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Muslim Rashtriya Manch Organises Ittehad-e-Millat, Paigham-e-Insaniyat & Mohabbat-e -Watan Event In Prayagraj

New Age Islam News Bureau

07 December 2022 

Photo: The Times of India


• US Judge Dismisses Case Against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Over Khashoggi Killing

• Germany Records 120 Hate Crimes Against Muslims In Three Months

• TV Network Al-Jazeera Submits Slain Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s Case To ICC

• Pakistan: Law Enforcement Agencies Tighten Noose On Blasphemers On Social Media; Sixty-Two People Detained



• 3 Years After Supreme Court Order, Construction Yet To Begin On Ayodhya's Mosque; Trust's Proposal Waiting to be Approved

• KTR Launches India’s First Multi-Faith Funeral Facility In Hyderabad

• India, Central Asian countries discuss concerns over ‘terrorist acts’ in Afghanistan

• Ripples In Mathura On Babri Mosque Demolition Anniversary

• Congress Drops Brahmin, OBC District Chiefs To Adjust Muslims, Dalits In Jharkhand

• 1 arrested, 40 held for bid to chant Hanuman Chalisa near mosque

• With no minority commission in Telangana, Muslims left defenceless


North America

• National Council of Canadian Muslims looks to address harassment in the city with bylaw

• US lawmakers demand banking regulators address discrimination against Muslims

• US opposes Al Jazeera’s bid to take the killing of its journalist to ICC



• EU freezes cooperation with Israeli police

• Danish authorities send letters to Syrian children, threatening forcible expulsion

• UK Muslim shop owner offers help to would-be thief after botched attempt to steal mobile phones

• Excerpt from new Salman Rushdie novel released

• Türkiye calls on Greece to abide by international law, stop militarizing Aegean islands

• Georgian ambassador tells of his love for Turkish java on World Turkish Coffee Day

• Bradford's Masjid-ur-Raashideen gets 'Safer Centre' status


Arab World

• Mosul Heals Slowly from Wounds Inflicted by Islamic State, Five Years after its Fall

• How language and culture became pillars of Saudi-China friendship

• UAE now has the world’s best passport, allowing access to 180 countries

• UAE President Sheikh Mohamed receives President of Israel

• PKK/YPG terror group kidnaps teenager suffering from brain disease in northwestern Syria

• UAE leaders meet Afghanistan’s acting minister of defence

• Damascus rejects Ankara’s offer for meeting with Turkish President Erdogan, Top AKP official says



• PM calls Hindu extremists’ revisionism nightmare for Indian Muslims

• Pak Fundamentalists Lock Gurudwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh, Calls It A 'Mosque'

• Pakistan Election Commission Moves To Oust Imran Khan As PTI Chief

• Speakers for relaying Iqbal message to youth for nation’s survival

• FC soldier martyred, beheaded in Bannu

• JI chief dubs Pakistan-Turkiye two bodies with a single soul


South Asia

• Taliban Let the Girls Sit For Graduation Exams, The Decision Applies To 31 Out Of Afghanistan’s 34 Provinces

• Pakistan: Concerns Intensifying Over Growing Differences With The Taliban In Afghanistan

• Guards beat Muslim political prisoner to death in Myanmar’s Insein Prison

• Kazakhstan Inks Agreement to Manage Hairatan-Mazar-e-Sharif Railway

• At Least 7 Killed and 6 Injured in Explosion in Northern Afghanistan

• Afghanistan to Receive Over $100 Million in Aid from Japan


Southeast Asia

• Agreements Worth $29 Billion To Be Signed During China’s Xi Visit To Saudi Arabia

• The Daunting Task Facing New Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim: Uniting A Divided Country

• DAP Pledged To Uphold Position Of Islam, Malay Rights, Says DPM Zahid

• Can South-East Asia stop the advance of Islamist extremism?

• 1 killed, 3 injured in blast at Indonesian police station

• Anwar files suit against Perak PAS chief over LGBT claims



• Regime In Tehran ‘Terrified’ Of Opposition Figures Inside Iran, Abroad: PMOI Spokesperson

• Iran Sentences Five Protesters To Death Over Death Of Basij Member

• Hamas Briefs Embassies About 'Zionist Plans' For Al-Aqsa Mosque

• Al-Khatib: 'Al-Aqsa Will Never Be For Anyone Except Muslims'

• Iran says nine people face death penalty over nuclear scientist’s assassination

• Shops close across Iran amid strike calls; judiciary blames ‘rioters’

• US forces trained senior PKK/YAT terrorist 'neutralized' by Türkiye, Ankara confirms

• Israel says won’t allow interrogation of soldiers over journalist’s death



• Burkina Faso Bans French State Broadcaster For Giving Voice To Islamic Militants

• Human Rights Commission ‘Outraged’ As State Department Excludes Nigeria From Watchlist

• Somalia forces recapture key town from extremists

• Sudan’s civilian, military parties sign framework deal for new political transition

• Muslims in Uganda protest mosque raids, arbitrary arrests

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Muslim Rashtriya Manch Organises Ittehad-e-Millat, Paigham-e-Insaniyat & Mohabbat-e -Watan Event In Prayagraj 

Photo: The Times of India


Dec 7, 2022

Prayagraj: Muslim Rashtriya Manch on Tuesday organised Ittehad-e-Millat conference and Paigam-e-insaniyat & Mohabbat-e -Vatan event in city.

Muslim Rashtriya Manch Margdarshak Indresh Kumar was chief guest on the occasion. Speaking on the occasion, Kumar, apart from pitching communal harmony, said, “People of all religions and communities have equal rights in the country. He, however, said that he has devoted his entire life to spread the message of patriotism and goodwill (sadbhawana) among the people of the country.

He also narrated incidences of bringing terrorists into national mainstream of the country in Jammu & Kashmir and claimed that we have been spreading the message of peace and love for the past 30 years. Kumar also claimed that Muslim women have now got relief from triple -talaq and we are constantly connecting with people to spread the message of peace and patriotism. Around 400 people including speakers from other cities including Bhopal, and Mirzapur also attended the programme. Mohd Shoaib Khan presided over the function.

Source: Times Of India
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US Judge Dismisses Case Against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Over Khashoggi Killing 

Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, in Jeddah in September. Photograph: Bandar Al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP/Getty Images


Dec 7, 2022

WASHINGTON: A federal judge in Washington on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the fiance of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi against Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, citing President Biden's grant of immunity.

US District Judge John Bates suggested he was reluctant to throw out the lawsuit but had no choice given the Biden administration's decision.

"Despite the Court’s uneasiness, then, with both the circumstances of bin Salman’s appointment and the credible allegations of his involvement in Khashoggi’s murder, the United States has informed the Court that he is immune," Bates wrote in the 25-page ruling.

In invoking the circumstances of Prince Mohammed's appointment of head of state, Bates was referring to the fact that it was only in September that Saudi King Salman named Prince Mohammed prime minister in a royal decree.

Khashoggi was killed and dismembered in October 2018 by Saudi agents in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, an operation which US intelligence believed was ordered by Prince Mohammed, known by his initials MbS, who has been the kingdom's de facto ruler for several years.

The prince has denied ordering Khashoggi's killing but acknowledged later that it took place "under my watch."

Attorneys for the US Department of Justice said in a November court filing that the Biden Administration had determined that Prince Mohammed, "as the sitting head of a foreign government, enjoys head of state immunity from the jurisdiction of US courts as a result of that office."

Khashoggi's fiance, Hatice Cengiz, said of the decision at the time that: "Jamal died again today."

Biden was criticized for fist-bumping the crown prince on a visit to Saudi Arabia in July to discuss energy and security issues. The White House said Biden had told Prince Mohammed that he considered him responsible for Khashoggi's killing.

Khashoggi had criticized the crown prince's policies in Washington Post columns. He had traveled to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain papers he needed to marry Cengiz, a Turkish citizen.

Source: Times Of India

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Germany Records 120 Hate Crimes Against Muslims In Three Months 

In the past decade or so, anti-Muslim violence in Germany has become a normalised reality. (AP Archive)


December 6, 2022

Germany has reported 120 anti-Muslim crimes in the third quarter of 2022, leaving ten people injured and several mosques damaged. 

According to the government's response to a question from the left-wing party at the German federal parliament (Bundestag), which was published on Thursday, the number of offences in the first quarter was 83 and 69 in the second quarter respectively.

According to the federal government, “no suspect” has been arrested in connection with Islamophobic attacks in the third quarter. The Prosecutor General at the Federal Supreme Court of Justice also “has not initiated or begun any preliminary proceedings (...).”

Eleven such attacks were targeted against mosques. Bodily injury, insult, incitement to hatred, vandalism or the use of prohibited symbols were the other forms of crimes against Muslims.

Becoming a norm

In the past decade or so, anti-Muslim violence in Germany became a normalised reality as what used to be seen as far-right fringe elements have now achieved a political representation with several neo-Nazis winning elections and entering the German parliament.

For example, in the 2013 parliamentary elections, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party had only garnered over 800,000 votes and did not get into Germany's federal parliament in the Bundestag.

Fast forward four years, the party made a major breakthrough – gaining more than 5.3 million votes as it ended up being the largest opposition party in parliament.

As the vilification of minorities was enabled by far-right politicians it resulted in the rise of hate crimes against Muslims.

The Hanau terror attack was one of the ugly manifestations of such ugly posturing.

In February 2020, a far-right terrorist wreaked havoc on two locations in Hanau – killing nine people, including four Germans of Turkish origin.

The  43-year-old attacker, Tobias Rathjen, later took his own life, as well as his mother's.

Source: TRT World

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TV Network Al-Jazeera Submits Slain Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s Case To ICC

Photograph (AFP)


06 December ,2022

TV network Al-Jazeera submitted the case of slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to the International Criminal Court on Tuesday, saying she was killed by Israeli forces.

The Qatar-based channel said it had “unearthed new evidence” on the death of the Palestinian-American, shot while covering an Israel army raid in Jenin on May 11.

Any person or group can file a complaint to the ICC prosecutor for investigation, but the Hague-based court is under no obligation to take on such cases.

Al-Jazeera said its submission highlighted “new witness evidence and video footage (that) clearly show that Shireen and her colleagues were directly fired at by the Israeli Occupation Forces.”

“The claim by the Israeli authorities that Shireen was killed by mistake in an exchange of fire is completely unfounded,” the channel said.

An AFP journalist saw a lawyer representing Al-Jazeera’s case entering the ICC’s headquarters to hand over their submission.

The ICC last year launched a probe into war crimes in the Palestinian territories, but Israel is not an ICC member and disputes the court’s jurisdiction.

Israel said it would not cooperate with any external probe into Abu Akleh’s death.

“No one will investigate IDF (Israeli military) soldiers and no one will preach to us about morals in warfare, certainly not Al-Jazeera,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement.

The Israeli army conceded on September 5 that one of its soldiers had likely shot Abu Akleh after mistaking her for a militant.

The veteran reporter, who was a Christian, was wearing a bulletproof vest marked “Press” and a helmet when she was shot in the head in the Jenin refugee camp, a historic flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

After receiving complaints from individuals or groups, the ICC prosecutor decides independently what cases to submit to judges at the court.

Judges decide whether to allow a preliminary investigation by the prosecutor, which can then be followed by a formal investigation, and if warranted, charges.

In the majority of cases such complaints do not lead to investigations, according to the ICC.
Source: Al Arabiya
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Pakistan: Law Enforcement Agencies Tighten Noose On Blasphemers On Social Media; Sixty-Two People Detained 

Representative image


6 December, 2022

Lahore [Pakistan], December 6 (ANI): Law enforcement agencies in Pakistan are tightening the noose on blasphemers on social media and arresting people allegedly involved in this activity, The Nation, a daily newspaper based in Lahore, Pakistan, reported.

Sixty-two people involved in blasphemy have been detained, The Nation reported.

Out of the arrested blasphemers nine have been given capital punishment by courts and high courts have given two the death penalty. Although none of the people involved in these cases has been let free on bail by any court yet, The Nation reported quoting tentative statistics.

Organisations like Legal Commission on Blasphemy Pakistan, Namoos-e-Risalat Lawyers Forum Pakistan, Legal Thinkers Forum, Tehreek Tahaffuz Namoos-e-Risalat Pakistan, World Khatm-e-Nabuwat Council, Anjuman Ashiqaan-e-Muhammad, Tahaffuz Khatm-e-Nabuwat Forum, Tahaffuz Khatm-e-Nabuwat Wukla Forum, Legal and Cyber Experts Forum, Razakaran-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwat and Islamabad Bar Association have come in the forefront to counter the rising blasphemy cases on social media. The Nation reported that these organisations have been seeing all the blasphemy cases through and through.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony (MORA) had also reactivated its Web Evaluation Cell to control and counter these blasphemy cases and has released social media handles to register complaints for the cases of blasphemy, The Nation reported quoting a statement given by MORA spokesperson Muhammad Umar Butt.

According to The Nation, the Legal Commission on Blasphemy Pakistan Secretary General Sheraz Ahmad Farooqui informed that utilizing its Cyber Crime Wing’s expertise, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had booked an accused allegedly involved in the publication of indecent content against the sacred books Quran and Bible on social media. However, it had also arrested two miscreants allegedly involved in the proliferation of desecration stuff on social media, he said in November this year.

Farooqui told The Nation that another accused had been given the death penalty twice by the Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC) in Peshawar. In the case, ATC Judge Fazl Sattar Khan had reserved the verdict of the court saying that the accused had shared desecration content on the WhatsApp group against the sanctity and prestige of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, Ummahaat-ul-Momineen and the religion of Islam. Another accused Rabia Peerni had been arrested after a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against her. She was accused of desecrating Islamic values and injunctions publicly and making viral videos on social media.

According to The Nation, the National Assembly (NA) had passed a unanimous resolution to withdraw appeals of the government from the Supreme Court to annul the decision of the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the publication of blasphemous content on social media.

This resolution was moved in the NA by Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) member Chaudhary Faqir Ahmad had told the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) that the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had challenged the decision in the apex court. (ANI)

Source: The Print
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3 Years After Supreme Court Order, Construction Yet To Begin On Ayodhya's Mosque; Trust's Proposal Waiting to be Approved

December 06, 2022

Ayodhya: Barbed-wire fencing and a board put up by the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation are the only indicators that a large mosque complex is set to come up at this spot in Dhannipur village near Ayodhya.

The board bears an illustration of the proposed mosque for which the Supreme Court had ordered allocation of a five-acre plot.

But three years after the top court settled the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute, there are no signs of any building activity on the proposed mosque site.

The Ayodhya Development Authority is yet to approve the trust's proposal. But the trust expects that this will now happen soon.

"We have submitted a detailed map of the proposed complex to Ayodhya Development Authority. Its clearance was earlier delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have now informed us that all the hurdles in the clearance of the map are being ironed out," Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation Secretary Athar Hussain told PTI.

The Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation is a trust tasked by the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board with the mosque's construction.

The Supreme Court's 2019 verdict paved the way for the construction of a Ram temple at the site where the 16th century Babri Masjid -- demolished by 'kar sevaks' on this day in 1992 - stood. It also ordered the allocation of a five-acre plot to the Muslim community for a new mosque.

A pothole-riddled road breaking off from the Lucknow-Faizabad highway leads to Dhannipur village, 16 km from the district headquarters.

Narrow roads lined with houses, a veterinary hospital and a new farmers' centre give way to the large vacant plot of land, demarcated for the mosque.

Until recently, the land was used for farming. It now has a 10-foot-high barbed wire fence running along the perimeter.

"Construction will progress as soon as the map is cleared. Till we get the clearance, it will be too early to tell anything about the timeline," Hussain said.

The trust was expecting clearance from the development authority by November-end to begin construction.

"We hope to get approval for the map of the proposed mosque, hospital, community kitchen, library and research centre by the end of this month. Soon after, we will start construction," Hussain had told PTI in mid-November.

Construction of the Dhannipur Ayodhya Mosque is likely to be completed by December 2023 while the remaining structures on the five-acre Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah Complex will subsequently come up, he had said.

At that time, Hussain said that during applications for a no-objection certificate from the fire department, it had objected to the narrow approach road.

The district administration was immediately informed, following which it completed the measurement of additional land to widen the approach road, the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation secretary had said.

The Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation plans to build a 200-bed hospital, a community kitchen, a library with an archive of the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny along with a mosque at the site.

"All energy requirements of the proposed mosque will be met by solar power to highlight the message of responsibility towards nature," said Hussain.

When the land was allocated for the mosque, the villagers had hoped for a brighter future.

Mohammad Gamu (60), whose home overlooks the proposed site across the road, said, "I was born in this village like my father and forefathers. I built this house 15 years ago. We had hoped that my family's situation would improve after it was announced that the mosque would be built here. But nothing has been done in three years." Gamu's wife complained that she has not received any benefit of the PM Awas Yojana, Ujjwala scheme or the Kisan Samman Nidhi.

"Nobody in our family has a job and we work as labourers to earn a living. The construction of the mosque brought us some hope but now it seems that nothing will happen," she said.

The family members were hopeful that the new complex would bring visitors and they could set up a small business. They also expected a job for one family member at the complex.

"But not a single brick has been laid yet. By the time the mosque is completed, we may no longer be here," Gamu added.

Village head Jeet Bahadur Yadav said the prices of land soared following the announcement of the mosque complex's construction and property dealers were regularly visiting.

"Property dealers, both from the Ayodhya and nearby districts, frequent the village looking for property. Some villagers even entertain them but I don't think anybody is ready to sell their lands as of now," Yadav said.

"If people of the village get jobs, why will anybody sell their property and move out?" he asked.

Source: ND TV

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KTR launches India’s first multi-faith funeral facility in Hyderabad

6th December 2022

Hyderabad: Telangana minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD), inaugurated the country’s first-of-its-kind facility for the burial ceremonies of the dead of three main faiths in Hyderabad on Tuesday.

The crematorium, built by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) near Fathullaguda in the city’s eastern outskirts, can handle Hindu, Muslim, and Christian final rites. Furthermore, there will be a possibility for distant families to see their loved ones’ final rituals.

The multi-faith funeral home was erected at a cost of Rs 16.25 crore on 6.5 acres of land that had previously been utilised as a dump yard by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) for dumping construction and demolition trash. According to an HMDA statement, all debris from the construction site has been cleaned.

The statement stated that dedicated places have been created for each group in order to encourage communal peace. Hindus have been given 2.5 acres of the whole territory, while Muslims and Christians have been given two acres apiece.

A sewage treatment facility with a capacity of 50 kilolitres per day (KLD) has been built to purify the water and reuse it for landscaping purposes.

All three facilities feature their own office room, cold storage, prayer hall, watchman’s room, bathroom block, cars for the last journey, and parking space.

The ‘Mukti Ghat’ Hindu cremation is outfitted with two electrical furnaces that will draw 90% of the power necessary from the 140 kW solar power plant constructed on the property. A separate structure has been built to accommodate Hindu customs for the 10th day rites.
Source: Siasat Daily

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India, Central Asian countries discuss concerns over ‘terrorist acts’ in Afghanistan


December 06, 2022

NEW DELHI: India and four Central Asian nations said on Tuesday that Afghanistan should not be used for “any terrorist acts," following an inaugural security meeting focused on countering terrorism and maintaining stability in the region.

India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval hosted his counterparts from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in New Delhi, which followed an India-Central Asia leadership summit led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January.

Afghanistan was top of the agenda on Tuesday — similar to the summit focus earlier this year — as officials raised concerns about the developing situation in the crisis-torn nation.

“Afghanistan is an important issue concerning us all,” Doval said. “We meet at a time when great churns in international relations and uncertainty about the future.”

India has no diplomatic ties with Afghanistan and closed its embassy in Kabul in August last year after US-led forces left the country and the Taliban took over.

New Delhi had spent billions of dollars on infrastructure and humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan after the previous Taliban regime was toppled in a US-led invasion in 2001.

A joint declaration issued after Tuesday’s talks “emphasized that the territory of Afghanistan should not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing any terrorist acts.”

India and the Central Asian countries, which in this meeting had not included Turkmenistan, also pointed to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and called for action to provide humanitarian assistance for its people.

Their security chiefs also discussed connectivity to enhance trade and improve closer interaction. In addition, a “collective and coordinated response” to address the issue of “terrorist propaganda, recruitment and fundraising efforts” was essential, the statement reads.

The United Nations said last month that organized crime and terrorist organizations “are thriving once again” in Afghanistan. There have been several high-profile attacks in Kabul in recent months claimed by the regional branch of Daesh, including a suicide blast outside the Russian embassy in September and an attack on the Pakistan embassy last week.

The regional meeting was an opportunity for India to “work together and engage” with the Central Asian nations to ensure that “sources of financing groups are curtailed and that “the Taliban government in Kabul is under pressure to perform on this issue,” Harsh V. Pant, head of strategic studies at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, told Arab News.

Source: Arab News

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Ripples in Mathura on Babri mosque demolition anniversary

Piyush Srivastava   |   Lucknow 


Hindutva outfits tried to march to the  Shahi Idgah in Mathura to recite the Hanuman Chalisa and perform other rituals to mark the 30th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on Tuesday.

Over two dozen members of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, the Dharm Raksha Sangh and other outfits were detained and some Hindutva leaders put under house arrest as a large number of police and paramilitary personnel were deployed across Mathura.

Several cases are being heard by courts demanding that the land on which the Shahi Idgah stands be handed over to Hindus, with the petitioners claiming it had been built after demolishing a part of the Krishna Janmasthan temple. The communal campaign has intensified after the Supreme Court in 2019 handed over the Ayodhya land where the Babri mosque stood to Hindus and paved the way for the construction of a Ram temple. 

Brajesh Bhadauriya, a leader of the Hindu Mahasabha that is party to one of the Mathura cases, told reporters at the police station: “We were going to do a jalabhishek of Lord Krishna at the idgah when the police used force to stop us and brought us to the police station. We want to pay obeisance to our God and recite the Hanuman Chalisa there. Today is an auspicious day as we had got freedom from the Babri Masjid on this day 30 years ago. We hope that the same will happen to the structure in Mathura as we want the entire area to be handed over for the Krishna Janmasthan temple.”

Neeraj Gautam, national spokesperson of the Mahasabha; Kalpana Agrawal, state president of the Mahila Hindu Mahasabha; and Saurabh Sharma, Agra district unit in-charge of the organisation, were among those who were detained by the police on their way to the idgah.

Triyug Vishen, superintendent of police of Mathura rural, said: “We have also detained some members of the Mahakal Sena and the Gaurakshak Sena.”

None could recall hearing about the Mahakal Sena before Tuesday.

Martand Prakash Singh, superintendent of police of Mathura city, said: “We have deployed police and paramilitary personnel in the area. Anybody trying to break the law will be brought to book.”

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad and some other Hindutva organisations that had spearheaded the campaign against the Babri Masjid and to build a Ram temple there have been saying after their “success” in Ayodhya that they would now “take over” the Shahi Idgah in Mathura and the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi. They claim that the structures in Mathura and Varanasi were built after demolishing portions of the Krishna Janmasthan temple and the  Kashi Vishwanath temple, respectively, during Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s time.

Dinesh Sharma, treasurer of the Hindu Mahasabha, said: “A large number of our leaders are camping in Mathura. They will keep trying to reach the idgah. We warn the administration to let us do what we want or I will immolate myself.”

Sanjay Haryana, state spokesperson of the Hindu Mahasabha, said: “The government has deployed police at the gates of the homes of many leaders and is preventing us from offering players where the Krishna temple existed before Aurangzeb razed it. We will continue our effort and win one day.”

Source: Telegraph India

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Congress Drops Brahmin, OBC District Chiefs To Adjust Muslims, Dalits In Jharkhand

07th December 2022

RANCHI: Amid controversy over not giving proper representation to Muslims and Dalits in the recently issued list of district Congress presidents in Jharkhand, the party on Tuesday withdrew names of four of its newly-appointed district presidents following protest from its Muslim and Dalit cadres. In a hastily-prepared revised list of district presidents, the All India Congress Committee dropped three Brahmins and one OBC from the list.

Apparently, the decision was taken to accommodate three Muslims and one Dalit. The revised list had three Brahmins — Shantanu Mishra (Ramgarh), Srikant Tiwari (Garhwa), Anil Kumar Ojha (Sahibganj) and one OBC Narayan Barnwal (Koderma).

Source: New Indian Express

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1 arrested, 40 held for bid to chant Hanuman Chalisa near mosque

Dec 07, 2022

By Hemendra Chaturvedi

A member of a right-wing group was arrested and 40 others detained in Mathura on Tuesday for trying to recite the Hanuman Chalisa inside the Shahi Eidgah mosque that abuts the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple, officials said.

In Varanasi, a civil court deferred hearing on six petitions pertaining to the Gyanvapi mosque. And in Ayodhya, which marked the 30th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition, there were no public demonstrations by Hindu or Muslim groups.

In recent months, Mathura and Varanasi have become sites of fresh efforts by right-wing groups to lay claim to centuries-old mosques that adjoin iconic temples. In Mathura, some petitioners want worshipping rights in the Shahi Eidgah mosque which they say was built after razing a portion of the Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple, the mythical birthplace of Lord Krishna. In Varanasi, Hindu petitioners want the right to pray inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex.

On Tuesday, efforts of members of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) were thwarted by elaborate security arrangements that were put in place after the group’s call to chant Hanuman Chalisa inside the mosque to mark December 6, the day Babri Masjid was demolished.

“No one was allowed to violate the security cordon at the mosque. Over 40 activists were detained from different locations in Mathura. One of the ABHM office-bearers was stopped near Bhooteshwar when he was found to be moving for jalabhishek (a ritual to offer Ganga water carried in decorated carriage kanwar),” said Mathura SP Martand Prakash Singh.
Source: Hindustan Times

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With no minority commission in Telangana, Muslims left defenceless

6th December 2022

Hyderabad: The minorities commission plays an important role in protecting the constitutional and democratic rights of minorities. However, the minorities commission was formed only once in the last 8 years and the government does not show any interest in forming a new commission after the completion of the term.

During the separate Telangana movement, minorities were promised that there would be no injustice to them in the new state and they would be treated fairly for prosperity and development. Disheartened by the injustices in the United Andhra Pradesh, the minorities, especially the Muslims, not only supported but actively participated in the Telangana movement.

Muslims expected that their constitutional and democratic rights would be protected in the new state. Everyone is aware of the failed election promises made to Muslims. In the last 8 years, the lack of seriousness of the government has been revealed in issuing the budget for the educational and economic development of minorities.

The government does not show any interest in forming a new minorities commission after the completion of the term. After the formation of Telangana in 2014, the commission did not exist for four years. In January 2018, the Commission was formed and Muhammad Qamaruddin was appointed as the president and 6 members were nominated as the vice president. However, the term of the commission expired in January 2021, and since then there is no commission exists for the protection of minority rights.

The commission had three Muslim members, including the chairman, while other members belonged to the Christian, Parsi, Sikh and Jain communities. During the tenure of the commission, whenever the Muslims faced any problem, they approach the commission. It was no less than a blessing for the minority people.

The commission has the power to not only summon the officials but also recommend action against them to the government in case of default. As a result of the constitutional position and powers of the commission, many problems were solved, however, the commission has not existed for the past one year, as a result, the people are forced to run from pillar to post in the government offices for their problems.

Source: Siasat Daily

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North America


National Council of Canadian Muslims looks to address harassment in the city with bylaw

By Easton Hamm

December 6, 2022

The National Council of Canadian Muslims is looking to address harassment in the city of Saskatoon with a new bylaw.

The organization’s senior legal counsel spoke at a city committee meeting Tuesday, asking them to consider implementing a harassment bylaw in order to make the city a safe place for everyone.

“Our presentation today was to bring to council’s attention what we see as being a gap, regulatory gap or legislative gap, for citizens of Saskatoon who experience street harassment in public places, whether it’s the bus, whether it’s in a mall, whether it’s in a park, a library, whatever the case might be,” said Daniel Kuhlen.

“It allows people to safely go about their lives without being verbally assaulted, or women getting off work being cat-called or whatever, and it allows us as a city to say we need to be better.”

Kuhlen said this bylaw wouldn’t address the type of harassment leading to a Criminal Code offence, but something still toxic and harmful to the person experiencing it.

“Something as simple as yet disturbing as being in a grocery store and hearing somebody say to another person, ‘Go back to where you came from,’ or ‘Why are you here?'” Kuhlen said.

“I’m not saying that would trigger the anti-harassment bylaw — if it was a one-off and the person walked away it might not — but if a person is in another person’s face, the victims face repeatedly for five or 10 minutes and follows them out to their car, or to the bus stop, then maybe it would.”

His proposed bylaw wouldn’t just protect the Muslim community in Saskatoon, but people of all walks of life.

“Nobody should be judged based on how they look, or how they dress, or what their ethnic composition may be, or what’s ascribed to them in terms of their religious faith, or whatever the case might be,” said Kuhlen.

Kuhlen said he is pleased with the questions asked by committee on Tuesday and is overall pleased with the outcome of his presentation.

During the committee meeting, councillors wanted to know how the police play a part, and administration responded.

“If committee were to resolve that this be referred to administration for a report, Saskatoon Police Services would be a key stakeholder in any conversation,” said Lynne Lacroix, general manager at the city of Saskatoon.

At the end of all questions and comments, Ward 2 Coun. Hilary Gough motioned for administration to report back to committee with what options are available, and what other cities have done.

Gough said she also wants to know the policing aspect of the proposed bylaw.

Source: Global News

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US lawmakers demand banking regulators address discrimination against Muslims

6 December 2022

US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and Senator Elizabeth Warren are leading an effort to urge American banking regulators to reassess policies that discriminate against Muslim Americans and immigrant communities.

The two lawmakers, along with Senator Ed Markey and congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Joyce Beatty, spearheaded a letter addressed to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and several other banking regulator heads, urging them to "modernise sanctions policies" and promote equal banking access for Muslims.

"Countless US individuals, businesses, and charities have been victims of discriminatory policies and practices that appear to limit their access to financial services because of their religion or national origin," reads the letter, which was sent last week.

"Many Muslim and Arab, Middle Eastern and South Asian Americans, simply because of their connections - real or perceived - have been systematically cut off from financial services."

Sending money abroad or even raising money for charities has been difficult for some Muslims in the United States due to US sanctions laws.

And with the rise of mobile payment apps including Venmo, payments or transactions within the US have been flagged for using words like "Palestine".

Last year, several people told MEE that their payments on Venmo - donations to charitable causes for Palestine - were being restricted if the payments had any combination of the words "Palestinian" or "Palestine" alongside the phrase "relief fund".

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent US-led "war on terror", several Muslim charities were shut down by the Treasury Department.

"In some cases, the US government has smeared the reputations of Muslim charities, Muslim community organizations, and associates of Muslim charities without affording these organizations and individuals their day in court or any other opportunity to clear their names," the American Civil Liberties Union said in a 2009 report.

The 2001 passage of the Patriot Act also led to a change in a US banking law, known as the Bank Secrecy Act, and required banks and other financial institutions to monitor accounts for suspicious activity.

"Banking as a charity/nonprofit and ‘banking while Muslim’ are not illegal and must stop being treated as such," lawmakers wrote in their letter.

"As elected officials, it is our responsibility to amplify the voices of our constituents who feel powerless in the face of big banks and unaccountable regulators."

The law has frequently been interpreted in a way that has led to the profiling and targeting of Muslims and other individuals from predominantly Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities.

Venmo, which PayPal owns, argues that it flags transactions based on a policy that stipulates they must comply with sanctions imposed by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

But Muslims have pointed out that the company doesn't only flag the name of countries targeted by sanctions. In 2019, a woman in Brooklyn said her transaction was flagged for review for using the word "al-Aqsa", which was the name of the Bangladeshi restaurant she had eaten at with friends.

In 2020, a woman in Chicago said her transaction on Venmo was flagged for using "Ameen" in her description.
Source: Middle East Eye

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US opposes Al Jazeera’s bid to take the killing of its journalist to ICC

07 December 2022

The United States opposes Al Jazeera's efforts to have the Israeli regime prosecuted at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over Tel Aviv's murder of the Qatari news network's veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

"We oppose it in this case," US State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters on Tuesday after the network took the murder's case to the ICC.

Wearing press attire, 51-year-old Abu Akleh was murdered in cold blood while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on May 11. Later, her funeral was also attacked by the regime forces.

The Israeli military has only admitted that the journalist had been "accidentally" killed by the regime forces’ gunfire.

Tel Aviv has insisted that it would neither open any criminal investigation into the case, nor would it cooperate with any such relevant probe.

Price reaffirmed the US's decades-old policy of protecting the Israeli regime's against whatever instance of accountability at international organizations, including the Hague-based court, over its atrocities against Palestinians. The unwavering American policy has seen Washington invariably use its veto power to block anti-Israeli resolutions at the United Nations.

"We maintain our longstanding objections to the ICC’s investigation into the Palestinian situation," Price said when asked about Al Jazeera’s request from the court.
Source: Press TV

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EU freezes cooperation with Israeli police

Zain Khalil  


The European Union has frozen cooperation with the Israeli police due to concerns regarding the upcoming government's policy, according to Israeli media on Wednesday.

Last September, Israel and the EU signed a draft agreement to improve the transfer of intelligence information. The deal, however, needs approval by the European Parliament.

“The EU informed Israeli Ambassador Haim Regev that it will, for the time being, stop promoting a draft agreement for intelligence cooperation between the Israeli police and the European Police Agency, Europol,” Haaretz newspaper said, citing well-informed sources.

Regev was handed the suspension decision last Friday, according to the newspaper.

Israeli officials told Haaretz that the decision is the first European indication that the change in Israeli policy in the occupied West Bank will harm cooperation with the EU.

On Monday, the head of the EU’s Law Enforcement Cooperation Unit, Rob Rosenberg, said “the final agreement may include minor exceptions" limited to "the situation of material threats and the need to protect the civilian population."

According to Haaretz, the emerging agreement is expected to include a clause preventing Israel from using any information it receives from Europe in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.

International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there as illegal.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Danish authorities send letters to Syrian children, threatening forcible expulsion

Leila Nezirevic  



Denmark, once renowned as a liberal society with respect for human rights, has taken one of the hardest lines on asylum and migration in recent years by becoming the first country in Europe to revoke residence permits for Syrian refugees.

A 12-year-old Syrian, Ghazal Sbinati, has spent eight years living and studying in Denmark.

She recently received a letter from the Danish Immigration Service telling her that if she did not leave voluntarily, she could be "forcibly sent to Syria.”

"I go to school and have many friends and I hope we stay in Denmark," Sbinati told local broadcaster DR.

The Danish Refugee Council has since objected to the policy, with a senior member branding it as "shocking."

"When you address a letter directly to a child and write that they can be forcibly deported to Syria if they don't go themselves, that's a completely different way for an authority to be talking to a child and threatening them with what they're at risk of. I think that's shocking," the council's head of asylum Eva Singer told Anadolu Agency.

Singer asserted that the letters should not be sent to children under any circumstances as "the children cannot act on them."

"In any case, the letters are also sent to the parents, and that's normal procedure" once a decision is made, she said, underlining that they should only be sent to adult guardians, and "should not be sent directly to children."

Assem Swaif, who founded the human rights group Finjan which advocates for Syrian refugees in Denmark, told Anadolu Agency that his organization had been contacted by many parents who complained that their children received deportation letters.

In one instance, he was contacted by a parent whose nine-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter both got mail threatening them with forced expulsion from the country.

Swaif's advocacy group is working to raise awareness by informing the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and other organizations such as Save the Children about the issue so "we can protect those children."

Sending letters to little boys and girls is "really, really insane and inhumane," Swaif said.

The Nordic country has no repatriation agreement with Syria, meaning that it cannot force refugees whose immigration status has been revoked to leave.

Authorities instead place them at the so-called "departure centers," dubbed Danish camps, in the hopes that this will intimidate them into leaving voluntarily.

Singer, the refugee council's asylum chief, criticized the policy and language used in the letters forced deportation, arguing that the country's Immigration Service "should not process these cases until they know whether they can forcibly be deported."

Syrian refugees told to go home

Danish law ensures temporary status for refugees fleeing indiscriminate violence, rather than individual persecution.

This means that those with temporary protection risk losing their status as soon as there is any improvement in the conditions of the country from which they fled, even if the situation remains fragile and unpredictable.

Human rights organizations worry that such laws could encourage other European countries to focus on the decline in armed conflict when making their asylum policies.

Swaif told Anadolu Agency that Denmark needed to change its asylum law.

"People who seek asylum, they aren't migrants, they're people seeking protection. They need protection. They're fleeing from dictatorship, from torture. So, we need to consider them as refugees, not as migrants," he said.

Not all refugees are treated equally

Singer also pointed out that there were "big" changes and differences in the terms of different categories of refugees coming to Denmark and how they are received.

"For example, if you look at the way the refugees from Ukraine have been received, there's a special law granting them temporary protection, and that has been processed very, very fast," she said.

For Syrian and other refugees, things are a lot more complicated as they must follow standard asylum procedures.

Singer thinks that one of the major issues in Denmark's asylum policy is the emphasis on temporariness as individual refugees may have their residence permits withdrawn even if changes in their home country are "very, very small, even if they are only temporary."

This, she said, is a problem in terms of the integration process for each individual but also in the terms of assessment, which leads to "decisions which are very, very harsh, especially when you look at refugees coming from Syria."

Denmark 'endangering' Syrian refugees

Singer accused the government of endangering Syrian refugees by stripping them of their residence permits, despite them risking abuse and persecution upon returning to Syria.

Earlier this year, the Immigration Service published a report saying that returning Syrians were at risk of persecution by authorities in the country gripped by civil conflict for over a decade, DR reported.

The report also said that Syrian authorities continued to arrest, detain, interrogate, torture, extort, and kill returning refugees, echoing similar findings in a separate EU report released earlier this year.

However, according to Singer, immigration authorities are not taking this report into account when deciding to revoke refugee residence permits.

"It shows that the authorities are not taking it seriously enough," said Singer.

Authorities are justifying their decision by saying that there had been a drop in military conflict in Syria.

Singer argued that on their return, Syrians were seen as enemies as they have often left illegally amid the chaos of the violence.

That can increase the risk of "persecution when they are sent home by the Danish authorities," she said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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UK Muslim shop owner offers help to would-be thief after botched attempt to steal mobile phones

Ahmet Gurhan Kartal  



A Muslim shop owner in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire has offered help to a would-be-thief after a botched attempt to steal mobile phones from his shop remained fruitless, thanks to an automatic door lock.

Afzal Adam, owner of the small mobile phone shop, posted the video of the incident in which a young man wearing a hood is seen to have tried to leave the shop with telephones. He leaves the shop after handing over the phone sets as Adam unlocked the door.

Adam; however, later on offered the man support via a new Twitter post, appealing to him to come back for help if in need.

“The times are difficult for many of us at the moment, so if you are struggling to put food on the table, please come visit us in store to see how we can help,” Adam wrote, adding a Hadith (saying of Islam's Prophet Muhammed): “Be merciful to others and you will receive mercy. Forgive others and Allah will forgive you.”

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Adam said they installed the automated lock system during the COVID-19 pandemic and the door lock can only be released from under the counter.

“So what happened yesterday (at) about 3 p.m., this young boy in the shop … and as soon as he had the two phones – valued around £1700 pounds – he runs straight to the door trying to get out,” he said.

“He realized that it was not going to open because he's locked and then obviously you saw the face of the of the of the man and he came back a bit embarrassed and he gave the phones back to Hafiz Osman, Mashallah,” which means what God has willed has happened.

He said: “So he put the phones back again and then he was saying that, ‘you know, my friends told me to do this’ and ‘I'm not like this … my friends encouraged me to come in here and steal.”

Adam said then they decided to let him go as “he hasn't stolen anything now.”

“We've got the phones back, so better just let him go rather than obviously him maybe causing some more damage.”

Islam orders compassion

Adam said he acted the way he did as “because Islam doesn't teach us to show anger and oppression.”

He said: “Islam teaches us to be more merciful … So it's better if we show some kind of compassion to him. Inshallah (if God wills), Allah give him hidayet (guidance). Allah give us all hidayet. That is what we're here for. And that is obviously you know, that's the way we are. So better to let him go.”

‘I won’t press charges’

Adam said if the police call and ask whether he wanted to press charges, he will tell them he would not.

“The police if they do ring me, because I'm sure they will see the videos now and if they ask me if I want to press charges, I won't press charges against him. I think what he's done, Inshallah, I hope he understands and he changes his ways. I think that's better for him.”

Sympathizing with the young man, Adam said those “young kids out there and the reason they are the way they are because of their upbringing, because of the way they've been brought up because of the way the friends are because of the circumstances that they are in.”

“This is a reason that they do what they do. And I think as Muslims, we should be there, out there … at least trying to help these people to make sure that they go in the right path.”

The mobile shop owner said they still do not know who the young man was but if he needs help, “we are here for him.”

“I'm hoping from the video he gets the message Inshallah and who knows he might come back.”

World-wide encouragement

Adam said he has received with his gesture a world-wide appreciation and encouragement.

“You know, around 99% Mashallah have been so encouraging and the messages we've been given and sent from the public from around the world ... it's been overwhelming.”

“But at the same time I feel privileged that Mashallah there's so many Muslims out there that do things like this.”

He said he also received some negative comments on his invitation to help the young man, such as, 'we should have beaten him up,' but Alhamdulillah (praise be to God) (most) have been very, very positive out there. And yeah, it's been quite overwhelming.”

‘We need to show what Islam is’

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Excerpt from new Salman Rushdie novel released

December 6, 2022

NEW YORK: The author Salman Rushdie released excerpts of a new novel on Monday, four months after he was severely injured in a stabbing attack in the state of New York.

The New Yorker magazine published an excerpt online entitled “A Sackful of Seeds” from the 15th novel by Rushdie, titled “Victory City,” which is due to be published in early February by Penguin Random House.

The book tells the “epic tale” of a woman in the 14th century in what is now part of India, the publishing house said.

The New Yorker said this excerpt will be published in its print edition dated Dec 12 and due out for sale on Monday.

Rushdie, a Briton born in India, confirmed on Twitter that the magazine has published an extract from “Victory City.”

It was the first time since Aug 9 that Rushdie posted something on Twitter. He did so then to announce that his next book would come out in February 2023.

Three days later, while Rushdie was on stage preparing to give a lecture in Chautauqua, New York, a young man ran up and stabbed him repeatedly.

The 75-year-old writer, who had received death threats after the publication of his “The Satanic Verses” in 1988, was stabbed several times in the neck and abdomen.

Rushdie was airlifted to a nearby hospital for emergency surgery but ultimately lost his vision in one eye and the use of one hand, his agent Andrew Wylie said in October.

The author had lived in hiding for years after Iran’s first supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered his killing for what he deemed the blasphemous nature of “The Satanic Verses”.

The suspect in the stabbing, Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old from New Jersey with roots in Lebanon, was arrested immediately after the attack and subsequently pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The attack sparked outrage in the West but was praised by extremists in Muslim countries like Iran and Pakistan.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Türkiye calls on Greece to abide by international law, stop militarizing Aegean islands

Faruk Zorlu  


Calling on Greece to abide by international law, Türkiye’s foreign minister on Tuesday said otherwise Ankara "will do what is necessary"

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu in the capital Ankara, Cavusoglu said: "Either Greece takes a step back and abides by agreements, or we will do what is necessary," referring to the violation of the demilitarized status of eastern Aegean islands near the Turkish coast.

Letters Türkiye sent to the UN laying out Ankara's legal arguments after Athens violated the islands’ demilitarized status bothered Greece, Cavusoglu said.

Türkiye filed a complaint about Greece’s actions that violate the demilitarized status of the eastern Aegean islands through a July 2021 letter to the UN chief.

These islands were given to Greece under the treaties of Lausanne and Paris, on the condition of disarmament, he said, adding that Greece is "directly violating these two agreements. So Greece does not want peace."

There is a direct link between the status and sovereignty of these demilitarized islands, he said, adding that if Greece does not abandon this violation, the islands’ sovereignty will become a matter of debate. Greece is taking negative steps toward Ankara's security, he added.

"If Athens doesn’t want peace, Ankara will do whatever is necessary," he said.

On Greece's recent military drill on Aegean islands, he said: "Greece continues its provocations. We cannot keep quiet about it, and will continue to take the necessary steps both legally and in the field."

Recently, Greece carried out a military drill on the Aegean island of Rhodes, just 84 kilometers (52 miles) from the Turkish coastal city of Fethiye.

Nordic countries' bid to join NATO

Touching on the extradition of a PKK/KCK terror group member to Türkiye by Sweden to address Ankara's legitimate security concerns paving the way for its NATO membership, he said: "The decision to extradite him to Türkiye is pleasing. But this person was not on Ankara's list. But the return of the people on the list to Türkiye and the freezing of their assets are serious demands."

Sweden extradited PKK member Mahmut Tat to Türkiye on Friday after he was arrested on charges of being a member of the terrorist group PKK.

Calling on Sweden to take more steps such as freezing terrorist assets and extraditing criminals to Türkiye, Cavusoglu said: "Ultimately, the Turkish parliament and our people need to be convinced these steps will be taken."

Membership in the alliance is subject to Finland and Sweden fulfilling the requirements in the agreement they signed with Türkiye this June, he added.

The Finnish defense minister's recent visit to Türkiye was also important as Finland has given no explanation for its failure to lift the arms embargo on Ankara, he said.

Türkiye expects Finland to lift it, he said, adding that Ankara has fewer problems with Finland than with Sweden.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO in May, abandoning decades of military non-alignment, a decision spurred by Russia's war against Ukraine.

But Türkiye – a NATO member for more than 70 years – voiced objections, accusing the two countries of tolerating and even supporting terror groups.

Türkiye and the two Nordic countries signed a memorandum in June at a NATO summit to address Ankara's legitimate security concerns, paving the way for their eventual membership in the alliance.

Under the memorandum, Finland and Sweden extend their full support to Türkiye countering threats to its national security. To that effect, Helsinki and Stockholm are not to provide support to the YPG/PYD terror group or the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) – the group behind the defeated 2016 coup in Türkiye.

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

Turkish officials have warned that Türkiye will not approve the memberships of Sweden and Finland until the memorandum is implemented.

Unanimous consent from all 30 existing allied countries is required for a country to join NATO.

Relations with Romania

Praising the "significant opportunities" offered by Romania to Türkiye, Cavusoglu said the economies of both countries are growing and Romania's economic development is "truly admirable."

Romania is Türkiye's major trading partner in the southeastern European region.

"Of course, we decided to take our relations to a higher level and establish a high-level strategic cooperation council mechanism with Romania, and we also agreed on the document," he added.

Soon Türkiye will welcome the Romanian prime minister and both countries’ leaders will sign a high-level strategic partnership agreement, he added.

On the countries’ trade volume, he said: "Last year, the trade volume reached $8.5 billion, this year the increase continues and will exceed $10 billion, he said, adding that $15 billion is the target.

The investment of some 17,000 Turkish companies in Romania has exceeded $7 billion, he said.

For his part, Aurescu said Türkiye is Romania’s number two trading partner.

The signing of a high-level strategic partnership agreement will enable cooperation between Ankara and Bucharest to grow and become more comprehensive, he said.

On the landmark grain corridor agreement mediated by Türkiye and the UN this summer, Aurescu praised Ankara’s efforts.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Georgian ambassador tells of his love for Turkish java on World Turkish Coffee Day

Behlul Cetinkaya  


Georgia’s ambassador to Türkiye declared his love for Turkish java Monday on the occasion of World Turkish Coffee Day.

"There are many coffee producing countries in the world, but making coffee in Türkiye is something else," George Janjgava told Anadolu Agency.

Describing Turkish coffee as one of a kind, Janjgava said it has an important place in his life.

“You know, there is a saying in Türkiye: ‘The memory of a cup of coffee lasts 40 years.’ Yes, this is true,” he added.

A Turkish employee at the embassy always makes his special Turkish coffee, and Janjgava said he enjoys two cups every day.

Janjgava said Turkish coffee is also consumed in Georgia, adding the history of the Turkish coffee drinking habit in his country goes a long way back.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Bradford's Masjid-ur-Raashideen gets 'Safer Centre' status

By Yusef Alam

December 6, 2022

Masjid-ur-Raashideen, in Heaton, was awarded the status after complying with core standards accredited by Strengthening Faith Institutions (SFI).

SFI, a national organisation backed by the Government, has developed the accreditation scheme for faith institutions throughout Bradford and the UK as a whole.

It aims to create safer spaces for children and young people and to give parents confidence when making a choice about sending their children to out-of-school settings.

Faith organisations need to show that they have knowledge of child protection, have safeguarding policies in place and have a designated safeguarding lead.

Health and safety policies are also a must, as is having a qualified first aider.

“We are pleased to have received this status, and it reaffirms our duty to protect children and young people from harm,” said Hafiz Imtiaz Mussa, Chairman of Trustees at Masjid-ur-Raashideen.

“It is imperative that faith organisations are equipped with the knowledge and awareness that will enable them to detect things like abuse and ill-treatment.

“We have been working with SFI to develop policies, procedures and training our staff to achieve this.”

Source: The Telegraph And Argus

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Arab World


Mosul Heals Slowly from Wounds Inflicted by Islamic State, Five Years after its Fall

DECEMBER 07, 2022

Five years after it emerged from the Islamic State group’s jihadist rule, Iraq’s once thriving cultural centre of Mosul has regained a semblance of normalcy despite sluggish reconstruction efforts.

However, like in much of oil-rich but war-ravaged Iraq, ramshackle public services and deep economic difficulties continue to hamper people’s daily lives.

Ghazwan Turki is just one of Mosul’s many residents who struggle to make ends meet in the former IS stronghold, where the jihadists declared the establishment of a “caliphate" in 2014.

Mosul urgently needs “job opportunities for families that have no income, to improve their living conditions", Turki said.

The father of 12 and aged in his 40s, who lived for years in displacement camps, juggles shifts as a taxi driver and different odd jobs.

“We have to borrow money and get into debt to cover half of our family’s needs," said Turki, who shares a single-storey house with his brother.

While acknowledging “progress" in rebuilding efforts, he described “overcrowded schools, where there are 60 or 70 students to a classroom".

Iraqi forces with the help of a US-led coalition wrested back Mosul in July 2017 after gruelling street fighting, and Iraq claimed victory over IS on December 9 that year.

Signs of reconstruction dot the city of 1.5 million, with workers constructing a new bridge, and cafes and restaurants buzzing.

But many buildings and public hospitals are still in ruins, and in the Old City, some areas are still just piles of rubble.


Mosul, Iraq’s second city, has historically been among the Arab world’s most culturally significant settlements — a hub for trade and home to mosques, churches, shrines, tombs and libraries.

Today, in the wider Nineveh province, a third of people are estimated to be unemployed and 40 percent live in poverty, according to local authorities.

The Norwegian Refugee Council, which has provided aid to some 100,000 Mosul residents, has noted “rising unemployment, high dropout rates (at schools), and limited economic opportunities across the city".

NRC’s communication coordinator Noor Taher said that although reconstruction continues, many people are particularly worried about “under-resourced schools, overstretched teachers and lack of jobs".

The International Rescue Committee says that “economic conditions in Mosul remain dire for many families".

An IRC survey of over 400 homes reported “an alarming spike" in child labour rates, with around 90 percent of families sending at least one minor to work and some three-quarters toiling in “informal and dangerous roles" such as construction, or litter and scrap metal collection.

Mayor Amin al-Memari said the city was working on several “strategic projects", but funding remained a key obstacle.

Despite the construction of about 350 schools in just two years, Mosul still needs 1,000 more to end the “chokehold" in education, Memari added.

There is also “a significant shortage in the health sector," he said, with more hospitals needed, including with oncology and cardiovascular surgery departments.

“Before, we had all of this in Mosul," Memari said.


In Mosul’s war-damaged Old City — only steps from the iconic Al-Nuri mosque, where former IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his only confirmed public appearance — Bytna (“Our Home") cafe is busy.

But when co-founder Bandar Ismail opened it in 2018, people were sceptical.

“We tried to revive the spirit of Old Mosul by opening this cafe, to attract residents and draw them back to this neighbourhood," 26-year-old Ismail said.

“At first… people mocked us and said ‘who will come here?’ The whole area was destroyed, there must have been just two families here."

Today, customers sip coffee and smoke their hookahs in the cafe, which also hosts musical performances and art events.

Source: News18

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How language and culture became pillars of Saudi-China friendship


December 06, 2022

RIYADH: Since Saudi Arabia and the People’s Republic of China formalized diplomatic relations in 1990, cultural ties between the two countries have blossomed into a robust relationship based on mutual respect.

Affirming the importance of this deep friendship, the iconic Boulevard Riyadh City in February this year celebrated Chinese New Year as part of the Riyadh Season entertainment festival.

The colorful occasion was attended by Chen Weiqing, the Chinese ambassador to Saudi Arabia, officials from the embassy, and a large number of visitors.

The celebration took several forms across the Boulevard zone. All its screens were lit red by midnight, displaying beautiful Chinese cultural images such as traditional houses and red lanterns, with congratulatory remarks written in Chinese, Arabic and English.

On the occasion Weiqing told Arab News: “The Spring Festival is the most important traditional festival for the Chinese people. The Boulevard Riyadh City lights up the symbolic red color of China, letting the Chinese people around the world feel the cordial greetings and best wishes from our Saudi friends.”

He added: “This is a great honor to celebrate our Lunar New Year, and we hope in this new year we will strengthen our bilateral relationship and friendship in different fields. This is the beginning of a new cultural era in bilateral relations. We have a lot of common principles, now we have a very strong cultural linkage, so I think in the future China and Saudi Arabia will be one of the closest partners.”

Further strengthening the cultural bonds, the world premiere of “Nine Songs” last Saturday filled the Saudi city of AlUla with excitement, with every seat occupied at the outdoor Wadi Al-Fann venue.

Created especially for AlUla by Rui Fu, the Chinese musician, vocalist and artistic director, “Nine Songs” brought together a world-class ensemble of performers from across the globe. Fu’s vocals were accompanied by new compositions played on violin, harp, dulcimer, oud, guqin and taiko drums, with remarkable costumes, scenery and lighting adding to the theatrical display.

Fu’s new work is inspired by the Chu Ci (Songs of Chu), an ancient anthology of Chinese poetry from the first century B.C., while also responding to AlUla’s stunning geological structures.

In June this year King Fahd National Library in Riyadh added to its collection Chinese books donated by the National Library of China.

The books — covering subjects including history, economics, tourism and culture — are distributed in Arabic and English. They include literature on the Chinese language and some for children, which serve as an opportunity for Saudis to become familiar with the country and its culture.

Dr. Mansour bin Abdullah Al-Zamil, secretary of the King Fahd National Library, said: “We attach great importance to strengthening cooperation in the cultural field with the National Library of China.”

In July this year China’s Sinopec, one of the largest energy and chemical companies in the world, gifted 2,000 books on Chinese culture to King Fahd National Library.

It was marked in a ceremony attended by senior officials from both countries, including Beijing’s ambassador, who inaugurated the Chinese books corner at the library.

The section was established by Sinopec as part of its mission “to offer a window on China for Saudi citizens, provide reference books for students, beneficiaries, and graduates, and provide support for teaching Chinese in the Kingdom.”

Significantly, Saudi Arabia announced a cultural cooperation award with China on the occasion of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the country in February 2019.

Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, the Saudi minister of culture, announced the “Prince Mohammed bin Salman Award for Cultural Cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the People’s Republic of China.”

The announcement was made during Prince Badr’s visit to the King Abdulaziz Public Library at Beijing University. The library was inaugurated in 2017 by King Salman during his official visit to China, when the monarch was also awarded an honorary doctorate.

The cultural award honors outstanding Saudi and Chinese academics, linguists and innovators. The categories include for the best scientific research in the Arabic language, artistic creative work, translation of a book from Arabic to Chinese and vice versa. In addition, there are prizes for personality of the year and the most influential personality in cultural circles for the year. The awards form part of the common objectives of both the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

“This partnership in the name of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is an embodiment for joint commitment to building cultural bridges between the two countries, developing the cultural exchange and enhancing artistic and academic opportunities for our citizens,” the minister has said.

During the crown prince’s 2019 tour Saudi Arabia and China agreed to include the Chinese language as part of the curriculum at schools and universities in the Kingdom.

The agreement came during a meeting between the crown prince and a high-level Chinese delegation in Beijing, in a bid to strengthen bilateral friendship and cultural cooperation.

The inclusion of the Chinese language is aimed at enhancing the cultural diversity of students in the Kingdom. It is an important step toward opening new academic horizons for students of various educational levels, will serve as a bridge between the two people, and promote trade and cultural ties.

Moreover, King Abdulaziz Public Library in April this year signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bayt El-Hekma Chinese Group as part of the two nations’ cultural cooperation. The MoU includes joint translations and publications, mutual visits, and the holding of scientific meetings and specialized exhibitions.

Source: Arab News

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UAE now has the world’s best passport, allowing access to 180 countries

07 December ,2022

The United Arab Emirates, home to glitzy Dubai, has a new record to add to its list: the world’s most powerful travel document.

That’s according to a Passport Index published by Arton Capital that features a top-ten dominated by European countries.

With a UAE passport travelers can enter to 180 countries hassle-free — seven more than European countries such as Germany and Sweden, and nine more than Japan, whose travel document was ranked as the world’s best earlier this year in a list published by Henley & Partners. The Asian country ranks 24 on Arton’s index with easy access to 171 countries.

Throughout the pandemic, the UAE largely stayed away from the full-scale lockdowns seen around the world, instead relying on strict mask mandates and inoculations. The government’s nimble handling of the pandemic drew in visitors from around the world looking to escape curbs in their home countries.

“Global mobility is rapidly rising, despite the eruption of conflict in Europe and growing tensions over borders,” Arton said in a statement. “Though the world continues to feel the aftershocks of the pandemic, surprisingly, traveling has never been easier, with steady growth in passport power across the board, a trend that we predict will continue into 2023.”

The passport ranking adds to the UAE’s growing list of accolades, which include the world’s tallest building, deepest swimming pool and tallest hotel.

Arton said the passports of almost every single country around the world became more powerful this year, with nations keen to reap the economic benefits offered by enabling greater freedoms of movement.

Still, the year-on-year gains in the UK slowed relative to some European states and the trend may continue as Britain struggles to strike the visa agreements achieved by states within the EU, Arton warned.

“This is largely attributable to the consequences of leaving the common market and the freedom of movement associated with that,” according to Arton. The country is currently ranked 25th, with easy access to 171 countries.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UAE President Sheikh Mohamed receives President of Israel

06 December ,2022

President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has met with President of Israel Isaac Herzog who is on a working visit to the UAE to participate in the Abu Dhabi Space Debate.

Israel normalized diplomatic relations with the UAE and its Gulf neighbor Bahrain two years ago under US sponsorship.

Sheikh Mohamed met with President Herzog and his wife, First Lady Michal Herzog, at Al Shati Palace in Abu Dhabi on Monday, state news agency WAM reported.

The two leaders discussed areas of collaboration between the UAE and Israel and their interest in promoting progress and stability across the region.

They also exchanged views on a number of issues of mutual concern.

The meeting highlighted the role of the Abu Dhabi Space Debate in facilitating dialogue between participants in the global space sector to explore opportunities for sustainable growth and collaboration.

Source: Al Arabiya

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PKK/YPG terror group kidnaps teenager suffering from brain disease in northwestern Syria

Esref Musa 


The PKK/YPG terrorist organization abducted a 15-year-old patient with hydrocephalus, a condition caused by fluid buildup in the brain, in northwestern Syria for forced recruitment, a local Kurdish opposition group said on Tuesday.

Redor al-Ahmed, the spokesperson of the Independent Kurdish Neighborhood, told Anadolu Agency that PKK/YPG terrorists kidnapped the teenager whose initials are T.H. in the Manbij district of Aleppo province.

The PKK/YPG often takes young people and children it abducts or detains to training camps, where they are cut off from their families.

In the 2021 Children and Armed Conflicts report published this July, the UN General Secretariat said the terrorist group PKK/YPG added 221 children to its fighters in 2021.

It also said the terrorist "Internal Security Forces," affiliated with the PKK/YPG, recruited 24 children the same year.

The PKK/YPG killed 55 children in Syria in 2021, while the "Afrin Liberation Forces" and "Internal Public Order Forces" affiliated to the terror group killed 18 children.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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UAE leaders meet Afghanistan’s acting minister of defence

December 07, 2022

DUBAI: UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum met with Afghanistan’s acting minister of defense during his official visit to the country.

The leaders discussed bilateral ties and areas of potential cooperation with Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob in two separate meetings in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, reported state news agency (WAM).

Source: Arab News

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Damascus rejects Ankara’s offer for meeting with Turkish President Erdogan, Top AKP official says

07 December 2022

A senior member of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) says Damascus has turned down Ankara’s request for a meeting between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after more than a decade of bitter enmity since the outbreak of Syria's conflict.

Orhan Miroglu told Russia’s Sputnik news agency that “Syria intends to put off the meeting until after the Turkish presidential election,” which is scheduled to be held on June 18 next year.

On Friday, Reuters news agency reported that despite Russia’s mediation efforts, the Syrian president has resisted meeting with his Turkish counterpart.

According to the report based on three different Syrian sources, Assad rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer to meet with Erdogan.

Two of the sources said Damascus believes such a meeting could support Erdogan ahead of next year’s Turkish election, especially if Ankara addresses its goal of repatriating some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees from Turkey.

Stating that there will be no rapprochement before the upcoming Turkish poll, the source said, “Why hand Erdogan victory for free?” He added that Syria had also turned down the idea of a foreign ministers’ meeting.

A third source, a Syrian diplomat, said Damascus “sees such a meeting as useless if it does not come with anything concrete, and what they have asked for so far is the full withdrawal of Turkish troops.”

Earlier, Erdogan said normalization of relations with crisis-stricken Syria was possible.

“Just as relations between [Turkey] and Egypt take shape, ties with Syria can follow the same path in the next period,” Erdogan said on November 27.

He was referring to an ongoing normalization process between Turkey and Egypt, which saw Erdogan meet with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, at the FIFA World Cup in the Qatari capital city of Doha. Ankara severed its ties with Cairo in 2013 in protest at the latter's bloody crackdown on the followers of late Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi.

“There is no room for hard feelings in politics,” Erdogan also said.

Turkey cut off its relations with Syria in March 2012, a year after the Arab country found itself in the grip of rampant and hugely deadly violence waged by foreign-backed militants and terrorists, including those allegedly supported by Ankara.

Since 2016, Turkey has also conducted three major ground operations against United States-backed militants based in northern Syria.

The Turkish government accuses the militants, who are known as the People's Protection Units (YPG), of bearing ties with the Kurdistan Workers' Party terrorist group.

Source: Press TV

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PM calls Hindu extremists’ revisionism nightmare for Indian Muslims

December 6, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday said that a process of revisionism put into motion by the Hindu extremists had become a living nightmare for Indian Muslims and other minorities.

Taking to his twitter handle on Tuesday, the prime minister referred to the 30th anniversary of demolition of historic Babri Mosque, which was razed to ground by the Hindu zealots in Ayodhya, India during 1992.

The prime minister urged the world community to take note of the rising religious hatred in India.

“Today marks the 30th anniversary of demolition of historic Babri Mosque. A process of revisionism put into motion by Hindu extremists has now become a living nightmare for Indian Muslims & other minorities. World needs to take note of rising religious hatred in India,” the prime minister posted a tweet along with pictures of the demolished mosque.

On December 6, 1992, a group of Hindu zealots razed the mosque on a disputed religious site in the state of Uttar Pradesh, triggering clashes with minority Muslims that left 2,000 people dead.

In September 2020, the Supreme Court of India acquitted 32 people accused of criminal conspiracy and inciting a mob to tear down the mosque.

Pakistan condemned the construction of a temple at the site of the Babri mosque which was torn down by mob of Hindu zealots 30 years ago.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Foreign Office called out New Delhi for acquitting the suspects and supporting the construction of the Ram Temple, which has long fuelled Hindu-Muslim tension in India, on the site.

“We condemn the ongoing construction of a Hindu temple on the site of the demolished mosque, and the acquittal of the criminals responsible for its destruction.”

The statement demanded the Indian government ensure that Babri Mosque “is rebuilt on its original site” and the criminals responsible for its “destruction are awarded befitting punishment.”

In November 2019, the Supreme Court ruled the original site will be handed over to Hindus for the construction of the temple, and a “suitable plot” of land measuring five acres would be allotted to a government-owned Muslim body either by the central government or state of Uttar Pradesh, of which Ayodhya is a part, to construct a mosque.

The Foreign Office noted that Hindu supremacist groups in India were now demanding the conversion of some other mosques into temples, including the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi. “These demands might lead to more tragedies like that of the Babri Mosque,” it added.

““There is a persistent assault on the religious freedoms of the Indian Muslims. The ruling party in India continues to incite hysteria and hatred against Muslims.”

PM welcomes SC’s suo moto on Arshad Sharif’s murder

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday welcome the suo moto notice taken by the Supreme Court on the killing of prominent journalist Arshad Sharif.

In a Twitter post, the prime minister assured that the government would extend full cooperation to the Court. “I welcome Supreme Court taking suo moto notice of the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif.”

Shehbaz Sharif mentioned that he had already written a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan for constitution a judicial commission to probe the murder.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial directed the government to register the first information report (FIR) of Arshad Sharif’s murder by tonight.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Pak Fundamentalists Lock Gurudwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh, Calls It A 'Mosque'

Satender Chauhan

Dec 7, 2022

Pakistan's Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) has closed Gurudwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh, located in Lahore, for worship, claiming that it is a mosque. Pakistan's ETPB along with some fundamentalists has put a lock on the Gurudwara which has angered the Sikh community in the Islamic nation.

A dispute has been going on for a long time regarding the Gurudwara situated in Lahore, The Dawn reported. A large number of devotees visit this Gurudwara everyday and recite Guru Granth Sahib, the report said.

The Gurudwara, located in Shaheed Ganj Naloukha area, has a long and tumultuous history, having been a bone of contention between the city’s Sikhs and Muslims.

This is not the first time when Pakistan has locked a Gurudwara and claimed it to be a mosque. A similar incident was reported two years ago, when a prominent Gurudwara was declared a mosque, prompting the Indian authorities to intervene in the matter and lodge a protest. India had then stated that Gurudwara is a place of reverence and the Sikh community considers it as 'sacred'.

The Gurudwara is located a little outside the walled city of Lahore, in an area called Nalaukha that is believed to have once housed the fabled palace of Prince Dara Shikoh. Shikoh served as governor of Lahore before his assassination at the hands of his younger brother, Aurangzeb, the report stated.

The Sikhs believe that it was at this site that hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children from the community were massacred on the orders of Mir Mannu, the governor of Lahore and representative of the Mughal Empire.

The Sikhs claim Mir Mannu himself allowed them to set up a Gurdwaras here after they agreed to help him in the conquest of Multan at the behest of Diwan Kaura Mal, who was consequently given charge of Multan by Mir Mannu, the report mentioned.

Source: India Today

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Pakistan election commission moves to oust Imran Khan as PTI chief

Dec 7, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Election Commission on Tuesday initiated the process to remove PTI chief Imran Khan from his post following his disqualification in the Toshakhana case.

A notice has been issued to the former PM and the case has been fixed for hearing on December 13, Dawn newspaper reported, quoting a top ECP official. Khan,70, is in the crosshairs for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch he had received as the premier at a discounted price from the state depository called Toshakhana and selling them for profit.

He was later disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) under Article 63 for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”. As per the ECP records, the gifts were bought from the Toshakhanafor Rs 21. 5 million on the basis of their assessed value, while they were valued at around Rs 108 million.

Source: Times Of India

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Speakers for relaying Iqbal message to youth for nation’s survival

December 6, 2022

SARGODHA: Allama Iqbal has a strong bond with the youth. So, there is a need to promote and properly relay Iqbal’s message among the youth which is necessary for the survival of the nation. This was stated by the former Inspector General of Police and Chairman Allama Iqbal Council Islamabad Zulfiqar Ahmad Cheema while delivering a special lecture on Iqbal’s personality and message at University of Sargodha on Tuesday.

The event was presided over by UoS Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Qaisar Abbas while Regional Police Officer Azhar Akram, District Police Officer Tariq Aziz, members civil society, Deans, Heads, In-charges and a number of students also attended the lecture.

Addressing the ceremony, Prof Dr Qaiser Abbas said that Allama Iqbal focuses on human unity, solidarity while visualising a society where everybody is technically trained and socially civilized. Youth must take action to show forefathers that this generation and this country are not less than anyone else. We cannot remain passive and wait for miracles to happen, he added.

Dr Abbas further added that Iqbal is the poet not only of the world of Islam but also of the whole world and the crushed humanity. He further said that it is important to make our young generation aware of Iqbal’s favors and services, Iqbal’s poetry is not of any one era but a beacon of light in every era.

Zulfiqar Ahmad Cheema said “Allama Muhammad Iqbal was a poet, philosopher, scholar, knight, politician and an authority on Islam all rolled into one single mortal being. His work inspired not only the birth of Pakistan, but also brought Muslims of his days out of ignorance, providing them with the confidence and guidance they needed to realise their true potential. Allama Iqbal believed that we did not have to be impressed with the West or get lost in the East’s afsaney, but needed to look for a modern social system” he added.

He said that the only way to change the course of Muslim history, according to Allama Iqbal, is for young people to adopt all the characteristics of eagles by adhering to the Sufi path of Faqr, or becoming faithful disciples of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) by doing as he did.

“We got a separate country for the protection of our culture and values and to adhere to our values in this country. The New generation has been pushed to an inferiority complex under a conspiracy and youth will have to come out of this darkness and depression” said Zulfiqar Ahmad Cheema. He advised the students to believe in themselves as the future of their country is brighter than their expectations.

He added that Iqbal wished to influence young people in the direction of virtue, Islam, destiny, and ultimately excellence. Iqbal’s words pierce the young people of his time, inspiring them to rise up and become contributing members of society. His words still have an influence on people today, he further added.

Source: Pakistan Today

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FC soldier martyred, beheaded in Bannu

Ghulam Mursalin Marwat

December 7, 2022

LAKKI MARWAT: A Frontier Constabulary soldier was martyred and beheaded by unknown attackers in Janikhel town of Bannu district, according to police.

The deceased was gunned down, along with his son inside their home, according to the FIR. The victims have been identified as Rehman Zaman, 45, and Shahid, 18.

The victim’s widow, in her statement, told the police that her husband and son were asleep in the house late on Monday night when they heard loud noises. When they came out of the bedroom, they saw around 20 armed men in the compound.

She claimed that unidentified gunmen shot the victims and then beheaded her husband’s body.

Tribal elder gunned down in North Waziristan; D.I. Khan DPO survives attack on convoy

The assailants took away the head with them, the widow said, claiming that it was a result of her husband’s government job.

She said her family had no dispute with anyone and that her husband was employed with the Frontier Constabulary.

Meanwhile, locals claimed that the assailants hung the head from a tree in the Bachki market area which was spotted by tribesmen in the morning who then informed the police.

The police shifted the bodies to the district headquarters hospital in Bannu city for medico-legal formalities.

A case has been registered against unknown assailants at the Janikhel police station.

Tribal elder killed

In Mirali subdivision of North Waziristan district, a tribal leader, identified as Malik Alamgir Khan, was shot dead by unknown assailants when he was going to his village, Hyder Khel.

The attack came a day after a local was killed in the Tapi area of the district. The attacker was also killed after the victim’s relatives chased him.

Three ‘militants’ killed

In Dera Ismail Khan, three alleged militants were gunned down, while a top police official survived an attack on his convoy on Tuesday.

According to the police, the alleged militants were killed in a joint operation by the police and security agencies in Girah Mastan village of Dera Ismail Khan.

A district police spokesman said the operation was jointly conducted by the Counter-Terrorism Department, security agencies and local police on information about the presence of militants in the area.

As the forces circled in on their hideout, the militants opened fire. In the ensuing gunbattle, three alleged militants were killed who were later identified as Munib, Junaid and Shaukat, belonging to the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan Gandapur group, according to the police.

In Khoi Barah area of Darazinda tehsil, District Police Officer (DPO) Muhammad Shoaib remained unhurt in an attack targeting his convoy.

A constable travelling with the squad was injured and several vehicles were damaged in the attack.

According to a police spokesman, DPO Shoaib was on a visit to check security measures for the ongoing polio campaign in Darazinda tehsil when his convoy came under attack.

As the convoy reached the Basic Health Unit in Khoi Bhara, militants opened indiscriminate fire, the spokesman added.

The police promptly retaliated, but the attackers managed to flee.

Later, police and security personnel cordoned off the area and started a search operation to track down the attackers.

Source: Dawn

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JI chief dubs Pakistan-Turkiye two bodies with a single soul

December 6, 2022

ISAMABAD: Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Pakistan, Sirajul Haq said on Tuesday that Jamaat highly values brotherly relations Pakistan and Turkey and wanted to see Ummah united for the common cause.

“Both the countries could provide leadership to the Muslim world to cope with the different challenges particularly Islamophobia.”

Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Pakistan, Sirajul Haq expressed the views during a meeting with Turkiye Ambassador Dr Mehmet Pacaci here on Tuesday. They discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and matters of mutual interests during a meeting held here.

JI (Foreign Affairs) Director Asif Luqman Qazi was also present on the occasion.

Appreciating the role of Turkish President on Palestine and Kashmir issues, the JI chief said that both the nations supported each other on Kashmir and Northern Cyprus. He highlighted the Islamic world should set aside their mutual differences and pose unity among their ranks.

He said unity among Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran was the need of the hour to counter the influence of western civilization, adding that Turkey and Pakistan were two bodies with a single soul as they had centuries old religious and cultural relations.

Haq said Turkey occupied a distinct position in the Muslim world and the government of President Erdogan was the torch-bearer of great Turkish civilization and glory. The JI chief said that the eyes of the entire Muslim world were on Turkey.

Source: Pakistan Today

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South Asia


Taliban Let the Girls Sit For Graduation Exams, The Decision Applies To 31 Out Of Afghanistan’s 34 Provinces

Dec 7, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Afghan girls will be allowed to take their high school graduation exams this week, an official and documents from the Taliban government indicated Tuesday — even though they have been banned from classrooms since the former insurgents took over the country last year.

According to two documents from the Taliban ministry of education, the decision applies to 31 out of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. Ehsanullah Kitab, head of the Kabul education department, said the exams would take place on Wednesday. He provided no other details and it was not clear how many teenage girls would be able to take the exam. One of the documentssaid the exams would last from 10 am to 1 pm. A second document, signed by Habibullah Agha, the education minister who took office in September, said the tests would be held in 31 Afghan provinces.

Source: Times Of India

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Pakistan: Concerns Intensifying Over Growing Differences With The Taliban In Afghanistan

Seema Guha

07 DEC 2022

There was euphoria in Pakistan when the Taliban swept to power in Afghanistan last August. The day after the Taliban came into Kabul, Imran Khan the then-prime minister greeted the takeover as throwing off the shackles of slavery. The long cherished hopes of getting a Pakistan- friendly government in Kabul which would take care of its strategic interests was now within reach.   

Yet less than sixteen months  since the Taliban rule was cemented ties between the two countries is  coming under increasing stress. Initially, Islamabad tried to downplay the differences and called for talks to sort out the irritants, but now Pakistan is also losing patience, more so because of the Tehreek-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP)  or the Pakistani Taliban’s presence in Afghanistan. Using Afghanistan as a base they strike across the Durand Line on Pakistani territory. Despite repeated assurances, the Taliban has not acted against the TTP. They share the same ideology and is keen to convert Pakistan into a religious state with sharia law in place, much like in  Afghanistan.

TTP: the spoiler in Pakistan- Afghanistan ties

The Taliban’s military victory over the US and NATO forces has given self-belief and new impetuous to the TTP and various Islamic groups that if Taliban could defeat the world’s only super power, they could do the same with their governments. The blowback from Afghanistan is becoming a major problem for Islamabad. There has been an upsurge in Islamic militancy in Pakistan’s tribal areas and reports from the local press say that these groups are back to threatening businesses and collecting funds under duress. The Pakistan security forces are under attack in tribal areas once more.

In April this year the TTP conducted 19 terror strikes and one cross-border attack. Negotiations between the TTP and the Pakistan government were held with the help of Taliban’s interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani and Lt Gen. Faiz Hameed, the former spy chief who was then the corps commander in Peshawar. The negotiations led to a ceasefire announcement in June. But it was an uneasy truce from both sides. Things came to a head on August 22, when two senior TTP leaders were attacked and killed inside Afghanistan. It is well known that the Haqqani brothers are close to the ISI, and General Faiz Hameed as ISI chief was dispatched to Kabul to make peace among the warring Taliban factions during the formation of the government. The TTP no longer trusts Haqqani and say that the killing of their top commanders took place in Afghan soil  under his watch.  Finally on  November 28, the ceasefire was formally called off by the Taliban, though it had by then remained mostly a commitment on paper. And to show its intent on November 30, a TTP suicide bomber blew himself up near a police truck in Balochistan, killing three people and injuring 28. The group claimed responsibility and said this was in retaliation for the killing of its two top commanders. Lat month  the Taliban had launched as many as  sixty bomb and gun attacks on security forces inside Pakistan.

The latest flashpoint  was the December 2  attack on the Pakistan embassy in Kabul, where the aim according to the Pakistan foreign office statement  was to kill Charge affairs (CDA), Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani. Luckily while nothing happened to him a security guard was critically wounded. The Taliban government promised to swing into action and some of those involved have now been captured. Pakistan had repeatedly asked the Taliban to act against the TTP but the response has been tardy at best.

TTP terror is now posing a major threat to Pakistan. This is why Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif raised it while  speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this year. He pointed to the presence of foreign terror groups in Afghanistan, including the Al Qaeda, the Islamic State-Khorasan or the ISK what the ISIS is known as in the region, the TTP and the central Asian terror outfit. It is a fact that the Taliban has not been able to drive out the  ISK and the rest of the terror groups from Afghanistan. It is just not Pakistan but many other Central Asian Republics are anxious over the presence of foreign fighters in Afghanistan. The Kabul government reacted sharply to the Pakistan Prime Minister’s speech. According to reports in the Pakistani press, Sher Abbas Stanekzai, Taliban’s deputy foreign minister in a statement had accused Pakistan of a manipulating the Afghan conflict for its economic advantage. He added  a threat for good measure` `If we rise against this, no one will be able to stop us.’’

Disputed Border

Successive governments in Afghanistan have not accepted the Durand Line as the border between the two countries. Clashes have happened in the border areas between the Taliban and the Pakistan security forces. Kabul regards the border fencing being built by Pakistan as illegitimate and an attempt to change the status quo. Afghans are removing the barbed wires whenever possible, leading to skirmishes across the Durand Line.

India Factor. The Haqqani network was responsible for two attacks on the Indian mission in Kabul, in one of which an Indian defence attaché and a young Indian diplomat were killed.

India Factor

For Pakistan, the return of the Taliban last year meant the rollback of Indian influence in its backyard. After 2001, India succeeded in clawing back its way into Afghanistan as both Hamid Karzai and  Ashraf Ghani allowed India to spread its wings across  Afghanistan  after the first Taliban regime ensured New Delhi was out in the cold. The Indian airlines plane hijacked from Kathmandu on Christmas Day 1999 was flown to Kandahar and the Taliban government watched India’s prisoner exchange with glee from the sidelines. 

India’s $ 3 billion   development assistance to Afghanistan helped in rebuilding damaged infrastructure destroyed by decades of civil war and its small water supply and electricity projects touched the lives of ordinary Afghans. Goodwill for India spread across Afghanistan much to the consternation of Pakistan. 

The Taliban nurtured and trained by Pakistan’s military was virulently anti-India. The Haqqani network was responsible for two attacks on the Indian mission in Kabul, in one of which an Indian defence attaché and a young Indian diplomat were killed in 2008. India’s consulates in Mazhar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad, Herat, Kandahar were also targeted. Unlike other countries, India consistently refused to engage with the Taliban, and solidly backed Karzai and Ghani. It was only at the end that New Delhi when it was clear that the Taliban was taking over that a meeting was held with their representatives in Doha.

Source: Outlook India

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Guards beat Muslim political prisoner to death in Myanmar’s Insein Prison


A Muslim political prisoner and former parliamentary candidate accused of plotting acts of terrorism was beaten to death by prison guards in Myanmar last year, according to Sean Turnell, the former economic advisor to deposed State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

Khin Maung Shwe, 44, had been sentenced to 65 years in prison for allegedly plotting to blow up parliament and a shopping center in Myanmar’s commercial capital of Yangon in 2016.

Turnell, an Australian national who was was released from prison by the junta in a general amnesty on Nov. 17 after nearly two years behind bars, said in a social media post last week that Khin Maung Shwe, also known as Ya Kut Bai, was killed after trying to mediate in a fight in Yangon’s notorious Insein Prison.

“My dear friend Khin Maung Shwe,” Turnell wrote in a post to his Facebook account. “He stood up for me. He kept me healthy. He kept me sane. He saved my life.”

“He was beaten and kicked to death by prison guards in Insein, a month after I was transferred up to Naypyidaw.”

Turnell called Khin Maung Shwe “a hero who I will honor as long as I live,” and praised him for his kindness during their time together in Insein Prison, where the Australian was serving a three-year jail term for violating the Myanmar Government Secrets Act, despite being officially appointed by the National League for Democracy-led government.

“Thank you to various people in Myanmar who helped me track down some of the circumstances of my friend’s murder,” he wrote.

Beaten with iron rods

RFA Burmese spoke with former political prisoner Thiha Win Tin who confirmed that Khin Maung Shwe died on Nov. 18, 2021, from internal injuries he suffered in a brutal beating a day earlier.

After intervening in a fight between fellow inmates and two men jailed for the assassination of NLD legal expert Ko Ni in 2017, Khin Maung Shwe was ordered by the prison warden to be dragged to his office and beaten with iron rods.

Afterwards, he was placed in solitary confinement without receiving treatment for his injuries and discovered dead the following day, Thiha Win Tin said.

“When the prison notified his family, they said that he died of heart failure,” Thiha Win Tin said. “It was definitely not a heart failure. He was beaten to death by the prison guards and fellow inmates.”

Thiha Win Tin claimed that among those who beat Khin Maung Shwe were prison guards Tun Win Ktike, Soe Zin Aung, and Myint Win Maung, who he said “hated him for being a believer in Islam.”

Myanmar’s 55.8 million people are predominantly Buddhists. Muslims, who make up slightly more than 4% of the population, regularly face discrimination in society.

On Nov. 18, 2021, prison authorities notified Khin Maung Shwe’s relatives of his death, a person close to the family who spoke on condition of anonymity told RFA, and when they went to retrieve his corpse they found serious injuries to his head, face, and other parts of his body.

RFA contacted Khin Maung Shwe's family members by phone, but they refused to answer questions about his death citing security concerns and emotional distress.

Little regulation of prisons

Kyee Myint, a human rights lawyer and legal expert, told RFA that prison officials in Myanmar, including those in Insein Prison, regularly ignore regulations and intentionally abuse and oppress political prisoners.

“They don’t understand the prison regulations, nor do they need to. They just have to follow orders,” he said. “In the prisons, they use stooges [from the inmate population] who bully and coerce political prisoners. They govern the prison that way, not by law.”

Kyee Myint noted that inmates Kyi Lin and Tin Myint, who were convicted of assassinating NLD high court lawyer Ko Ni, were Buddhist nationalists with close ties to the junta and were given special privileges by authorities in Insein prison.

Attempts by RFA to contact junta Prison Department spokesman Naing Win for comment on the killing of Khin Maung Shwe in Insein prison, went unanswered on Tuesday.

A former prison warden who declined to be named for security reasons told RFA that prison staff are expressly forbidden from beating inmates in Myanmar, a practice that was abolished in 1972.

“There is absolutely no right to beat prisoners, according to existing prison laws and manuals,” the former warden said. “Depending on the degree of wrongdoing by prisoners, we can only give punishments such as solitary confinement, hard labor, and reduction of food rations.”

A ‘natural leader’

When asked about his fellow inmate who occupied the cell next to his in Insein Prison, Turnell told RFA via email that Khin Maung Shwe was the most admirable human being he had ever known and the kind of person who could have changed Myanmar for the better.

“[He was] smart, resourceful, empathetic, and with a practical and intuitive understanding of economic policy-making to boot,” Turnell wrote.

“I had nothing that I needed to cope with a situation way beyond my experience or resources,” he said. “In numerous acts of incredible generosity he shared whatever he had, and defended me against some of the guards who tried to intimidate this 'foreigner.' He had not much himself except his courage, compassion and humanity.”

Turnell said Khin Maung Shwe helped him secure food, taught him how to keep his clothes clean and dry, and “provided me with all the implements I needed to stay alive” while incarcerated.

Source: RFA

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Kazakhstan Inks Agreement to Manage Hairatan-Mazar-e-Sharif Railway

By Arif Ahmadi

December 6, 2022

Kabul, Afghanistan – The Afghan officials signed management of the Hairatan-Mazar-e-Sharif railway with a Kazakhstani company named Mansour Fatih, after months of discussion on the topic.

The company will manage technical issues for the railway, getting paid over $4.1 million annually, according to sources. 

According to Bakht Rahman Sharafat, the acting head of Afghanistan Railway Authority, the current leadership will pay only about 25% of what the previous Uzbekistan company would receive for the service.

“We were paying $15 million to the Sogdiana Trans, and the Sogdiana Trans company from Uzbekistan was only providing us service for 22 kilometers, only in Hairatan port,” he said as TOLOnews qutoed.

“This new company (Mansour Faith) will provide service for 106 kilometers,” he added.

Meanwhile, the deputy head of the Fatih Company, Bisn Bai Makhanov, said that they would increase the number of employees based on capacity.

“We have earned this contract through bidding,” he said.

Asian Development Bank helped Afghanistan build a 75-kilometer single-line railway between the town of Hairatan and Mazar-e-Sharif, the second largest city in the country.

Hairatan serves as the gateway for almost half of Afghanistan’s total imports. The project will also upgrade the train stations and provide institutional support to develop a railway sector plan.

Railway Lines in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has three railway lines in the north of the country: The first is between Mazar-i-Sharif and the border town of Hairatan in Balkh province, which then connects with Uzbek Railways of Uzbekistan.

The second links Torghundi in Herat province with Turkmen Railways of Turkmenistan. The third is between Turkmenistan and Aqina in Faryab province of Afghanistan, which extends south to the city of Andkhoy.

The country currently lacks a passenger rail service, but a new rail link from Herat to Khaf in Iran for both cargo and passengers was recently completed.

Passenger service is also proposed in Hairatan – Mazar-i-Sharif section and Mazar-i-Sharif – Aqina section.

Afghanistan’s rail network is still in the developing stage. The current rail lines are to be extended in the near future, the plans include lines for cargo traffic as well as passenger transportation.

Source: Khaama Press

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At Least 7 Killed and 6 Injured in Explosion in Northern Afghanistan

By Saqalain Eqbal

December 6, 2022

Security officials in the northern Afghan province of Balkh said that an explosion in Mazar-e-Sharif, the provincial capital of Balkh, on Tuesday resulted in at least 7 fatalities and 6 injuries.

According to the sources, a roadside mine detonation in the Said Abad intersection of Mazar-e-Sharif’s police district 3 took place on Tuesday, December 6.

The spokesperson for the Balkh chief of police, Asif Waziri, said that the explosion targeted a 505-type bus carrying oil employees of Hairatan port.

The security official of Balkh province said the explosion has resulted in 7 confirmed fatalities and 6 injuries according to the preliminary reports of the blast.

He further stated that the death toll could swell given the severity of the explosion and the passengers who were in the targeted vehicle at the time of the explosion.

Source: Khaama Press

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Afghanistan to Receive Over $100 Million in Aid from Japan

By Saqalain Eqbal

December 6, 2022

The government of Japan will provide roughly 106.7 million dollars to Afghanistan, according to a statement from the Japanese Embassy in Kabul, to support the realization of humanitarian programs and basic needs.

The embassy stated in a tweet sent out this morning, Tuesday, December 6, that these assistance projects would be carried out by UN agencies, and other international, and non-governmental organizations with the objective of enhancing livelihoods using a variety of approaches.

According to the Japanese Embassy, with the addition of this aid package, Japan’s overall assistance to Afghanistan from August 2021 to the present will amount to $335 million.

After the current administration took control of Afghanistan, Japan has now provided the country with three aid packages. Previously, in October, the Japanese government provided Afghanistan with a donation of roughly $58 million.

The Japanese media previously reported that the government of Japan has decided to provide the poverty-stricken and war-torn Afghanistan with over $100 million in aid to address the current humanitarian crisis in the country.

According to the Japanese government, the assistance would be distributed to 16 international organizations, including the UN World Food Program (WFP), World Health Organization (WHO), and the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), to help improve medical and health conditions and provide food and water.

Source: Khaama Press

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Southeast Asia


Agreements worth $29 billion to be signed during China’s Xi visit to Saudi Arabia

06 December ,2022

More than 20 initial agreements worth SAR 110 billion ($29.26 billion) will be signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Saudi Arabia this week, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Tuesday.

The Chinese president will embark on an official visit to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday at the invitation of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Xi’s visit to the Kingdom will run until December 9 during which a Saudi-Chinese summit headed by King Salman and the Chinese president, with the participation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will be held.

In addition to the deals, China and Saudi Arabia will sign a strategic partnership agreement and a plan to harmonize the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Source: Al Arabiya

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The daunting task facing new Malaysian prime minister Anwar Ibrahim: uniting a divided country

December 6, 2022

James Chin

It’s been some journey for Anwar Ibrahim, the new Malaysian prime minister appointed last month. It took 24 years to go from being the country’s deputy prime minister in 1998 to becoming the prime minister today, at 75 years old. Along the way, he was jailed twice, found guilty on charges of sodomy, beaten up by the police commissioner, charged with corruption and finally, received a royal pardon.

Many consider Anwar to be one of the only real Muslim democrats fighting to keep Malaysia multiracial and multicultural. On the surface, this was the fairytale ending for that fight.

No single coalition won the bare majority required to form government when the election results were announced on November 19. After five days and direct intervention by the king and the Malay Rulers, Anwar was picked to be the prime minister after proving he could cobble together a majority coalition under Pakatan Harapan (The Alliance of Hope).

It’s likely many Western governments breathed a sigh of relief on seeing Anwar triumph, as the other leading coalition, Perikatan Nasional (National Alliance), was running on a conservative, nationalistic Islamic platform. There wasn’t a single ethnic Chinese or Indian elected under the Perikatan Nasional, despite the fact non-Malays make up at least one-third of the population.

Anwar’s coalition, on the other hand, had more than 40 elected Chinese and Indian MPs.

No wonder many are calling the Anwar administration the “New Malaysia”. Yet the challenges facing Anwar are colossal.

A divided Malaysia

Malaysia after the polls is a totally divided country. The two biggest parties in parliament are Parti Islam Malaysia (part of the conservative Perikatan Nasional) and the Democratic Action Party (part of Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan coalition). Parti Islam Malaysia won 49 seats, making it the largest single party in the 222-seat parliament. The Democratic Action Party is the second largest party with 40 seats.

Parti Islam Malaysia, as the name suggests, wants Malaysia to be a fully-fledged Islamic state, including throwing out the current constitution and Westminster style of government. It also strongly believes non-Muslims in Malaysia shouldn’t enjoy full political rights, but instead be treated as “dhimmi”.

Dhimmi is an Islamic term for non-Muslims living in an Islamic state. Often translated into English as “protected person”, a dhimmi doesn’t enjoy equal political rights as a Muslim and must pay a special tax to the Islamic state to retain their protected status. This status includes rights like property, life and the right to follow non-Islamic religions.

Among Islamic scholars there are disputes over exactly what a dhimmi person is entitled to under an Islamic state, but they all agree a dhimmi isn’t recognised as a full citizen, as understood by the West, in an Islamic state.

The Democratic Action Party is totally opposite to Parti Islam Malaysia. Largely supported by non-Malays (receiving about 90% of the ethnic Chinese vote), it believes in a liberal, secular Malaysia where everyone enjoys the same political rights.

The majority of the Malay community is becoming more conservative and supports Parti Islam Malaysia, while most non-Muslims are equally strong in supporting the liberal, secular Democratic Action Party. Since their ideologies are poles apart, we are really looking at two different Malaysias.

Racial politics

If that wasn’t complicated enough, people often forget there’s a third distinct political circle. There are two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo – Sabah and Sarawak. They are totally different from Peninsular Malaysia in terms of history, demography, language and culture.

Sabah and Sarawak are very multiracial. Interracial and intercultural marriages are common, and there’s little in the way of a religious divide. While political Islam is trying to make headway in both states, locals have made it clear they reject the extreme form of Islam promoted by Parti Islam Malaysia.

For the past half century, the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak have watched the obsession with racial politics and the rise of political Islam in the peninsular with bewilderment and fear. Many remember a time prior to the 1970s when Islam in the region was not used as a weapon in the political arena.

Political Islam in Malaysia only really took off after the 1979 Iranian revolution and the influx of Saudi money for spreading Islam in the region in the 1980s.

Many in Malaysia saw the rise of political Islam, but nobody expected it to arrive so soon. For years people were warning that “identity politics” had taken over the Malay community and it was more or less unstoppable.

Parti Islam Malaysia had been laying the groundwork since the 1990s by building private Islamic kindergartens, Islamic high schools, and Tahfiz schools (Quran memory schools). This indoctrination was allowed to proceed because the Malaysian authorities were afraid of offending the religious establishment, and the state itself was in competition with Parti Islam Malaysia to show who was more Islamic.

So we have three different Malaysias: Parti Islam Malaysia’s Islamic version, the Democratic Action Party’s secular version, and the pluralistic Borneo version.

Can Anwar Ibrahim, the man who wrote a book on “his vision for a more tolerant, pluralistic Asia”, bring the three into a single modern, progressive state?
Source: The Conversation

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DAP pledged to uphold position of Islam, Malay rights, says DPM Zahid

06 Dec 2022

ROMPIN, Dec 6 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today that DAP has provided guarantees to accept and comply with the four Articles enshrined in the Federal Constitution, including Islam and the special rights of Malays.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Umno president, said the other two Articles relate to Malay Rulers and the Malay language, adding that the guarantee was provided by DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke Siew Fook during a meeting between Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Harapan (PH) before the forming of the Unity Government.

Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir were also present at the meeting.

"My first question as BN president was what about the position of Islam, Malay rights, Malay language and the Malay Rulers? When the question was posed, the DAP secretary-general replied, we are the new DAP, new leadership and we accept all Articles in the Constitution, including those four,” he said in a speech at a gathering at Dewan Terbuka Rompin here today, in the presence of Mohamad, Zambry and Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail.

He added that party grassroots need not worry because he as Umno president and BN chairman would never sell them out, and would ensure the party remains relevant to continue championing the rights and needs of the people.

"I urge myself and all levels of the party... this is our test. We must preserve. Do not let our differences in opinion lead to schism.

"Close ranks and unite so that Umno and BN can continue to be relevant not only in the Unity Government but also for the future. We promise to serve the people together with our friends in the government,” he said, as he reminded BN elected representatives at state and parliamentary levels to serve the people throughout the entire five-year period and not just in ‘seasons’.

Ahmad Zahid also urged voters voting in the Tioman state election to choose BN candidate BN Datuk Seri Mohd Johari Hussain as a show of support to the Unity Government, both in Pahang and at the federal level.

He also promised to assist development in Tioman as prioritised by Wan Rosdy, including upgrading the cargo jetty in Kampung Tekek, Pulau Tioman, building a new mosque in Felda Selendang and constructing a mini stadium at Kampung Kolam here.

The election for Tioman state seat will take place tomorrow following its postponement after the death of Perikatan Nasional (PN) candidate Md Yunus Ramli, 61, hours before polling began on Nov 19.

The election will see a contest between Mohd Johari, Nor Idayu Hashim (PN), Osman A Bakar (Pejuang) and independent candidate, Sulaiman Bakar.

Source: Malay Mail

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Can South-East Asia stop the advance of Islamist extremism?


December 6, 2022

This year’s G20 summit, held in Bali, Indonesia, featured a first: the G20 Religious Forum, or R20, organised by two of the world's largest Islamic non-governmental organisations, the Muslim World League based in Makkah, and Indonesia’s up to 90-million-strong Nahdlatul Ulama. As well as the leaders of those two groups, speakers included a Catholic cardinal, the secretary general of the Protestant World Evangelical Alliance, and high-level representatives of Hinduism, Shintoism, Judaism and the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq.

The R20 communique called for religious and political leaders “to join in building a global alliance founded upon shared civilisational values” and the launch was announced of the East-West Bridge Building Initiative – a new NGO “designed to use religious diplomacy to build bridges between diverse groups around the world”.

This Islamic-led event was fitting for South-East Asia, a region with a Muslim population of about 240 million people, but which also contains hundreds of millions of Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Taoists and others, and is guided by the principle of “unity in diversity” – the national motto of the R20’s host country, Indonesia, and a frequently cited phrase in Malaysia, the other main Muslim-majority country in the region.

This was reinforced in the latter by the recent formation of a national unity government under Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. More than half of his cabinet are Muslim Malays, but the rest are made up of Chinese, Indian and indigenous ethnic groups from the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak. With the country’s chief Sharia judge taking up the position of religious affairs minister, the line-up underlines the long-standing view of successive Malaysian governments that there is no contradiction between being a devoted Muslim and being tolerant of others. On the surface, all seems to match up with the much-vaunted claim that moderation is a way of life in the region.

But even as states in another area home to hundreds of millions of Muslims – the Arabian Gulf – are becoming more open and progressive, while being careful to preserve their Islamic culture, values, traditions and laws, there is an emerging tide in the other direction in Indonesia and Malaysia. In the latter, there was a huge vote swing to the Islamist party PAS in last month’s general election. The party won the largest number of seats – 49 – in the country’s 222-seat parliament, and in the negotiations that followed, since no one had a majority, a federal government dominated by PAS was a real possibility.

Most Malaysians, for whom worries about the cost of living and the impact of severe flooding during the current monsoon are their main concerns, will be very glad that did not happen. Where PAS is in power, in the state of Terengganu, it has in the past few days shown its priorities for the 21st century by introducing fines for hair salons that allow customers of both sexes and legislation to make sorcery, an evil with which the country is hardly plagued, a criminal offence.

Of course there is nothing wrong with people having conservative views on religion or morality, but in the past compromises were always made in the interests of diversity and national unity. In Malaysia, Sharia, mainly to do with family matters, applies only to Muslims, and not to the 36 per cent of the population who are not. In Indonesia, Aceh province is the only local government allowed to enforce Islamic criminal law as it was granted special autonomy as part of an agreement to end an insurgency. The constitution guarantees “all persons the right to worship according to their own religion or belief”, and while the country’s guiding philosophy, Pancasila, includes “belief in the divinity of God”, it does not specify a particular religion.

The demand that the rules of one community should be the rules for all is not new, but it is being articulated far more noisily and angrily now, and the chances that those demands will be translated into legislative action are far higher than in the past. This is a threat to pluralism and stability – as Malaysia’s nine hereditary rulers, who are heads of Islam in their states, recognised when they issued a statement last week urging all to “cease and desist” racial and religious incitement, and instil the “spirit of togetherness” among Malaysians instead.

Perhaps some have been complacent about this rising tide of religious conservatism and, far more worryingly, intolerance, because the changes have been incremental over many decades. In Indonesia, there was no place in politics for such sentiments under the 30-year rule of Gen Suharto. Within three months of his resignation in 1998, however, 42 Islamist parties had been formed. In Malaysia, many date the beginning of this trend to then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad’s taking on a young Islamist firebrand as his protege in 1982. Mr Anwar rapidly scaled the ministerial ranks, becoming deputy prime minister until falling out with his mentor in 1998.

Today a much-changed Mr Anwar is Prime Minister, and Indonesian President Joko Widodo, also considered a reformer, was one of the first to call to congratulate him. But protecting the pluralism so cherished by their countries is a challenge for both Muslim leaders. One solution may be that, just as some allege that in the past, the trend towards religious conservatism owed much to Middle East-funded dakwa – missionary – activities, South-East Asia should consider today the example of a Gulf that is forging a path where religion and modernity not only co-exist but complement each other.

Source: The National News

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1 killed, 3 injured in blast at Indonesian police station

December 7, 2022

JAKARTA: One person was killed and several were wounded in an explosion at a police station in Indonesia’s West Java province today shortly after a man with a knife entered the building, police said.

Bandung police official Aswin Sipayung told Metro TV that the explosion occurred just after the man went into the police building at about 8.20am.

National police spokesperson Ahmad Ramadhan told the news website that the person killed was the suspected perpetrator of the attack.

Police did not immediately respond to requests for more information.

Footage from Metro TV showed damage to the police station, with some debris from the building on the ground and smoke rising from the scene. Residents told local media they had heard a loud explosion.

The source of the blast was not immediately clear.

Islamic militants have carried out attacks in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, including at churches, police stations and venues frequented by foreigners.
Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Anwar files suit against Perak PAS chief over LGBT claims

December 5, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Anwar Ibrahim has filed a defamation suit against Perak PAS chief Razman Zakaria over the latter’s claim that Anwar, who is PKR president, would promote a LGBT agenda, allow same-sex marriage and support the communist agenda.

The suit was filed at the High Court in Taiping, which issued a summons for Razman to appear in court. He has been given 14 days to make an appearance.

Anwar is demanding damages and an injunction to prevent Razman from making further defamatory statements against him.

The suit follows a letter of demand for a public apology, RM5 million in damages and a written assurance that he will not repeat the allegations.

Anwar’s lawyer, SN Nair, had previously said Razman’s allegations implied that Anwar had abused his powers as an MP, was deceitful, a traitor, a hypocrite and not a good Muslim.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Regime in Tehran ‘terrified’ of opposition figures inside Iran, abroad: PMOI spokesperson

December 06, 2022

LONDON: A fire at the London office of an Iranian opposition group is proof the regime in Iran is “terrified” of its opponents both inside and outside the country, according to a spokesperson for the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran Organization.

The blaze started in a shed next to the PMOI offices in Cricklewood, northwest London, during the early hours of Monday morning, police confirmed.

The London Fire Brigade also said it sent three engines after being called to a fire at 2:15 a.m. with firefighters finding the ground-floor bin room destroyed. The service said that no injuries were reported.

Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent Tony Bellis ruled out the fire being a targeted attack or caused by terror-related motives, but did say the incident was being investigated with the help of the Met’s Counter-Terrorism Command “due to the location of the incident and the organization based at the adjacent premises.”

However, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, of which the PMOI is a member, issued a statement accusing the Iranian regime of being behind the attack.

Hossein Abedini, the deputy director of the UK office of the Parliament in exile of the NCRI, said: “State terrorism is in the DNA of the clerical regime.”

He added: “With the rise and continuation of the nationwide uprising of the Iranian people to overthrow the mullahs, which has continued for 80 days despite brutal repression, the clerical regime has resorted to more terrorism and threats against the Iranian opposition to compensate for its critical situation and to boost the morale to its demoralized forces.”

Aware that the PMOI is the most organized and efficient opposition force within Iran and runs highly effective campaigns abroad, the regime in Tehran “from Ali Khamenei down, top to bottom” wants to “scare and silence” PMOI operatives behind ongoing protests rocking the country, spokeswoman Laila Jazaeri told Arab News.

“They are definitely terrified, because Khamenei has no solutions (to the unrest) inside Iran,” she said. “They are using live ammunition, (we’ve seen) 700 deaths, 30,000 arrests, only in the past five days 13 people were executed including a woman.”

She added that the regime also fears a new generation of Iranian protesters active in this year’s unrest who have “no fear” and are “not going to go back home until the regime is gone.”

The fire comes shortly after the head of MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, recently said security services had foiled more than a dozen planned attacks by Tehran on people who are considered “enemies of the regime” based in the UK.

“The (Iranian) regime hasn’t been able to suppress the protests inside the country, and now it is exporting its terrorism and suppression outside Iranian borders,” Jazaeri said, adding that she had been warned by police about threats to her own safety.

The NCRI’s Abedini said it was time that governments and authorities pushed for Iranian embassies to be shut down.

“The time has come for a decisive response. It is time for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to be proscribed as a terrorist entity in its entirety and the embassies of the clerical regime, which are the centers of terror and espionage, be closed immediately,” he added.

Jazaeri, echoing Abedini’s statement, told Arab News that the PMOI in the UK had been pushing for the closure of Tehran’s embassy in London.

“We’ve been putting pressure on (authorities) for the shutting down of the Iranian Embassy, trying to tell them that it is merely an espionage house, where they recruit terrorists and carry out money-laundering. It should be closed down,” she said.

Source: Arab News

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Iran sentences five protesters to death over death of Basij member

06 December ,2022

Iran has sentenced five protesters to death for their alleged role in the killing of a member of the pro-regime Basij militia, the judiciary said on Tuesday, bringing to 11 the total number of people sentenced to death over the unrest sparked by Masha Amini’s death.

Judiciary spokesman Masoud Setayeshi said 11 others, including three minors, were sentenced to “long-term imprisonment” for their alleged role in the death of Ruhollah Ajamian, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

The court rulings are not final and could be appealed, said Setayeshi.

According to state media, Ajamian was killed by a group of “rioters” – a term used by authorities to refer to anti-regime protesters – in the city of Karaj last month.

The Basij is a paramilitary arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Iran typically deploys members of the Basij across the country when faced with protests to suppress them.

Iran has reported the deaths of several Basij members since the start of protests sparked by the death in police custody of 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Amini in mid-September.

Amini had been detained by Tehran’s morality police for allegedly not complying with the regime’s strict hijab rules.

Demonstrators have been calling for the downfall of the regime in the protests which have become one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic since its establishment in 1979.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Hamas briefs embassies about 'Zionist plans' for Al-Aqsa Mosque

December 6, 2022

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement has briefed fifty embassies and foreign institutions in the occupied Palestinian territories about the "Zionist plans" for Al-Aqsa Mosque. Hamas sent a letter containing details of the meeting between senior Israeli police officers and settler leaders involved in raids of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem. The meeting was apparently held in the presence of Ayala Ben-Gvir, the wife of far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir, who is to become Minister of National Security.

"The settler leaders called during the meeting for an increase in the number and duration of raids at Al-Aqsa Mosque," the movement told the embassies in the letter also circulated to the media. It added that the illegal settlers want more gates leading into the mosque compound to be opened for them, and reduced police supervision. The demands of the settlers, said Hamas, were met to such an extent as to "secure the settlers' movement, safety and security."

The Palestinian resistance movement pointed out that, "These dangerous plans and policies will inflame the situation inside and outside the occupied Palestinian territories."

Hamas reiterated that Al-Aqsa Mosque is not like any other mosque; it is the third holiest place for more than 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, and its protection is part of their religious beliefs.

Moreover, documented historical research published by UN bodies has not proven beyond doubt any Jewish religious or other right to the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa Mosque, insisted the movement. It added that international resolutions and conventions covering the situation in the mosque call on the occupying power to maintain the status quo. Israel's annexation of Jerusalem as its "undivided capital" is not recognised in international law.

Source: Middle East Monitor

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Al-Khatib: 'Al-Aqsa will never be for anyone except Muslims'

December 6, 2022

Deputy Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib, yesterday reiterated that "Al-Aqsa Mosque will never be for anyone except Muslims."

Speaking to Kuwait's Al-Mugtama Magazine, Al-Khatib stressed that the "dangerous conspiracies against Al-Aqsa Mosque and its Western Wall necessitate that all Palestinians come together and make sure that they will never give up their rights to this holy site."

He called on Palestinians to double their presence within the mosque's yards.

Israelis, backed by the Israeli government and protected by heavily armed occupation forces, carry out daily raids into Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Source: Middle East Monitor

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Iran says nine people face death penalty over nuclear scientist’s assassination

06 December ,2022

Nine people will face the death penalty in Iran over the assassination of one of the country’s top nuclear scientists, the judiciary said Tuesday.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed when his car was ambushed on a highway outside Tehran in November 2020, in an attack Iran blamed on its regional arch-foe Israel.

The nine defendants were charged with “corruption on earth” and collusion with Israel, both capital offenses in the Islamic Republic, judiciary spokesman Massoud Setayeshi said.

“Fakhrizadeh’s case has 15 defendants,” Setayeshi told a news conference.

Along with those facing the death penalty, a further six people had “other accusations” leveled against them, he said.

In September, Tehran’s chief prosecutor Ali Salehi had announced 14 people were indicted in the case.

The charges against them included “colluding with the purpose of disrupting national security” and “actions against national security,” Salehi said at the time.

Fakhrizadeh had been under US sanctions for his role in Iran’s nuclear program when he was killed.

Iranian authorities claimed the attack included a bombing and a remote-controlled machine gun.

Israel has never commented on the killing.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Shops close across Iran amid strike calls; judiciary blames ‘rioters’

05 December ,2022

Iranian shops shut their doors in several cities on Monday, following calls for a three-day nationwide general strike from protesters seeking the fall of clerical rulers, with the head of the judiciary blaming “rioters” for threatening shopkeepers.

Iran has been rocked by nationwide unrest following the death of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16 in police custody, posing one of the strongest challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.

Amini was arrested by Iran’s morality police for flouting the strict hijab policy, which requires women to dress modestly and wear headscarves.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Monday that an amusement park at a Tehran shopping center was closed by the judiciary because its operators were not wearing the hijab properly.

The reformist-leaning Hammihan newspaper said that morality police had increased their presence in cities outside Tehran, where the force has been less active over recent weeks.

Iran’s public prosecutor on Saturday was cited by the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency as saying that the morality police had been disbanded. But there was no confirmation from the Interior Ministry and state media said the public prosecutor was not responsible for overseeing the force.

Last week, Vice President for Women’s Affairs Ensieh Khazali said that the hijab was part of the Islamic Republic’s general law and that it guaranteed women’s social movement and security.

In the shop protests, 1500tasvir, a Twitter account with 380,000 followers focused on the protests, shared videos on Monday of shut stores in key commercial areas, such as Tehran’s Bazaar, and other large cities such as Karaj, Isfahan, Mashhad, Tabriz, and Shiraz.

Reuters could not immediately verify the footage.

The head of Iran’s judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, said that “rioters” were threatening shopkeepers to close their businesses and added they would be swiftly dealt with by the judiciary and security bodies. Ejei added that protesters condemned to death would soon be executed.

The Revolutionary Guards issued a statement praising the judiciary and calling on it to swiftly and decisively issue a judgement against “defendants accused of crimes against the security of the nation and Islam.”

Security forces would show no mercy towards “rioters, thugs, terrorists”, the semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted the guards as saying.

Witnesses speaking to Reuters said riot police and the Basij militia had been heavily deployed in central Tehran.

The semi-official Fars news agency confirmed that a jewelry shop belonging to former Iranian football legend Ali Daei was sealed by authorities, following its decision to close down for the three days of the general strike.

Similar footage by 1500tasvir and other activist accounts was shared of closed shops in smaller cities like Bojnourd, Kerman, Sabzevar, Ilam, Ardabil and Lahijan.

Kurdish Iranian rights group Hengaw also reported that 19 cities had joined the general strike movement in western Iran, where most of the country’s Kurdish population live.

Source: Al Arabiya

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US forces trained senior PKK/YAT terrorist 'neutralized' by Türkiye, Ankara confirms

Ferdi Turkten


US forces in Syria trained a senior PKK/YAT terrorist who was neutralized by Türkiye in July, Turkish security sources confirmed on Wednesday.

Security sources said the neutralized terrorist was Civana Heso, code-named Roj Habur, one of the three terrorists who were "neutralized" by the Turkish military in late July. She was the so-called Jazira regional head of the PKK/YAT in Syria.

After the three terrorists were neutralized, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) praised them and extended a message of condolence to their families, a move harshly criticized by Turkish officials.

"Salwa Yusuk (AKA Ciyan Afrin) a Deputy Commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) -- along with 2 fellow female fighters -- was killed in an attack near Qamishli, Syria, on July 22, 2022," CENTCOM said on Twitter on July 24.

Türkiye has long criticized US support for the terrorist PKK and its offshoot in Syria, known as the YPG. While Washington claims it fights Daesh/ISIS terrorists with the help of its PKK/YPG allies, Ankara says using one terror group to fight another makes no sense.

The terrorist Heso received special military training from US forces in Syria and in turn trained more terrorists to act against Türkiye at the so-called Dilovan academy, where she had previously given PKK/YPG terrorists assassination training, according to the security sources.

Members of the organization trained by the terrorist harassed and attacked Turkish forces in the Operation Peace Spring zone in northern Syria and in Türkiye's southeastern Mardin and Sirnak provinces.

The PKK established its so-called anti-terrorist units, known as the YAT, in 2014, operating as supposed special forces in Syria and engaging in organized infiltration, ambushes, and similar actions against security forces on the border, the sources said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Israel says won’t allow interrogation of soldiers over journalist’s death

Abdelraouf Arnaout 



Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Tuesday he will not allow any interrogation of Israeli soldiers in connection with the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

"No one will interrogate the IDF soldiers and no one will preach to us about fighting morals, certainly not Al Jazeera network," Lapid said on Twitter.

Early on Tuesday, Al Jazeera television said it filed a lawsuit with the International Criminal Court (ICC) over Abu Akleh’s killing while covering an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank.

The Doha-based network said the lawsuit includes “new witness evidence and video footage that clearly show that Abu Akleh and her colleagues were directly fired at by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF).”

“The evidence presented to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) confirms, without any doubt, that there was no firing in the area where Shireen was, other than the IOF shooting directly at her,” Al Jazeera said.

Abu Akleh, 51, a Palestinian-American journalist, was killed on May 11, and the Palestinian Health Ministry said she was shot in the head while covering an Israeli military raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.

In September, the Israeli army said Abu Akleh was likely killed by "wrong" gunfire from an Israeli soldier.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Burkina Faso bans French state broadcaster for giving voice to Islamic militants

December 7, 2022

Press freedom groups have condemned Burkina Faso's halting of broadcasts by French media outlet Radio France International (RFI).

Ouagadougou's military leaders linked the ban to RFI reporting that the junta describes as false. Critics say the military is seeking to control news and information as it struggles against worsening insecurity. Burkina Faso is the second West African country, after Mali, to take the French broadcaster off the air. Both countries are under military rule.

In a statement, the Burkinabe military junta says RFI made false reports pertaining to an alleged foiled coup attempt last week and had given voice to Islamist militants. In the wake of the ban, announced Saturday, RFI issued a separate statement saying it “strongly deplores” the authorities’ actions and will "explore all avenues to restore RFI's broadcasting.”

RFI also cited its unwavering commitment to the freedom to inform and to the “professional work of its journalists. Jonathan Rozen is with the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based advocacy group.

“The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by and investigating the suspension of French broadcaster RFI in Burkina Faso. It’s unfortunate that as people in Burkina Faso and across the Sahel grapple with insecurity, authorities have chosen to deny access to a prominent source of news and information,” he said.

Reporters Without Borders, or RSF, says the authorities' decision will prevent other journalists from reporting on terrorism and could be illegal. Sadibou Marong is RSF’s West Africa director.

“CSC is the media regulator, which according to the law has the prerogative to suspend or sanction the media. Unless the law has been changed this is also a violation of the media regulation laws,” said Marong.

Burkina Faso has been at war with militants linked to Islamic State and al-Qaeda for more than six years. As the violence has worsened, so has political instability, with the country enduring two military coups this year, one in January, one in September. Both juntas have promised to resolve the country’s security problems.

Andrew Lebovich is an analyst with Clingendael Institute, a Netherlands-based research group. He says the current junta led by Ibrahim Traoré is under increasing pressure to produce results.

“Attacks have continued, and the junta is still significantly under threat and still faces I think important pressures. I think political pressures, but also pressure even potentially within the military, so there’s a lot for them to balance right now and I don’t think they’ve shown real signs of success yet,” he said.

The action against RFI comes after a number of anti-French protests across the country in recent months. Some blame Burkina Faso's military partnership with its former colonizer for the failure to stop the violence.

Source: Observer

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Human rights commission ‘outraged’ as State Department excludes Nigeria from watchlist

Dec 07, 2022

By Jonah McKeown

For the second year in a row Nigeria has been left off of the U.S. State Department’s list of countries that engage in or tolerate the world’s worst religious freedom violations, despite regular reports of kidnappings and killings of Christians, sparking outcry from members of a bipartisan government watchdog group. For more than two decades, the U.S. president has been required to annually review the status of religious freedom in every country in the world and designate those governments and entities that perpetrate or tolerate “severe” religious freedom violations as Countries of Particular Concern (CPCs). U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced this year’s designations on Dec. 2, and although several Islamic terrorist groups active in Nigeria were listed, Nigeria itself was not. In Nigeria as a whole, at least 60,000 Christians have been killed, many by their Muslim countrymen, over the past two decades. An estimated 3,462 Christians were killed in Nigeria in the first 200 days of 2021, or 17 per day, according to a study.The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said in a statement that its leaders were “outraged” by Nigeria’s exclusion from the list as well as the exclusion of India, where reports of Hindu nationalism and violence against Christians have emerged in recent years.

“There is no justification for the State Department’s failure to recognize Nigeria or India as egregious violators of religious freedom, as they each clearly meet the legal standards for designation as CPCs. USCIRF is tremendously disappointed that the Secretary of State did not implement our recommendations and recognize the severity of the religious freedom violations that both USCIRF and the State Department have documented in those countries,” said USCIRF chair Nury Turkel. “The State Department’s own reporting includes numerous examples of particularly severe religious freedom violations in Nigeria and India.”Nigeria was included in the State Department’s list of CPCs in 2020 but not in the 2021 or 2022 lists, despite Christians reporting little to no improvement in their situations. USCIRF has been recommending the designation of Nigeria as a CPC since 2009. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and the demographics overall are almost evenly split between Christians and Muslims. Nigeria’s Christians, especially in the northern part of the country, have for the past several decades been subjected to brutal property destruction, killings, and kidnappings, often at the hands of Islamic extremist groups. Some U.S. and Nigerian officials have characterized the attacks as climate-change-spurred clashes over resources and land, a claim that Christian leaders have denounced as “incorrect and far-fetched.”Nigerian Christians have said that the Muslim-controlled government has largely responded slowly, inadequately, or not at all to the problem of Christian persecution. President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, in power since 2015, has been accused by Amnesty International and other human rights groups of ineptitude, indifference, and even complicity in the surge of raids, killings, kidnappings, and rapes targeting Catholics and other Christians.Bishop Jude Arogundade, bishop of the Diocese of Ondo in southwestern Nigeria, observed to CNA that “whenever the [U.S.] Democrats are in power they look away from the killings of Christians in Nigeria. It was very visible during Obama’s administration. We will keep up the pressure to get the world’s attention. Those who have died will not die in vain.”

Arogundade knows firsthand about the persecution that Christians are facing in Nigeria — in June, a group of armed men attacked a parish in his diocese, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Owo, killing at least 41 people. That community is “still waiting for justice,” said Arogundade. Other Nigerian Catholic leaders such as Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah have criticized the government harshly for their “silence” despite numerous attacks on Christians.

Last summer, five Republican U.S. senators signed a letter to Blinken calling on the secretary of state to redesignate Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern.

Source: Herald Malaysia

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Somalia forces recapture key town from extremists

06 December ,2022

Somali government forces and allied militias have recaptured a strategic town held by al-Shabaab extremists since 2016, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said on Tuesday.

The army and local clan militias known as “Macawisley” have retaken swathes of territory in the central states of Galmudug and Hirshabelle in recent months in an operation backed by US airstrikes and an African Union (AU) force, ATMIS.

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Pro-government forces entered the town of Adan Yabal in Hirshabelle, around 220 kilometers (140 miles) northeast of the capital Mogadishu, after the al-Qaeda-affiliated extremists withdrew, the president said.

“Somali government forces are in Adan Yabal this morning... They (al-Shabaab) did not even fight and vacated instead,” Mohamud said in a televised address.

Colonel Mohamed Ali, one of the operation’s commanders, told AFP the extremists fled when they learned the army was approaching.

“We have taken the town without any resistance and the army is in full control,” he added.

Military sources said the extremists pulled out on Monday evening.

ATMIS, which supported the operation with helicopters, said al-Shabaab had used Adan Yabal as a training base.

The force welcomed its return to Somali government control.

The extremists, who have been waging a bloody insurgency against Somalia’s internationally backed federal government for 15 years, also used the town as a logistics hub.

Mohamud accused al-Shabaab of making off with electric pumps from the town’s wells and forcing people to “flee with them, to be human shields.”

The president, who declared an “all-out war” against al-Shabaab after his election in May, said the effort to rid Hirshabelle and Galmudug of the group was in its “final stages” with only “pockets” of resistance remaining.

Forced out of the country’s main urban centers around 10 years ago, al-Shabaab remains entrenched in vast swathes of rural central and southern Somalia and continues to carry out deadly attacks in Mogadishu.

On October 29, 116 people in the capital were killed in two car bomb explosions at the education ministry, and eight civilians died in a 21-hour hotel siege on November 27.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Sudan’s civilian, military parties sign framework deal for new political transition

05 December ,2022

Sudan’s military and political parties signed a framework deal on Monday that provides for a two-year civilian-led transition towards elections and would end a standoff triggered by a coup in October 2021.

The initial agreement would limit the military’s formal role to a security and defense council headed by a prime minister, but leaves sensitive issues including transitional justice and security sector reform for further talks.

The deal has already faced opposition from anti-military protest groups and factions loyal to the regime of former leader Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in 2019.

Protests broke out in at least two areas of the capital Khartoum before the signing ceremony at the presidential palace, an eyewitness told Reuters.

The military did not appoint a new prime minister since last year’s coup, which halted a power-sharing arrangement between the military and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Muslims in Uganda protest mosque raids, arbitrary arrests

Godfey Olukya  



Muslims in Uganda from all segments of society protested Monday against the arbitrary arrests of Muslim leaders during raids on mosques.

Muslim clerics, parliamentarians, businessmen and community members collectively came out to condemn the arrests, which they say are illegal and uncalled for.

"It’s discriminatory for the government to always raid mosques and violently arrest sheikhs without following the law and detain them incommunicado without producing them in courts of law," said Asuman Basalirwa, chairman of the Parliamentary Muslim Forum and a member of parliament representing Bugiri municipality.

Muslim members of parliament (MPs) also protested against the disrespect of the sanctity of mosques by security agencies which enter the places of worship with their shoes on as they carry out arrests.

Among those arrested recently was the deputy leader of the Tabligh Muslim sect in Uganda, Sheikh Yahaya Mwanje, and more than 10 other Muslim worshippers. The Muslim MPs demand that Sheikh Yahaya be released unconditionally and that security agencies allow access to suspects by their families and lawyers or that they be produced in courts of law.

They further demand that other Muslims detained in prisons be produced in courts of law or the government and the security personnel responsible for these acts will be sued and there will be a nationwide mobilization of Muslims.

Katikamu South MP Hassan Kirumira said they will not sit back while their fellow Muslims are abducted illegally.

In a related development, the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council held a press conference in the capital, Kampala, where council’s spokesman, Ashiraf Zziwa Muvawala, condemned the violent arrests.

“We are scared about the manner in which Muslim leaders are being arrested. Many Muslims are being arrested nowadays, and we are not aware why they are being arrested,” he said.

Hajj Abdul Munyokoli, a prominent businessman, said that some Muslim businessmen have been arrested, and up to now, they do not know where they are being held. He said they condemn such arrests.

In the past four weeks, more than 15 Muslims have been arrested in various parts of the country by security agencies. Police spokesman Fred Enanga said that some of those arrested have cases to answer for and will soon be taken to court.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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