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Muslim Man Accused Of Smuggling Beef, Killed By Mob In Maharashtra: Cops

New Age Islam News Bureau

26 May 20123


Cow Vigilantes: The police have detained ten people so far in the case.



• Army Major Accused Of Forcing Worshippers To Chant 'Jai Shri Ram' At Pulwama Mosque

• Dakshina Kannada District Muslim Association demands compensation for kin of police firing victims in Mangaluru

• Muslim Congress leaders request Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde to change Bakrid holiday from June 28 to 29



• Officials Laud Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Invitation to Palestinians to Perform Hajj

• Alarm in Italy over law to shutter Muslim prayer spaces

• Ukraine counteroffensive expectations ‘overestimated’ – Kiev


South Asia

• Supreme Leader Of The Islamic Emirate Message On The Arrival Of The Auspicious Eid-Ul Adha

• Taliban Leader Claims Women Are Provided with a ‘Comfortable, Prosperous Life’ in Afghanistan

• Turkey Deports Nearly 230 Afghan Migrants

• Kyrgyzstan Delivers Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan


North America

• Syrian Kurds Seek International Support for Islamic State Group Trials

• Top US general calls off planned trip to Israel, Jordan in wake of Russia's Wagner affair

• The United States is facing a housing crisis



• Sokoto State Governor Vows To Deal With Blasphemers After Islamic Mob Stone Man To Death Over ‘Blasphemy’

• Clerics warn Muslims not to borrow for Sallah ram

• Mercy Aigbe Performs First Hajj With Husband After Converting To Islam


Arab World

• Hajj Pilgrims Receive Gifts Embodying Saudi Arabia’s Artistic Heritage

• Saudi Arabia’s Expertise In Kiswa Manufacturing Showcased To Guests Of Hajj Program

• Over 1,000 Umbrellas Distributed to Visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque

• NEOM-supported Saudi shortlisted for Yugo BAFTA Student Award in gaming category

• Ministry’s digital transformation efforts streamline Hajj services

• Mobile dental clinic near Grand Mosque provides free service to pilgrims



• ‘Ensuring Jihad Will Continue’: Gaza Summer Camp Teaches Youth To Fight, Hate Israel

• Pope Tawadros congratulates Sisi, Azhar Grand Imam on Eid El-Adha

• Tens of Israeli Settlers Invade Al-Aqsa Mosque

• Hajj commences as Saudi Arabia welcomes millions of Muslims from around the world

• Islamic Revolution Saved Iran From Moral, Political Decline



• Islamic State Group Claims Killing Sikh Man in Pakistan's Northwest

• PHC grants bail to 10 persons arrested in May 9 sedition case

• Police officer martyred, 2 injured in suicide attack in Balochistan’s Turbat

• 6-Member SC Bench Hears Pleas Against Military Trials Of Civilians After Justice Shah’s Recusal

• At least 21 women injured in stampede at Karachi’s KPT Ground during disbursement of BISP funds

• Two brothers held in Kohat for assaulting sister


Southeast Asia

• Labelled Allah’s Enemy, Harapan Files Police Report Against Preacher

• Police Investigate Alleged Blasphemy at Al Zaytun Islamic Boarding School

• ‘Not realistic’ for Malaysia to achieve net-zero by itself, says Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim

• Malaysia says ready to bring citizens home amid tensions in Russia

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



 Muslim Man Accused Of Smuggling Beef, Killed By Mob In Maharashtra: Cops


Cow Vigilantes: The police have detained ten people so far in the case.


June 26, 2023

Mumbai: A man was beaten to death Saturday night allegedly by a group of cow vigilantes on suspicion of smuggling beef in Nashik district of Maharashtra.

Afan Ansari - the 32-year-old victim from Mumbai's Kurla - along with his aide Nasir Sheikh was transporting meat in a car when they were allegedly intercepted and thrashed by cow vigilantes.

Both of them were admitted to a hospital where one person died during treatment, police said.

"On reaching the spot, we found the car in a damaged condition. The injured men were inside the car and we admitted them to a nearby hospital where one of them died," said sub-inspector Sunil Bhamre.

The police have detained ten people so far in the case.

On the complaint of the injured person, we have registered a case of murder and rioting and are probing it, said the police.

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Whether they were indeed transporting beef or not will be known only after the lab report comes, they added.

Earlier in March, the Maharashtra government approved a proposal to set up a commission to implement the law banning the slaughter of cows, eight years after the Bombay High Court upheld the validity of the Act banning cattle slaughter. The court said that a competent authority could enter, stop, and search any vehicle used for the export of a cow, bull or bullock and seize it. The court also upheld the prohibition on transporting flesh for the purpose of slaughter.


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‘US Bombed 6 Muslim Countries’: India’s finance minister on Obama, After US Ex-Prez's Remarks on Minorities in India


Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Sunday. (Photo: Twitter/@nsitharamanoffc)



New Delhi: Days after former US President Barack Obama commented on the rights of ethnic minorities in India during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the US, several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders targeted him in scathing attacks. “Part of my argument would be that if you do not protect the rights of ethnic minorities in India, then there is a strong possibility India at some point starts pulling apart. And we’ve seen what happens when you start getting [into] those kinds of large internal conflicts,” Obama said in an interview to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

When asked on how Biden should engage with leaders such as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi, who is considered “autocratic… illiberal democrat”, Obama said, “If President (Joe Biden) meets with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, the protection of Muslim minority in a majority Hindu India is something worth mentioning.”

Reacting to the former US president’s statement, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday (June 25) questioned the timing of the comments given that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on a State visit to the US during that time.

She told reporters at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi that the US bombed six Muslim countries when Obama was president.

“Perhaps six Muslim-dominated countries were bombed due to him (Obama). More than 26,000 bombs were dropped – from Syria and Yemen to Saudi (Arabia) and Iraq,” she said.

“It was surprising that when the PM was visiting the US, a former US President was making a statement on Indian Muslims… I am speaking with caution, we want a good friendship with the US. But comments keep coming from there on India’s religious tolerance,” she said.

Sitharaman also implied that the Congress party was behind campaigns to target the prime minister and his government, the Indian Express reported.

“Politically speaking, since they can’t see any possibility to win an election against the BJP-NDA government, against the prime minister, that is why such campaigns are being run by people from within the country.”

She said the “role” of the Congress in such campaigns is becoming quite clear, more than during the last two (Lok Sabha) elections, the report added.

“They go to Pakistan and seek their help in changing the government in India saying ‘ekhaathjodo’… and these kinds of toolkits that are run abroad, the Congress seems to have activated them all,” she said.

She further said that it seems Congress leaders are “not confident that people will listen to them”, so they are using these “tricks of inciting such baseless allegations” against the prime minister. But who will believe these people, she said.

“I believe that people from the Opposition parties, when they travel abroad, don’t talk in India’s national interest, because they know they cannot defeat Prime Minister Modi. They prop up such people to jump into this argument without knowing the ground reality,” she said.

Assam chief minister and senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma had by then already tweeted an Islamophobic line, saying: “There are many Hussain Obama in India itself. We should prioritize taking care of them before considering going to Washington.”

BJP national vice-president Baijayant Jay Panda said: “First, President Joe Biden finally went out on a limb to call a spade a spade – calling Xi (Jinping) a dictator; next, he had the audacity to treat PM Modi to rare honours and boost US-India ties to the next level. What a ‘coincidence’ that Barry (an apparent reference to Obama) waited till that very moment before raining on the parade, by bizarrely trying to equate India’s record on minorities to China’s.”


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France Knife Attack Suspect a Syrian Christian not an Indian Muslim: ‘Jihad Watch’ report False


26TH JUNE 2023

A few weeks back, a video surfaced on social media, which showed a knife-wielding man stabbing people, including toddlers and an elderly man, in a playground in Annecy, France. The man was identified as AbdelmasihHanoun (31), a Christian Syrian refugee. In the video, AbdelmasihHanoun is reportedly heard yelling “In the name of Jesus Christ!” while he carries out the act. BBC reported that the suspect himself mentioned that he is a Syrian Christian. The suspect was later arrested by French police for attempted murder, and the prosecution said that his actions did not seem to be linked to terrorism. But a section of media and social media users have claimed that the man is actually a Muslim whose real name is SelwanMajd.

Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, an American far-Right anti-Muslim conspiracy blog, tweeted an image of the suspect with the caption, “An Atrocity in Annecy” and added the link to an article of the same title on June 12. The report mostly revolves around the assumption that there is a possibility that the alleged attacker is originally Muslim and the media is deliberately portraying him as a Christian. (Archive)

On June 13, Jihad Watch published another article titled: “France: ‘Christian’ who stabbed children on playground turns out to be a Muslim named Selwan Majd” which was basically an English translation of a report from a French website called Resistance Républicaine, a far-Right site known for sharing Islamophobic content. Robert Spencer tweeted the link to the article. The tweet has received over 4 million views and has been retweeted over 24,000 times. (Archive)

The report says, “From the beginning we said that it cannot be a Christian… and that it has the signs of being done by a Muslim…” It also mentions that AbdelmasihHanoun is actually SelwanMajd and he travelled to Turkey with false papers that would show him as a Christian and got married in Sweden with a false Christian name. The report, however, does not cite any source for the information.

Indian Twitter handles such as @JIX5A, @MeghUpdates, @RituRathaur, @AmitLeliSlayer also shared the link/screenshot to Jihad Watch’s report. Some other prominent international Twitter handles also shared the same including Britain First, a far-right British political party, @AzzatAlsaalem, @EvaVlaar, @ElijahSchaffer.

ElishYako, the national general secretary of an NGO called Association d’Entraide aux Minoritésd’Orient, shared a series of tweets in this regard claiming that the alleged Annecy stabber was indeed a Muslim. — According to its website, the NGO provides aid to eastern minorities, mostly to Christians. (Archive 1, 2, 3)

To support his claim, Yako mentions that they could not retrieve the man’s baptism or celibacy certificate from Syria and that in his marriage certificate, he had left the boxes for the date and place of birth and identity of his parents empty.

Fact Check

The Resistance Républicaine report mentioned that Abdelmasih H. met and married his now ex-spouse in Sweden under a false Christian name and that he was not granted Swedish citizenship because the country’s officials doubted him. To check this claim we ran a relevant keyword search that led us to several news reports with details of the matter.

As per a news report by Le Monde, a French daily afternoon newspaper, according to the information provided by the suspect’s mother, he was born in Syria in 1991 and served in the Syrian army. In 2011, he left the country when the civil war broke out and moved to Turkey where he met his future wife who was also a Syrian. The couple moved to Sweden together in 2013, got married and had a child, who is presently three-year-old. Later, the couple got divorced when Abdelmasih H. couldn’t get Swedish citizenship. He later moved to France and applied for citizenship there for the first time in November 2022.

In another report, Le Monde mentioned that Abdelmasih’s former wife herself obtained Swedish nationality in June 2021, six years after being granted a permanent residence permit. In November 2013, Abdelmasih H. received a permanent residence permit in Sweden. His first application for nationality was submitted in October 2017 and quickly rejected as one needs to have lived in Sweden for at least five years to be naturalized. He tried again in August 2018 but did not receive any response. He appealed again in 2021. Finally, on February 11, 2022, the Swedish Migration Agency rejected his application.

Le Monde accessed the ruling by the Swedish Migration Agency where the Swedish authorities justified their refusal on the basis that Abdelmasih mentioned in his application that he had served in the Syrian Military in 2011 and 2012. After a 2004 government decision, any applicant for naturalization “who has been active in, or had a decisive influence on, an organization whose activities are believed to have included systematic, widespread and flagrant abuses such as torture, murder and extrajudicial executions cannot be granted Swedish citizenship unless a specified period of time has elapsed”. This period has been set at 25 years. Several Human Rights organisations find the Syrian army guilty of committing war crimes and of human rights violations.

Therefore, the claim that the Swedish authorities doubted that he pretended to be a Christian and hence rejected his citizenship application or that he first met his now ex-spouse in Sweden is false. The couple met in Turkey and moved to Sweden together.

We further came across a report by a French fact-checking organisation called Liberation which also refuted the claim that the assailant was a Muslim whose real name was Selwan Majd. In their article, Resistance Républicaine also mentions that their claim will soon also be confirmed by relatives of Father Boulad in Alexandria. The fact-check report highlighted that the mentioned priest passed away recently and was known for his Islamophobia.

We also found a tweet from BFM TV, a French news channel, from June 8. When they reached out to Abdelmasih’s ex-wife, she told the interviewer that she had met her ex-husband in Turkey and that he was a Christian. She also said that he was from the city of Al Hasakah in Syria. When asked if Abdelmasih H. was ever such a violent person, she said that he was never like that and that he was a good father to their child.

As per our findings so far there is no evidence that would suggest that the Annecy stabbing suspect is a Muslim person called SelwanMajd. The suspect who was arrested by the French officials is AbdelmasihHanoun who is a Syrian Christian.

In the past as well, Jihad Watch had shared misleading reports targeting the Muslim community. One of Robert Spencer’s tweets, in which he shared a misleading report relating a crime of attempted murder to ‘Jihad’ or terrorism, received a comment from Twitter owner Elon Musk. Musk’s one-character comment (just an exclamation mark) was enough to give the misleading tweet a boost in terms of its reach. The tweet has received 3.2 million views and has been retweeted over 10,000 times. At present, it comes with a ‘community note‘ that contradicts Spencer’s claim. (Archive)


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‘Islam Is An Excuse, The Goal Is Money’: Taliban Gunmen Stop The Music In Afghanistan’s Wedding Halls — Sometimes


Photo: The


By Marjan Sada

After weeks of preparation, hundreds of guests had gathered for the party in the wedding hotel. Everyone seemed happy, music was echoing in the separate women’s-only hall and young girls were celebrating with joy and dance.

An hour had passed when the young bride and groom entered, both in white, and the DJ played the famous and traditional song “AhestaBero” (“Go Slowly”) but moments later, gunfire was heard. Armed, dishevelled, long-haired men working for the Taliban’s Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice walked in and took the DJ’s music equipment away with them.

It happened a month ago in the province of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan, a man we’ll call Jabar (not his real name) told the Star. And Afghans say it’s not unusual.

Jabar, the groom’s cousin, said that he was outside the wedding hotel (one of Afghanistan’s special, luxurious halls dedicated to nuptials) when the Taliban’s men arrived. They grabbed the DJ’s gear, tied it to the back of a Ford Ranger pickup — the vehicles given in the thousands by the U.S. to Afghanistan’s previous police and army, and now in Taliban hands — and drove them away.

“It was a really sad moment. I think we are in a prison where our happiness and sadness depends” on the jailer’s decisions, Jabar said in Persian.

The fear that prevailed after the incident turned the happy gathering into a sad one, he continued, adding that people hate this type of Islam, which hits people in the mouth with a gun butt and buries their dreams. A law school graduate, Jabar, 25, asserted that in fact this behaviour has nothing to do with religion.

“Part of this performance of the Taliban is (for) blackmail and obtaining money. Many of them have now realized the joy of wealth and do everything under the name of Islam to earn money.”

The Taliban have banned playing music, dancing and singing since the day they returned to power on August 2021. Yet enforcement varies. In many videos posted on social media Taliban fighters both dance and sing, albeit without musical instruments, and say it is “spiritual” and permitted. And sometimes the regime’s armed representatives permit music in the women’s hall, for a price.

Ramez (not his real name) is in charge of a Kabul wedding hall. He said that the behaviour of the Taliban is not consistent on the issue. According to him, not long ago, they beat and arrested the owner of a wedding hotel because of music in the women’s hall, but lately taking cash instead “for allowing music to play has become common and everyone knows about it. Islam is an excuse, the goal is money.”

Speaking in Persian, he added that even the Taliban have told the hoteliers that there should not be male waiters and camera persons in women’s wedding halls, but so far men are still filling those jobs. Ramez adds that Taliban fighters have stopped cars at city checkpoints and said “give us money, we haven’t been paid for several months.”

“They have started extortion under the name of Islam and the whole world sees and knows this,” Ramez said. He added that the conditions of average people in Afghanistan have deteriorated immensely since the fall of the republic in 2021, and it has predictably also hurt the hotel business.

Ramez said there was a wedding party every night in his hotel pre-Taliban, but after August 2021, due to the imposition of restrictions and the prevailing poverty, wedding parties come only about two nights a week, most of them Taliban fighters who have married educated girls of the capital. There is, he said, no restriction on playing music in their parties.

“A few days ago, the wedding party of a Taliban official which was attended by most of the Taliban officials was held in our hotel and there were no restrictions on playing music or observing hijab. This was his second marriage after August 2021.”

During the restored rule of the Taliban, many officials of this group have married polygamously, taking on second, third and fourth wives. The Star has obtained videos of a DJ playing music in the women’s hall in the Taliban’s own gathering; in the men’s hall, a man is singing live.

Rauf (not his real name) is in charge of a Kabul flower shop that also rents DJ gear to hotels. He said that on several occasions the Taliban has confiscated music equipment from hotels and then sold it back for cash.

“When we go to the Taliban to get our musical equipment, they say with anger and insults that ‘you make people’s women dance and are infidels.’ And then when we pay, they hand over the equipment and it is as if we are no longer infidels,” Rauf told the Star in Persian.

Rauf said that it usually takes 5,000 to 20,000 Afghanis ($80-$300) to get equipment back from the Taliban; once, he even bought curtains and mattresses for a Taliban official’s office. The businessman said “The Islam of the Taliban is not Islam, it is Islamabad” — the capital of Pakistan. The majority of Taliban officials were students of Pakistani madrassas and for 20 years, they led the war against international forces from there.

Farida, 26, a resident of Mazar-e-Sharif in the north of Afghanistan, got engaged prior to the Taliban’s return but her wedding took place only recently. She had long held on to her dreams and hopes for the big day, but in the end it was decided only to play music for an hour at the women’s hall, lest the regime’s gunmen show up.

Jabar said that these sorts of acts by the Taliban have alienated the people from Islam and destroyed the sense of hope and desire in people’s minds. Farida said that people’s living conditions and outlook have changed a lot from the era of the republic — now everything is associated with fear and terror, even weddings.

“I had many wishes for my wedding party, but it was not fulfilled,” Farida said to Star in Persian.

“I don’t feel good at all in life … The second name of our life is fear and hopelessness.”


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Muslims, Other Parents Stage Large Protest Against Gender Ideology Outside Justin Trudeau’s Ottawa Office


A large demonstration protesting against gender ideology in public schools took place outside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office on Wellington Street in Ottawa on June 24.


By Marnie Cathcart

June 25, 2023

A large demonstration protesting against gender ideology in public schools took place outside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office on Wellington Street in Ottawa on June 24.

A significant number of participants were Muslims, with many carrying signs and chanting, “Leave our kids alone.” Videos of the event were posted on Twitter. The crowd of hundreds of protesters included women of all ages in hijabs along with men and children. At times the diverse crowd yelled, “No more silence.”

One protester carried a sign that read, “Dad/noun, a human male who protects his kids from gender ideology.” Another sign said, “Schools to teach intellectual sciences not to teach gender.” A teenage boy in a yellow shirt carried a sign that said, “They’re our kids, leave them alone.”

Epoch Times Photo

A large crowd of protesters in Ottawa gather outside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office in Ottawa on June 24, 2023, to protest against the implementation of gender ideology in schools. Protesters carried signs and chanted, “Leave our kids alone.” (Jonathan Ren/The Epoch Times)

Two other signs read, “Believe what you believe, but leave our kids alone,” and “Stop indoctrinating/sexualizing children.”

One man carried a sign that said, “Gender ideology does not belong in schools.”

At one point, protesters were directly under a rainbow flag flying from the window of a government building. A man with a megaphone could be heard saying, “Thank you for coming and thank you for being here. You’re in the right place. You’re doing the right thing. … We’re all working together now. We all see we have the same opponent.”

Ongoing Protests

Protests have been ongoing for three weeks at the same time that the month-long “Pride” is being celebrated in June, with school walkouts and rallies taking place across the country to protest what parents say is an increased focus on “gender ideology” in schools.

On June 15, dozens of students at an Ottawa secondary school staged a walkout to protest gender ideology they said schools were pushing on students. That crowd was described as having “Muslim, white, and Asian students … from every ethnicity” who “want to not be indoctrinated.”

The protest occurred after an Ottawa school board email to all staff was leaked that said teachers should call all children by “they/them” pronouns at the start of the next school year until children provide their “preferred” pronouns. The email declared that teachings about LGBT identities should be embedded in the “overall learning environment” and that this would not be “open to debate or selective participation.”

A few days earlier, Muslim families and others had protested against gender ideology at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board headquarters building. And hundreds of protesters gathered in Ottawa on June 9 for a protest organized by Chris Elston, a B.C. father of two girls known as “Billboard Chris” who advocates against gender ideology and attempts by gender clinicians and other to “transition” children to the opposite sex.

The “Education Over Indoctrination” rally saw the Ottawa police shut down Broadview Avenue for a rally consisting of hundreds of protesters holding signs with messages that included “Save Canada,” “Christ Is King,” and “Dad: A human male who protects his kids from gender ideology.”

Mississaugua, Ontario, saw a similar protest on June 24, again with predominantly Muslim protesters joined by Christians and other parents from all backgrounds yelling, “Leave our kids alone.” At that event, one sign said, “Put woke to sleep.”

Calgary Protest With Police Presence

A similar protest with a giant crowd took place in Calgary outside city hall on June 24, prompting Calgary Police to be out in force with dozens of officers forming a line in front of protesters and counter-protesters. Signs there read, “Hands off our kids” and “Every child with gender dysphoria/issues does not need gender change.”

Protesters stood in the crosswalk blocking a city street as motorists honked. Another sign read, “Our kids are a red line,” while another said, “If schools hide, parents can’t guide.” One sign said, “Protecting faith, family, freedom.” Another said, “Keep gender ideology out of schools.”

One sign called for the removal of the rainbow flag from schools, saying that only two flags should be flown, the Canadian Flag and the Alberta flag.

At the Calgary event, counter-protesters were also present, as were Antifa members in black trying to block parents by holding a large white flag in front of them, as the chants of “Leave our kids alone” continued.

A poster for the Calgary event called for people to join in a peaceful protest “to protect family values and protest against the implementation of LGBTQ+ ideology in public school curriculums.”

“Stand together, Muslims, Christians, and people of all faiths and backgrounds to send a unified message that it is time to address our concerns,” said the poster.

Elston has been travelling around North America and Europe wearing a sign that says, “Children cannot consent to puberty blockers.”

Matthew Horwood contributed to this report.


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Army Major Accused Of Forcing Worshippers To Chant 'Jai Shri Ram' At Pulwama Mosque


Muzaffar Raina

The counter-insurgency wing of the Indian Army has been sucked into allegations that soldiers led by a major stormed two mosques in Pulwama district in south Kashmir in the wee hours of Saturday and forced worshippers to chant “Jai Shri Ram”.

Altaf Ahmad Bhat, the chairman of a civil society group in Zaddora village and who described himself as an eyewitness, told The Telegraph that senior army officers on Sunday apologised to the villagers and informed them that the major allegedly involved in the incident had been removed.

The stated apology came after senior politicians in the Valley, who proceed with caution and restraint on matters associated with the army, blasted the military over the allegation and sought a probe into the alleged incident involving soldiers of the Rashtriya Rifles.

The Rashtriya Rifles is the counter-insurgency force of the army in Kashmir. Raised by the Indian Army, the Rashtriya Rifles personnel are provided by the army on deputation.

An army officer in Srinagar told this newspaper on Sunday that the defence force was ascertaining the facts. “I will share the details as and when they (his seniors) share them with me. I have seen some media reports that there has been some action. But I cannot confirm,” the officer said.

A few days ago at the White House, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had categorically denied discrimination on the basis of religion in India. On Saturday, Union home minister Amit Shah was in Kashmir on a visit to review the security situation in the run-upto the Amarnath Yatrabeginning next month.

Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti was the first to flag the issue and she publicly named the troops of 50 Rashtriya Rifles.

“Shocked to hear about army troops from 50 RR storming into a mosque at Pulwama & forcing Muslims inside to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’. Such a move when @AmitShah is here & that too ahead of the yatra is simply an act of provocation. Request @RgGhai to immediately set up a probe,” Mehbooba tweeted on Saturday evening.

Lt General Rajiv Ghai heads the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, which is responsible for operations in Kashmir. He took over as the Valley’s army chief a week ago.

“Reports of security force personnel entering a mosque in Zadoora in Pulwama are deeply distressing. It’s bad enough they entered but then forcing people to chant slogans like “Jai Shree Ram”, as reported by the locals there, is unacceptable. I hope @rajnathsinghji will issue instructions for these reports to be investigated in a timely & transparent manner,” Omar Abdullah, another former chief minister, tweeted, mentioning the defence minister.

Bhat, the civil society group chief in Zaddora, said the soldiers visited the site around 2am on Saturday and asked him to summon some residents, including his younger brother Javed Ahmad, a government teacher.

“It was pitch dark. They sealed all the roads, knocked on my door and asked me to get these men as the officer wanted to meet them. I went to their homes and took them, including my brother, along, although their families were reluctant,” Bhat said.

Bhat added: “Sometime later, I heard their cries. I felt that they were being beaten. I protested and raised some slogans but they (the soldiers) warned me to keep quiet. What I learnt later was that they (the soldiers) were telling them to open the doors of the mosque and chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans. They (the residents) apparently refused to open the mosque (for this) but were thrashed. I saw them (the soldiers) trampling on the head of my brother. He seemed to be telling them that he would chant the slogans outside the mosque but not inside.”

An hour and a half later, Bhat said, Arif Wagay, who calls Azaan, entered the mosque for pre-dawn prayers. He switched on the loudspeaker and started reciting the Azaan.

“Midway, he was stopped by them (the soldiers). They yelled at him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans. I heard him chanting the slogans on the loudspeaker. He was in fact asked to recite it in rhythm — as we say the Azaan,” he said.

Bhat claimed that other soldiers had, meanwhile, entered Jamia Masjid, a few hundred metres away, and asked the worshippers there to do the same thing.

“Sheeraz Ahmad, who is a muezzin there, tried to flee but he was dragged inside and forced to chant the slogan along with other worshippers. When I told them that it would cause disturbances in the area, he (the major) retorted that no “maikalal (mother’s son)” would dare do soin his presence. He warnedus against sacrificing animals in the village on the coming Id ul Azha without his permission.”

Bhat said there were protests in the village after the army left.

“Some people from the intelligence wing approached me during the day yesterday (Saturday) and said some top army officer wants to talk to me over the phone, I narrated the whole incident. He apologised and promised action. He pleaded that there should be no protests. He said he would send the CO (commanding officer) of the unit to the village,” Bhat said.

“CO sahab came early today (Sunday), along with other officers, and apologised. We were told that the army major had been removed and that he would be court-martialled. We are satisfied with the army’s action but we don’t want a repeat of such incidents,” Bhat added.


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Dakshina Kannada District Muslim Association demands compensation for kin of police firing victims in Mangaluru

JUN 26 2023

Dakshina Kannada District Muslim Okkoota has demanded compensation to the kin of NauseenKudroli, 23, and Jaleel Bengre, 49, who died in the police firing during protest against CAA and NRC in Mangaluru in 2019.

A delegation of the Okkoota and family members met District Incharge Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao and sought compensation from the government. 

Okkoota president K Ashraf said that the families are eligible for compensation from the government.

The delegation also demanded compensation for the family of Basheer, who was hacked to death after the murder of Deepak Rao, in Krishnapura in 2018. Basheer was running a fast food outlet at Kavoor. The murder was communal in nature and the family ha...

Ashraf said he had recently met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and had raised the issue of compensation to the families of those deceased in police firing and also, to the family of Basheer.

He thanked the state government for paying compensation to the families of Masood, Jaleel, Fazil and Deepak Rao, who were hacked to death by miscreants in Dakshina Kannada. The previous BJP government had done injustice to the families by failing to ...


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Muslim Congress leaders request Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde to change Bakrid holiday from June 28 to 29

Jun 26, 2023

MUMBAI: Congress leaders Arif Naseem Khan and Mudassar Patel have demanded that the state government change the Eid-ul-Azha or Bakrid holiday from June 28 to June 29.

In separate letters to chief minister Eknath Shinde, Khan and Patel have requested him to approve a holiday for June 29, instead of June 28 as mentioned in the state's calendar for holidays.

"The first day of Bakrid this year, according to sighting of the new moon, is on June 29 while the state government has declared the holiday on June 28. We have requested the CM to order a change of the holiday date and issue a fresh GR regarding this. Hope our genuine demand will be met," said Patel.

Every year, the state government prepares a list of holidays but sometimes dates of Muslim festivals change as they are decided on sightings of the new moon.

The three-day Bakrid festival begins on June 29. Apart from offering two-unit namaz, goats and sheep too will be sacrificed as a mark of commemoration of Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim)'s offer to sacrifice his son Ismaeel. God only wanted to test Ibrahim's devotion and sent a lamb to be sacrificed. Muslims celebrate this episode with animal sacrifice.

And it is not just about sacrifice, but Bakrid also carries a message of caring and sharing. The meat of the sacrificed animals is divided into three parts. One part goes to the poor, second part is distributed among relatives while the third part is kept for consumption of the family which has sacrificed the animal.

Bakrid is also important because qurbani or sacrifice of animals is part of annual Haj rituals. The festival falls on the days when Haj is performed in and around Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Qurbani is mandatory only for those Muslims who can afford it.


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Officials Laud Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Invitation to Palestinians to Perform Hajj

25 June 2023

Head of the Palestinian mission to the Hajj and representative of the Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs Khalil Al-Rifai praised on Saturday the Kingdom's hosting of families of martyrs, prisoners and wounded Palestinians as part of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Hajj Guests Program.

Munqith Abu Atwan, director of the Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Authority, expressed his gratitude to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, for their Islamic role in inviting the Palestinian families to perform the Hajj.

The gesture has brought joy to their hearts, he added, while underlining the role of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and its supervision of the program in providing best services and warmly welcoming the Palestinian pilgrims upon their arrival in the Kingdom.

Director of the Industrial Islamic Orphanage Institution in Jerusalem Hassan Tahboub thanked the Kingdom for the excellent care and great efforts it provides annually to pilgrims from around the world.


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Alarm in Italy over law to shutter Muslim prayer spaces


A controversial law proposed by the ruling far-right coalition has again brought Muslims and their places of worship to the fore of Italy’s political discourse.

If passed, the law could shut down hundreds of Islamic prayer spaces, a prospect triggering alarm within the country’s 2.5 million-strong Muslim community.

Opposition politicians are also up in arms against a bill that they believe is unconstitutional and a form of “unacceptable discrimination.”

Presented by Prime Minister GiorgiaMeloni’s Brothers of Italy party, the bill will target prayer spaces that are not in mosques or those that have never received formal approval to be used for worship, such as the premises of various Muslim cultural organizations.

“It’s absurd. It will go against the freedom of practicing a religion, when the state should actually be creating conditions allowing people to exercise their right to practice any religion,” said YassineLafram, president of the Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy (UCOII).

According to a UCOII report published in 2017, there were 1,217 Muslim prayer spaces in Italy at the time.

Only six of these were officially mosques – and recognizable as such because of the typical architectural features like minarets – and roughly another 50 were authorized to be used for worship.

The rest were classified primarily as cultural associations but were also used as prayer spaces, with most of them set up in garages, warehouses, apartments and basements, according to the UCOII report.

The bill, which aims to clamp down on these places, has a provision that would allow prayers there only if the religious activities in question are regulated by an agreement with the Italian state.

Drafted in such a way, the bill would mainly affect Italy’s Muslim community, since it is the largest religious group in the country that does not have any such agreement with the state.

‘Unacceptable discrimination’

Politicians promoting the draft law have also made no secret that it is intended to ban those Islamic worship spaces.

“Over the past decade we have seen a widespread proliferation of associations of social promotion, which de facto have as prevalent or exclusive function that of managing worship places for the Islamic communities in buildings that do not meet the urbanistic, structural and safety requirements needed for such use,” the bill says in its preamble.

The draft law is now being debated in the environment committee of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Italy’s Parliament.

Fabrizio Rossi, the Brothers of Italy lawmaker who drafted the bill, said it will force cultural centers to obtain permission if they want to use their spaces for prayer.

He claimed the law will respect everybody’s religious freedoms protected by Italy’s Constitution, according to the minutes of the first debate in the parliamentary committee.

Rossi did not respond to Anadolu’s requests for an interview.

Opposition lawmakers, on the other hand, have blasted the law as discriminatory and unconstitutional.

“In Italy, there are many parishes and oratories in buildings which do not comply with urbanistic rules and, rightly so, are not shut down,” Angelo Bonelli, a member of the Greens and Left Alliance, said in a letter to the parliamentary speaker, urging him to block the draft law.

“It’s an unacceptable discrimination.”

No other choice

Experts say acquiring authorization to use a building as a worship place has always been a very long, cumbersome, and expensive process in Italy.

Attempts to construct mosques have often been met with hostility by local authorities and populations, which has left several projects across the country in bureaucratic limbo.

This is why Muslims in Italy had to resort to opening such cultural centers and use them as prayer spaces, according to religious leaders and experts.

“It’s true they used this escamotage, as the draft law says,” said FabrizioCiocca, a researcher at Rome’s La Sapienza University.

“But you have to give a credible alternative to Muslim communities if you close all these centers.”

He pointed out that the over 1,000 associations at risk of being shut down are also important community spaces, as well as education centers for teaching Arabic or the study of the Quran, the Muslim holy book.

Sami Salem, an imam or prayer leader, in Magliana, a neighborhood of Rome, said the Muslim community stands ready to cooperate with Italian authorities to find a sustainable solution.

“We made a lot of sacrifices to create these centers. We are ready to work together with the authorities,” he said.

UCOII’s Lafram said his organization has been in contact with Italian politicians about the draft law.

For him, a bright side to the potential crisis could be a serious discussion with the government about Islam and the status of Muslims in Italy.

“We would be the first to say we don’t want to pray in warehouses or such places as matter of dignity,” he told Anadolu.

“But the other side needs to provide a solution.”


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Ukraine counteroffensive expectations ‘overestimated’ – Kiev

25 Jun, 2023

Expected results from Kiev's ongoing counteroffensive against Russia have been "overestimated," Ukraine’s Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov has claimed. The offensive by Ukrainian forces should be treated as "some kind of preparatory operation" rather than a decisive battle, he added.

Reznikov gave an interview to Fox News which was published on Sunday, in which he insisted Kiev had never planned the offensive to be a "blitzkrieg." The minister admitted that the Russians had erected "very strong defensive lines" all along the frontline.

"It’s some kind of preparatory operation, shape operation certainly. And we understand that they use very strong defense lines, especially minefields," Reznikov said, adding that the "expectation was overestimated" for the Ukrainian "counteroffensive plan."

At the same time, the minister insisted the stalled effort was the "next step to victory." Reznikov also claimed that Kiev has been very careful in deploying its troops onto the battlefield and has been doing its best to "save their lives," alleging that Moscow has been using its forces as a "meat grinder." The minister also expressed confidence this year will be a "game changer" in the ongoing conflict, yet urged the public not to expect a decisive victory stemming from the ongoing push.

Ukraine launched its long-heralded counteroffensive in early June, repeatedly attacking Russian positions at different points across the frontlines. Thus far, the push has failed to produce any tangible results, with the Kiev forces sustaining heavy casualties.

The stalled effort has already cost Kiev thousands of servicemen and hundreds of pieces of Western-supplied military hardware, including multiple German-made Leopard 2 tanks and US-made Bradley infantry fighting vehicles.


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South Asia


Supreme Leader Of The Islamic Emirate Message On The Arrival Of The Auspicious Eid-Ul Adha


To the Mujahid Nation of Afghanistan and to the Muslims Around the World

I wish you all a very happy Eid. May Allah accept your charity, pilgrimages, services and all good deeds in the path of Islam.

I hope you celebrate these days with happiness and perform Eid prayers, pilgrimage and all worships properly.

On this auspicious day, millions of Muslims from all over the world perform pilgrimage and it is a day of worship and brotherhood that invites Muslims to unite, sympathize and give charity in the path of Allah.

Our countrymen are celebrating Eid while the Islamic system exists and peace is ensured throughout the country, therefore, we should thank Allah Almighty to gain further rewards.

Under the rule of the Islamic Emirate, the Islamic system has been established, the Islamic Sharia law has been implemented, and concrete steps have been taken to strengthen the religious centers. Reforms are underway in law-making, governance, judiciary, economy, culture and other related fields. These are the goals and values for which we have fought and made great sacrifices.

At the national level, the independence of Afghanistan has been restored once again, brotherhood and national unity have been strengthened, all kinds of prejudices such as race, language and region have been eliminated, the territorial integrity of the country has been preserved and all borders are strictly defended and protected. Afghanistan’s national assets, such as customs and revenues, mines, state land, forests and other common assets have been taken from powerful individuals and now being protected as state assets.

Under the rule of the Islamic Emirate, concrete measures have been taken to save women from many traditional oppressions, including forced marriages and their Sharia rights have been protected. Moreover, necessary steps have been taken for the betterment of women as half of the society in order to provide them with a comfortable and prosperous life according to the Islamic Sharia. The negative aspects of the past 20-year occupation related to women’s Hijab and misguidance will end soon. By issuing the six-article decree on women’s rights, the status of women as a free and dignified human being has been restored and all institutions have been obliged to help women in securing marriage, inheritance and other rights.

With the functioning of the Sharia courts, the Holy Sharia has once again been put into practice. Religious and Sharia orders that were not possible to be implemented are now being enforced. In addition, the great duty of vice and virtue is being carried out. Necessary measures have been taken according to the Islamic principles, due to which the society is improving day by day and the evildoers are about to disappear.

In the economic sector, the prediction of the country’s economic collapse and crisis has been proven wrong. Economic collapse was prevented as a result of Islamic Emirate’s wise measures, sincerity and transparency. For the first time in recent history, Afghanistan has become economically self-sufficient, furthermore, concrete steps have been taken and are underway in rehabilitation, reconstruction, agriculture, mining and other related sectors.

The Islamic Emirate calls on national investors and businessmen to play a constructive role in the development of the country by investing in various fields in order to further develop the country’s economic sector and eliminate existing problems. IEA is committed to ensure their security and all government institutions are responsible for providing necessary facilities to investors in order to pave the ground for the country’s growth and economic development.

The war that lasted for decades in the country, left hundreds of thousands of orphans, widows and needy people, and the Islamic Emirate is committed to helping them secure their rights. Also, I call upon rich people and specially the relatives of the needy people to extend their support and pay full attention to their education and livelihood. After decades of war, now, Islamic system is enforced and peace has been ensured in the whole country, therefore, I call upon those who threaten peace to start a comfortable life in their country with their fellow citizens and help to further strengthen and stabilize peace.

Significant steps have been taken to divert beggars from begging and thousands of beggars who are in need are being given assistance by the Islamic Emirate. However, in order to prevent professional beggars, it is necessary for scholars, clerics and community elders to take an active role in educating people and encouraging them to work.

As a result of continues efforts of the Islamic Emirate, the cultivation of poppy has eradicated in the country, farmers are looking for alternatives and legal cultivation is expanding, meanwhile, ban has imposed on production, trafficking and use of all kinds of drugs and now, many citizens, specially the youth are saved from this harm.

Currently, many institutions of the Islamic Emirate are working to treat those who became addicted in the past 20-year and efforts are underway to bring them back to a normal life.

During the occupation period, many people were deprived of their rights and national assets were seized by powerful individuals, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has appointed a special commission for restitution of state grabbed land, so far, hundreds of thousands of acres of state land have been identified and freed from grabbers. Since, preventing oppression is a public duty, therefore, I call upon all the citizens to extend their cooperation with this commission.

The Islamic Emirate wants good political and economic relations with the world, especially with Islamic countries, and has fulfilled its responsibility in this regard. Just as we do not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, in the same way we do not allow others to interfere in our internal affairs.

My advice to the officials of the Islamic Emirate is to carry out the given responsibility seriously; providing services and wellbeing of the people should remain on top. Keep your doors open toward the people, do things efficiently and never treat people in a way that makes them feel less than you. This is the same nation who sacrificed their lives and properties during the past 20-year. I instruct the security officials to pay full attention to the well-being, service and safety of the citizens, especially during Eid. Consider all measures for the welfare and safety of the countrymen and extend your help and support to the families of martyrs, disabled and orphans.

Dear Countrymen!

It is our shared responsibility to protect and serve our Islamic system, the current system is the result of sacrifices of thousands of Mujahideen, let’s stand by each other, eliminate conspiracies, value security and prosperity and work together for its further enhancement.

It is with immense pleasure that this year thousands of our countrymen went to attend and perform pilgrimage. All necessary facilities are provided and they are being served properly by the officials of the Islamic Emirate. I request all the pilgrims from around the world to pray for the prosperity of the entire Islamic Ummah and especially for the people of Afghanistan, so that Allah may grant them happiness in this world and the hereafter.

I strongly condemn Israel’s brutal act on Palestinian women, children and defenceless Muslims and ask other countries to do their duty in order to prevent this great human crime and cruel atrocities.

I request the people and government of Sudan to leave their differences and work together for unity and brotherhood, rather, the solution to the problems of the Islamic Ummah relies on their unity, considering the fact, every Muslim has an obligation to be fulfilled with sincerity, doing so will eliminate conspiracy and Muslims will enjoy the blessing of unity and Islamic brotherhood.

At the end, I once again wish you a happy Eid-ul Adha. May Allah grant us the opportunity to celebrate Eid under the shadow of the Islamic system.

Sheikh Al-Quran and Hadith MawlawiHibatullah Akhundzada, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Emirate


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Taliban Leader Claims Women Are Provided with a ‘Comfortable, Prosperous Life’ in Afghanistan

June 25, 2023

The supreme leader of the Taliban released an Eid ul-Adha message Sunday claiming that his government has taken the necessary steps to improve women’s lives in the country. In contrast, women are banned from public life, and work and education are severely curtailed.

The declaration from Hibatullah Akhundzada was made public ahead of the Eid-ul-Adha celebration, which will be celebrated later this week in Afghanistan and other Islamic countries.

 “Necessary steps have been taken for the betterment of women as half of the society to provide them with a comfortable and prosperous life according to the Islamic Sharia,” the statement said.

Although the group imposes significant restrictions on women and girls’ rights to employment and education—measures denounced by some as constituting gender apartheid—this nevertheless holds. According to the UN, fifty anti-women decrees have been implemented since Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada took control of Afghanistan.

While several reports said that recently, it appears that Akhundzada has exerted more control over domestic policy, prohibiting Afghan women from participating in public life and employment, particularly with non-governmental organizations and the United Nations, and outlawing Afghan girls’ education after the sixth grade.

“The status of women as a free and dignified human being has been restored, and all institutions have been obliged to help women secure marriage, inheritance and other rights,” he added.

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in August 2021 as U.S. and NATO soldiers withdrew, despite initial assurances that their reign would be more moderate than during their last political tenure in the 1990s. Since then, they have enacted harsh policies.

They have restricted media freedoms and banned women from public places like parks and gyms. The actions have sparked a harsh international backlash, further isolating the country at a time when its economy is in free fall and escalating a humanitarian crisis.

Despite Akhundzada’s assertions, Afghanistan still has the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with over 28 million people relying on aid for survival.


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Turkey Deports Nearly 230 Afghan Migrants

June 25, 2023

According to reports, most deported Afghan refugees were undocumented and illegal migrants.

Based on the reports, the Turkish authorities have emphasized that they will continue identifying illegal asylum seekers in the eastern city of Agri, Turkey.

Earlier, the General Directorate of Migration of Turkey announced that it had deported some 68,290 Afghan asylum seekers out of 124,441 undocumented migrants during the past year.

Approximately 68,290 Afghan residents, 12,511 Pakistanis, and migrants from other countries were deported from Turkey in the previous year, according to the General Directorate of Migration. The Turkish government’s migration office maintains that it will deport more undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers this year, including 227 citizens of Afghanistan.

Since the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan in August 2021, thousands of Afghans have left the country to the neighbouring nations for fear of being physically harassed, persecuted or killed.

Most Afghan migrants chose relatively dangerous and illegal paths to reach the neighbouring countries, including Iran, Pakistan and Turkey. After months of uncertainty, they are threatened with forcible deportation and jail.

 “Returning to Afghanistan is similar to suicide. I have suffered quite a lot to reach Turkey, and now they forcefully deport me to my country. I have no choice but to end my life rather now than later,” said an Afghan refugee.

Similarly, other neighbouring countries, including Iran and Pakistan, deport Afghan migrants regularly.


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Kyrgyzstan Delivers Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan

June 25, 2023

The National Security Committee press office reported that the Afghan side expressed gratitude to the Kyrgyz people for their cooperation and solidarity.

Earlier, Kyrgyzstan also delivered aid to the people of Afghanistan through Bandar Hairatan. The humanitarian aid consignment includes 53 tons of flour, oil, rice, macaroni and canned meat.

This comes amid a dire humanitarian crisis in the country.

Afghanistan is still one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, even though it has virtually vanished from the media. Food insecurity affects two-thirds of the population, including 875,000 children who are acutely malnourished. Girls and women continue to be mainly in danger.


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North America


Syrian Kurds Seek International Support for Islamic State Group Trials

June 25, 2023

The U.S.-backed Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria are adamant about holding trials for hundreds of foreign Islamic State group militants in their custody. VOA’s Zana Omer has the story from Qamishli, Syria, narrated by SirwanKajjo.


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Top US general calls off planned trip to Israel, Jordan in wake of Russia's Wagner affair

Sunday, 25 June 2023

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, has canceled his planned trip to Israel in the wake of an abrupt armed mutiny by the Wagner private military group against the Russian leadership and his government.

One of Milley’s spokesmen, who were not named in reports, said late on Saturday that the top US military officer had planned to make stops in Israel and Jordan for talks with their defense officials but the visit was postponed “due to the situation in Russia.”

Milley’s trip was called off shortly before Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced that he had brokered a deal for Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin to halt his proclaimed advance on Moscow and end his mutiny.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was also reported to have canceled a scheduled meeting in Denmark on the Russia-Ukraine conflict just before the crisis broke out in Russia.

Before the Belarusian-mediated deal, Wagner forces claimed they were heading north in a convoy of trucks, tanks, and infantry armored vehicles, hoping they would reach Moscow before being intercepted by the Russian army.

Prigozhin had accused Russia’s military top brass of ordering a rocket attack on Wagner’s field camps in Ukraine -- where Russia has been leading a military operation -- killing “huge numbers” of his paramilitary forces.

Prigozhin had earlier demanded that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov be handed over to him.

The Kremlin said that under the agreement, a criminal case launched against Prigozhin would be dropped and that he would leave Russia and move to Belarus. The Wagner fighters involved in the overnight rebellion would not be prosecuted as agreed in the deal.

The Wagner Group is a paramilitary organization that has been fighting alongside Russian forces in Ukraine.

In a separate development on Saturday, the US-based news website Axios cited an informed source as saying that Secretary of State Tony Blinken had held a secure conference call with several Western foreign ministers to consult about the escalating situation in Russia.

The foreign ministers of France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Canada, and the European Union were on the call with Blinken, according to the source.

European Union’s foreign policy chief JosepBorrell confirmed the call in a tweet, saying, “Had a call with G7 Foreign Ministers to exchange views on the situation in Russia. Ahead of Monday’s EU Foreign Affairs Council, I am coordinating inside the European Union and have activated the crisis response center.”

Axios also quoted White House National Security Council spokesperson Adam Hodge as saying that they “are monitoring the situation in Russia and will be consulting with allies and partners on these developments.”

The White House said US President Joe Biden had been briefed by his national security team and would continue to receive updates throughout the day.

Biden was also reported by Axios to have held a separate call with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to discuss the situation in Russia.


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The United States is facing a housing crisis

Sunday, 25 June 2023

The United States is facing a housing crisis and, according to some estimates, there simply aren't enough homes in the US.

The most recent estimates from the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, commonly known as Freddie Mac, show the country is about 3.8 million housing units short of demand, which means that there aren't enough homes to keep up with the number of new households that are forming,

Elevated mortgage rates, which have doubled since early last year, have constrained homebuyers’ purchasing power.

Instability in the banking sector, uncertainties about possible layoffs, and, growing recession risks, are also causing prospective homebuyers to hold back.

The homelessness crisis is particularly severe in the state of California. According to a new study by the University of California, over 171,000 people are homeless in the rich Western State.

California is home to 12% of the nation's population, 30% of the nation's homeless population, and, half the nation's unsheltered population.

People really need the ability to pay their rent.

When we ask people what would have kept them from being homeless, actually relatively small amounts of money, over eight in 10 said had they received one time five to $10,000 to catch up on their rent, to pay first and last month's mortgage, so that they could continue paying, you know, a new apartment, they would have never become homeless.

The study reveals the homeless population in California is aging; nearly half of those who were were over 50 and older. It also reveals that homelessness is more prevalent among California's residents of color and minority groups.

Furthermore, nearly half of the homeless surveyed in the research reported an inability to work due to age, health, or, disability.

More than 1 million people experience homelessness in the US in a given year, and many more are at risk of losing their homes, however, the actual figures are widely believed to be considerably higher.

Florida, New York and Washington also had high rates of homelessness last year.

California is emblematic of neoliberal US Empire with a liberal face around the world. California's economy is ranked among the top 10 in the world.

If it was an independent nation, California would be among the ten wealthiest countries in the world.

Yeah, with that in mind, California also has some of the highest poverty rates in the United States, some of the highest homelessness rates in the United States, and, some of the highest rates of inequality.

The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer.

Despite positive signs of a potential economic improvement in the US economy, experts are still worried about a possible recession in the country.

Over the past 15 months the US Federal Reserve has tried to tame inflation raising interest rates above 5% in an attempt to get price increases back down to a more normal pace.

Less expensive gas and slower grocery price adjustments have helped to lower overall inflation from its four decade peak last summer, however, experts warn the battle is not yet over because food and fuel costs tend to jump around a lot.

Furthermore, experts believe the Fed may need to do more to cool growth and to rein in demand to prevent unusually elevated price increases from becoming permanent.

Concerns are also rising about a possible recession in the US. Some experts believe the US may avoid a recession, but the fact that big economies like the EU and Germany are now experiencing a recession are bad signs for the US economy.

The slower economic growth rate in China may also pull the US into trouble. China's central bank this month started trimming major interest rates to support growth.

Manufacturing is already probably in recession. But I'm not sure exactly what sector of employment is going to pull back. But I do think that is the linchpin, and in order to get a weaker economy, you have to get a weaker employment.

But I think that's going to come as I mentioned unemployment claims, which is the best timely measure of labor markets, they've moved up already a fair amount to about 260,000 up from maybe 180,... and 300,000 is the recession level.

A possible recession could throw the lives of millions of ordinary Americans into disarray with higher prices increasingly denting people's ability to satisfy their needs.

In California, for example, food banks, which saw more families seeking help during the pandemic, are now serving more people every month.

Extra assistance benefits started during the pandemic have come to an end, reducing benefits to 5.3 million Californians and prompting the statewide food banks Association to warn of a "catastrophic hunger crisis" this year.

There's no solution to this, really, this was a huge loss for our whole state, for the whole country.

And food banks can't just simply come up with the replacement.

We're struggling already with donations that are down from the height of the pandemic. It's not seen as so much of a crisis anymore.

Carissa Casares, Spokesperson, Feeding San Diego

To ward off the catastrophic hunger crisis this year food banks have also expressed concern over the federal debt ceiling agreements which imposes more requirements on food aid recipients.


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Sokoto State Governor Vows To Deal With Blasphemers After Islamic Mob Stone Man To Death Over ‘Blasphemy’

June 26, 2023

Ahmed Aliyu, the Sokoto State Governor, has vowed that his administration will deal decisively with anyone who commits ‘blasphemy’ against the Islamic Prophet Muhammad bin Abdullah (PBUH).

The governor made the declaration in a statement signed by his spokesperson, AbubakarBawa, while warning against any act capable of “degrading the personality of Prophet Muhammad SAW, especially in a state like Sokoto, which is predominantly a Muslim-dominated community.”

His warning comes moments after a mob stoned to death a butcher identified as Usman Buda on Sunday at a place called Abattoir in over an allegation of blasphemy.

Ahmad Rufai, Sokoto police spokesperson who confirmed the killing was quoted to have said that, “We got a distress call in the morning around 9:20 a.m. that a mob attacked one person by name Usman Buda, at Abattoir in Sokoto. They alleged him to have insulted prophet Mohammed (SWAT).

“On reaching the scene, people there took to their heels leaving him in bloodshed, seriously injured. We rescued him and took him to hospital. Unfortunately, later in the day he passed away.”

The murder comes barely a year after Deborah Samuel, a Christian student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Wamako, Sokoto State, was killed over a similar allegation of blasphemy by Islamic fanatics.

Some of Buda’s closest business partners in the market who made attempts to rescue him were also injured by the extremists, and now receiving medical treatment.

Reacting to the development, the governor, through his spokesman, Bawa said there’s a need for all the residents to respect and protect the prophet’s dignity and personality.

The statement read, “Sokoto State Governor, Dr. Ahmed Aliyu, has called on the people of the state to remain calm and law-abiding at all times. The governor cautioned the people against any act capable of degrading the personality of Prophet Muhammad SAW, especially in a state like Sokoto, which is a predominantly Muslim-dominated community.

“Dr Aliyu said that Sokoto people have so much respect and regard for Prophet Muhammad SAW, hence the need for all the residents to respect, protect his dignity and personality.

“I want to call on the people of Sokoto State to avoid taking laws into their own hands and instead report any alleged crime or blasphemy to the appropriate quarters for necessary action.

“Our religion does not encourage taking laws into one’s hands, so let us try to be good followers of our religion,” he appealed.

Aliyu’s spokesperson further noted that the governor has warned would-be troublemakers to have a change of mind, adding that Sokoto is the wrong place for them.

Bawa said, “He added that the present administration will not take the issue of blasphemy lightly, and will deal decisively with anyone found guilty of any act aimed at degrading the personality of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, in line with the provision of Islamic laws.

“The governor assured the people of the state of his administration’s commitment to guarantee the safety of lives and property of all law-abiding citizens.

“The governor also warned would-be troublemakers to have a change of mind, adding that Sokoto is a wrong place for them.”


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Clerics warn Muslims not to borrow for Sallah ram

26th June 2023

Ahead of the Eid el-Adha festival on Wednesday, Islamic clerics have advised Muslims to shun desperation, but celebrate the festival within their means.

The clerics, who spoke to The PUNCH on Sunday, urged Muslims to seek Allah’s pleasure with the resources available to them and not get themselves into financial trouble over Sallah festival.

Responding to questions by our correspondent on Sunday, the Chief Imam of the University of Abuja, Prof. TaofeekAbdulAzeez,  warned Muslim faithful against borrowing for the Sallah celebration, admonishing them to buy only what they can afford.

He said, “They should buy what they can afford. They should please Allah alone;  desperation is not a way to please Allah.

“They should buy what they can afford and must not borrow.”

Speaking on the essence of the Eid-el Adha festival, the cleric said, “It is a sign of submission, sacrifice and patience of our father, Prophet Ibrahim (AS).

“We should be patient over domestic crises which resulted in the relocation of the younger wife to Makkah and the establishment of Makkah for Hajj rites, and other Islamic contents. We should also learn sacrifice and submission, sincerity and perseverance.”

Also, the Secretary-General of League of Imams and Alfas in Ogun State, Sheikh TajudeenAdewunmi, harped on the need for moderation during the celebration.

Adewunmi said, “It is not compulsory for Muslims to slaughter rams; only to those who can afford it should do so. Allah does not suck blood and neither does He eat flesh, what He needs is for mankind to have His fear.”

Similarly, the deputy Chief Imam, Federal  University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Prof. SharafadeenAbdulKareem,said, “It is not acceptable for any Muslim to borrow money when he has no capability. But if he belongs to a cooperative society and the body is ready to lend him money for the Sallah, he can go ahead.

“If he is a civil servant that wants to use his or her salary to buy ram, he can borrow money and buy it. Allah does  not accept anyone’s worship that is desperate.”


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Mercy Aigbe Performs First Hajj With Husband After Converting To Islam

25 June 2023

Famous Nollywood actress, Mercy Aigbe, has taken to social media to share photos of herself performing her first Hajj in Mecca after her conversion to Islam.

“May Allah accept our supplications on this very special day as an act of ibadah. Amin,” Aigbe captioned the photos shared on her Instagram page as she pose with her husband, KazeemAdeoti in one of the photos.

Aigbe’s marriage to Adeoti in 2022 attracted a barrage of reactions. It could be recalled that the award-winning actress tied the knot with Kazim in a private ceremony on December 31st 2021 but kept it cool until she shared the video on her Instagram page with the caption, “Throwback to a beautiful day. Blessed and Grateful.”

Despite their marriage, Aigbe had maintained her birthname until April this year when she confirmed during an interview that she now has an Islamic name.

Naija News understands that Aigbe revealed at a Ramadan lecture and special prayers hosted by herself and her husband, KazeemAdeoti, that she now goes by the name Hajia Meenah Mercy Adeoti.


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Arab World


Hajj pilgrims receive gifts embodying Saudi Arabia’s artistic heritage

June 25, 2023

MAKKAH: The Royal Institute for Traditional Arts collaborated with the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to distribute special gifts to pilgrims that represent the cultural heritage and artistic richness of Saudi Arabia.

Gifts, which included prayer mats, were given out at reception sites, such as King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and the Haramain High-Speed Railway, owned by Saudi Arabia Railways.

Prayer mat designs incorporated traditional Saudi arts, including Arabic calligraphy.

Designs also included geometric patterns of Al-Qatt Al-Asiri art and were inspired by wicker art, which uses raw materials from palm trees, adding a natural touch.

The mats also featured ornamental designs found on Najdi wooden doors, including botanical and geometric patterns, as well as balcony designs with shapes representing the desert environment, adding a unique element.


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Saudi Arabia’s expertise in kiswa manufacturing showcased to guests of Hajj program

June 25, 2023

MAKKAH: Guests visited Makkah’s King Abdulaziz Complex for Holy Kaaba Kiswa as part of the cultural and religious events associated with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Program for Hajj.

Guests were given a tour of the different sections of the complex and provided with a detailed explanation of the manufacturing process of the Kaaba’s fabric industry.

They were also told about the history of kiswa manufacturing and the raw materials used in the process.

Dr. HadjIssa Sid Ahmed, a professor at Blida University in Algeria, said that visiting the complex offered a unique opportunity to witness the Kingdom’s expertise and skills in manufacturing the kiswa.

In relation to the event, he added: “I believe that there is no country in the Islamic world that keeps pace with the crowds and their management with such great capabilities.

“May God bless the Kingdom’s efforts and protect its wise leaders.”

Mohamed Kadik, a journalist from Algeria, said: “We were very pleased to visit the King Abdulaziz Complex for Holy Kaaba Kiswa, admiring the capabilities and working hands that expressed their pride and honor to weave the kiswa of the Kaaba.

“Words fall short of describing the happiness, joy and pleasure that we live these days on the blessed lands of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“I extend my sincere thanks to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the warm and generous hospitality.”

Abdul Karim Tohamy, from Benin, said he was delighted to be able to visit the complex, praising the professionalism displayed in the manufacturing of the kiswa.

Muneeb Hassan Al-Rawi, the head of the Czech Muslim Communities Center, also expressed his pleasure at being able to visit the complex and gain a deeper understanding of the significance behind the manufacturing of the Kaaba’s kiswa.

The kiswa is replaced annually in a tradition observed for centuries. The cloth is stitched together in five different parts and fixed to the base with copper rings. Around 670 kg of raw silk is dyed black at the complex.

The kiswa is decorated with verses from the Qur’an embroidered onto the cloth, which contains 120 kg of 21-karat gold thread and 100 kg of silver thread.

The cost of making a new 850 kg kiswa is estimated at SR25 million ($6.6 million), making it the world’s most expensive covering.


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Over 1,000 Umbrellas Distributed to Visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque

25 Jun, 2023

The Municipality of Madinah Region has distributed more than 1,000 umbrellas to the pilgrims and visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque to protect them from the sun in Madinah, which registers high temperatures.

The municipality reiterated its commitment to lend support to community initiatives. More than 100 volunteers of both genders are distributing umbrellas in several locations, including the central area and the Miqat Mosque area, as part of the municipality’s efforts to provide the best services to pilgrims and visitors.


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NEOM-supported Saudi shortlisted for Yugo BAFTA Student Award in gaming category

June 25, 2023

LONDON: A Saudi student has become the first to receive a Yugo BAFTA Student Award nomination in Los Angeles for her submission in the gaming category.

RafifKalantan, who was supported by NEOM to attend the National Film and Television School, had her work reviewed by a panel of 140 BAFTA members, who selected titles to progress to the next round of the program.

The Yugo BAFTA Student Awards is an annual event celebrating the works of young, highly skilled and creative storytellers from around the world.

Kalantan’s entry, “Eros Xavier’s Love Solutions,” was the culmination of an intensive two-year program of training across several skill sets including directing, composing, location sound recording, games design and visual effects.

“Eros Xavier’s Love Solutions” is a 2.5D narrative-driven puzzle-like game in which gamers play as Eros, a retired cupid who breaks couples apart instead of bringing them together by manipulating objects in their home.

This year’s Yugo BAFTA Student Awards welcomed 754 submissions from 103 schools across 30 countries, including Argentina, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and the UAE.

Jon Wardle, director at NFTS, said: “Rafif’s talent and dedication, supported by NEOM, has led to this well-deserved recognition.

“‘Eros Xavier’s Love Solutions’ showcases Rafif’s creative storytelling in the gaming category and we are proud to have played a part in her journey, as we continue to nurture up-and-coming talent and shape the future of an increasingly diverse and dynamic games industry.

“Rafif’s success serves as an inspiration to aspiring games creators everywhere.”

Wayne Borg, managing director of Media Industries, Entertainment, and Culture at NEOM, said: “NEOM is thrilled to see RafifKalantan’s incredible talent recognized by such a prestigious organization as BAFTA for her excellence in games.

“Saudi Arabia’s gaming market has exploded in recent years and continues to evolve and expand, fueled by young and innovative gamers like Rafif.

“Establishing dedicated NEOM programs with the National Film and Television School is crucial in supporting our young talent pool of creatives, paving a career path, and setting a precedent for aspiring filmmakers and gamers as we strive to become an elite global media hub.”

NEOM’s ongoing training programs and mentor schemes nurture and develop new and emerging local talent wishing to pursue a career in the screen sector, championing and strengthening its cultural, social, and economic impact.


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Ministry’s digital transformation efforts streamline Hajj services

June 25, 2023

JEDDAH: As part of its digital solutions package for this year’s Hajj season, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has launched the Hajj Smart Card.

It aims to streamline procedures and facilitate pilgrims’ journeys while they perform their rituals, and plays a crucial role in guiding lost individuals and facilitating communication with Hajj group leaders.

According to the ministry, there are two versions of the smart card. The digital version can be accessed through the Nusuk application and provides comprehensive information about the pilgrims, including their place of residence, health records, itinerary, and other services.

The printed smart card, meanwhile, includes details such as identity number, nationality, and the address of the pilgrimage company. Additionally, it features a QR response code.

The pilgrim’s data can be fully accessed by Hajj workers through a specific app, enabling them to assist and guide the pilgrims whenever necessary.

The ministry also stated that the smart card offers various digital services, including complaint submission, service evaluation, and a map highlighting important sites.

The project was first implemented four years ago. Each year, the experience has been improved and refined as part of the ministry’s digital transformation to provide the best services to Hajj pilgrims.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday the launch of the first trips of m Al-Mashaaer Al-Mugaddassah Metro Line for this Hajj season. The trains will transport pilgrims between the nine stations in Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifah.

Saudi Arabia Railways has expended significant resources over the past few months to get ready for the transportation of pilgrims, performing extensive maintenance work on all 17 trains and developing all operational systems, including systems for trains, signaling and communication, and the systems used in the operation and control center.

To manage crowds within the stations, Saudi Arabia Railways has hired more than 7,500 seasonal workers, which include people who speak English, Urdu, Turkish, the major Nigerian languages, Indonesian, and Arabic.

Mousa Al-Zahrani, the director general of Al-Mashaaer Al-Mugaddassah Metro Line operations, said the employees are fully aware of their responsibility to serve pilgrims, and are striving to use all available resources to ensure a smooth and safe Hajj season.


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 Mobile dental clinic near Grand Mosque provides free service to pilgrims

June 25, 2023

MAKKAH: The Ministry of Health has set up a mobile clinic to provide free dental health services to pilgrims during the Hajj season.

The clinic is stationed outside the entrance to the Al-Haram Emergency Hospital, in the central area around the Grand Mosque in Makkah, to render it accessible to pilgrims.

The project comes in line with the ministry’s goal of improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare and facilitating access to services for visitors to the Grand Mosque.

It is being implemented in partnership with the private sector, represented by Asen Medical Company, whose Chairman Dr. Mohammed Nizar Shaibi, told Arab News that “the launch and maintenance of the mobile dental clinic project for the second consecutive year is one of the biggest successes.”

The idea behind the clinic, Shaibi said, stemmed from a desire to offer pilgrims a quick solution to toothaches, which can be common and painful enough to distract from their rituals.  

“They won’t be feeling calm and peaceful while in pain,” he said.

“Therefore, we are present round the clock near the Grand Mosque to work on easing their pain and creating all the suitable conditions for their comfort and happiness.”

The clinic has helped over 1,000 pilgrims so far by providing them “with all the necessary services in order to complete their rituals with ease,” Shaibi said.

Patients are transferred to the hospital if they need further medical treatment.

The mobile clinic provides dental health services through 32 medical and surgical specialists equipped with modern technology and instruments and available around the clock throughout the Hajj.

The ministry has implemented multiple initiatives to provide healthcare services to pilgrims.

According to a report by the Saudi Press Agency, over 76,000 pilgrims have received health care — including open-heart surgeries, dialysis sessions, and endoscopy operations — in Makkah and Madinah since May 21.

A fleet of over 190 ambulances and 16 emergency centers have been deployed at the Jamarat bridge area at the holy site of Mina.

It was reported on Sunday that a medical team at King Abdullah Medical City saved the life of a female pilgrim in her 70s after she suffered an acute heart attack.

According to the ministry, the team performed an urgent cardiac catheterization, which revealed a blockage in three coronary arteries. The patient was admitted to the cardiology department for critical cases until her condition was stabilized. She recovered in time to complete her Hajj rituals in good health.


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‘Ensuring jihad will continue’: Gaza summer camp teaches youth to fight, hate Israel


Young Palestinians parade and brandish fake rifles as they are instructed on combat against the ‘Zionist enemy’ at Palestinian Islamic Jihad camp

As they do every year, terror groups in the Gaza Strip are operating summer camps for the Palestinian enclave’s youth that includes military-style training in preparation to fight against Israel.

As part of Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s activities, young Palestinians parade and train with fake rifles and are instructed on jihad against the “Zionist enemy.”

In previous years, children were taught to stab and stone Israeli police in order “to liberate Al-Aqsa,” while instructors lionized those who fall as “martyrs” against the enemy.

“These boys are trained in various ways to defend their rights in their territory and homeland,” PIJ official Darwish al-Gharabli told AFP. “Hundreds have participated in the camps of the al-Quds Brigades, the camps of glory and pride, ensuring that jihad and resistance will continue.”

Palestinian youths brandishing fake rifles during a military-style summer camp organized annually by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, during the school holiday in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on June 22, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Rockets are displayed as Palestinian youths parade during a military-style summer camp organized annually by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, during the school holiday in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on June 22, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Women watch as Palestinian youths parade during a military-style summer camp organized annually by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group during the school holiday, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on June 22, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Palestinian youths brandishing fake rifles during a military-style summer camp organized annually by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, during the school holiday in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on June 22, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Rockets are displayed at a military-style summer camp organized annually by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, during the school holiday in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on June 22, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Palestinian youths brandishing fake rifles parade during a military-style summer camp organized annually by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group during the school holiday, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on June 22, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Palestinian youths brandishing fake rifles parade during a military-style summer camp organized annually by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group during the school holiday, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on June 22, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)


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Pope Tawadros congratulates Sisi, Azhar Grand Imam on Eid El-Adha

Monday 26 Jun 2023

In his cable, the pope sent heartfelt greetings to the president and all Muslims on behalf of the Egyptian Coptic Church.

The pope expressed appreciation for the efforts to achieve the aspirations of Egyptians while also wishing for more peace, security, and prosperity in Egypt.

Eid-Al Adha begins on Wednesday, 28 June this year, based on the Gregorian calendar.

El-Tayyeb emphasized the importance of exchanging peace and love between Muslims and Christians during feasts, as Muslims ritually slaughter animals and gather with friends and family for Eid Al-Adha. This was conveyed during his phone call with Tawadros.

The meat from the slaughter is also given to the poor.

El-Tayyeb wished Tawadros a speedy recovery following a sudden illness during mass earlier this month.

The pope concluded the call by expressing his hopes for Egypt's progress.

Eid El-Adha, one of the two Islamic religious holidays, occurs on the tenth day of Dhu Al-Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar.

Eid El-Adha commemorates Prophet Ibrahim's obedience to God when he was willing to sacrifice his son and marks the beginning of the annual Hajj to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Eid marks the fourth day of the Hajj pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam, mandatory once in a lifetime for non-disabled Muslims who can afford it.

Every year, millions of Muslims worldwide perform the Hajj in the Holy City of Mecca.

The Hajj pilgrimage is one of the world's largest annual religious gatherings, lasting five to six days.

Hajj rituals commenced on Sunday evening at the Grand Mosque in Mecca.


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Tens of Israeli Settlers Invade Al-Aqsa Mosque

 26 June, 2023

Dozens of Israeli settlers, supported by Israeli occupation forces, raided the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque via Al-Maghariba gate and performed provocative rituals on Monday morning, June 26, 2023.

The Department of Islamic Endowments in occupied Jerusalem stated that tens of Israeli settlers performed provocative rituals at Al-Aqsa’s courtyards.

Israeli settlers carry out semi-daily incursions into the blessed Mosque in Jerusalem and provocatively perform Talmudic rituals under the protection of Israeli occupation forces.

Settlers’ raids into Al-Aqsa Mosque aim to impose a temporal and spatial division in the holy site, which the Muslim Palestinians reject and decry.

Earlier in June, media sources revealed a new Israeli proposed plan aiming at dividing Al-Aqsa Mosque between Jews and Muslims.

Meanwhile, Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem continue their calls to mobilize at Al-Aqsa to confront the Israeli settlers’ calls for mass raids in Al-Aqsa.

In April 2023, nearly 5054 Israeli settlers invaded the courtyards of Al-Aqsa mosque and performed provocative Talmudic rituals at its courtyards.


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Hajj commences as Saudi Arabia welcomes millions of Muslims from around the world

26 June ,2023

The annual Hajj pilgrimage commenced early on Monday, the eighth day of Dul Hijjah, with millions of Muslims from around the world taking part for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pilgrims arrived at the Grand Mosque in Mecca on Sunday where they performed the Tawaf al-Qudum, known as the Tawaf of Arrival – the first step of the Hajj pilgrimage after entering the state of ihram. Ihram refers to a sacred state that Muslims enter and remain in during the special rituals and events that are required to complete Hajj or Umrah.

They then performed Sa’i between the hills of Safa and Marwa, a ritual that serves to honor the mother of the Prophet Ismail and signifies her devotion and faith in God.

As the sun rose on Monday morning, the pilgrims gathered in the Grand Mosque to pray the sunrise prayers before setting off to Mina.

They then embarked on the journey to Mina where they will spend an entire day and night praying and preparing for the most significant day of the Islamic pilgrimage.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has set up thousands of tents in the area to ensure the pilgrims stay well-rested. During their stay, the pilgrims will read the Quran and offer prayers all night.

On the ninth day of Dul Hijjah, the most pivotal day of Hajj, the pilgrims will flock to Mount Arafat. The mountain is believed to be the place where Adam and Eve met again after God sent them back to Earth and where the Prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon.

They will then move on to Muzdalifah and spend the night supplicating and collected pebbles for the symbolic stoning of the devil ritual before proceeding with the final steps of the Hajj pilgrimage ahead of Eid al-Adha.

Restrictions on the number of pilgrims for this year’s Hajj season were lifted for the first time in several years after the Coronavirus outbreak forced Saudi authorities to limit the capacity.

Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Tawfiq al-Rabiah told a press conference on Thursday that authorities would continue to provide the best services to pilgrims under the directives of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The directives to lift restrictions were based on a thorough review of health indicators and the recommendations of health authorities, as well as the Kingdom’s readiness to organize Hajj with pilgrim numbers returning to their pre-pandemic levels, according to the minister.


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Islamic Revolution Saved Iran From Moral, Political Decline

June 25, 2023

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei underscored that the 1979 Islamic Revolution saved Iran from sinking into a moral, religious and political decline, crediting heroic sacrifices of martyrs and their families for the epic movement.

“Your martyrs changed the country’s destiny in one of the most critical periods of its history,” the Leader emphasized on Sunday while addressing a large crowd of family members of Iranian martyrs in Tehran, Press TV reported.

“The Islamic Revolution took place to preserve the country, which was rapidly falling into moral, religious and political decay, and salvaged it.”

The Leader hailed the Iranian youth for defending the country during Iraqi imposed war in the 1980s, known as the sacred defense, and subsequnt enemy plots to destabilize the country, saying, “Then, the enemy launched a military attack. It was the youth who resisted for eight years and saved the country. Then, our youth [firmly] stood up against various seditious efforts, various moves to foment unrest, and different sorts of enemy aggressions until today.”

He underlined that the youth embraced martyrdom, including in last year’s riots, to save the country and steer its fate toward dignity.

The Leader also called on the media and the artists to introduce and highlight the martyrs as role models to the younger generations, and on fathers, mothers and spouses of martyrs to narrate the stories of their loved ones.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the memories of Iranian martyrs should live on as they are “role models” for the youth.

“The behavior of these heroes, their distinguished moral characteristics, lifestyle, and changes in their lives set an example for the society, especially teenagers and young people,” he said.

He added that publishing the memories of the martyrs’ families will play an important role to introduce the martyrs as role models.


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Islamic State Group Claims Killing Sikh Man in Pakistan's Northwest

June 25, 2023


Gunmen shot and killed a member of Pakistan’s minority Sikh community in an overnight attack in the northwestern city of Peshawar, police said Sunday.

Gauher Khan, a local officer, said the attack on Manmohan Singh, 35, appeared to be a targeted killing. A police investigation continues, Khan said, into the motive.

Khan said the assailants opened fire at Singh while he was returning home from a suburban area. The assailants fled the scene.

The Islamic State group in a statement claimed responsibility for the killing, saying Singh had been a follower of what it called a “polytheistic” Sikh sect in Peshawar. It also claimed wounding a Sikh in the northwestern city the previous day.

It's the third killing of a Sikh community member this year in Pakistan. Last month, assailants gunned down Sardar Singh in a drive-by shooting in the eastern city of Lahore. In April, gunmen shot and killed Dayal Singh in Peshawar. In the same city in May 2022, gunmen killed two members of Sikh community.

Most Sikhs migrated to neighboring India in 1947, the year British rule of the subcontinent ended, and Pakistan was created as a homeland for Muslims in the region. Thousands of Sikhs stayed in Pakistan, where they generally live peacefully. But isolated attacks on minority Sikhs, Christians and members of the Ahmadi sect have continued.


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PHC grants bail to 10 persons arrested in May 9 sedition case

 June 26, 2023

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has granted bail to 10 persons arrested in Lower Dir after the May 9 and 10 violent protests on multiple charges including sedition and setting on fire a public school and other properties.

A single-member bench of Justice Shahid Khan accepted two petitions filed by the accused persons on condition of furnishing two surety bonds each of Rs200,000.

One of the petitions was filed by an accused Ibrahim Khan whereas the other was jointly filed by Liaquat Ali and eight others.

The bench observed that peculiar facts and circumstances of the event in hand had led the court to the conclusion that the set of allegations against the petitioners needed further probe and it made them entitled to the concession of bail.

The bench observed that the record would transpire that there was no direct evidence available that could prima facie connected the petitioners with the commission of the offence except the alleged CCTV footage, on the basis of which majority of the accused had been nominated in the instant case.

It observed that evidentiary value of such incriminating article about the guilt of the accused was to be evaluated by the trial court after recording pro and contra evidence, therefore that element alone made the case of petitioners one of further inquiry.

Moreover, the bench observed that it was for the trial court to determine the applicability of section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) against the accused in view of the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case especially when majority of petitioners had been implicated in the case on the basis of CCTV footage coupled with the fact that they had been assigned a general role, without specifying role of each and every accused.

The petitioners were represented by advocates Mohammad Yar Yousafzai and Murtaza Khan.

Earlier, an anti-terrorism court in Timergara, Dir Lower, had granted bail to around 100 of the suspects on June 7, but rejected pleas of the present 10 petitioners.

FIR of the occurrence was registered at Balambat police station on May 10 under different provisions of Pakistan penal Code including sections 120-A, 124-A, 148, 149, 186, 188, 189, 295-B, 324, 341, 353, 355, 380, 427, 436, 440, 500 and 504 and section 7 of ATA.

The SHO of the police station, Mehbood Shah, was complainant in the case. He claimed that on May 9 a procession comprising of about 1,500 to 2,000 persons from Timergara side under the leadership of former MPA Shafiullah Khan, former MNA Bashir Khan, Balambat tehsil mayor Asim Shoaib and several others gathered at the entrance of the Balambat Cantonment.

He claimed that the accused persons installed a loudspeaker on a vehicle and were turn by turn delivering speeches and instigating the participants of the procession for revolt against the government and were also raising anti-state slogans.

He stated that one Maulana Shah Zaman during his speech provoked the mob. He added that on his provocation, the participants of the procession used abusive language and blocked the main road to traffic.

The SHO said that during their speeches, the accused stated that the government crossed the red line by arresting their leader Imran Khan. He alleged that the protesters also fired at police and security personnel with the intent to kill them, but luckily they escaped unhurt.

He also accused the protesters for breaking the gate to the parade ground and burning the public school building, a canteen and other rooms. He added that because of pelting of stones by the protesters, several police officials received injuries.


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Police officer martyred, 2 injured in suicide attack in Balochistan’s Turbat

June 24, 2023

A police official was martyred and two more injured in a suicide attack on a police van in Balochistan’s Turbat on Saturday, according to Kech Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Mohammad Baloch.

The SSP told that according to reports from the district, a police van was targeted in a bomb blast at Chakar Azam Chowk by a female suicide attacker. He added that one of the injured police officers was a female.

Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul QudoosBizenjo condemned the blast and expressed regret at the news of the martyred and injured police officials. He also extended his condolences to their families

“The aim of terrorism is to halt the development process and intimidate the security forces. The evil intentions of terrorists will never be successful,” the chief minister said in a statement, adding that the determination and courage of the security forces would not be dented by such acts.

“The sensible people of Makran will thwart the ambitions of elements who are against development,” he said, adding that the people’s welfare would be ensured and the backwardness of the province would be eliminated by continuing the process of development.

Balochistan Interior Minister Mir ZiaullahLangove also condemned the incident and sought a report.

He said the plans of terrorists at the behest of “foreign forces” would be thwarted and lauded the sacrifices of security officials.

“The war against terrorism will continue until peace is achieved,” Langove said and offered prayers for the martyred and injured.

In December, four security personnel were martyred and one was injured in an attack in Turbat. Official sources had said unknown militants had attacked a vehicle of Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan (South) in the DannukGogdan area of Turbat.

The FC personnel had engaged the attackers and after a heavy exchange fire, four had embraced martyrdom, including a subedar.

It is also pertinent to mention that the suicide bomber of the April 2022 Karachi University attack, identified as Shari Baloch alias Brimash, was born in Turbat in 1991.


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6-member SC bench hears pleas against military trials of civilians after Justice Shah’s recusal

June 26, 2023

The bench comprises Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice SayyedMa­­zahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Ayesha Malik.

The fresh larger bench was formed after the government raised objections regarding Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, citing the fact that one of the petitioners, Jawwad S. Khawaja, was related to him.

Justice Shah had subsequently recused himself from hearing the case, although he pointed out that this fact was highlighted at the very first hearing.

This was the second time the bench stood dissolved.

Originally, a nine-bench bench had been formed to hear the case. However, moments after the first hearing began, Justice Qazi Faez Isa had said he did not consider the SC bench “a proper court”, with Justice Sardar Tariq Masood also endorsing his point of view.

The hearing

The PTI chief’s lawyer, Hamid Khan, came to the rostrum at the start of the hearing and said that a number hadn’t been assigned to their plea. However, the CJP said the court would come to this issue later, adding that the judges had come back after recovering from a “setback”.

“Instead of arguments, other tactics are being used here,” Justice Bandial said. He noted that the plea filed by the PTI chief raised several requests but Khan told the court that he would only focus on the one against military trials.

Subsequently, lawyer Salman Akram Raja, representing petitioner Junaid Razzak, came to the rostrum. He referred to the British and American constitutions in his argument.

“Has anyone’s trial in [military court’s] begun,” CJP Bandial asked, to which Raja answered in the negative. The top judge then told the lawyer to not talk based on assumptions.

“In this way, the trial of military officers will also be discussed in the future,” Justice Bandial said. He noted that tomorrow was the court’s last working day and told the lawyer to talk about relevant matters.

He also questioned how Article 175(3), which mandates the complete separation of the judiciary from the executive, was applicable in this case.

Raja said that the article was based on the right to fair trial underlined in Article 9 and 10. “No one can be deprived of the right to fair trial,” he said.

However, CJP Bandial asked the lawyer to show the top court a judicial precedent which stated that Article 175 was linked with the Army Act. He also told the lawyer to not make “grand complications”. “Keep your arguments brief and relevant to the case,” he said.

During the hearing, Justice Ayesha asked when Section 2D of the Army Act, which empowers military courts to try civilians facing charges of terrorism or abetting terrorist activity, was applicable.

“Can a civilian be tried in military courts or not?” asked Justice Ayesha. She noted that the petitioner was challenging provisions of the Army Act but was not giving reasons for doing so.

“The SC has laid down the principle that judicial affairs can only be run by the judiciary,” Raja said. “No one else can exercise judicial powers under Article 175(3),” Raja said.

Raja further said that there were two kinds of civilians. “One is who renders a service for the armed forces,” the lawyer said, adding that such people were bound by “military discipline”.

He said that the second type were those who had nothing to do with the armed forces. He said that “complete civilians” could only be tried by a judge appointed under article 175(3).

“How can we say that military courts are not courts?” Justice Ayesha asked.

“Can the verdicts of military courts not be challenged?” CJP Bandial asked. Raja said that they could be challenged before the army chief or a committee formed by him.

“You can say that the scope of appeal in these courts should be expanded,” the CJP remarked.

Here, Justice Naqvi noted, “You are saying that military courts are a parallel system and can’t be called courts.”

Raja replied in the affirmative, highlighting that civilians were not dispensed basic rights during military trials. “According to the Army Act, trials are conducted in military court on displinary violations. But the trial of a civilian in military courts is not a matter of disciplinary violations,” he contended.

“This is a good point,” Justice Bandial observed.

Meanwhile, Justice Ahsan asked if the petitioner was challenging military trials to the extent of civilians. “You are not challenging trials of army officials, correct?” the judge asked. The lawyer replied that he was not challenging the trials of army officials.

At one point during the hearing, the CJP asked what the US laws said about civilians who rebelled against the state.

“In America, the trials of citizens who indulge in anti-state activities are conducted in civilian courts,” Raja replied.

Separately, Justice Akhtar asked if trials of civilians could be held in military courts if an emergency was imposed in the country and fundamental rights were suspended. Raja replied that the laws in the US were very clear about this.

The CJP noted that such trials were held in civilian courts.

Here, Justice Ayesha asked, “Are military trials of civilians held in our region?”

Raja responded that the practice was not followed in India.

At one point, Justice Bandial said that the decision under the 21st Constitutional Amendment should be seen. “It mentions the application of Army Act on those who take up weapons against the armed forces.”

The hearing was then adjourned for 45 minutes.

Justice Shah recuses himself after govt’s objections

Shortly after the hearing first began at 9:30am, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan came to the rostrum and relayed the government’s objections to Justice Shah’s inclusion in the bench as one of the petitioners, ex-CJP Khawaja, was related to him.

“One of the petitioners is Justice Shah’s relative. Therefore, it may affect his conduct,” AGP Awan said.

However, CJP Bandial interjected and said, “The bench will not be made according to your whims.” Expressing his anger, the CJP said that the government “should not mock the judiciary”.

He asked on what basis the government was objecting to Justice Shah’s presence on the bench. “Are you objecting to the conflict of interest or bias?” he asked.

“We have always shown restraint. We didn’t punish those flouting court directives,” Justice Bandial said, adding that implementing the court’s directives was a “moral responsibility”.

He said that ex-CJP Khawaja was not a political person.

“You are a lawyer of great character and reputation. There is a whole series of objections regarding the bench being raised repeatedly,” Justice Bandial said.

Talking about the elections suomotu case, the CJP said that there was a discussion about whether the majority or the minority verdict stood. “You are making the bench controversial again,” he told the AGP.

This prompted Awan to state that personally he had no objections to Justice Shah’s presence on the bench.

For his part, Justice Shah stated that he had highlighted the fact that one of the petitioners was his relative at the very first hearing and asked those with objections come forward.

At the same time, however, the judge also recused himself from hearing the case.

The lawyers present during the hearing urged the judge to reconsider, saying that the case concerned fundamental rights.

“Try and understand, this is [a] judge’s own decision. I cannot hear this case,” Justice Shah told them.

‘Govt not allowing courts to make decisions’

Talking to the media outside the SC after Justice Shah’s recused himself, senior lawyer Latif Khosa — who is representing representing petitioner Aitzaz Ahsan in the case — said, “We cannot bear such allegations against the SC by the federal government.”

He said the government was “not allowing the courts to make decisions” and was disrupting fundamental rights. “They have thrown the Constitution in the trash,” Khosa added.

The lawyer went on to recall the CJP’s remarks from today’s hearing. “The CJP said the same things today. That the same attitude has been going on in which they (the government) are entangling us in [numbers].”

Khosa asserted that the judiciary had a “moral authority” that was accepted by the people and the world. He urged the government to “seriously think” about the matter.

The lawyer said he had informed the court and Justice Shah that the federal government could not raise the objection after it had already said two days ago that it had no issues with the bench.

“They cannot take a U-turn. Two days after the hearing, they have gotten a sudden revelation that an objection should be raised on [Justice] Mansoor Ali Shah sahib,” he remarked.

The pleas

The petitions in question were filed by former CJP Jawwad S. Khawaja, Aitzaz Ahsan, Karamat Ali, and PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

Khawaja, who filed the petition through his counsel Advocate Khawaja Ahmad, requested the top court to declare the trial of civilians by military courts unconstitutional.

The former CJP pleaded that Section 2(1)(d)(i) and (ii) of the Pakistan Army Act were inconsistent with the fundamental rights conferred by the Constitution and therefore void, and should be struck down.

As an interim measure, all proceedings against civilians based on the sections should be suspended or, in the alternative, any military court should be restrained from passing a final order in any case against civilians based on the sections, the petition stated.

Before this petition, five members of civil society from different cities, thro­ugh their counsel Faisal Siddiqi, sought as illegal the trial of civilians in the military courts in connection with the violence in the country of May 9.

Likewise, Ahsan, who has also served as a former law minister and also spearheaded the 2007 lawyers’ movement, explained that the primary purpose of his petition was to ensure that none of the thousands of civilians who have admittedly been arrested for allegedly having partaken in the May 9 violence and being nominated for trial be tried by military courts.

The petitioner said he did not seek to scuttle the trial of any civilian before any lawfully established court of criminal jurisdiction.

In his petition, the PTI chairman sought a declaration against the arrests, investigation, and trial of civilians in peacetime under the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952 as well as the Official Secrets Act 1923.


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At least 21 women injured in stampede at Karachi’s KPT Ground during disbursement of BISP funds

June 26, 2023

At least 21 women were injured in a stampede during the disbursement of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) funds at the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) Ground on Monday, officials said.

Police Surgeon Dr Summaiya Syed initially told that a woman had died during the stampede but later clarified that the victim was in critical condition.

According to Jackson Police Station House Officer (SHO) Baber Hameed, the wounded women were moved to Civil Hospital Karachi.

A patient list prepared by the hospital, a copy of which is available with, showed that 21 patients were brought to the facility.

SHO Hameed said that around “2,000 to 3,000” women had arrived to collect the funds. He suspected that the lock on the main gate was broken due to which a huge number of women entered, leading to the stampede.

The official regretted that there was only one BISP centre — the KPT Ground — for the entire Keamari district, where women from Machar Colony, Musharraf Colony, Kharadar and Mithadar came to collect funds.

He added that Baldia police officials and the district administration reached the site immediately after the incident and the situation was under control now.

Disbursement of funds under the BISP had resumed today after a break of two days due to intense heat in parts of the country.

A report carried by state broadcaster Radio Pakistan had quoted a BISP spokesperson as saying that the process of payments would continue till Wednesday and would again commence on July 3, after Eidul Azha.


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Two brothers held in Kohat for assaulting sister

June 26, 2023

KOHAT: The police on Sunday arrested two brothers for assaulting their 15-year-old sister for a year.

Officials said the victim came to the relevant police station and told them that her real brother, Rehmat and stepbrother, Ahmed, had been assaulting her for long and warned to kill her if she revealed her ordeal to anyone.

Officials said the victim told them that her brothers repeatedly assaulted her in their house as she had no parents and was forced to live with them.

They said the police raided the Merozai area and arrested Rehmat. They added the police also raided Miangan Colony and arrested Ahmed from there.

The officials said the accused were presented before a judge, who sent them on physical remand for further interrogation.


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Southeast Asia


Labelled Allah’s enemy, Harapan files police report against preacher

Jun 26, 2023

PakatanHarapan has filed a police report against independent preacher Zainul AsriMohdRomli for allegedly making seditious statements by equating Kedah’s ‘political enemies’ to ‘enemies of Allah’.

The report was made over Zainul’s speech during the “Himpunan Kedah Berselawat" on June 24 where he expressed hope that Allah would defend Kedah from being taken over by His enemies.

Harapan media mobilisation bureau chief Mohamad Yahya made the report at the Dang Wangi police station in...


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Police Investigate Alleged Blasphemy at Al Zaytun Islamic Boarding School

26 June 2023

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department Head Comr. Gen. AgusAndrianto claimed to have received orders from Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs MahfudMd and the National Police Chief Gen. ListyoSigitPrabowo to investigate alleged blasphemy at Al Zaytun Islamic Boarding School.

“Pak Coordinating Minister has discussed this, and he directs us [to examine it],” Agus told reporters at the National Police Headquarters, on Monday, June 26, 2023.

Agus said MahfudMd would establish a team to support the police officers in investigating the case.

“We received a public report yesterday regarding the alleged criminal act of blasphemy committed by the leader of Al Zaytun Islamic boarding school, and we will carry out investigative steps,” he explained.

The Islamic Boarding School leader, PanjiGumilang, is considered to have spread heretical teachings, such as allowing men and female to perform mass prayer in the same row, allowing adultery in which sins can be redeemed with money, and planning to establish a Christian boarding school. In his speech, Panji also openly claimed to be a communist, while such an ideology is long banned in Indonesia.

According to the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) on its website, Al Zaitun Islamic Boarding School has been a source of controversy since decades ago. In 2002, the MUI team discovered it is affiliated with the radical Indonesian Islamic State (NII) and spread heretical teachings. “Some parties consider this boarding school to be heretical and dangerous,” MUI said.


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‘Not realistic’ for Malaysia to achieve net-zero by itself, says Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim

JUN 26 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia has ambitious goals to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 — but the Southeast Asian nation cannot do it alone, said the country’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

“They expect developing countries like Malaysia to do it on our own which is not realistic,” Anwar told CNBC’s JP Ong at the Energy Asia conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In March, the International Renewable Energy Agency forecast that Malaysia will need to double its renewable energy transition investments to at least $375 billion in order to meet its 2050 net-zero emissions goals.

Anwar reaffirmed Malaysia’s commitment to these goals, but said partners in developed nations “have to understand that the transition takes time and takes investments” and that they have to “play their part.”

Anwar added, “A drastic step would be at the expense of our education, health and development. But in terms of commitment, it is there. The transition plan is there. The energy transition has started, has begun.”


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Malaysia says ready to bring citizens home amid tensions in Russia

26 Jun 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government is prepared to bring home 755 of its citizens from Russia if their safety is compromised, said Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Monday (Jun 26).

“The government, through Wisma Putra (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), has made arrangements to bring home Malaysian citizens from the country at any time, if necessary,” he was quoted by Bernama as telling a press conference after opening a Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy Associates (FBINAA) Asia Pacific Chapter Conference.

Ahmad Zahid said that the government is closely monitoring the development of the tensions in Russia, particularly in Moscow.

“Foreign Minister Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir has also provided a briefing to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and myself, so we are monitoring the situation there,” he reportedly said.

In an advisory on Saturday, the Malaysian Embassy in Russia urged all Malaysians, particularly students in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Volgograd to stay vigilant and calm, limit movement outdoors, as well as to avoid crowded areas.

It also advised Malaysians located in Russia to carry personal documents such as their passport at all times and to ensure that travel documents are valid and easily accessible.

Meanwhile, it advised Malaysians who plan to travel to Russia for non-essential purposes against doing so until the situation has improved.

On Sunday, Mr Zambry said that the Malaysian embassy in Russia is in close contact with all 755 registered Malaysians.

According to Bernama, it was reported that Russia had, on Saturday, declared an anti-terrorist operation regime in Moscow and the Moscow region after the chief of the Wagner mercenary group led by Yevgeny Prigozhin vowed to overthrow Russia’s military leadership.

Prigozhin was once a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The brief revolt came to a halt after the rebellious mercenary commander abruptly reached a deal with the Kremlin to go into exile.

Under the deal announced on Saturday by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Prigozhin will go to neighbouring Belarus, which has supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Charges against him of mounting an armed rebellion will be dropped.


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