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Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Plea in SC Seeks Ban on Dharma Sansad that Threatens To Massacre Muslims and Damages Integrity of Constitution, Law, Unity Of The Country

New Age Islam News Bureau

11 January 2022


IMAGE: Devotees garland the participants of the Dharma Sansad in Haridwar. Photograph: ANI Photo


• Afghan Activists Claim US 'Betrayal' as Taliban Implement Sharia Law

• The Muslim World Must Do More To Help Uyghurs Being Persecuted In China

• Saudi Arabia Releases Muslim Preacher, Ali Abu Al-Hassan, Held Since 2017 Without Charge


• Not Just Land For Qabristan, Give Us Due Representation In Assembly: Shahi Imam Maulana Usman Ludhianvi

• Court Acquits Four Men For Loot And Arson At Muslim Homes During NE Delhi Riots, Calls Police Witnesses Testimony Doubtful

• Famed Salar Jung Museum To Set Up Islamic Art Gallery In Hyderabad, India

• Savarkar had backed two-nation theory like Muslim League: Digvijaya Singh

• NIA Charge Sheet Against 4 Bangladeshis, 1 Indian Operative of JMB for Radicalising Muslim Youth

• Pathankot grenade attacks: Terror module with ISYF link busted, 6 held

• Bulli Bai app: Accused moves Mumbai court for bail


South Asia

• Explosion kills 9 children in eastern Afghanistan: Taliban

• Afghan Envoy To China Quits After Six Months Of No Pay

• Nearly 80% of Afghan journalists changed their profession to survive

• Amir Khan Motaqi meets Ahmad Masoud and Ismail Khan in Iran

• After Taliban, NRF denied Motaqi’s meeting with Ahmad Masoud

• Taliban vows to not let Afghanistan be used against others, seeks non-intervention


Southeast Asia

• HSBC Holding Shares In China Firm Linked To Human Rights Abuses Against Uyghur Muslims

• About 1 in 5 Muslim healthcare staff has begun wearing tudung at work: Ong Ye Kung

• Intel deletes reference to Xinjiang after backlash in China


Arab World

• Syria’s Exclusion From Arab League ‘Disgraceful’ For All Arabs, Senior Fatah Official Says

• Iraq Takes Back 111 ISIS-Linked Families From Syria

• Saudi Arabia FM Meets Chinese Counterpart To Discuss Regional Security

• Yemen’s forces take control of Shabwa province from Iran-backed Houthis

• Egypt’s Sisi calls for dialogue to solve world crises

• Oman’s Sultan pardons 229 prisoners

• Iran says talks with Saudi Arabia to continue in Iraq

• In Surprising Decision, Saudi English-Language Daily Appoints Rabbi As Regular Columnist



• PM, Islamic-Christian Group Condemn Israeli Plans To Curtail The Powers Of The Islamic Waqf In Al-Aqsa Mosque

• 50,000 Holy Qurans Donated By Turkish Charity To Palestine Islamic Centres

• Islamic Jihad: Arab League's Silence About Israel's Siege Of Gaza 'Unjustified'

• Israel threatens to arrest new security guards at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque

• Iran’s Top Diplomat: Vienna Talks Positive, Good Agreement Needs Seriousness

• Israel won’t be bound by any nuclear deal with Iran, Bennett says

• Yemeni army declares liberation of Shabwa province from Houthis

• Haniyeh: Zionist enemy has no future on Palestinian land

• In new provocation, Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa, perform rituals

• Israel’s violations of al-Aqsa Mosque will have dire consequences: Hamas



• COAS Bajwa Underscores Significance Of Peace, Reconciliation Initiatives In Afghanistan

• Daesh Militants On The Run In Pakistan After Evading Police Raid

• Senior TTP leader Khurasani killed in Afghanistan's Nangarhar: sources

• Minorities In India Being Targeted By Extremist Groups, Alleges Pakistan PM Imran Khan

• Opposition Narrative Of Civil-Military Rift ‘Dead And Buried’: PM Imran

• FM Qureshi, Romanian PM discuss bilateral ties, Afghanistan situation



• Sudan's Sovereign Council Accepts UN Initiative

• Islamic State claims responsibility for Dec 25 suicide attack in Congo

• Somali national army kills some 25 al-Shabaab terrorists

• Tunisian activist says revolution against ‘coup’ still alive

• Sudanese protester dies of wounds, death toll rises to 63

• Libyan security forces break up protest sit-in by migrants


North America

• New York Fire Victims Were Mostly Muslim Immigrants

• Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed holds ‘candid’ conversation with US President Joe Biden

• US conference calls for immediate humanitarian aid for Afghanistan



• 'Peaceful Kazakh Protests Became Violent Due To Criminal And Islamist Elements'

• Kazakhstan detains almost 10,000 over deadly unrest

• Russia-led troops to begin leaving Kazakhstan in two days: President

• Bosnia sends protest notes to Russian, Chinese, Serbian embassies

• After 2 decades, former British inmate recalls Guantanamo ordeal

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Plea in SC Seeks Ban on Dharma Sansad that Threatens To Massacre Muslims and Damages Integrity of Constitution, Law, Unity Of The Country


IMAGE: Devotees garland the participants of the Dharma Sansad in Haridwar. Photograph: ANI Photo


January 10, 2022

The petition demanded stern legal action against those who allegedly threatened to massacre Muslims and said it was not just a matter of religion but of the Constitution, law, unity and integrity of the country.

"Hate speeches and statements against Muslims have suddenly intensified in the country in recent times," it said.

"Even the recent programmes held, under government's nose, in Haridwar and Delhi have not only caused open provocations, but have also deliberately conspired to provoke the majority to massacre Muslims for the establishment of 'Hindu Rshtra', but unfortunately, no legal action has been taken in these two cases so far," the petition said.

Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind president Maulana Arshad Madani said that the State and central law enforcement agencies have not fulfilled their duties, "which has created a very depressing situation in the whole country".

"The silence of the central and state governments on the controversial speeches in the Dharma Sansad and elsewhere has added to the gravity of the situation," he said in the petition.

The apex court, meanwhile, on Monday agreed to hear another PIL seeking a direction to ensure investigation and action against those who made hate speeches during two separate events held recently at the 'Dharam Sansad' in Haridwar in Uttarakhand and in the national capital.

A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli took note of the submissions of senior advocate Kapil Sibal that no action has been taken against those who made the hate speeches despite registration of FIR by the Uttarakhand Police.

The petition, filed by journalist Qurban Ali and former Patna High Court Judge and senior advocate Anjana Prakash, has sought a direction for "an independent, credible and impartial investigation" by an special investigation team (SIT) into the incidents of hate speeches against the Muslim community.

The plea, which specifically referred to the "hate" speeches delivered between "the 17th and 19th of December 2021 at Haridwar and Delhi", has also sought compliance of apex court's guidelines to deal with such speeches.

The event in Haridwar was organised by Yati Narsinghanand and that in Delhi by the 'Hindu Yuva Vahini', and these allegedly called "for genocide of members" of a community.

The Uttarakhand Police had filed an FIR on December 23, 2021, under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code against some persons including Wasim Rizvi, Sant Dharamdas Maharaj, Sadhvi Annapoorna alias Pooja Shakun Pandey, Yati Narsinghanand and Sagar Sindhu Maharaj.

A similar complaint has been filed with the Delhi Police for the event organised in the national capital.

The plea said no effective steps have been taken by Uttarakhand and Delhi police.

Till date no FIR has been lodged by the Delhi Police despite calls for ethnic cleansing at the event organised here, it said.

Source: Rediff News

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Afghan Activists Claim US 'Betrayal' as Taliban Implement Sharia Law


Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has assured women their rights would be respected 'within the framework of Islamic law' [File: Reuters)


By Luca Cacciatore

10 January 2022

Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad told ''The Story With Martha MacCallum'' on Monday that women's rights activists in Afghanistan feel betrayed by President Joe Biden as Taliban insurgents consolidate control over the country after the withdrawal of U.S. troops last year, Fox News reported.

Alinejad said that she is in contact with women's rights activists in Afghanistan who are dumbfounded by the sudden lack of U.S. support.

''I'm in touch with a lot of women in Afghanistan. They're really angry with the American government,'' Alinejad said.

''To be honest, it's very heartbreaking. I call it like this is — a betrayal, [and] not only from the Biden administration,'' she said. ''It is a betrayal for all of those politicians around the world that are witnessing how people are being beheaded in Afghanistan [and] getting shot in Iran,'' she added.

Alinejad said that conditions for Afghans, especially women, continue to deteriorate under the Taliban. The government has banned the observance of religions other than Islam and recently ordered the beheading of all display mannequins, citing them as ''idol worship.''

''We, the people of Afghanistan and Iran, we share the pain. We experienced this,'' Alinejad told host Martha MacCallum.

''In reality in Afghanistan and Iran under Sharia law, if you don't want to be a Muslim anymore if you criticize the prophet if you criticize the Islamic law and for the crime of apostasy and blasphemy, you will be beheaded.''

Source: News Max

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The Muslim World Must Do More To Help Uyghurs Being Persecuted In China


A Uyghur man works at his shop in Kashgar in the Xinjiang region. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images


January 10, 2022

China has been accused of the genocide of its Uyghur Muslim population following testimonies of Islamophobia, violence, torture, rape and forcible detention in concentration-style camps. A recent independent tribunal held in London reached a unanimous verdict last month that "genocide" has indeed taken place against Uyghur Muslims, Tibetans and the ethnic Turkic people of China.

Although the verdict of the tribunal is not legally binding, it serves as a platform for change so that world leaders may take heed and act in putting sanctions in place against China. What is frustrating, though, is that despite mounting evidence of injustices against Uyghurs, many Muslim countries around the world continue to support Beijing shamelessly under the guise of "combatting extremism".

A list of "75 behavioural indicators" has been announced by China that would identify "extremist behaviour". The list includes — but is not limited to — praying in public places outside mosques; giving up the drinking of alcohol abruptly; young and middle-aged men growing beards; and the wearing of hijab and niqab by women (the veil worn, ironically, by millions of women across the UAE and Saudi Arabia). Hence, those Muslims who want to practice their faith can expect very little support from leaders such as Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who has silenced Islamic religious figures, accusing them of promoting "extremist ideas" and opposing social reforms.

Countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE have even gone as far as selling out their Uyghur brothers and sisters by signing a letter to the UN with 35 other states supporting China's policies in Xinjiang. This was done, apparently, to protect financial investments in China and keep a relationship with the economic superpower, the price for which is to keep quiet in the face of the evidence of genocide. Silence in this case is complicity.

Collectively, the Muslim world has the power to stop the persecution of Uyghur Muslims in China and other Muslims around the world yet fails to use it. Uyghur Muslims I have spoken to feel that they have been "failed" by the many leaders in the Middle East who they thought would support them in this, their toughest of times. If only Muslim nations were united and followed the tenets of Islam.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the collective voice of the Muslim world, only expressed its "deep concern" following reports in 2019 that Muslim minorities in Xinjiang were denied the right to fast and observe the religious month of Ramadan. Three years later, Uyghurs are still suffering and calling on the Muslim world to wake up and put morals and the values of Islam ahead of their own political and economic interests with China.

As a journalist, I have interviewed many Uyghurs over the years. Uyghur mothers placed their trust in me as a Muslim to tell me about what they had endured. Some had been sterilised forcibly so that they could not have any more children. This is one way that China tries to stop the Uyghur population from growing.

Other Uyghur mothers have been separated forcibly from their children. If not for their faith they would have been suicidal because of the pain of not being allowed to reunite with them. Harrowingly, one mother told me that she spotted her 4-year-old daughter on China's state social media and found out that the child's name had been changed to a Han Chinese name and she was not allowed to speak in the Uyghur language. Even the Muslim identities of children are being changed, and they are being told that they have no parents who love or care about them when this is far from the truth. Uyghur parents are suffering because they aren't able to get their children back and the right of the children to be Muslims is being stripped away.

One Uyghur man told me that he and many others have been physically tortured with electric prods in concentration camps and told to denounce their faith. When he was not willing to denounce Islam and refused to pledge allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party he was tortured even more. Many Uyghurs face torture for being Muslims but refuse to give in, and yet there are Muslim leaders around the world who continue to sell their soul by putting profits over lives.

The Uyghur community relies on support from Turkey, with which it shares historical, cultural and linguistic ties. In 2009, the then Prime Minister (now President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed his belief that "a genocide" was being committed in China and that there were many Uyghur exiles who had sought safe sanctuary in Turkey to whom he had spoken personally.

The dispiriting conduct of the Gulf States regarding the Uyghurs is one that will not easily be forgotten. Even so, there is still time for the Muslim world to speak up and take a stand with those who are oppressed against the oppressors. As the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." Sadly, that's a charge that too many Muslim rulers now face.

Source: Middle East Monitor

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Saudi Arabia Releases Muslim Preacher, Ali Abu Al-Hassan, Held Since 2017 Without Charge


Ali Abu al-Hassan


10 January, 2022

Saudi authorities released in December a preacher who spent over four years in prison, an online human rights platform in Saudi Arabia confirmed on Monday.

Ali Abu al-Hassan was released a day after his father passed away, according to the Twitter account Prisoners of Conscience, which follows the cases of detainees in the kingdom.

Saudi authorities had prevented Al-Hassan from leaving jail to attend the funeral of his mother in mid-2019, according to reports.

The cleric was arrested in September 2017 and held without charge.

He had gained wide popularity over the past few years over his religious preaching, videos of which were published on his social media platforms and widely shared.

A number of clerics, activists, journalists and other officials – some of whom have not stood trial - remain locked up in Saudi Arabia for various reasons.

Saudi authorities also released imprisoned royal Princess Basmah bint Saud, according to reports on Sunday.

Source: The New Arab

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Not Just Land For Qabristan, Give Us Due Representation In Assembly: Shahi Imam Maulana Usman Ludhianvi

by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana

January 11, 2022

In a multi-cornered contest in Punjab Assembly elections, Muslims will play a key role. “Muslim voters can make or break the government this Assembly election. So, this minority vote bank shouldn’t be ignored at all. We do not need land for Qabristan but due representation in Vidhan Sabha. In Punjab there are (approximately) 23 lakh Muslim voters and their representation in 28 constituencies is around 10,000 plus voters,” said Shahi Imam Maulana Usman Ludhianvi, who is also national president of Majlis-e-ahrar Islam Hind Party.

He said, “With a five-cornered contest, victory margin will be very low. Last time as well, victory margin on many seats was in the range of 5,000-15,000 votes. Hence, political parties shouldn’t ignore this significant vote bank as this time margin will further reduce due to too many political parties.”

He added, “On two seats — Sujanpur in Pathankot and Amargarh in Malerkotla — Muslim vote bank is of 22,000 and 42,000 respectively. Hence Muslim faces should be fielded by political parties. Already Aladdin from Sujanpur and Abdul Sattar from Amargarh have sought tickets from Congress. In the past, non-Muslim faces have always been fielded. SAD and AAP have already fielded their candidates but the other parties should think about it.”

Source: Indian Express

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Court Acquits Four Men For Loot And Arson At Muslim Homes During NE Delhi Riots, Calls Police Witnesses Testimony Doubtful

by Anand Mohan J

January 11, 2022

A local court has acquitted four men facing trial for loot and arson at Muslim houses during the Northeast Delhi riots in 2020 as it tore into police witnesses in the case calling their testimony “intensely doubtful”.

Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat acquitted the four men identified as Dinesh, Sahil, Sandeep and Tinku in a judgement passed on January 7.

“This court feels absolute loath to place any trust upon the testimony of PW­8 (Constable Vipin) & PW­12 (Head Constable Sanoj) on the aspect of identification of the accused as rioters,” Bhat said in his order.

The order said the manner in which the two police officers identified the rioters “creates doubt in the mind of Court.”

The two officers claimed all the four accused were known to them before the incident and hence they could identify them in the mob.

However, the court said, “Intriguingly they did not inform either their senior officers or the IO (Investigating Officer) of this case about the fact that they knew some of the rioters who were involved in the rioting incidents in Bhagirathi Vihar.”

The court said both these witnesses were posted at the Gokul Puri Police station and it was “not difficult for them to find out the officer to whom investigation of this case was entrusted and then to apprise the IO about the identity of the rioters”.

It also said they maintained an “eerie silence” when they recorded their statements under section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). It added these officers have not explained the reason which “precluded them from disclosing the names of the accused to the IO or to any senior officer till 22.03.2020.”

The court also noted that the initial investigating officer of the case could not trace any eyewitnesses in this case till March 21, 2020, and the new IO who took over recorded the statement of the two officers on March 22, 2020.

Source: Indian Express

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Famed Salar Jung Museum to set up Islamic art gallery in Hyderabad, India

January 11, 2022

Famed Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad of India, which boasts the largest one-man collection of antiques and art treasures in the world, is setting up an exclusive gallery for Islamic art.

More than 2,500 rare Islamic artefacts currently displayed in various parts of the museum as well as some that have never been showcased in public will find a place in this gallery. At present, these treasures of Islamic art are scattered over various galleries under Indian, Middle Eastern, European and Far Eastern art collections.

The exclusive Islamic art gallery will present all these forms of Islamic art at one place.

The Islamic art gallery was to open much earlier but the work was affected because of Covid-19, and the unavailability of skilled labour only added to the problem, said Dr A. Nagender Reddy, director of Salar Jung Museum. The work has been, however, expedited now and the gallery will be ready for inauguration by the end of 2022, he added.

The art collection at Salar Jung Museum is so huge and varied that only three other museums in the world — the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum (both located in the United Kingdom) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, — can rival it. Salar Jung Museum is the second-highest revenue-generating museum in India, next only to Kolkata’s Victoria Memorial. The Islamic art gallery is expected to further increase its footfall.

The idea of having an exclusive Islamic art gallery germinated when as many as 413 Islamic artefacts from Salar Jung Museum became the centre of attraction during the ‘Glimpses of Courtly Splendour’, an exhibition of Indian Islamic art held in Sharjah, UAE, in 2009.

Spread over 26,000 square feet on the second floor of the museum’s eastern block, the Islamic art gallery will showcase such artefacts as swords, ceramics, body armours, manuscripts, Persian carpets, copies of the Holy Quran, celestial globes, astrolabes, textiles, jades, porcelains and glass objects with Quranic inscriptions and much more.

Though most of the objects relate to Islam, some have links to Muslim kings and nobles, poets, writers and historians, too.

Source: ABNA24

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Savarkar had backed two-nation theory like Muslim League: Digvijaya Singh

January 10, 2022

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Monday used the "termite" analogy to target the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the BJP, which he said is damaging the entire system.

Speaking to reporters here in Madhya Pradesh, Singh also targeted Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, saying his speeches are replete only with divisive references like Hindu-Muslim and Shamshan-Kabristan.

Attacking RSS, the Congress Rajya Sabha MP said it was like "dimak" (termite) which silently damages a house or household goods. Similarly, RSS also works discreetly and damages the entire system.

"I know I will be severely abused for comparing RSS with termite. But, I have not called RSS termite. I have said that the character of the ideology that is silently damaging the entire system in the country is termite," Singh added.

Speaking about upcoming elections in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, he said, "You (media) people must be listening to the speeches delivered by Yogi Adityanath. Have you heard phrases other than Hindu-Muslim, Hindustan-Pakistan or shamshan-kabristan (cremation ground and graveyards) in them?

Singh alleged that a false narrative is being created to spread the message that the Hindu religion is under threat.

"This is done so that the fascist ideology can be taken forward and money can be earned through political posts," he claimed.

Singh said that the Hindu religion had never faced any danger even during the hundred years of rule under Muslims and "Christian Britishers".

Speaking at a symposium organised by the state Press Club here, Singh said that the concept of Hindutva is being used as a political weapon and it has nothing to do with Hinduism.

He claimed that V D Savarkar had written in his book in 1923 that "it is wrong to assume the Hindu religion as Hindutva".

"Mistaking Hindutva as the Hindu religion would be the biggest mistake not only for Hindus but for the entire country, he said.

Singh claimed that the proposal on the Partition under the two-nation theory was supported by the Muslim League as well as by Savarkar.

Source: The Week

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NIA Charge Sheet Against 4 Bangladeshis, 1 Indian Operative of JMB for Radicalising Muslim Youth

JANUARY 10, 2022

The NIA has filed a charge sheet against four Bangladeshi and an Indian operative of the proscribed Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh for their alleged involvement in radicalising Muslim youth and their recruitment by JMB/AQIS (al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent), an official said on Monday. Najiur Rahman Pavel, Mikail Khan, Rabiul Islam and Mohammad Abdul Mannan Bachu, all Bangladeshi nationals, have been named in the charge sheet along with Lalu Sen, a resident of West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas, the official said.

The Bangladeshis have been booked under relevant sections of the IPC, the UAPA, the Foreigners Act and the Passport Act, the NIA official said. The case pertains to a criminal conspiracy by three Bangladeshi nationals who had illegally entered India along with their associates of JMB/AQIS, to recruit, motivate Muslim youth to establish a ‘Caliphate’ and for the furtherance of terrorist activities in India and Bangladesh, the official said.

Source: News18

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Pathankot grenade attacks: Terror module with ISYF link busted, 6 held

Jan 11, 2022

CHANDIGARH: Six operatives of a terror module that carried out grenade attacks on the Pathankot Army camp and a public place in the border district of Punjab last November were arrested on Monday in a crackdown that traced the conspiracy to the proscribed International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF).

DGP V K Bhawra said a police team from Nawanshahr seized six grenades, a 9mm pistol, a .30 bore rifle, live bullets and magazines from the arrested men, all of them natives of Gurdaspur district.

The suspects were identified as Amandeep alias Mantri of Lakhanpal village, Gurwinder Singh alias Gindi and Parminder Kumar alias Rohit of Kharal, Rajinder Singh alias Malhi alias Nikku of Gunnupur, Harpreet Singh alias Dholki of Gotpokar and Raman Kumar of Ghazikot. The outfit had hurled hand grenades near Pathankot's Chakki Pull on November 11 and again outside Triveni Dwar of the Army's 21 sub-area on November 21.

The DGP said the suspects had confessed to being in touch with ISYF (Rode) chief Lakhbir Singh Rode and his aides Sukhmeetpal Singh alias Sukh Bhikhariwal and Sukhpreet alias Sukh. “The entire cache of seized hand grenades, arms and ammunition were pushed in from across the international border by Rode. The arrested accused were tasked with attacking identified targets, mainly police and defence establishments, besides religious,” Bhawra said.

The police also claimed to have confirmed Rode’s role in the killing of Shaurya Chakra awardee Comrade Balwinder Singh at Bhikhiwind on October 16, 2020, and hoarding IEDs, RDX, arms and ammunition at his relative Gurmukh Singh Rode's Jalandhar premises. The explosives and arms were confiscated in August last year.

His aide Bhikhariwal, who is presently lodged in Tihar jail, was involved in the murderous attack on Shiv Sena youth leader Honey Mahajan at Dhariwal on February 10, 2020. He was deported from Dubai in December that year.

Source: Times of India

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Bulli Bai app: Accused moves Mumbai court for bail

By Vinay Dalvi

Jan 11, 2022

MUMBAI: Vishal Kumar Jha, who was the first to be arrested in connection with the Bulli Bai app used to put hundreds of Muslim women on “auction”, has filed a bail application in a Mumbai court. The court on Monday posted his plea for a hearing on Thursday to allow the prosecution to file a reply.

In his plea, Jha said the main accused in the case was someone else and the other accused from different states were not connected to him. The plea was moved after he was remanded in judicial custody.

The Mumbai Police told Metropolitan Magistrate K C Rajput that Jha has contracted Covid-19 and should be sent in judicial custody as he was admitted to a Covid Centre. When Jha’s lawyers, Aarti Deshmukh and Shivamsinh Deshmukh, moved the bail plea, the prosecution opposed it saying they will need to interrogate him.

Jha said he has handed over his laptop, mobile phone, and SIM cards to the investigating agency and he is in no position to tamper with any evidence. He claimed the prosecution has failed to provide any concrete evidence in support of allegations against him.

Mumbai Police are probing the app hosted on the code-sharing platform GitHub. The app was named after derogatory references to the Muslim community. Hundreds of Muslim women, including vocal activists and top professionals, were listed for “auction” along with their photographs sourced without permission and doctored.

Source: Hindustan Times

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South Asia


Explosion kills 9 children in eastern Afghanistan: Taliban

Jan 10, 2022

KABUL: An explosion in eastern Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan on Monday killed nine children and wounded four, according to the office of a Taliban-appointed governor.

A statement from the governor's office said the blast took place when a cart selling food items struck an old, unexploded mortar shell in the district of Lalopar, in eastern Nagarhar province.

No other details were immediately available.

The province is the headquarters of Taliban rivals, the Islamic State group, which has staged several attacks targeting Afghanistan's new rulers since the Taliban took over the country in mid-August. However, the IS has operated in Afghanistan since 2014, carrying out dozens of horrific attacks and most often targeting the country's minority Shiite Muslims.

Source: Times of India

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Afghan envoy to China quits after six months of no pay

Jan 10, 2022

BEIJING: Afghanistan's ambassador to China left a colourful resignation note for his post-Taliban takeover successor on Monday -- revealing that staff had not been paid for months and that a lone receptionist had been left to answer phones.

Javid Ahmad Qaem took to Twitter to detail how he had to scrape cash from the embassy's bank account to pay staff after the Taliban seized Afghanistan last August.

"Since we did not receive salaries from Kabul for the last six months, we assigned a committee from within the diplomats to solve the financial issues," Qaem wrote in a letter to Afghanistan's foreign ministry dated January 1 but posted to social media on Monday.

Still, he left some funds for his successor.

"As of today, 1st January 2022, there is around $100,000 left in the account."

He did not say where he was going next.

In a portrait of a barely functioning embassy, Qaem's letter revealed he had left the keys for the embassy's five cars in his office and that a lone local hire had been assigned to answer queries after all the other diplomats left.

Many of Afghanistan's embassies are in diplomatic limbo, run by staff still loyal to the Western-backed government toppled by the Taliban.

Several Afghan diplomats have abandoned their Beijing postings since the fall of Kabul, Qaem wrote, calling his resignation "the end to an honourable responsibility" in an accompanying Tweet.

"I believe when the new person assigned, Mr Sadaat, arrives to Beijing, there will be no other diplomat left," the letter said, adding that China had been "well-informed".

It was not immediately clear of the whereabouts of his successor, or who had appointed him, and no immediate comment from Taliban officials in Kabul.

The Afghan embassy in Beijing appeared open as usual on Monday afternoon, with the internationally recognised Afghan tricolour raised and two security guards outside.

Qaem, who has served as ambassador since November 2019, had expressed concerns about the Taliban in media interviews shortly after China hosted a visiting delegation in July.

Weeks later, the Taliban captured Kabul and formed a new Islamist government.

Since then, Afghanistan has been plunged into financial chaos, with inflation and unemployment surging.

China has provided millions to Afghanistan in aid since the takeover and the new regime sees Beijing as a crucial source of investment.

The Taliban have not appointed new representatives to most missions, however, and their government is not recognised by any nation.

Beijing is not the only Afghan embassy that has seemingly fallen into chaos.

Police were called to the country's embassy in Rome last week when a sacked Afghan diplomat attacked the ambassador after claiming to have been appointed to replace him, the mission said.

The Taliban's foreign ministry in Kabul said the diplomat still had a valid contract and his termination was illegal.

Source: Times of India

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Nearly 80% of Afghan journalists changed their profession to survive

11 Jan 2022

Journalists’ Foundation of Afghanistan said that Afghan Journalists are going through the worst economic situation as 79% of them have lost their jobs and resorted to other professions to make money and survive.

The foundation has assessed the lives of Afghan journalists in the past one and a half months and found that they are living the worst life due to the fragile economic situation.

Prior to that, statistics have shown that up to 75 percent of media in Afghanistan have been shut due to financial woes.

Findings of the Foundation indicate that 91% of Afghan journalists are satisfied from having chosen the profession while only 8 percent are not happy.

462 Afghan journalists across Afghanistan have taken part in the survey among them were 390 male and 72 female.

The Foundation called on the International Community and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to address the economic situation of the Afghan journalists.

Source: Khaama Press

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Amir Khan Motaqi meets Ahmad Masoud and Ismail Khan in Iran

10 Jan 2022

Deputy Minister of Information and Culture and Spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Zabiullah Mujahid in a Twitter post said that the Afghan delegation led by acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Motaqi met with Ahmad Masoud and Ismail Khan.

Zabiullah Mujahid said that Masoud and Khan were given assurance about their safe return to Afghanistan.

“Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan tries to make the situation of Afghanistan safe and conducive for everyone so that there is no opportunity for people to oppose IEA.” Reads the Twitter post.

Ahmad Masoud is the leader of the so-called anti-Taliban Resistance Force also known as the National Resistance Force (NRF) while Ismail Khan was a local leader in western Herat province who was surrendered to the Taliban during the collapse of the province.

Ismail Khan then fled to Iran.

Earlier, the spokesman of NRF Sibghatullah Ahmadi denied the meeting.

Source: Khaama Press

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After Taliban, NRF denied Motaqi’s meeting with Ahmad Masoud

10 Jan 2022

The so-called anti-Taliban National Resistance Force (NRF) denied meeting between acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Motaqi and the head of the NRF in Iran.

Spokesperson of NRF Sibghatullah Ahmadi told Hasht-e-Sub (Afghan newspaper) that no meeting between the two has been conducted in Tehran.

Taliban spokesperson Bilal Karimi had also denied the meeting in Iran.

Earlier, it was rumored that Amir Khani Motaqi who is visiting Iran at the official invitation of the country, is supposed to meet Ahmad Masoud and another Jihadi leader Ismail Khan.

The acting Afghan Foreign Minister leading a high-level delegation met with Iran’s foreign minister and discussed political, economic, trade, transit, and refugees.

Source: Khaama Press

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Taliban vows to not let Afghanistan be used against others, seeks non-intervention

Michael Hernandez 



The Taliban repeated its vows on Monday to ensure Afghanistan does not again become a bastion of international terror groups, but said it wants to ensure foreign nations do not interfere in its domestic affairs.

Addressing a Washington-based aid conference, Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban's acting foreign minister, said the group "will not allow anyone to use the territory of Afghanistan to harm others, and will also not allow others to interfere in our internal affairs."

"We respect legitimate interests and demands of other nations, and in return we expect similar treatment from others," he said.

The Taliban overran the formerly internationally-recognized government in Afghanistan in August following a two-decade long insurgency campaign that left tens of thousands of people dead across the country. Their 2020 military offensive saw government forces collapse and officials flee the nation of roughly 39 million.

Muttaqi claimed that the Taliban's most recent violent push for power "transpired in a very peaceful manner without any bloodshed."

"The IEA (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) entered Kabul with a message of national unity, and opened its arms of peace and brotherhood to its past political and even military rivals," he said, using the Taliban's preferred name for its government. "It would be rare to find such civilized, humane and Islamic conduct in history."

Muttaqi said some 500,000 civil servants from the defunct internationally-recognized government have continued their positions under the Taliban, saying the de facto government has "utilized their capabilities without prejudice."

The collapse of the internationally-recognized government led to Afghanistan's foreign assets being frozen, and a halt being placed on international aid to the de facto government.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Southeast Asia


HSBC holding shares in China firm linked to human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims

Thomas Kingsley

HSBC bank holds more than £2 million in shares for a subsidiary of a Chinese paramilitary company that has been accused of human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims, it has been revealed.

The UK’s biggest bank bought £2.2 million worth of shares for Xinjiang Tianye, a chemicals and plastics company, for an anonymous client last year while continuing to act as a custodian meaning it pockets money while holding the shares, the Sunday Times reported.

Xinjiang Tianye Group describes itself as a “large state-owned enterprise in the eighth division of XPCC”, the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

The corps, a large paramilitary and economic organisation, has been subject to US sanctions and has helped to oversee the surveillance, mass detention and forced labour of hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region.

The group is often described as a “state within a state” and controls numerous publicly traded subsidiaries, including Xinjiang Tianye which is on the Shanghai stock exchange and allegedly plays a part in the abuses including forced labour transfers.

Beijing has placed around one million Uyghurs in labour camps and there have been widespread reports of forced sterilisation and the wholesale destruction of mosques.

Many international organisations have labelled Beijing’s actions as genocide. China says its aim is to tackle poverty and religious extremism in Xinjiang.

Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps continues to face sanctions under the Biden administration after first receiving penalties in 2020 under the Magnitsky Act in 2020, citing its “serious rights abuses against ethnic minorities”.

American citizens, including those working for foreign companies such as HSBC, whose headquarters are in London, are banned from transactions or services involving XPCC.

Marco Rubio, the US senator, said facilitating such trades was “another example of a company turning a blind eye to genocide and slavery just to turn a profit”.

Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative Party leader, said: “Project Kow-Tow is alive and well in some British companies. After all, HSBC seem more and more to have thrown their lot in with the despotic Chinese government.”

Last year Dominic Raab, foreign secretary at the time, condemned the bank after it said it would follow the controversial national security law giving China powers dominating over Hong Kong. He said that the rights of people in Hong Kong should not be “sacrificed on the altar of bankers’ bonuses”.

Source: Independent UK

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About 1 in 5 Muslim healthcare staff has begun wearing tudung at work: Ong Ye Kung

Osmond Chia

JAN 11, 2022

SINGAPORE - About one in five female Muslim public healthcare staff has begun wearing the tudung at work since they were allowed to do so from November, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Monday (Jan 10).

"Some staff have chosen not to do so, while some others may be considering. We respect the decision of each individual," he added in a parliamentary reply.

He was responding to Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah (Jalan Besar GRC), who requested for an update on the move to allow healthcare workers to wear the tudung while in uniform.

Mr Ong said hospitals have set clinical guidelines and informed staff to ensure that infection control requirements are followed for the safety of patients and staff.

"Staff who choose to wear the tudung have also undergone refitting for N95 masks," he added.

Last August, the Health Ministry said the revised policy to don the headgear will apply to more than 7,000 healthcare workers. The move was announced during Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally speech on Aug 29.

PM Lee acknowledged that wearing the tudung has become increasingly important for the Muslim community, reflecting a general trend of stronger religiosity in Islam around the world, as well as in South-east Asia and Singapore.

It has also become an important part of the faith of many Muslim women. Over the last few decades, more Muslim women here have worn the headgear, both in social settings and at workplaces, he noted.

Source: Straits Times

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Intel deletes reference to Xinjiang after backlash in China

January 11, 2022

BEIJING: US chipmaker Intel has deleted references to Xinjiang from an annual letter to suppliers after the company faced a backlash in China for asking suppliers to avoid the sanctions-hit region.

Last month, Intel was slammed on Chinese social media for a letter to suppliers published on its website. The Dec 23 letter said Intel had been “required to ensure that its supply chain does not use any labour or source goods or services from the Xinjiang region” following restrictions imposed by “multiple governments”.

This paragraph, or any reference to Xinjiang or China, was no longer in the letter, according to a Reuters review of the same page on Tuesday.

The letter now reads that the company prohibits “any human trafficked or involuntary labour such as forced, debt bonded, prison, indentured, or slave labour throughout your extended supply chains”.

Intel did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It apologised last month for the “trouble” it had caused, saying that its commitment to avoid supply chains from Xinjiang was an expression of compliance with US law, rather than a statement of its position on the issue.

Multinational companies have come under pressure as they aim to comply with Xinjiang-related trade sanctions while continuing to operate in China, one of their biggest markets.

The US has accused China of widespread human rights abuses in Xinjiang, home to the country’s predominantly Muslim Uighurs, including forced labour. Beijing has repeatedly denied the claims.

Intel’s deletion of any reference to Xinjiang in its annual letter to suppliers, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, was criticised by US Senator Marco Rubio.

“Intel’s cowardice is yet another predictable consequence of economic reliance on China,” Rubio said in a statement on Monday.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Arab World


Syria’s exclusion from Arab League ‘disgraceful’ for all Arabs, senior Fatah official says

10 January 2022

The secretary general of the central committee of the Palestinian Fatah political party has denounced Syria’s exclusion from the Arab League as “disgraceful” for the entire Arab nations, especially as the war-ravaged country is a founding member of the regional organization.

Speaking at a press conference in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Monday, Jibril Rajoub said Syria must return to the Arab League, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported.

He said that his visit to Damascus at the head of a high-ranking Palestinian delegation would constitute a turning point in light of the Israeli regime’s stepped-up aggression and attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause.

Rajoub noted that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas plans to visit Syria in the near future, extending his gratitude to the Syrian people and leadership for their firm stances vis-à-vis the Palestinian cause despite all difficulties they have gone through over the past years, and for their hospitality towards Palestinians living there.

The senior Fatah official highlighted that the Palestinian cause is now at its most difficult stage, given the Tel Aviv regime’s relentless efforts to Judaize al-Quds city and advance its land expropriation and settlement expansion policies across the occupied Palestinian territories.

Last December, the speaker of the Jordanian House of Representatives, Abdul Karim al-Daghmi, called for Syria to be fully reinstated to the Arab League when Algeria hosts the next Arab summit in March.

“We, as the Arab Parliament, must put pressure on our governments and ask our leaders to green-light Syria’s return to the Arab League when next summit convenes in Algeria, and to allow its delegation to participate in the Arab Parliament sessions as well,” Daghmi said in a press conference on the sidelines of a session of the Arab Parliament in Amman on December 23.

He noted, “It is now high time for Syria to return to its Arab origins and rejoin the Arab League.”

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has already called for restoration of Syria’s membership in the Arab League, stating that Arab nations would not be able to reunify and resolve their differences in case Damascus is excluded from the regional organization.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Tunisian counterpart, Kais Saied, in Tunis on December 15, Tebboune said Syria should rejoin the Arab League in order for Arabs to unify again, SANA reported.

He noted that Algeria will stay away from discrimination and will not treat any country differently from others, when it hosts the Arab Summit in March 2022.

The Arab League suspended Syria's membership in November 2011, citing alleged crackdown by Damascus on opposition protests. Syria has denounced the move as "illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”

Syria was one of the six founding members of the Arab League in 1945.

Mikdad: Syria, Palestine constantly facing Israeli occupation

On Sunday, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad underscored that Syria stands by Palestinian people in order to restore their inalienable legitimate rights, including establishment of a sovereign state on their own lands.

He noted that Syria and Palestine are constantly confronting the Israeli regime’s occupation, attacks, criminal acts and violations of the international law.

Mikdad deplored crimes being committed by Israel against the Palestinian nation as well as the regime’s settlement construction and land grab policies, terming the Israeli decisions against the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and Palestinian territories as war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Source: Press TV

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Iraq takes back 111 ISIS-linked families from Syria

10 January ,2022

Iraqi authorities have repatriated 111 Iraqi families linked to the ISIS group from a Kurdish-run camp in northern Syria, a local official said on Monday.

They arrived on Saturday and were transferred to Al-Jadaa camp south of Mosul, in Nineveh province, said the official who declined to be named.

Since May 2021, at least 339 families linked to the extremist ISIS group have been moved from Al-Hol camp in northeast Syria to Al-Jadaa which hosts around 7,500 internally displaced people.

These include families of extremists, some of whom hail from other parts of Iraq, including the provinces of Salaheddine and Ramadi, according to Iraqi authorities.

The prospect of their return to their places of origin has sparked concern among residents who survived the brutal rule of ISIS when it occupied one third of Iraq between 2014 and 2017.

In late 2017, Iraq declared “victory” over ISIS after driving the extremists from all urban areas, with support from a US-led coalition.

Iraqi authorities announced last month their intention to close Al-Jadaa, the last camp sheltering displaced in Iraq, outside of the autonomous region of Kurdistan.

But the process is long and facing resistance from local populations who don't want ISIS families among them.

According to the International Organization for Migration, six million Iraqis were displaced during the ISIS rule.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Arabia FM meets Chinese counterpart to discuss regional security

11 January ,2022

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister met with his Chinese counterpart on Monday to discuss economic and security matters, including the Iran nuclear deal, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs detailed on Twitter.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

The Kingdom’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan discussed strengthening cooperation with China with the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi during a visit to the southern city of Wuxi.

The meeting came as Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Dr. Nayef al-Hajraf himself met with a gathering of Chinese officials.

Prince Faisal engaged in discourse over the Iran nuclear deal with Wang, and stressed the importance of security and stability in the Middle East.

They also covered the topic of security in Afghanistan – noting the importance of promoting stability in the nation as it adjusts to life under its Taliban rulers.

Economic matters were spoken about, including the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and the Sino-Saudi Joint Committee.

World Bank data positions China as Saudi Arabia’s biggest trading partner.

In 2019, Sino-Saudi trade was valued at just under $73 billion, according to the Atlantic Council.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Yemen’s forces take control of Shabwa province from Iran-backed Houthis

10 January ,2022

Yemen's Giants Brigade forces announced on Monday taking full control of Shabwa province from the Iran-backed Houthis, after taking control of Ain district.

Earlier, the Arab Coalition said on Monday it carried out 11 strikes against Houthi targets in Marib during the past 24 hours.

It also confirmed it struck 38 Houthi targets in Shabwa during the past 24 hours, which resulted in the destruction of 29 military vehicles and the killing of more than 220 Houthi members.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

The Giants Brigade forces continued on Monday combing through and securing Ain district, and some units advanced to Numan district in al-Bayda province to continue pursuing the Houthis.

The entire 17 districts of Shabwa are now under the control of the internationally recognized government of Yemen, after the Houthis withdrew towards the neighbouring province al-Bayda.

Shabwa is the third largest province in terms of area in Yemen, and it is a pivotal province of particular importance to the south due to its geographical location in the middle of the country.

Its importance lies in its natural resources, as it includes oil fields and facilities, and two strategic ports for the export of gas and oil.

It is also a strategic province in the south because it borders Marib, the largest oil province in Yemen, from the north, and from the west, al-Bayda province, which is the heart of Yemeni geography.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Egypt’s Sisi calls for dialogue to solve world crises

Mahmoud al-Buzom 


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday called for dialogue to resolve world crises and achieve peace.

Sisi made the call as he opened a youth forum in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh. The four-day event is attended by a host of regional leaders and youths from several countries around the world.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Jordan's Crown Prince Al-Hussein bin Abdullah II were among the attendees in the opening session.

Sisi said sincere intentions “are the only way to end conflicts and challenges.”

In a recorded speech, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the forum was a major opportunity for youth to exchange expertise and create a better future.

"Young people have provided ideas and solutions that help local communities on how to rebuild and get out of the pandemic in a stronger state," Guterres said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Oman’s Sultan pardons 229 prisoners

Ibrahim al-Khazen



The Sultan of Oman, Haitham bin Tariq, on Monday pardoned 229 prisoners, including 70 foreigners, on the occasion of the second anniversary his accession to the throne.

No details were provided by the state news agency ONA on the nationalities of the pardoned foreigners.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Iran says talks with Saudi Arabia to continue in Iraq


Iran said Monday that Iraq-mediated talks with Saudi Arabia will continue, amid efforts to normalize relations between the two arch rivals.

"The next round of negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia is on the agenda,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a news briefing in Tehran.

“Iraq will host these meetings," he added.

Tehran and Riyadh severed diplomatic ties in January 2016 following an attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran after Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr was executed by Saudi authorities.

Relations between the two rivals deteriorated further after Iran in September 2016 accused Saudi authorities of deliberately causing the death of around 400 Iranian pilgrims in a 2015 stampede in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.

The two sides have since been engaged in a strong regional rivalry, often accusing each other of waging a proxy war for regional influence.

Vienna talks

Khatibzadeh said Saudi Arabia was among a number of countries that sent delegations to the Austrian capital Vienna to take part in bilateral meetings in line with their “national interests”.

The eighth round of marathon talks between Iran and the P4+1 (Russia, China, France, UK, and Germany) resumed late last year.

The talks are centered on Iran's key demand of lifting the sanctions imposed by the former US administration following its unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal in May 2018.

Khatibzadeh, however, noted that Tehran is “not satisfied with the pace of the negotiations in Vienna."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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In Surprising Decision, Saudi English-Language Daily Appoints Rabbi As Regular Columnist

10 January 2022

Saudi Arabia’s English-language daily newspaper Arab News has appointed a prominent rabbi as a regular current affairs columnist, as Israel is working behind the scenes towards normalization of diplomatic relations with the Riyadh regime.

According to a report published by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Marc Schneier, who is an American rabbi and president of the so-called Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, has lately joined the editorial board of the Saudi daily, which is published mainly in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf region.

According to the Israeli daily, Schneier has been a regular guest of royal palaces of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman during the past 15 years and is among 50 highly influential rabbis in the United States.

Last week, a high-ranking official at the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs said Tel Aviv is working clandestinely towards normalization of diplomatic relations with Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.

“These are the two countries we want to reach an agreement with, but it is a slow process that takes a lot of time and effort. We hope for the best,” the unnamed official noted at a media briefing.

Even though Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have formal diplomatic relations, Riyadh has taken a number of steps in recent years toward normalizing relations with the Tel Aviv regime.

Saudi authorities were said to have given a behind-the-scenes green light to the United Arab Emirates forging ties with Israel last year, and have since allowed Israeli aircraft to use the kingdom’s airspace for direct flights to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

On January 6, an independent nongovernmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia said the Riyadh regime is making use of arbitrary arrest to silence vociferous opponents of normalization with Israel.

Source: Press TV

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PM, Islamic-Christian group condemn Israeli plans to curtail the powers of the Islamic Waqf in Al-Aqsa Mosque

JERUSALEM, Monday, January 10, 2022 (WAFA) – Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and The Islamic-Christian Commission for Supporting Jerusalem and the Holy Places today condemned Israeli plans to curtail and undermine the powers of the Islamic Waqf (endowment) Department and the custodianship of Jordan on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque and other holy places in the occupied city.

Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting held in Jericho, PM Shtayyeh condemned the Israeli obstruction of the Waqf’s restoration and maintenance work at Al-Aqsa Mosque, stressing that Israel wants to assume control over Islam’s third holiest site by revoking the powers of the Islamic Waqf, which is in charge of the affairs of walled Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and its 144 dunum area, and by allowing Jewish fanatics to break into it and violate its sanctity.

The Islamic-Christian Commission echoed the fears of the Prime Minister and said in a statement that the Israeli obstruction of the work of the Islamic Waqf Department has reached an unacceptable level, and seriously threatens the powers of the Waqf as the party with exclusive responsibility for the management, restoration, and maintenance of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which derives its legal, political and religious legitimacy from Jordan’s Hashemite custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.

It stressed that the obstruction of the restoration work inside the mosque compound and the continuous attacks against the employees of the Reconstruction Committee by the Israeli police, in addition to the rise in the daily intrusions of the Mosque by Jewish fanatics who violate the sanctity of the Muslim holy place constitute a clear and dangerous indication of the intentions of the Israeli establishment in changing the historical, legal and religious status quo of Al-Aqsa Mosque on the road to diving it for Muslim and Jewish worship in time and space.

Source: Wafa

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50,000 Holy Qurans Donated By Turkish Charity To Palestine Islamic Centres

January 11, 2022

A Turkish charity society has donated 50,000 copies of the Holy Quran to be distributed among mosques and Quranic centers in Palestine.

The Ghazi Destek Society that operating in the Gaza Strip on Sunday handed over 20,000 copies of the Quran to the Gaza Awqaf and Religious Affairs Ministry, Anadolu Agency reported.

Hani Thuraya, an official with the society, said it was part of the “Let the Quran Be My Gift” plan which is implemented under the supervision of Turkey’s Religious Awqaf Institute.

He added that as part of the plan, 30,000 more copies of the Holy Book will be handed out in the West Bank and Jerusalem al-Quds.

A Gaza Awqaf Ministry deputy, Abdul Hadi al-Agha, said the initiative comes within the framework of boosting people’s relation with the Noble Quran.

He thanked Turkey’s Religious Awqaf Institute and Ghazi Destek Society for the donations.

Source: ABNA24

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Islamic Jihad: Arab League's silence about Israel's siege of Gaza 'unjustified'

January 10, 2022

Senior Islamic Jihad leader, Khaled Al Batsh, condemned, on Monday, the Arab League's silence about Israeli siege of Gaza Strip as "absolutely unjustified."

During a memorial ceremony for late head of Gaza's administrative committee, Abdul Salam Siam, Al Batsh said: "Our conflict with the occupation is open and will never be closed unless after regaining the rights of the Palestinian people."

He added: "The Israeli occupation continues its violations against the Palestinian lands, Jerusalem and the Palestinians everywhere."

Al Batsh condemned the Israeli occupation siege imposed on Gaza and said: "Silence of the Arab League about the Israeli siege of Gaza is absolutely unjustified."

Meanwhile, he said: "Occupation's racism in occupied Palestine (Israel) has sharply increased, and the noble resistance cannot accept to live with it or accept the retention of the occupation."

The Islamic Jihad leader also called for the rights groups to "urgently move to end the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners, mainly those under administrative detention."

Source: Middle East Monitor

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Israel threatens to arrest new security guards at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque

By Mustafa Abu Sneineh

10 January 2022

Israeli authorities have blocked the appointment of new Palestinian security guards at the Al-Aqsa compound in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City, threatening Palestine's Jerusalem Islamic Waqf with arrest if they refuse to comply.

Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the mosque's veteran Palestinian imam, said that the Waqf, a religious trust that administers the Al-Aqsa compound, needs new guards as there have been no new appointees to oversee the sacred esplanade since 2017.

Usually, the Waqf nominates a list of names of guards and sends it to Jordan's Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs for approval. Jordan acts as a custodian of the sacred compound in Jerusalem as part of a joint agreement with Israel.

However, this time Israeli authorities have objected to the procedure, saying that the Waqf in Jerusalem should run the list by them first before final approval of the new security staff.

The Waqf urgently needs new security to oversee the compound and maintain the safety of crowds during Muslim prayers.

It has refused to comply with the Israeli request, saying that Tel Aviv has no say or sovereignty over matters inside the Al-Aqsa compound.

Sabri said that Israel's internal intelligence, the Shin Bet, will be tasked with examining the list, and that it threatened to arrest the new guards if its demands were not met.

According to Sabri, guard numbers at Al-Aqsa have diminished in the past year, due to death, retirement or resignation.

He said Israel's actions were an attempt to impose "sovereignty over Al-Aqsa and end the role of the Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem... Israel considers itself as the guardian of Al-Aqsa and above Jordan in the matter of appointments."

New guards to begin work

Israel maintains a security presence at Al-Aqsa's gates, with members of its military police standing behind metal barriers, occasionally examining Palestinian IDs before deciding whether or not to allow them to enter the compound.

Israel has full control over the Morrocan Gate, in the southwest corner of Al-Aqsa compound, which leads to the Western Plaza, a holy site in Judaism.

Omar al-Kiswani, the Al-Aqsa mosque manager, told Jordan's Radio al-Balad that Jordan's ministry of foreign affairs and the ministry of Awqaf are aware of the issue, but declined to comment further.

Source: Middle East Eye

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Iran’s Top Diplomat: Vienna Talks Positive, Good Agreement Needs Seriousness


“If there is serious will, we will be able to reach a good agreement in the shortest time, and as of today, we believe that negotiations are positive and moving forward,” Amir Abdollahian said in an interview with the state TV on Sunday.

“Our proposals are transparent and clearly on the table. Our opposite sides, especially the Western parties, must show goodwill,” he added.

Amir Abdollahian stated that during the ongoing round of talks on the revival of the 2015 deal, Americans sought a host of concessions from Iran in return for giving one simple concession.

“The negotiations [in Vienna] are not easy, but the initiatives taken by the Iranian side ... have put us on the right track. We are close to a good agreement. Whether we would be able to clinch this good agreement in the short term depends on the opposite side... If all parties returned to their obligations under the JCPOA – specially the United States, which withdrew from the JCPOA and violated it, and three European signatories that followed suit with the US – then we would certainly return to [full compliance with] the JCPOA,” he said.

Amir Abdollahian expressed the hope that a good agreement would be reached by the Vienna talks participants in the shortest possible time, emphasizing that Iran does not seek protracted talks.

"We are not willing to give 10 concessions and get one ... If there is serious determination, it is possible to reach a good agreement in the shortest time," Amir Abdollahian said.

Iran’s foreign minister added that the Iranian economic team, which is present at the Vienna talks, is tasked with working to neutralize the sanctions imposed on the country, adding, "This means that we are not going to wait for the (outcome of) Vienna talks for years."

“The mission of the economic team in the Iranian delegation in Vienna is removing the sanctions. I mean, we are not supposed to wait many years till the Vienna negotiations will lead to an agreement. In the cabinet sessions, too, I told my colleagues to pursue their responsibilities supposing that the sanctions will be in place, as they are today. The president, too, emphasizes that the economic team’s looks should not be focused on Vienna, and the country’s fate should not be tied to the negotiations,” he added.

Amir Abdollahian said that the Foreign Ministry’s top responsibility is assisting the country to gain more hard currency and strengthen the stand of the government’s economic team.

“The other responsibility of the Foreign Ministry is having the diplomatic art at the negotiation table, as the innate responsibility of the Foreign Ministry. There, we pursue the negotiations with strong logic that makes good sense in encountering the other side. President Rayeesi’s government is pragmatist, and therefore in the negotiations we are determined with a pragmatist behavior based on securing national interests, which is the 13th government’s approach; so that we can lead the negotiations toward a satisfactory agreement,” he added.

Amir Abdollahian said that Iran’s proposals are clear and unblemished on the negotiation table. The other side, particularly the westerners need to show their good will. "In my visit of New York some personalities who are close to the US president were trying to arrange for a negotiation in New York. I told them behave in a way to prove your policies towards Iran have changed. If you are truthful in negotiations, release our blocked money abroad (10 billion dollars) as a sign of your good will for us to return to the JCPOA."

“Reaching a shared literature was difficult during the first two rounds of the negotiations. The entire past six rounds of negotiations are before us, and meanwhile, we too, have presented some proposals. I mean, there is no doubt that it is the right of the new government to review the agreements reached by the previous government. The former government’s approach was hastiness at the end of the negotiations. We have not time for making mistake, and will pursue our responsibilities carefully at the negotiation table,” he said.

Amir Abdollahian said that even in these negotiations in exchange of the “Non-Paper” documents between Iran and the US, the American side demands 10 points for itself, and intends to give only one point to Iran, and even that point, is not cash. Naturally, the negotiating table work is not simple, but the Iranian side’s initiatives and the done negotiations have put us on the right and appropriate path.

"We have got very close to a good agreement, but weather this good agreement can be reached in a short while, or not, is up to the other side. We declared that if they have good will and serious determination, everything is clear. If every side will return to acting in accordance with their commitments, and those who initially breached the JCPOA terms, specially the Americans, and the Europeans who followed suit, then we too, will return to observing out JCPAO commitments,” the foreign minister said.

Iran’s lead negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani said on Saturday that talks on removal of sanctions against his country in Vienna are advancing and the two sides are now trying to resolve outstanding issues.

Iran and the five remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear agreement are resolving the outstanding issues, Baqeri Kani told reporters in Vienna after meetings with representatives of the G4+1 group of countries (Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China).

He added that the talks aimed at removing the US sanctions are advancing and moving forward.

Following talks with the Iranian lead negotiator, diplomats of the G4+1 countries reportedly held a meeting with the US representative and discussed the latest developments pertaining to the Vienna talks.

Tehran’s chief negotiator told reporters on Wednesday that the Vienna talks are “positive and forward-moving” and emphasized that efforts were underway to achieve results from the talks.

Also, last Monday, Amir Abdollahian said during sanctions removal talks in Vienna, Tehran seeks guarantees that no further sanctions will be imposed on the country once they are removed.

“We seek removal of sanctions that were imposed on Iran by (former US President Donald) Trump, especially those sanctions that are at odds with the (2015) nuclear deal," Iran’s foreign minister said.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Israel won’t be bound by any nuclear deal with Iran, Bennett says

10 January ,2022

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday that Israel would not be bound by any nuclear deal with Iran and would continue to consider itself free to act “with no constraints” against its arch-foe if necessary.

Indirect talks between Iran and the United States on salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resumed a week ago in Vienna. France’s foreign minister said on Friday that progress had been made, although time is running out.

“In regard to the nuclear talks in Vienna, we are definitely concerned ... Israel is not a party to the agreements,” Bennett said in public remarks, in a briefing to a parliamentary committee.

“Israel is not bound by what will be written in the agreements, if they are signed, and Israel will continue to maintain full freedom of action anywhere any time, with no constraints,” he said.

Israel has called on world powers to maintain a credible military option against Iran while they pursue an agreement.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Yemeni army declares liberation of Shabwa province from Houthis

SANAA, Yemen  


SANAA, Yemen

The Yemeni army announced Monday that it had liberated all of Shabwa province in southeast Yemen from the Houthi rebels.

In a statement, the Giants Brigades, a militia affiliated with the Yemeni army, said that on the 10th day of fighting, their forces liberated Ain District in western Shabwa, adding all of the province’s districts are now under the army’s control.

"We thank the Arab Coalition led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the support of the United Arab Emirates," the statement added in reference to the Arab Coalition’s support in the fight against the Houthis.

The Houthi rebel group has yet to comment on the Yemeni army’s statement.

At the start of January, the Yemeni army launched a military campaign to liberate the districts of Usaylan, Bayhan and Ain in Shabwa province from the Houthis, who seized them in September last year.

Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Haniyeh: Zionist enemy has no future on Palestinian land

10 January 2022

Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, says the Israeli occupation “has no future” on the Palestinian territories.

“The Zionist enemy has no future on the Palestinian land,” Haniyeh said in an interview with Qatar’s Al-Jazeera television network on Sunday night, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

He reiterated the Palestinians’ right to return to their homeland from which they were displaced, adding, “Palestine will remain alive in the conscience of the [Palestinian] people and the Arab and Muslim nation.”

Some 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their lands in 1948 and scattered across refugee camps in the occupied West Bank, the besieged Gaza Strip, and Palestine’s neighboring countries. Over five million Palestinian refugees are currently estimated to be still displaced.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Haniyeh noted that the issue of release of the Palestinian detainees from Israeli jails has been one of the primary concerns of Hamas since its 1987 establishment. For Hamas, the issue is “a national issue par excellence, regardless of their political affiliation”, the movement’s head said.

Source: Press TV

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In new provocation, Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa, perform rituals

10 January 2022

Dozens of Israeli settlers, escorted by troops, have intruded into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of the occupied East al-Quds.

The Palestinian Information Center cited local sources as saying that the settlers toured the mosque’s courtyards before they performed Jewish rituals on Monday morning.

The intrusion came amid Israeli efforts to impose control over the al-Aqsa Mosque.

While the Israeli forces provide protection for setters during their incursions of the mosque, they arrest Palestinian sit-inners at al-Aqsa and ban them from accessing the mosque.

Israel occupied the Old City of al-Quds during the Six-Day War of 1967. After the end of hostilities, the regime allowed the ‘Awqaf’ to retain authority over the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, or the ‘Haram al-Sharif.’

Israel lays claim to the entire al-Quds, but the international community views the city’s eastern sector as occupied territory and Palestinians consider it the capital of their future state.

In May, repeated acts of violence against Palestinian worshipers at the al-Aqsa Mosque led to an 11-day war between Palestinian resistance groups in the besieged Gaza Strip and the Israeli regime. Israel killed at least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, during the conflict.

Settlers vandalize Palestinian cars in West Bank

Also on Monday, Israeli setters vandalized Palestinian vehicles in the occupied West Bank.

Local sources told the PIC that the settlers hurled stones at Palestinian-owned cars near the settlement of Bet El, north of the city of al-Bireh. Israeli troops were looking on in the meantime.

Israeli settlers routinely engage in violence and vandalism against Palestinians in the West Bank. Palestinians are outraged by rising settler attacks on their villages, with backing from Israeli troops. Israeli rights group B’Tselem has documented hundreds of such attacks this year alone.

However, Israeli authorities rarely prosecute settler assaults on Palestinians and their property and the vast majority of the files are closed due to deliberate police failure to investigate properly.

Source: Press TV

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Israel’s violations of al-Aqsa Mosque will have dire consequences: Hamas

10 January 2022

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has warned Israel of dire consequences if the regime does not end recurrent violation of the holy al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

In a statement released on Sunday, Hamas spokesman Mohamed Hamada denounced Israel’s attempts to obstruct maintenance and restoration work at the Mosque’s premises, calling on al-Quds people to further frequent the Mosque under these circumstances.

Hamas also censured Israel’s aggression against Islamic Awqaf officials and employees of the Islamic Awqaf in the holy city.

It is a regular thing for Israeli legislators and settlers to provocatively intrude into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, infuriating the Palestinians. Such mass settler break-ins almost always take place at the behest of Tel Aviv-backed temple groups and under the auspices of the Israeli police in al-Quds.

In October 2021, an Israeli court upheld a ban on Jewish prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, after an earlier decision by a lower court stirred outrage among various Palestinians and across the Muslim world.

In May the same year, frequent acts of violence against Palestinian worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque led to an 11-day war between Palestinian resistance groups in the besieged Gaza Strip and the Israeli regime, during which the regime killed at least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children.

Palestinians want the occupied West Bank as part of their future independent state and view al-Quds’ eastern sector as the capital of their future sovereign state.

Source: Press TV

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COAS Bajwa underscores significance of peace, reconciliation initiatives in Afghanistan

January 10, 2022

COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa met Major General Talal Abdullah Al-Otaibi, the military advisor to Saudi Minister of Defence, at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Monday, where he stressed upon the significance of peace and reconciliation initiatives in Afghanistan, stated the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR)

During the meeting, matters of mutual interest, regional security, the current situation in Afghanistan and bilateral defence relations between the two countries were discussed.

The COAS stressed the urgency for swiftly devising an institutional mechanism for channeling humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan in order to avert a looming humanitarian catastrophe.

Gen Bajwa said that Pakistan valued its historical and brotherly relations with the Kingdom and acknowledged its unique place in the Islamic world.

The visiting dignitary acknowledged the professionalism of the Pakistan Armed Forces and vowed to enhance cooperation in various fields.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Daesh Militants On The Run In Pakistan After Evading Police Raid

January 11, 2022

QUETTA, Pakistan: A band of suspected Daesh militants is on the run in Pakistan after escaping a police raid that killed six other members of the group, officials said Monday.

Counterterrorism police said in a statement they had stormed a hideout in the southwestern city of Quetta on Saturday and killed six militants, but “around four to five managed to escape.”

A senior police official speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP that “teams are now raiding different areas to arrest those who escaped.”

Among the dead was Asghar Sumalani, a junior commander in the regional chapter of Daesh State-Khorasan. He had a two million rupee ($11,400) bounty on his head.

Pakistani officials have long played down the presence of IS-K in their country.

But the group has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks, including the slaying of 11 miners from the minority Shiite Hazara community last year.

Some of the miners were beheaded after being kidnapped from a remote coal mine in the mountainous Machh area, 60 kilometers (37 miles) southeast of Quetta.

IS-K has deep roots in several provinces in eastern Afghanistan along the porous border with Pakistan.

The group carried out a suicide bombing at Kabul airport in August, killing scores including 13 US service members, as the Taliban retook Afghanistan.

Source: Arab News

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Senior TTP leader Khurasani killed in Afghanistan's Nangarhar: sources

Naveed Siddiqui | Tahir Khan

January 10, 2022

A senior leader of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Khalid Balti alias Mohammad Khurasani, was killed in the eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, a senior security official confirmed on Monday.

Details on the circumstances surrounding the killing were not clear.

The official said Balti, aged around 50, had also been the banned outfit's spokesperson and was involved in several attacks on the people and security forces of Pakistan.

He (Balti) had been visiting Kabul frequently since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, the official added.

Balti had been making efforts for uniting various TTP factions and planning terrorist attacks with TTP chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, the official said, adding that he had recently hinted at carrying out terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.

However, a spokesman for the Afghan government denied the killing of the senior TTP member and said that no such incident had taken place.

"I do not confirm these reports. They are not true. No such incident has taken place on this (Afghan) side," Afghan government spokesperson Bilal Karimi told when asked for a comment on Balti's killing.

Hailing from Gilgit-Baltistan, Balti had been an operational commander of the TTP for the past several years.

In 2007, he joined the banned Tehreek Nifaz Shariat-i-Muhammadi in Swat and established close ties with Mullah Fazlullah, a former head of the TTP. He had cordial and close relations with TTP members of all tiers, officials said, adding that Balti played a vital role in the TTP's propaganda campaign.

Officials said Balti ran a terrorist hideout in Khyber Pakthunkhwa's Miramshah town and had fled to Afghanistan in the aftermath of operation Zarb-i-Azab. In 2014, he served as the head of the TTP media committee.

Source: Dawn

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Minorities in India being targeted by extremist groups, alleges Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Jan 10, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday alleged that minorities in India were being targeted by extremist groups and warned that such an agenda "is a real and present threat" to regional peace.

Khan took to Twitter to make the allegations in the wake of alleged inflammatory and provocative speeches against Muslims at an event in Haridwar in Uttarakhand held in December.

On his Twitter handle, Khan also questioned whether the BJP government supports the call for genocide of minorities in India, especially the 200 million Muslim community.

"It is high time international community took note & acted," he further said.

In another tweet, Khan accused the BJP-led government of targeting minorities in India, adding that the extremist agenda "is a real and present threat to peace in our region."

Last month, Pakistan's foreign office summoned India's Charge d'Affaires and conveyed its concern over the alleged hate speeches made at the Haridwar conclave.

Pakistan conveyed to the Indian side that the reported hate speeches were viewed with grave concern by the civil society and a cross-section of people in the country.

Held in Haridwar from December 17-20, the Dharma Sansad was organised by Yati Narasimhanand Giri of the Juna Akhada, who is already under police scanner for making hate speeches and inciting violence against Muslims.

At the event, several speakers allegedly made inflammatory and provocative speeches, calling for the killing of people from the minority community.

Two FIRs have been lodged against 15 people in the case, including Waseem Rizvi who changed his name to Jitendra Narayan Tyagi after converting to Hinduism recently and organiser of the Sansad Yati Narasimhanand, the head priest of Dasna temple in Ghaziabad.

Source: Times of India

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Opposition narrative of civil-military rift ‘dead and buried’: PM Imran

Syed Irfan Raza

January 11, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has once again said that his government’s relationship with the military was ‘exceptional’ and the opposition’s narrative regarding a rift between the government and the military was ‘dead and buried’.

In an apparent response to his detractors, the PM told a meeting of party spok­e­spersons on Monday that “civil-military relations are unprecedented these days”.

The prime minister had shared similar views during a meeting with a journalist last week.

When asked — in the context of rumours of a possible deal between the PML-N and military to send his government packing — whether he felt threatened from any quarters, the PM said he personally was not under any kind of pressure. He added that he enjoyed the support of government allies and exp­ressed the confidence that his government would complete its mandated five years.

Talking about the tragic incidents that occurred in Murree over the weekend, the PM was of the opinion that timely arrangements could have averted the deaths of 22 people.

A close aide to the PM told Dawn after attending the meeting that he praised the military for swiftly rushing to the aid of those stranded in Murree and carrying out a rescue operation in the calamity–hit hill station.

PM Khan said the number of tourists in the country had increased while the infrastructure was the same as it was several decades ago, stressing the need for improving facilities and constructing new hotels in tourist spots.

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin also told the meeting about agreements made by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He also claimed that prices of food items were on the decline.

PM assails Modi regime

Earlier, PM Khan called the extremist agenda of the Narendra Modi-led government “a real and present threat to peace in the region”, saying that all minorities in India were in the crosshairs of extremist groups operating under the patronage of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In a series of tweets, the prime minister lambasted Mr Modi for his “continuing silence” and inaction against extremist Hindutva groups that were calling for genocide of minorities in the country.

Mr Khan said the extremist ideology of the ruling BJP was behind the provocations against India’s minorities.

“Under the extremist ideology of the BJP Modi govt, all religious minorities in India have been targeted with impunity by Hindutva groups,” he said and urged the international community to take notice of the calls and act against it.

Last month, leaders from several far-right groups in India had called for the ethnic cleansing of minorities in the country, especially targeting its 200 million-strong Muslim population.

The “hate speech conclave” was reportedly organised by Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand from Dec 17 to 19 in the city of Haridwar, where multiple calls to kill minorities and attack their religious spaces were made.

It has also been reported that Hindu leader Narsinghanand has been accused of inciting communal tension against the Muslim community on several occasions.

Similarly, Sadhvi Annapurna, the general secretary of the political party Hindu Mahasabha, also gave a call to arms and incitement to genocide.

“Nothing is possible without weapons. If you want to eliminate their population, then kill them. Be ready to kill and be ready to go to jail. Even if 100 of us are ready to kill 20 lakhs of them (Muslims), then we will be victorious, and go to jail,” he had said.

PTI restructuring

On Monday, PM Khan also chaired a meeting of senior PTI leaders, directing them to take effective steps to further strengthen the PTI’s organisational structure across the country.

He also called for activating PTI workers for success in the upcoming local government elections.

Source: Dawn

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FM Qureshi, Romanian PM discuss bilateral ties, Afghanistan situation

January 10, 2022

BUCHAREST: Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shah Mahmood Qureshi who is on visit to Romania called on Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuc on Monday and discussed with him issues of bilateral interest, prevailing situation of Afghanistan and grave human rights violations by Indian troops in IIOJK.

Earlier, the Romanian Chief of Protocol received the foreign minister upon his arrival at PM Office.

While conveying good wishes from Prime Minister Imran Khan, the foreign minister highlighted the historic and cordial ties between the two countries.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi informed the Romanian PM that Pakistan desired to establish broad-based and result-oriented ties with his country and the current improvement of the bilateral relations manifested the vision of the two leaderships.

While appreciating the anti-COVID measures by Romania, he thanked the prime minister of Romanian for a donation of 500,000 doses of anti-COVID vaccines to Pakistan by his government.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Sudan's Sovereign Council accepts UN initiative

Mohammed Amin 



Sudan’s Sovereign Council said Monday that it accepts a UN initiative to facilitate dialogue among all of the Sudanese parties to resolve the country’s political crisis.

Sovereign Council spokeswoman Salma Abdul-Jabbar Al-Mubarak said the council, headed by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, welcomes the initiative.

She called for the participation of the African Union to support and contribute to the success of the intra-Sudanese talks.

Al-Mubarak further said that the council will form a caretaker government in order to fill the void at the executive level left by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's resignation on Jan. 2

Volker Perthes, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan and head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), has launched a dialogue initiative between the Sudanese partners.

“The UN-facilitated intra-Sudanese political process is aimed at supporting Sudanese stakeholders in agreeing on a way out of the current political crisis and agreeing on a sustainable path forward towards democracy and peace,” he told a press conference.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Islamic State claims responsibility for Dec 25 suicide attack in Congo

10 Jan 2022

CAIRO: Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed at least five people in a restaurant in the city of Beni in eastern Congo on Dec. 25, the group's Amaq news agency said on a Telegram channel on Monday.

Source: Brecorder

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Somali national army kills some 25 al-Shabaab terrorists

Mohammed Dhaysane  



The Somali National Army on Monday said it had killed at least 25 members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group al-Shabaab and wounded dozens in an operation in the country's southwest.

The operation, which took place near the town of Barire in the Lower Shabelle province, was carried out by Gorgor (eagle) special commandos who were trained by the Turkish military under bilateral security cooperation.

"The operation came after the army got an intelligence report that the terrorist fighters were regrouping in the area," the Somali National News Agency reported on Monday.

Bariire is a small strategic agricultural town located 74 kilometers (45 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu which was recently liberated from al-Shabaab by a major military offensive.

On Sunday, the Somali National Army and forces from the country’s Galmudug region repulsed an attack by al-Shabaab, killing at least 21 of its members.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Tunisian activist says revolution against ‘coup’ still alive

Adel El-Thabti  


TUNIS, Tunisia

A renowned Tunisian leftist activist said the 2011 revolution is still alive, as the North African country prepares to mark the 11th anniversary of an uprising that unseated former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

"The revolution is still going on. It’s not over yet,” Ezzeddine Hazgui told Anadolu Agency.

Hazgui, 77, is the spokesperson for “Citizens Against Coup” movement, a group that spearheads protests against incumbent President Kais Saied’s power seizure.

January 14 marks the anniversary of the Tunisian revolution that toppled Ben Ali. Saied, however, changed the date to Dec. 17, when fruit seller Mohammed Bouazizi set himself ablaze after an altercation with police, an incident which ignited the uprising.

Hazgui slammed Saied’s move to change the date, saying the Tunisian president is “denying history” like his “tyrant predecessors”.

“This (Saied) who did not participate in the history of this country in any national movement wants to change its history," Hazgui said.

For Hazgui, Dec. 17, 2010 marks the beginning of the revolution but Jan. 14, 2011, is the culmination of the uprising. “We will celebrate the revolution on Jan. 14," he said.

Saied ousted the government on July 25, 2021, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority. While he insists that his "exceptional measures" are meant to "save" the country, critics have accused him of orchestrating a coup.

Hunger Strike

Last month, Hazgui’s group launched a hunger strike to protest "Tunisia's sliding into a real repressive juncture". It accused Saied of orchestrating "individual rule and the suppression of the voices of opponents", including the dispersing of sit-ins on December 17 and 18.

Hazgui said the hunger strike was triggered by “the fierce attack of the repressive security of the Ministry of the Interior and the militias of coup master (Saied) on December 18, when we were attacked.”

He said his movement was also protesting “the military trials of civilians and legitimate lawmakers" following Saied’s “exceptional measures”.

“The legitimate parliamentarians are detained on military orders,” Hazgui said, adding that the move was “a violation of all laws”.

The activist went on to accuse the Tunisian president of seeking to control the judiciary.

"The president has appointed himself as a judge, prosecutor, and researcher, and he is walking on a path that he himself does not know where it leads,” Hazgui said.

Real democrats

Hazgui said the “coup” was a test to sieve the real democrats from those claiming to be democrats.

He added that the hunger strike "exposed everyone, those who claim democracy are undemocratic, just as it exposed the claimants of human rights."

"There is an organization called the Tunisian League for Human Rights (founded in 1976) and there are dozens of bloggers and civilians in prisons, dozens were kept in compulsory residence, and dozens were prevented from traveling. We launched a hunger strike and the League did not speak."

He accused the League and some elites of being “anti-democratic” and people who “still live in the Middle Ages” with “tribal thinking”.


Hazgui believes the hunger strike will bear fruits. "We have not lost hope, and we call on the people to join us. Our strike is part of exposing Saied's violations."

He hailed the hunger strike for being able to "assemble some of the elites who had not met before and discussed a lot during the past half month,” adding that the elites subscribed to “different ideological orientations”, something he hopes will pave way for a better Tunisia.

Hazgui said those leftists that support Saied cannot claim to be leftist.

"These are the same leftists who went with Ben Ali in 1991 against the Islamists,” Hazgui said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Sudanese protester dies of wounds, death toll rises to 63

Talal Ismail  



A Sudanese protester died of his injuries on Monday, taking the death toll from protests against the military takeover in Sudan to 63, according to local medics.

In a statement, the independent Central Doctors Committee said a 16-year-old youth was injured in the head during Sunday’s protests against the military and succumbed to his injuries on Monday.

There was no comment from the Sudanese authorities on the report.

Sudan has been in turmoil since Oct. 25 when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's transitional government and declared a state of emergency.

Prior to the military takeover, Sudan was governed by a sovereign council of military and civilian officials tasked with overseeing the transition period until elections in 2023.

Hamdok resigned on Jan. 2, six weeks after he returned to his post in a deal with army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, an agreement rejected by most political groups in Sudan.

On Saturday, the UN mission in Sudan launched a UN-facilitated intra-Sudanese political process in an effort to salvage the country’s transition to democracy.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Libyan security forces break up protest sit-in by migrants

January 10, 2022

SHARM EL-SHEIKH: Libyan security forces raided and violently broke up a protest sit-in by migrants outside a shuttered UN community center in the capital of Tripoli, activists and migrants said on Monday.

The troops came on Sunday night, smashed up the protest site and arrested hundreds, said activist Tarik Lamloum. Those detained were sent to a detention center in the nearby town of Ain Zara.

Others managed to flee from the raid, he said.

Lamloum, who works with the local Belaady Organization for Human Rights, said at least one migrant community leader was shot during the raid.

The migrants, including women and children, had camped outside the center in Tripoli since October, seeking protection following a massive crackdown on migrants, and demanding better treatment at the hands of Libyan authorities.

Aiysha, a Sudanese migrant, was part of the sit-in protest along with her family since October. The mother of two said police beat and detained migrants. She was among those detained.

“We were caught off guard,” she said, speaking by phone from the detention center in Ain Zara. She gave only her first name, fearing for her safety.

“They burned the tents, burned everything.”

The Norwegian Refugee Council and the International Rescue Committee said more than 600 migrants were detained in the raid.

“This is the culmination of a disastrous situation that has deteriorated” since the mass detention of migrants in October, said Dax Roque, the NRC’s Libya director.

Both groups urged Libyan authorities to immediately release those detained and provide them protection from further violence.

A government spokesman did not answer phone calls and messages seeking comment.

In the October crackdown, Libyan authorities rounded up more than 5,000 migrants, including hundreds of children and women — dozens of them pregnant, according to the United Nations.

Authorities at the time described it as a security operation against illegal migration and drug trafficking.

The detained migrants were taken to overcrowded detention centers, prompting an outcry from the UN and human rights groups.

Libya has been engulfed in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.

Source: Arab News

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North America


New York fire victims were mostly Muslim immigrants

Anwar Iqbal

January 11, 2022

NEW YORK: New York Mayor Eric Adams said on Monday that a “significant number” of the Bronx fire victims were Muslims, originally from Gambia.

At least 19 people, including nine children, were killed on Sunday when an apartment building in the New York borough of Bronx caught fire.

A representative for the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), which was working with other Muslim charity groups to help the survivors, said “almost all the victims” were Muslims.

Mayor Adams said the city was coordinating with faith leaders to ensure the dead receive Islamic burial rites.

City officials also confirmed that the fire injured more than 63 people, 32 of whom were in life-threatening condition. Most of them were Muslims too.

“This is a horrific, horrific, painful moment for the city of New York,” Mayor Adams said.

The mayor assured the survivors that the city will not share the names of building residents seeking government assistance with the department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Earlier reports suggested that the survivors were reluctant to seek help as they feared deportation.

“We’re all feeling this. And we’re going to be here for this community to help them navigate through this,” Mayor Adams said. “Your names will not be turned over to ICE or any other institution.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said she would establish a victim’s compensation fund, and New York Senator Chuck Schumer promised to offer housing, tax and immigration assistance at the federal level. “This is a night of tragedy and pain. And tomorrow we begin to rebuild,” Governor Hochul said.

The fire started just before 11am on Sunday, in a duplex apartment on the second and third floors of the building, which houses African immigrants. “And significant number of them are practicing Muslims,” a city official told reporters.

The New York Times reported that the firefighters arrived within three minutes and encountered smoke that extended the entire height of the 19-story building.

New York Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro told reporters that “the smoke conditions in this building were unprecedented,” and that victims had suffered from severe smoke inhalation.

Source: Dawn

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Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed holds ‘candid’ conversation with US President Joe Biden

10 January ,2022

US President Joe Biden spoke to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Monday about the latest developments in the war-torn African country.

Ahmed tweeted that he held a “candid” phone call with Biden on Ethiopia, “bilateral relations as well as regional matters.”

“We both agree there is great value in strengthening our cooperation through constructive engagement founded on mutual respect,” the Ethiopian premier said.

The White House said Biden commended Abiy for releasing several political prisoners while both leaders discussed ways to “accelerate dialogue toward a negotiated ceasefire, the urgency of improving humanitarian access across Ethiopia, and the need to address the human rights concerns of all affected Ethiopians.”

The US president also voiced concern over recent airstrikes and the killing of civilians.

“Both leaders underscored the importance of the US-Ethiopia relationship, the potential to strengthen cooperation on a range of issues, and the need for concrete progress to resolve the conflict,” the White House said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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US conference calls for immediate humanitarian aid for Afghanistan

January 11, 2022

WASHINGTON: A group of Afghans, including former government officials and representatives of civil society organizations, held a one-day conference in Washington on Monday in an effort to encourage communication and cooperation between US authorities and the Taliban government in Kabul to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Afghan people.

The Afghan Peace and Humanitarian Task Force said it wants to help keep all lines of communication open between the international community and the Taliban in an effort to prevent a humanitarian disaster.

“The Afghan Peace and Humanitarian Task Force is initiating the Washington Conference on Peace and Humanitarian Assistance for Afghanistan primarily to forge common terms between the United States and the Taliban government, and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the starving Afghans (to prevent) the unfolding catastrophe,” conference organizers said.

The participants also discussed the potential security threat to the US and the wider world if Afghanistan remains isolated, as it was under the 1990s Taliban rule.

Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi addressed the conference from Kabul. He answered questions and pledging cooperation with the international community to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.

Afghan Senator Bakhtar Aminzay told Arab News that he was encouraged by the conference, during which he said witnessed the efforts of the Afghan diaspora to bring about positive change in their country and help avert a humanitarian crisis this winter.

“I am encouraged by Mr. Muttaqi’s answers at the conference where he stressed his government’s pledge to end the war in the country and to speak a common language with the international community, as well as the US,” he said.

He added that Afghanistan must move toward peace and stability, with the help of the US and the international community, for the sake of the long-suffering population.

Halil Demir, chairman of the Zakat Foundation of America, an international Muslim charity based in Chicago, said the conference represented an important step toward a partnership between Afghan civil society organizations and the international community in an effort to help the country and its people.

He told Arab News that the humanitarian situation is dire and the lack of international recognition of local financial institutions in Afghanistan is complicating access to international aid.

“I urge the international community to recognize the local financial institutions in Afghanistan to help facilitate humanitarian aid reaching to those who need it the most,” he said.

Following a prolonged war against the American-backed former government, the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan on Aug. 15 last year, shortly after Western troops withdrew from the country. Lack of international recognition of the new Taliban government remains the main obstacle to the delivery of aid and financial assistance to those in need.

In December, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution clearing the way for aid to reach most of the Afghans in desperate need of assistance. It was welcomed by Martin Griffiths, the UN’s emergency relief coordinator, especially given the harsh winter that is expected in Afghanistan.

But according to Abdul Subhan Misbah, the chairman of Akbar, an umbrella group of 118 non-governmental civic and humanitarian Afghan organizations, the UN resolution has yet to make any difference to the people of the country.

Source: Arab News

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'Peaceful Kazakh protests became violent due to criminal and Islamist elements'

10 januari 2022

by Paolo Sorbello

On 8 January, people in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan’s capital, woke up with a slow but steady internet connection. Like their fellow countrymen, they had been sealed off from internet communications for almost three days, as the emergency in the Central Asian state worsened.

In the business capital, Almaty, violent clashes had set the city ablaze for three days and internet connection continued to be down. Only subscribers to certain mobile operators could be reached in other cities in Kazakhstan and abroad, keeping residents and observers in a frightening state of blackout broken only by gunshots and sirens.

After protests against growing fuel prices in the west of the country escalated into violence and looting across the country, what really happened in Kazakhstan since 2 January remains to be discovered.

openDemocracy reached Yevgeniy Zhovtis, a prominent human rights defender and director of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights, in Almaty via telephone. He was able to offer a tentative explanation of the causes and developments during this past week – as well as some insights on what to expect next.

Popular discontent in Kazakhstan has been simmering for years. What finally provoked the fuel protests that sparked the nationwide demonstrations?

'First, there was a protest regarding a price increase of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which was initially confined to western Kazakhstan, in the town of Zhanaozen. The government was unable to provide a satisfactory explanation, saying the pricing policy would now be regulated by market principles. Yet people knew that the fuel sector there is monopolised: lifting the government subsidies would simply mean more expensive fuel.

This initial protest of 2 January, which spelled out economic demands, was met by an attempt to negotiate on the part of the government, which sent a commission headed by the deputy prime minister to talk to people in Zhanaozen’s central square. The government wanted to avoid a repetition of the clashes that led to the shooting of unarmed striking oil workers there in 2011 and tried to prevent an escalation. It was, however, too late.

The next day the protest spread to nearby cities, sparking rallies of solidarity across the country. At this point, socio-economic demands were already being accompanied by more structured political demands for change.'

A short timeline of what we know about the crisis in Kazakhstan:

Sat. 1 January. Subsidized prices for LPG are set free. As a consequence, LPG prices double overnight.

Sun. 2 January. Residents of oil-producing city Zhanaozen, situated in Kazakhstan’s less-wealthy western Mangystau region, where 70-90 percent of vehicles run on LPG, take to the streets.

Mon. 3 January. Approximately 1000 Zhanaozen protesters gather on the city's central square. Promises to lower gas prices by the authorities do not quell the crowd.

Tue. 4 January. Uprisings spread from Kazakhstan’s west to other parts of the country. Approximately 5000 people gather in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city and Soviet-era capital. Riot police attack the crowds in Almaty throwing tear gas and stun grenades. Government announces a reversal of the decision to set free LPG prices, but it does not quell the crowd.

Wed. 5 January. Demonstrations escalate: protesters attempt to pull down statue of Nazarbayev, government buildings are set on fire, Almaty Intl. Airport is stormed. Tokayev responded: the President blocked internet and messaging apps, declared a state of emergency, fired the government, called on Russia to come to his assistance, and he announced that he would replace former President Nazarbayev as Chairman of Kazakhstan’s security council.

Thu. 6 January. An unknown amount of protesters, as well as 12 police officers, are killed. Russia deploys its 'peacekeeping troops' under the umbrella of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation).

Fri. 7 January. President Tokayev declares 'constitutional order' to have been restored, orders security forces to 'shoot to kill without warning,' claiming that not protesters, but 20,000 'armed and trained bandits, both local and foreign' were responsible for the unrest.

Sat. 8 January. Despite the tightened grip of the government, protests continue in Zhanaozen. President Tokayev arrested Karim Massimov, the head of Kazakhstan's security services.

Sun. 9 January. Various government bodies report 164 people to have been killed, of which 103 died in Almaty. 5800 people were still in detention.

Mon. 10 January. After a five-day block, internet returns to Almaty.

Who joined the protests in solidarity across the country?

'The groups behind the protest had different motivations and the protest changed course over time. Some of them rallied in support and solidarity of the original protests from Zhanaozen. Others took to the streets to voice the demands of unofficial opposition parties, such as [exile oligarch] Mukhtar Ablyazov’s Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan and [opposition journalist] Zhanbolat Mamai’s Democratic Party, alongside youth movements such as Oyan, Qazaqstan! and other less-organised groups and individuals. These protesters demanded political reform and the release of political prisoners.

In our work at the International Bureau for Human Rights, we monitor these protests and we can assess that the massive gatherings of 3 to 4 January were not organised by one particular group.

The trigger was rather the difficult socio-economic situation, the pandemic, and the ongoing restrictions to freedoms.

Until midday on 4 January, the protest was largely peaceful and pressure was mostly registered on the part of the police and security forces.

This made the situation tense, also given that the police, the ruling party, and the authorities in general have no legitimacy and don’t enjoy any trust from the population. Besides some government officials in the west of the country, local governors refrained from meeting with the people at the rallies.'

We saw different styles and different kinds of people protesting, from angry residents to workers to looters. What can you tell us about the make-up of the protest?

'By 5 January, there were probably four main groups of people on the streets of Almaty, where the protest took on a mass scale.

The first group was the peaceful citizens that had gathered the previous days across most urban centres in the country. A second group comprised the [opposition] political groups that tend to take part in these protests, which are generally promptly suppressed. A third group was composed of a large crowd of young people, mostly marginalised segments of the population that came into the city from the outskirts of the metropolis and from nearby villages. This generated a tension along rural-urban lines, and became evident in this group’s drive to loot the city. This group numbered in the thousands and [President Kassym-Jomart] Tokayev later called them 'terrorists and bandits,' but that’s far from the truth. It was just a crowd, like those we have seen recently on the streets of the United States or France.

The last group, which by no means should be considered as unitary or organised, is the violent section, composed by Islamists and criminal elements infiltrated by loyalists to local elites. It is likely that Islamist groups were behind the burning of government buildings in the northern city of Aktobe, where Islamist cells historically exist. The involvement of these people, whose objective was to attack the police and steal weapons, was visible in the south as well, in the cities of Taraz, Shymkent and Almaty, where several criminal and violent groups possibly linked to the elites operated. The third and fourth group joined forces in certain instances, especially in Almaty, escalating the violence against the police, which responded with an iron fist.'

The hypothesis that some of the violent elements originated from local elites could be a sign of an internal struggle for power?

'We have seen political machinations in Kazakhstan for decades. This time it seems possible that some of the violent groups were close to the circles of former president Nursultan Nazarbayev, and probably acted from within the security service, the Committee for National Security (KNB), which we here used to call the Committee for Nazarbayev’s Security.

This is why one of the first and most decisive actions by Tokayev was to first dismiss and then announce the arrest of the head of the KNB, Karim Massimov, and then take the position of head of the National Security Council, previously held by Nazarbayev. In his initial speech to the nation, Tokayev spoke about an attempted coup, which he later amplified by publishing the accusation of high treason against Massimov, someone who has been very close to Nazarbayev historically. This would confirm the hypothesis that the enemy was within the state apparatus.

Of course, this is speculation, because it would be extremely difficult to verify what goes on behind the closed doors of the presidential palace. In any case, the situation is very complex. I believe at this time Tokayev might be trying to balance different elite groups.'

In a speech on 7 January, Tokayev explicitly accused activists, foreign media, and human rights defenders for having abused their rights to freedom of speech and having mishandled the freedoms he had granted with a new 2020 law on peaceful assembly.

'Since coming to power in 2019, Tokayev had been trying to build a 'managed civil society', something he could control through his channels. Yet, the fact that people are witnessing and living through social injustice led to a widespread distrust of these so-called reforms.

The people who have been carrying out the official policy of the ‘Listening State’ [the nickname for Tokayev’s liberalisation and modernisation policy announced in 2019] have done so in a Soviet manner, top-down, through manipulation, and by controlling the media. I believe that part of the presidential speech was written by Dauren Abayev, former minister of information and now deputy head of the presidential administration. Human rights defenders and NGOs never enjoyed his favour and were always targeted. In addition, I believe that Russian political technologists assisted in drafting the speech, given the lexicon that Tokayev uses.

Source: Raamop Rusland

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Kazakhstan detains almost 10,000 over deadly unrest

Jan 11, 2022

NUR-SULTAN: Security forces in Kazakhstan have detained 9,900 people regarding last week's unrest, the interior ministry of the central Asian nation said on Tuesday.

The news comes as President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who called the violence a coup attempt, is set to nominate a new prime minister in an address to parliament later in the day.

The oil-rich former Soviet republic says government buildings were attacked in several major cities after initially peaceful protests against hikes in the price of car fuel turned violent.

Tokayev has said Islamist militants from regional nations and Afghanistan, as well as the Middle East, were among the attackers.

Source: Times of India

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Russia-led troops to begin leaving Kazakhstan in two days: President

11 January ,2022

Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said Tuesday that a contingent of Russia-led forces would begin leaving the troubled Central Asian country in two days, with the pullout to take no more than 10 days.

“The main mission of the CSTO peacekeeping forces has been successfully completed,” Tokayev said, referring to troops of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

“In two days a phased withdrawal of the CSTO united peacekeeping contingent will begin. The withdrawal process of the contingent will take no more than 10 days,” he said, addressing the government and parliament in a videoconference call broadcast live.

The CSTO mission of more than 2,000 troops was despatched at the peak of the crisis last week, after armed clashes between government opponents and security forces and a looting spree rendered parts of the largest city Almaty almost unrecognisable.

Tokayev also appeared to have further bolstered his position, backing acting prime minister Alikhan Smailov to take on the job permanently -- a nomination that won the unanimous support of lawmakers Tuesday.

Kazakhstan has framed last week’s unrest that grew out of a peaceful protest against an energy price hike in the west of the country and left dozens dead as a coup attempt assisted by foreign terrorists, but the crisis has also laid bare infighting at the very top of the government.

Tokayev’s mentor, founding president Nursultan Nazarbayev, has yet to appear publicly since the crisis began, despite Nazarbayev’s aide claiming that the 81-year-old strongman was in the capital Nur-Sultan and in dialogue with Tokayev.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Bosnia sends protest notes to Russian, Chinese, Serbian embassies

Mustafa Talha Öztürk  



Bosnia and Herzegovina sent protest notes Monday to the Russian, Chinese and Serbian embassies for sending embassy representatives to mark the anniversary of the founding of the autonomous Republika Srpska in defiance of a top court ruling.

Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic emphasized that the official participation in these celebrations amounted to a gross interference in the internal affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the protest notes, the relevant decision of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina published in the official gazette was included, and it was stated that such actions could disrupt bilateral relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs lodged a protest over the presence of representatives of the embassies at the commemoration ceremonies in the city of Banja Luka, which represent an act opposing the upper ruling of the Constitutional Court.

The ministry was therefore forced to strongly condemn this behavior, which can disrupt friendly relations, said the notes.

Bosnian Serbs held celebrations to mark the anniversary of the founding of the Republika Srpska entity.

A parade in Banja Luka – the administrative capital of the entity – kicked off the celebrations Sunday.

Among those attending were Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic together with Serbian Parliament Speaker Ivica Dacic and ministers from her Cabinet as well as the Chinese and Russian ambassadors to Sarajevo and far-right French deputies.

Court order

Bosnian Serbs consider Jan. 9 to be their small state's most important holiday.

However, in late November 2015, Bosnia's Constitutional Court ruled that celebrating Republika Srpska Statehood Day could be discriminatory to other ethnic groups in the country.

The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina was established by the Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the Bosnian War in 1995. It consists of two Bosniaks, two Serbs, two Croats and three foreign judges, and its decisions are legally binding.

However, Serbs in Republika Srpska overwhelmingly passed a controversial referendum on a "national holiday" in defiance of Bosnia's highest court in September 2016.

Over 99% of the voters in the Serb-majority territory chose to make Jan. 9 “Statehood Day,” fueling fears that the referendum could be a first step towards seeking independence from Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country torn apart by violent ethnic conflict in the 1990s.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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After 2 decades, former British inmate recalls Guantanamo ordeal

Ahmet Gurhan Kartal 



A British citizen who was kept in custody and tortured at the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention center by the US government in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks says he is still struggling for justice.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on the 20th anniversary of the opening of the prison located in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Moazzam Begg, one of the directors of the London-based advocacy group CAGE, said: “We've been campaigning since the beginning against Guantanamo and also the Islamophobic policies that exist within the Western world.”

Begg, who was detained in Islamabad, Pakistan on Jan. 31, 2002, said he “tried to seek accountability” after his unjustified detention of two years at the International Criminal Court in The Hague and through the police by giving evidence about the role of British intelligence in torture, which is a crime.

He said that after giving evidence at a war crimes tribunal and meetings with ministers of the UK government, he "sat with people who have ordered … an inquiry into the role of the British in torture.”

“And every single step of the way, we find that the governments of the United States of America and all of its allies that were involved in torture are above the law,” Begg said.

“None of them are accountable for their role in the war crimes, in the war on terror.”

Begg said his attempt was a legal case "against those who were involved in torture.”

He said British police visited the US, Guantanamo, and Libya for investigations, but “every time they found that the governments of Britain, America, and elsewhere would not cooperate with the police investigation.”

“And so, that again, tells me that the government is above the law.”

Begg said there are still 39 prisoners who are in custody without indictment at the detention camp.

“American President George (W) Bush opened the place, but he also released … over 500 prisoners,” he said, adding that his successor Barack Obama failed to keep his promise to close the center and to prosecute those who were involved in torture.

Quoting former President Donald Trump as saying “I believe torture works,” Begg said: “Imagine if somebody of any other country said ‘I believe torture works, and I will torture prisoners,’ and then for somebody to say ‘I will torture American prisoners,’ what the world would think.”

Begg said US President Joe Biden has been in power for one year and has so far released one prisoner only.

“And that is a Moroccan prisoner called Abdul Latif Nasir.”

Bitter memories

Begg still remembers how he was detained and started his two-year-long journey of custody, torture, and rendition at the hands of the US government.

He said that on Jan. 31, 2002, “unidentified individuals who stormed into my house put a gun to my head, tied my hands behind my back, put a hood over my head, and carried me off into the back of a vehicle. There, I realized that these are CIA agents with the Pakistani ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence).”

“And they threatened to send me to Guantanamo. At first, they sent me to a series of secret detention sites, first in Pakistan and then into American custody, where they took me to Kandahar prison, then Bagram prison, where I stayed for about one year, and then eventually to Guantanamo, where I would remain for another two years, after which I was released without charge or trial.”

Torture and killings

Begg told Anadolu Agency that he “witnessed and endured many types of abuses myself, but the worst thing that I saw was a prisoner. He was brought to the front of me. His hands were tied to the top of the cage-like this, and he was suspended. He had, placed over his head, a sack and he was kicked repeatedly. And eventually, he was killed.”

“This is a death that the Americans have accepted. And the reason why they killed him was that they found it amusing that every time they kicked him on his leg, he said ‘Allah, Allah,’ so they kicked him so that he could say ‘Allah, Allah,’ and he did that. Over 100 times he was kicked on his leg.”

Remembering another beating to death of a separate prisoner after he tried to escape, Begg said they were “innocent prisoners, they were never charged with any crime.”

“So watching the abuse and the murder of these prisoners has been something that has remained with me all of this time.”

Worst memory

Begg said probably the worst thing that happened to him was in Bagram.

“I heard the sound of a woman screaming in the next cell, which they led me to believe was my wife being tortured,” he said.

“They brought pictures of my family, my children in front of me, while my hands were tied behind my back to my legs, and they said: ‘Well, where are your children? Where's your wife? What do you think happens to them?

“Now, by Allah's Mercy, (she) wasn't my wife, but it was somebody else’s wife. It was somebody else’s daughter, it was somebody’s sister. They had a woman in that prison. I know that for a fact, and still I'm trying to discover who that woman was.”

An American project

“Well, let's remember one thing. Guantanamo is an American project. It's Republican. It's Democrat. It's Black. It's white. It's East Coast. It's West Coast,” Begg said.

He explained his ordeal as he was detained in 2002.

“Two soldiers sat on top of me, one on my head, one on my back. They took out a knife and they slipped off my clothes with a knife and I could feel the cold steel against my skin. And then they dragged me in the mud, screaming and shouting, spitting in my face, spitting on my body, spitting on other prisoners, kicking me, punching me, bringing dogs, and then photographing me in this state, and then shaving my beard off, shaving my hair off, and then interrogating me naked, shivering in the cold.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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