them to “go back”, Naik considered them a “pendatang” community, a term which carried an underlying derogatory tone.

“Labelling another race in Malaysia, whether it be the Malays, Chinese or Indians, as ‘pendatang’ is taboo and is destructive and divisive.

“It also unfairly questions another rightful Malaysian citizen’s citizenship and loyalty,” he added.

Naik is also alleged to have said that Malaysian Hindus “support the prime minister of India but not the prime minister of Malaysia” and that they were “more Indian than Malaysian themselves”.

Ramasamy, in his defence, said such remarks by Naik had denigrated Malaysian Hindus and given the impression that they were disloyal Malaysian citizens, and that they were more loyal to the Indian national flag than the Jalur Gemilang.

Ramasamy said FMT, on Aug 11, 2019, had published his article “Naik should not question loyalty of Hindus in Malaysia” in response to the Kota Bharu speech.

“In this article, I said, among others, that Naik was wanted by the Indian authorities for money laundering and terrorism-related charges in India.

“I also expressed my disapproval of Naik’s concept of comparative religion as it involves belittling faiths other than Islam, and rebuked Naik’s comment on Malaysian Hindus and Indians,” he said.

Ramasamy is relying on the defence of justification, fair comment and qualified privilege to defeat Naik’s suits.

In October and December 2019, Naik filed two separate suits alleging that Ramasamy had issued five statements against him.

One of these is that Ramasamy had “manipulated” the Kota Bharu speech he had made at an event organised by the Kelantan government, which was also published by FMT.

Hearing before judge Hayatul Akmal Abdul Aziz continues.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2022/08/24/zakir-naiks-speech-on-chinese-indians-received-stinging-reception-court-told/

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Saudi Cinema Revenue Rose by 2,605 percent since Theatres Opened: Report

 

The first edition of the Red Sea Film Festival marked a major turning point in Saudi cinema, drawing local talent and film stars from around the world. (Red Sea Film Festival)

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24 August, 2022

Annual cinema ticket sales in Saudi Arabia have risen 2,605 percent since the first year that theaters were opened in the country, a report from the Ministry of Culture said.

Moviegoers spent $54.8 million (206.2 million riyals) at the cinema in 2021, compared to $2 million (7.6 million riyals) in 2018, according to the recent ‘Report on the State of Culture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 2021.’

Public movie screenings were traditionally banned in the Kingdom due to pressure from religious conservatives.

The first public film screening in decades was held in April 2018 when Marvel’s Black Panther was shown at a new AMC theater in Riyadh.

It was one of many social reforms brought about under the Vision 2030 plan initiated in 2017.

New cinemas are now popping up across the Kingdom. Eleven new theaters were built between 2020 and 2021, bringing the estimated total to 54, the ministry said.

A number of government initiatives have been introduced in order to encourage the growth of the industry locally.

One example is the Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah, launched in 2019, which highlights the work of Saudi filmmakers alongside international artists.

The festival also runs programs designed to encourage local talent – namely Cinema al-Hara – which involves masterclasses and outdoor screenings open to the public.

On the fourth anniversary of the cinema ban being lifted, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) announced that more than 30 million tickets had been sold.

Cinemas also provide jobs for more than 4,400 young Saudis, SPA said.

Saudi Arabia, along with China, is one of the few countries around the world that is seeing positive growth in cinema revenue, as consumers continue to shift away from the theaters towards streaming services.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/life-style/entertainment/2022/08/24/Saudi-cinema-revenue-rose-by-2-605-pct-since-theaters-opened-Report

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Taliban Say Body of Al-Qaeda Leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Not Found

 

Al Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri.(AFP file photo)

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Reuters, Aug 25, 2022

Kabul: The Taliban have not found the body of Ayman al-Zawahiri and are continuing investigations, group spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said on Thursday, after the United States said they killed the al Qaeda leader in an airstrike in Kabul last month. Also read | Top Taliban leaders meet to deliberate on US claims of killing Al Qaeda chief

The United States killed Zawahiri with a missile fired from a drone while he stood on a balcony at his hideout in July, US officials said, in the biggest blow to al Qaeda since US Navy SEALS shot dead Osama bin Laden more than a decade ago.

Source: Hindustan Times

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/taliban-say-they-ve-not-found-body-of-al-qaeda-leader-ayman-al-zawahiri-report-101661421129506.html

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Libya's representative to the UN Discusses With His Chinese Counterpart Libyan Political Developments

 

Libya's representative to the United Nations, Taher Al-Sunni, has met with his Chinese counterpart, Zhang Jun

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August 24, 2022

Libya's representative to the United Nations, Taher Al-Sunni, has met with his Chinese counterpart, Zhang Jun, to exchange views on the developments of the situation in Libya and the challenges facing the political process.

“I shared our support to China role during its presidency of the Security Council this month. China reassured it’s position in support of a Libyan led owned solution”, Al-Sunni tweeted.

Earlier, Al-Sunni indicated that Libya objected to the nomination of Bathily for the position of the UN envoy, not because of his person, but because Libya deserves a person with more capacity.

Source: Libya Observer

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.libyaobserver.ly/inbrief/al-sunni-discusses-his-chinese-counterpart-libyan-political-developments%C2%A0

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 India

 

Voices From Within Gujarat: Group Of Artists And Writers Describe The Remission Of The Sentences By The Gujarat Government As An “Outright Act Of Bad Faith”

Gujarat voices slam remission of Bilkis convicts

25.08.22

Voices have risen from within Gujarat, too, against the state government’s decision to release the convicted rapists and murderers in the Bilkis Bano case.

A group of artists and writers on Wednesday described the remission of the sentences by the Gujarat government as an “outright act of bad faith” and questioned the authorities’ silence.

In an appeal, they urged the State and its structures to “immediately take all such measures as are required to not only restore the citizens’ faith in democratic justice but in humanity, truth and civilisation”.

The 122 signatories include several from Gujarat and Maharashtra. Among them are poet and artist Prabodh Parikh, poet and filmmaker Mehul Devkala, artist Atul Dodiya, poet and editor Kamal Vora, author Himanshi Shelat, theatre director and actor Manoj Shah, screenwriter Naushil Mehta and poet and novelist Kanji Patel.

Poet K. Satchidanandan, poet and writer Rukhmini Bhaya Nayar, poet and novelist Jeet Thayil and writer and filmmaker Ruchir Joshi have also signed the appeal.

The signatories to the joint appeal added: “If the visuals of public feting of the released convicts and litany of Brahminical sanskars by a member of the committee which recommended the remission are not gross enough, the silence of the state, administrative structures and public institutions which should swing into action for revoking and reviewing this decision certainly is.”

A BJP lawmaker, C.K. Raulji, who had been on the government panel that recommended the convicts’ release, had been quoted as saying the 11 were “Brahmins and Brahmins are known to have good sanskar”. He later said his statement had been misconstrued and that “rapists have nothing to do with castes”.

The letter underscored the irony in Gujarat’s BJP government releasing the 11 convicts under the state’s remission policy on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscored the importance of safeguarding women’s rights and dignity in his Independence Day speech.

“In fact, it impresses the pitfalls of and problems in the discriminatory and arbitrary use of executive power on the popular psyche,” the letter said.

Referring to the question whether due process had been followed in releasing the convicts, the letter underlined that “forgiveness can be granted only by the victim of oppression and violence”.

It added that Bilkis Bano had been kept in the dark by the institutions and structures involved in considering the possibility of remission.

“The release of the convicts doesn’t appear to be an act of mercy or an opportunity accorded for reformation, but an outright act of bad faith,” it said.

Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/bilkis-bano-case-remission-in-bad-faith-write-gujarat-intellectuals/cid/1882257

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Bilkis Bano Case: SC Issues Notice To Gujarat Govt, Centre

Aug 25, 2022

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the Gujarat government and Centre on grant of remission of sentence to 11 lifers who were convicted for multiple murders and gang-raping pregnant Bilkis Bano during the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

Eleven convicts, sentenced to life imprisonment, were released from Godhra sub-jail on August 15 after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy. The convicts had completed more than 15 years in jail.

A special CBI court in Mumbai on January 21, 2008, sentenced the 11 to life imprisonment on charges of gangrape and murder. Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court

Bilkis Bano was gangraped in Gujarat's Randhikpur village and seven members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter, killed on March 3, 2002 in the Gujarat riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning. She was 21 year old and five months pregnant at the time.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/bilkis-bano-case-sc-issues-notice-to-gujarat-govt-centre/articleshow/93770224.cms

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Prophet remarks: Three Non-Muslim protestors detained in old city

SM Bilal

25th August 2022

Hyderabad: The detention of three non-Muslims protestors by the police in Shalibanda area has raised a suspicion about the alleged involvement of the non-elements in the ongoing protests against the offensive remarks against Prophet.

The police in the old city on Wednesday night resorted to randomly picking off many youths allegedly involved in the flash protests and also in the stone pelting incidents. During the crackdown on the youths, the police incidentally caught three non-Muslim youths from the spot upon which they were whisked away to another location.

The suspects have been identified as A Lingam,N Shekar and G Siddu all residents of Shamshabad.

According to the sources, late Wednesday night there were fresh incidents of protests along with the stone pelting,meanwhile few Muslim youths have identifed the non-Muslims allegedly indulging in the violence upon which they were caught and immediately handed over to the police.

“We are trying to extract details from three persons who were detained on the point of suspicion from the protest site, the police are interrogating them to ascertain their involvement in the stone pelting incidents” said an police official posted at Shahalibanda.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/prophet-remarks-three-non-muslim-protestors-detained-in-old-city-2397655/

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Prophet Row: Hyderabad Cops Arrest Youth from Homes after Protests Intensify

Mir Alamgir

25th August 2022

Hyderabad: The city police on Wednesday night barged into several homes and dragged out Muslim youth in and around Shalibanda on as protests against suspended BJP MLA swelled over his derogatory remarks on Prophet Muhammad. The peaceful atmosphere that prevailed earlier in the day came to an end as over 50 people protesting against Raja Singh were taken into custody.

Heavy stone pelting was also reported near Asha Talkies at Shalibanda in the night around 9 pm by protestors, who came out in large numbers at Shalibanda which has become the hub of protests. The protestors, who were unwilling to listen to the police, tried to reach Shalibanda from anywhere they could. The police also resorted to lathi charge on protestors at Charminar as well.

The angry youth at Shalibanda were demanding the arrest of Raja Singh after he passed derogatory comments against Prophet Muhammad in a video released on August 22. Some of the Muslim youth who were arrested also said that the police barged into their home and picked them up in spite of them not being a part of the protests. Local AIMIM corporate Muzaffar rushed to the spot soon after this was reported.

On Wednesday night, the Hyderabad police first detained a few dozen protestors first around 7:30 – 8 pm. Following that, a few hundred then turned up to protest demanding the release of those who were picked up. Soon, the police also was losing patience as the protest grew, and the cops resorted to lathi charge. It was then followed by heavy stone pelting by protestors.

In spite of several warnings by the Hyderabad police to stay indoors, angry Muslim youth have been out on the streets protesting against Raja Singh. The suspended BJP MLA was arrested on August 23 after his remarks on Prophet Muhammad. However, he received bail the same day, which enraged many.

On Wednesday, the Hyderabad police shut all shops and establishments in the Old City before 8 pm. Owners of establishments have been told that the process to down shutters will begin from 7 pm for the next few days at least. Protests against remarks on Prophet Muhammad are likely to continue till Raja Singh is arrested.

All shows shut by 8 pm in Old City

A day after violent protests broke out on Tuesday (August 23) following the arrest and subsequent release of T Raja Singh, the police on Wednesday night shut all shops and establishments in the Old City. Owners of establishments have been told that the process to down shutters will begin from 7 pm for the next few days at least.

The Hyderabad police’s move in anticipation of protests taking an ugly turn in the Muslim-dominated areas after Raja Singh made controversial remarks against the Prophet Muhammad. Further, patrolling at petrol bunks in the Old City will take place. Fuel stations were also made to shut down on Tuesday as well.

Raja Singh has been booked under sections like 153-A, 188, 295-A, 298, 505(1)(B)(C), 505(2), 506, 504, etc of the IPC in eight different cases. His statements on Prophet Muhammad were similar to what suspended BJP spokesperson also said.

Sequence of events

Raja Singh’s derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad were posted in a Youtube video on the night of August 22. It has been taken down since. Raja Singh posted it in retaliation to the Telangana government allowing comedia Munawar Faruqui perform in Hyderabad on August 20. He had threatened to disrupt the show, but was prevented from doing so by the police.

Raja Singh then took to Youtube, and posted his own video made derogatory statements on Prophet Muhammad , which he called a “comedy”. Protests erupted the same day around midnight and continued on August 23 following which the BJP MLA was arrested. The situation got worse in the night when scores of protestors remained on the roads. The remained tense on Wednesday as well.

What Raja Singh said

The suspended BJP MLA passed several derogatory comments against Muslims and Prophet Muhammad in a Youtube video. He was essentially unwilling to let go of the fact that standup comic Munawar Faruqui was allowed to hold a show in the city last week.

Protests began on the night of August 22 itself, with angry youth demanding his arrest outside city police commissioner CV Anand’s office. It continued on Tuesday and intensified after he was released on bail. BJP chief spokesperson for Telangana Krishna Saagar Rao told Siasat.com that his party respects all religions and faiths. “We are a national party and we don’t support the statements of Raja Singh or hate speech,” he stated clarifying that the BJP does not support Singh’s remarks on Prophet Muhammad.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/prophet-row-hyderabad-cops-arrest-youth-from-homes-after-protests-intensify-2397574/

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Temple purified in Bihar’s Gaya after Muslim Minister entered into it with CM Nitish Kumar

Amarnath Tewary

AUGUST 25, 2022

The temple committee also demanded Minister Mohd. Israil Mansuri’s removal from Bihar Cabinet for entering into garbh-grih (sanctum sanctorum) of the famous Vishnupad temple along with CM Nitish Kumar

Purification prayer of the famous Vishnupad temple of Gaya in Bihar was done with all prayers and rituals on August 24 after Minister from the minority community entered into its sanctum sanctorum along with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on August 22 to offer prayers.

The temple committee washed the temple premises and also demanded removal of the Minister from Mr. Kumar’s Cabinet. The State BJP leaders, earlier, had demanded ‘public apology’ from the Chief Minister for taking a non-Hindu inside the temple garbh-grih (sanctum sanctorum).

Entry of non-Hindus is strictly prohibited inside the world famous Vishnupad temple where people visit for prayer after offering pind dan of their ancestors on the bank of river Falgu. The code is written in bold fonts on the wall of the temple.

“There was lot of resentment among panda samaj (priest community) here after visit of a Minister from non-Hindu community along with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The purification of the temple has been done with all rituals and prayers, while washing of the premises with water”, said chairman of the temple management committee Shambhulal Vitthal. He also demanded dismissal of the Minister from his post.

As many as 20-21 pandas (priests) were present and participated in the purification prayer, he added.

Earlier on August 22, Bihar’s Information and Technology Minister Mohd. Israil Mansuri had entered into sanctum sanctorum of famous Vishnupad temple along with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who was on a visit to Gaya to see preparation of annual pitrapaksha mela (fair for ancestral well-being).

The Minister who was recently made as party’s (JD-U) in-charge of the district, accompanied Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and offered prayer.

“It was just a coincidence that I got opportunity to enter into the Vishnupad temple along with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar but I’m honoured to get inside the temple”, said the Minister after his visit to the temple.

“Since Mr. Mansuri had become the Minister for the first time, no one recognised him when he entered into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple”, said Mr. Vitthal, adding, “it has happened for the first time that a non-Hindu entered into the temple”.

Later, State BJP leaders sparked row over the Minister’s visit to the Vishnupad temple and demanded “public apology” from the Chief Minister.

“We demand a public apology from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for taking Mohd. Israil Mansuri into the Vishnupad temple where entry of non-Hindus is prohibited. Can he (Mr. Kumar) think of setting his foot inside Mecca? If the Chief Minister refuses to apologise, he should be ready for protests from BJP workers everywhere, including the State Aassembly”, said State BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal.

Other BJP leader and party MLA Haribhushan Thakur too questioned Minister Mohd. Israil Mansuri’s entry into the Vishnupad temple of Gaya. “When it is written on the wall of the temple that entry of non-Hindus is prohibited how the Chief Minister could take his Minister from other religious community there? It has hurt the sentiments of Hindus”, said Mr. Thakur.

Source: The Hindu

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

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bihar-gaya-vishnupad-temple-muslim-minister-mohd-israil-mansuri-entered-temple-cm-nitish-kumar/article65808858.ece

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Complaint filed in Bihar court against Muslim minister for visiting temple

25th August 2022

MUZAFFARPUR: A complaint petition was filed in a court in Bihar's Muzaffarpur against Information Technology Minister Mohammad Israel Mansuri for visiting the Vishnupad temple in Gaya.

Muzaffarpur-based social activist Chandra Kishore Parashar filed the petition seeking the registration of an FIR against the minister for "hurting religious sentiment of Hindus".

"My client, in his complaint, said that the minister, being a Muslim, should not have visited the Vishnupad temple as only those who follow the Sanatana Dharma are allowed to visit it.

The court will hear the matter on September 2," Parashar's lawyer Ravindra Kumar Singh said here on Wednesday.

Mansuri, a Pasmanda Muslim, had accompanied Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on his tour of Gaya earlier this week during which they offered prayers at the Vishnupad temple.

BJP leaders had fulminated, citing a notice board on the temple premises that says "only followers of Sanatana Dharma" are allowed to enter.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed dismay over the controversy around Mansuri's visit to the temple and blamed the controversy on the "divisive" politics of the BJP, his former ally.

"What is their grouse? Have their ministers not visited temples along with me?" asked the de facto JD(U) leader while talking to reporters on Wednesday.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/aug/25/complaint-filed-in-bihar-court-against-muslim-minister-for-visiting-temple-2491254.html

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Gyanvapi was never a mosque, stands on temple ruins: Plaintiffs

Aug 25, 2022

VARANASI: Challenging the claim of the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid that Gyanvapi Mosque was a waqf property, the lawyers of five women plaintiffs claimed that Gyanvapi was never a mosque and was standing on the ruins of a temple. Hearing on maintainability of the plea filed by five women plaintiffs seeking right to worship Shringar Gauri and other deities in Gyanvapi Mosque compound concluded at the court of district judge here on Wednesday. District judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha has fixed September 12 as the date for delivering his verdict on the maintainability of the case.

'AIM's claim is a fraud & a bid to mislead court'

Giving this information, district government counsel (civil) Mahendra Prasad Pandey told TOI that the arguments and counter-arguments by the plaintiffs and AIM on the issue of maintainability of the case came to an end at 3.15 pm on Wednesday.

Shamim Ahmed, senior lawyer of AIM - the Gyanvapi mosque management committee - started the final round of arguments at the district judge's court at 11.30.

A member of the AIM advocates' panel, Rayees Ahmed, said, "Today (Wednesday) we presented our submission on the issues of applicability of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 and contents of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1983."

"We explained that the KV Temple Act, 1983, contains only the name of Kashi Vishwanath Temple and not 'old or new' temple. Also, only the property endowed to KV Temple is mentioned in it and there is no reference to the mosque," he said.

Regarding applicability of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, Rayees Ahmed said, "We mentioned that in our previous arguments we had proved that the Gyanvapi mosque, which is also known as the Alamgir mosque, is a waqf property as per the decision in Deen Mohammad Vs secretary of state case 1936, high court order of 1945 and gazetting by the then district magistrate in 1944. We proved that on August 15, 1947 it was a mosque and a waqf property, hence the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991 applies to it."

After AIM concluded its submissions, veteran Supreme Court advocate Hari Shankar Jain, who is contesting the case on behalf of four women plaintiffs - Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak - started the counter- arguments. "We mentioned that the AIM's claim that Gyanvapi and Alamgir mosques are the same is a fraud and a bid to mislead the court. Alamgir mosque is separate and exists at Madhav Bindu, Panchganga Ghat. Gyanvapi has never been a mosque," he told TOI.

Jain said, "We submitted in the court that even after the demolition of the temple by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, the Hindus continued worshipping at Shringar Gauri and other deities in the ruins of Gyanvapi. In fact, Hindus had been worshipping there on August 15, 1947, and continued the practice till Gyanvapi was isolated with steel barricading in the name of security by the Mulayam Singh Yadav government in 1993. Thus, Gyanvapi is not barred under sections of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991."

Maan Bahadur Singh, advocate of plaintiff number one, Rakhi Singh, said: "I informed the court that any property is dedicated for waqf by its owner with pious purpose and Aurangzeb was not the owner of the property. Gyanvapi is a disputed structure as it stands over a temple's ruins. Hence, it is not barred under the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991."

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/gyanvapi-was-never-a-mosque-stands-on-temple-ruins-says-plaintiffs/articleshow/93764573.cms

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Family court can’t restrain a Muslim man from pronouncing talaq: Kerala HC

25th August 2022

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has observed that family courts cannot restrain a Muslim man from performing talaq or marrying more than one person in accordance with the personal law. “The court has no role to restrain or regulate one’s behaviour or decision in accordance with the personal law guaranteed,” observed the court.

It issued an order on a petition filed by a native of Kollam challenging the decision of the Family Court, Chavara, restraining him from undertaking talaq. The petitioner has initiated steps to pronounce talaq and pronounced first and second talaqs.

Before pronouncing the irrevocable talaq, he has been restrained by an order of temporary injunction by the family court. The wife also filed an application restraining him from a second marriage. That also has been allowed. These decisions were challenged by the petitioner in HC.

Justice A Muhamed Mustaque observed that if any orders were passed restraining one from acting in accordance with personal belief and practice, that would amount to encroaching on his constitutionally protected rights.

It added that the jurisdiction of the court was limited in these kinds of processes.The court observed that the aggrieved person could challenge any action arising out of the exercise of faith and practice if it was not done in accordance with the personal law, belief, and practice but that stage would arise only after the performance of the act.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2022/aug/25/family-court-cant-restrain-a-muslim-man-from-pronouncing-talaq-kerala-hc-2491050.html

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Court reserves Gyanvapi mosque order till September 12

Aug 25, 2022

The Varanasi district court on Wednesday reserved its judgment till September 12 on the plea by Anzuman Intezamia Committee (AIMC) challenging the maintainability of the Gyanvapi mosque case as both Hindu and Muslim side completed their arguments in the case.

The lawyers for AIMC presented their counter- arguments before the court of district judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha, stating that the mosque in Varanasi is registered as a Waqf and, therefore, the civil court has no jurisdiction to hear the case. It is the waqf tribunal alone that has the jurisdiction to hear the matter, the lawyers said.

Hari Shanker Jain, another lawyer for the Hindu side, said the Muslim side showed waqf documents of Alamgir masjid (mosque) and not of Gyanvapi mosque. “The lawyer for the Muslim side repeated old statements before the court,” Jain said.

The advocate representing the Muslim side also told the court that in 1992, after an agreement between the Uttar Pradesh government and the Waqf Board, a part of the Gyanvapi complex was converted into a police control room. At the time of the construction of the Kashi Vishwanath corridor, the state government took some land of the Gyanvapi mosque and provided land at another place in lieu of it, he said.

“This proves that the Gyanvapi mosque is a Waqf property,” he told the court.

Yadav had claimed that the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee told the court that in 1669, Aurangzeb demolished the temple and built a mosque at the site. “Today in India, when there is the rule of ‘sanatani’ people, the mosques that were built after demolishing temples should be handed over to the ‘sanatani’ people,” he said.

Earlier during the hearing on August 23, the AIMC counsel had also submitted proof of the Gyanvapi mosque being a Waqf Board registered as number 100 property, in the court. They also cited orders issued in the years 1944 and 1936 stating that the site was property of the Waqf Board.

The case is being heard by the district court following a Supreme Court order. Earlier, a lower court had ordered a video survey of the complex. The survey work was completed on May 16 and the report was presented in the court on May 19. The Hindu side claimed in the lower court that a Shivling was found during the survey in complex, which was contested by the Muslim side.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/court-reserves-gyanvapi-mosque-order-till-september-12-101661366231310.html

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Southeast Asia

 

Cancel International Concerts They Encourage Hedonism And Are Incompatible With Values Of Muslim Life In Malaysia Or We Will Protest, Says PAS Youth

August 25, 2022

Petaling Jaya: PAS Youth has warned of nationwide protests unless scheduled concerts featuring international artists are cancelled.

Youth chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari called on the government to cancel such events as he said they encourage hedonism and were incompatible with the norms and values of Muslim life in Malaysia.

“I hope that the government, through the relevant ministers, will consider cancelling and rescinding the approvals given to such concerts,” he said in a Facebook post.

“We will not hesitate to mobilise resistance throughout the country if (this call) is ignored.

“We urge NGOs and individuals concerned with this issue to rise together to prevent the culture of hedonism from creeping and spreading in society.”

Fadhli, who is also the Pasir Mas MP, made a similar call last Friday, when he warned against continuously organising concerts and called on Muslims to oppose such events, which he said would only invite the “wrath of Allah”.

His posting on Facebook was made in the wake of a concert held by American singer-songwriter Billie Eilish the night before.

The Islamic party had previously condemned concerts held in the country by various international performers.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2022/08/25/cancel-international-concerts-or-we-will-protest-says-pas-youth/

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Sharia financial products can reduce MSME investment risk: minister

25 August, 2022

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Digital-based Islamic financial products could help reduce the risks involved in investing in micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which often deter investors, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has said.

"The portfolio of Islamic financial products available for MSMEs, including financing, guarantees, savings, money transfers, and cash management services, combined with digital technology, has the potential to be a solution for MSME financing," the minister noted at the 6th Annual Islamic Finance Conference here on Wednesday.

MSMEs seeking to obtain sharia financing usually provide all information related to their business to potential investors so that they can reduce the risk for the investors in the future.

"Sharia financing can also be designed not through leverage or loan schemes, but through equity-based financing, so that risks can be truly structured," Finance Minister said.

Furthermore, large Islamic financial institutions can also provide funds that are much cheaper, while Islamic microfinance institutions can provide funds directly to MSMEs through asset-based financing on the basis of takaful (Islamic substitute to insurance).

"With this model, Islamic microfinance institutions can have an (important) role not only in providing financial services, but also in providing technical (guidance) and coaching as well as overcoming risk problems experienced by MSMEs and investors," Indrawati informed.

Islamic social finance that provides cheaper financing to MSMEs could increase the resilience of MSME actors during a financial crisis.

"With this digital-based Islamic finance, we can also track the behavior of MSMEs, the characteristics of their owners, and the development of their assets. This is all very valuable information so that the high-risk financing model for MSMEs can be significantly reduced," the minister explained.

The difficulty MSMEs face in accessing financial services must be resolved because they contribute up to 60 percent to Indonesia's total gross domestic product (GDP) and employ as much as 97 percent of the workforce.

Source: Antara News

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

https://en.antaranews.com/news/246117/sharia-financial-products-can-reduce-msme-investment-risk-minister

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Non-Muslims the root of corruption? Is this ‘Keluarga’ Malaysia?

Shankar R. Santhiram

August 25, 2022

How many police reports would have been made nationwide, by all the ultra-patriotic Bumiputera groups, if a non-Muslim minister, politician or observer made a public statement that ‘Malay-Muslim-Bumiputeras’ are at the root of all corruption in Malaysia?

It is quite plausible that by now, investigations would have been started on the people making such remarks. And, rightly so.

But this is exactly what a senior politician and party leader said about non-Muslims and non-Bumiputeras. Yet, there seems to be no investigations whatsoever.

On Aug, 20, it was reported in the mass media that PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang wrote on his Facebook page that “…groups who chase illicit gains are the ones who eventually control the economy. They then damage our politics as they are the roots for corruption and the majority of them are non-Muslims and non-Bumiputeras”.

While there is no doubt that Malaysians of all races have been implicated in corruption scandals, to single out ‘non-Muslim and non-Bumiputeras’ as the majority of the culprits, without providing any evidence, is atrocious and more than damaging to our national unity.

Where are the investigations on this matter?

With this statement, the PAS president, who is a senior cog in our current coalition government, is claiming that non-Muslims and non-Bumiputeras are not capable of acting with integrity and therefore cannot be entrusted with leading Malaysia as a corrupt-free nation.

I haven’t heard such hogwash and claptrap in a long-time. And, I am not going to waste my time dissecting his claims or rebutting his nonsensical declaration.

I am, however, going to say that this is the fundamental problem with present-day Malaysia.

Shouldn’t the prime minister or the national unity minister come out immediately and admonish this senior politician for making such an absurd claim, which is damaging to Malaysia’s already fragile race relations?

But to date, it is only civil society movements like Transparency International-Malaysia and opposition leaders, who have come out to rebuke the PAS president’s ludicrously racist comment.

Absolutely nothing has come from our ‘esteemed’ government leaders.

So, what ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ are we talking about?

It seems like I have gotten the answer to a question I posed a few weeks ago in this very column. I asked: “…are all Malaysians equal, or are some Malaysians more ‘equal’ than others”?

Many people took umbrage at my column titled ‘Can us ‘pendatang’ be part of ‘Keluarga Malaysia’?’, which was published on July 7 in FMT. Some academic even wrote a long-winded and convoluted riposte on why my argument was flawed.

But the fact remains that in our country, for government projects worth millions and billions, there is a practice of direct negotiations, as seen in the latest LCS fiasco. Without a transparent tender process, we now witness what has happened.

Public funds worth billions have vanished and not a single combat ship is in sight after a decade.

Is there any doubt that some members of our ‘keluarga’ get more benefits than others?

Government-linked companies or GLCs capture nearly all of our infrastructure and growth-based projects. We keep appointing politicians to become their chairpersons, and on top of that, we mainly select politicians of a certain race.

So, non-Muslims and non-Bumiputeras are to blame for this?

The biggest revelation about the sorry state that we find our blessed Malaysia in, presents itself when a widely followed and revered politician like the PAS president makes a claim that non-Muslims are at the root of corruption in Malaysia, yet the authorities’ clam-up and take ‘no further action’.

Not a pip-squeak from the government benches.

What does this mean? Does the government agree that non-Muslims and non-Bumiputeras are the root cause of the corruption endemic that has befallen our nation?

Are they tacitly supportive of this racist and polarising suggestion?

When the government practices double-standards or ‘dua-darjat’ like this, and then have the gall to tell all Malaysians that we are part of a family, it really sounds absurd to us common folks.

Sloganeering alone doesn’t repair the damage that opportunistic politicians cause when pandering to their specific audiences and focusing only on their agenda. Real actions that show that our administration is serious about racial unity is vital for a real ‘family’.

If the authorities decide to charge a stand-up comedian in court for uploading jokes online, alleging he insulted people, shouldn’t politicians also be charged in court for making remarks that insult ‘all’ non-Muslims and non-Bumiputeras?

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2022/08/25/non-muslims-the-root-of-corruption-is-this-keluarga-malaysia/

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Singapore’s LGBTQ buyers face a higher housing hurdle

August 25, 2022

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s move to bolster rules preventing same-sex marriages could be a serious blow to the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community in one of the city-state’s most important wealth and lifestyle areas: housing.

Around 80% of Singaporeans live in state-subsidised public housing that serves as their primary asset. Access to new flats is largely set aside for young, married couples, with grants of as much as S$80,000 (US$57,000).

LGBTQ applicants – categorized as single buyers – can only enter the market when they turn 35, with a limited pool of smaller apartments to choose from and lower government subsidies.

“At a time when my peers were settling down and building homes, it was very clear that was out of reach for me,” said Adrianna Tan, a 36-year-old Singaporean professional now living in San Francisco with her wife. “There’s the assumption that queer Singaporeans will simply rent or buy private property because there’s the perception that we are rich.”

In a speech on Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the government would repeal Section 377A of the penal code that criminalises sex between men, but would also amend the Constitution to protect the legal definition of marriage – a union between a man and a woman – from being challenged in the courts.

The move was seen as a compromise between LGBTQ-rights advocates and more conservative members of Singaporean society, but it frustrated people who had hoped to see the government go further since Section 377A has gone unenforced for years.

With rental and private property prices climbing to records, the move to change the Constitution could make it even harder for LGBTQ citizens to get equal access to more affordable homes built by the Housing and Development Board.

Lee said many national policies rely upon Singapore’s legal definition of marriage, including public housing, education, adoption rules, advertising standards and film classification. The government has “no intention” of changing the definition of marriage or the policies based on it, he said on Sunday.

“Even though the government repealed Section 377A, it still upholds family-centric policies,” said Tien Foo Sing, a real estate professor at the National University of Singapore.

Singapore is one of Asia’s most expensive property markets, making the availability of state-subsidized homes the only way to enter the market for most citizens.

Under its Build-to-Order programme, the HDB assesses applications for ballots of newly constructed properties to citizens, giving first-time married applicants with children preferential treatment. The median waiting time for a flat is between four and five years.

Around 31% of Singapore’s population above the age of 15 were classified as single in 2021, government data show. There are no official numbers on the LGBTQ community in the city-state.

With the government offering parenthood incentives to address the nation’s falling birth rate and housing stock closely aligned with population planning, it’s unlikely to relax restrictions for single buyers.

Almost all new HDB flats are on a 99-year lease and buyers are forbidden from reselling for five years. Larger HDB units in the best neighbourhoods can resell for more than S$1 million.

By contrast, private two-bedroom condos in the central part of the city go for around S$2.5 million, according to listings on property portal 99.co. Singapore residents earn a median gross monthly income of S$4,680, according to data from the Ministry of Manpower.

“The option of private housing is a luxury for most,” said William Tan, a realtor who specialises in serving LGBTQ clients. “Only those with at least a S$6,000 monthly income can even consider buying a condo and not many people under 35 are there yet.”

Singaporean Andee Chua, 32, purchased a one-bedroom private condo when he was 29 after several years of renting with his partner. “The down-payment was difficult. I used up almost all my savings and my parents had to step in to help.”

The cost of his apartment was comparable to the five-room HDB resale unit that his sister, a mother of two, had bought. Chua is considering selling his condo to purchase a larger HDB flat when he turns 35.

Tan said few LGBTQ couples bid for BTO flats, given the small size of the units they can get and the long wait time.

“You will be 40 when you get your home and 45 if you want to sell it after the minimum occupancy period,” Tan said. “Profits from the sale will not be enough to upgrade to something more substantial.”

Married couples with a head start can typically resell their larger, more valuable HDB flats for a decent profit in their thirties, he said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/business/2022/08/25/singapores-lgbtq-buyers-face-a-higher-housing-hurdle/

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Indonesia Considers Objection to Bali Bomber’s Early Release

By Niniek Karmini

August 24, 2022

Indonesia’s top justice official said Tuesday that authorities were considering an early release for the bombmaker in the 2002 Bali attack that killed 202 people, despite upsetting Australia’s leader who described him as “abhorrent.”

Hisyam bin Alizein, 55, is better known under his alias Umar Patek as a leading member of the al Qaida-linked Southeast Asian Islamic radical group Jemaah Islamiyah. Indonesian authorities said Patek was an example of successful efforts to reform convicted terrorists and they will use him to influence others to not carry out terrorism.

Indonesia’s Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly said Patek has fulfilled all requirements for parole as recommended by Indonesia’s counterterrorism agency known as BNPT. But his ministry received an objection, though he did not specify who raised it.

“In terms of his participation in the deradicalization program, he has been loyal to the Republic of Indonesia for a long time, but we are still considering inputs from many elements,” Laoly said. “We still need one more letter, apart from BNPT.”

Patek received a total of 33 months of sentence reductions, which are often granted to prisoners on major holidays, such as his five-month reduction granted in August for Indonesian Independence Day.

Patek was found guilty by the West Jakarta District Court of helping build the massive car bomb used in the deadly 2002 Bali nightclub attacks that killed 202 people — mostly foreign tourists — including 88 Australians, leaving a deep scar in that country.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described Patek as “abhorrent” and said his early release will cause further distress to Australians who were directly affected by the Bali bombings.

“His actions were the actions of a terrorist,” Albanese told Channel 9 on Friday. “We lost 88 Australian lives in those bombings.”

Albanese said he would continue making “diplomatic representations” to Indonesia about Patek’s sentence and a range of other issues, including Australians currently jailed in Indonesia.

Patek was sentenced to 20 years in prison a decade after the bombing. He left Bali just before the attacks and spent nine years on the run and was considered one of Asia’s most wanted terror suspects.

Some felt the sentence was too light, but were encouraged by the remorse Patek expressed during the trial. Patek admitted he helped make the bombs, but said he did not know they would be used. He has apologized to the victims’ families, Christians and the government.

Patek told reporters earlier this month that he was committed to helping the government with deradicalization programs “so that they can fully understand the dangers of terrorism and the dangers of radicalism.”

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation and third-biggest democracy has imprisoned hundreds of Islamic militants since the Bali bombings.

Director of Prevention at BNPT Ahmad Nurwahid said their aim is not only to jail them, but to change their platform to be law-abiding citizens. He said that many convicts, including Patek, have changed and are drawing on their experience to prevent others from taking up violence.

“We hope that Umar Patek’s early release will provide more significant results and massive gains in the deradicalization program,” Nurwahid said.

Source: The Diplomat

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

https://thediplomat.com/2022/08/indonesia-considers-objection-to-bali-bombers-early-release/

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Arab World

 

Back to school: Saudi Arabia allows children of undocumented residents to enroll

24 August, 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education announced that children of undocumented residents will be permitted to enroll in schools in the new academic year.

Al Arabiya reported on Tuesday that schools must provide admission forms to the parents of illegally residing students.

Procedures will be completed at the education ministry’s offices in the guardians’ region of residence.

A monthly statistical report of this category of students must be provided to the General Administration of Evaluation and Admission.

In addition to the student’s information, the enrollment form must also include the details of both parents, including passport, residency permit (iqama), visit visa, permanent residence address and contact information.

During the enrollment process, the guardian must submit a letter of undertaking that the status of the residency will be corrected during the academic year.

The move is expected to encourage undocumented residents to fix their status without compromising on education for their young dependents.

Back to school

The Saudi Press Agency reported an increase in demand for stationery and books ahead of the academic year in the Kingdom’s Qassim region.

Similar demand was reported in the Arar and Tabuk regions as schools prepare to reopen on August 28.

Meanwhile, an education official in the northern border regions confirmed that more than 500 educational institutions underwent maintenance and routine rehabilitation to prepare for the return of over 100,000 students.

As for school uniforms, the Consumer Protection Association iterated that parents cannot be forced to purchase clothing from a specific store.

In a Saudi Gazette report on Monday, the CPA reportedly indicated that “the school has the right only to provide the parents with the design and color of the school uniform for each stage, stressing that parents have the right and choice to purchase the uniform from any store that suits them.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/08/24/Back-to-school-Saudi-Arabia-allows-children-of-undocumented-residents-to-enroll

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Iraq forces bomb Islamic State hideouts in Anbar province

24 August, 2022

Iraq announced its forces carried out airstrikes and airdrops targeting Islamic State (IS) group hideouts in the west of Anbar province on Wednesday.

Iraqi special forces carried out airdrops from helicopters at dawn after warplanes performed six air strikes on five targets in Al-Rutba District, according to an Iraqi Security Media Cell statement reported by The New Arab's Arabic-language sister service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

"The joint operation, in which the air force, army units, special forces and internal intelligence operatives participated, is one of the important joint qualitative operations carried out by the security forces against the remnants [of IS]," it said, without providing further details.

It comes after Iraq carried out two air strikes on Tuesday night in Anbar against a "hideout for terrorists near Wadi Abu Muqanir", the media cell said.

"Two air strikes destroyed the targeted hideout and killed those who were inside," it added.

A few hours earlier, two IS members were killed in a Kirkuk province airstrike in Iraq's north.

Iraqi intelligence monitors IS' movements in the country while the air force carries out rapid strikes.

The army continually conducts combing operations to search out extremists. These operations take place in provinces including Anbar, Kirkuk, Nineveh and others which were previously liberated from IS control, since remnants of the group remain there.

Despite IS' self-declared caliphate having been territorially defeated in 2019, the extremists continue to pose a threat in Iraq – particularly in the liberated provinces – as they wage a low-level insurgency.

Source: The New Arab

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

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/iraq-forces-bomb-islamic-state-hideouts-anbar-province

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US service member wounded in new Syria attack: Military

25 August, 2022

At least one US military service member in Syria suffered a minor injury and up to three suspected Iran-backed extremists were killed on Wednesday, the US military said, in the second consecutive day of violence.

The latest exchange of fire underscored soaring military tensions even amid diplomatic efforts between Tehran and the West to try to save Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

It came a day after President Joe Biden authorized US airstrikes in Syria on an ammunition depot and other facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

The US military said the suspected Iran-backed extremists launched two separate attacks starting at approximately 7:20 p.m. local time in Syria (1720 GMT).

Several rockets landed inside the perimeter of Mission Support Site Conoco in northeast Syria and were quickly followed by rocket fire near Mission Support Site Green Village, it said in a statement.

That triggered a US response from helicopters that, according to initial assessments, killed two or three militants conducting one of the attacks, it said.

Central Command said the wounded US service member had been at Mission Support Site Conoco and returned to duty after treatment. Two other service members were under evaluation for minor injuries, it said.

Some injuries, including brain trauma, can manifest after an incident.

“We are closely monitoring the situation,” General Michael “Erik” Kurilla, who leads Central Command, said in a statement.

The latest attacks by the suspected Iran-backed groups could be retaliation for Biden's airstrikes on Tuesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Iran denied having any link to sites targeted on Tuesday by the United States. The Biden-authorized airstrikes involved eight US fighter jets -- four F-16 and four F-15Es -- and hit nine targets in Syria, the military said.

US forces first deployed into Syria during the Obama administration's campaign against ISIS, partnering with a Kurdish-led group called the Syrian Democratic Forces. There are about 900 US troops in Syria, most of them in the east.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/08/25/US-service-member-wounded-in-new-Syria-attack-Military-

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Lebanon investigates recorded death threats against Saudi embassy

24 August, 2022

Lebanon's interior minister on Wednesday asked security forces to investigate death threats against the Saudi embassy in Lebanon after Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Lebanon shared a recording containing such threats on his Twitter account.

Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said his order was based on his “concern for Lebanon's interest and security and good relations with brotherly nations, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” a ministry statement said.

Saudi Ambassador Walid al-Bukhari earlier shared a tweet from a pro-Saudi account containing a recording by a man, who the interior ministry believes to be a Saudi national living in Beirut's southern suburbs, a stronghold of Iran-backed Hezbollah.

The interior ministry statement said he was “wanted by Saudi authorities for terrorist crimes.”

The man says that if anything happens to any member of his family, “no employee at the Saudi embassy will remain alive... I will annihilate everyone in the Saudi embassy, everyone who is related to the Saudi embassy.”

The Saudi Embassy in Lebanon was not immediately available for comment and the Saudi government's media centre did not respond to a request for comment.

Some Lebanese officials have tried to improve ties with Saudi Arabia, once a major donor, after years of decline over the growing influence in Lebanon of Hezbollah, a group classified by both Riyadh and the US as a terrorist group.

Relations hit a low last year when Saudi Arabia banned imports of Lebanese goods over drug smuggling concerns and then recalled its ambassador after critical comments by a pro-Hezbollah minister.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/08/24/Lebanon-investigates-recorded-death-threats-against-Saudi-embassy-

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Saudi Arabia to approve visas for World Cup Qatar ticketholders: Ministry

25 August, 2022

Saudi Arabia will approve visas for World Cup Qatar 2022 ticketholders, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday.

Spectators with the Hayya fan ID will be granted a visa allowing them to enter the Kingdom ten days before the start of the tournament, allowing them to stay for 60 days, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The visa will allow them to exit and re-enter the country during that period. Anyone applying for a visa must also obtain medical insurance before traveling to Saudi Arabia.

Football’s biggest tournament kicks off on November 20 with a match between Qatar and Ecuador at Doha’s al-Bayt Arena.

Qatar is bracing for a massive strain on its infrastructure due to the coming influx of visitors.

FIFA reported this month that more than 2.45 million tickets had been sold. This would mean that the country’s population of around 2.7 million will nearly double for the duration of the tournament.

It has been widely reported that the Gulf state is expected to struggle with housing the spectators, turning to neighboring countries to help provide hotel rooms.

Hoteliers in Dubai told Al Arabiya English last month that they were seeing a spike in bookings, with many expected to be at full capacity during the tournament.

Authorities reportedly struck deals with Iran in order to host some spectators on the Islamic Republic’s resort island Kish.

Fans will be able to hop on ‘shuttle flights’ between their hotels on the island and the stadiums in Qatar.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/sports/2022/08/25/Saudi-Arabia-to-approve-visas-for-World-Cup-Qatar-ticketholders-Ministry

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Saudi King grants order of merit to recognize 200 organ donor citizens

24 August, 2022

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has granted the King Abdulaziz Medal of Third Class to 200 Saudi organ donors.

The Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday that the 200 male and female donors also included those who are in a coma.

A list was made available online recognizing all 200 of those who made a decision to become donors.

In a 2021 study published in the peer-reviewed ‘International Journal of Medicine in Developing Countries,’ 87.4 percent of Saudi residents support organ donation, with 53.5 percent saying they are ready to donate.

The study that was conducted among 1,508 participants also showed that most of the test subjects did not know the organ donation policy. The study called for greater awareness on the matter.

In Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Organ Transplantation Center, previously known as the National Kidney Foundation, is responsible for coordinating end stage organ disease medical faculties and promoting national health education.

It was established in 1993.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have registered in the organ donation program of the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation (SCOT), SPA reported in 2021.

In March 2021, Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approved the human organ donation regulation during a virtual meeting chaired by King Salman.

The regulation, which was approved by the Shoura Council in September 2019, allowing for the transfer, cultivation, preservation, and development of organs to preserve human life, protect the rights of those from or to whom human organs are transferred, license health facilities, define their responsibilities in relation to organ donation and transplantation, and prevent exploitation of the patient or donor’s need or trafficking in human organs.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/08/24/Saudi-King-grants-order-of-merit-to-recognize-200-organ-donor-citizens

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Three American forces injured in rocket attack on US-occupied bases in Syria

25 August 2022

Rocket strikes have hit US-occupied military bases in eastern Syria, injuring at least three American service members, reports say.

The official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said several rockets targeted bases that are run by US occupation force at the al-Omar and Koniko oilfields in the countryside of the city of Dayr al-Zawr.

"One US military service member suffered a minor injury and two others are being evaluated for minor injuries following [the] rocket attacks," Reuters reported, citing the US military.

A plume of smoke was seen rising out of the area, SANA added. The occupying American forces have "closed the area," the civilian sources noted, saying American aircraft had started staging extensive flights over the area.

The rocket attacks came after American warplanes carried out a fresh airstrike in Dayr al-Zawr in the wee hours of the day.

The US military's Central Command, which oversees the American forces in the West Asia region, said in a statement that the aerial assault had been aimed at "protecting US forces from attacks." It said the strike had targeted military infrastructure facilities run by Syrian government forces and their allies.

Reporting earlier in the day, The Washington Post cited the US military as claiming that it had "targeted infrastructure used by groups with ties to Iran’s" Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan'ani dismissed the claim, describing the strike as a "terrorist" act against the people of Syria and the popular anti-terror groups in the country, and denying any link between the groups and the Islamic Republic.

The US military said the airstrike were in response to an August 15 attack, when armed drones hit the vicinity of the al-Tanf base in southeastern Syria near the borders with Jordan and Iraq, where US-led occupation forces were deployed in large numbers.

The Pentagon claims that the American forces' deployment to the area is aimed at preventing the oilfields from falling into the hands of the Daesh terrorists.

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/08/25/687985/Syria-United-States-forces-injured-rocket-strikes

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Defence ministry: Russian jets bomb terrorist positions in Syria’s militant-held Idlib region

24 August 2022

The Russian Defense Ministry says the country’s fighter jets have carried out a series of airstrikes on positions of the Takfiri Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist outfit in Syria’s northwestern province f Idlib, after the extremists shelled residential neighborhoods in the area.

Deputy head of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria Major General Oleg Yegorov said the air attacks destroyed a camp of the terrorists involved in the recent rocket attacks against Khan Shaykhun town and the city of Saraqib.

He added that the communications center, operations room and an ammunition depot of the militants were destroyed as a result.

The development came less than a week after the center announced that it had received information that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorists together with representatives of the pseudo-humanitarian organization White Helmets were preparing to record a staged video in Ariha town and Jisr ash-Shughur city of Idlib province to accuse the Russian Aerospace Forces and Syrian government troops of indiscriminate strikes on civilian infrastructure and residential areas.

Yegorov said last Friday that the Takfiri terrorist group, previously known as Jabhat al-Nusra, had carried out five counts of shelling in the past 24 hours, of which one was recorded in the Idlib de-escalation zone. Areas in the same Syrian province as well as the western coastal province of Latakia were also shelled on four different occasions.

Russia has been providing Syrian forces with crucial military assistance in the ongoing battles across the conflict-plagued Arab country.

The Russian assistance, which began in September 2015 at the official request of the Syrian government, has proved effective as Syrians continue to recapture key areas from remnants of the Daesh terrorist group and other foreign-backed terrorist factions.

The White Helmets group, which claims to be a humanitarian NGO, is known for its coordination with terror outfits in Syria to carry out staged chemical attacks in order to falsely incriminate Syrian government forces and fabricate pretexts for military strikes by a US-led military coalition present in Syria since 2014.

On April 14, 2018, the United States, Britain, and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of the capital Damascus.

That alleged attack was reported by the White Helmets group, which published videos showing its members purportedly treating survivors.

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/08/24/687944/Defense-ministry--Russian-jets-bomb-terrorist-positions-in-Syria%E2%80%99s-militant-held-Idlib-region

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South Asia

 

Taliban Kills Two Robbers in Northern Afghanistan

By Saqalain Eqbal

24 Aug 2022

Two robbers were shot by the Taliban forces during a robbery in Mazar-e-Sharif city, the provincial capital, according to the Taliban government’s security officials in Balkh province in northern Afghanistan.

According to Mohammad Asif Waziri, the Taliban’s spokesman for the chief of police in Balkh province, these robbers were killed on Tuesday, August 23, while attempting to rob in the province’s center, Mazar-e-Sharif city.

A motorcycle and a rifle were reportedly discovered among the robbers’ belongings by the security forces of the Taliban government, according to the Taliban official, Waziri.

Recently, the Taliban government’s security officers in the province of Balkh killed two men on accusations of theft in a similar incident.

Earlier this week, an elderly taxi driver was shot and killed in the provincial capital of Balkh province, Mazar-e-Sharif, according to Taliban security officials.

The Taliban spokesman said that Yar Mohammad, 64, was found dead the next morning in Mazar-e-Sharif’s police district 10 after being first abducted by armed men on Friday while driving his taxi.

The armed robbers who stole the old man’s taxi are still free because Taliban security personnel have not made any arrests concerning the robbery, and murder.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/taliban-kills-two-robbers-in-northern-afghanistan-89650/

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Bloodshed, curbs on civil rights show Taliban's Afghanistan will remain unstable

Aug 25, 2022

By Shishir Gupta

On August 15 last year, the Taliban stormed Kabul and overtook entire Afghanistan without anyone batting an eyelid. It's been more than a year but peace and normalcy is yet to return to the landlocked country under Taliban 2.0

Afghanistan remains largely unstable with the regime's efforts to curb civilian rights and an anti-women stand imply that the chances of international recognition in the future are slim.

Taliban & al Qaeda bonhomie

On August 1, al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri was shredded to pieces by a ninja missile fired from a US reaper drone in the house of Taliban interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani. His killing in Kabul highlighted the close collaboration between the al Qaeda and Taliban, triggering concerns that terrorist groups would operate freely as the Taliban are back in control.

Resistance Forces refuse to budge

The Resistance Forces have been vociferously taking on the Taliban regime ever since the latter took control of Pakistan. According to reports, at least 110 Taliban fighters have been killed in the clashes in July. Bagram, Herat, Panjshir, Kunduz and other areas have witnessed heavy fighting between the two forces. On July 13, the Taliban forces carried out house searches and reportedly warned to kill all the locals above the age of ten if found any links with the National Resistance Front.

Da'esh blood terror

Not just the Resistance Force, the Taliban also faces challenge from the Islamic State Khorasan Province (Da'esh') terrorists. In July, Da'esh killed 25 civilians and three Taliban fighters. On July 26, the Sharia Council of Da'esh issued a fatwa to target places of worship of non-Muslims and Shias.

A day later, a bomb exploded near the Karte Parwan Gurdwara in Kabul. However, no casualty was reported in the attack. The attack took place a month after ISKP attacked the same gurdwara which claimed the lives of Sikhs and Taliban members.

The Da'esh has already slammed Taliban for establishing relations with India and Pakistan and Iran. On July 28, Russia's special envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said that the number of Da'esh terrorists has risen three-fold since the Taliban came to power. According to him, at least 6,000 Da'esh terrorists are present in the country.

With the Da'esh and Resistance Forces going unchecked, the violence in the Islamic country is likely to persist in days to come.

Inter-Taliban rivalry

The differences within the Taliban have also resulted in a lot of violence. On July 7, 18 Taliban fighters were killed in an intra-Taliban firefight in the Presidential Palace in Kabul. Four days later, two Pashtun fighters were killed and four were injured in clashes with Uzbek fighters of Taliban in Takhar province. On July 15, the meeting chaired by head of Afghan army Qari Fasihuddin in Panjshir witnessed tensions as a number of Badakhshani Taliban objected to continuance of war in Panjshir and Baghlan.

Curbs on civilian and women rights

Ever since the Taliban returned to power, there have been reports of excesses committed against civilians including women. On July 27, Amnesty International released a report titled 'Death in Slow Motion: Women and Girls under Taliban Rule,' chronicling the 'suffocating crackdown' experienced by women and girls in Afghanistan. The findings included an increase in early and forced child marriages, the detainment, forced disappearances, and torture of women protestors; and women being arrested and detained for “moral corruption”.

The Taliban had defended the policies, calling them to be in line with Afghan culture and the Sharia.

While responding to a UN Human Rights Council resolution of July 8, urging the Taliban to reverse practices that curtail fundamental rights of Afghan women, Afghan Prime Minister Mullah Hassan Akhund defended rules for women and girls in Afghanistan, insisting that his government was practicing human rights as “ordained by God” and it cannot dare amend them.

On July 20, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan released a report titled Human rights in Afghanistan: 15 August 2021 – 15 June 2022, outlining the human rights situation in Afghanistan over 10 months since the Taliban takeover.

Source: Hindustan Times

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https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/bloodshed-curbs-on-civil-rights-show-taliban-s-afghanistan-will-remain-unstable-101661348508126.html

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Africa

 

First US envoy to Sudan in 25 years arrives in Khartoum

24 August, 2022

The first US ambassador to Sudan in 25 years took up his post Wednesday in the latest easing of ties since Washington removed Khartoum from its state sponsors of terrorism list.

Ties between the United States and Sudan were severely strained under the three-decade rule of ousted president Omar al-Bashir, with Washington slapping crippling economic sanctions on Khartoum.

In 1993, the US blacklisted Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism as Bashir’s regime hosted aAl-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, who resided in the country between 1992-1996.

“Ambassador John Godfrey arrived today in Khartoum, the first US Ambassador to Sudan in nearly 25 years,” the US embassy said in a statement.

The ambassador’s arrival comes as Sudan reels from deepening unrest and a spiraling economy since last year’s military coup led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

The military power grab, Sudan’s latest, upended a fragile transition installed following the 2019 toppling of Bashir.

“Godfrey will work to strengthen relations between the American and Sudanese people and to support their aspirations to freedom, peace, justice, and a transition to democracy,” it added.

“He also looks forward to advancing priorities related to peace and security, economic development, and food security.”

Relations with Washington eased under Sudan’s now-ousted transitional government led by former prime minister Abdalla Hamdok, who took office following Bashir’s 2019 ouster on the back of mass protests against his rule.

In December 2019, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would appoint an ambassador to Khartoum.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/08/24/First-US-envoy-to-Sudan-in-25-years-arrives-in-Khartoum

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Over 2,000 Tunisian minors reach Italy in 2022: Rights group

24 August, 2022

More than 2,000 Tunisian youngsters this year have made the perilous Mediterranean crossing from the North African country to Italy to seek a better life, a rights group said Wednesday.

The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) said the minors were among a total of 10,139 Tunisian migrants to have made it to Italy since the start of 2022.

More than 14,700 migrants, including many from sub-Saharan African nations, have been intercepted and turned back over the same period, FTDES said.

Deprivation driven by a deep socioeconomic crisis “make the dangers of the sea a secondary factor for those migrants who dream of a better life for themselves and their children,” FTDES said.

It also deplored “the inhumane politics of the European Union, which constrains the freedom of movement” of migrants.

Earlier this month, an unemployed Tunisian teacher and her four-year-old son drowned off the coast of Monastir, prompting an outpouring of national grief.

More than 650 would-be migrants, including hundreds of Tunisians, were intercepted in just one weekend earlier this month, according to the interior ministry.

Some four million people live below the poverty line in Tunisia.

Divisions have been sharpened by a power grab by President Kais Saied, who last year suspended a fractious parliament and has since ruled by decree.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2022/08/24/Over-2-000-Tunisian-minors-reach-Italy-in-2022-Rights-group-

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Visiting Macron may find Algeria's leaders hard to woo

24 August, 2022

French President Emmanuel Macron hopes his three-day trip to Algeria from Thursday will end a diplomatic row and allow him to develop his relationship with young Algerians, but the North African country's leaders may prove hard to win over.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune wants solid investment commitments - which seem unlikely to be announced this week - and for Macron to atone for comments he made last year about Algeria's history and its ruling elite.

For France, better relations with its former colony are growing more important because an energy shortage due to Russia's war in Ukraine has raised demand for North African gas, and because of growing migration across the Mediterranean.

Algeria meanwhile wants to take advantage of high energy prices to secure big contracts and investment projects, as it has already done with Italy and Turkey, locking in revenues that will help it ride out any lean years in future.

“Algeria wants strong economic relations and a serious partnership,” said an Algerian official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Macron's delegation will include the heads of hydrocarbons company Engie and tech company Free, but there will be no big business contracts, the Elysee said.

When Macron last visited Algeria in 2017 he was warmly greeted by young Algerians eager to contrast his youth with the old age of their own leaders and pleased he had described French colonial rule there as a “crime against humanity”.

“We will not forget what he said when he was asked about the war in Algeria,” said Nourreddine Ayoub on an Algiers street on Wednesday.

Macron seems keen to build on that goodwill this week, with a planned visit to commemorate Algerian “martyrs” of independence from France, and to a breakdance show and a shop famed for its role in North African “Rai” pop music.

“The president has chosen to focus on the future during this visit,” said an adviser to Macron.

Criticism

But Macron's long-stated desire to move on from the ugly legacy of French colonial rule in Algeria, and his frustration at what he sees as the Algerian authorities' obsession with it, caused a big breach last year that may overshadow his trip.

In comments on the election trail, he suggested Algeria's national identity was forged under French rule and that the country's leadership had rewritten the history of the independence struggle based on a hatred of France.

That led Algeria's leaders to withdraw their ambassador for consultations and to close their airspace to French aircraft - complicating transport routes for France's military mission in the Sahel.

Mood music in Algiers suggests Tebboune and his military allies may still be annoyed. State media - whose tone often reflects official thinking - has published stories critical of France in the run-up to Macron's visit.

A state news agency report this week quoted Algerian organizations demanding that Macron stop hosting groups in France that they see as being hostile to Algeria and backed by its main regional rival Morocco.

Meanwhile, conservative politicians have voiced annoyance at Macron's decision to bring the bishop of Algiers and France's chief rabbi to visit a colonial-era cemetery for non-Muslims.

Abderazak Makri, an opposition leader, said the move appeared aimed at encouraging Algeria to normalize ties with Israel.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/08/24/Visiting-Macron-may-find-Algeria-s-leaders-hard-to-woo-

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UN chief calls for immediate cessation of hostilities in Ethiopia

Addis Getachew

24.08.2022

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday said he was "deeply shocked and saddened" over the resumption of hostilities in Ethiopia.

His remarks came hours after both the Ethiopian government and Tigray rebels confirmed a humanitarian truce had been broken following military escalation.

The Ethiopian army and the forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) traded blame as to which side violated the cease-fire that was reached in March, in areas along the administrative border between Amhara and Tigray regional states.

“My strong appeal is for the immediate cessation of hostilities and for the resumption of peace talks between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF with at the same time the full guarantee of humanitarian access and to people in need and the reestablishment of public services,” he said.

The government has expressed readiness to engage in talks with the rebels in the past several months without any pre-conditions as long as they are held under the sole mediation of the African Union.

But the Tigray rebels rejected the African Union as a mediator, recommending that talks be held with Kenyan outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta as mediator.

Thousands, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions displaced since the conflict began in November 2020.

The UN has warned that Tigray “stands on the edge of a humanitarian disaster,” with more than 40% of the region’s estimated 6 million people in need of emergency assistance.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/un-chief-calls-for-immediate-cessation-of-hostilities-in-ethiopia/2668810

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Tunisia says committed by Arab boycott of Israel

Adel Thabeti  

24.08.2022

TUNIS, Tunisia

Tunisia said it is committed by the Arab boycott of Israel.

Last week, activists circulated media reports on social media about trade exchange between Tunis and Tel Aviv, a claim dismissed by the Tunisian Ministry of Trade.

“Tunisia is committed by the rules and principles of the Arab boycott within relevant agreements at the level of the Arab League,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said Tunisia has refused to apply the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which covers international trade in goods, regarding Israel since the North African nation joined it in 1990.

The ministry said it bans foreign companies and transport firms “that violate the principles and rules of the boycott to Israel.”

In 1954, the Cairo-based Arab League endorsed a resolution to boycott Israel following its creation in historical Palestine.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/tunisia-says-committed-by-arab-boycott-of-israel/2668286

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Mideast

 

Hezbollah leader Nasrallah meets with Palestinian Islamic Jihad

Adam Lucente

August 24, 2022

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah met with Ziyad al-Nakhalah of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Lebanon today. The two discussed the recent war between the Gaza-based Palestinian armed group and Israel.

“Sayyed Nasrallah and Nakhale tackled the latest developments in Gaza and West Bank, and assessed the battle which took place with the Israeli enemy on all levels: military, politics and media,” Hezbollah said in a statement, according to its media channel Al-Manar.

The two also discussed unspecified regional issues, as well as the “expected roles” by different members of the “resistance,” according to the outlet.

Though Palestinian Islamic Jihad primarily operates in the Gaza Strip, Nakhalah is reportedly based in Beirut.

Why it matters: Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fought briefly earlier this month before agreeing to a ceasefire. Hamas, which is the largest political and armed group in Gaza, notably did not participate in the fighting.

Friendly relations between Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are not new. The two have been allies since the 1990s, in part due to their shared support from the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to the DC-based Wilson Center. Palestinian Islamic Jihad is more directly aligned with Iran than the main Gaza-based armed group — Hamas.

The meeting between Nasrallah and Nakhalah came as Iran is assessing the recent Israel-Palestinian Islamic Jihad conflict. This month, Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), called for “unity” among all Palestinian movements. He also suggested more frequent attacks on Israel.

“The struggle is changing from an intermittent to a continuous movement, this is the first characteristic,” he said, according to Tehran Times. “In the past, you witnessed conflicts and battles with long time intervals, and you did not see that continuity in today's struggle.”

Relatedly, Palestinian Islamic Jihad dubbed the recent conflict “Unity of Battlefields.”

One analyst for the Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis said the timing of the meeting after the recent violence is notable.

"I expect that Hezbollah and Iran are looking to reassure Palestinian Islamic Jihad after Breaking Dawn,” Sean Durns told Al-Monitor, referencing the Israeli name for the recent operation in Gaza. “Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Iran itself are looking to continue to expand their influence in the West Bank and to enhance cooperation, including with other Iranian proxies.”

Nakhalah notably visited Tehran at the start of the recent Gaza conflict.

Hezbollah has advised Palestinian Islamic Jihad on strategy before. In the early 2000s, Hezbollah encouraged the group to focus its attacks on Israel on more strategic locations, according to the RAND Corporation.

Source: Al Monitor

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

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/08/hezbollah-leader-nasrallah-meets-palestinian-islamic-jihad

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Hamas rages at Spanish tourist who posed in ‘immodest’ clothes at Al-Aqsa Mosque

25 August 2022

The Hamas terror group that rules the Gaza Strip launched a campaign Wednesday against a Spanish tourist who posted pictures in what the group called “immodest” clothes while visiting the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The young woman was pictured wearing a flowing green dress with a low neckline. In one picture she reveals a leg through a slit in the dress as she sits in front of the Dome of the Rock shrine.

Several media outlets associated with the terror group ran items on the woman, with Hamas spokesman Hazem Kassam calling her a “Zionist extremist.”

“A Zionist extremist desecrated the blessed Al-Aqsa compound and published revealing photos on it — something that constitutes an unprecedented provocation against the feelings of the Palestinian people and a continuation of the defilement of the purity of Al-Aqsa, as well as Zionist contempt for the entire Arab people,” Kassam said.

Israel’s Kan public broadcaster said the unidentified woman was a Christian tourist from Spain.

The Temple Mount is the holiest place for Jews, as the site of the biblical temples, and Al-Aqsa is the third-holiest shrine in Islam, turning the area into a major flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In 2017, a Belgian model caused outrage when she posed nude on a roof overlooking the Western Wall.

Marisa Papen told the Times of Israel that she and her photographer had tried to find a location from which both the Western Wall and the Temple Mount would be visible and had even taken pictures with the Dome of the Rock in the background.

Source: Times Of Israel

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

https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-rages-at-spanish-tourist-who-posed-in-immodest-clothes-at-al-aqsa-mosque/

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Islamic Jihad holds Gaza rocket parade in defiant display after recent flare-up

24 August 2022

RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Dozens of Islamic Jihad members displayed life-sized replicas of their rockets during a parade in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, in a show of defiance after three days of heavy fighting with Israel earlier this month.

The flare-up left 49 Palestinians dead, including the terror group’s top two commanders and 10 other fighters, before an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire took effect. Israel has said as many as 16 people might have been killed by rockets misfired by Palestinian terrorists that landed short inside Gaza.

During the fighting, Islamic Jihad fired some 1,100 rockets at towns across southern and central Israel. Israel’s sophisticated Iron Dome missile defense system knocked down many of the rockets.

The fighting disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis and none were killed or suffered severe wounds as a direct result of the rocket fire, though numerous people were moderately hurt while seeking shelter or were treated for shock brought on by the barrages. One man died of a heart attack while running to a shelter.

Israel targeted Islamic Jihad infrastructure with intensive air strikes in what was dubbed Operation Breaking Dawn.

It was the deadliest exchange of fire since last year’s war between Israel and Hamas, the terror group that has ruled Gaza for the last 15 years — and which did not take part in the latest fighting.

Islamic Jihad members drove pick-up trucks with different sizes of rocket replicas and posters of their slain commanders. People lined the streets, throwing flowers.

Israel and Western countries consider both Hamas and Islamic Jihad to be terrorist groups because they have carried out scores of deadly attacks over the years targeting Israeli civilians.

Source: Times Of Israel

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https://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-jihad-holds-rocket-parade-in-defiant-display-after-latest-flareup/

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Iran tests drones amid US concern of possible supply to Russia

August 25, 2022

DUBAI: Iran on Wednesday launched exercises to test its combat and reconnaissance drones, state media reported, amid US concerns over the possible supply of Iranian-made unmanned aircraft to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine.

The two-day war-games will involve 150 drones and will cover Iran’s Gulf coast and most of its territory, state television reported. The country’s air-defences and “electronic warfare” capabilities will also be tested against mock enemy drones.

Iran and the regional forces it backs have increasingly relied in recent years on drones in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf.

The United States said earlier this month that Russian officials were being trained in Iran as part of an agreement on the transfer of drones between the two countries, and accused Tehran of planning to supply hundreds of unmanned aircraft to Moscow for use in Ukraine. Iran’s foreign minister denied the claim last month, including in a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart.

Iran has developed a large domestic arms industry in the face of international sanctions and embargoes that bar it from importing many weapons.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1706678/iran-tests-drones-amid-us-concern-of-possible-supply-to-russia

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Palestinian hunger striker held by Israel could die at any moment: Lawyer

24 August, 2022

A Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike for over 160 days in protest over his detention by Israel could die at any moment, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Israeli forces arrested Khalil Awawdeh, 40, in December 2021 and have since held him without charge or trial, a practice known as administrative detention.

Israel has provided few details about the accusations facing Awawdeh. An Israeli military spokesperson said on Wednesday his detention had been confirmed several times by military courts “and it was determined that the confidential material in his case indicates that his release will threaten the security of the area.”

In March, Awawdeh launched a hunger strike demanding his freedom. He has subsisted only on water since, said his lawyer, Ahlam Haddad.

Egyptian mediators recently pushed for Awawdeh’s release under a ceasefire agreement to end three days of fighting in Gaza between Israel and the militant Islamic Jihad group.

With Israeli forces conducting near-daily operations against suspected militants in the West Bank, Awawdeh’s death could further inflame a crisis that has escalated for months.

“I feel that my body is consuming itself internally,” Awawdeh told Reuters from his hospital bed, his eyes widening and his voice fluctuating as he spoke. “God’s support, steadfastness and patience are what enable me to continue.”

Awawdeh was recently transferred from Ramle Prison to the Asaf Harofeh hospital in Israel due to his failing health.

Last Friday, the Israeli military temporarily suspended the administrative detention order against Awawdeh because his condition was deteriorating. However, he is not allowed to leave the hospital, a military spokesperson said.

Awawdeh has managed to survive this long without food likely because of a two-week break a couple of months ago, during which he received vitamin supplements, said Naji Abbas, the case manager for prisoners at Physicians for Human Rights - Israel.

At the time, Awawdeh, who now weighs 40 kilograms after having lost about 45 kilograms, agreed to end his hunger strike, thinking he was about to be released, said Abbas.

Awawdeh’s family, which lives near the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, has so far been refused permission to visit him by Israel but have supported his decision to continue his hunger strike.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/08/24/Palestinian-hunger-striker-held-by-Israel-could-die-at-any-moment-Lawyer

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Israel’s former PM Netanyahu criticizes US, Biden administration over Iran deal

24 August, 2022

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit out at the Biden administration for being close to a “very, very bad” nuclear deal with Iran, dubbing a potential agreement as a “highway paved with gold to a nuclear arsenal.

“They’re going to get hundreds of billions of dollars in short order, and that’s going to help them finance their various proxies,” Netanyahu said in an interview with Al Arabiya on Wednesday.

The former Israeli premier said there was “no sense” in the deal on the table. “It’s against peace and security; it’s against our future. It’s a mess,” he said.

Going further to criticize the Biden administration and the US, Netanyahu said: “Can a country as important as the United States make such a big mistake? The answer is yes. Unfortunately, it’s happened in the past.”

He was referring to the 2015 nuclear deal, which was brokered and signed under the Obama administration.

Netanyahu suggested that there was “a good chance” he would become Israel’s next prime minister again. “I will return to the policy of actively blocking Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” he said.

Former and current Israeli officials have come out in recent days to criticize the potential nuclear deal.

Last week, the State Department said countries, including Israel and in the GCC, that were “not wild about the JCPOA in 2015 and 2016 have over the years changed their tune on the JCPOA.”

But former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett quickly called on the Biden administration not to sign a deal with Iran, “even now at this last minute.

Bennett took to Twitter on Tuesday to voice Israel’s opposition to the deal, claiming the agreement would send “approximately a quarter of a trillion dollars to the Iranian terror administration’s pocket and to its regional proxies.”

And Israel’s caretaker prime minister said the US should not strike “a bad deal” with Iran, calling on Washington to walk away from the table.

After more than a year of indirect talks and stalling mechanisms by Iran, the EU proposed a final text to Iran and the US at the start of this month, asking for a response within a few weeks.

Despite the EU saying there was no more room for negotiations, Tehran made several remarks and sent its response to the EU, which in turn passed along the comments to the US.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/08/24/Israel-s-former-PM-Netanyahu-criticizes-US-Biden-administration-over-Iran-deal

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Iran says it will only allow inspections agreed in 2015 nuclear deal

24 August, 2022

Iran will not allow inspections beyond what is in a 2015 nuclear deal, the country’s nuclear chief said on Wednesday, as the United States prepares to respond to a proposal to revive Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

“We are committed to inspections in the framework of the nuclear deal that are linked to nuclear restrictions which we have accepted in the past... Not one word more, not one word less,” said Mohammad Eslami, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, according to a video carried by state media.

A senior US official told Reuters on Monday that Iran has dropped some of its main demands on resurrecting the deal to rein in Tehran's nuclear program, including its insistence that international inspectors close some probes of its atomic program, bringing the possibility of an agreement closer.

But Eslami appeared to contradict that, saying the probes should be closed “before the implementation day” if the 2015 nuclear deal is revived, the state news agency IRNA reported.

Washington aims to respond soon to a draft agreement proposed by the European Union that would bring back the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that former President Donald Trump abandoned and current President Joe Biden has sought to revive.

Iran has insisted the nuclear pact can only be salvaged if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) drops its claims about Tehran’s nuclear work. Washington and other Western powers view Tehran’s demand as outside the scope of reviving the deal.

In June, the UN nuclear watchdog’s 35-nation Board of Governors overwhelmingly passed a resolution, drafted by the United States, France, Britain and Germany, which criticized Iran for failing to explain uranium traces found at three undeclared sites.

On Wednesday, Eslami repeated Iran’s assertion that claims of unexplained uranium traces were perpetrated by exiled Iranian dissidents and Iran's arch-enemy Israel, IRNA reported.

In response to the resolution, Iran expanded further its underground uranium enrichment by installing cascades of more efficient advanced centrifuges and also by removing essentially all the IAEA’s monitoring equipment installed under the 2015 deal.

Meanwhile, Nour News, a website affiliated with Tehran’s top national security body, rejected Washington’s assertion that Iran had dropped some of its main demands.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/08/24/Iran-says-it-will-only-allow-inspections-agreed-in-2015-nuclear-deal

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Israeli forces arrest 13 Palestinians during raids in West Bank, al-Quds

25 August 2022

Israeli forces have rounded up 13 Palestinians during large-scale raids in the occupied West Bank and al-Quds, as the Tel Aviv regime continues its campaign of abuse and arrest against Palestinians.

Palestinian media, citing local sources, reported that Israeli troops launched an arrest campaign with raids and attacks in various parts of the occupied territories overnight and at dawn on Wednesday.

Montaser Samour, director of the Palestinian Prisoners' Club (PPC) in Jenin, said the regime’s forces raided the Jenin camp located in the north of the West Bank early on Wednesday, arresting three Palestinian youths, including two ex-prisoners, al-Araby al-Jadeed website reported. 

In the northern West Bank city of Nablus, Israeli forces arrested two Palestinians after breaking into several local homes. Two more arrests were made in the city of Bethlehem, while three Palestinians were rounded up in Ramallah, including two ex-prisoners. Another ex-prisoner was also taken into custody in al-Bireh.

Two other Palestinians were also arrested in Jenin, but were released later.

The latest arrests took place as clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinian resistance forces in the flashpoint Jenin refugee camp after Israeli forces stormed several Palestinians houses.

Dozens of Palestinians suffered suffocation due to inhaling tear gas during the conflict.

Israeli soldiers brought approximately 70 army vehicles and a bulldozer with them to the camp, pan-Arab news website Arabi 21 said. Israeli snipers set up on the roofs of local Palestinians' homes as the military, which also employed sound grenades, denied ambulances access.

The Israeli regime’s military has stepped up its deadly raids on the local population in and around the flashpoint West Bank town of Jenin.

Dozens of Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year during attacks by Israeli forces in that area. This has turned Jenin into a focal point of Palestinians’ protests in favor of their cause of liberation from Israeli occupation and aggression.

Meanwhile, several Palestinians have suffered suffocation as a result of inhaling tear gas used by Israeli forces in al-Arub camp on the outskirts of the West Bank town of al-Khalil (Hebron).

Dozens of Israeli settlers also attacked the al-Aqsa Mosque’s courtyards in al-Quds.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/08/25/687990/Palestine-Israeli-forces-arrest-West-Bank-Jenin-refugee-camp-raid-clashes-Palestinian-prisoners

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North America

 

Biden orders strikes against ‘Iran-backed militias’ in Syria

August 25, 2022

WASHINGTON: Presi­dent Joe Biden on Tuesday ordered air strikes in eastern Syria targeting “facilities used by Iranian-backed militias”, a US military spokesman said.

The strikes in oil-rich Deir Ezzor province “targeted infrastructure facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps”, Central Command (Centcom) spokesman Colonel Joe Buccino claimed in a statement.

Buccino said the “precision strikes are intended to defend and protect US forces from attacks like the ones on August 15 against US personnel by Iran-backed groups”, when a number of drones targeted an outpost of US-led anti-jihadist forces without causing any casualties.

Tuesday’s air strikes hit nine bunkers in a complex used for ammunition storage and logistics, the colonel told CNN separately.

Tehran says it has deployed forces in Syria at the invitation of Damascus and only as advisers

The US military had originally intended to hit 11 of 13 bunkers in the complex but called off strikes on two after groups of people were seen near them, he said, adding an initial assessment indicated no one had been killed.

US forces “took proportionate, deliberate action intended to limit the risk of escalation and minimise the risk of casualties”, the Centcom statement said.

“The United States does not seek conflict, but will continue to take necessary measures to protect and defend our people.” Hundreds of American troops are deployed in Syria’s northeast as part of a coalition focused on fighting remnants of the militant Islamic State group.

There was no immediate confirmation of the US strikes from Syrian state media.

Earlier, Iranian state media said a Revolutionary Guard general “who was on a mission in Syria as a military adviser” had been killed on Sunday.

The reports did not say how the general was killed, only describing him as a “defender of the sanctuary”, a term used for those who work on behalf of Iran in Syria or Iraq.

Iran says it has deployed its forces in Syria at the invitation of Damascus and only as advisers.

The Islamic Revolut­ionary Guards Corps is the ideological arm of the Iranian military and is blacklisted as a “terrorist” group by the United States.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Wednesday said the strikes killed six fighters that were guarding the targeted facilities.

The monitor, which relies on a wide network of sources in Syria, said it could not immediately determine the nationalities of those killed.

It said that Iran-backed Afghan Shia fighters are among the groups operating in the region.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1706692/biden-orders-strikes-against-iran-backed-militias-in-syria

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US has responded to Iran comments on nuclear deal proposal: State Department

24 August, 2022

The US has responded to Iran’s comments on the nuclear deal proposal put forth by the European Union, State Department officials said Wednesday.

“As you know, we received Iran’s comments on the EU’s proposed final text through the EU. Our review of those comments has now concluded. We have responded to the EU today,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said in an e-mailed statement.

The US said that it has responded after Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman revealed Tehran received Washington’s response earlier in the day.

“Iran will share its view with the EU, as the coordinator of the nuclear talks, upon completion of Tehran’s review,” Nasser Kanaani said.

Asked about the nature of the US response, a senior White House official gave away few details.

“The President is committed to achieving a diplomatic outcome here to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability. We want to do our homework; we want to do it right. And that’s what we’re focused on,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

Speaking to reporters on a phone call, Kirby reiterated that “gaps remain” between the US and Iran on their demands for a mutual return to the 2015 deal.

The White House official pushed a narrative used by the Biden administration in recent days that it was, in fact, Tehran that had made concessions.

Iranian officials leaked concessions last week reportedly made by the Biden administration as both sides say they’re inching closer to a deal.

But Kirby said the parties were “closer now than we were even just a couple of weeks ago because Iran made the decision to make some concessions.”

“So that’s a positive step forward,” he added.

The 2015 agreement between Iran and six world powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- gave the Islamic republic sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

The deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, was designed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon -- something it has always denied wanting to do.

Iran’s announcement comes as its arch-nemesis Israel has piled on pressure on Western countries to halt talks on reviving the agreement, warning against the consequences of returning to the accord.

“On the table right now is a bad deal. It would give Iran $100 billion a year,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid told journalists Wednesday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/08/24/US-has-responded-to-Iran-comments-on-nuclear-deal-proposal-State-Department

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US promises expanded visa services in Turkey after Ankara criticism

24 August, 2022

The US promised on Wednesday to expand its visa processing capacity in Turkey, moving to defuse a dispute that has threatened to further strain already difficult relations between the NATO allies.

US visa applicants in Turkey have been facing enormous delays, with wait times for an appointment extending up to 15 months. It is part of a global bottleneck in US visa services after Washington halted almost all visa processing worldwide in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday accused the US and also some European nations of intentionally drawing out their visa application process, calling it an effort to embarrass President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party ahead of elections in Turkey next year.

The US State Department indicated that Washington did not want the issue to escalate.

“We have no desire for this to be an irritant in our bilateral relationship,” a State Department official said in an emailed response to Reuters’ questions.

With the opening of a new US embassy compound in Ankara, Washington will be resuming routine non-immigrant visa appointments there, the official added.

“Mission Turkey has been working very hard to overcome delays, and we are very pleased that the newly completed US Embassy compound in Ankara will enable us to expand our visa processing capacity,” the official said.

Testy ties

Bilateral relations have been strained in recent years over a range of issues including Turkey’s decision to buy Russian missile defense systems. With the war in Ukraine, Washington has grown more concerned about Ankara’s ties with Moscow and has warned of Turkish firms becoming embroiled in Western sanctions against Russia.

In his comments on Tuesday, Cavusoglu suggested the delays in issuing visas to Turks were politically motivated.

“We see that they are doing it deliberately. This is how our people see it too. We consider these as the steps taken to put the AK Party government in a difficult situation before the election,” he told Turkish broadcaster Haber Global.

“I don’t believe in COVID-19, personnel excuses....If they wanted to, they could solve it very easily,” Cavusoglu said.

Asked about the comments, the State Department official said: “We accept FM Cavusoglu’s expression of concern that this is an issue of frustration for Turkey.”

Cavusoglu threatened to impose counter-measures against Western countries soon if the visa issue remains unresolved.

“At the beginning of September, our colleagues will call the ambassadors of these Western countries to the ministry, and they will make the necessary warnings. If it does not improve after that, we will also take counter, restrictive measures,” he said.

Cavusoglu raised the visa issue with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in May in New York. They discussed the matter again by phone this month.

Before the pandemic in 2019, the US issued more than 85,000 non-immigrant visas in Turkey but that figure had dropped to below 20,000 in 2021.

The US official said wait times might decrease with the planned addition of new processing capacity.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/08/24/US-promises-expanded-visa-services-in-Turkey-after-Ankara-criticism-

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US urges permanent end to conflict in Ethiopia amid renewed violence

Vakkas Dogantekin  

25.08.2022

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the opposing sides involved in the conflict in Ethiopia late Wednesday to work towards a permanent cease-fire amid renewed clashes in the East African country.

"Five months ago, a truce was declared in northern Ethiopia, which reduced violence and saved lives. We are concerned that renewed fighting puts that at risk. We call on the Ethiopian Government and TPLF to redouble efforts for peace to bring a permanent end to the conflict," Blinken said on Twitter, referring to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the party that controls Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.

Earlier in the day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was "deeply shocked and saddened" over the resumption of hostilities in Ethiopia.

His remarks came hours after both the Ethiopian government and Tigray rebels confirmed that a humanitarian truce had been broken following a military escalation.

The Ethiopian army and the forces of the TPLF traded blame as to which side violated the cease-fire that was reached in March in areas along the administrative border between Amhara and Tigray states.

The government has expressed readiness to engage in talks with the rebels in the past several months without any preconditions as long as they are held under the sole mediation of the African Union.

But the Tigray rebels rejected the African Union as a mediator, recommending that talks be held with Kenya’s outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta in that role.

Thousands of people, most of them civilians, have been killed and millions displaced since the conflict began in November 2020.

The UN has warned that Tigray “stands on the edge of a humanitarian disaster,” with more than 40% of the region’s estimated 6 million people in need of emergency assistance.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-urges-permanent-end-to-conflict-in-ethiopia-amid-renewed-violence/2668857

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US threatens NATO member Turkey with sanctions over ties with Russia

24 August 2022

The United States has threatened fellow NATO member Turkey with sanctions over its growing ties with Russia, as Moscow's military operation in Ukraine enters its seventh month.

The Turkish Industry and Business Association (Tusiad), Turkey’s leading business association, said on Tuesday that it had received a letter from US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo, warning of possible sanctions risks if firms continue doing business with sanctioned Russian entities and individuals.

In its press release, Tusiad added that it had shared the letter with the Turkish foreign ministry, finance ministry and trade ministry.

“Any individuals or entities providing material support to US-designated persons are themselves at risk of US sanctions,” Adeyemo wrote in his letter, as its contents were first reported by The Wall Street Journal this week.

“Turkish banks cannot expect to establish corresponding relationships with sanctioned Russian banks and retain their corresponding relationships with major global banks as well as access to the US dollar and other major currencies,” he added.

Since Russia began an ongoing military operation in neighboring Ukraine on February 24, the US and its European allies imposed rafts of sanctions against Moscow, warning other countries against doing business with Russia’s sanctioned companies and individuals.

Turkey, despite being a member to the US-led NATO, maintains good relations with Russia even after the onset of the operation. This has angered the US, which is becoming growingly alarmed that Moscow and Russian businesses are allegedly using Turkey to evade Western financial and trading restrictions against the Kremlin.

Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin reached an agreement to boost economic cooperation at a summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

According to official figures, the value of Turkish exports to Russia between May and July growing by almost 50 percent from last year’s figure.

Turkey has doubled its imports of Russian oil this year as Russia pivots away from Europe. Ankara and Moscow have also agreed to transition to ruble payments for the natural gas exported by the Kremlin-tied giant Gazprom.

The post-operation developments prompted Adeyemo to pay a rare visit to Ankara and Istanbul in June in a bid to express Washington’s concerns that Russia’s big businesses were allegedly using Turkish entities to avoid Western sanctions against Moscow.

However, Turkey, which has also good relations with Ukraine, has so far tried to stay neutral in the conflict and refused to join the international sanctions regime against Russia.

Turkish officials have not yet formally responded to Adeyemo’s letter.

However, Erdogan’s foreign policy adviser Ibrahim Kalin said back in June that Turkey’s “economy is such that imposing sanctions on Russia would harm Turkey the most.”

“We have taken a clear approach. Right now, the Westerners have accepted this,” Kalin said at the time.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/08/24/687973/US-Turkey-Russia-Ukraine-sanctions-Erdogan-Putin-Tusiad-Adeyemo

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Europe

 

Ukraine war chance for faster green transition but need Saudi Arabia: Albania PM

24 August, 2022

The war in Ukraine provides a unique opportunity to initiate a faster green energy transition, but Saudi Arabia is needed for the shift, the Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama said.

The official made the comments in reference to the widespread disruption which was caused by sanctions imposed on Russia by Western powers following its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

“This war has come also with an incredibly interesting… chance to make a faster green transition. Because not anymore by the goodwill but by the necessity, we could move much faster towards changing the whole nature of our energy production. But for this, we need Saudi Arabia,” Rama said during a panel discussion at the European Forum Alpbach in Austria, which began on Sunday and is expected to run until September 2.

He said he mentioning Saudi Arabia because of the “huge potential to create a corporation based on the vision 2030.”

Rama continued, “[Saudi Arabia] is sitting on oil, and they want to become self-sufficient in green energy and also net exporter of green energy. So, there are many issues that come together.”

The price of oil is largely driven by supply and demand and historically, extremely high oil prices were usually directly influenced by conflict or geopolitical tensions, especially when an oil-producing country, like Russia, is involved.

“I think this war comes with a lot of risks, but also with a big potential,” Rama added.

The war in Ukraine has had a significant impact on global markets and energy supplies, causing widescale disruption to oil shipping routes.

Saudi Arabia launched the Saudi Green Initiative in 2021 in an effort to combat the global climate crisis and join the world’s fight against climate change.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/business/energy/2022/08/24/Ukraine-war-chance-for-faster-green-transition-but-need-Saudi-Arabia-Albania-PM

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NATO important platform to boost ties with Türkiye: North Macedonia's top diplomat

Abdula Berisha 

24.08.2022

SKOPJE, North Macedonia

Praising ties with Türkiye, North Macedonia’s foreign minister said their partnership as part of the NATO alliance is a very important platform to enhance relations between the two countries.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency as the 30th anniversary of the establishment of North Macedonia-Turkish ties on Aug. 26 draws near, Bujar Osmani pointed to the countries’ traditional partnership and stable relations.

"Relations between North Macedonia and Türkiye have always been stable in these 30 years, and I would like to remind you that it has become even stronger. It is a unique situation," he noted.

Osmani stated that the Turkish community in North Macedonia and the people with origin from North Macedonia living in Türkiye serve as a bridge between the two countries.

Telling how Türkiye is among the first countries that recognized his country's independence, he said Türkiye was also the first country to open an embassy in North Macedonia.

"There has never been any doubt on the future of the country and the support that this country will receive from Ankara. Türkiye has always supported our efforts to join international organizations," Osmani underlined.

He said Türkiye’s supportive attitude encouraged the nation’s political elite and the public during the period of state-building and involvement in international organizations.

€1B trade target

On various strategic partnership agreements reached with Türkey since 2008, Osmani said they add a different dimension to cooperation and help make it a much stronger and multidimensional one between people, institutions, and states.

Osmani said when he visited Türkiye twice this year, the countries agreed to set a new target for commercial cooperation between the two countries to exceed €1 billion ($993,000).

"In 2020, Türkiye was North Macedonia’s eighth-largest partner country in terms of trade volume, and seventh last year, and sixth in the first half of 2022. This shows that there is a positive trend in the rising trade volume."

Stressing his satisfaction with the positive trend in ties with Türkiye, he underlined that the partnership gained momentum with his country joining NATO in 2020,

"We are NATO partners, which is very important. Türkiye supported North Macedonia during its NATO membership bid, and this partnership definitely increases mutual trust and joint efforts," he noted.

Osmani went on to say that he thinks the NATO partnership gives a new quality to ties and worldviews of developments in the region and the world, adding that they see this partnership as a very important platform for developing cooperation between the two countries.

On North Macedonia’s EU accession, he said after 17 years of candidate status, they finally started membership negotiations with the EU.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/nato-important-platform-to-boost-ties-with-turkiye-north-macedonias-top-diplomat/2668703

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Türkiye says 2 more grain ships leave Ukraine

Diyar Guldogan 

24.08.2022

Two more ships have left a Ukrainian port under the Istanbul grain export deal, the Turkish National Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

The ships departed from the port of Chornomorsk, the ministry said in a statement, adding shipments from Ukrainian ports are continuing as planned.

Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul on July 22 to resume grain exports from the Ukrainian Black Sea ports of Yuzhny, Chornomorsk and Odesa, which were halted due to the Russia-Ukraine war, now in its seventh month.

A Joint Coordination Center with officials from the three countries and the UN has been set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkiye-says-2-more-grain-ships-leave-ukraine/2668365

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US warns of sanctions against Turkey over Russia ties

August 25, 2022

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s top business association has confirmed receiving a letter from the US Treasury warning of possible sanctions if it continues doing business with Russia.

Washington is growing increasingly alarmed that the Russian government and businesses are using Turkey to evade Western financial and trading restrictions imposed in response to the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine six months ago.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to step up economic cooperation at a summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi earlier this month.

Official data show the value of Turkish exports to Russia between May and July growing by nearly 50 percent from last year’s figure.

Turkey’s imports of Russian oil are ballooning and the two sides have agreed to transition to ruble payments for the natural gas exported by the Kremlin-tied giant Gazprom.

US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo paid a rare visit to Ankara and Istanbul in June to express Washington’s worries that Russian oligarchs and big businesses were using Turkish entities to avoid Western sanctions.

NATO member Turkey — on good terms with both Moscow and Kyiv — has tried to stay neutral in the conflict and refused to join the international sanctions regime.

Adeyemo followed that up with a letter to Turkey’s TUSIAD business association and the American Chamber of Commerce in Turkey warning that companies and banks were in danger of being sanctioned themselves.

TUSIAD said in a statement on Tuesday that is has passed on the letter to Turkey’s foreign and finance ministries.

The letter’s contents were first reported by The Wall Street Journal this week.

“Any individuals or entities providing material support to US-designated persons are themselves at risk of US sanctions,” Adeyemo wrote.

“Turkish banks cannot expect to establish corresponding relationships with sanctioned Russian banks and retain their corresponding relationships with major global banks as well as access to the US dollar and other major currencies.”

The economic cooperation agreement sealed by Erdogan and Putin includes a deal for more Turkish banks to start processing Russia’s Mir payments system.

Turkish officials have not formally responded to Adeyemo’s letter.

Broader cooperation with Russia could help support Turkey’s ailing economy in the runup to next-year’s general election.

Erdogan has previously argued that Ankara cannot join Western sanctions on Moscow because of Turkey’s heavy dependence on Russian oil and natural gas imports.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2149781/middle-east

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf challenges PEMRA decision to ban live speeches of former PM Imran Khan

Aug 24, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) challenged the ban imposed by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan's live speeches.

Terming the ban, a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution, petitioner PTI Sindh President Ali Zaidi said, "The PEMRA notification should be quashed as it is against the basic fundamental rights."

On August 21, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) slapped a ban on broadcasting live speeches of former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on all TV channels with immediate effect, ARY News reported.

PEMRA in its press release said: "It has been observed that Imran Khan, Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, in his speeches/statements is continuously alleging state institutions by levelling baseless allegations and spreading hate speech through his provocative statements against state institutions and officers which is prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order and is likely to disturb public peace and tranquillity."

The media watchdog, however, said that the recorded speeches of the former PM would only be permitted to be aired after an effective delay mechanism was put in place in order to ensure effective monitoring and editorial control in conformity with the PEMRA laws, the Frontier Post reported.

"Furthermore, all satellite TV channels are directed to ensure that an impartial and independent Editorial Board be constituted as required under Clause 17 of Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisement) Code of Conduct 2015 in order to ensure that their platform is not used by anyone for uttering remarks in any manner which are contemptuous and against any state institution and hateful, prejudicial to law and order situation in the country (in any manner even repeatedly in programs, talk shows, news bulletins)," the statement read.

It warned of legal action as per PEMRA laws in case of any violation of the directives.

Earlier, the PEMRA had issued the prohibition order on the telecast of live speeches of Imran Khan under section 27 of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002 as amended by PEMRA ( Amendment) Act 2007.

The media regulatory authority said that after analyzing the content of Imran's speech, it has been observed that the content was aired live by the license holder channels without an effective time delay mechanism which was a violation of provisions of PEMRA laws and in disobedience of judgments passed by the honourable courts.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-tehreek-i-insaf-challenges-pemra-decision-to-ban-live-speeches-of-former-pm-imran-khan/articleshow/93753175.cms

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Pakistan urges world to take cognisance of growing Islamophobia in India

Ali Hussain

Aug 25, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan strongly condemned the sacrilegious remarks against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made by another official of the ruling BJP in India and urged the international community to take urgent cognisance of the aggravating situation of Islamophobia in India.

“Pakistan condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the highly provocative and sacrilegious remarks made against the Holy Prophet (PBUH), by Raja Singh, a BJP official and a member of the state legislative assembly of the Indian state of Telangana,” Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said.

This is the second time in the last three months that a senior BJP leader has made disrespectful comments against our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

“These highly derogatory remarks have gravely hurt the feelings of the people of Pakistan and billions of Muslims around the world. The token and perfunctory disciplinary action taken by the BJP against the said official cannot assuage the pain and anguish caused to the Muslims of India and around the world,” he said.

He added that it is highly reprehensible that Singh was released on bail within hours of arrest and was welcomed by BJP zealots.

Despite global outrage and denunciation of an earlier similar and equally pernicious act, the spokesperson added that the current incident once again highlights the present Indian regime’s obsessively spiteful demeanour towards Muslims and the worrying trajectory of Islamophobia in India.

“The fact is that India is nothing more than an undeclared ‘Hindu Rashtra’ where Muslims are routinely denigrated, dispossessed and marginalized and their religious beliefs are trampled under majoritarian hegemonism,” he added.

He said that the deafening silence of the top BJP leadership on the abhorrent incident manifestly reflects their approval and full support to the radical Hindu zealots within and beyond the BJP.

Moreover, he added that the extension of full state protection to the former BJP spokesperson, despite her highly condemnable remarks against the dignity of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is reflective of the impunity being enjoyed by those attacking Islam in India.

“Pakistan demands the Indian government to take immediate and decisive action against the BJP members habitually involved in attacking Islam and targeting the dignity of beloved Prophet (PBUH),” he said.

He further stated that Pakistan also calls on the international community to take urgent cognisance of the aggravating situation of Islamophobia in India and hold the current BJP government to account for its overt espousal of an anti-Muslim and anti-Islam agenda.

Source: Brecorder

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https://www.brecorder.com/news/40193643/pakistan-urges-world-to-take-cognisance-of-growing-islamophobia-in-india

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Pakistan condemns sacrilegious remarks by another BJP official

Aug 24 2022

Pakistan has strongly condemned the blasphemous remarks against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by another official of India's ruling BJP.

This is the second time in the last three months that a BJP leader has made derogatory remarks against the holy prophet (PBUH) as the first time was when Nupur Sharma committed blasphemy in June.

"Pakistan condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the highly provocative and sacrilegious remarks made against the Holy Prophet [Muhammad] (PBUH), by Raja Singh, a BJP official and a member of the state legislative assembly of the Indian state of Telangana," a statement issued by the Foreign Office read.

It stated that these highly derogatory remarks have gravely hurt the feelings of the people of Pakistan and billions of Muslims around the world, including India and the token and perfunctory disciplinary action taken by the BJP against the said official cannot assuage the pain and anguish caused to the Muslims.

The FO berated the Indian authorities for what it called "highly reprehensible" that Singh was released on bail within hours of arrest and was welcomed by BJP zealots.

"Despite global outrage and denunciation of an earlier similar and equally pernicious act, the current incident once again highlights the present Indian regime’s obsessively spiteful demeanour towards the Muslims and the worrying trajectory of Islamophobia in India. The fact is that India is nothing more than an undeclared ‘Hindu Rashtra’ where Muslims are routinely denigrated, dispossessed and marginalised and their religious beliefs are trampled under majoritarian hegemonism."

The statement further condemned the BJP's top leadership saying that its deafening silence on the abhorrent incident is a manifest reflection of their approval and full support to the radical Hindu zealots within and beyond the party.

Referring to Sharma, the FO stated that the extension of full state protection to the former BJP spokesperson, despite her highly condemnable remarks against the dignity of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is reflective of the impunity being enjoyed by those attacking Islam in India.

It demanded the Indian government on Pakistan's behalf to take immediate and decisive action against the BJP members who are habitually involved in attacking Islam and targeting the dignity of our beloved prophet (PBUH).

Source: Geo TV

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https://www.geo.tv/latest/435655-pakistan-condemns-sacrilegious-remarks-against-prophet-muhammad-pbuh-by-another-bjp-official

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Supreme Court sets aside objections to PTI pleas on voting rights

Nasir Iqbal

August 25, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the court office to remove objections and place before an appropriate bench a set of petitions, separately moved by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, challenging recent amendments to the Elections Act 2017.

A two-judge SC bench comprising Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi set aside the objections raised by the registrar office with an observation that the Pakistani expatriates should be extended facilities on a priority basis as they remit around $30 billion to the country every year.

Prima facie, the matter relating to the voting rights of the overseas Pakistanis falls within the category of public importance and basic fundamental rights, the court observed. The Constitution treated them as citizens of Pakistan yet they had no say in the election arena, the court noted, while recalling a number of decisions have been announced by the court to grant rights of vote to the overseas Pakistanis.

But on the flip side, the court would also need to consider whether in view of the trichotomy of powers it could interfere in the legislative domain or not.

Moved through Advocate Uzair Karamat Bhandari on behalf of the PTI and its chairman, the petition sought a direction for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to provide effective right to vote to Overseas Pakistanis in the upcoming general elections besides necessary approvals and funds be granted to the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) for developing new i-voting system within a strict time frame so that it could be place for its use in the upcoming general elections.

Also, on behalf of former interior minister Sheikh Rashid, Advocate Sajeel Sheryar Swati pleaded before the apex court to declare Amendment to Section 94 of the Elections Act, 2017 ‘unconstitutional’ and order the government to allow the overseas Pakistanis to cast vote before the next general elections. The petition also argued that the vote was a constitutional right and was more fundamental than any other right as existence of a democratic society was dependent upon exercise of adult franchise.

Referring to the arguments that the right of vote to the overseas was not being granted due to the fear of rigging, the court observed, “We have proper laws to check the exercise of fake votes in rigging, also wondering if we should stop holding elections because of the fear of rigging in the elections.”

The PTI’s petition argued that questions of public importance in the petition had been raised with reference to the enforcement of fundamental rights conferred under Articles 17 (right to form association) and 25 (equality of citizens) of the Constitution. In fact the Supreme Court entertained similar petitions in its original constitutional jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and passed 2014 and the 2018 judgments and therefore the present petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution was competent, the petition argued.

The petition named the secretaries of parliamentary affairs, law and justice, overseas Pakistanis and human resources development and the foreign affairs, Election Commission of Pakistan and Nadra as respondents in the case.

The petitioner challenged the amendments to Section 94(1) of the Elections Act 2017, which was notified on June 22.

The PTI chairman believed that the amendments violated the fundamental rights to vote of over 10 million overseas Pakistanis as enshrined in the Constitution and as recognized by different judgments of the Supreme Court.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1706675/supreme-court-sets-aside-objections-to-pti-pleas-on-voting-rights

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Doha declares intent to invest $3bn in Pakistan

Kazim Alam

August 25, 2022

KARACHI: The state-owned investment fund of Qatar is going to invest $3 billion in Pakistan, an official statement from the off­ice of the energy-rich country’s ruler said on Wednesday.

The Emiri Diwan, the administrative office of the emir, released the statement as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held official talks with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Doha following a meeting with the sovereign fund officials a day ago.

The $450bn Qatar Investment Authority announced its “aspiration to invest $3bn in various commercial and investment sectors in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan”, it said.

The investment from the Gulf nation is expected to help Pakistan bridge the widening gap between the inflows and outflows of dollars that’s resulting in a persistent balance-of-payments crisis. The dollar shortage has weakened the local currency and caused a drawdown on the central bank-held foreign exchange reserves, which dropped to $7.9bn at the last count.

Speaking to Dawn, Arif Habib Ltd Head of Research Tahir Abbas said the information about the nature of the pledged investment is sketchy at the moment. “I think $2bn will be in the form of safe deposits with the central bank while $1bn will constitute the investment part,” he said.

Earlier this week, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Acting Governor Murtaza Syed told analysts in a post-monetary policy briefing that the country would receive $2bn from Qatar in the next 12 months. Although the Qatari statement didn’t mention if the pledged investment was in addition to $2bn indicated by the SBP’s acting chief, analysts believe the two amounts will likely overlap.

International news agency Bloomberg reported Qatar is evaluating strategic investments in Islamabad and Karachi airports in addition to stakes in renewable energy, power and hospitality sectors.

Wire service Reuters said Doha has shown interest in airport management partnership and the Roosevelt Hotel in New York’s Manha­ttan, which is owned by Pakistan International Air­lines (PIA). It quoted officials as saying that Pakistan has offered a 25pc stake in the hotel, which shut down in 2020 because of a coronavirus-related slump in international travel.

However, Mr Abbas said any substantial progress in the matter of investments in PIA and its hotel is unlikely given the mounting political challenges the government faces on the domestic front.

“We were expecting some update on LNG, but there’s been no word on that so far. We get eight cargoes from Qatar every month. We’re looking for two to three additional cargoes on the long-term basis,” he said.

Qatar is a major supplier of LNG to Pakistan on a long-term contract basis. It’s also sponsoring one of the two upcoming LNG terminals in Karachi.

Topline Securities Associate Director of Research Umair Naseer told Dawn it’ll be futile to expect Qatar to provide Pakistan with additional LNG cargoes on a long-term basis.

“Supplies are already constrained. Europe is desperate for energy as the winter is approaching. Even if Qatar offered to sell us LNG on a long-term basis, it’d make little sense for Pakistan to sign up for long-term supplies given the prevailing high prices,” he said.

Meanwhile, a statement from the prime minister’s office on Wednesday said Mr Sharif and Qatar’s emir agreed to increase the bilateral trade, deepen collaboration in agriculture and food sectors and boost cooperation in energy, renewable energy, tourism and hospitality segments. They also agreed to expand cooperation in defence, aviation and maritime sectors.

Recalling Pakistan’s long-term partnership with Qatar in the LNG sector, the prime minister thanked the emir for his support in meeting Pakistan’s energy needs. The two sides also explored new avenues for mutually beneficial cooperation in the energy sector.

Sheikh Tamim reassured Mr Sharif of Qatar’s commitment to forging a stronger economic partnership with Pakistan. The premier thanked the emir for Qatar Investment Authority’s readiness to invest $3bn in various commercial and investment sectors in Pakistan.

Mr Sharif’s visit to Qatar comes ahead of an International Monetary Fund meeting next week that is expected to approve more than $1bn in financing that has been stalled since the beginning of the year. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have also indicated to provide $1bn each in oil purchase financing.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1706697/doha-declares-intent-to-invest-3bn-in-pakistan

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Pakistan rejects India's closure of missile firing incident into its territory

25 August, 2022

Pakistan rejected India's closure of the incident of the firing of a supersonic missile into Pakistani territory on March 9, and reiterated demand for joint probe, said a statement by Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued Wednesday night.

The Indian Air Force on Tuesday said at the end of its inquiry that the government had sacked three officers for accidentally firing a missile into Pakistan in March, an incident that the two nuclear-armed rivals handled calmly as there were no casualties.

The BrahMos missile – a nuclear-capable, land-attack cruise missile jointly developed by Russia and India - was fired on March 9, prompting Pakistan to seek answers from New Delhi on the safety mechanisms in place to prevent accidental launches.

“Pakistan categorically rejects India's purported closure of the highly irresponsible incident and reiterates its demand for a joint probe,” a foreign office statement said.

The measures taken by India in the aftermath of the incident and the subsequent findings and punishments handed by the so-called internal court of inquiry are totally unsatisfactory, deficient and inadequate, it added.

The Indian Air Force said in a statement on Tuesday: “A Court of Inquiry, set up to establish the facts of the case, including fixing responsibility for the incident, found that deviation from the Standard Operating Procedures by three officers led to the accidental firing of the missile.”

It added the government had dismissed the three officers with immediate effect on Tuesday.

“India has not only failed to respond to Pakistan's demand for a joint inquiry but has also evaded the questions raised by Pakistan regarding the command-and-control system in place in India, the safety and security protocols and the reason for India's delayed admission of the Missile launch,” statement went on to add.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/08/25/Pakistan-rejects-India-s-closure-of-missile-firing-incident-into-its-territory-

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