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Muslim NGO Coalition Highlights State Sponsored Islamophobia across Europe

New Age Islam News Bureau

30 September 2022


Protestors hold a banner reading "Block against fascism and islamophobia" during a demonstration organised by far-left against far-right in Paris, on November 27, 2021. (Photo By Stephane De Sakutin / AFP) (Photo by Stephane De Sakutin/Afp Via Getty Images)


• Clashes Over ‘Love Jihad’, Police Action — Garba Venues Turn Political Arenas in Gujarat, MP

• Iranian Islamic Regime 'Does Not Represent' the People: Mahsa Amini Protesters Insist

• Pakistan's Punjab CM Continues His Hate-Mongering Rhetoric against the Ahmadiyya Community

• 1MDB Trial: Najib's Lawyer Shows Saudi Prince's Second Letter Promising US$375m 'Gift' To PM, After Previous US$100m Gift Letter



• Italy’s Muslim Communities Confident New Government Will Protect Religious Freedom

• Hindu Man Thanks Muslim Activist after Leicester Violence: ‘He Saved My Life’

• European Governments Accused Over 'Suppression of Muslim Civil Society'

• Five Bangladesh cabbies in UK charged with people smuggling

• Germany to seek EU sanctions on Iran over protests crackdown: foreign minister



• Ban on PFI act of 'political selfishness' aimed to appease RSS: Mayawati

• Will Prevent Non-Believers from Entering Garba Venues and Spreading Love Jihad, Says Bajrang Dal

• Gyanvapi Mosque Case: Why Are Petitioners Divided Over The Carbon Dating Claims?

• PFI had plans to turn India into Islamic nation by 2047; RSS, BJP leaders were on radar: Maharashtra ATS chief



• French Charge D’Affaires to Iran Summoned Over Anti-Tehran Rallies, Charlie Hebdo Cartoon

• Iranian President Urges US Guarantees on Avoiding Past Misbehaviour

• IRGC Smashes Terrorist Strongholds by 73 Missiles, Tens of Drones

• Iran ‘ruthlessly’ suppressing protests: Amnesty International

• Human Rights Chief: US Lacks Legitimacy to Comment on Rights of Iranians

• Iran Warns Against Emergence of Terror Groups in Afghanistan

• Iran protests over young woman's death continue, 83 said killed

• Two injured, 90 arrested in clashes near Iran embassy in Oslo



• Resurgence of Terrorism Won’t Be Tolerated, General Qamar Javed Bajwa Tells Commanders Conference

• Pakistan’s Progressive Transgender Law Faces Opposition 4 Years Later

• Pakistan govt to launch multi-billion-dollars initiative to protect Indus River

• Imran appears before Islamabad court to apologise to Judge Zeba Chaudhry in person

• At least one killed, 20 injured in blast in Balochistan’s Kohlu

• Pakistan would act as ‘bridge’ between China, US: Bilawal


Southeast Asia

• Malaysia Welcomes ADB’s Member Countries to Leverage Islamic Capital Market Synergies

• Social entrepreneur receives Commonwealth Points of Light award

• Indonesia approves first home-grown Covid-19 vaccine


South Asia                                     

• US Envoy Fears Afghanistan could Witness a ‘Return to Civil War’

• Kabul Suicide Blast Kills 19, Mostly Girls, At Education Centre

• Iran Says Terrorism in Afghanistan Pose Threat to Global Security

• Security interests widen trust gap between Afghan Taliban, China


Arab World

• Opposition Groups Secure Nearly 60% of Kuwait's National Assembly

• Lebanese lawmakers fail to elect new president

• Saudi Arabia condemns Iranian attacks on Iraq’s Kurdistan region

• Saudi Arabia’s defence minister discusses situation in Yemen with PLC head

• Yemen signs deal for oil derivatives from Saudi Arabia


North America

• US Calls For Probe Of 7-Year-Old Palestinian Boy’s Death During Israeli Raids

• US says citizen killed in Iran strikes on Iraqi Kurdistan

• US imposes new sanctions on Iran oil exports and front companies abroad



• Gunfire Heard In Burkina Faso, Sparking Mutiny Fears

• Morocco arrests suspected ISIS member

• Suspected rebels kill 5 soldiers, civilian in Nigeria

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Muslim NGO Coalition Highlights State Sponsored Islamophobia across Europe


Protestors hold a banner reading "Block against fascism and islamophobia" during a demonstration organised by far-left against far-right in Paris, on November 27, 2021. (Photo By Stephane De Sakutin / AFP) (Photo by Stephane De Sakutin/Afp Via Getty Images)


September 29, 2022

A coalition of Muslim NGOs will be highlighting state sponsored Islamophobia across Europe during a conference organised by what is billed as the world's largest regional security intergovernmental organisation, with 57 participating states. Coalition members will gather at the Human Dimension Conference of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe to be held in Warsaw over the next two days. The NGOs will decry what they have identified as endemic state sponsored Islamophobia across Europe and highlight what is being described as systematic suppression of Muslim civil society across the continent.

The coalition includes groups from across Europe and elsewhere. Some of them — Perspectives Musulmanes (France), CAGE (UK), Assisting Communities Traumatised by Police (Austria), Lighthouse Advocacy (UK), The Centre for Muslims' Rights (Denmark), INSAN (Sweden) and Muslim Rights Watch (Netherlands) — are organising a fringe event at the conference to highlight how European states have enabled the targeting of Muslim minorities through an array of discriminatory laws and policies with far-reaching implications for the rule of law and freedom in Europe.

Elias d'Imzalène of Perspectives Musulmanes will focus on how France's state-led Islamophobia is dismantling all free spaces for Muslims. "This Orwellian policy affects the very corpus of the Islamic religion," said d'Imzalène in a press release. "Indeed, the Imams' Charter prohibits imams from denouncing any form of Islamophobia, discrimination and injustice and imposes a new reading of Islam ordered by the State, an 'Islam of the police prefectures'. The police threaten to close any mosque denouncing this new inquisition while a political hunt is also carried out, targeting the dissenting voices of the community, thus making Muslim expression [or free speech] essentially criminal."

Lighthouse Advocacy from the UK will highlight evidence it has uncovered of unethical financial ties between British higher education institutions and companies complicit in forced Uyghur labour. "Lighthouse Advocacy urges the UK government to comply with the Modern Slavery Act of 2015 and ban any import of goods from the Xinjiang region which has been produced as a result of forced Uyghur labour," explained the NGO's Ikram Hussain. "We also exhort British businesses and academic institutions to follow suit in ending their ties with such companies profiting from forced Uyghur labour."

The Managing Director of CAGE, meanwhile, will draw attention to France's systematic obstruction policy and will note how it amounts to a persecution of Muslims in the country. In his pre-conference statement, Muhammad Rabbani, commented on rights guaranteed under international law. "As defined by the Rome Statute, 'persecution' means the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity," he explained. "The deliberate deprivation of the freedom of religion, opinion and association of Muslim citizens of France that results from government policy and law, provides evidence of State-led persecution of Muslims underway in France."

Source: Middle East Monitor
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Clashes Over ‘Love Jihad’, Police Action — Garba Venues Turn Political Arenas in Gujarat, MP


Photo: The Print/Representational image of Bajrang Dal and VHP members | ANI



30 September, 2022

Delhi/ Mumbai: Garba events have emerged as centres of political controversy in two BJP-ruled states — Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat — ahead of assembly elections.

In both states, several alleged incidents of Muslim youth trying to enter garba (folk dance) venues stoked trouble. In all instances, the men were identified by workers of the Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), who were keeping watch during the dance events, a mainstay of the nine-day festival of Navratri that started Monday.

In Madhya Pradesh’s Indore, at the behest of the Bajrang Dal, the police took action against Muslim youth who were rounded up from garba pandals in three separate incidents. The Indore police confirmed to ThePrint that these men used fake identification cards or names, and that “preventive” action had been initiated against them.

Tannu Sharma, the Indore Bajrang Dal sanyojak (coordinator), told ThePrint that all three incidents had taken place between 27 and 29 September.  He further said that if the police failed to take appropriate action, matters might escalate.

“There is a slogan that’s become popular in Madhya Pradesh these days — pehle rokenge, phir tokenge aur uske baad thokenge (first we will try to stop them, then interrupt them, and if that also doesn’t work we will remove them),” he said.

Similarly, in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad, Bajrang Dal members allegedly assaulted Muslim men trying to enter garba venues in Ahmedabad in two separate incidents.

Speaking to ThePrint, Vinod Bansal, national spokesperson of the VHP, said fears of “love jihad” and concerns over “women’s security” during garba events were behind the actions of Bajrang Dal workers.

“It’s a cultural as well as religious programme. We have requested the state police and organisers to keep an eye on people trying to create nuisance in such programmes,” he said.

On the presence of Bajrang Dal workers outside garba pandals, he pointed out that “women’s security is a major concern and (people) need to be checked so that women can participate freely”.

“Bajrang Dal workers have been vigilant. We are only supporting the law enforcement agencies. Cases of love jihad and crime against women have been reported from such pandals,” he claimed.

“We also don’t want non-believers to make rounds of these pandals. They should either not go or should not be allowed,” he added.

Elections in Gujarat, where the BJP which has been in power since 1995, are due later this year. The Madhya Pradesh elections are scheduled for next year.

Both polls are crucial for the BJP as it is trying to improve its double-digit seat tally of the 2017 elections in Gujarat, while in Madhya Pradesh, the party’s performance in the recent municipal elections had raised concerns.

‘A tool for love jihad’

The Bajrang Dal in Indore, MP, has informed the police of three incidents at pandals over the last two days.

“On 27 September, we found a few men making videos of Hindu girls who were doing garba. The Bajrang Dal activists found their actions suspicious and when they tried to enquire about the men’s identity they turned out to be Muslim youth who had given fake names. We called the police immediately,” the Bajrang Dal’s Tannu Sharma said.

He also cited two other alleged incidents. “In Dwarkapuri two Muslim men who were from Kolkata had entered a pandal using fake IDs and again we asked the police to intervene. In the last incident, a youth was found trying to take the contact numbers of the girls at the pandal and when Bajrang Dal activists asked for his name he was found using a fake ID. We handed him over to the police,” Sharma claimed.

The garba controversy in Madhya Pradesh comes days after state culture and tourism minister Usha Thakur raised concerns about the events being used as a tool for “love jihad” in the state. Following that, the state government swung into action and asked garba organisers to check identity cards of people before allowing them into the pandals.

Thakur had told reporters in Gwalior earlier this month that no one would be allowed to enter garba pandals during Navaratri without showing identity proof. According to her, garba events in the past had been a “big way to carry out love jihad activities”.

On Tuesday, state home minister Narottam Mishra told reporters: “Navaratri, the festival of worship of Maa Durga, is the centre of our faith and is a religious programme. To maintain peace and harmony on such a holy occasion, garba event organisers have been instructed to provide entry only after checking identification cards.”

He further stated that the move was meant to ensure there was no “untoward situation” at such events. “Everyone can come to offer prayers to the goddess,” he said.

BJP MP Pragya Thakur took a harder line. She told reporters in Bhopal this week that people from the Muslim community should not be allowed in garba pandals. “Entry in garba pandals should be done strictly on the basis of identity cards. People from the Muslim community should not be allowed to enter. We want to keep our worship system pure,” she said.

The Congress questioned her statement and termed it hate-speech.

“RSS chief (Mohan Bhagwat) should visit masjid imam, go to madrasa… (PM Narendra Modi’s childhood friend) Abbas stayed at home with him, his mother cooked food for Abbas on Eid. BJP state president stops his speech at the time of azaan. Sadhvi should first show the courage to oppose these people, then she should indulge in sowing the poison of hatred,” said Congress leader Narendra Saluja.

According to a BJP leader, the party has always focused on Hindutva issues as they are important for the community and that “love jihad has been used to target innocent Hindu women”.

“The focus on Hindutva issues will be sharper in the coming few months as the party does not want to give any scope to the Congress to make headway on the basis of its so-called soft-Hindutva strategy,” said another BJP leader.

Surprise checks, a teeka test

In Gujarat, members of Bajrang Dal allegedly stopped Muslim men from entering two garba venues. “Our members keep conducting surprise checks at such venues to ensure Muslims are not entering and there are no possibilities of love jihad,” VHP spokesman Hitendrasinh Rajput told ThePrint.

“During surprise checks on Tuesday at two venues, our karyakartas (workers) saw some Muslim men harassing women. When we spoke to them, their intention seemed malafide. It seemed they were inspired by the concept of love jihad. There were some clashes, and fisticuffs,” he added.

Rajput said that like every year, the VHP has issued an appeal for all non-believers and non-Hindus to stay away from Navaratri venues. “It is a matter of devotion,” he explained.

According to Rajput, the VHP has informed the Hotel and Restaurant Association (Western India) as well as OYO Rooms to ensure they don’t rent out rooms to Muslim men accompanying Hindu women to “prevent love jihad” during Navaratri.

Ashok Rawal, a senior Gujarat VHP functionary, told ThePrint: “Bajrang Dal members stand outside garba venues and apply a teeka (vermillion) on the forehead of people entering.”

“Those who are Hindu don’t mind the teeka. If anyone opposes, we immediately sense something amiss and ask for their identification to ensure they are not Muslim,” he said. “It is only a matter of creating awareness,” he added.

Source: The Print

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Iranian Islamic Regime 'Does Not Represent' the People: Mahsa Amini Protesters Insist


Protesters in downtown Tehran make fire and block the street during a protest over the death of a woman who was detained by the morality police. (Associated Press)


September 30, 2022

Iranian protesters spoke exclusively to Fox News Digital to express their outrage against the Islamic regime in their country as well as the desire to remove Ayatollah Khamenei as supreme leader of Iran since the man "does not represent the people."

"We wanted to demonstrate not only to the regime but also want people the world over [to know] — the Iranian people reject this regime, and they want it overthrown," Mashhad, a 42-year-old teacher in Iran, explained.

"Our ultimate goal and ultimate desire and demand is the overthrow of the regime in its entirety, and we are very, very determined to bring this about," she continued. "We want our voices to be heard, and I assure you that we will bring down this regime. We have absolutely no doubt in our minds that we can do it."

Protests started at the funeral for Mahsa Amini, 22, after her death while in the custody of the morality police, who claim that she merely fell into a coma following her arrest. Her family and some witnesses instead said they saw evidence that the police had beaten her.

As of Thursday night, the protests reportedly spread to 164 cities, with 300 people killed and 15,000 more arrested, according to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK). Fox News Digital could not verify these numbers, but other outlets have reported at least 100 cities with protests and dozens dead as of this week.

Iran has seen an increasing number of protests over the past few years, but the protests that started with Amini’s death feel different to the citizens — both in scope, with women taking a more prominent role, and in the severity of the regime’s response.

"It was much, much harsher, much more severe," said Reyhaneh, 19, from Tehran. "Not only in the numbers of the forces they had — the morality police, security force, plainclothes agents and others — but also their treatment. They were very vicious, very brutal, much more brutal before."

"What I have seen the last two days in Tehran, they have risen up. I myself have taken part in these protests … what I have seen is exemplary bravery and courage, especially because the uprising is being led by women," she added.

"We wanted to demonstrate not only to the regime but also people the world over: the Iranian people reject this regime."

The women spoke to Fox News Digital after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spoke before the United Nations General Assembly. Raisi allegedly helped carry out the 1988 "death commission" that led to the deaths of thousands of political dissidents.

Mashhad asked why Western governments allowed Raisi to speak to the U.N. and did not show they were "standing with the people of Iran."

"Where is … freedom and support [in] supporting this criminal? And [has] the blood of thousands on his hands, especially in 1988, the massacre," she said. "Why don't they … prosecute him and hold him accountable?"

Mashhad first joined protests two years ago, but she feels this one is different because people have seen how "shameless" the Ayatollah and his regime are, leading to people of many ages and backgrounds across the country to take to the streets.

Reyhaneh said there are examples of previous protests that led to regime change and that the people have no reason to believe this one can’t be same.

"We in our struggle … have put our lives in our hands, willing to sacrifice our lives, and we will fight to the very end to bring about freedom in Iran and already dramatic fundamentalism," she said.

Source: Fox News

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Pakistan's Punjab CM Continues His Hate-Mongering Rhetoric against the Ahmadiyya Community


Pervaiz Elahi (Twitter)


September 29, 2022

Pakistan's Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi continued his hate-mongering rhetoric against the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan, saying that his party (PML-Q) plans to build a mosque that would be a replica of Istanbul's Blue mosque where "Qaidanis" will not be allowed.

Qaidanis is a religious slur used to refer to Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan.

He added that Ahmadiyyas will be given the rights as given to other minorities. As per his statement, the government has already finalized the deal with the engineers of Turkey's Blue Mosque and the work is likely to start soon.

Elahi continued saying that the only difference between the two mosques will be that in Pakistan's Blue Mosque there will be a signboard that would display that "Qaidanis are not allowed".

Meanwhile, a Federal Minister and Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Mian Javed Latif has launched a fresh hate-filled campaign against the persecuted Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan, using religion to score political points, a press release by Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights read.

On Wednesday September 15, Latif appeared on Pakistani State TV Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) to utter falsehoods and propaganda against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which is already under immense threat and subjected to cruelties and state persecution.

Pakistan's media regulatory body - the Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has been criticised for not sanctioning television channels from airing such hate-filled rhetoric.

The use of religion is not new in Pakistani politics but the airing of such rhetoric on mainstream state media is a serious and shocking use of state television and risks furthering an already vile hate campaign against Pakistan's most persecuted community.

The Ahmadi Muslim Community is being used as a scapegoat to score political points and malign political opponents, without any regard for the risk of life and the hatred it spreads.

At the cost of further endangering the lives of Ahmadis in Pakistan, this level of hate speech in mainstream media and social media is shocking and inexcusable and likely to radicalise people further against innocent Ahmadis.

As a result of such hate campaigns, an Ahmadi, Mr Naseer Ahmed was killed last month on August 12 by an extremist radicalised by hate-filled religious clerics, the press release read.

Another Pakistani politician, Federal Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique similarly stoked the fire of enmity against the Ahmadis Muslims. He tweeted the anti-Ahmadi trope and baseless allegation that Ahmadis were a conspiracy against Islam and a seditious group.

This format of hate speech and incitement which falsely blame the country's ongoing instability on Ahmadi Muslims has a history of triggering violent attacks against innocent Ahmadis.

On July 13, 2021, UN human rights experts expressed their deep concern over the lack of attention to the serious human rights violations perpetrated against the Ahmadiyya community around the world and called on the international community to step up efforts to bring an end to the ongoing persecution of Ahmadis.

It urged the international community to impress upon the Government of Pakistan to honour its responsibility to provide effective protection and freedom of religious practice to Ahmadis and that perpetrators of such vicious actions should be brought to justice, to bring its laws and practices in conformity with international standards.

Source: Business Standard

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1MDB Trial: Najib's Lawyer Shows Saudi Prince's Second Letter Promising US$375m 'Gift' To PM, After Previous US$100m Gift Letter


Lawyer Wan Aizudin Wan Mohammed arrives at Kuala Lumpur High Court September 29, 2022. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa


By Ida Lim

29 Sep 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was also promised a "gift" of US$375 million from a purported Saudi prince in November 2011, on top of the same alleged Saudi royal figure's previous promise just months earlier to give US$100 million as a present, Najib's legal team claimed.

Najib's lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed produced in the High Court today a purported letter by an individual going by the name of "HRH Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud" on November 1, 2011 to "His Excellency Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak" at the latter's personal residence at No. 11, Jalan Langgak Duta, Taman Duta in Kuala Lumpur.

Wan Aizuddin showed this purported letter during Najib's trial over the misappropriation of RM2.28 billion of 1Malaysia Development Berhad's (1MDB) funds, as part of the defence's attempt to show that the millions of US dollars which had entered Najib's personal bank account in the past had allegedly originated from gifts from Saudi royalty.

Showing this purported letter to the 38th prosecution witness Yap Wai Keat, Wan Aizuddin read out parts of the November 1, 2011 letter in court, including: "Further to my letter dated 1 February 2011, I have been following your work recently and I am impressed with the significant work that you have done to govern Malaysia using Islamic principles and how you are reintroducing Islam to the rest of the world in view of the current perception that many people have since 9/11. Your suggestion to launch the Global Movement of the Moderates shows a modern way of dealing with issues of international terrorism and extremist groups.

"In view of the friendship that we have developed over the years and your new ideas as a modern Islamic leader, in addition to my earlier commitment, I hereby grant you a sum of up to United States Dollar Three Hundred and Seventy-Five Million (US$375,000,000) Only ("Gift") which shall be remitted to you at such times and in such manner as I deem fit either directly from my personal bank account or through my instructed company bank accounts (such as Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners Limited)," Wan Aizuddin read from the purported letter.

The contents of the purported letter to Najib that was read out also included the remark that Najib will have absolute discretion to decide how to use the gift and that the gift was merely a "token gesture" by the purported Saudi prince.

Yap, who is a former AmBank director of foreign exchange and derivative sales, said he could not recall seeing such a document as he does not handle such documentation. Yap also said it would be better to ask Joanna Yu, who was the relationship manager at AmBank handling Najib's personal accounts, about this document.

The November 2011 letter shown by Wan Aizuddin in court today was virtually identical in wording to a February 1, 2011 letter from the same purported figure who had promised to give US$100 million as a gift to Najib, with the difference mostly being only the date and the amount and details on how the money would allegedly be given.

The November 2011 letter carried the same disclaimer that the gift of millions of US dollars to Najib should not be seen as an act of corruption.

Wan Aizuddin tried to suggest that six transactions of money that flowed into Najib's personal AmIslamic account ending 9694 from November 2011 to November 2012 would all be covered under the purported promised gift of US$375 million from the alleged Saudi prince.

But Yap said he would not be able to verify this just based on the banking documents shown to him and the letter alone, again pointing to Yu as being the person who would have a record of these transactions.

Wan Aizuddin then suggested that mathematically, the total sum of the six transactions would not exceed the US$375 million amount, with Yap then agreeing to this.

The six inflows of money which Wan Aizuddin were referring to are US$29,999,988 or over US$29 million from a sender known as the Ministry of Finance Riyadh via the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency Riyadh on November 25, 2011, a US$49,999,965 or over US$49 million from Prince Faisal bin Turkey bin Bandar Al Saud via Riyad Bank in Saudi Arabia on April 24, 2012, a US$ 24,999,965 or over US$24 million sum again from Prince Faisal via the same Riyad Bank on June 25, 2012, a US$24,999,965 or over US$24 million from Prince Faisal via Riyad Bank on August 14, 2012, a US$4,999,988 or almost US$5 million from Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners via Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore on October 30, 2012, a US$24,999,988 or over US$24 million again from Blackstone and via the same bank on November 19, 2012.

When calculated, these six transactions would come up to US$159,999,859 or over US$159 million.

Yesterday, Wan Aizuddin also tried to suggest that the purported promised gift of US$100 million would explain the inflow of two transactions of US$10 million each from Prince Faisal to Najib's account on February 24, 2011 (equivalent to RM30,449,929.97) and June 14, 2011 (equivalent to RM 30,179,909.46). But this has yet to be confirmed by witnesses in court.

Today, Wan Aizuddin also suggested that those two transactions of US$10 million in February and June 2011, and a US$49,999,988 from the Ministry of Finance Riyadh on August 18, 2011 would all be covered by the letter for the purported "personal gift or donation" of US$100 million, but Yap said he would not know as he does not deal directly with the client and that the best person to check with on this would be Yu who was the relationship manager at the bank handling Najib's accounts.

In his role in facilitating the conversion of currencies, Yap said he was required to key in the code for the purpose of the conversion into the bank's internal system called Murex, which was linked to Bank Negara Malaysia's Ringgit Operations Monitoring System to provide reports on large sums of foreign exchange transactions.

Yap confirmed that Yu had stated the purpose for the inflow of funds involving Najib's AmIslamic account ending 9694 as just one of these three reasons: "personal transfer" or "gift" or "donation".

Yesterday, Wan Aizuddin had shown documents where Yu had in a February 14, 2011 email applied internally within AmBank for Najib's AmIslamic account ending 9694 to be known as "AmPrivate Banking-MR", as well as other internal emails the same year which gave approval for Najib's bank account to be identified in banking documents primarily as "AmPrivate Banking-MR" instead of his name.

Yap today said that before he carried out the conversions of US dollar into ringgit Malaysia for the two US$10 million transactions in 2011, he had already known that the AmPrivate Banking-MR account is Najib's account as Yu had informed him of this.

Yap said the reason that he was told of the account holder's identity as being Najib was to enable him to correctly capture the transaction into the bank's system and also because it was a "sensitive" bank account "so that we don't easily talk too much about the transaction".

Asked why it is a sensitive bank account, Yap highlighted that Najib is a politically exposed person (PEP), adding: "So that's why we have to be a bit more careful in terms of handling the account and this involves a large transaction amount."

While saying that bank staff try not to reveal any of its clients' information to any outsiders due to the Banking and Financial Institutions Act, Yap went on to further explain that the account was also sensitive as Najib was the prime minister then, and a large amount of the transactions could affect the value of the ringgit if the markets were to find out about the transactions.

Najib, dressed in a black pinstripe suit with a tie featuring diagonal stripes, was seen holding a takeaway cup from the coffee chain Gloria Jeans and documents when he entered the dock.

Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor attended his trial, while his son Norashman was also seen in the courtroom.

Previously, the prosecution had said it would prove that the 1MDB funds which had entered Najib’s accounts would come up to a total of RM2,282,937,678.41 or over RM2.28 billion.

Najib's lawyers had since yesterday been trying to show that money which came into Najib's account are instead linked to the purported gifts from the Saudi royal family.

Najib's 1MDB trial before High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah is scheduled to resume next Monday.

Source: Malay Mail

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Italy’s Muslim communities confident new government will protect religious freedom

September 26, 2022

ROME: Islamic communities in Italy say they do not expect a negative attitude toward the 3 million-plus Muslims living in the country by the new right-wing government that will be formed after Sunday’s general election, and “look forward” to working with the new Cabinet with regard to the religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution.

A concrete change in the country’s leadership is now expected. The far right led by Giorgia Meloni, leader of the Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia) party, traditionally bound to the country’s right, gained a solid majority in both branches of Parliament.

Almost certainly in mid-October, Meloni will be asked by President Sergio Mattarella to form a new government.

She will then be the first woman prime minister in Italy, leading what will be the first far-right government since the Second World War.

The new leadership is expected to be tougher than previous governments on illegal migrants, but nothing is expected to change in the traditionally good attitude of Italy toward the Middle East and the Arab world.

Italian political analysts also point out that the new Cabinet is unlikely to show a tough face toward the Muslim population in the country, especially since the League (Lega), the xenophobic and anti-migrant party led by Matteo Salvini, performed poorly in the election. The League will still be part of the majority, but will hold a much less powerful voice.

“We’re absolutely confident that every Italian government will respect the Constitution, which includes in its founding principles freedom of worship. We expect the new government will be attentive to the rights of Islamic communities,” Yassine Lafram, president of the Union of Islamic Communities of Italy, told Arab News.

Lafram said for Muslims in Italy, “there are still many problems, from Islamic cemeteries to the need for a law regulating the construction of places of worship for all religions.”

He also expressed his wish for a formal agreement between the Italian state and its Islamic communities to be underwritten soon.

“It’s in the interest of the new government that there be a full legal recognition of Islamic communities. It will boost integration,” he said.

“We expect a lot from a government that promises to represent all Italians. Italian Islamic communities can’t be accused of being close to Islamic fundamentalism. We’re all citizens of the Italian Republic who feel they’re an integral part of Italian society,” Lafram added.

Andrea Delmastro from the Brothers of Italy told Arab News right after the election results were declared: “Good citizens have nothing to fear, no matter their religion, as long as they respect the law. And Italy’s attitude toward the Middle East isn’t going to change.”

In her victory speech, Meloni struck a moderate tone, saying: “If we are called to govern this nation, we will do it for everyone, we will do it for all Italians, and we will do it with the aim of uniting the people (of this country).”

During the electoral campaign, the left warned that Meloni could push Italy into Europe’s illiberal bloc alongside Hungary and Poland, fighting against diversity and agitating against Brussels.

They quoted her past remarks, such as a speech from 2017 in which Meloni said mass-scale illegal immigration to Italy was “planned and deliberate,” carried out by unnamed powerful forces to import low-wage labor and drive out Italians.

“It’s called ethnic substitution,” Meloni said at the time, echoing the far-right “great replacement” conspiracy theory.

She also said Italy “cannot think of Islamic cemeteries in a country where there are not civilized cemeteries even for Italians in several parts of the country.”

In more recent times, she often spoke of “good integration” and “mutual respect” in a country where “the law has no religion and must be respected whatever the citizen’s creed is.”

In defense of her rhetoric, those close to Meloni say she has a strict stance on migrant traffickers and encourages integration, so long as those who come to Italy share and respect its national values and laws.

The main points of Meloni’s political manifesto concerning immigration, Delmastro said, involve the “fight against all forms of antisemitism, Islamic fundamentalism and irregular immigration; the orderly management of legal immigration flows along with the promotion of social and labor inclusion of legal immigrants; and the blocking of vessels to prevent human trafficking, in agreement with North African authorities.”

Imam Izzedin Elzir, former president of the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy, stressed that Muslims in Italy “are a non-partisan community, and we want to be an added value for the country.

Source: Arab News

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Hindu man thanks Muslim activist after Leicester violence: ‘He saved my life’

Sep 29, 2022

After a series of violent clashes in England's Leicester, a story of humanity is now making rounds on the internet. In a viral video, a Hindu man can be seen thanking a Muslim activist for saving his life from a violent mob. The video also shows Ram Keshwala being attacked by a group of Muslim men, reported Sky news.

The report added that Keshwala needed stitches after his head was slashed during the violence in Leicester and was caught by men believing a rumour that he had tried to run over the crowd that had taken to the streets following a march by the Hindu community.

The video shows a man smashing his car and trying to drag Keshwala out of his car when Majid Freeman steps in to save him and appeals to leave the man and shuts the car door.

Speaking together, the two men recalled what happened on September 17. "He saved my life... Because of that, I'm still here," said Keshwala.

Recalling the incident, Freeman said: "It was just mayhem. Everything was happening so fast. Other people were trying to come, and I was just shouting 'stop, it's done now'".

Source: Hindustan Times

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European governments accused over 'suppression of Muslim civil society'

By Simon Hooper

29 September 2022

Muslim civil society organisations have raised the alarm about a rising tide of state-sponsored Islamophobia in Europe at a major security and human rights conference in Poland.

France, Denmark and Austria were among countries singled out over policies which campaigners said were contributing towards a “systematic suppression of Muslim civil society” across the continent.

Addressing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Human Dimension Conference in Warsaw on Thursday, Lamies Nassri, a project manager at the Centre for Muslim Rights (CEDA) in Denmark, said Islamophobia was spreading throughout Europe and called on governments to protect their Muslim citizens.

Nassri told delegates: “It is your responsibility as member states to see to it that citizens in these member states are protected from state racism, surveillance, stigmatisation and violence both symbolically and physically.”

Highlighting the situation in Denmark, Nassri said Islamophobia was being “enabled directly through state policy and participation” and was “no longer a far-right issue but is shared across the political spectrum”.

Nassri said many Muslims in Denmark faced discrimination through the country’s categorisation of people from non-western backgrounds which, she said, took precedence over their rights as Danish citizens.

'Ghetto laws'

She cited the impact on Muslim communities of the so-called “ghetto laws”, a package of measures targeted at deprived neighbourhoods with large populations from migrant and ethnic minority backgrounds which the Danish government says are necessary to promote integration.

Nassri said the laws were discriminatory against Muslims and ethnic minorities, depriving them of their rights and portraying them as “enemies within the state, who live in parallel societies that must be fought".

“We also see this targeting in the way Muslims families are portrayed as oppressive and controlling toward their children and, as such, need to be surveilled,” she added, citing a law requiring non-western residents in “ghetto” neighbourhoods to put their children into state nurseries from the age of one “to get instruction in Danish values and language”.

Campaigners from France highlighted the impact on Muslim communities of the so-called “imams’ charter” which was adopted last year by the French Council of the Muslim Faith at the behest of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Elias d’Imzalene of French NGO Perspectives Musulmanes said the charter amounted to an “Orwellian policy” which sought to impose “a new reading of Islam ordered by the state”.

“The police threaten to close any mosque denouncing this new inquisition while a political hunt is also carried out, targeting the dissenting voices of the community, thus making Muslim expression essentially criminal,” said d’Imzalene.

Muhammad Rabbani, the managing director of Cage, a UK-based advocacy organisation also working in France, said French Muslims faced a “state-led programme of repression” in which organisations critical of government policies faced being censored, shut down and criminalised.

Citing the repression of Uyghur Muslims in China, and violence and discrimination against Indian Muslims enabled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, Rabbani said: “France has now joined the company of China and India, who are both carrying out a religious persecution of an entire Muslim minority.”

'Real-life nightmare'

The conference also heard from Nehal Abdalla, an advocacy officer at ACT-P, an Austrian organisation formed to support children caught up in police raids in the aftermath of Operation Luxor.

Austrian counter-terrorism police raided 70 Muslim households and arrested 30 academics and activists in the November 2020 operation, but none were subsequently charged with any offence.

Abdalla said that families and children caught up in the early morning raids had awoken to a “real-life nightmare” which amounted to “terrorising the Muslim community”.

She said: “Operation Luxor has succeeded in spreading terror across the Muslim community despite failing to even prosecute one individual successfully. The manner in which these raids were designed and executed revealed a state-sanctioned programme of Islamophobia.”

The OSCE describes itself as “the world’s largest regional security organisation”, drawing together 57 member states from Europe, Central Asia and North America.

With the conference taking place in Poland against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, OSCE officials also stressed the importance of defending human rights and fundamental freedoms in opening remarks at the 10-day event.

Zbigniew Rau, the Polish foreign minister and current OSCE chair, said: “Human rights are inalienable, and their articulation and defence are among the greatest achievements of humanity. Denying human rights to anyone, especially the vulnerable and weak, is to take away their dignity and their sense of freedom and security.”

OSCE Secretary-General Helga Maria Schmid hailed the work of civil society organisations, telling the conference: “Sustainable security cannot be achieved without human rights, democracy and rule of law.”

Delegates at the conference will next week discuss the impact of counter-terrorism policies on human rights in the OSCE region.

Source: Middle East Eye

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Five Bangladesh cabbies in UK charged with people smuggling

Sep 30, 2022

LONDON: The UK's national crime agency (NCA) has broken up a sophisticated people smuggling network that allegedly involves five Bangladeshi taxi drivers in London ferrying migrants to and from lorries that illegally transport them into and out of Britain.

It follows an NCA probe into an organised crime group involved in smuggling migrants using lorries. The cabbies, aged between 40 and 52, are all Bangladesh-born cab drivers with leave to remain in the UK. They appeared before a court on Wednesday charged with attempting to facilitate breaches of immigration law. They have not yet entered a plea.

Source: Times Of India

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Germany to seek EU sanctions on Iran over protests crackdown: foreign minister

September 29, 2022

BERLIN: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Thursday said she was pushing for EU sanctions on Iran over the Islamic republic’s lethal crackdown on protests sparked by the death of a young woman in police custody.

Source: Arab News

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Ban on PFI act of 'political selfishness' aimed to appease RSS: Mayawati

Sep 30, 2022

LUCKNOW: Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati on Friday said the ban on the Popular Front of India ahead of elections in some states was an act of "political selfishness" aimed at appeasing the RSS.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief said this decision was behind countrywide demands to also ban the RSS.

In a tweet in Hindi, Mayawati said, "After targeting PFI (Popular Front of India) in various ways across the country, the Centre has finally banned it along with eight of its affiliates before assembly elections and considering it a policy of political selfishness and appeasement of the Sangh, there is less of satisfaction and more of restlessness."

In a related tweet, she added, "This is the reason why the opposition parties are angry and attacking on this issue considering the government's intentions to be flawed and the demand for banning the RSS is also openly being raised that if PFI is a danger for the internal security of the country why should other organisations like it should also not be banned?

The Centre on Wednesday banned the PFI, which has allegedly been involved in a series of violence and has "links" with global terror groups like ISIS, along with several associates for five years.

The organisations which were also banned under the stringent anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act include Rehab India Foundation, Campus Front of India, All India Imams Council, National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation, National Women's Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala.

Source: Times Of India

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Will prevent non-believers from entering garba venues and spreading love jihad, says Bajrang Dal

September 30, 2022

THE Bajrang Dal Thursday said that it will post its volunteers outside garba venues in Gujarat to “guard” such events from the “non-believers”, and prevent them from spreading “love jihad”.

“The non-believers (vidharmis) have no reason to attend such events. Garba is not only a cultural event, but also religious. If a non-believer attends it, it makes it clear about their intentions as to why they want to attend the event,” said Vinod Bansal, the national spokesperson of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an organisation which the Bajrang Dal is associated with.

“There were various instances of physical assault, rapes, love jihad, and kidnapping during such events before ,” added Bansal.

“It is our duty to protect our sisters. When the celebration of Navratri started we even requested the non-believers to not attend our events, through our social media handle. The recent (Wednesday night) case which happened in Ahmedabad, where a case of a non-believer entering one of the garba venue, happened because we want to protect our sisters. We got to know about the event, we keep doing rounds of different venues, and keep a check on such activities. Each venue is guarded by 5-7 of our volunteers, who keep doing rounds,” said Rajesh Patel, a Bajrang Dal worker.

Source: Indian Express

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Gyanvapi Mosque Case: Why Are Petitioners Divided Over The Carbon Dating Claims?

29 SEP 2022

Amidst the controversies over the plea requesting carbon dating of the ‘Shivling’, claimed to be found in the Masjid premises of Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex, the Masjid committee today submitted its objections to the court.

Citing the order of the Supreme Court that had asked the Varanasi District Magistrate to keep the structure safe, the Masjid committee claimed that carbon dating may violate the order. As the major claim of the Hindu petitioners is related to the worship of Shringar Gauri, the disputed structure has nothing to do with it, contends the Muslim petitioners.

It also claims that to keep the structure safe, neither any intervention from Archeological Department, nor any scientific examination is welcomed.

Hindu petitioners last week requested carbon dating of the claimed ‘Shivling’ that the Muslims side identified as a fountain connected to the ‘wazookhana’, a place where they perform the ritual ablution before Namaz. The Court asked for the response of the Masjid committee on September 29.

Division among Hindu Petitioners over Cardon Dating

However, all the Hindu petitioners are not on the same board pertaining to their plea on Carbon Dating of the presumed ‘Shivling’. Rakhi Singh, one of the five women who made the actual petition to the Varanasi court that later got transferred to district court claiming the rights for daily prayers, strongly opposed the proposal of carbon dating.

Pointing out that it amounts to sacrilege, she said, “Carbon dating of the Shivling is an anti-religion act and a mockery of the feelings and beliefs of all Sanatanis (Hindus)”. Echoing Singh’s stance, her representative Jitendra Singh Bisen who is also the chief of Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Singh termed the plea as ‘publicity stunt’.

“Demand for carbon dating of the Shivling is certainly not acceptable and is a mere publicity stunt by the counsel, representing the other plaintiffs in the case,” Bisen noted.

Interestingly, Bisen also reiterated almost the same claims of the Masjid committee and said that the case has nothing to do with the existence of Shivling as it deals totally with the right of daily prayers within the Masjid complex that is located next to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple.

Flexing their undisputable faith on the presence of Shivling, Bisen continued, “We strongly believe that the Shivling existed there since inception and we don’t need any carbon dating to prove it.”

“Carbon dating, if done, would be disrespect to the Shivling and would be a mockery of the belief of all Sanatanis,” added Bisen.

However, negating that there is any split of opinion among the Hindu plaintiffs, Hari Shankar Jain representing the rest of four women said, “There are some people who think that conducting carbon dating would further damage the Shivling or it is against the religion, which is not true. The court is yet to decide on that front.”

Why is the Carbon Dating Proposed?

Receiving the petition of the five women who claimed their primary rights of daily prayers before the idols on the outer walls of the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi, the district court ordered a videography of the Mosque premises. Primarily the Mosque committee though submitted their objections to such survey, it was not sustained.

The survey report notably mentioned the discovery of a fountain like structure that could be called Shivling. The Hindu petitioners took over the evidence and claimed that the presence of the ‘Shivling’ proves Mughal King Aurungzeb’s demolition of a part of the Mandir to establish the Mosque.

Earlier on September 12, the court had ruled that the petition of Hindu devotees in the Gyanvapi Mosque case is maintainable, rejecting the challenge to the petition by Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee. The Muslim petitioners had challenged the maintainability of the Hindu petitioners' plea, arguing that it was not maintainable under the Places of Worship Act 1991 which prohibits conversion of any place of worship and mandates the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947.

Source: Outlook India

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PFI had plans to turn India into Islamic nation by 2047; RSS, BJP leaders were on radar: Maharashtra ATS chief

September 29, 2022

Emphasizing the urgent need to ban the Popular Front of India (PFI), Maharashtra ATS chief Vineet Agarwal on Thursday said that the outfit was planning to turn India into an Islamic nation by 2047 and big leaders of the country including from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) were their target. Speaking to ANI, Agarwal said that it was very important to ban PFI because they were slow poison for the country.

“PFI was banned in time.

Maharashtra ATS raided many places and arrested a total of 21 people and many electronic gadgets were also confiscated. Post the ban the organisation has been dissolved. Now, they don’t have any right to regroup or protest on any platform except on the legal platform,” said the ATS chief.

Agarwal said that the big leaders of the country and the people of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) were on the target of PFI.

He further said that the PFI members used to portray themselves as persons associated with social development and physical education to give lectures to incite people.

“PFI had opened training centers in many places of the state and used to do anti-national work. PFI used to tell people in their coaching center by referring to old videos and incidents that your people have been subjected to a lot of atrocities, Mughals will not come to save you, you have to save yourself. PFI used to tell participants to keep items for self-defence like stones, knives, swords, bricks, sharp objects and other things on their terraces,” he said.

The ATS Chief said that till now more than 2,000 people were trained in Maharashtra.

“We are using tools to recover their data, they had planned to make India an Islamic country by 2047 by motivating people to commit hate crimes when India will complete 100 years of independence. but the government’s decision has toppled their plan. Every 5 years an agenda was prepared for the same but they have been stopped in the middle and the right steps have been taken,” said Agarwal.

“Target killing was their modus operandi by identifying the target,” he added.

He further said that the ATS has also seized the bank accounts of the arrested PFI members and terror funding is also being investigated.

“There are lakhs of rupees in the seized bank accounts of the PFI members and the money was being spent in the name of the outfit. After verifying the information from where the money was coming into the PFI fund, the ATS came to know that the money was coming from different places,” he added.

Earlier, Maharashtra Home Department has issued an order using powers under Section 42 of UAPA authorizing the Police commissioners and District magistrates to exercise their powers against the Popular Front of India (PFI).

“Maharashtra government home department has issued an order using powers under section 42 of UAPA and with the previous approval of MHA Central government. All the Powers under Sections 7 and 8 of UAPA will be exercised by Police commissioners and District magistrates against the PFI and other related associations,” said the sources from the Home Department.

The move comes a day after the Union Home Ministry imposed a ban on the Popular Front of India for “terror links”.

Other states including Kerala and Tamil Nadu have passed such orders declaring the PFI as an unlawful association.

“The power which has been directed to be exercised by the State Government under section 7 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, stands delegated to the District Magistrate/ Commissioner of Police/ Superintendent of Police concerned, within their jurisdiction,” the order by the Kerala government dated September 28 stated.

“The power which has been directed to be exercised by the State Government under section 8 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, stands delegated to the District Magistrate/Commissioner of Police/ Superintendent of Police concerned, within their jurisdiction,” it further added.

The order issued by the Tamil Nadu government dated September 28, it read, “The Governor of Tamil Nadu hereby directs that all the powers which are exercisable by the Government of Tamil Nadu under sections 7 and 8 of the said Act in relation to the aforesaid unlawful association, namely “Popular Front of India (PEI) and its associates or affiliates or fronts including Rehab India Foundation (RIF), Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organization (NCHRO), National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala” shall also be exercised by the Commissioners of Police in the Cities and by the District Collectors elsewhere.”

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had made the announcement through a notification issued late on Tuesday night, declaring “the PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts as an unlawful association with immediate effect”.

Along with PFI, the ban is also imposed on its fronts, including Rehab India Foundation (RIF). Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organization (NCHRO), National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala as an “unlawful association”.

Source: The Statesman

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French Charge D’Affaires to Iran Summoned Over Anti-Tehran Rallies, Charlie Hebdo Cartoon


Tehran on Thursday summoned French charge d’affaires to Iran over an interventionist statement by the French Foreign Ministry, participation of three state ministers of the country in anti-Tehran rallies in Paris and a heinous act by Charlie Hebdo magazine.

The French charge d’affaires was summoned to the Iranian Foreign Ministry in the absence of the country’s ambassador to Tehran.

The head of the Second Bureau of West Europe at Iran’s Foreign Ministry told the French diplomat that Tehran strongly condemns the intervention of the French Foreign Ministry and some French officials in Iran’s domestic affairs.

The statement of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs aims to purify the rioters who had no other goal but to destroy public property and people's lives and property, the official added.   

He blamed the French officials of playing a dual role, by hosting grouplets that have been directly involved in unrests across Iran over the past years and in the recent one on the one hand and by condemning the Iranian Police for clashing with the same rioters on the other hand. 

The official reminded the French diplomat of the way the French Police dealt with the yellow vest protesters who had disrupted the country’s peace and security.

In recent days, Iranian officials have blamed the United States and the European Unions for meddling in Iran's internal affairs over the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died at the hospital a few days after collapsing at a police station in the capital Tehran. They advised the US and its allies against "opportunism and instrumentalization of the issue of human rights" by misusing the incident.

Tehran reminded that the countries, which, themselves, towed a "long history of warmongering and violence" throughout the world, lacked the legitimacy that could authorize them to "moralize others" concerning the human rights.

A full range of top Iranian officials have vowed thorough investigations into the case, including the president, parliament speaker, interior minister, prosecutor-general and police chief of the capital.

Also on Sunday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned Britain’s Ambassador to Tehran Simon Shercliff to voice the Islamic Republic's protest over the pivotal role of the London-based Persian-language television channels in provoking deadly riots in Iran.

Deadly riots erupted in several Iranian cities over the death of Mahsa Amini.

"In response to the hostile atmosphere being created by the London-based Farsi-language media outlets against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the UK ambassador (Simon Shercliff) was summoned by the foreign ministry’s Director General for Western Europe,” the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Strongly-worded note of protest was lodged to the British diplomat over London's hosting the media, which have fiercely sought in recent days to provoke violent protests and incite riots against the Iranian government and the public," it added.

The statement went on to stress that such bids amount to interference in Iran’s internal affairs and violate the country’s national sovereignty.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iranian President Urges US Guarantees on Avoiding Past Misbehaviour


Addressing the nation in a live broadcast on Wednesday evening, President Rayeesi spoke about his recent visit to New York where he took part in the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

He touched on negotiations to salvage the2015 nuclear deal with the major powers in the world, reiterating a "good and fair" agreement is within reach if the other parties provide strong guarantees that they will not breach the deal again, referring to the United States’ 2018 withdrawal from the landmark accord and the Western side’s failure to live up to their commitments.

The president stressed that all sanctions imposed on Iran by the former US administration need to be removed.

The Iranian president added Tehran needs strong assurances that it can reap the economic benefits from the deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and emphasized that safeguards issue should be terminated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

He urged the United Nations (UN) nuclear agency to stop politicizing the Iranian nuclear program and avoid coming under the influence of the Israeli regime.

"The main point we emphasised was that the Americans withdrew from the 2015 agreement and the Europeans did not fulfil their obligations," Iran's president noted, explaining the details of his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

"Mr. Macron agreed that the Europeans did not fulfil their commitments. I said that this time we should focus on adherence to commitments. Our positions were such that he said that he would go and talk to Americans and Europeans and express our positions to them and inform us about it," Rayeesi said.

Iranian president emphasised on the guarantee of the Western parties to Tehran to reach a good agreement, and stated, "We once witnessed that they withdrew from the JCPOA and did not fulfil their commitments, so we should be careful".

Iran stresses it has not quit the negotiating table with the world powers, but will not put all its eggs in the negotiation basket and will not wait for the United States to return to its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal. Iranian officials stress that Tehran has not left the negotiating table with the world powers, but arriving at a deal requires the US pragmatic attitude.

The United States and Iran have traded responses via the EU to a proposal put forward by the EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell. Tehran submitted its initial answer in mid-August and Washington replied to it about a week later.

Washington claims that Tehran has taken "a step backward" with its latest response to a European Union proposal, calling a near-term agreement "unlikely".

Tehran says its response to Washington's view regarding the EU's proposed draft text was constructive and transparent. Officials stress that receiving guarantees from the Western side is the most important issue in the talks and Iran wants stronger guarantees from the US to clinch an agreement.

Tehran says it will not be able to trust Washington as long as President Joe Biden continues the wrong policy of maximum pressure and sanctions practiced by Donald Trump against Iran. Iranian officials say the Biden administration has yet done nothing but hollow promises to lift sanctions against Tehran. They blast the US addiction to sanctions, and slammed the POTUS for continuing his predecessor's policy on Iran.

Tehran and the five remaining parties to the nuclear deal have held several rounds of negotiations since April last year to restore the agreement, which was unilaterally abandoned by Trump in May 2018.

In quitting the agreement, Trump restored sanctions on Iran as part of what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign against the country. Those sanctions are being enforced to this day by the Biden administration, even though it has repeatedly acknowledged that the policy has been a mistake and a failure.

Iranian officials say the ball is in the US' court, and the Biden administration should assure Tehran that it will not repeat Trump's past mistakes.

Diplomats have also criticized Washington for raising excessive demands from Tehran during the nuclear talks, and blocking efforts to reach an agreement on the JCPOA. They emphasized the Tehran's will to reach a good, strong and lasting agreement, and stressed that the US should lift unilateral sanctions, and assure Iran that it will not repeat its past mistakes.

Source: Fars News Agency

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IRGC Smashes Terrorist Strongholds by 73 Missiles, Tens of Drones


Commenting on the ongoing military operation in Northern Iraq Brigadier General Pakpour stated so far 73 surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and tens of kamikaze drones have hit the terrorist bases which leaded to “complete destruction” of the designated targets.

"These targets were scattered across 42 points," he explained, adding that they were 400 km away from each other in some cases.

Since Saturday, the IRGC ground forces have launched a series of aerial raids on the positions of Iraqi Kurdistan-based terrorist groups, including the so-called Komala Party, which has gained a strong foothold in the region bordering Iran.

Urging Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region to dismantle bases of the terrorist groups that sow sedition against the Islamic Republic of Iran, General Pakpour vowed that the operation will continue until the groups based in Northern Iraqi regions are “completely disarmed".

The operation came after the illegal entry of armed teams linked with the Kurdish terrorist groups into the Iranian border cities in recent days.

Iran's military announced in a statement that the IRGC took action after the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials failed to take appropriate measures and ignored numerous warnings against the deployment and activity of mercenaries and terrorists hostile toward Tehran.

The Iranian Armed Forces, specially the IRGC, have repeatedly warned that they will never tolerate the presence and activity of terrorist groups along the Northwestern border and will give strong and decisive responses in case of anti-security activities.

The IRGC has on countless occasions attacked and destroyed terrorist hideouts in the Kurdistan region with artillery fire, missiles and drones.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran ‘ruthlessly’ suppressing protests: Amnesty International

30 September, 2022

Iran is intentionally using lethal force to crack down on protests that erupted after the death of Mahsa Amini, Amnesty International said Friday, adding that without international action more people risk being detained or killed.

Its warning came as another rights group said 83 people had been killed in two weeks of protests that started over Amini's death following her arrest by morality police, as Iran pressed ahead with more detentions of prominent figures.

“The Iranian authorities have mobilized their well-honed machinery of repression to ruthlessly crack down on nationwide protests in an attempt to thwart any challenge to their power,” Amnesty said.

“Without concerted collective action by the international community that goes beyond statements of condemnation, countless more people risk being killed, maimed, tortured, sexually assaulted and thrown behind bars.”

It said its review of photos and videos showed “most victims were killed by security forces firing live ammunition.”

The NGO said it had obtained a leaked official document issued to the commanders of armed forces in all provinces on September 21 instructing them to “severely confront” protesters.

Another leaked document showed that on September 23, the commander of the armed forces in Mazandaran province, where some of the deadliest clashes have taken place, ordered security forces to “confront mercilessly, going as far as causing deaths, any unrest by rioters and anti-revolutionaries”.

Amnesty said it had confirmed 52 deaths in the protests but the toll was likely higher. Another rights group, Oslo-based Iran Human Rights, said that 83 people are now confirmed to have been killed.

Its warning comes as Iran presses ahead with an intensifying crackdown that has seen the arrest of many journalists, activists and other prominent figures.

Former Iranian international football player Hossein Manahi was arrested Friday after supporting the protests on his social media accounts, the state run IRNA news agency said.

Security forces also arrested singer Shervin Hajipour, whose song “Baraye” (“For”) made up of tweets about the protests went viral on Instagram, the rights group Article 19 and Persian-language media based outside Iran said.

His song, which racked up millions of views on Instagram and prompted many to comment that it moved them to tears, has now been removed from his account.

The Washington-based Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 29 journalists have been arrested in the crackdown.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Human Rights Chief: US Lacks Legitimacy to Comment on Rights of Iranians


Qaribabadi made the remarks on Wednesday in separate meetings with the Belgian and German ambassadors to Tehran, Gian Marco Rizzo, and Hans-Udo Muzel respectively.

The judiciary official strongly denounced the US' dual policy on human rights, and stressed that Washington is in no position to comment on the rights of Iranians as it has endangered their lives through crippling sanctions.

He emphasized that Iran is determined to pursue the rights of its citizens, including Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died at a hospital a few days after collapsing at a police station in Tehran.

Qaribabadi noted that different investigative teams were immediately formed by the government, judiciary and the parliament after the news broke out.

“A special medical team, consisting of the heads of the Iranian Forensic Medicine Organization, Medical Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran and representatives of several  medical associations, was set up and tasked with investigating the circumstances surrounding Ms. Amini’s death and reporting their findings in the shortest possible time,” Iran’s rights chief pointed out.

“Unfortunately, some European countries and international human rights organization have hastily and of course in a politicized manner made claims that she was beaten up. Such allegations have been rejected according to preliminary investigations and the Kasra Hospital’s report. The cause of the death is under investigation, and the results will be compiled and published soon,” he added.

He also denounced the United States and certain European countries over their support for recent deadly riots in Iran.

There is "nowhere in the world where violent gatherings, during which cold weapons as well as firearms are awash and public property is damaged, described as peaceful", the official added.

“In Iran, hundreds of peaceful rallies and protests are held every year without any problems. However, what has taken place in some Iranian cities over the past few days has been accompanied by violent and terrifying actions, acts of vandalism and damage to public and private property,” Qaribabadi said.

“Rioters incite anyone to confront the police and destroy public and private property. During the gatherings, a great number of public and private property was set on fire or looted; several police officers and ordinary citizens were killed or injured as a result of cold weapons and firearms used by rioters. Banks, automated teller machines (ATMs), ambulances, public transportation vehicles, police cars, fire engines and religious places were widely attacked, destroyed and set on fire,” he stated.

Iran’s human rights chief also criticized the positions of some European states concerning recent protests in Iran, noting, “The countries that support and encourage non-peaceful demonstrations and acts of violence are complicit in the damage caused and the blood of innocent people spilled.

He also condemned Washington’s meddlesome actions under the pretext of protecting the human rights of Iranians.

“How can [the United States of] America, which has violated the human rights of millions of Iranians through its sanctions and endangered the lives of many Iranians, claim to be supporting their rights?” Qaribabadi questioned.

In recent days, Iranian officials have blamed the United States and the European Unions for meddling in Iran's internal affairs over the death of Mahsa Amini. They advised the US and its allies against "opportunism and instrumentalization of the issue of human rights" by misusing the incident.

Tehran reminded that the countries, which, themselves, towed a "long history of warmongering and violence" throughout the world, lacked the legitimacy that could authorize them to "moralize others" concerning the human rights.

A full range of top Iranian officials have vowed thorough investigations into the case, including the president, parliament speaker, interior minister, prosecutor-general and police chief of the capital.

Iran has repeatedly denounced the sanctions as an act of “economic war”, “economic terrorism”, and “medical terrorism”. Tehran has condemned as "crime against humanity" the imposition of sanctions against the Iranian nation by the United States, and stressed such unilateral restrictive measures have put the lives of vulnerable people at risk by hampering their access to medicine.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran Warns Against Emergence of Terror Groups in Afghanistan


Addressing a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, Ershadi expressed concern over the reports on the resurgence of Daesh-affiliated terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

"The de-facto authorities must commit to fighting terrorism and ensure to take all appropriate steps to protect diplomatic and consular premises against any intrusion or damage and prevent attacks on diplomatic premises, agents, and consular officers," she said.

"Afghanistan must no longer serve as a haven for terrorist groups like Daesh and al-Qaeda," Iran's deputy permanent representative to the UN added.

The Iranian diplomat urged the de-facto Afghan authorities to fulfill their international obligations as a member of the international community and to establish an "inclusive and representative" government that accurately reflects the country's multi-ethnic society.

"Only a government comprised of all Afghans can guarantee and protect their rights," Ershadi stated.

Elsewhere in her remarks, the envoy stressed the importance of fighting drug trafficking, saying that Iran is directly affected by this menace and pays a high price for it.

"Over the past 40 years, Iran has played an active role in combating drug trafficking in the region, in which, nearly 4,000 members of Iran’s law enforcement forces have been martyred and over 12,000 others have been injured," Ershadi continued.

She also noted that Iran has used its capacities and resources to help the Afghan people overcome their challenges and said the Islamic Republic has been hosting millions of refugees who have unfortunately received minimal international assistance in the last 40 years.

After the Taliban takeover, Iran never closed its border with Afghanistan and thousands of Afghans have entered Iran on a daily basis since last year, she added.

"However, neighbors of Afghanistan, including Iran, should not feel all the burdens associated with receiving Afghan refugees. Other countries should welcome refugees as well," Ersahdi pointed out.

She once again urged the international community to continue to assist Afghanistan, saying, "Other conflicts must not divert attention away from or ignore the situation in Afghanistan."

"While humanitarian and development assistance is critical to keeping Afghans alive, maintaining basic services, and bolstering the economy, they are not long-term solutions and must be supplemented by sustained economic growth," the Iranian envoy added.

She further emphasized the need to fully release the frozen assets belong to the Afghan people in full, "without being politicized or conditional in any way".

Ershadi stressed, "Sanctions imposed on specific individuals and entities in Afghanistan must also not obstruct humanitarian, economic, or development cooperation with Afghanistan. The sanctions should not have an impact on efforts to revitalize the Afghan economy, as the Secretary-General has repeatedly called for measures to give the Afghan economy breathing room."

She pledged the continuation of Iran's efforts to assist the Afghan people and work with the war-ravaged country's neighbors and other partners to "ensure durable peace and sustainable development in Afghanistan."

Ershadi welcomed the appointment of Roza Otunbayeva as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

She vowed Iran will support UNAMA in its "efforts to address the humanitarian crisis and facilitate the intra-Afghan political process to promote peace and stability in the country."

The Taliban, who had previously ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, took power again on August 15 last year as the US was in the middle of a chaotic troop withdrawal. The group announced the formation of a caretaker government weeks later. Following the Taliban’s takeover, the US and its allies rushed to cut off Afghanistan’s access to international aid and froze nearly $10 billion in assets belonging to the country’s central bank.

Despite the Taliban’s assertion that they have brought security to the nation, Afghanistan has seen regular attacks by armed groups, many of them claimed by a Daesh affiliate known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K), in recent months.

In Afghanistan, Daesh attacks have resulted in around hunreds of deaths since the Taliban came to power last August, according to the United Nations. The militants have primarily targeted religious and ethnic minorities, as well as schools, mainly with suicide bombings.

Back in late April, Iranian President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi warned that the war in Ukraine should not make the international community forget the crisis in Afghanistan.

“The US and NATO presence in Afghanistan meant nothing more than destruction and killing, and it did not provide security for Afghanistan or the region,” Rayeesi said.

The president added that the war in Ukraine must not divert international attention from the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan, the problems facing its people and the large number of refugees leaving the country.

He also warned about a surge in threats against Afghanistan and other regional nations.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran protests over young woman's death continue, 83 said killed

30 September, 2022

Protests continued in several cities across Iran on Thursday against the death of young woman in police custody, state and social media reported, as a human rights group said at least 83 people had been killed in nearly two weeks of demonstrations.

Mahsa Amini, 22, from the Iranian Kurdish town of Saqez, was arrested this month in Tehran for “unsuitable attire” by the morality police that enforces the Islamic Republic's strict dress code for women.

Her death has sparked the first big show of opposition on Iran's streets since authorities crushed protests against a rise in gasoline prices in 2019.

“At least 83 people including children, are confirmed to have been killed in (the) #IranProtests,” Iran Human Rights, a Norway-based group, said on Twitter.

Despite the growing death toll and a fierce crackdown by authorities, videos posted on Twitter showed demonstrators calling for the fall of the clerical establishment in Tehran, Qom, Rasht, Sanandaj, Masjed-i-Suleiman and other cities.

State television said police had arrested a large number of “rioters”, without giving figures.

Rights groups said dozens of activists, students and artists have been detained and the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Twitter that it had learned that security forces had arrested at least 28 journalists as of Sept. 29.

Meanwhile, Germany's foreign minister said on Thursday she wanted the European Union to impose sanctions on Iran following Amini's death.

In Norway, several people attempted to enter the Iranian embassy in Oslo during an angry demonstration in which two people sustained light injuries, Norwegian police said. Police detained 95 people, public broadcaster NRK reported.

President Ebrahim Raisi said the unrest was the latest move by hostile Western powers against Iran since its Islamic revolution in 1979.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Two injured, 90 arrested in clashes near Iran embassy in Oslo

29 September, 2022

Two people were lightly injured and 90 others were arrested on Thursday following clashes that erupted at a demonstration near Iran's embassy in Oslo, Norwegian police said.

Several dozen protesters, some draped in the Kurdish flag, gathered outside the embassy to protest the death of a Kurdish woman in Iran after her arrest by the Islamic republic's morality police, as well as Iranian strikes in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Some of the demonstrators tried to break into the embassy compound.

Televised footage showed people throwing objects and hitting others with sticks.

“At this stage, two people are reported to have sustained light injuries,” police wrote on Twitter.

A large number of law enforcement officers were dispatched to the scene, and police said it had the situation “under control”.

Some 90 people were arrested, police official Arild Jorundland told reporters at the scene.

It was not immediately known who organized the protest. Some of the protesters chanted “Woman, Life, Freedom!” in Kurdish.

The demonstration came a day after Iran launched missile and drone strikes that killed 13 people in Iraq's Kurdistan region, accusing Kurdish armed groups there of fueling the Iranian protests that have flared for 12 nights in a row over 22-year-old Mahsa Amini's death.

Amini died on September 16, three days after she was arrested for allegedly breaching Iran's strict rules for women on wearing hijab headscarves and modest clothing.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Resurgence of Terrorism Won’t Be Tolerated, General Qamar Javed Bajwa Tells Commanders Conference

September 29, 2022

RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday ordered troops to leave “no stone unturned” in acting against terrorists as he presided over the 252nd Corps Commanders’ Conference, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

The forum undertook a comprehensive review of security, particularly of the situation along the country’s borders.

The COAS maintained that a resurgence of terrorism would not be tolerated, and troops must use all means to act against terrorists in coordination with all law enforcement agencies.

The ISPR statement further maintained that the COAS expressed satisfaction over the operational preparedness of the army formations and directed them to maintain strict vigilance against any threat.

Gen Bajwa also commended military efforts to reach flood victims. According to the military’s media wing, besides discussing the external and internal security situation, the meeting particularly focused on the flood situation and ongoing relief efforts undertaken by the army formations across the country.

They expressed solidarity with flood victims who were “braving great difficulties” and resolved to extend maximum assistance for their relief and rehabilitation.

According to the statement, the COAS commended troops for reaching out to the people in distress and helping them mitigate their sufferings.

He further lauded army doctors and paramedics for providing emergency medical care to victims, particularly children and women, as well as measures taken to check the spread of diseases in flood-hit areas.

Gen Bajwa also appreciated army engineers and the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) for restoring accessibility to critical routes and communication infrastructure on an emergency basis.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Pakistan’s Progressive Transgender Law Faces Opposition 4 Years Later

September 28, 2022

Sarah Zaman


Pakistan is considering amending a landmark transgender rights bill passed in 2018 that some legislators and clerics argue contradicts Islamic teachings on gender identity.

Rights activists, however, say the law is being misunderstood and the “misinformed” debate against it is further endangering the transgender community.

Hailed as among the more progressive laws on transgender rights globally by the International Commission of Jurists, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act gave transgender people in Pakistan the right to choose their gender identity as they perceived it themselves and to change it on previously issued government documents.

Opponents of the law claim the provision to choose or change one’s gender is un-Islamic and could open the door to same-sex marriage, currently prohibited in Pakistan.

In the last two weeks, at least four trans women have been killed. Some trans-rights activists blame lumping “transgender” together with “homosexuality” for the renewed targeting of their community. Homosexuality is a punishable offense in Pakistan.

Hashtags such as “amend trans act” and “take back the vulgar bill” were recently trending on Twitter.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, a member of the conservative political party Jamat-e-Islami, is leading the charge against the 2018 law. He told VOA that allowing citizens to choose self-perceived gender identity presents a “danger to the family and inheritance systems,” as it will “open the door for 220 million people to choose to be anything.”

Pakistan uses the Islamic system of inheritance, which divides assets among descendants based on their gender. Men get twice as much as women. The act stipulated that a person identifying as a trans man would also get twice as much as a trans woman.

2018 law

Pakistan’s 2018 law defines transgender as anyone with a mixture of male and female genital features or ambiguous genitalia, a person assigned male at birth but who has undergone castration, or any person whose gender identity or expression differ from their assigned sex at birth.

Khan told VOA he does not believe “fully male” or “fully female” persons should be given the right to choose their gender if their gender perception does not match their physical or sexual anatomy. Instead, “they should seek psychological help,” he said.

He said the law should only encompass those who cannot be categorized as male or female at birth based on their sexual or reproductive anatomy.

His proposed amendments to the 2018 law include establishing medical boards that conduct detailed exams and then advise what gender a person should be.

Transgender rights activists oppose examination by a medical board to determine sexual and gender identity. Speaking to VOA, activist Zanaya Chaudhry asked that since a medical exam is not required to determine a man or a woman’s gender identity, “why is this discriminatory act being forced upon transgender people?”

According to Chaudhry, the purpose of the 2018 legislation was only to protect the rights of transgender people, whom she said, “were finally being accepted as human beings.”

Harassment, death threats

Abandoned by families and relegated to mostly begging, dancing or sex work due to social stigma, transgender people in Pakistan routinely suffer harassment and many face death threats and fatal attacks.

According to data collected by the International Commission of Jurists and its partner organizations, at least 20 transgender people were killed in Pakistan in 2021.

Only a decade ago, in 2012, the country’s top court ruled that transgender people have the same rights as all other citizens and ordered that a “third gender” category be added to national identity cards.

That ruling paved the way for the 2018 legislation, which expressly prohibited discrimination against transgender people in educational institutions, workplaces and health care, and it guaranteed them a share in inheritance.

Human rights activist and lawyer Hina Jilani rejects the notion the 2018 law is against Islam. She told VOA it’s perplexing that “a law that gave identity to a marginalized community and was passed by the parliament is being objected to now.”

Some transgender rights activists, however, are also dissatisfied with the language of the 2018 law.

Speaking to VOA, transgender rights activist Almas Bobby lamented that the trans community is still heavily stigmatized and unable to avail basic rights. Bobby contended the number of “real” transgender people in Pakistan is quite small and that this law protects those “who want to change their sex only because of a personal preference.”

Like Khan, Bobby also believes that only those with ambiguous genitalia should be called transgender.

New proposals

This week, Fawzia Arshad, a senator from one of the most popular political parties, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), also introduced a new bill to replace the 2018 legislation.

The proposals by senators Khan and Arshad focus on only protecting those with genital ambiguities and removing the clauses that allow a transgender person to choose their gender identity as they perceive it and spell their share in family inheritance.

The Senate chairman has forwarded the matter to the relevant standing committee for review.

The country’s religious court, known as Federal Shariat Court, is also reviewing arguments in favor of and against the 2018 law.

Earlier, the Council on Islamic Ideology, a constitutional body that reviews Pakistan’s laws in the light of the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad’s teachings, also declared the 2018 law un-Islamic for allowing one to choose self-perceived gender and gender reassignment.

While Pakistan’s law minister, Azam Nazir Tarar, has rejected the criticism of the law being un-Islamic as “baseless propaganda,” he has welcomed Khan’s proposed amendments, telling a press conference the word of the religious court will now be final.

In 2018, the transgender rights legislation passed with the support of all major political parties, although it was rejected by religious parties, including Khan’s Jamat-e-Islami.

In 2021, when Khan first raised the issue to amend the law, Shireen Mazari, then the human rights minister from the ruling party PTI, opposed the move.

Source: VOA News

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Pakistan govt to launch multi-billion-dollars initiative to protect Indus River

Sep 29, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government is set to launch a mega multi-billion-dollar climate initiative to protect the mighty Indus River, the cradle of the great civilisations of Harappa and Mohenjodaro, from environmental degradation and anthropogenic activities, a senior minister announced on Thursday.

The ‘Living Indus Initiative' will protect the river, its marine ecology, and the communities dependent on it, Sherry Rehman, the Minister for Climate Change, said.

“The Living Indus Initiative will cost $11-17 billion. We will try to manage it through the fiscal facilities available,” she said at a press conference.

She underlined that the Indus River was the world's second most polluted river.

Replying to queries, the minister said it was the biggest adaptation project that should be promoted for the benefit of the country.

Rehman said the project would protect the cradle of civilisations which was under serious threat due to environmental degradation and anthropogenic activities.

She said that the project was conceived after thorough consultations with academia, experts, stakeholders, and provincial governments.

The project will be launched at UN Climate Change Conference 2022 in Egypt in November.

While elaborating on the Living Indus Initiative, the minister informed that 25 initial interventions that were the priority areas would be focused on as part of the project.

While elaborating on the key interventions, Rehman said that the project would operate in the length and breadth of the country whereas the private sector would be required to chip in the finances as there was a lack of resources.

The priority interventions were nature-based resilience agriculture, salinity control in lower Indus, Indus delta protection, Indus cleanup from industrial effluent, green infrastructure, and ground recharge, groundwater governance and others.

She said the Indus River was the “mother of the nation” as it watered the entire agriculture system and humanity living around it from the north to the south.

“We will have to ensure development in harmony with nature, not against nature,” she said.

The minister said the UN had assisted the Ministry of Climate Change to develop a detailed report on the Indus River to devise a well-thought strategy to initiate its conservation and restoration as a living river.

Source: Times Of India

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Imran appears before Islamabad court to apologise to Judge Zeba Chaudhry in person

Tahir Naseer

September 30, 2022

PTI chief Imran Khan on Friday appeared before an Islamabad sessions court to personally apologise to Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Zeba Chaudhry.

Last month, the Islamabad High Court had initiated contempt proceedings against Imran over his diatribe against Judge Chaudhry — who had approved PTI leader Shahbaz Gill’s physical remand in a sedition case — at a public rally in Islamabad’s F-9 Park on Aug 20.

Earlier this month, the IHC had said it would indict the former premier, following which he had expressed the willingness to apologise to the judge.

The next hearing is scheduled for October 3 (Monday).

Today, Imran and his lawyers appeared in Judge Chaudhry’s court. However, the court reader, Choudhry Yasir Ayaz, and stenographer Farooq told the PTI chief that the judicial magistrate was on leave.

Imran then left a message for the judge with Ayaz.

“I have come to apologise to judicial magistrate Zeba Chaudhry,” he could be heard saying to the court reader in a video shared by the PTI on Twitter.

“You have to tell Madam Zeba Chaudhry that Imran Khan had visited and wanted to apologise if his words hurt her sentiments,” he said. The PTI chief then left the court.

Bail in Section 144 case confirmed

Earlier in the day, a district and sessions court in Islamabad confirmed Imran’s interim bail in the case registered against him on charges of violating Section 144.

A first information report (FIR) was registered against Imran last month on charges of violating Section 144 (ban on public gatherings exceeding four persons) by holding the rally in the capital on August 20.

Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal took up the plea of the PTI chief on Friday amid tight security.

During the hearing, Imran’s lawyer Babar Awan said he had recently found out that Imran had been booked under charges of behest. “Has a statement been recorded in this regard?”

At this, the session judge asked if the investigating officer in the case had written a statement on this. “No he did not,” the prosecution replied, adding that they only had the statement of the officer who had issued the notification.

Here, Awan said that this was the 21st FIR against Imran. “Even if the investigation officer records his statement now, it won’t be acceptable,” he contended.

Subsequently, the court confirmed the PTI chief’s interim bail against surety bonds worth Rs5,000.

Contempt case

The decision to initiate contempt proceedings against Imran was taken by Justice Aamer Farooq while hearing a petition challenging Gill’s police remand. The court summoned Imran on August 31 and subsequently issued him a show-cause notice.

A day before the hearing, the former prime minister submitted a reply before the IHC wherein he expressed his willingness to “take back” his words about the judge if they were “regarded as inappropriate” and pleaded before the IHC that the judges who had agreed to initiate the case against him should consider withdrawing themselves from the bench as, according to him, they had pre-judged the matter.

However, the IHC had deemed the response to be “unsatisfactory” and asked the PTI chief to submit a “well-considered” response.

Following this, Imran submitted a fresh reply in the court. In the revised response, however, Imran stopped short of rendering an unconditional apology. He stated that “I have a profound regard and respect for this honourable court and its subordinate courts and judge”.

On September 8, the IHC decided to Indict Imran, once again calling his response “unsatisfactory”.

However, at the next hearing on September 22, Imran offered to tender an apology to Judge Zeba and escaped the indictment.

Source: Dawn

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At least one killed, 20 injured in blast in Balochistan’s Kohlu

Ghalib Nihad

September 30, 2022

At least one person was killed and 20 injured in an explosion in the main market of Balochistan’s Kohlu district on Friday.

According to the medical superintendent of the Kohlu District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital, Asghar Marri, more than 21 patients were brought to the facility.

“One person has died while 10 patients are in critical condition. We have referred them to Dera Ghazi Khan,” he told

Marri added that the remaining patients were being treated at the Kohlu hospital.

Balochistan Education Minister Mir Naseebullah Marri told that a medical emergency had been imposed at the hospital and timely aid was being provided to the injured people.

“If the condition of the injured worsens, they will be shifted to Multan,” he added.

Meanwhile, police and other law enforcement agencies cordoned off the site of the incident but details about the nature of the blast were yet to be confirmed.

Adviser to the Chief Minister for Home Mir Zia Langove, in a statement, strongly condemned the blast and sought a report from the Kohlu deputy commissioner.

He said terrorists would not be allowed to succeed in their “nefarious purposes”.

Source: Dawn

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Pakistan would act as ‘bridge’ between China, US: Bilawal

September 29, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Thursday has said that in times of geopolitical division Pakistan wants to be a ‘bridge by uniting’ the United States and China.

The PPP scion’s remarks came during an interview with Foreign Policy, where he maintained that Pakistan’s “unique position as a friend of both the United States and China” could help encourage cooperation between the two countries.

Dubbing the claim of China not coming to Pakistan’s aid in its recent time of need as “absolutely incorrect”. He maintained that Islamabad’s relationship with Beijing was not new and had long bipartisan roots.

“And I like to say that we wanted to be friends with China when nobody wanted to be friends with China. Now, everybody wants to be friends with China,” Bilawal added.

Responding to the interviewer’s assertation that the US did not want to be friends with China, Bilawal said that “not everything is about the geopolitical conflict of the United States and China”.

He stated that it was “preposterous” and “absolutely ridiculous” that a conversation about US and China relations was occurring while talking about Pakistan’s survival and ability to deal with “cataclysmic flooding”.

The minister emphasised that climate change could not be confronted if the two superpowers did not work together.

Commenting on Beijing’s lack of aid to Colombo during their economic crisis, Bilawal maintained that Pakistan’s context was “completely different” and that while the country was going “through a climate catastrophe”.

The interviewer argued that Pakistan was going through both an economic and a climate crisis.

“In the sense that that was solely an economic crisis of its own dynamics. But as far as what China does—whether it’s with Sri Lanka or Pakistan—that’s totally China’s decision. Just like it’s 100 per cent America’s decision in either of these circumstances,” the minister replied.

He retained that Pakistan would rather continue to play its past role of bridging the gap between the two countries than exacerbate the gap.

“Right now, particularly when we’re drowning in floods, I don’t want to play any part in exacerbating any tensions or being a geopolitical football,” he said.

Regarding the Russia-Ukraine war, the foreign minister was of the belief that the “broad consensus” within Pakistan had declared that the country did not want to be “dragged into this conflict”.

“Particularly because we’re just coming out of a decades-long conflict in Afghanistan, and frankly, we’re exhausted by what war does and the consequences for any one country”.

Talking about Pakistan’s level of cooperation for the US operation to kill al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, Bilawal stated that Islamabad was unaware of the location of the individual and the operation to take him out.

He further said that Pakistan did not offer its airspace to the US because it was unaware of the operation.

“We were not aware of this. I don’t think anybody was,” he said.

Climate change

FM Bilawal stated that he had proposed a Green Marshall Plan for climate-stressed countries, all of which “contribute negligibly to the global carbon funds”.

He furthered that he had talked about climate justice and hoped to see it as a continuation of the “stated position of the president of the United States, and the leaders of many countries in Europe, that we need to invest, get the money together, not only for climate adaptation domestically but also internationally”.

He maintained that the “great polluters” who caused the crisis would “fund” the plan.

“We have to come up with out-of-the-box solutions, one of which is the proposal of a debt swap for climate, where countries that owe a debt to the great polluters would swap this debt,” he added.

Bilawal urged the private sector to invest in climate adaptation and believed that the “public-private partnership model could be adopted not only for green energy but also for green infrastructure”.

In response to questions about India, the foreign minister stated that Pakistan had not received nor expected any help from India.

The minister had no comments for his Indian counterpart as their help was “their choice, their position”.

“I didn’t ask for help from the United States—they volunteered it. Didn’t ask for help from China—they volunteered. Didn’t ask for help from the Middle East—they volunteered. In times of human catastrophe, I think it tests everyone’s humanity,” Bilawal remarked.

Military role

Discussing the army’s role in Pakistan and its government, Bilawal stated that the army has been “a powerful force” with a “turbulent history with the civilian government”.

“But we have long advocated for all institutions within Pakistan conducting themselves within their legal mandate and transitioning away from the more controversial roles that we’ve had in the past,” he contended, adding that a significant development was the removal of former premier Imran Khan through constitutional and democratic means.

“All prime ministers who were previously removed were either by being hanged, exiled, or through some sort of judicial verdict. So that’s a significant point in Pakistan’s political history, institutional development, and democracy,” Bilawal said.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Southeast Asia


Malaysia Welcomes ADB’s Member Countries to Leverage Islamic Capital Market Synergies

29 Sep 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 — Malaysia welcomes Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) member countries to be part of the country’s journey in leveraging Islamic capital market synergies for a climate resilient economy.

Deputy Finance Minister I Datuk Mohd Shahar Abdullah said a case in point is the issuance of the world’s first sovereign US dollar Sustainability Sukuk by the Malaysian government in April 2021 to the value of US$800 million (RM3.7 billion), which was oversubscribed by 6.4 times across the world.

“Malaysia recognises the importance of a just transition towards sustainability,” he said during the Board of Governors Business Session at the 55th ADB Annual Meeting today.

Additionally, he said Malaysia welcomes ADB facilitation efforts toward climate resilient economy with cumulative climate financing amounting to US$100 billion for the period of 2019-2030 for its developing member countries.

Meanwhile, Mohd Shahar said the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely impacted the livelihood and the lives of people.

He said Malaysia believes ADB could play important role in strengthening public healthcare post-pandemic to ensure healthcare and fiscal resilience, which is also an important factor in supporting growth.

In this perspective, he said Malaysia called for deeper regional cooperation and integration between ADB and member countries for successful development strategies implementation.

He said another global concern is the increasing percentage of ageing population and increased life expectancy which put further pressure on the declining population growth in several member countries, including Malaysia.

“This phenomenon, coupled with low fertility rate, will cause labour market facing shortages of needed supply and may indirectly impair climate resilient economic growth.

“As such, ADB’s assistance is sought for the development of an inclusive and forward-looking policy framework in raising the fertility level in the affected member countries’ population,” he said.

He said Malaysia also expressed the importance for ADB member countries in promoting both biodiversity and green economy for a sustainable and inclusive recovery.

Source: Malay Mail

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Social entrepreneur receives Commonwealth Points of Light award

September 29, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian social entrepreneur, Anja Juliah Abu Bakar, has received the Commonwealth Points of Light award in recognition of her exceptional voluntarism and service to the community.

The certificate, signed by the late Queen Elizabeth II as the head of the Commonwealth before her recent passing, made the award even more special to Anja Juliah who taught girls in rural communities about menstrual health.

“This award came as an absolute surprise. Exactly 10 years ago, I started teaching girls in rural Borneo about menstruation and sponsoring washable sanitary pads for them.

“As a result, the girls did not have to be absent from school and realised education is their pathway to a better life,” she told a press conference after receiving the award from British High Commissioner Charles Hay at his residence here.

Anja Juliah, through her social enterprise, embarked on a quest to address the issue of absentees among Malaysian girls in rural communities after discovering that thousands of girls miss an average of 60 days of school a year due to lack of menstrual knowledge.

She said her effort in providing reusable sanitary pads had enabled the girls to continue their studies comfortably besides reducing the number of single-use sanitary pads going into landfills.

Meanwhile, Hay, in commending Anja Juliah’s efforts, said she had helped to ensure girls in rural communities remained in schools and get the basic education they needed.

The Commonwealth Points of Light award programme was launched in the UK in 2018 when it chaired the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Indonesia approves first home-grown Covid-19 vaccine

September 30, 2022

Indonesia has approved its first locally developed Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, the head of the country’s public health agency said on Friday, hailing it as a step toward “the nation’s independence in access to medicine”.

Jakarta has stressed the importance of developing national vaccines since the beginning of the pandemic but it currently relies on China’s Sinovac and the Western-made Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA jabs.

The IndoVac jab, developed by state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma and Texas-based Baylor College of Medicine, can now be used as a primary dose for an unvaccinated or partially vaccinated adult in the world’s fourth most-populous country.

“The development … of a domestic vaccine is a pride for us Indonesians as a foundation and as the first step to achieve the nation’s independence in access to medicine,” head of the national food and drugs agency (BPOM) Penny Lukito said at a press conference on Friday.

The medical chief said IndoVac had shown an efficacy rate of 92 per cent, while there were no reports of death linked to it in trials and reported side effects were “generally mild”.

A clinical study to use it as a booster jab is underway, Lukito said.

The agency also announced it had granted emergency use approval for an mRNA vaccine developed in China, becoming the first country to do so.

The inoculation developed by Walvax Biotechnology will be locally produced in Indonesia, the BPOM chief said.

The homegrown IndoVac jab has been granted a halal certificate, meaning it can be administered in line with Islam in Muslim-majority Indonesia.

Indonesia became the epicentre of Asia’s Covid-19 pandemic in July last year as the Delta variant swept through the country.

Daily cases declined significantly by the end of the year but the spread of Omicron brought confirmed cases back to 30,000 a day.

It has since seen another sharp fall in case numbers and eliminated quarantine requirements for vaccinated travellers.

In total, Southeast Asia’s largest economy has reported over 6.4 million confirmed cases with nearly 160,000 deaths.

Source: Dawn

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South Asia


US Envoy Fears Afghanistan could Witness a ‘Return to Civil War’

By Arif Ahmadi

30 Sep 2022

KABUL, Afghanistan – The United States special envoy for Afghanistan Thomas West said he fears Afghanistan “could see a return to civil war in time”, calling the need for “political dialogue” in national level.

Without a serious “national political dialogue” about the future of the country among Afghans who have “genuine support in their community, I really do fear…. we could see a return to civil war in time,” West made the remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Highlight the current status of women rights in Afghanistan, West said Washington would support a stable Afghanistan in which the rights of all its people are ensured.

“We wish to see and to support the emergence of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan that never again harbors terrorists … in which the rights of all its people, women and men, boys and girls are upheld,” he said, as TOLOnews quoted.

But the deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate Bilal Karimi said that there is no need for national dialogue in the country, saying “all the challenges that previously existed are currently solved” and Afghanistan is now peaceful.

“The time for negotiations was when there was war in the country and there were many sides—there was an invasion—now here is a central government and the people are in a calm situation,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate.

The Islamic Emirate has repeatedly reacted to the international community’s calls to form an inclusive government in Afghanistan, saying the government is already inclusive.

Earlier, several Afghan experts said the establishment of an inclusive government could be a pathway to end challenges that currently exist in Afghanistan, saying the conditions set by the international community are the demands of the Afghan people.

“Forming an inclusive government is an important factor for stabilizing security and the economy in Afghanistan,” said Sayed Harron Hashimi, a political expert. “Such a government, and women and girls’ education, must be focused on.”

While world leaders, including international allies, insist on forming an inclusive government in Afghanistan is key for formal recognition of the current government, the Islamic Emirate has repeatedly defied the odds, saying its leadership has already taken steps towards such.

“The Islamic Emirate has always been committed to forming an inclusive government and took steps to prove it; on the other hand, it is an eternal issue of Afghanistan and Afghan people.”

Source: Khaama Press

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Kabul Suicide Blast Kills 19, Mostly Girls, At Education Centre

September 30, 2022

A suicide bomb attack on a classroom of hundreds of people preparing for exams in the Afghan capital on Friday killed at least 19 people, with most of the casualties girls, police and a witness said.

The blast ripped through Kaaj Higher Educational Centre, which coaches mainly adult men and women ahead of university entrance tests.

“We were around 600 in the class. But most of the casualties are among the girls,” Akbar, a student who was wounded in the attack, told AFP from a nearby hospital.

The attack happened in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood of western Kabul, a predominantly Shiite Muslim area home to the minority Hazara community, the target of some of Afghanistan’s most deadly attacks.

“Students were preparing for an exam when a suicide bomber struck at this educational centre. Unfortunately, 19 people have been martyred and 27 others wounded,” Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran said.

Families rushed to area hospitals, where ambulances were arriving with victims and lists of those confirmed dead and wounded were posted on the walls.

“We didn’t find her here,” a distressed woman looking for her sister at one of the hospitals told AFP. “She was 19 years old. We are calling her but she’s not responding.”

At at least one hospital, the Taliban forced families of victims to leave the site, fearing that there could be a follow-up attack on the crowd.

Videos posted online and photos published by local media showed bloodied victims being carried away from the scene.

“Security teams have reached the site, the nature of the attack and the details of the casualties will be released later,” Abdul Nafy Takor, the interior ministry’s spokesman, earlier tweeted.

“Attacking civilian targets proves the enemy’s inhuman cruelty and lack of moral standards.”

Frequently attacked neighbourhood

The Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan last year brought an end to the two-decade war and a significant reduction in violence, but security has begun to deteriorate in recent months.

Afghanistan’s Shiite Hazaras have faced persecution for decades, with the Taliban accused of abuses against the group when they first ruled from 1996 to 2001.

Such accusations picked up again after they swept back to power.

Hazaras are also the frequent target of attacks by the Taliban’s enemy, the Islamic State armed group. Both consider them heretics.

Many attacks have devastated the Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood, with several targeting women, children and schools.

Last year, before the Taliban returned to power, at least 85 people — mainly girl students — were killed and about 300 wounded when three bombs exploded near their school in the area.

No group claimed responsibility, but a year earlier IS claimed a suicide attack on an educational centre in the same neighbourhood that killed 24, including students.

In May 2020, the group was blamed for a bloody gun attack on a maternity ward of a hospital in Dasht-e-Barchi that killed 25 people, including new mothers.

And in April this year, two deadly bomb blasts at separate education centres in the area killed six people and wounded at least 20 others.

Source: Dawn

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Iran Says Terrorism in Afghanistan Pose Threat to Global Security

By Saqalain Eqbal

29 Sep 2022

While the international community as a whole is concerned about the resurgence of terrorist groups in Afghanistan, Iran has also expressed alarm, warning that terrorism in Afghanistan poses a threat to regional and global security.

The re-emergence of terrorism in Afghanistan, according to Zahra Ershadi, ambassador and deputy permanent representative of Iran to the UN, poses a threat to both regional and international security.

The Iranian official placed a strong emphasis on fighting terrorism and stated during the UN Security Council meeting that the Taliban must uphold its commitment to this cause.

She also highlighted that the Taliban should ensure the security of the diplomatic places in Afghanistan, emphasizing that Afghanistan should not once again become a sanctuary for international terrorist groups.

The establishment of an inclusive administration in Afghanistan, according to Ershadi, is a major need, and she called on the world leaders to honor their pledges in this way.

Previously, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the UN General Assembly session explicitly stated that Afghanistan has become a safe haven for terrorists.

At the annual UN 77th session, the foreign minister of Tajikistan also raised alarm over the re-emergence of terrorist organizations in Afghanistan, adding that the nation rapidly attracts terrorists and turns into a haven for them.

Source: Khaama Press

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Security interests widen trust gap between Afghan Taliban, China

30 September, 2022

Beijing [China], September 30 (ANI): China has apparently put a pause on investments or assistance in Afghanistan as the country is unhappy with the Afghan Taliban due to its non-fulfilment of commitment to safeguarding Beijing’s security interests.

The communist nation has started treating Afghanistan with the utmost caution, making no big investments as the country’s interim government failed to safeguard China’s security interests.

China merely provided USD 31 million worth of aid last year, which included food supplies and coronavirus vaccines and this year in June USD 7.5 million worth of humanitarian aid after an earthquake of 6.1 magnitudes struck the Afghan land, reported the Afghan Diaspora.

Highlighting the ongoing situation in Afghanistan and the country’s ties with China, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said during a recent press briefing that “Beijing is unhappy with the Afghan Taliban as the latter has not stamped out the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) from Afghanistan.”

He further said, “Judging from China’s communication with the Afghan Taliban, the Afghan Taliban has said repeatedly that it will not allow Afghanistan’s territory to be used by any terrorist organisations to attack China or any other country. We hope the Afghan side can earnestly fulfil this commitment,” during the briefing.

Earlier in July, a UN report threw light on the situation and stated the ETIM has rebuilt several strongholds in Badakhshan in northeast Afghanistan and expanded its area of operations, according to Afghan Diaspora.

As per the UK’s Islamic Theology of Counter Terrorism, “The Taliban made no effort to expel the ETIM militants from Afghanistan despite China’s pressure.”

Moreover, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been repeatedly targeted by Baloch separatists as well as terrorists belonging to the TTP as they consider it an exploitative project, casting a doubt on its successful completion in Pakistan, adding to the worries of China.

In another incident, nine Chinese workers were killed in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province when the bus they were travelling in suffered a blast. The deceased was working for the Dasu hydropower project which was a part of the CPEC project in the Upper Kohistan area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa- a stronghold of the TTP, the Afghan Diaspora reported.

In terms of the Belt and Road initiative, the growth in direct trade has been limited so far. The complete lack of infrastructure or managerial capability on the Afghan side limits their ambition, alongside concerns about what they might be getting themselves into.

Even after almost a decade after Beijing initiated the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the implementation of several of its important projects in Pakistan failed to generate any investments for the country which is headed into an economic crisis.

Source: The Print

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Arab World


Opposition groups secure nearly 60% of Kuwait's National Assembly

Ahmed Yousef 



Kuwaiti opposition groups secured nearly 60% of the seats in the 50-seat National Assembly, according to the final results of early parliamentary elections announced on Friday.

According to the results, only 23 members of the previous parliament managed to keep their seats in the new parliament, while 27 are new members.

The state-run KUNA news agency said 305 candidates, including 22 female candidates, ran for seats in the assembly.

The number of representatives of the Shia bloc rose from six to nine.

Two people who are currently in jail also won seats.

The Muslim Brotherhood group in Kuwait, known as the Islamic Constitutional Movement (Hadas), secured five seats, the same number as in the previous parliament.

While the previous National Assembly had no women members, the results showed at least two women joining the body.

On Thursday, Kuwaiti voters cast ballots in the Gulf country’s parliamentary elections, the second such vote in two years.

Last month, Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who has taken on most of the ruling emir's duties, dissolved the National Assembly, citing a political standoff between the government and the legislature.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Lebanese lawmakers fail to elect new president

29 September, 2022

The Lebanese parliament failed to elect a new head of state on Thursday to replace President Michel Aoun when his term ends on October 31, and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said he would call another session when consensus emerged on a candidate.

The bulk of votes cast by lawmakers at Thursday’s session - 63 - were blank. Christian politician Michel Moawad won the backing of 36 of 122 lawmakers who attended.

Unless consensus emerges on a candidate, the presidency looks set to fall vacant when Aoun’s term ends, at a time of deep financial crisis.

Reserved for a Maronite Christian in Lebanon’s sectarian system, the presidency has fallen vacant several times since the 1975-90 civil war.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Arabia condemns Iranian attacks on Iraq’s Kurdistan region

29 September, 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday condemned Iran’s attacks on Iraq’s Kurdistan region and rejected any attacks that threaten the country’s security.

“The foreign ministry emphasizes that it completely rejects all attacks that threaten the security and stability of Iraq,” the ministry said in a statement shared on its Twitter page.

It also voiced the importance of the international community standing up against these Iranian violations which violate international charters and norms.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday they fired missiles and drones at militant targets in the Kurdish region of neighboring northern Iraq.

The strikes were reported after Iranian authorities accused armed Iranian Kurdish dissidents of involvement in unrest now shaking Iran, especially in the northwest where most of the country’s population of over 10 million Kurds live.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Arabia’s defense minister discusses situation in Yemen with PLC head

29 September, 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the situation in Yemen with the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) President Dr. Rashad al-Alimi, the Saudi Press Agency reported Wednesday.

Al-Alimi received Prince Khalid at his residence during his private visit to the Kingdom, SPA added.

During the meeting, Prince Khalid reiterated the Arab-led coalition’s support to Yemen’s PLC and to its “positive initiatives with the international community to establish security, peace and stability in Yemen and to end the Yemeni crisis in order to reach a comprehensive political solution that will move Yemen to peace and development.”

The meeting focused on efforts exerted to achieving security and stability in Yemen as well as the humanitarian and developmental assistance to the Yemeni people, while Prince Khalid highlighting the “deep brotherly ties that bind the governments and peoples of the two countries.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Yemen signs deal for oil derivatives from Saudi Arabia

Ahmed Asmar  


SANAA, Yemen

The Yemeni government said Thursday it has signed a deal worth $200 million with Saudi Arabia to provide fuel to war-torn Yemen.

Under the deal, the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) will provide 250,000 metric tons of oil derivatives to Yemen, the state news agency Saba reported.

Saba said the deal will help increase the capabilities of Yemeni government institutions and the stability of electric power in various government and private institutions and the industrial sector.

Yemen has recently experienced a severe electricity crisis amid a fuel shortage in the war-ravaged nation.

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

The Saudi-led coalition entered the war in early 2015 to restore the government to power.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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North America


US calls for probe of 7-year-old Palestinian boy’s death during Israeli raids

29 September, 2022

The United States called for a “thorough and immediate” investigation into the death of a 7-year-old Palestinian boy on Thursday, deputy State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said, as Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank sparked clashes.

Patel was asked in a press briefing about the death of the boy. Israeli newspaper Haaretz said Rian Suleiman suffered a heart attack when Israeli soldiers came to arrest his brothers in their West Bank home, citing the boy’s uncle.

“The US is heartbroken to learn of the death of an innocent Palestinian child,” Patel said.

“We support a thorough and immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding the child’s death” alongside an Israeli military probe, he added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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US says citizen killed in Iran strikes on Iraqi Kurdistan

29 September, 2022

The US said Thursday that one of its citizens was killed in Iranian strikes on Iraqi Kurdistan as it separately announced fresh enforcement of sanctions on Tehran's oil sales.

Iran's clerical state on Thursday carried out cross-border strikes, with 13 reported dead, amid unrest at home sparked by the death in custody of an Iranian Kurdish woman by the notorious morality police.

“We can confirm that a US citizen was killed as a result of a rocket attack in the Iraqi Kurdistan region” on Thursday, State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said.

Citing privacy laws, he declined further details. But he reiterated US denunciations of the strikes.

“We continue to condemn Iran's violations of Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Patel told reporters.

Asked if there would be retaliation, Patel said the US has “a number of tools and a number of lines of efforts to continue to hold Iran accountable for its destabilizing actions in the region.”

The United States has imposed sanctions on the morality police -- accused by protesters of killing in custody 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she violated the Islamic republic's strict rules on women's dress -- and has worked to support restoration of internet access inside Iran.

The unrest following Amini's death on September 16, which has killed dozens, came as President Joe Biden's administration negotiates indirectly through the European Union on returning to a 2015 nuclear deal scrapped by his predecessor Donald Trump.

If Tehran agrees to the terms for returning to compliance with the deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the US would lift its unilateral ban on other nations buying Iranian oil.

The Biden administration made clear Thursday it was enforcing sanctions for now, announcing punitive measures over Iranian oil trading of companies in China, India and the United Arab Emirates as well as Iran.

Source: Al Arabiya

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US imposes new sanctions on Iran oil exports and front companies abroad

29 September, 2022

The US on Thursday imposed sanctions on companies it suspects of involvement in Iran's petrochemical and petroleum trade, including some based in China, as Washington warned of further actions to enforce its economic curbs on Tehran.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Washington placed sanctions on two China-based companies, Zhonggu Storage and Transportation Co. Ltd, and WS Shipping Co Ltd, part of attempts to thwart sanctions evasion on the sale of Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products.

The US Treasury Department also slapped sanctions on a network of companies involved in what it said was the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Iranian petrochemical and petroleum products to users in South and East Asia.

The action targeted Iranian brokers and front companies in the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and India, the Treasury said in a statement.

Washington and Tehran's indirect talks to revive a 2015 nuclear pact, the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have broken down.

“As Iran continues to accelerate its nuclear program in violation of the JCPOA, we will continue to accelerate our enforcement of sanctions on Iran’s petroleum and petrochemical sales under authorities that would be removed under the JCPOA,” Blinken said in the statement.

“These enforcement actions will continue on a regular basis, with an aim to severely restrict Iran’s oil and petrochemical exports.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Gunfire heard in Burkina Faso, sparking mutiny fears

September 30, 2022

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso: Gunfire rang out early Friday in Burkina Faso’s capital and the state broadcaster went off the air, sparking fears of a mutiny nine months after a military coup d’etat overthrew the country’s president.

It was not immediately known where Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba was in the West African country. He had given a speech the day before in Djibo, in the north of Burkina Faso.

Source: Arab News

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Morocco arrests suspected ISIS member

29 September, 2022

Moroccan police said Thursday they had arrested a suspected ISIS member, in cooperation with US intelligence officers, who was accused of plotting a “terrorist” act.

The 29-year-old man was arrested in the economic capital Casablanca “for his alleged involvement in the preparation of a terrorist scheme aimed at seriously undermining public order,” Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) said in a statement.

The suspect had carried out “reconnaissance visits to identify certain security checkpoints, with a view to attacking them and using their weapons in terrorist operations,” the BCIJ added.

The suspect had reportedly sought to “join terrorist organizations” including those based in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in Syria and Iraq.

In 2003, Casablanca was hit by a dozen suicide bombers, killing 33 people and wounding dozens more.

Since then, Morocco has been spared major attacks, but its security services regularly report foiling plots.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Suspected rebels kill 5 soldiers, civilian in Nigeria

Ibrahim Garba Shuaibu


KANO, Nigeria

Suspected separatist rebels killed five soldiers and a civilian in an attack in Nigeria, police said on Thursday.

Rebels from the banned Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) carried out the attack near Umunze, a town in Nigeria’s southeastern state of Anambra, late on Wednesday, according to a police spokesman.

The official said security has been beefed up in the region and efforts are underway to track down the perpetrators.

The IPOB has been waging a guerilla war against security forces in southeastern Nigeria since at least 2017, the same year it was banned and designated a terrorist group by the government.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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