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Muslim Mehndi Artists Opposed on Pretext of ‘Love Jihad’ on Karva Chauth

New Age Islam News Bureau

13 October 2022


Karva Chauth is one of the popular Hindu festivals in India.


• New Islamist Militant Outfit, Jama’at ul Ansar Fil Hind al Sharqiya, Emerges in Bangladesh

• UAE’s Moon Rover to Be Sent to Regions of the Moon Unexplored by Humans – Passes Final Tests

• Conference on Islamic Unity in Iran: Takfiri Fatwas A Major Problem in Muslim World

• Scholars Convention in Pakistan: Muslim World League for Promoting Tolerance, Peace, Justice in Islamic Societies



• 'Ganga Jamuni Tahzeeb’: Muslim Man Donates Land for Hanuman Temple in Shahjahanpur, UP

• Gujarat: Muslims Donate For Renovation of A Hindu Temple In Siddhpur

• Muslim Body Condemns Govt’s Decision to Allow Sale of Beer at Departmental Stores in J&K

• Karnataka Hijab Row: Split Verdict by SC; Justice Gupta Upholds Ban, Justice Dhulia Says 'Matter of Choice'

• Mom's Triple Talaq Certificate Not Recognised, Kid Denied Passport

• Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind Demands Action against BJP’s Parvesh Verma, Nandkishore Gurjar and Others over Hate Speeches

• Aligarh Muslim University’s leading academic wins top UAE award for alternative medicine

• ‘A Lab Experiment’: Kapil Sibal Ahead Of Supreme Court Verdict on Hijab Ban

• Gujarat: ‘Only Hindu delivery person’, writes Swiggy customer


South Asia

• Taliban Demands Increased Engagement and Cooperation Rather Than Criticism

• Taliban Says Human Rights Violations in Afghanistan are ‘Rumours’

• Imposing Sanctions Does Not Benefit Kabul, Washington: Islamic Emirate

• UN Rapporteur for Afghan Human Rights Meets Islamic Emirate Officials

• US Visa Restrictions To Negatively Impact Ties: Taliban

• Taliban claims Afghanistan is secure enough for large-scale projects


Arab World

• As Biden‘Re-Evaluates’ Ties With Riyadh, Saudis Working To Get Trump Re-Elected

• Qatar strongly condemns settlers' storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque

• Islamic State terrorizes business owners in northeast Syria

• Al-Azhar rejects fatwas against polio vaccination in Pakistan

• Coalition says it exchanged POW visits with Yemen’s Houthis

• Saudi defence minister holds discussions with British, Yemeni counterparts



• Hezbollah Chief: Resistance Sole Way to Free Palestine, Defeat Enemies Of Muslims

• At Least 108 Dead in Iran Crackdown on Mahsa Amini Protests: IHR

• Iran protests: At least 28 children killed, many arrested in Iran, rights groups say

• Raisi Accuses US Of Resorting To ‘Policy Of Destabilization’ Against Iran

• Iran Warns EU of Reciprocal Move against Restrictive Measures

• Interior Minister: Foreign-Backed Terrorist Groups Lead Riots in Iran, Seek Sedition

• Living costs top worry for Israeli voters stuck in election treadmill

• Iran’s Khamenei slams protests as ‘scattered riots’ designed by the enemy



• Shehbaz Says ‘Absolutely Willing’ To Talk to India but Onus on New Delhi to Take Steps for ‘Meaningful Engagement’

• Orders Came From ‘Elsewhere’ While I Was PM, Says Imran

• Hazaras rally in Balochistan against persecution in Afghanistan

• PTI Senator Azam Swati arrested for tweeting against army chief

• Opposition in uproar after Ghani’s remarks against Karachiites

• IHC seeks report from ministry over issuance of ID card to MQM founder Altaf Hussain

• Pakistan, Afghanistan bilateral trade increases 66 percent since Taliban rule


Southeast Asia

• 20 Years after Bali Bombings, Indonesia Confronts Extremism Online

• Indonesia seeks to corner share of Africa's Muslim fashion market

• Man suspected of killing baby has 8 past criminal offences

• Pahang to pass state budget first before decision on dissolution



• Attack on Military Base Foiled, 20 Al-Shabaab Terrorists Killed: Somali Army

• UN health chief says clinical trials for Ebola's Sudan strain to start within weeks

• Tunisian protesters clash with police over missing migrants



• Arab Parliament Blasts Britain's Plan To Relocate Embassy To Occupied Al-Quds

• Muslims in Bulgaria: Dispersed after persecution and rely on youth

• EU states agree to sanction Iran over protest crackdowns

• UN raps Finland for violating rights of children abandoned in Syria camps


North America

• Biggest Threat To Gulf Maritime Waters Is From Iran: Top US Admiral

• US says Iran nuclear deal is ‘not our focus right now’

• US Senate removing conditions on F-16 deal 'in line with spirit of alliance,' says Turkish lawmaker

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Muslim Mehndi Artists Opposed on Pretext of ‘Love Jihad’ on Karva Chauth


Karva Chauth is one of the popular Hindu festivals in India.


Oct 13, 2022

By India Today Web Desk: Ahead of the Karva Chauth festival, members of the Hindu Mahasabha have warned of consequences if any Mehndi artist belonging to the "other community" applies henna on the hands of Hindu women in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar.

Vikram Saini, a BJP MLA from Khatauli, on Wednesday said the intensions of Muslim youth who have opened Mehndi shops are "different" and they have "love jihad" on their minds.

"They conduct love jihad under the guise of this [Mehndi work]. There have been many such cases. My request [to Hindu women] is to apply Mehndi at home or from shops and beauty parlours opened by our community members," Saini said.

Meanwhile, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) opened 13 mehndi stalls and tasked its members with ensuring that Muslim male make-up artists do not apply mehndi or henna to Hindu women. They are verifying the details of the mehndi artists by checking their Aadhar cards.

Karva Chauth is a popular Hindu festival where married women fast from sunrise to sunset for the safety and longevity of their husbands. Married women apply mehndi in colourful designs as part of the Karva Chauth rituals.

Lokesh Saini, a Hindu Mahasabha member, said the move is to protect "our brothers and sisters" from falling prey to 'love jihad'. Hindu women should go to those stall owners who understand the significance of Karva Chauth, he said.

In 2021, a similar incident was reported in Muzaffarnagar and an FIR was registered against a group for taking out a march to ensure no Muslim applies henna to a Hindu customer.

Source: India Today

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New Islamist Militant Outfit, Jama’at ul Ansar Fil Hind al Sharqiya, Emerges in Bangladesh


Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya’


By Shafi Md Mostofa

October 12, 2022

On October 6, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), an elite anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, arrested seven members of a new militant organization, Jama’atul Ansar Fil Hind al Sharqiya.

While members of the group have been active since 2017, it was only in 2019 that they took on the name Jama’atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya after bringing together leaders and workers of several Islamist militant groups including the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Ansar al-Islam (AAI), and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami Bangladesh (HUJI-B).

Bangladesh has three streams of Islamic militant organizations. While the AAI, which came to the fore in 2013 with the killing of atheist blogger Rajib Haider, is an al-Qaida affiliated group, Neo-JMB, which was responsible for the 2016 Holey Artisan Café attack is an affiliate of the Islamic State (IS). The third stream is the JMB, which was founded in 1998 by Afghan war veterans.

Until 2017, all these organizations were functioning side-by-side, although some JMB and AAI members left to join the Neo-JMB, which gained momentum in the aftermath of IS declaring a “Global Caliphate” in June 2014.

In an article published in The Diplomat in 2020, I said that the AAI might take advantage of the leadership crisis within the JMB and the ideological frustration of IS to press forward on its agenda of creating an Islamic India.

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My anticipation of the rise of AAI was based on the weakening of the other two organizations. Several JMB leaders were arrested and executed and the JMB network was dismantled by security forces. Since June 2016, Neo-JMB was subjected to a severe military crackdown, in which over 100 militants were killed, and 500 others were arrested in over 30 police-led countrywide operations. Most importantly, IS lost its ideological basis of setting up a ‘Global Caliphate’ with the killing of its emir Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2017.

It was only the AAI, which did not lose leaders and fighters. Its ideological basis too became stronger with the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and Muslim persecution in India, as AAI/al-Qaida aim for “Gazwatul Hind” or the conquest of India.

There are several pointers to the fact that the Jama’atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya has al-Qaeda links. Its name translates to “Jama’atul Ansar in East India,” reflecting al-Qaida’s Indian subcontinental agenda. Besides, one of the seven militants arrested recently told the media that he was sent videos of Jashimuddin Rahmani, an al-Qaida ideologue, who has been in jail since 2016.

In an article published in The Diplomat in May 2022, I pointed out that Muslim militancy in Bangladesh has been going through a silent phase, a phase of recruitment and fundraising. The recent arrests of over 500 militants and the formation of a new militant organization indicate that militants have been recruiting robustly in Bangladesh.

The arrested militant, who spoke to the media said he was invited to join the new organization by his cousin. When he was not convinced to join it, he was sent a lot of videos of Muslim persecution across the globe, especially that of Muslims in Myanmar. It was the satiric cartoon of Prophet Muhammad by a French cartoonist that ultimately prompted him to join the militancy.

In my book, Islamist Militancy in Bangladesh: A Pyramid Root Cause Model, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), I pointed out that online radicalization involves both online and offline elements. While the content could be online, it could be channeled through close relatives, teachers and friends.

The aforementioned arrested militant said that he was first approached by his cousin who then sent him links to videos and other online material. His statement affirms that Muslim victimization discourses have become a strong recruitment tool for militant organizations. Criticism of Prophet Muhammad also acts as a triggering factor for vulnerable Muslim youth.

So how serious is the situation in Bangladesh? I would say it is not alarming yet. But it is a concerning situation.

Youth unemployment and poor governance are of concern to many Bangladeshis. Meanwhile, the presence of global jihadist groups is growing. Bangladeshis are still resilient to the call of militant ideology. While it would be an exaggeration to claim that Bangladesh will soon become like Talibanized Afghanistan, Bangladeshi militants have the capability to pose a security threat if they come together on a single platform.

Some analysts see militancy as a creation of the government. Of the 50 elites I interviewed between 2018 and 2019, several did not believe the narrative of the government and the security forces on militancy issues. Since the current government lacks legitimacy, they said, it uses action against ‘militancy’ to gain credibility. Political analyst Dr. Zahed Ur Rahman recently said that the Awami League government will bring forward militant cases before elections due to be held in December 2023 and stage some ‘jangi natok’ (militancy drama) before elections. Clearly, there is distrust between a section of the population and the security forces.

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This distrust is a serious barrier in the path of the government’s efforts to combat militancy. Whatever the perception of the people, the militant challenge is real and it deserves a comprehensive strategy to overcome it.

Therefore, the Bangladesh government needs to reach a national consensus on the problem of religious extremism and adopt comprehensive Preventing Violent Extremism initiatives. Ad hoc PVE initiatives will meet with little success. Security forces have a major role to play to combat both online and offline radicalization.

Source: The Diplomat

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UAE’s Moon Rover to Be Sent to Regions of the Moon Unexplored by Humans – Passes Final Tests


As part of the Emirates Lunar Mission, the 10-kilogram robotic explorer – which has been built in the UAE by Emirati engineers working with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) - will send back images and collect data on lunar soil and dust once it reaches the Red Planet. (Supplied)


13 October, 2022

The United Arab Emirates Rashid rover – which is to be sent to regions of the Moon unexplored by humans – has cleared all tests, pushing the mission one step closer to its launch into outer space.

As part of the Emirates Lunar Mission, the 10-kilogram robotic explorer – which has been built in the UAE by Emirati engineers working with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) - will send back images and collect data on lunar soil and dust once it reaches the Red Planet.

The mission is expected to launch from a spaceport in Cape Canaveral, Florida, next month on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

“Congratulations to the ELM team that worked tirelessly to get Rashid Rover ready for the launch,” said Salem AlMarri, Director General of MBRSC. “The lunar mission will engineer a new scientific reality for Emiratis and pave the way for more space exploration missions by MBRSC.”

“This mission also exemplifies the nation's spirit of innovation and scientific progress, while also contributing to global space science research and explorations.”

Over the last four months, the rover was exposed to a series of rigorous internal and external reviews, state news agency WAM reported Thursday.

The reviews were designed to test out every one of the multitudes of systems and subsystems of the rover during the launch stage, cruise stage, and descent stage.

At the beginning of the year, the ELM rover completed the assembly and first set of full functional tests of the flight model in the laboratories of MBRSC. This phase of testing included assessments of all the functionality of the hardware and software within all the possible on-surface (lunar) scenarios.

This phase also included a heavy vibration test of the model at the EDGE’s Electro-Optics Centre of Excellence (EOCE) laboratories based in Abu Dhabi.

In the second phase, the Rashid rover completed a series of environmental tests in Toulouse, France.

This included two sections of the evaluation: The first was the final thermal and vacuum tests within the Airbus facility, in which the Rover was heated and cooled to simulate the pressures and temperatures of its journey through space and on the Moon's surface.

The second and last section of the environmental tests included rigorous vibration and shock checks of the flight model at the CNES Labs.

For this, the rover was shaken on a vibration table simulating the environment the rover will encounter during the launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as well as be subjected to the same shocks it will experience decelerating in the lunar atmosphere, the intense impact of deployment and touchdown.

The tests campaign concluded in Germany with the final phase of checks on the interfaces with the ispace lander that will safely deliver the rover to the Moon's surface. This phase also included instrument alignment checks, such as imaging systems, and a final functional test of the integrated system following the environmental campaign.

Dr. Hamad AlMarzooqi, Project Manager of the Emirates Lunar Mission added: “MBRSC can’t wait to see Rashid rover begin its long-awaited flight to the moon. We are now all cleared and ready for the next step, which is the launch vehicle integration process, which is the final stage of our lunar mission before launch.”

“The science and technology of this mission are going to help us address major questions about the geologic and surface science of the moon that we’ve been working on for years, and we’re excited to share our journey with the world.”

Rashid Rover is now ready for the final integration process with the launch vehicle before its launch window of November 9 – 15, 2022.

The primary goal of the mission is to study the moon’s plasma and to provide answers about moon dust, the lunar surface, mobility on the moon’s surface, and how different surfaces interact with lunar particles.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Conference on Islamic Unity in Iran: Takfiri Fatwas A Major Problem in Muslim World


Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi delivered a speech on Wednesday at the 36th Islamic Unity Conference


October 12, 2022

Takfiri Fatwas have created many problems for Muslims, Abdul Shakour Sardarkhan said, addressing the 36th International Conference on Islamic Unity, which kicked off here in the Iranian capital on Wednesday.

He further said Muslims worship one God, have one sacred book, pray toward one direction and have the Hajj, prayer and other rituals in common.

All of these show the necessity of unity among followers of Islam and avoiding discord and conflicts, he stated.

Sardarkhan added that all problems in the Islamic world originate in differences and discord and this is while God has ordered Muslims to unite around Hablullah (rope of God).

The differences seen in the Muslim Ummah are the result of distancing from the teachings of Islam and the Holy Quran, according to the Pakistani official.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he said the issue of Palestine is the main issue in the Islamic world, noting that Pakistan has always supported the Palestinian cause.

Muslims must unite against Zionist and rush to help the first Qibla of Islam and also strive to foil the plots hatched by Takiri elements, he stated.

Sardarkhan went on to say that the issue of Kashmir is also important for Pakistan because the Muslims of Kashmir have been facing oppression for years.

Some 200 foreign guests from 60 countries and 100 Iranian guests will address the conference in person and virtually.

The guests will visit the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini on Wednesday afternoon before attending the general assembly of the conference on Thursday.

Participants will meet with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on Friday before concluding the event by issuing a statement.

The International Islamic Unity Conference is annually held in Iran by the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought (WFPIST) on the occasion of the Islamic Unity Week.

The 17th day of Rabi al-Awwal, which falls on October 13 this year, is believed by Shia Muslims to mark the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), while Sunni Muslims regard the 12th day of the month (Sunday, October 9) as the birthday of the last prophet.

The interval between the two dates is celebrated every year as the Islamic Unity Week.

Late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran Imam Khomeini (RA) declared the occasion as the Islamic Unity Week back in the 1980s.

Source: IQNA

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Scholars Convention in Pakistan: Muslim World League for Promoting Tolerance, Peace, Justice in Islamic Societies


Muslim World League (MWL) Secretary General Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Bin Abdulkareem Al-Issa


Fahad Shabbir

October 12, 2022

LAHORE, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 12th Oct, 2022): Muslim World League (MWL) Secretary General Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Bin Abdulkareem Al-Issa has stressed for promotion of tolerance, peace and socio economic justice in the Muslim societies.

Addressing a Scholars Convention at the headquarter of Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith, Ravi Road here on Wednesday, he said that Islam gives the message of interfaith harmony, love, peace and brotherhood and it is responsibility of Muslims to spread this message in the world. "Our motto is to present true face of Islam before the nations," he added.

He said that the Muslim World League (MWL) is a representative forum of Muslims of the world. He said that the issue of Islamophobia is worsening due to lack of true knowledge about Islam, adding that dialogue eliminates distances which can remove misunderstandings.

He said that some elements connected such information with Islam, which were baseless. The MWL Secretary General said that disputes always gave destruction to the world whereas unanimity always gives peace.

"It is responsibility of scholars to remove ignorance with wisdom," he said.

He said that Saudi Arabia has special cordial relations with Ulema and scholars besides the Pakistani nation.

He expressed his respect for efforts of Pakistan to bring the Muslim Ummah closer and said that special effective representation has been given to the Pakistani scholars at the MWL forum.

Earlier, Ambassador of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) Nawaf bin Saeed bin Ahmad Almalki in his address said that Pakistan is an important Islamic country which has strong historic relations with the KSA and its people. He said that the people and the government of Saudi Arabia love the people and the government of their brethren Islamic country (Pakistan) like Pakistan government and people do.

He said that Pakistani brothers played a vital role in the progress, development and prosperity of the KSA. He said that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have deep bilateral relations. He appreciated the elders of Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith.

Later, Saudi guests were presented with sword and other souvenirs.

Earlier, Senator Allama Sajid Mir and Senator Hafiz Dr Abdulkarim with other prominents warmly welcomed the MWL delegation at the Markaz Ahle Hadith. Jamiat Ulema Pakistan leader Shah Awais Norani was also present.

A large number of Ulema attended the convention.

It is pertinent to mention here that Doctor Muhammad Bin Abdulkareem Al-Issa delivered the sermon of Hajj this year.

Source: Urdu Point

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'Ganga Jamuni Tahzeeb’: Muslim Man Donates Land For Hanuman Temple In Shahjahanpur, UP

Oct 12, 2022 

By Kanishka Singharia

A Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh's Shahjahanpur has offered a section of his property to the district government, so that a temple that falls on the Delhi-Lucknow national highway widening project can be relocated there.

The man, Babu Ali, donated one 'bigha' (0.65 hectares) of land near NH-24 to the administration, so that the temple could be shifted, additional district magistrate (administration) Ramsevak Dwivedi was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Tilhar deputy district magistrate Rashi Krishna said legal formalities for transferring the land to the government have been completed. Krishna who was all praises for Ali, said the man upheld the “Ganga Jamuni tehzeeb”, a term used to refer to the fusion of Hindu and Muslim cultures in the country.

In a similar incident, a Chennai-based Muslim couple had donated ₹1 crore to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), earlier in the month of September.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Gujarat: Muslims donate for renovation of a Hindu temple in Siddhpur

Oct 13, 2022

AHMEDABAD: Recently an old temple of Goddess Chamunda Mata located in Dethly village near Sidhpur taluka in Patan district was renovated at a cost of about Rs 1 crore. It has become a beacon of communal harmony locally as members of Muslim community of this village donated Rs 11 lakh towards the revamping. Not only that but the members of Muslim community are also volunteering at the temple by running a tea counter serving free tea to devotees who are coming to attend a three-day yagna organised by the temple management.

Akbar Momin, local leader of Agakhan Momin community of the village, said that a year ago when the temple management decided to renovate the old temple and were collecting funds for that, members of the Muslim community got together and collectively donated Rs 11,11,111 to the temple trust. "The village population is around 6,000 and 30% of them are Muslims. We live in harmony and have never seen any communal violence or disharmony in the village," Momin said.

Momin said the temple management has organised a three-day yagna starting from October 12 and Muslims are participating in the event by offering their services. "Members from the Muslim community have set up a tea and coffee counter at the temple and we are offering free beverages to the devotees," Momin told TOI.

Momin added that around 50,000 cups of tea are distributed for free at the counter daily.

Ibrahim Shaikh, trustee of Sunni Muslim Samaj in Dethly, said the community contributed Rs 51,000 to the temple trust. "We are offering services in the yagna organised by the temple. We offer beverages, help the trust in various tasks to manage this event. You can see many members wearing skull caps volunteering at the event," Shaikh said, adding there is no discrimination by Hindu devotees.

Source: Times Of India

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Muslim Body Condemns Govt’s Decision to Allow Sale of Beer at Departmental Stores in J&K

12 OCT 2022

Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU) -- an amalgam of various religious, social and educational organisations in the Valley -- on Thursday condemned the Jammu and Kashmir administration's approval to the sale of beer and other ready to drink beverages in departmental stores, saying it deeply hurts the sentiments of Muslims.

It said as Kashmir is a Muslim-majority place, such directives show "utter disregard for the tenants of Islam".

"Open sale of alcohol in departmental stores will further promote addiction which is a major issue in Kashmir especially among our youth, something that the authorities also claim to be concerned about. It will also encourage immoral behaviour," the MMU said in a statement.

While the consumption of alcohol is banned in many states of India, why is it being “encouraged” in J-K, it asked.

The MMU said authorities should immediately withdraw the decision.

The body also expressed strong resentment against the NIA raid at the house of its Deputy Ameer Moulana Rehmatullah Mir, who is also the chief administrator of Darul Uloom Raheemiya in Bandipora district.

"Such behaviour and harassment by investigative agencies, first towards the founder and patron of the MMU, Mirwaiz Mohammad Umar Farooq, and then with other ‘Ulemas’ and Muslim religious personalities, is aimed at scaring them so that they are stopped from safeguarding the interests of the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir," the statement added.

Source: Outlook India

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Karnataka hijab row: Split verdict by SC; Justice Gupta upholds ban, Justice Dhulia says 'matter of choice'

TOct 13, 2022

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday passed a split judgment on a bunch of appeals challenging restriction on Muslim girl students wearing hijab in educational institutes in Karnataka.

Justice Hemant Gupta upheld the Karnataka government circular enforcing uniform and banning all religious dresses, including hijab. He dismissed the 26 appeals filed against the judgment of the Karnataka high court which held that hijab was not an essential practice in Islam.

In a diverging opinion, Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia allowed the appeals and said that it was a matter of choice of Muslim women, "nothing less than nothing more".

"The main thrust of my judgment is that this entire concept of essential religious practices, in my opinion, was not essential for disposal of the dispute," he said.

Stressing that his focus was on education of the girl child, especially in rural areas, Justice Dhulia observed, "Are we making her life any better."

While allowing the appeals against the high court verdict, Justice Dhulia said he has quashed the state government's February 5, 2022 order banning clothes that disturb equality, integrity, and public order in schools and colleges.

The bench ordered that the matter be placed before the CJI for assigning the controversy, arising from the Karnataka government's February 5 circular, to a three-judge bench.

What about hijab ban by Karnataka HC?

The Karnataka high court's order upholding ban on hijab in educational institutions will continue as there is no stay by the SC bench on the verdict.

What happens next?

*Now, the Chief Justice, who is the master of the roster, would constitute a new bench with at least 3 SC judges.

*The new bench will start the hearing afresh.

*The competing parties may rely on arguments of Justice Gupta and Justice Dhulia to support their arguments.

Here's how the hijab row, starting from a college in a Karnataka town, snowballed into a major issue attracting focus from across the country.

In December 2021, some students in hijab were denied entry to classroom in a college in Udupi on grounds of violating prescribed uniform code. In the following days, a group approached college authorities for a settlement, but talks failed.

The matter soon attained a political colour. In January 2022, some Hindu students in Chikmagalur demanded that they be allowed to attend classes in saffron shawls. Several institutions across the state witnessed protests by students over dress code.

Some Muslim students moved Karnataka High court, contending that wearing of hijab is a necessary religious practice and barring it amounted to hostile discrimination based on religion. They also argued that no law barred attending classes in hijab, and doing so amounted to infringement of fundamental rights.

The state government on February 5 issued an order banning clothes that disturb equality, integrity and public order in schools and colleges. All educational institutions in the state were closed for three days on February 8, 2022 as a precautionary measure before a ruling by the HC.

The petitioners alleged discrimination, citing cross worn by Christians and bangles by Hindus in classes; they also sought being allowed hijabs on Fridays and during Ramzan.

The Karnataka government maintained that wearing of a hijab was not an essential religious practice. It said that the practice must pass the test of constitutional morality and individual dignity as expounded by the Supreme court in the Sabarimala case.

In an interim order on February 10, the HC restrained all students regardless of their religion or faith are restrained from wearing saffron shawls, scarf, hijab, religious flags or the likes within the classroom, until further orders.

On March 15, the high court dismissed the petitions and ruled that hijab it is not a part of the essential religious practice in Islamic faith.

Source: Times Of India

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Mom's Triple Talaq Certificate Not Recognised, Kid Denied Passport

Oct 13, 2022

AHMEDABAD: A 12-year-old girl cannot fly abroad after passport authorities refused to recognise the customary divorce certificate submitted by her mother, whose marriage was dissolved through triple Talaq. Authorities refused to accept the certificate issued by a kazi (Muslim cleric) and insisted on a court decree to issue the child's passport.

After the divorce, the girl's mother married a Hindu man. She applied to replace the girl's biological father's name with that of the adoptive father on her daughter's passport. However, the change wasn't made, and the child's passport was put on hold. The woman then moved Gujarat HC. She pleaded with the court to direct the regional passport office to make changes in her daughter's passport and re-issue it so that the girl could travel abroad.

The RPO's counsel submitted that the woman had not procured any valid documents of her divorce.

Source: Times Of India

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Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind Demands Action against BJP’s Parvesh Verma, Nandkishore Gurjar and Others over Hate Speeches

October 13, 2022

The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, one of India’s largest Muslim organisations, Wednesday submitted a letter to the Delhi Police demanding action against BJP MP Parvesh Verma, BJP MLA Nandkishore Gurjar, and others who allegedly gave inflammatory speeches at the Virat Hindu Sabha earlier this month.

The Delhi Police are yet to take any action in the matter and have not registered an FIR.

Verma, Gurjar and several other Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and religious leaders gave hate speeches against the Muslim community at the event on October 9. While Verma asked for a “total boycott” of “these people”, Gurjar hinted at his involvement in the Northeast Delhi riots and said, “we will kill jihadis”.

A delegation from the organisation met the Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Dependra Pathak and demanded action against the speakers as well as the organisers of the event that was held at Dilshad Garden.

“As responsible and peace-loving citizens, therefore, we request you to kindly take serious note of the event and also direct the concerned officials to take stringent action not only against the event organiser but also against all the persons who gave inflammatory remarks against Muslims so that such hate mongers could taste exemplary punishment,” read a press note issued by the organisation.

“The delegation while noting that Delhi police is yet to lodge FIR against the hate speakers urged the Special CP to make sure that FIR is registered in their names. Whatever action has been taken so far is not satisfactory,” it added.

Officials in their letter to the police said: “These recurring threats reminded us of the horrendous communal riots that took place two years back in Northeast Delhi. The local Muslim community is under a sense of fear and feeling threatened aftermath of such an open call.”

The Delhi Police have only registered a case under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the organisers of the event for not taking permission for the event.

Source: Indian Express

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Aligarh Muslim University’s leading academic wins top UAE award for alternative medicine

October 11, 2022

Prof Wazahat Husain, a leading academic from the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has won an international award for Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Husain, a retired chairman of the Department of Botany at the AMU, received the Second Sheikh Zayed International Award on Monday in an event organised by the Zayed Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation.

The Foundation is a UAE-based non-governmental, non-profit organisation that invests in developing human capital to improve the quality of life, according to the Foundation’s website.

The award aims to give recognition to eminent academics and scientists of Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM ) globally, and TCAM physicians from the UAE, for enhancing TCAM knowledge and practices, and contributing to improving the quality of life for humanity, it said.

A plant taxonomy expert, Husain has been conferred Lifetime Achievement Awards twice, once jointly by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the AYUSH ministry and then by the Wildlife Institute of India and Department of Wildlife Sciences, AMU.

Speaking to PTI, Prof. Husain said he was honoured to be representing AMU and India at the pinnacle of his academic career.

“Academics do not work for recognition, but when they come, they must be accepted with humility. I dedicate this award to my university and my country,” Prof Husain said.

Source: Indian Express

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‘A lab experiment’: Kapil Sibal ahead of Supreme Court verdict on hijab ban

Oct 13, 2022

Ahead of the Supreme Court's verdict on the controversial hijab ban in Karnataka's educational institutions, senior advocate and Rajya Sabha member Kapil Sibal on Thursday said that the ban is a “lab experiment” which , if succeeds, will be repeated in all BJP-ruled states for political mileage. Sibal suggested that the government should rather experiment with reducing inflation, increasing factory output, poverty alleviation, and delivering justice to poor.

The two judge-bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia is scheduled to pronounce their verdict on a clutch of petitions challenging the Karnataka high court judgement that upheld the ban on hijab in educational institutions of the state. The bench reserved its verdict on September 22 following a marathon hearing of 10 days. If the two judges differ with each other in their final opinions, the case will be sent to a larger bench.

Sibal was one of the senior advocates who argued for the batch of girl students, women’s rights groups, lawyers, activists and Islamic bodies. Senior advocates Rajeev Dhavan, Dushyant Dave, Salman Khurshid, Huzefa Ahmedi, Colin Gonsalves, Meenakshi Arora, Sanjay Hegde, AM Dar, Devadatt Kamat and Jayna Kothari also argued against the ban on scarf worn by Muslim girl students.

The Karnataka high court had dismissed the pleas filed by a section of Muslim students seeking permission to wear the hijab inside classrooms, ruling that wearing a scarf is not a part of the essential religious practice in Islam.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Gujarat: ‘Only Hindu delivery person’, writes Swiggy customer

Sameer Khan

13th October 2022

Ahmedabad: Does food have a religion? This question become relevant after another Swiggy customer mentioned that his food must be delivered by a Hindu delivery person.

In an instruction option provided on the food aggregator’s app, the customer mentioned, ‘Please only allow Hindu delivery person’.

After the instruction came to the limelight, Shaik Salauddin, chairman of Telangana State Taxi and Drivers JAC shared the screengrab of the instruction and requested Swiggy to take a stand against such requests.

He also wrote, ‘You built your business on the backs of workers and it’s your minimum duty to ensure their safety and dignity at work’.

The food aggregator is yet to respond to the incident.

Similar situations were faced by delivery boys in Hyderabad

It is not the first incident, earlier too a Swiggy delivery boy in Hyderabad faced similar situation.

In August, a Swiggy customer in Hyderabad wrote, ‘Don’t want a Muslim delivery person’. Earlier, another Swiggy customer in Hyderabad had written, ‘Very less spicy. And, please select Hindu delivery person. All ratings will be based on this.’

Not only Swiggy, but another food delivery company Zomato had also faced a similar customer.

Source: Siasat Daily

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South Asia


Taliban Demands Increased Engagement and Cooperation Rather Than Criticism

By Saqalain Eqbal

12 Oct 2022

The Taliban’s Minister of Foreign Affairs said during a meeting with the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan that the group seeks increased cooperation rather than criticism.

The Taliban’s foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, told Richard Bennett, the UN special rapporteur for Afghanistan, that country’s human rights situation has improved, during their meeting on Tuesday, October 10.

No one in the country will violate human rights, according to the Taliban minister, who also claimed that the era of warlords, abductors, and land usurpers who violated people’s rights is over.

Foreign Minister Muttaqi assured Richard Bennett of the group’s commitment and efforts to improve the situation of human rights in Afghanistan.

According to a statement by the Taliban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the leadership of the ministry told the UN official that “instead of criticizing one another, we should work together, publish facts & build on the progress made.”

The United Nations Human Rights Council has once more extended Richard Bennett’s mandate in Afghanistan with the support of the Human Rights Watch. After the Taliban seized power, he has now visited Afghanistan for a second time.

Human rights organizations welcomed Bennett’s earlier report on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan under Taliban rule.  In his report, he described Afghanistan’s human rights situation as extremely precarious and dire.

Source: Khaama Press

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Taliban Says Human Rights Violations in Afghanistan are ‘Rumours’

By Saqalain Eqbal

12 Oct 2022

Abdul Salam Hanafi, the deputy prime minister of the Taliban, stated during a meeting with Richard Bennett, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, that human rights violations in Afghanistan are mere “Facebook rumors.”

The UN special rapporteur on the situation of Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, whose mandate was extended for another 12 months, visited the Taliban Deputy Prime Minister on Tuesday, October 11.

According to a statement from the Taliban’s Office of the Prime Minister, Abdul Salam Hanafi, the Taliban’s deputy prime minister, told Bennett that reports of human rights violations in Afghanistan are “Facebook rumors” and urged the UN official to personally visit various regions of the country.

“The news these days is mostly is Facebook rumors. You can personally observe and evaluate the situation when you travel to any region of Afghanistan,” Hanafi told Bennett.

The Taliban top official also stated that it is their duty to protect minorities in Afghanistan. He stated to the UN’s special rapporteur for Afghanistan that it is the Taliban’s responsibility to ensure the safety and security of the ceremonies for the minorities.

“Fortunately, Afghanistan is completely secure, and the Islamic Emirate is committed to protecting the lives, property, and dignity of all citizens without discrimination,” Abdul Salam Hanafi said.

The Taliban, according to Hanafi, is committed to all international covenants provided that they do not infringe upon the Islamic principles and the interests of Afghanistan.

Source: Khaama Press

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Imposing Sanctions Does Not Benefit Kabul, Washington: Islamic Emirate

Oct 13, 2022

The Islamic Emirate reacted to the new sanctions imposed by the US on the members of the Islamic Emirate, saying that such sanctions do not benefit Kabul and Washington.

The US Department of State announced on Tuesday new restrictions on the “issuance of visas for the current or former Taliban members, members of non-state security groups, and other individuals believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, repressing women and girls in Afghanistan through restrictive policies and violence.”

The Islamic Emirate’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said that the imposition of these sanctions is a violation of the Doha agreement.

“We say to the US that the continuation of such sanctions neither benefits the US nor Afghanistan. It is also in contrast with the Doha agreement. We want these sanctions to be lifted and efforts should be made to normalize the relations between the two countries,” he said.

The US Department of State said that despite public assurances that the Islamic Emirate would respect the human rights of all Afghans, the “Taliban has issued and enforced a series of policies or edicts that effectively bar women and girls in Afghanistan from full participation in public life, including access to secondary education and work in most industries.”

Rahmatullah Bizhanpor, a political analyst, said that the new sanctions by the US indicate "that either the US will engage in the diplomatic arena with the Taliban or it will cause an opportunity or opposition of the US vis-a-vis the Taliban."

“The problems which are imposed on the Islamic Emirate--they will finally have a direct impact on the nation. I hope the US stops this stubbornness and follows negotiations and diplomacy, and the Islamic Emirate should also show flexibility,” said Janat Fahim Chakari, a political analyst.

Human Rights Watch called the imposition of these sanctions on the immediate family members of the Islamic Emirate unjust.

“The US policy says that it may also apply to family members of the Taliban members. This provision should be removed or at least should be used very, very sparingly because we know that it would be unfair to punish family members who may not be responsible at all for the actions of their relatives,” said Heather Barr, the Associate Director of the Women's Rights Division at Human Rights Watch.

Source: Tolo News

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UN Rapporteur for Afghan Human Rights Meets Islamic Emirate Officials

Oct 13, 2022

The UN Special Rapporteur for Afghanistan’s Human Rights, Richard Bennett, met with senior officials of the Islamic Emirate in Kabul.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Abdul Qahar Balkhi, said that Bennett met with acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Balkhi on Twitter quoted Bennett as saying that in order to express and report the situation factually, he (Bennett) must see everything with his own eyes and so he traveled to Afghanistan.

“Regarding the human rights situation, Muttaqi said that the warlords, kidnappers and land grabbers cannot suppress the rights of anyone,” said Billa Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.

The office of the 2nd Deputy Prime Minister said on Twitter that Mullah Abdul Salam discussed with Bennett issues including providing security to ethnic minorities, education, and the rights of women and the media.

Political analysts gave various opinions regarding Bennett’s meetings with Islamic Emirate officials.

“The visit of the UN special rapporteur to Kabul shows that the UN and the international community are concerned by the human rights situation in Afghanistan and concerns are rising in this regard,” said Wahid Faqiri, an international relations analyst.

“The rights of humans, which is a general issue, is important to discussed and it is also effective,” said Mohammad Khalid Musaleh, a political analyst.

Source: Tolo News

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US visa restrictions to negatively impact ties: Taliban

12 October, 2022

The United States’ new visa rules against some Taliban members could have a “negative” impact on ties with Afghanistan’s government, which held talks with Washington this week, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

Since returning to power in August 2021 after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban have issued a slew of restrictions controlling women’s lives, based on their strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

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They have also blocked girls from returning to secondary schools and barred women from many government jobs.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday unveiled visa restrictions for some current and former members of the Taliban involved in curtailing women’s rights in Afghanistan.

The policy is an “obstacle” to the development of ties between the two countries, the Afghan foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

“Such decisions can have a negative impact on bilateral relations,” it said, adding that Washington’s announcement came soon after high-ranking officials of both countries held talks in Doha this week.

During the talks, both sides discussed “almost all important issues”, the ministry said, without elaborating.

The talks were the first since Washington announced the killing of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in a US drone strike in the Afghan capital Kabul in July.

Among other rollbacks of women’s rights, the Taliban have ordered them to cover fully in public, preferably with an all-encompassing burqa.

Sporadic protests held by women protesters have been forcefully dispersed by Taliban forces in Kabul and some other cities.

The United States and much of the international community have made the reopening of secondary schools for girls a key condition for formally recognizing the Taliban government.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Taliban claims Afghanistan is secure enough for large-scale projects

October 12, 2022

The Taliban said Wednesday there is enough security across Afghanistan to restart major economic projects that stopped due to decades of war, despite a slew of attacks rocking the country since the group seized power more than a year ago.

The Taliban have struggled in their transition from insurgency and warfare to governing amid an economic downturn and the international community withholding official recognition.

Foreign aid stopped when the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021. World governments piled on sanctions, halted bank transfers and froze billions more in Afghanistan’s currency reserves.

Taliban-appointed government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Afghanistan has the opportunity to connect with the rest of the countries in the region, highlighting China as a key part of the nation's economic development.

"In the last Cabinet meeting, it was decided that the Silk Road, which will connect Afghanistan with China, must be built. This historic road can play a great role in the economy of the country," he said at a seminar about regional connectivity. "It is a great opportunity, we have good security and it is the time to start major economic projects."

In March this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave his strong backing to Afghanistan, spotlighting Beijing’s aspirations to play a leading role in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi, at the same regional conference, led calls for the U.S. to unfreeze Afghan assets held abroad and end sanctions on the government.

The Taliban's deputy prime minister, Abdul Salam Hanafi, said Afghanistan’s role for the connectivity of countries in the region was very important. "Afghanistan can play a great role in creating important corridors. We want to be connected to China through our Badakhshan province."

The geopolitics and geostrategic position of Afghanistan could lead the country to play a positive role in linking neighboring countries in the region and beyond, he added.

He repeated the Taliban's assurances that the group would not allow anyone to use Afghan soil to stage attacks on other countries.

Source: Fox News

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Arab World


As Biden‘Re-Evaluates’ Ties With Riyadh, Saudis Working To Get Trump Re-Elected

12 October 2022

After slashing oil production, Saudi royals are working to get Donald Trump re-elected as the US president and are also making efforts for the Republicans to win the upcoming midterms in the US, according to a report citing experts.

“The Saudis are working to get Trump re-elected and for the MAGA Republicans to win the midterms,” Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow of the Brookings Institution, was quoted as saying by The Intercept on Tuesday. “Higher oil prices will undermine the Democrats.”

The decision by OPEC+ recently has put US President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party in a bind by potentially kickstarting fuel price hikes, just a few weeks ahead of midterm elections, where the Republicans hope to take control of Congress.

The decision has left the Biden administration sulking and Congressional Democrats seeking reelection amid soaring gas prices are also incensed.

Representative Ro Khanna, California Democrat, said oil prices affect not only the price at the pump but also the cost of virtually everything and are a major driver of inflation.

“There’s no doubt that the Saudi-led OPEC oil production cuts are a strategic effort to hurt Americans at the pump and undermine our work to tackle rising costs," he was quoted in the report as saying.

Experts now say the price hikes are a move by Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aka MBS, into the US electoral politics - a move against Biden and in favor of Trump, they say.

White House officials called the recent oil production cut a “hostile act” and said the administration was “re-evaluating” the Saudi relationship.

Capitol Hill normally resorts to expressing ‘deep concern’ in response to the Saudi kingdom’s myriad human rights abuses.

This time around, Congressional Democrats have struck back, vowing to block weapons sales and even taking the unprecedented step of introducing legislation to withdraw US troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Bin Salman’s affinity for Trump is hardly a secret. Trump broke with presidential tradition by paying his first foreign visit to Riyadh, where he inked a record $350 billion weapons sale to the autocracy.

He also repeatedly defended MBS amid reporting, including by his own CIA, that the crown prince had ordered the brutal murder of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“I saved his a**,” Trump reportedly said. “I was able to get Congress to leave him alone” — referring to three times he vetoed Congressional resolutions blocking billions in weapons sales to the Saudis.

The cozy relationship between Trump’s circles and the Saudis persisted after the president left office.

Just six months after leaving the White House, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and former top White House adviser, won a $2-billion investment from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund with the blessings of MBS.

And Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s firm, Liberty Strategic Capital, raised $1 billion from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.

Biden had promised when he ran for office that he would hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its human rights abuses, including the murder of Khashoggi.

Source: Press TV

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Qatar strongly condemns settlers' storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque

12 Oct 2022

DOHA: The State of Qatar strongly condemned the storming by hundreds of settlers of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and performing Talmudic rituals under the protection of the Israeli occupation police, considering it a flagrant violation of international law and a provocation to the feelings of Muslims around the world, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today.

The statement warned that the continuation of serious violations and provocative practices in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque clearly reveals the desire of the occupation to direct the conflict into a religious war, and stressed the need for the international community to shoulder its moral and legal responsibilities towards Jerusalem and its holy sites.

Source: The Peninsula Qatar

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Islamic State terrorizes business owners in northeast Syria

Khaled al-Khateb

October 12, 2022

ALEPPO, Syria — The areas controlled by the Kurdish forces in the countryside of Deir ez-Zor province in northeastern Syria have recently witnessed growing activities by Islamic State (IS) cells, which are terrorizing business owners and forcing them to pay "zakat" (obligatory charitable payment).

On Oct. 3, IS militants blew up a money exchange and money transfer shop called Al-Iman Office in the town of al-Azbah, in the northern countryside of Deir ez-Zor, after its owner refused to pay zakat. No casualties were reported, but the shop was severely damaged.

One of the shop owner’s relatives told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “IS members detonated an explosive device they had planted in front of the office located in the popular market in al-Azbah, after the owner refused to pay zakat as demanded by IS.”

He said, “In early September, IS members reached out to the shop owner via WhatsApp, requesting him to pay a specific amount as zakat. He did not respond to their request so they planted an explosive device [near his shop] on Sept. 25, which failed to detonate. Hours before their second attempt on the evening of Oct. 3, they had sent him a message threatening to kill him and destroy his office because he had not paid zakat.”

The source noted, “Fortunately, the explosive device went off while the office was closed, and no one was injured in the explosion.”

Speaking about the first attempt targeting the shop owner, the source said, “A patrol affiliated with the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] dismantled the explosive device that was intended to detonate next to the shop after the SDF was informed by the townspeople that there was a strange object in front of a money exchange shop in the center of the market.”

The residents of the countryside of Deir ez-Zor, which is under the control of the Kurdis-led SDF, are living under the constant threats of IS cells. As the group has been terrorizing business owners to pay zakat, threatening to kill them if they don’t, IS cells have escalated their activities against SDF members and anyone who works with the SDF.

A livestock dealer in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “IS forced me to pay $500 as zakat because I work in the livestock trade.”

He said, “An IS member contacted me via WhatsApp asking me to pay zakat and threatening to kill me if I refused. He also warned me against reporting the incident to the SDF’s security authorities, otherwise he would go after me and my family.”

The dealer added, “I agreed to pay $500 out of fear for my family’s well-being. The person who contacted me told me that a woman affiliated with IS would come to my house to collect the money and hand me a paper bearing the group's stamp, and that is what happened.”

Source: Al Monitor

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Al-Azhar rejects fatwas against polio vaccination in Pakistan

October 13, 2022

KARACHI: Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, one of the world’s most eminent seats of Islamic learning, has warned against fatwas banning the polio vaccine in Pakistan, describing the vaccine as a “religious, medical and humanitarian duty”.

The spread of decrees prohibiting the vaccination is a “violation of the rights of Pakistani children and their families”, the university said in a tweet on Wednesday, stressing that preventing a vaccine that is beneficial for the child, such as the polio’s, is “prohibited by Sharia”.

Violence, fear and misinformation offer challenges to authorities trying to reach every child who needs the polio vaccine in Pakistan, which has reported 19 cases this year.

The university’s statement came after Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel met Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University Prof Ahmed At-Tayyeb in Cairo, where he briefed his host on the flood crisis in Pakistan.

Al-Azhar called on countries, peoples and relief and charitable institutions around the world to stand in solidarity with Pakistan in this catastrophe that has claimed thousands of lives, displaced families, demolished homes and caused epidemic diseases.

Source: Dawn

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Coalition says it exchanged POW visits with Yemen’s Houthis

October 12, 2022

Two delegations from the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen and the Iran-aligned Houthis exchanged visits to prisoners of war on Wednesday as a gesture of goodwill and a confidence-building measure to extend the truce in Yemen, the coalition said in a statement carried by the Saudi state news agency SPA.

The statement quoted spokesman Colonel Turki Al-Malki as saying “this visit is humanitarian in nature ... and comes as one of the gains of the truce as we seek to extend it.”

Source: Arab News

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Saudi defense minister holds discussions with British, Yemeni counterparts

October 13, 2022

RIYADH: Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed defense cooperation with his British and Yemeni counterparts on Wednesday.

Prince Khalid met Yemen’s Minister of Defense Lieutenant General Mohsen Al Daari and reaffirms the Saudi-led Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen’s commitment to the country and efforts to ending the crisis, ensuring peace and prosperity for Yemenis.

Source: Arab News

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Hezbollah chief: Resistance sole way to free Palestine, defeat enemies of Muslims

13 October 2022

Secretary General of Lebanon’s Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah says resistance is the sole way to liberate Palestine and defeat the enemies of the Islamic world, calling on Muslim nations to unite around the Palestinian cause against occupation in the face of the enemies.

The Hezbollah chief made the remarks in a message to the 36th International Conference on Islamic Unity in Iran on Wednesday, delivered by Sheikh Nabil Qaouk, the deputy chief of the Lebanese resistance movement’s executive council.

Nasrallah emphasized the need for unity in the Islamic Ummah (nation) in line with the ideology of resistance and said the only way to liberate Palestine and al-Quds from the Israeli regime, defeat the enemies, and restore grandeur to the divine mission of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

“If there is any weakness (in the Muslim world), it stems from divisions,” said the Lebanese resistance leader. “If the enemy’s power lies in rifts among us, we should therefore unite, since our unity will serve as a firm fortress for us and will guarantee our progress toward prosperity.” 

He urged the Islamic countries’ legislative bodies and Muslim scholars to boycott and criminalize any normalization with the Israeli regime, which he said would lead to the Judaization of the occupied city of al-Qud and would deal a blow to the Palestinian cause.

“We press the hands of the oppressed Bahraini people who are supporting the resistance and are objecting to the normalization projects with the Zionist regime,” he said.

Nasrallah likewise voiced support for the Iraqi people, who have been dealing with US and Takfiri terrorism, and for the Yemeni nation’s demands for an end to the siege and war by the US-backed Saudi regime and the coalition of its allies.

He added that the axis of resistance is stretching over 2.5 million kilometers, with its member nations enjoying rich oil resources and scientific and economic capabilities.

“We are facing the same enemy and moving toward the same fate,” he noted.

Commenting on relations with Iran, Nasrallah stressed that Hezbollah would always defend the Islamic Republic in its confrontation with the enemies.

“The US is attempting to create division, ignite flames of war, and exploit Takfiri terrorist groups to weaken the Islamic nations, plunder their resources and ruin our countries,” he said.

Treacherous governments in the region have turned into tools in the hands of enemies and aggressors to press ahead with their agendas, he said.

He pointed to Washington’s defeats in its policies for the region, namely in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the world, saying that it is now “drowning in the quagmire of the Ukraine war.”

The US ploys, he said, have backfired today and they are in the worst economic situation.

Speaking at the same conference, Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi similarly described resistance as the only viable path to confronting the Israeli regime, saying those who assumed that negotiations with illogical parties would save Palestine have been proven wrong.

Source: Press TV

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At least 108 dead in Iran crackdown on Mahsa Amini protests: IHR

October 12, 2022

At least 108 people have been killed in Iran’s crackdown on more than three weeks of nationwide protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, said Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR).

The Iranian security forces also killed at least another 93 people during separate clashes in the city of Zahedan, in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, IHR said in a statement.

Protests erupted across Iran on September 16, when Amini died three days after falling into a coma following her arrest in Tehran by the morality police for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.

The violence in Zahedan erupted on September 30 during protests that were triggered by anger over the reported rape of a teenage girl by a police commander in the region.

Human rights groups also voiced alarm on Tuesday over the extent of the crackdown in Sanandaj, the capital of Amini’s home province of Kurdistan in Iran’s west.

“The international community must prevent further killings in Kurdistan by issuing an immediate response,” IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said in Wednesday’s statement.

IHR indicated its investigation into the extent of the “repression” in Kurdistan had been hampered by internet restrictions and warned of an “impending bloody crackdown” on demonstrators in the western province.

“The city of Sanandaj in Kurdistan province has witnessed widespread protests and bloody crackdowns in the past three days,” IHR said, adding that its current death toll for the province excluded those killed in that period.

The Oslo-based group said it had so far recorded 28 deaths in Mazandaran province, 14 in Kurdistan, 12 in both Gilan and West Azerbaijan, and 11 in Tehran province.

It said the Iranian security forces had also arrested many children protesting on the streets and at schools in the past week.

“Children have a legal right to protest, the United Nations has an obligation to defend children’s rights in Iran by applying pressure on the Islamic republic,” said Amiry-Moghaddam.

IHR said its toll also excluded six deaths that reportedly occurred during protests inside Rasht central prison in northern Iran on Sunday as it was still investigating the case.

It said workers had also joined in nationwide strikes and protests at Asalouyeh petrochemical plant in Iran’s southwest, Abadan in western Iran and Bushehr to the south.

More than 100 ‘rioters’ charged: judiciary

Meanwhile, Iran has charged more than 100 people in two provinces over the wave of protests triggered by the death in custody last month of Mahsa Amini, the judiciary said today.

Source: Dawn

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Iran protests: At least 28 children killed, many arrested in Iran, rights groups say

12 October, 2022

At least 28 children have been killed in protests that have swept Iran since the death of Mahsa Amini, with hundreds more mostly detained in adult prisons, rights groups inside and outside the country said.

Amini, 22, was pronounced dead days after the notorious morality police detained the Iranian Kurd last month for allegedly breaching the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women.

Anger flared at her funeral and spread to become the biggest wave of protests to rock Iran in almost three years, despite a crackdown that has killed scores and seen hundreds arrested.

Iran’s Children’s Rights Protection Society condemned security forces for resorting to violence against children who have protested in schools and in the street.

“According to statistics, 28 children have been killed in these confrontations, most of which happened in the underprivileged province of Sistan-Baluchistan,” the Tehran-based group said in a statement posted on its website Monday.

It criticized “families being kept in the dark on their children’s whereabouts, cases proceeding without lawyers and lack of children’s judges and police.”

The group said the government “must be held accountable” and bring forward and punish “anyone, of any rank, who has been the cause of violence or harassment against children or their deaths.”

Revolutionary Guards deputy commander Ali Fadavi told Iranian media on October 5 that the “average age of the detainees from many of the recent protests was 15.”

“Some of the teenagers and young adults arrested used similar key phrases in their confessions, such as likening street riots to video games,” the Mehr news agency quoted Fadavi as saying.

Human rights lawyer Hassan Raisi said some of the children arrested were being held in detention centers for adult drug offenders.

“This is very concerning,” he said in a report posted on the London-based Iran Wire news website on Wednesday. Those “under the age of 18 must never be held with any criminal over 18... This is a legal requirement, not a recommendation.”

He added that “around 300 people between the ages of 12-13 and 18-19 are in police custody.”

Schoolchildren joined the protests soon after they began in mid-September, with girls removing their hijabs, shouting anti-government slogans and defacing images of the country’s leadership.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Raisi accuses US of resorting to ‘policy of destabilization’ against Iran

13 October, 2022

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday accused the United States of resorting to “policy of destabilization’ against the Islamic Republic which is gripped by protests over Mahsa Amini’s death.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran Warns EU of Reciprocal Move against Restrictive Measures


Amir Abdollahian said that he has conveyed the warning during a phone conversation with his French counterpart Catherine Colonna.

The top Iranian diplomat said that both sides  agreed that "mutual respect and benefit override relations", and that "violence and terror should be confronted".

"I objected to Europe's interference in our internal affairs," he said, adding that "I stressed that Iran will reciprocate if EU restrictive measures applied".

Protests erupted over the death of the 22-year-old Iranian woman, who fainted at a police station and was pronounced dead at a Tehran hospital on September 16, first in her native province of Kordestan and later in several cities, including the capital Tehran.

Immediately after Amini’s death, Iran’s President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi ordered a thorough investigation into the case and an official report published on Friday said her death had been caused by an illness rather than alleged blows to the head or other vital body organs.

What started as peaceful protests took a violent turn after unruly protesters fatally attacked policemen and indulged in vandalism against public property in several cities.

On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution with regard to recent riots in Iran, calling on the EU officials to impose sanctions against Iranian officials who have been involved in an alleged crackdown on protests.

Iran’s foreign ministry condemned the resolution as "meddlesome and baseless", vowing to give an "appropriate response" to the imposition of any restrictive measures against Iranian people.

The Iranian foreign ministry has already summoned Frances’s chargé d'affaires to Tehran to protest meddlesome measures by the French government in Iran’s domestic affairs and its stance about riots instigated by counterrevolutionary elements across the country.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Interior Minister: Foreign-Backed Terrorist Groups Lead Riots in Iran, Seek Sedition


"The riots are planned, supported, and led by separatist terror groups, including the so-called Komala Party, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), and Party of Free Life of Kurdistan, also known as PJAK, which have a history of cooperation with the Zionist regime and were once hired by the Western countries and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as mercenaries," Vahidi said.

He added that they also committed crimes and conducted terrorist operations in Iran.

"Over the past few days violent riots have erupted across the country as well as in Sanandaj, the capital city of Kordestan province," Vahidi said, adding that however, Iran’s Kords who are seeking peace, security and development separated themselves from the rioters.

He warned that Iran’s army and law enforcement forces have firmly dealt with the rioters and their leaders and will continue to do so to neutralize their fruitless efforts.

In relevant remarks on Tuesday, Iranian Government Spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi said that the government consents to legal protests and the interior minister is tasked with suggesting guidelines for organizing such gatherings.

He also blasted the foreign-backed Persian-language media based abroad for training people to commit terrorist actions, and said that they must be held accountable to authorities for the harm they are inflicting upon the country.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Bahadori Jahromi slammed Western countries’ double standards, saying that the medications late Mahsa Amini needed for her underlying condition were subjected to sanctions imposed by the US.

Protests erupted over the death of the 22-year-old Iranian woman, who fainted at a police station and was pronounced dead at a Tehran hospital on September 16, first in her native province of Kurdistan and later in several cities, including the capital Tehran.

Immediately after Amini’s death, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raeisi ordered a thorough investigation into the case and an official report published on Friday said her death had been caused by an illness rather than alleged blows to the head or other vital body organs.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Living costs top worry for Israeli voters stuck in election treadmill

13 October, 2022

Israelis are as fed-up with soaring prices as they are with the country’s seemingly never ending elections. In the Nov. 1 ballot - a fifth in less than four years - steep living costs, exacerbated by record inflation, are top priority for voters.

Living costs even outweigh issues like the conflict with the Palestinians, voter surveys show. Yet in a turbulent political system, it is ultimately attitudes toward the polarizing former premier Benjamin Netanyahu that sway voting patterns. Plus a seemingly eternal election cycle means sweeping economic reforms are near impossible.

The country’s repeated ballots have seen only one state budget passed since 2019, hampering the kind of long-term planning needed to pass reforms to cut costs. This has increased voters’ fears that a fresh election will do little to improve matters even though Netanyahu’s rightist religious bloc and his rival, centrist Prime Minister Yair Lapid, both promise change.

In the suburban city Modiin, midway between affluent hi-tech hub Tel Aviv and far poorer Jerusalem, Matthew and Ilana Lipman are a picture of middle-class Israel, with a sizeable mortgage, four children and a dog.

Both teachers in their early 40s, they say they are struggling to make ends meet. And a 14-year record inflation is not helping. “Every time I go to the grocery store, prices are going up,” said Ilana.

“(Our) spending is higher than earnings; every month we see that more and more,” Ilana said. “It’s not working.”

While thankful for basics for their children, a roof over their head and food on the table, they say extras, like after-school classes or going to the pool, are becoming an unaffordable luxury.

With low unemployment and robust growth rates that outpace most of the West, Israel’s economy is doing well overall, said economist Manuel Trajtenberg, who heads Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies.

But he added: “We have not been able to translate macroeconomic success into improving living costs and quality of life for the average Israeli citizen.”


Methods for determining the scale of living costs vary, but economists largely agree that basic items like dairy products, eggs, bread, oil and meat are more expensive than they should be, compared with other countries in the organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The OECD has 38 member countries across Europe, North and South America and Asia-Pacific.

“Aside from communications, in every other category, food, housing and so on, the median Israeli salary buys a lot less than the average OECD salary,” said economist Dan Ben David of the Shoresh Institute for Socioeconomic Research.

Israeli prices are 40 percent higher than in the eurozone and 17 percent higher than in the US, according to research co-authored by former Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug at the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI).

Among the reasons are monopolies on imports and red tape and protectionist policies for local suppliers.

A separate IDI survey found living costs were top priority for 44 percent of Israeli voters, far more than those who listed diplomacy and security, which would include the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or Iran.

Nonetheless, economic issues won’t break the present deadlock between Netanyahu’s bloc and Lapid, said IDI President Yochanan Plesner. “We’re deeply immersed in identity politics and movement between blocs is virtually nonexistent,” he said.

Reforms are vital to keep long-term growth, said Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron, so the lack of continuity in government is detrimental. “That’s the primary difficulty that comes from these repeated election cycles,” Yaron told Reuters.

Attuned to voters’ pocket pains, both political camps are promising sweeping measures.

Netanyahu is brandishing his economic credentials; a free market champion credited with reforms he led as finance minister two decades ago, which allowed Israel to weather the 2008 global financial crisis.

But his five consecutive terms as premier in 2009-2021, saw housing prices more than double and despite promises to boost competition and lower taxes, his record on living costs has been mixed.

Lapid’s camp is highlighting moves his government has pushed over the past year to bring food prices down, like agricultural reforms and cutting red tape on food imports.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran’s Khamenei slams protests as ‘scattered riots’ designed by the enemy

12 October, 2022

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called anti-government protests "scattered riots" designed by the enemy, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Wednesday.

“These scattered riots are the passive and clumsy design of the enemy against the great and innovative developments and movements of the Iranian nation,” Khamenei said.

“The cure against enemies is to stand up to them,” he added.

Protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman who died in the custody of the morality police, have spread across Iran for the last four weeks.

According to Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights, more than 108 people have been killed in Iran’s crackdown on protests.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Shehbaz says ‘absolutely willing’ to talk to India but onus on New Delhi to take steps for ‘meaningful engagement’

October 13, 2022

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Thursday he was “absolutely willing and ready” to engage with India for the sake of regional peace and prosperity, but the onus was on New Delhi to take the necessary measures “ for meaningful and result-oriented engagement“.

“I am absolutely ready and willing to have a serious dialogue and discussion with our counterparts, Indians, provided that they show sincerity of purpose and they show that they are ready to discuss issues that have really kept us at a distance over decades,” he said while addressing the 6th summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in Kazakhstan.

The premier regretted issues that have kept the two countries apart had hampered the promotion of bilateral trade and investment.

“This has to come to a stop,” he stressed, adding, “but the onus remains on India to take the necessary steps for meaningful and result oriented-engagement.

Source: Dawn

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Orders came from ‘elsewhere’ while I was PM, says Imran

Mansoor Malik | Syed Irfan Raza

October 13, 2022

LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that during his three-and-half-year tenure, decision-making powers did not lie with him, even though he was in charge of running the affairs of the country.

The statement by the PTI chief, acknowledging his helplessness despite being at the helm of the affairs, came during a conversation with media persons in Lahore. Mr Khan also blamed the bad governance during his tenure on the ‘de-facto’ rulers who, apparently, did not let him turn his dream of ‘Naya Pakistan’ into reality.

During my tenure, running the affairs of the country was supposed to be my responsibility, but the “orders were coming from somewhere else”, Mr Khan said, while referring to his tenure. He added that if he had enjoyed complete authority, his administration could have competed with the reign of Sher Shah Suri – founder of the Sur empire that ruled north India in the 16th century.

Mr Khan did not name the people he had to ‘share the power’ with, but he has made similar claims in the past. In an interview in June, the former prime minister had admitted he did not enjoy absolute power, indicating that the actual centres of power in the country lay elsewhere and “everyone knows where that is”, reported

‘Hands were tied’

The former premier also talked about pressures during his time at the helm. “Our hands were tied. We were blackmailed from everywhere. Power wasn’t with us. Everyone knows where the power lies in Pakistan so we had to rely on them,” Mr Khan said.

“We relied on them all the time. They did a lot of good things too but they didn’t do many things that should’ve been done. They have the power because they control institutions such as NAB, which wasn’t in our control,” quoted him as saying.

Mr Khan also talked about a need to strike a balance between a ‘strong army’ and a ‘strong government’ since, in order for the system to work efficiently, the responsibility and the authority needed to be vested in one office.

He also took swipe at the ‘handlers’ who, according to him, had “damaged the country more than its enemies” by allowing the ‘looters’ to get clean chits. There was an open and shut case of Rs16 billion corruption against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, but he had the “protection of handlers”, Mr Khan claimed while commenting on the acquittal of the premier and his sons in the money laundering case.

Several engagements

The PTI chairman spent a busy day in Lahore. He addressed a ceremony of the trade unionists and Insaf Student Federation (ISF) as well. Speaking at the oath-taking ceremony of the ISF, the former premier asked his party workers to be ready for the long march. “It won’t be long now,” he told the ISF activists. The final call can be given any time, Mr Khan reiterated followed by the administration of oath to the ISF workers by PTI leader Faisal Javed.

At a public meeting in Sharaqpur, Imran Khan said he did not need to install his “own army chief, judges, police chiefs, or the NAB chief” because he would never break the law or indulge in corrupt practices. “I want that all top institutions’ heads should be appointed on merit to strengthen the institutions,” he said while referring to the appointments made by the incumbent government. He alleged that the current rulers wanted to bring their own people into these offices to hide their corruption.

Separately, the PTI chairman addressed a workers’ convention in Islamabad before his departure to Lahore after he was granted bail in a case registered by the Federal Investigation Agency over the submission of a ‘fake affidavit’ to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Imran Khan recalled his government’s achievements and said that foreign remittances and investments in addition to tax collection were increasing before his ouster in April.

Bail in FIA case

Earlier in the day, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) granted Imran Khan pre-arrest bail till Oct 18 in the FIA case against him. The registrar initially raised objections to the petition, but it was subsequently taken up by the IHC chief justice, Athar Minallah.

At the outset of the hearing, Barrister Salman Safdar explained the reason for invoking the jurisdiction of the high court.

Justice Minallah recalled that in the past, the court entertained such a petition of former senator Faisal Raza Abidi and granted him protective bail. He, however, pointed out that the presence of the accused was a mandatory requirement to seek relief. Barrister Safdar promptly offered that Mr Khan could appear in the courtroom within 30 minutes and Justice Minallah granted protective bail after the PTI chairman appeared before the court.

The IHC CJ did not dispose of the petition, though, and kept it pending since the counsel of Mr Khan said that there was still confusion regarding the jurisdiction of the trial court. Justice Minallah observed that since the offences fell within the ambit of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA); therefore, the special judge central was competent to take up the matter.

Source: Dawn

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Hazaras rally in Balochistan against persecution in Afghanistan

Saleem Shahid

October 13, 2022

QUETTA: Hundreds of people belonging to the Hazara community, including women and children, held a protest rally here on Wednesday against last month’s suicide bombing at an educational centre in Kabul which left 52 people, most of them students, dead.

Members of the Hazara community, including elders, ulema and members of civil society, gathered in the Hazara Town area and took out the protest rally, carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans seeking end to what they called genocide of the members of their community and stopping acts of terrorism against them.

Participants of the rally marched through different roads of the provincial capital chanting slogans against the terrorists involved in these attacks against mosques and educational institutions belonging to the Hazara community.

The protest rally later turned into a public meeting which was addressed by Allama Muhammad Asif Hussaini, Seema Sadat, Kashif Haideri and Mehdi Afzali.

The speakers condemned the suicide bombings in mosques, educational institutions and other places and termed these acts genocide of the Hazara community in Afghanistan.

“The international human rights organisations should recognise and declare these acts of terrorism as genocide of the Hazara community,” they demanded, adding that steps should be taken to stop these inhuman and barbaric acts against the Hazara community.

They expressed serious concern over the silence of United Nations and other international organisations over these attacks and said that the Hazara people and human rights activists had staged protests against these tragic incidents against their community across the world this week to draw the attention of the world towards the issue and to express solidarity with the victims of these terrorist attacks.

Source: Dawn

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PTI Senator Azam Swati arrested for tweeting against army chief

Shakeel Qarar | Tahir Naseer

October 13, 2022

PTI Senator Azam Swati was arrested on Thursday for allegedly tweeting a “highly obnoxious and intimidating message” against state institutions, including the army chief, according to a criminal complaint filed by the FIA.

Swati’s tweet named the army chief, and came after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz were acquitted in a high-profile money laundering case yesterday.

“Mr Bajwa congratulations to you and few with you. Your plan is really working and all criminals are getting free at cost of this country. With these thugs getting free, you have legitimised corruption. How you predict now the future of this country (sic),” he said.

Speaking to reporters outside a sessions court in the capital today, the PTI leader said he was not arrested for breaking the law, violating the Constitution or fundamental rights. He said he was arrested for “taking one name — of Bajwa — and that is the violation”.

When asked who arrested him, he said it was the FIA. When pressed about what case, he alleged he was tortured by “agencies”. “A parliamentarian has been unclothed,” he said. “I am telling the nation.”


The first information report registered at the FIA’s Cyber Crime Reporting Centre in Islamabad, a copy of which has seen, mentions that Swati tweeted with “malafide intentions & ulterior motives” against “State Institutes of The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and its Senior Government Functionaries including Chief of The Army Staff of Pakistan Army”.

The FIR adds that such “intimidating tweet/s of blaming and naming through Twitter account i.e., @AzamKhanSwatiPK, is a mischievous act of subversion to create a rift between personnel/s of The Armed Forces and an attempt to harm the State of Pakistan”.

Through the aforementioned tweet, the criminal complaint says, the accused “undermined the Judicial System of the country and also attempted to seduce Army Personnel/s from their allegiance to their duties as subordinates.

“This is calculated attempt to create hatred in the mind of people and Army Personnel/s against COAS and Pakistan Army and also created distrust towards Judicial System. In such intimidating Tweet/s, the accused Muhammad Azam Khan Swati has attempted to provoke general public and Personnel/s of Armed Forces by trying to create a feeling of ill-will among pillars of the State.”

It alleges Swati violated the privacy and intimidated the state institutions, by using false information, “which is likely to incite, any officer, soldier, sailor, or Airman in the Army, Navy or Air Force of Pakistan to mutiny or otherwise disregard or fail in his duty as such and is also likely to cause fear or alarm in the public and may induce / incite anyone to commit an offence against the State or the State Institution/s or public tranquillity”.

The case was made out against the PTI leader under section 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act-2016 read with 131 (abetting mutiny or attempting to seduce a soldier from his duty), 500 (punishment for defamation), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) and 109 (punishment of abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Court proceedings

PTI’s Babar Awan, Sardar Masroof Khan and Qaiser Jadoon appeared on Swati’s behalf in the Islamabad sessions court of senior Civil Judge Shabbir Bhatti.

The FIA requested eight-day physical remand. The lawyers, however, argued that he was arrested on political grounds. They, too, alleged he was tortured during the late-night detention.

The court sent Swati on two-day physical remand and ordered that the PTI leader be taken for a medical checkup before and after the remand period. It directed the authorities to present Swati before the court on October 15.

The court said in its written order that Swati had complained of being subjected to torture after being arrested at 3am on Thursday.

Moreover, it added, the FIA had informed the court that a “technical comparison” of Swati’s Twitter account had to be conducted.

The court said Swati was being sent on physical remand for two days for further investigation and the recovery of his other social media accounts.

Recriminations against arrest and ‘torture’

Later, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that reports of Swati’s torture were “disturbing”. “Torturing political prisoners has become a new normal in Pakistan,” he added.

PTI-era human rights minister Shireen Mazari tweeted a video of Azam Swati alleging torture in custody.

“Brave man Senator Azam Swati as he tells of why he was arrested but also how he was subjected to torture while in custody,” she wrote. “Shameful.”

Earlier, Swati’s lawyer Babar Awan said “midnight jackals” came to the senator’s house and identified themselves as “FIA personnel,” he said while speaking to the media.

Awan said he was condemning the “arrest” on his, the nation’s and the PTI’s behalf.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister and PTI leader Taimur Jhagra called for Swati’s release. “Our citizens see a political mess; an economic mess; & the ridiculing of accountability. Time to bear the political criticism that comes in today’s polarised Pakistan.

“The answer is elections; not fear through arrests. It is not working. Don’t dig deeper,” he added.

PTI leader Malik Amin Aslam also voiced alarm over Swati’s torture claims and called it a “pathetic state of affairs”.

Other arrests

Last week, the PTI had said that a number of its leaders — including Senator Saiful­lah Khan Nyazee, Hamid Zaman and Tariq Shafi — had been picked up by the Federal Inves­tigation Agency (FIA); a claim that the agency had initially denied.

Later, during a press conference, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had said that Saifullah Nyazee and Amir Zaman had been taken into “protective custody” for interrogation, adding they might be arrested after due diligence, if necessary.

He said that the two men had not been appearing in the prohibited funding case.

Meanwhile, PTI founding member Hamid Zaman’s arrest by the FIA in a connection with a prohibited funding case in Lahore was also confirmed.

According to the FIR lodged against him, both Hamid and Shafi are accused of being accomplices of Abraaj founder Arif Masood Naqvi.

The FIR alleged that Naqvi had “siphoned off Rs9.1bn from funds of Abraaj Group and its subsidiary companies abroad and funnelled to the Aman Foundation’s accounts through Foreign Telegraphic Transfers (FTTs) with unexplained money trail.”

Source: Dawn

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Opposition in uproar after Ghani’s remarks against Karachiites

Imran Ayub

October 13, 2022

KARACHI: The ‘anti-Karachiites’ remarks made by Sindh Minister Saeed Ghani attracted a strong reaction from opposition parties and civil society on Wednesday, who described his comment as a reflection of the ‘feudal mindset’ of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, compelling the senior member to tender an apology for his uncalled-for comment.

While apologising for his comments, Minister Ghani again insisted that the people of Karachi did not fulfil their own responsibilities but only blamed the government for different problems in the metropolis.

It was on Tuesday when Mr Ghani while addressing members of the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry held the people of Karachi responsible for the fast deteriorating city infrastructure, non-existence of civic services and growing crimes in the metropolis.

Mr Ghani claimed that the people of Karachi usually dented the city infrastructure by themselves, attacked civic services and failed to follow the set rules while making ‘hue and cry’ and exaggerating the issues only to create an impression about a worst situation in the city.

Widespread condemnation compels minister to tender apology

The first stern reaction to the comment came from Jamaat-i-Islami Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman, who condemned the minister’s views and came up with set of questions for Mr Ghani, who’s also Karachi president of the PPP.

Addressing a press conference at Idara Noor-i-Haq, the JI leader called his remarks “anti-Karachiites” and said “he [Mr. Ghani] didn’t utter a single word that’s against the PPP policy”.

He said: “The PPP is an anti-Karachi party and its leaders are truly toeing its policy when they hold people of Karachi responsible for the stressful lives they are living. But I challenge that Mr Saeed Ghani won’t be able to face a single Karachiite if he asks him about the reasons behind delay in K-IV water supply project? Who’s ruling this city and province for last 14 years? And who’s managing funds of trillions of rupees for the city development for the last more than a decade?”

Ghani’s own constituency termed centre of drugs and gambling

Former federal minister and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Sindh chapter president Ali Zaidi also expressed his wonder over the Sindh minister’s remarks and accused the PPP government of deliberately creating an environment which divided the people and trigger hatred.

Taking a step forward, the PTI leader claimed that Mr Ghani’s constituency was a centre of drugs and gambling dens which were thriving since the PPP came to power.

“So please also tell the people who’s responsible for these crimes [drugs and gambling dens] and businesses in your constituency,” he told a press conference along with former Sindh government Imran Ismail.

“These are insulting remarks about the people of Karachi. Instead of blaming the people for Karachi’s devastation, Mr Ghani should be blaming himself and the Sindh government for doing nothing to improve Karachi’s condition.”

MQM-P reaction

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), which is a PPP ally at the Centre but still sits on the opposition benches in the Sindh Assembly, also criticised the Sindh minister’s remarks.

In a joint statement, lawmakers belonging to the MQM-P termed Mr Ghani’s remarks “biased” and based on anti-Karachi sentiments.

“It’s so surprising that a minister is blaming the people of Karachi for their deprivation,” the statement said. “The people of Karachi are deprived of their basic rights of living. From law and order to civic infrastructure, everything is deteriorating for years. And amid all this, the people are blamed for all this ills of the system and failure of the administration.”

Also, former Karachi deputy mayor and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) leader Arshad Vohra condemned Mr Ghani’s statement and termed it part of PPP’s anti-Karachi and anti-Pakistan policy.

Ghani clarifies position

Following strong criticism, Mr Ghani tried to explain his position when he said that his views were presented ‘out of context’ and that he didn’t mean to hurt sentiments of a common Karachiite.

Source: Dawn

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IHC seeks report from ministry over issuance of ID card to MQM founder Altaf Hussain

Malik Asad

October 13, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court directed the interior secretary on Wednesday to file a report after consulting the foreign affairs secretary about the issuance of an identity card to Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani gave the order after the court resumed hearing on a petition filed by the MQM through Momin Khan, its former deputy convener, seeking issuance of National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) to Altaf Hussain.

The National Database and Registration Authority’s (Nadra) legal adviser told the court that Mr Hussain’s profile was not available in its records.

He said it was probable that his last card was issued before the establishment of Nadra.

The court said it was regrettable that the interior ministry had kept Altaf Hussain’s application pending since 2014.

The ministry told the IHC that it had blocked Hussain’s identity card and passport on the orders of the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC).

The court sought a report from the interior ministry and adjourned further hearing to Oct 26.


The MQM founder was represented in the case by the late Asma Jahangir in the Lahore High Court and since her death, he remained unrepresented.

The petition stated that in order to appoint another counsel, Mr Hussain contacted the London High Commission for attestation of the power of attorney.

But the commission refused to attest the documents, citing the absence of a Nadra certificate. There is, however, no requirement of attestation on the high commission’s website, the lawyer argued.

The application recalled that the MQM founder had applied for NICOP and renewal of his Pakistan passport in 2014.

Source: Dawn

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Pakistan, Afghanistan bilateral trade increases 66 percent since Taliban rule

By Shahzad Paracha

October 12, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan increased to $213 million from $128 million since the Taliban reigned the government in August 2021, thus increasing 66.60% in trade between two countries.

According to details, Pakistan Exports recorded $88.30 million in September 2022 which was $49 million in September 2021.

Similarly, an increase of (58%) from $79.11 million to $125.40 million also witnessed in imports during the last one year. Overall bilateral trade with Afghanistan in September 2022 was $213.70 million and it increased by 22% in comparison to August 2022.

Meanwhile, an increase of (66%) from $75.46 million in August to $125 million was observed in imports in September 2022 whereas the exports decreased (11%) in September compared to August 2022.

Export of goods like, Rice, fresh vegetables, medicines, fresh fruits, confectionery items and dairy products increased in September 2022. Whereas exports of items like slag, tableware, household articles, plastics, decreased in the reporting month.

Sources said that Agro exports to Afghanistan have increased by 67% from $76.69 million to $127.95 million in 1st Quarter of FY 23 as compared to previous FY same period.

Similarly, non-agro exports have increased by 84% in September 2022 as compared to previous year September whereas in 1st Quarter Non-Agro exports have increased by 60% as compared to previous fiscal year 1st quarter.

Pakistan’s major agro export items are vegetables, fats, food preparation products, rice, potatoes and bananas whereas Pakistan’s major non-agro export items are pharmaceutical products, cement.

On the other hand, imports of goods like fresh fruit, cotton, tomatoes, onions, steatite, Coal, chromium, Iron scrap increased in September 2022. 

Source: Pakistan Today

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Southeast Asia


20 years after Bali bombings, Indonesia confronts extremism online


October 13, 2022

BALI: Indonesia’s government has made progress in stopping Islamic terrorism in the two decades since bombings killed more than 200 people here in 2002. But its fight has moved onto social media platforms where extremist thought remains only a screen scroll away.

A memorial service was held in the tourist district of Kuta on Wednesday to mark the 20th anniversary of the deadly attacks. The survivors and their families stood before a plaque that listed the names of those killed in the bombings.

Bali is welcoming back tourists lost during the pandemic. But the survivors of the bombings still carry the physical and psychological scars from that that October night 20 years ago.

One of them is Thiolina Marpaung, who heads the Isana Dewata Foundation which assists survivors and their families with their day-to-day lives.

Thiolina, 49 years old, was in a car that night with work colleague Dewa Rudita, now 55, heading to an event in Kuta. They were caught in traffic along Legian Road when a car exploded five vehicles in front of them. The blast set fire to their own car, but the two co-workers managed to escape with their lives.

Thiolina now has trouble seeing after shards of glass struck her eyes and still visits a doctor once every two months.

Dewa was burned badly on his left arm and elsewhere, leaving prominent surgical scars. He is so traumatised by the terror attack that he cannot approach the site.

“It’s a miracle that I’m alive,” said Dewa.

The terror attack targeted two nightclubs popular with foreign tourists, taking the lives of 202 people. It was the deadliest act of terrorism in Indonesia’s history, with most of those killed foreign nationals.

Indonesian authorities later arrested senior members of the Islamic extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah. Another terror attack occurred in Bali in 2005, killing around 20 people.

The Indonesian government responded to the 2002 Bali attack by adopting a harder line against terrorism. In 2004, the National Police formed an anti-terror unit known as Densus 88. Indonesia established a national counterterrorism agency six years later, and the military formed a special forces unit to combat terrorism in 2019.

The country tightened scrutiny on potential sources of terror funding. This series of measures is starting to bear fruit: There have been no large-scale terror attacks in Indonesia since suicide bombers targeted churches in Java in 2018, leaving over 50 dead or wounded.

But in the two decades since 2002, social media platforms have come into their own as a means of reaching vast numbers of people in an instant. There is now a higher risk of extremism spreading online, experts say.

There were 370 arrests made last year in connection to terrorism, according to the National Police, more than double the 2017 figure.

Little effort is needed to find social media posts calling for the establishment of an Islamist state or even showing how to make weapons. Authorities are engaged in a game of whack-a-mole as they delete one post, only to find more.

Last year, a woman entered National Police headquarters in Jakarta and fired a gun at officers, shocking the nation. Authorities later said that she had made posts on social media swearing allegiance to the Islamic State. Authorities are keeping a close watch for terror plots launched by organisations as well as lone-wolf attacks.

President Joko Widodo is pushing education as a means to combat extremism. Under his administration, the Indonesian International Islamic University opened last year with a mission of promoting moderate Islam. In September, the national counterterrorism agency and the ministry of religious affairs agreed to fight religious extremism through the assistance of Islamic leaders.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Indonesia seeks to corner share of Africa's Muslim fashion market

October 12, 2022

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Minister of Trade, Zulkifli Hasan, is targeting several countries on the African continent as markets for Indonesian Muslim clothing as their product quality standards are easier to meet compared to those of Western countries.

Apart from Africa, the Ministry of Trade is also aiming to corner a share of the Muslim fashion market in Central Asia, South Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

"The countries that I mentioned earlier, of course, the money is there," Hasan said during a press conference for the “Jakarta Muslim Fashion Week 2022” at the Ministry of Trade’s building in Jakarta on Wednesday.

"For Africa, we can send shoes for US$10, we can send a scarf, which costs US$2, and the people there buy it. Therefore, we will try to penetrate this new market," he explained.

To seize the markets of Central Asia, South Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, Indonesian products will need to be consistently promoted via exhibitions in the countries in these regions.

According to Minister Hasan, Indonesia must continue to build relationships so that the Indonesian Muslim fashion industry can continue to penetrate markets abroad.

"If you want to penetrate the market, you cannot come once, you have to do it many times. We have to build direct relationships, otherwise, it will not be easy. If we can build sustainable relationships, we can dominate the market," he added.

The minister further said that the Indonesian fashion industry has great potential in the international market. The works of local designers are also deemed capable of competing globally.

"This is indeed a big potential; we have people who have talent, great designers. I am confident that we can penetrate the international market," he added.

Furthermore, he said that the Ministry of Trade will continue to encourage the Indonesian Muslim fashion industry as part of efforts to make it the world's fashion center in the next few years.

Hasan had earlier called for the holding of the 4th Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting between Indonesia and South Africa, which has been delayed for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The fourth JTC meeting was supposed to be held in Indonesia in 2020, however, it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, we push the technical teams of both countries to immediately coordinate and continue the implementation of the JTC meeting," he said.

He made the statement during a bilateral meeting with South African Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel on the sidelines of the G20 Trade, Investment, and Industry Ministerial Meeting (TIIMM), which was held in Nusa Dua, Badung district, Bali province, from September 21–23, 2022.

The TIIMM was organized under the Sherpa Track as a follow-up to the G20 TIIWG, which sought to address trade and investment issues as well as encourage G20 countries to bolster global trade and investments.

The JTC is a bilateral forum for discussing efforts to increase cooperation in the economic and trade sectors between Indonesia and South Africa. Three JTC meetings have been held between the two countries so far, and the last one took place on July 21, 2017, in Pretoria, South Africa.

Indonesian investors are interested in developing their businesses in South Africa, Hasan noted.

Source: Antara News

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Man suspected of killing baby has 8 past criminal offences

October 12, 2022

ALOR SETAR: A man who allegedly murdered his three-month-old baby boy at Kampung Teluk Jawa in Padang Hang on Monday had eight past criminal offences, including for drug-related offences.

Kedah police chief Wan Hassan Wan Ahmad said the 28-year-old suspect, who was arrested on the same day, has been remanded until Oct 17.

He said the suspect was believed to have been involved in drug abuse for the past two to three years.

Wan Hassan also said the man’s two other children, aged five and one, who were being cared for by other family members, had been sent to the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital for a medical examination.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Pahang to pass state budget first before decision on dissolution

October 13, 2022

KUANTAN: Menteri besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said the position of the Pahang legislative assembly will be known soon after passing the state budget for 2023.

He said the priority now is to pass the budget which was tabled last Friday so that the state government’s plans for the people could be implemented.

Asked whether the budget would be valid if a state election was held soon, Wan Rosdy said: “Yes, it is valid. We need to pass it first as it is important. If it is not passed, then it has to be tabled again.”

The budget debate began on Tuesday and Wan Rosdy is expected to wind it up today before putting it to the vote.

On Tuesday, Wan Rosdy had told reporters he was still waiting for a date for an audience with the regent, Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Abdullah, to seek his consent for the dissolution of the state assembly.

Earlier, Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the state assemblies under BN, except those in Melaka, Johor and Sabah, would be dissolved simultaneously with the dissolution of Parliament to make way for the 15th general election (GE15).

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Attack on military base foiled, 20 al-Shabaab terrorists killed: Somali army

Andrew Wasike  



Somalia’s military said it repulsed an al-Shabaab attack on a military base on Wednesday morning, killing at least 20 terrorists and injuring dozens more.

The terror group tried to storm a base in Yasooman, an area in the central Hiran region, at around dawn, the military said in a statement.

The attack was foiled with the help of locals who provided vital information to Somali forces, it added.

The army said at least three Somali soldiers were killed in the fighting.

Somalia has been grappling with increasing insecurity for years, with al-Shabaab being one of the main threats in the Horn of Africa country.

Since 2007, the terrorist group has waged a deadly campaign against the Somali government and international forces.

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

Source: Anadolu Agency

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UN health chief says clinical trials for Ebola's Sudan strain to start within weeks

Hamza Kyeyune 



World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday reiterated that clinical trials for vaccines to combat the Sudan strain of Ebola could start within weeks in Uganda.

In a virtual address to a high-level emergency meeting of African regional health officials in Kampala, Tedros said several vaccines were currently being developed that could deal with the Sudan strain.

The meeting was organized by the government of Uganda in collaboration with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO to discuss cross-border collaboration to respond to the Sudan strain of Ebola which has no proven vaccine.

Health ministers from 11 African countries attended the event.

Uganda’s Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said Uganda will in the coming week receive Ebola vaccines for the Sudan strain.

Aceng said the country will receive two vaccine types: 171 Oxford doses manufactured in the UK and 300 Sabin doses manufactured in the US, adding that more than 40,000 doses are expected next month.

Uganda’s Health Ministry has confirmed a total of 54 Ebola cases and 19 deaths.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Tunisian protesters clash with police over missing migrants

12 October, 2022

Hundreds of Tunisians clashed with police on Wednesday during a protest to demand a rescue mission for relatives lost at sea during a failed migration attempt.

Also angered over the burial of three suspected Tunisians in a nearby cemetery for foreign migrants, some burnt tires and threw rocks at police.

Protesters blocked the main street in the coastal town of Zarzis, shouting “the people want our lost children!”

The incident came more than two weeks after a boat carrying Tunisian migrants went missing off the coast during an attempt to reach Italy.

On Monday, seamen found eight bodies which are now awaiting DNA analysis to determine whether they are of missing Tunisians, the Tunisian Red Crescent said.

Families of the missing have been calling on authorities to step up search efforts.

They have also been angered by reports that three Tunisians were buried in the cemetery for foreign migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, whose bodies regularly wash up along the coast after tragedies at sea.

“The authorities wouldn’t let sailors go out looking for the missing,” said rights activist Mabrouka Dhaoui.

“They buried out sons in a cemetery for foreigners, they should be ashamed of themselves.”

Said Ben Zaid, governor of the surrounding Medenine province, told local radio that four bodies had been exhumed from the migrant cemetery to undergo DNA analysis.

The Tunisian Human Rights League said authorities had “not devoted the necessary resources to search and rescue operations in a timely way” and called for an inquiry into the burials.

The North African country has a long Mediterranean coast, in places just 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the Italian island of Lampedusa.

A long-running economic crisis has pushed many Tunisians to attempt the journey.

Despite generally favorable weather from spring to autumn, the journeys on barely seaworthy boats often end in tragedy.

Early this month, AFP journalists saw the coast guard intercepting migrants aboard overcrowded, homemade boats.

Tunisian authorities intercepted nearly 200 migrants attempting to reach Europe northwards across the Mediterranean Sea over the weekend, the defense ministry said Tuesday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Arab Parliament blasts Britain's plan to relocate embassy to occupied al-Quds

12 October 2022

The Arab Parliament has denounced the British government's plan to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied holy city of al-Quds, saying the move would constitute a flagrant violation of international law.

The legislative body of the Arab League in a statement on Wednesday reacted strongly to reports about the potential relocation of the British embassy, in what could jettison a longstanding policy of British governments.

“The legal, historical and religious status of al-Quds is not subject to review, and any step in this direction amounts to a flagrant violation of international law and of the historical responsibilities of Britain as the architect of the illegal Balfour Declaration, whose tragedy has long haunted the Palestinian nation,” said the statement.

Separately, a member of the Jordanian House of Representatives and Deputy Speaker of the Arab Parliament, Khalil Attia, warned Britain against the move.

Attia stressed that “moving the embassy to occupied al-Quds undermines the possibility of creation of a Palestinian state, and is an attack on international law and international legitimacy.”

Meanwhile, the Jordanian al-Islah (Reform) political party also censured British Prime Minister Liz Truss over her intention to move the UK embassy to al-Quds, rejecting the potential move as “racist and immature.”

“Her statements are rejected and condemned in the strongest terms. The remarks come from an official of a colonial state, which assisted Jews to occupy Palestine, commit crimes against the glorious Palestinian nation, and sow the seeds of discord and division among them,” it said in a statement.

“The comments regarding potential transfer of the British embassy to the occupied al-Quds indicate an unsuccessful start for the incumbent prime minister, and confirm constant insistence on the crimes that Britain has committed in the Arab region in general, and in Palestine in particular, the ugliest of which was the Balfour Declaration,” the party said.

The Balfour Declaration came in the form of a letter from Britain’s then-foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a figurehead of the British Jewish community. It was published on November 2, 1917.

The declaration was made during World War I (1914-1918) and was included in the terms of the British Mandate for Palestine after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

It is widely seen as the precursor to the 1948 Palestinian Nakba, when Zionist armed paramilitary groups, who were trained and created to fight side by side with the British in World War II, forcibly expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland.

Last month, Truss told the Israeli prime minister, Yair Lapid, that she was considering transferring the UK embassy in Tel Aviv to al-Quds. If it happens, the contentious policy shift would be similar to that of the US under ex-President Donald Trump in May 2018.

Angered by the UK premier’s announcement, the Palestinians described the statements as “a new Balfour Declaration” and said it proves Britain’s bias in favor of the Israeli regime.

The Gaza-based Hamas and Islamic Jihad resistance movements have also taken strong umbrage to reports about the relocation of the British embassy.

“The announcement by British Prime Minister Liz Truss about her intention to move her country’s embassy to al-Quds is a flagrant bias toward the occupying regime,” Hamas spokesperson Abdel Latif Qanou said on September 21.

He warned that the move would not give Israel any legitimacy “over one inch of our land.”

Islamic Jihad senior official Mohammed Shalah accused Britain of displaying “arrogance” against Palestinians.

“We are not surprised by what Britain is doing in light of the ongoing Arab and Islamic silence,” Shalah said. “We blame the Arab and Islamic countries that are supposed to support al-Quds.”

Another Islamic Jihad official, Tareq Salmi, warned that the controversial British plan would anger Arabs and Muslims.

He denounced the move as a “hideous colonial aggression” against Palestinians, adding, “Britain is directly responsible for the tragedy of Palestinian people.”

Envoys of some Arab countries stationed in London also called on the Truss government in late September not to move the country's embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds.

The ambassadors in a letter said the plan could jeopardize talks on a free trade deal between the UK and the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council slated to be completed this year, the Guardian reported at the time.

Source: Press TV

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Muslims in Bulgaria: Dispersed after persecution and rely on youth


OCT 13, 2022

Bulgaria is the gateway to Europe on the eastern side of the world and the political center of the Balkans. It is a bridge linking the East and West, through which successive civilizations crossed, leaving behind a history whose evidence is still present, especially the Islamic civilizations.

The number of Muslims in Bulgaria is currently estimated at 1.5 million, but they were much more before the Ottomans left it in A.D. 1877.

Muslims in Bulgaria have faced varying conditions, reaching the point of persecution during the days of communist rule, then dispersal, according to former Yemeni Ambassador to Bulgaria Abdul Razzaq al-Amrani.

Al-Amrani, in a lecture on the sidelines of the Istanbul International Arab Book Fair in early October, said: "The worst stage Muslims lived in Bulgaria was during the communist rule, in the period between 1944-1989, when they robbed them of their identity and stripped them of their religion by force. In just two months, they expelled more than 300,000 Bulgarian Muslims of Turkish descent."

Al-Amrani, who was also attending a book signing for his book “Bulgaria from the Eastern Corner,” added: "In 1985, the Bulgarian authorities forced Muslims at the time to change their names and religion, depriving them of their money and property, not to mention looting and confiscating mosques and turning them into discos and stores, at best. The situation turned to museums, and he closed a large number of them, and so far no one can reopen them."

Bulgaria from the east corner

Al-Amrani pointed out in an interview with Daily Sabah that the minarets were raised in Bulgaria before they were raised in Istanbul, as Islam entered Bulgaria before the conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror in 1453.

The writer also mentioned in his book that “there are those who say that Islamic and Arab antiquities and inscriptions were found in Bulgaria, indicating the entry of Islam to it before the Ottoman conquest.

“Some historians confirm, based on historical facts, that the inhabitants of the Rudbe region in southern Bulgaria, the Pomak, are considered the descendants of the Umayyads who besieged Constantinople at the time, and were unable to enter it, so some of them continued toward Bulgaria and settled there and spread Islam."

And he added: "Therefore, it is necessary to recall the intimate relationship between Islam, the Ottomans, the Bulgarians and the Arabs, and this is one of the main reasons that prompted me to prepare my book."

"This is the only Arabic book that discusses and deals with the situation of Islam and Muslims in Bulgaria, and what prompted me to write it is that after I was appointed as an ambassador of Yemen in Bulgaria in 2013, I did not find any Arab reference that raises this issue. The references were Turkish or Bulgarian, so they were biased.

"On the side of the Bulgarians or on the side of the Muslims, I have not found any neutral references that give accurate information.”

In his book "Bulgaria from the Eastern Corner," al-Amrani explains the Muslims in Bulgaria came from the eastern side, as well as details their origins, numbers, distribution, the conditions they went through, and the difficulties and problems that Muslims suffer from in Bulgaria, since the exit of the Ottomans from it until now.

Origins of Muslims in Bulgaria

The origins of the Muslims of Bulgaria date back to several nationalities and peoples. The majority of them are of Turkish descent, as Turkish Muslims constitute 60%, followed by the Pomak Muslims at 25%, then the Romani Muslims at 15% and the Tatars who constitute a small percentage of Muslims, according to Amrani's book.

The author pointed out that the largest Muslim population centers are concentrated around two regions, the first is located in the northeast of Bulgaria, where the squares of "Ruse, Silistra, Varna, Shumen" are located, while the second region is located in southern Bulgaria on the Rhodope Mountains.

About 80% of Bulgarian Turks live in these two regions, while 90% of the Pomak Muslims reside in the Western Rhodope region. Muslims are also spread across areas close to the western, Serbian, Macedonian, Greek and Turkish borders.

The Muslims of Bulgaria are generally characterized by their rural nature, as most of them work in agriculture, according to al-Amrani.

1.5 million Muslims

The writer stated that "the number of Muslims in Bulgaria, the closest to the accuracy, is one and a half million, based on what was reported by the Mufti of Bulgaria."

"Some exaggerated estimates indicate that the number of Muslims in Bulgaria is more than 3 million and that Muslims constitute 25% of the population, that could have been true if we were talking about the number of Muslims when the Ottomans left Bulgaria in 1878, before the displacements," he added.

The number of mosques in Bulgaria is 1,283 and they are divided into two parts. The first is “mosques in which the five daily prayers are held and the Friday prayers are not held, and those number 126,” and the second is “the mosques in which the five daily prayers are held in addition to the Friday and Eid prayers, and the number of those is 1,157.”

Al-Amrani pointed out that there are large numbers of mosques that have been closed since the communist rule, and some of them have been converted into stores and museums, and no one can reopen them, because successive Bulgarian governments say that "the current number of mosques is enough for Muslims."

He points out that most of these mosques are located in villages and suburbs, but in cities, for example, in the capital, Sofia, there was only one mosque in 2010, due to the difficulty of obtaining licenses to build mosques. In 2012 the Arabs opened two other mosques in the suburbs far from the city, while there were 85 mosques in it when the Ottomans left.

Situation of Muslims in Bulgaria

Regarding the current situation of Muslims in Bulgaria, former Yemeni Ambassador Abdul Razzaq Al-Amrani said: “At least from the official side, there is no harassment but rather a hostile individual or partisan behavior, such as the right-wing party 'Ataka,' which from time to time harasses Muslims, as it had previously protested the sound of loudspeakers and prayers outside the mosque.

Also, in 2014, hundreds of people gathered in front of the Bulgarian city court of Plovdiv to protest the conversion of the "Korshom" mosque under the Bulgarian Islamic authorities.

Al-Amrani pointed out in his book that the most prominent obstacles faced by Muslims in Bulgaria are that most mosques suffer from a lack of imams, according to what was reported by the mufti of Bulgaria. And its inability to pay the salaries of imams.

Rely on the youth

However, al-Amrani stressed that the situation of Muslims today in Bulgaria is much better than it was in the past, as they have a house for fatwas and institutions, and have regained a small part of their material and moral rights.

He stressed that they are still looking forward to a better future, especially today's youth who want to learn to read the Quran in mosques, and have become more knowledgeable and committed to matters of religion, compared to the elderly who grew up at the time of the ban in the days of communism. He said especially those who leave Bulgaria to study or work in Western Europe and return more committed to religion because, in the West, they have more religious freedom there than in Bulgaria.

Al-Amrani concluded his comments to Daily Sabah by saying: "Today we look to these young people to carry the torch toward a better future for Muslims in Bulgaria, to work to unite their ranks, overcome challenges, and benefit from the state of sympathy with Islam in some aspects of Bulgarian society.

Source: Daily Sabah

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EU states agree to sanction Iran over protest crackdowns

12 October, 2022

EU countries have agreed sanctions on Iran following its brutal crackdown on protests over Mahsa Amini’s death and foreign ministers are to adopt them next Monday, diplomats said.

Earlier on Wednesday European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said “now is the time to sanction those responsible” in Iran “for the repression of women.”

“This shocking violence cannot stay unanswered,” she said.

Four EU diplomats told AFP that political agreement was reached Wednesday on the sanctions and that the foreign ministers’ meeting to be held in Luxembourg next Monday was to officialize them.

There were no details on the impending sanctions, but the United States, Britain and Canada have already separately targeted security branches of the Iranian regime.

The United States and Britain have imposed sanctions on Iran's so-called morality police, who arrested 22-year-old Amini last month.

She was taken unconscious from a police station to hospital where she died.

Her family, the protesters in Iran, Western officials and rights groups have all called her death a “killing.”

Iran denies that and says she died of natural causes related to childhood surgery.

Canada last week said it will permanently deny entry to more than 10,000 members of the Iranian regime, including those belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which is leading the repression.

EU lawmakers have been calling for the bloc to put Iranian officials, including those linked to the morality police, on a blacklist prohibiting travel into Europe and freezing any assets in the EU.

The European Union in April 2011 already imposed sanctions on Iran for human rights violations, with more measures added in March 2012 to halt the sale of any equipment the regime might use to repress or electronically spy on the Iranian population.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UN raps Finland for violating rights of children abandoned in Syria camps

12 October 2022

A United Nations rights watchdog has rebuked Finland for violating the rights of Finnish children who were abandoned in Syrian prison camps.

On Wednesday, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) denounced Finland for violating the rights of Finnish children by leaving them in life-threatening conditions in Syrian camps, which are housing suspected Daesh Takfiri terrorists and their families.

Composed of 18 independent experts, the committee issued its findings in a 14-page document after considering a case on behalf of six Finnish children held at al-Hol camp, which is located close to the Syria-Iraq border.

“Finland has the responsibility and power to protect the Finnish children in the Syrian camps against an imminent risk to their lives by taking action to repatriate them,” the CRC said in a statement.

Back in 2019, the case was brought to the CRC. Later, three of the children were able to leave the camp along with their mother, and finally reached Finland.

“The remaining three child victims, currently between five and six years old, are still detained in closed camps in a war-like zone,” the statement said.

Located on the southern outskirts of the town of al-Hol in Syria’s Hasakah province, the infamous camp is under the control of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of anti-Damascus militants. Besides the internally displaced, families of Daesh terrorists also reside there.

US occupation forces and its allied militants are actively present in the province.

“The situation of children in the camps has been widely reported as inhuman, lacking basic necessities including water, food and healthcare, and facing an imminent risk of death,” said CRC member Ann Skelton.

The CRC, whose opinions and recommendations are non-binding, further said Finland had not given due consideration to the children’s best interests when assessing their relatives’ requests for repatriation.

Furthermore, the petition from Finnish children’s relatives also said 33 other Finnish children were held at the al-Hol camp without access to legal assistance.

“We call on Finland to take immediate and decisive action to preserve the lives of these children, and to bring them home to their families,” Skelton said.

This is the second time the CRC has reviewed the situation of children in refugee camps in northern Syria.

Source: Press TV

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North America


Biggest threat to Gulf maritime waters is from Iran: Top US admiral

12 October, 2022

The top admiral overseeing US Naval forces in the Middle East, Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, warned Wednesday that the biggest threat to the security of navigation in the Gulf is from Iran.

“The most serious threats that we see do come from Iran. They come in two forms: the growth and capability and numbers of cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and UAVs, as well as their use of proxies in those particular weapons,” said the commander of the US Naval Forces Central Command, US 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Force (CMF).

Speaking to Al Arabiya in Washington, Cooper pointed to the risks emanating from Iran’s drone program and the technology it provides its regional proxies.

The 5th Fleet commander is also in charge of the CMF, a naval force of 34 member nations operating in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Northern Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean.

In recent years, the force has played a vital role in foiling drug and weapons smuggling.

Last month alone, the US Navy said it seized $85 million worth of heroin from a fishing vessel, making it the biggest illegal drug interdiction in the Middle East by international naval forces this year.

Two days later, the Navy said it seized $10 million (7,200 kg) worth of hashish from another fishing vessel in the Gulf of Oman.

But the US and its allies in the region are also constantly looking out for illicit weapons transfers.

In December, Navy patrol ships said they interdicted a fishing vessel with 1,400 Russian rifles and 226,600 rounds of ammunition. They said the vessel was believed to have been heading to Yemen from Iran.

The Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen continues to receive logistical, financial, and military support from Tehran.

Source: Al Arabiya

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US says Iran nuclear deal is ‘not our focus right now’

13 October, 2022

The United States on Wednesday said that reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is “not our focus right now,” saying Tehran had showed little interest in reviving the pact and that Washington was concentrating on how to support Iranian protesters.

Asked if the United States was interested in pursuing talks to revive the pact under which Iran curbed its nuclear program in return for economic sanctions relief, US State Department spokesman Ned Price replied “that’s not our focus right now.

“It is very clear and the Iranians have made very clear that this is not a deal that they have been prepared to make. The deal certainly does not appear imminent,” Price told a briefing.

“Nothing we’ve heard in recent weeks suggests they have changed their position. And so right now our focus ... is on the remarkable bravery and courage that the Iranian people are exhibiting through their peaceful demonstrations,” he said.

“Our focus right now is on shining a spotlight on what they’re doing and supporting them in the ways we can,” he said, referring to anti-government protests ignited by the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s morality police.

Then-US President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers in 2018 and unilaterally reimposed economic sanctions that have hobbled Iran’s economy by curbing its oil exports.

Source: Al Arabiya

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US Senate removing conditions on F-16 deal 'in line with spirit of alliance,' says Turkish lawmaker

Merve Aydogan


Saying that Turkish-US diplomatic traffic has picked up since the ending of COVID-19 restrictions, a top Turkish lawmaker on Wednesday said the US dropping conditions on selling F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye is "in line with the spirit of the alliance."

Speaking to diplomatic correspondents in Ankara, Akif Cagatay Kilic, the head of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission, commented on his recent visits to the US, saying that Ankara’s role as mediator in the Russia-Ukraine war has shaped the US' understanding of Türkiye.

Saying that the officials he met with in the US hailed Türkiye's "strong stance" and "ability to negotiate" with both Russia and Ukraine amid the war, Kilic said the US Senate dropping the conditions on the F-16 fighter jets is a "very positive attitude."

"It is an attitude that is in line with the spirit of the alliance, as we expected. It is a positive attitude. In this respect, we hope that we reach a result that is in line with realities," he added.

On Tuesday, two amendments making potential F-16 sales to Türkiye contingent on a series of conditions were reportedly removed from the Senate version of the annual US defense spending bill.

The conditions included requiring the president to inform Congress of “concrete steps” he has taken to ensure the warplanes “are not used by Turkey for repeated unauthorized territorial overflights of Greece or military operations against United States allies."

After the Senate passes the bill, it will be reconciled with the version already passed by the House of Representatives before it is sent to US President Joe Biden to be signed into law.

"Two amendments, which we did not approve, were passed in the House of Representatives. But the (amendments) weren’t passed by the Senate, and were removed from the bill," said Kilic, adding that there will be harmonization between the two versions of the bill “likely around mid-November” after the US midterm elections.

Kilic and a delegation headed by Justice and Development (AK) Party Deputy Chair in charge of Foreign Affairs Efkan Ala paid two visits to the US, this May and September, according to the Turkish lawmaker.

Commenting on the visits, Kilic said they had nearly 40 meetings that included officials from the US Senate, House of Representatives, Biden administration, and the media.

"My personal observation since our visits from last year as well as the latest two visits is that the atmosphere (against Türkiye) was not as negative as the media painted it to be," Kilic said.

Noting that Türkiye's positive role amid Russia's war on Ukraine as well as the grain deal and prisoner exchange has been important, Kilic said that for the first time US officials were well aware of the situations in the region around Türkiye.

"We have seen their appreciation for Türkiye's solid stance, its ability to negotiate with both sides of the war, and its ability to lend confidence," Kilic stated.

'Finland’s NATO bid is in a better place'

On the deal on the sale of F-16s and modernization kits, Kilic said Türkiye already having participated in making F-16 fighter jets and an earlier generation of the planes already being in the Turkish Armed Forces inventory had an impact on the US.

"They (US officials) are aware that Türkiye's first resort on defense industry needs is NATO. But if our NATO allies do not act in the spirit of alliance, they now see Türkiye's capacity to develop its own defense industry, and also know that Türkiye is able to act (to meet its needs) in case of an emergency," he said.

He further stressed the importance of Türkiye's demands and needs for the NATO alliance and its deterrence.

Ankara requested F-16s and modernization kits last October. The $6 billion deal would include the sale of 40 jets and modernization kits for 79 warplanes that the Turkish Air Force has in its inventory.

Kilic acknowledged that there are other matters outstanding in Turkish-US relations but said it is more "beneficial" to move from positive topics to issues that are more complicated.

On Sweden and Finland's NATO accession bids, Kilic said the two Nordic countries are not being lumped together by Ankara.

"Let's say Finland is in a better place at this point and Sweden is not," he said.

On Sweden’s recent elections, the Turkish lawmaker expressed hopes for the new Swedish government to be less "lenient" towards terror groups and less anti-Turkish.

He also said Sweden has been taking some positive steps but that it is not at the level Ankara wants.

"The ball is no longer in our court. We have openly stated what we want and what we expect them to do," he said.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO in June, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine.

But Türkiye voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the two countries for tolerating and even supporting terror groups.

A memorandum of understanding signed by Türkiye, Finland, and Sweden at NATO's June summit in Madrid, Spain stipulates that the two countries will not provide support to the PKK/YPG, or the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) – the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Türkiye that left 251 killed and 2,734 wounded.

Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the terror group’s Syrian offshoot.

Visa woes issue

On the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) approving Türkiye's proposal for the Schengen visa process to be more transparent, fair, and inclusive, Kilic called this a highly important development.

Although the report is nonbinding, Kilic said it is an important reference point for Türkiye when it is laying out its arguments at the EU.

"It is important for us that the deficiencies are identified and addressed in the report," he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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