New Age Islam
Sun May 26 2024, 08:44 AM

Islamic World News ( 18 March 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Muslim Right Has Much In Common With Hindu Right: Muslim Forum on Conservatives Ridiculing LGBTQIA+ Community

New Age Islam News Bureau

18 March 2023

 

Muslim leaders in Kerala ridiculing Muslims who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Getty Images

-----

• Activities Influencing Muslims towards Other Religions Prohibited: Malaysian Islamic Religious Council

• Islamic Scholars to Visit Afghanistan for Talks on ‘Islam’s Position on Women’: Organization of Islamic Cooperation

• Pakistan Played Role in Facilitating Dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran: Foreign Office

• Hamas: PA’s Participation in Egyptian Summit Is In ‘Total Disregard’ Of Israeli Crimes

 

India

• Madrassas Not Needed In New India: CM of BJP-Governed Assam

• VHP Performs Special ‘Yagna’ Amid Madani Mosque Row In Karnataka

• Bihar Govt Allows Muslim Staffers Early Office Leave during Ramzan

• India overrides objections by Pakistan, to host G20 meet in J&K

• Shivamogga Islamic State conspiracy case: NIA registers chargesheet against 2 B. Tech graduates

• Karnataka assembly polls: Congress likely to field fewer Muslim candidates

• NIA charges 68 PFI leaders for ‘conspiracy to establish Islamic rule by 2047’

• Madhya Pradesh: Muslim law student arrested on 'false charges' approaches SC

--------

Southeast Asia

• Report: Selangor Bans Foreign Islamic Preachers from Leading Mosque Prayers during Ramadan

• Anwar touts PKR as real champion of Malays, as party faces resurgent opposition

• Sanusi ‘unapologetic’ in defence, says Anwar in court filing

--------

South Asia

• ISIS Hideouts Targeted in Balkh Province, Mujahid Says

• ISIS in Afghanistan Capable of Overseas Attacks, Says US Commander

• Taliban Stealing Humanitarian Aid, Starving Afghan People: Afghanistan Mission tells UN

--------

Pakistan

• Maryam Calls On Govt to Treat PTI as ‘Terrorist Organisation’

• Imran Khan to appear before LHC ahead of graft case hearing in Islamabad court

• Pakistan court to decide if police can move to arrest Imran Khan

• ‘Mastermind, handler’ of Peshawar mosque attack traced; TTP faction involved in blast: KP police

• Punjab CTD nicks 11 suspected terrorists of banned outfits

--------

Mideast

• Tally shows 100 killed in Israeli-Palestinian conflict this year

• Turkey’s parliament will begin ratifying Finland's NATO bid, but not that of Sweden

• Iran executes Kurdish ‘political prisoner’: Rights groups

• Turkish foreign minister to head to Egypt after a decade of tension

• Israel arrests two teenagers for arson attack on mosque

• Young Palestinian man killed in West Bank as Israel’s atrocities continue unabated

--------

North America

• US To Send Islamic Terrorists to Ukraine, Syria's Assad Tells Russian Media

• US welcomes Türkiye's decision to ratify Finland's NATO bid in parliament

--------

Europe

• Greece Violates Principle Of Reciprocity By Keeping Several Mosques Closed: Experts

• Pro-Palestinian group launches campaign to check Israeli products in Ramadan across UK mosques

• France refuses to comment on Iraq crash of helicopter carrying PKK terrorists

--------

Arab World

• European Team Ends Questioning Lebanon’s Riad Salameh, To Return In April

• Lebanon central bank chief denies financial misconduct

• Syrian team provides relief for quake-affected dogs, cats in Idlib

• EU's top diplomat calls for redoubling diplomatic efforts to solve conflict in Syria

• Assad: War on Syria proved West acts against own claims on democracy

--------

Africa

• Tunisian President Names One of His Staunchest Supporters as Interior Minister

• Libya’s boxers recover from Qaddafi-era knockout

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:    https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/muslim-right-hindu-conservatives-lgbtqia/d/129352

--------

 Muslim Right Has Much In Common With Hindu Right: Muslim Forum on Conservatives Ridiculing LGBTQIA+ Community

 

Muslim leaders in Kerala ridiculing Muslims who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Getty Images

-----

17 MAR 2023

A secular democratic platform of Muslims in India on Friday criticised the right wing Muslim leaders in Kerala for allegedly "ridiculing and demonising" the Muslims who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Sharply criticising the leaders of certain outfits including that of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), who have questioned the logic behind the reports that a trans-man has delivered a baby in Kerala, Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) said it is a tragic irony that while the minority Muslim community in India is itself the target of rampant Islamophobia, the conservatives among them are hurling hate speech at the sexual minorities (minority within the minority).

In a statement, the forum of Muslims, who according to them are committed to the values of democracy, secularism, equality, and justice, said it strongly condemned "the concerted effort by the Muslim right wing in Kerala -- including leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), and some Muslim-run websites -- to ridicule, vilify, denigrate and demonise Muslims" who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

"It is a tragic irony that while the minority Muslim community in India is itself the target of rampant Islamophobia, the conservatives among them are hurling hate speech at the sexual minorities (minority within the minority). What logic or ethics makes Islamophobia wrong but homophobia, queerphobia, or transphobia right? Not surprisingly, the Muslim right has much in common with the Hindu right", it said.

The signatories of the statement included eminent personalities like poet, lyricist Javed Akhtar, actor Naseeruddin Shah and Teesta Setalvad. The statement observed that the latest trigger for the "fulminations" is the news last month of a transgender couple from Kerala -- Zahad Fazil, a trans-man and Ziya Payal, a trans-woman -- having decided to be biological parents of a baby.

The couple reportedly took this decision because adoption is not an option for transgender persons, it said. "What perhaps added to the fervour of the self-appointed custodians of morality is the fact that Kerala’s health minister Veena George promptly congratulated the couple on the phone and directed the Kozhikode Medical College to provide all treatment for free. She also arranged for breast milk to be provided to the baby from the human milk bank", it said.

The forum said being targets of hate politics themselves, Muslims should know the difference between free speech and hate speech."Comparing homosexuality to paedophilia, targeting members of the LGBTQIA+ community with words and expressions such as "a shame", "mentally ill", "worst kind of people", "people in need of treatment" etc are hate speech, not free speech", it said.

The statement further said the very Constitution which guarantees to Muslims the right to freely profess, practice and propagate their faith cannot but also guarantee to sexual minorities their right to publicly proclaim their presence, hold a Pride Parade.

"The United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) begins with the recognition "of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family..." So says the Constitution of Indian too", it said.

Even as the humiliated, bruised and battered Indian Muslim community struggles for its own right to a dignified life, it must learn to respect and uphold the "right to dignity" of all citizens, the statement added.

As the transgender community in Kerala celebrated the birth of the baby for the trans-couple Ziya Paval and Zahhad, senior IUML leader M K Muneer has said homosexual couples can never conceive and termed as "hollow" the claim that the person who had delivered a baby in Kerala recently was a trans-man. "Those who believe in such wonders are living in a fool's paradise," Muneer had said while addressing a programme organised by Wisdom Islamic Conference.

Source: Outlook India

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.outlookindia.com/national/muslim-right-has-much-in-common-with-hindu-right-muslim-forum-on-conservatives-ridiculing-lgbtqia-community-news-270867

--------

Activities Influencing Muslims towards Other Religions Prohibited: Malaysian Islamic Religious Council

 

Selangor Islamic Religious Council chairman Abdul Aziz Yusof noted that ‘Projek Artikel 11 Jom Ziarah’, originally open to everyone, is now limited to non-Muslim youths. (Bernama pic)

------

17 Mar 2023

SHAH ALAM: Any programme made to persuade or influence a Muslim to be inclined towards any non-Muslim religion is prohibited in Selangor, said state Islamic Religious Council (Mais) chairman Abdul Aziz Yusof.

He said it is also an offence under the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988.

Aziz was referring to a poster being circulated online regarding the “Projek Artikel 11 Jom Ziarah” programme organised by Impact Malaysia, which comes under the youth and sports ministry.

He said the programme invited young people in Malaysia interested in learning more about different religions to join an event at a church in Klang tomorrow.

“Mais is of the view that this programme has elements to attract the interest of youths, especially Muslim youths, to study or acquire knowledge related to religions other than Islam.

“If this kind of programme is allowed to be organised, it can subtly and unconsciously influence the thoughts of Muslim youths to be inclined towards a religion other than Islam,” he said in a statement today.

Aziz said Mais was of the opinion that understanding, tolerance and community unity were important to ensure harmony and peace.

However, he said, the programme of learning other religions other than Islam in churches or houses of worship of other religions required certain controls and restrictions to ensure that there was no element of persuading Muslims to be inclined and interested towards religions other than Islam, and involvement in the rituals of other religions.

He said Mais also took note of youth and sports minister Hannah Yeoh’s latest statement in Parliament that the programme, which was originally open to everyone, was now limited to non-Muslim youths.

“However, a check by Mais has so far found that posters and advertisements on social and electronic media have not been amended to show that this programme is only for non-Muslims.

“Mais advises any organiser whether from the public sector, NGOs or other organisations who wishes to hold activities and programmes on the basis of promoting unity and harmony to be more careful and to take care of the sensitivities of Muslims and the community,” he said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/03/17/activities-influencing-muslims-towards-other-religions-prohibited-says-mais/

--------

Islamic Scholars to Visit Afghanistan for Talks on ‘Islam’s Position on Women’: Organization of Islamic Cooperation

 

Representative Photo: amu.tv/en/30055/

----

By Fidel Rahmati

March 17, 2023

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said on Thursday to send a group of distinguished Islamic scholars to Afghanistan for talks on the position of Islam on women’s education and employment.

OIC Secretary General Hussain Ibrahim Taha said while addressing the 49th Council of Foreign Ministers of OIC member state opening session in Mauritania.

“The OIC will continue its efforts and dialogue with the concerned authorities in Afghanistan and, in coordination with the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA), will send an expanded team of scholars to Afghanistan for dialogue on aspects related to Islam’s position on women’s education and work.”

Taha stressed that the OIC is still committed to “Supporting the right of women in Afghanistan to education and work in line with the principles of Islam.”

He also said that the Taliban continue to “demand that they be given some time to review the academic curricula and safe environment for girls’ education.”

The secretary-general also announced that the King Salman Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Center, in collaboration with the OIC office in Kabul, will continue to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Organization urged the de facto government to reverse the ban on women’s education and work, which will face the country with far-reaching social and economic consequences.

The Taliban-led administration has imposed several decrees that resulted in a ban on women’s education and has worked with the international organization since last year.

Their decision was criticized by international organizations, Islamic organizations and regional countries, urging them to revere their policies about women’s education and work immediately.

The new academic year in the country began last week, but the girls have been denied their fundamental rights, education, and employment for over a year.

Source: Khaama Press

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.khaama.com/islamic-scholars-to-visit-afghanistan-for-talks-on-islams-position-on-women/

--------

Pakistan Played Role in Facilitating Dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran: Foreign Office

 

Photo:  news.cgtn.com/news

------

Iftikhar A. Khan

March 18, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Friday claimed Pakis­tan had played a role in facilitating the dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“It is obvious that this [Saudi-Iran] agreement is a result of the mediation efforts of China and the constructive talks that took it facilitated and the two sides were able to resolve their differences,” Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch told a weekly press briefing.

“We welcome this development. Pakistan like several other countries and friends of both Iran and Saudi Arabia played their part in facilitating the dialogue,” she added.

In this context, the spokesperson recalled that the first meeting of the two foreign ministers took place in Islamabad on the sidelines of an OIC meeting.

“But we do not wish to take away credit from China in this latest agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia on normalisation of relations and congratulate them for their successful diplomatic efforts,” she said.

Ms Baloch said Pakistan commends China’s visionary leadership in coordinating this historic agreement.

“We believe that this diplomatic breakthrough will contribute to peace and stability in the region and beyond. We hope this normalisation would define a template for regional cooperation and harmony,” she remarked.

In reply to a question about a negative tweet by a PTI leader about Pakistan-China ties, she said that Islamabad’s relationship with Beijing is decades old.

“It is a relationship that has continued to grow in strength over the last several decades. We have been friends through good times and tough times, despite changing situation around us, international developments, and any domestic developments in Pakistan or in China. Both sides are committed to this relationship. One statement by some individual cannot in any way damage this relationship, because it is based on mutual trust, on mutual confidence and the support of the peoples of Pakistan and China, who have for generations supported Pakistan-China friendship,” she said.

Answering a question, the spokesperson said Pakistan has continued to call for peace in the region and security for all its friends, including Saudi Arabia.

“We hope that with this agreement and the normalisation of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, there will be progress on outstanding issues including any differences that they have on Yemen. We hope this would have peace dividends for the region including in Yemen,” she remarked.

When asked to comment on reports that China has deman­ded payments from Pakistan overdue on the Chinese independent power plants installed under the CPEC, she stressed that Pakistan and China were “all-weather strategic cooperative partners”.

She said China was a consistent, generous and steadfast friend that has stood by Pakistan for the last several decades. China came and invested in Pakistan’s power sector under CPEC when no foreign investor was ready to invest in the country.

“This investment resulted in economic development to the country and helped us in overcoming shortage and breakdowns. We are grateful to our Chinese friends for their consistent commitment to Pakistan, to CPEC and for investments in Pakistan. The claims that you have mentioned being made in the media have taken an inter-governmental conversation completely out of context by adding sensationalist jargon to it. Let me underline that Pakistan and China consult closely on all matters and find optimal win-win outcomes and we will continue to do that. The people of Pakistan are proud of our friendship with China, which has always come to Pakistan’s assistance when most needed, including in this difficult economic situation,” she said.

The spokesperson said Pakistan was deeply concerned at the world-wide increase in racism, xenophobia and violence motivated by Islamophobia, which is manifesting itself in negative profiling and stigmatisation of Muslims, vandalisation of Islamic symbols and holy sites, discriminatory laws and policies, ban on Hijab, and attacks on mosques. She said that Pakistan was also concerned about rising hate crime against Muslims including burning of the holy Quran in Europe.

“We call for fostering global dialogue to promote a culture of peace and tolerance and to raise awareness to combat Islamophobia.”

In this context, she also condemned the recent remarks made by a BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister in Karnataka, K.S. Eshwarappa.

“These remarks are yet another manifestation of the rising Islamophobia in India. Pakistan is deeply concerned at the alarming rise in communal violence and hatred directed against Muslims in India, who are being systematically stigmatised and marginalised on account of their faith. We call on India to take immediate steps to ensure safety, security, and well-being of minorities and allow them to profess and practice their faith in peace.”

Source: Dawn
Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1742823/pakistan-played-role-in-facilitating-saudi-iran-thaw-fo

--------

Hamas: PA’s Participation in Egyptian Summit Is In ‘Total Disregard’ Of Israeli Crimes

 

Israeli forces stand guard as Palestinian women react to the demolition of their home in the occupied West Bank town of al-Khalil on December 28, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

------

17 March 2023

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has vehemently decried the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s participation in an upcoming summit in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Hazem Qassem, the Hamas spokesman, said on Friday that the PA’s attendance at the summit on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on March 19 comes in “total disregard” of the Palestinian people's suffering at the hands of the Israeli forces and settlers.

Stressing that the summit aims to “fight the resistance,” Qassem called on the PA to reverse its decision, which only serves the occupying regime's agenda.

The Hamas official called on the PA to stop all security coordination with the Israeli occupation and to stand behind the national consensus and the Palestinian people's will for resistance until putting an end to the occupation.

The gathering, under the US auspices, comes amid escalating violence in the occupied West Bank and al-Quds, which has left growing numbers of Palestinian people, including women and children, dead and many others injured.

Egypt, a US ally, has in the past brokered negotiations aimed at ending hostilities between Israel and Hamas, including the May 2021 war. Cairo has also been mediating between rival Palestinian factions while tirelessly calling for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which stalled years ago.

The summit in the Egyptian city comes only two weeks after the Aqaba security summit with the aim of de-escalating the surging violence in the Palestinian territories ahead of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

On Thursday, the Israeli forces killed four Palestinians, including a teenager, in the flashpoint West Bank city of Jenin, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The latest deaths bring the number of Palestinians killed since the start of the year to 83 as the Israeli regime has stepped up arrest raids across the occupied West Bank.

Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.

Most of the raids have focused on Nablus and Jenin, where Israeli forces have been trying to stifle a growing Palestinian resistance in the occupied cities.

Local and international rights groups have condemned Israel’s excessive use of force and “shoot-to-kill policy” against Palestinians.

‘Israel, PA work to eliminate resistance’

Meanwhile, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the political bureau of Hamas, said on Thursday that the Israeli regime, in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, was trying to eliminate the Palestinian resistance in the occupied West Bank.

Speaking at a conference in Algiers via video link, Haniyeh pointed out that armed resistance is growing across the West Bank as a strategic option for all Palestinians.

Underscoring that the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades — the military wing of Hamas — have introduced new missiles capable of striking Israeli targets from a further distance, Haniyeh said, "the occupation only understands the language of force."

The Israeli war on Gaza, which continued between May 10 and May 21 in 2021, killed at least 250 Palestinians, including 66 children, and injured more than 1,900 others. The Gaza-based resistance movements retaliated by firing thousands of missiles at the occupied Palestinian territories.

The regime was eventually forced to announce a ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, which came into force in the early hours of May 21.

Source: Press TV

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/17/700038/Palestinian-resistance-movement-Hamas-Palestinian-Authority-Hazem-Qassem-Sharm-Sheikh

--------

 

India

 

Madrassas Not Needed In New India: CM of BJP-Governed Assam

Mar 18, 2023

BELAGAVI: BJP-governed Assam intends to shut its remaining madrassas after having already converted those that used to be funded by the state into general schools because “there is no need for any such religious education in new India”, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Thursday in poll-bound Karnataka.

“What Assam needs are schools, colleges and universities to produce doctors, engineers and other professionals to serve the state and the country,” Sarma told a gathering at the inauguration of a light-and-sound show on Chhatrapati Shivaji in Belagavi.

The BJP-led government last year shut close to 600 state-run madrasas, but spared those managed by private organisations. The Gauhati high court upheld the decision after it was legally challenged.

“I come from Assam, which faces the threat of infiltration from Bangladesh every day. There is a threat to our culture and traditions. We have to transform our education system. The time has come to rewrite our history in a new way as it has been distorted,” Sarma said.

Source: Times Of India

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/madrassas-not-needed-in-new-india-assam-cm-himanta/articleshow/98743257.cms

--------

VHP Performs Special ‘Yagna’ Amid Madani Mosque Row In Karnataka

Mar 18, 2023

Amid an ongoing case on the controversial Assayed Abdullahi Madani mosque in Malali in a Mangaluru court, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists, who alleged that it was built on a temple, performed a special ‘yagna’ at the Ramanjaneya Bhajana Mandir in the town on Friday.

Officials of the Mangaluru district administration said the VHP activists performed a ‘Maha Gana Yaga’ or ‘Ganapathy Homa’ for a temple to be constructed at the site of the mosque after police denied permission to conduct it near the mosque.

The yagna was also attended by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Mangaluru South constituency Bharath Shetty.

On November 9, last year, a civil court in Mangaluru ruled that the suit seeking the appointment of a commissioner to survey the Malali mosque to ascertain whether it was built on a Hindu temple was maintainable.

The original suit was filed by TA Dhananjaya and BA Manoj Kumar from Mangaluru before the third additional civil court.

The petitioners argued that remnants of a structure resembling a temple were found when the Assayed Abdullahi Madani mosque in Malali was being demolished for renovation in April this year. They sought a survey of the mosque in the same case.

However, the mosque authorities said the mosque was a Waqf property, and therefore such a request was not maintainable. They also filed an application challenging the maintainability of such a suit.

The civil court ruled on Wednesday that the suit was maintainable and that it will proceed with the hearing. The court had earlier stayed the renovation work, while the suit was pending.

The court has also extended the temporary injunction on dismantling the old tiled structure that has a temple-like structure.

Talking about how the controversy came to light, a senior official said that earthmovers were deployed at the Dargah (mosque) as part of the renovation process.

“During the process, the temple-like structure has come to people’s notice. Some JCB workers have taken a photo of the structure and shared them widely. As soon as the pictures came to light, we have taken notice of the issue,” said the official who didn’t want to be named.

According to the police, photographs of what appears to be a ‘kalasha’ (spire), ‘tomara’ (pillar) and poles resembling a temple were circulated on social media soon after the front portion of the dargah was demolished for renovation work, undertaken by the mosque authority.

Source: Hindustan Times

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/bengaluru-news/vhp-performs-special-yagna-amid-madani-mosque-row-101679080370097.html

--------

Bihar Govt Allows Muslim Staffers Early Office Leave during Ramzan

Rohit Kumar Singh

Mar 17, 2023

In a bid to woo Muslim voters ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Bihar government has decided to change the duty hours for Muslim officials and staffers during the holy month of Ramzan.

General Administration Department of the state government on Friday issued a circular in this regard, facilitating Muslim officials and staff to come to duty one hour before the normal duty hours and leave one hour before the office leaving time during the month of Ramzan.

"Keeping in view the convenience of Muslim employees and officials, the government has granted permission to come to the office one hour before the scheduled time and leave the office one hour before the scheduled time during the month of Ramzan," the official circular released by the general Administration Department stated.

The circular further stated that the government order would be permanently effective for every year during the month of Ramzan.

BJP DEMANDS SIMILAR CIRCULAR FOR HINDU STAFF DURING NAVRATRA

In response to the circular for Muslim government employees, BJP leader Arvind Kumar Singh demanded that the Bihar government should come out with a similar circular for Hindu employees during the festival of Chaiti Navratra and Ramnavami also.

Meanwhile, the RJD and JD(U) welcomed the move. RJD leader Ejaz Ahmed said that this will go a long way in strengthening the secular fabric of the country.

Source: India Today

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/bihar-muslim-govt-staff-can-leave-office-early-during-ramzan-2348189-2023-03-17

--------

India overrides objections by Pakistan, to host G20 meet in J&K

Mar 18, 2023

NEW DELHI: India will host a senior official-level meeting of G20 culture ministries in Jammu and Kashmir in May, overriding objections by Pakistan which had lobbied member-states like China, Turkiye and Saudi Arabia to prevent the Indian government from hosting any such meeting in the union territory.

Official sources said the meeting will see senior officials of G20 and guest countries discussing Indian presidency priorities like protection and restitution of cultural property, harnessing living heritage of sustainable future, promotion of cultural industries and leveraging of digital technology for protection of culture.

India’s permanent representative Ruchira Kamboj told the UN earlier this week that India will host 56 meetings across the length and breadth of the country, taking G20 from "Kashmir in the north to Kanyakumari in the south". She also said that under the Indian presidency G20 meetings will be held in all 28 states and 8 union territories of India. A G20-related meeting is taking place in Arunachal Pradesh too next week. The US, China and Indonesia had held G20 meetings in 12, 14 and 25 cities respectively.

While an official announcement is awaited, the union government had last year asked the local administration to prepare for a G20 meeting in the Valley by giving Srinagar a facelift.

For India, the meeting will offer an opportunity to show how the situation in the Valley has normalised after the strife caused by the revocation of the special status of the erstwhile state and to underscore the potential for tourism in the union territory. According to sources, the delegates will also visit several cultural hotspots in the region.

Pakistan, however, sees any proposal for a G20 meeting in Jammu and Kashmir as designed to seek "international legitimacy" and said last year that the member-states should be "fully cognizant of the imperatives of law and justice" and reject it outright. Islamabad has also sought support from its allies China, Saudi Arabia and Turkiye to scuttle the move.

China, in fact, seemed to back Pakistan when its foreign ministry, responding to a query about the possibility of a G20 event in Jammu and Kashmir, asked "relevant parties" to avoid complicating the situation in Jammu and Kashmir with any unilateral move, saying G20 was a premier forum for global economic cooperation.

Source: Times Of India

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-overrides-objections-by-pakistan-to-host-g20-meet-in-jk/articleshow/98744327.cms

--------

Shivamogga Islamic State conspiracy case: NIA registers chargesheet against 2 B. Tech graduates

Mar 18, 2023

MANGALURU: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday filed a chargesheet against Maaz Muneer Ahmad, 23, and Syed Yasin, 22, accused in the Shivamogga Islamic State (IS) conspiracy case.

The case relates to the conspiracy hatched to further the activities of IS by carrying out acts of arson, sabotage and violence in Karnataka. The NIA re-registered the case in September 2022 and took over the investigations of the case registered by Karnataka police after the stabbing of one Prem Singh in Shivamogga on August 15, 2022, by accused Zabiulla and others, the NIA said.

"Maaz & Yasin, both BTech graduates, had been radicalised and motivated by an online foreign-based handler to target public and private properties, including warehouses, liquor outlets, hardware shops, vehicles and properties belonging to citizens of a particular community," an NIA official said.

Involved in over 25 incidents of arson

The two also committed over 25 incidents of arson and sabotage showing their commitment," an NIA official said.

The two also reportedly trekked and did recces of the forest near Agumbe and Varahi river backwaters for possible hideouts. They procured explosives and tested an IED on the banks of Varahi in Shivamogga. Yasin also burnt the Indian flag and recorded a video to establish his anti-India credentials, the NIA has stated in its chargesheet.

Source: Times Of India

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mangaluru/shivamogga-islamic-state-conspiracy-case-nia-registers-chargesheet-against-2-btech-graduates/articleshow/98744453.cms

--------

Karnataka assembly polls: Congress likely to field fewer Muslim candidates

Mar 18, 2023

BENGALURU: Desperate to return to power, opposition Congress is considering fielding candidates from minority communities only in those constituencies where they stand a better chance of winning. This marks a departure from the past when the party had handed tickets to members from minority communities, prioritising its social justice credentials over the winnability factor.

In the 2018 assembly elections, Congress had fielded as many as 17 candidates from the minority communities. Only seven of them won. This time around, the number of candidates is likely to come down to 13 or at the most 15, say senior party functionaries.

Poll pragmatics may force Cong to change stance

According to them, the party is seriously weighing the option of fielding non-minority candidates from Shiggaon, Hubballi-Dharwad West, Ramanagara, Vijayapura City and Mangaluru North and South seats as the Congress game plan to capitalise on the sizeable Muslim and Christian votes in these constituencies had failed to yield results over the last one and a half decades.

On Thursday, a delegation of Muslim leaders met Congress general secretary in charge of Karnataka, Randeep Singh Surjewala, demanding tickets for the community members in proportion to their population.

The parley by Muslim leaders notwithstanding, poll pragmatics may force the party to adopt a more open stance in its choice of candidates this time around. In Shiggaon, for instance, which has around 30% Muslim population, the party has been unsuccessfully fielding Ajjampeer Khadri since 2004. "Since he has lost the past four elections, the party is toying with the idea of fielding a Panchamasali Lingayat or Kuruba candidate this time," said a senior Congress functionary. Khadri had lost to chief minister Basavaraj Bommai in the last three elections from Shiggaon.

The party is said to have asked former minister Vinay Kulkarni, a Panchamasali Lingayat, to contest from Shiggaon, hoping to cash in on the perceived anger of the community against Bommai over their demand for reservation under the 2A category. Kulkarni, though, is not keen on leaving Dharwad Rural.

Source: Times Of India

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/karnataka-assembly-polls-congress-likely-to-field-fewer-muslim-candidates/articleshow/98744354.cms

--------

NIA charges 68 PFI leaders for ‘conspiracy to establish Islamic rule by 2047’

By Shishir Gupta

Mar 17, 2023

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday filed two chargesheets against a total of 68 Popular Front of India leaders, cadres and members in two separate cases in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. They were raising funds to perpetrate terror activities and to establish Islamic rule in India by 2047, the chargesheet said. With these, the total number of chargesheets filed by NIA against PFI cadres this month has gone up to four. The first such chargesheet was filed in Jaipur on March 13 and the second in Hyderabad on March 16.

Now-banned PFI is most active in the two states where the many rank-holders of the party were part of criminal conspiracies to create a wedge between people of different communities through radicalisation of impressionable Muslim youth, providing them with training in handling of weapons, and raising funds for carrying out acts of terror and violence with the ultimate objective of establishing an Islamic Rule in India by 2047, the chargesheet said.

Kerala PFI case was registered in September 2022 by the NIA to probe the criminal conspiracy hatched by the PFI and its leaders & cadres to create a wedge and between people of different communities through radicalisation of impressionable Muslim youth, training them in handling of weapons and raising funds for carrying out acts of terror and violence with the ultimate objective of establishing an Islamic Rule in India by 2047.

In addition to criminal conspiracy, the NIA, in its Kerala chargesheet, included the connected case of the brutal killing of a Palakkad resident, Sreenivasan, who was hacked to death by armed PFI cadres.

The accused in the two chargesheets filed today have been charged under various sections of IPC, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and the Arms Act, 1959.

In the Kerala case, registered in September 2022, the chargesheet has been filed in the Special Court for NIA Cases, Ernakulam, against the PFI as an organisation and 58 other accused persons. NIA had arrested 16 of the accused after taking over the case in 2022, while the others were arrested earlier by Kerala Police.

The Kerala Chargesheet has been filed after searches conducted by the NIA at more than 100 locations across the state. The NIA has also attached 17 properties as they were identified as ‘proceeds of terrorism’ and frozen 18 bank accounts of the accused during the course of its investigations.

Investigations in the case revealed that the accused had been conspiring to drive a wedge between different communities and groups living in India, spread the concept of violent extremism and Jihad in India with the objective of dismembering the country and taking it over by establishing Islamic Rule in India by 2047, the chargesheet said.

To achieve these objectives, PFI established various Wings & units, such as ‘Reporters Wing’, ‘Physical and Arms Training Wing’ and ‘Service Teams’. Investigations by the NIA have revealed that PFI was using its various Campuses, facilities and infrastructure to impart arms training to selected cadres in the guise of Physical Education, Yoga Training etc. They also established a ‘Reporters Wing’ and ‘Service Teams or Hit Teams’ to eliminate their ‘targets’. Whenever required, PFI pressed into service its loyal and highly trained cadres of their ‘Service Teams’, as ‘executioners’ of the Orders pronounced by their parallel Courts, called ‘Dar-ul-Qaza’.

Some of the prominent PFI leaders and office bearers chargesheeted oday include Abdul Sathar State General Secretary, Yahiya Koya Thangal State Executive Member (SEC) Member, Shihas MH Ernakulam Zonal Secretary, alongwith District Secretaries/President Sainudhen TS, Sadik AP, CT Sulaiman, and, PK Usman State General Secretary SDPI Kerala.

In the Tamil Nadu case, the Chargesheet filed before the NIA Special Court Chennai has named 10 accused, including Khalid Mohammed, the State Vice President of PFI. This case was also registered in September 2022, when nine of the accused were arrested by NIA. The 10th accused was taken into custody a few months later.

Source: Hindustan Times

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/nia-charges-68-pfi-leaders-for-conspiracy-to-establish-islamic-rule-by-2047-101679059674545.html

--------

Madhya Pradesh: Muslim law student arrested on 'false charges' approaches SC

17th March 2023

A Muslim lawyer and a law student, have reportedly approached the Supreme Court seeking justice after they were implicated in "false, baseless, politically motivated and communally charged cases" at the behest of organisations having affiliations to the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh.

According to Live Law, the petitioners are lawyer Noorjahan and law student Sonu Mansoori.

Quoting the petition, Live Law recalled that on January 28, 2023, Bajrang Dal supporters accompanied by a group of lawyers associated with the Adhivakta Sangh (lawyers outfit), manhandled the intern inside the courtroom accusing her of secretly recording bail proceedings of a Bajrang Dal leader. He was accused of carrying out acts of vandalism in protest of the movie 'Pathan.' The intern was forcibly frisked by the miscreants who also snatched away a large sum of money and a phone that was in her possession. The police, instead of taking action against the malefactors, took the intern to the police station and lodged FIR against her on the basis of a complaint claiming that she was working for banned outfits like the PFI (Popular Front of India). Subsequently, she was arrested, produced before a court on January 29 and sent to judicial remand till February 1.

"No lawyer dared to appear on behalf of the intern amidst the "communally hostile environment" created by the miscreants," the petition said, according to the legal news site.

Further, since the local lawyers refused to defend her, four lawyers from Delhi had to go to Indore to file the bail application. But the four counsels were prevented from attending the court hearing and police protection was denied to them. The local bar association also failed to help. The police failed to pay heed to their pleas for help. Due to a lack of legal representation, the intern, who was sent into police custody in the interim, is now under judicial custody.

The petition sought directions from the Supreme Court for an independent inquiry into the incident that took place in the Indore district court premises. The petition also sought directions to the State government to ensure the safety of the petitioners. Since, apparently, an FIR has been registered also against the lawyer petitioner, the petition pleaded to stay her arrest, Live Law report said.

The Bench comprising Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Bela M Trivedi directed the petitioners to approach the competent High Court before coming to the SC, the report said.

Source: New Indian Express

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2023/mar/17/madhya-pradesh-muslim-law-student-arrested-on-false-charges-approaches-sc-2556983.html

--------

 

Southeast Asia

 

Report: Selangor bans foreign Islamic preachers from leading mosque prayers during Ramadan

By Rex Tan

18 Mar 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — Non-Malaysian Islamic preachers cannot lead the terawih prayers and Ihya Ramadan programmes in Selangor mosques unless with prior permission from the state Islamic Department (Jais).

Selangor Islamic Affairs, Consumer Affairs, and Halal Industry Committee executive councillor Mohd Zawawi Ahmad Mughni said administrators of mosques, surau and musalla in the state must ensure that the preachers engaged have been approved by Jais, Utusan Malaysia reported today.

“The invitation of foreign preachers is absolutely not allowed except after getting permission from Jais,” Mohd Zawawi was quoted as saying in a statement by the Malay newspaper.

He also reminded the mosque administrators to comply with other special regulations that have been set up for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which starts from March 22 and ends on April 21 this year.

Mohd Zawawi also said mosques in Selangor can operate at full capacity once again based on regulations set for the endemic phase of Covid-19.

Even so, he reminded Muslims to take precautions and remain vigilant to prevent contracting and spreading the contagious viral disease.

Source: Malay Mail

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/03/18/report-selangor-bans-foreign-islamic-preachers-from-leading-mosque-prayers-during-ramadan/60294

--------

Anwar touts PKR as real champion of Malays, as party faces resurgent opposition

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

18 Mar 2023

SHAH ALAM, March 18 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today said PKR is the real champion of the Malays and the economically vulnerable, as he accused political rivals of hypocrisy by pretending to uphold Bumiputera interests when they were known to have squandered public wealth when in power.

Anwar, who is also PKR president, took aim at the Opposition parties and ostensibly his one-time-mentor-turned-nemesis, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in a fiery speech at the PKR congress here that aimed to rally the party ahead of a crucial election in six states.

“When people ask why we are with Umno, I tell them after four months in power, we have never compromised on matters of law, corruption and alleviating the lives of the people,” Anwar told delegates.

He said that PKR’s foes will continue to use race and religion to incite voters against his administration.

“But what is happening now? When we want to fight hardcore poverty, IPR and Menu Rahmah to help over 130,000 impoverished people and other measures... we speak of (protecting the Malays and Islam) but they are still being attacked and by using religion.”

Anwar’s coalition government has been the subject of escalating attacks by leaders from the Perikatan Nasional (PN) bloc, which continues to harp on racial and religiously-tinged allegations that the Pakatan Harapan-led government promotes liberalism and wants to undermine Muslim rule.

Pundits have rated PN’s chances for the upcoming state elections highly, after a strong showing at the 15th general election last year when they garnered the second largest share of seats as a single bloc.

These attacks have put the prime minister in a defensive spot, a sign that he may be concerned about them.

Today, the PKR president said the party has never compromised on its idealism and struggle for social equitability, which it has used to guide many of the “unity government” policies four months since taking office.

“We say we want justice, and this justice means equitability must be for all. We say we want to uphold the Constitution — to protect the Bumiputera, that Islam is the religion of the federation, Bahasa Malaysia and the sovereignty of the Malay Rulers.

“But we also must protect the rights of all citizens because when we talk about upholding universal rights we cannot be selective,” he said.

PKR and its allies in PH will seek to defend Selangor, Penang and Negeri Sembilan from the so-called “green wave” in local elections that is rumoured to be scheduled for June or July, but this time facing a real possibility that its rivals could make a dent in those states.

The Anwar government so far enjoys a 68 per cent approval rating, according to a recent survey from independent pollster Merdeka Center poll; but whether or not the 10th prime minister can sustain it could very much depend on his ability to visibly remedy issues like living cost pressure and allay Bumiputera grievances.

At today’s PKR congress, Anwar said his government has rolled out pro-people policies while his predecessors have been mired in corruption scandals.

"I told Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar to give our paddy farmers RM60 million, and later I said to him also give 30 per cent of Bernas' revenue to the farmers," he said, referring to tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary whose net worth has been valued by Forbes at US$1.6 billion this year.

"This is what we choose to do. What did they choose to do? You siphon money into your party account so they can splurge it on their families. Is this helping the Bumiputera? " Anwar added, likely a reference to PN chairman and eighth prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

"I believe we should carry this narrative...and we will use this principle to fight and God willing, we will win."

Source: Malay Mail

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/03/18/anwar-touts-pkr-as-real-champion-of-malays-as-party-faces-resurgent-opposition/60290

--------

Sanusi ‘unapologetic’ in defence, says Anwar in court filing

V Anbalagan

17 Mar 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: Anwar Ibrahim has rejected an explanation offered by Kedah Perikatan Nasional chief Sanusi Nor over remarks made against him in a campaign speech during the general election last November.

In a statement of reply filed over his defamation suit against Sanusi, Anwar said Sanusi’s defence showed he had still maintained an “unapologetic attitude” towards him.

Anwar said the defamation was premeditated, malicious and was borne out of mala fide intentions.

Describing Sanusi’s reasoning as “oxymoronic and farcical”, Anwar said he was now entitled to adduce evidence of Sanusi’s own character and turpitude at the hearing of the suit.

Anwar had filed a suit for defamation against Sanusi in December last year.

Last month, Sanusi had in his defence to the suit said that Anwar had no basis to be “thin-skinned”.

He said Anwar had during his own election campaign speeches subjected his political opponents to multiple accusations which were not merely critical but also “defamatory” and “extreme”.

“It would be unreasonable and surprising for a politician who regularly calls others ‘thieves’, ‘stupid’, etc., to suddenly become sensitive when his opponents comment and criticise him based on his background which is known to the public,” Sanusi’s defence said.

Sanusi also said his comments about Anwar were based on matters which were derived from public records going back to 1998 when Anwar was sacked from the government.

The Jeneri assemblyman is relying on the defences of justification, qualified privilege, and fair comment to defeat Anwar’s suit.

Filed in the Alor Setar High Court, Anwar’s suit seeks damages from Sanusi for damaging his reputation.

Sanusi is alleged to have made his remarks on Nov 13 last year, six days before polling day for GE15.

He was speaking in support of PN’s Ahmad Faizal Azumu, whom Anwar eventually defeated in the contest for the Tambun parliamentary seat.

The speech was reported widely in the media. It was also captured on video and posted on Facebook.

Anwar’s statement of claim alleged that Sanusi’s remarks implied Anwar had abused his powers as an MP, was deceitful, a traitor, a hypocrite, and not a good Muslim.

Anwar said the previous Yang di-Pertuan Agong had on June 16, 2018 granted him a full pardon of his three convictions – one for abuse of power and two for sodomy – citing a “miscarriage of justice”.

He said the pardon was also granted on the basis that there was a conspiracy to destroy his character.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/03/17/sanusi-unapologetic-in-defence-says-anwar-in-court-filing/

--------

 

South Asia

 

ISIS Hideouts Targeted in Balkh Province, Mujahid Says

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

March 18, 2023

The Islamic Emirate spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said that Taliban security forces targeted ISIS hideouts in the fifth, sixth and eighth areas of Mazar-e-Sharif province, and described it as a substantial strike against insurgents.

Mr. Mujahid on Saturday wrote on Twitter that Taliban security forces launched special operations against the ISIS militants in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital city of Balk province.

The operation continued until late Friday night, as a result several ISIS fighters died and one Islamic Emirate security personnel sustained an injury, Mujahid said. 

Additionally, local sources reported a clash between Taliban security forces and anti-government militants in the Dashte Shor area of Mazar-e-Sharif. 

With the arrival of spring, ISIS fighters have increased their attack throughout Afghanistan, particularly in northern provinces. Militants of the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) claimed responsibility for the attack on the Tabyan Cultural Center, which resulted in the death and injury of scores of journalists in Mazar-e-Sharif.

Prior to the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, ISIS presence was only seen in eastern Nangarhar and Khost provinces. However, the insurgent group quite rapidly expanded its operation to different parts of Afghanistan over the past 18 months.

According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), ISIS militants have been behind some brutal attacks in Kabul over the past months, including the attack on the Russian Embassy, the Diplomatic Mission of Pakistan, and a hotel that accommodated Chinese citizens.

Meanwhile, the insurgent group has also launched ruthless attacks on educational institutions and even targeted high-ranking Taliban officials in Kabul.

Source: Khaama Press

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.khaama.com/isis-hideouts-targeted-in-balkh-province-mujahid-says/

--------

ISIS in Afghanistan Capable of Overseas Attacks, Says US Commander

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

March 17, 2023

The Islamic State militants in Afghanistan will have the potential to attack American or Western interests outside the country in less than six months, the top commander for US forces in the Middle East said on Thursday.

Army General Michael Kurilla, who leads US Central Command, told the US Senate Armed Services Committee that Islamic State’s Khorasan Province, commonly known as ISIS-K, is rapidly growing in Afghanistan, with the potential to launch “overseas operations” in Europe and Asia.

The terrorist group will not be able to attack the US homeland in the near future, however, hundreds of Americans outside the country will face immediate threats from the insurgent group, according to Michael Kurilla.

Following the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, civil and military American officials said that the United States has the ability to target terrorist groups in Afghanistan from a distance.

The killing of Al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a counter-terrorism operation by the CIA in the Afghan capital city of Kabul in August 2021, justifies the US’s ability to target terrorist groups in Afghanistan and beyond.

Kurilla acknowledged that the quality of US intelligence has degraded since the pullout from Afghanistan, and conducting counterterrorism operations has become difficult but not impossible.  He said his command is working to close the intelligence gap using sophisticated technologies that can stay in the air for days and weeks to enhance gathering accurate intelligence on terror groups.

Since the return of the Taliban to power in August 2021, ISIS-K is responsible for killing and injuring at least 700 people in Afghanistan, according to Human Rights Watch. The terrorist group carried out four high-profile attacks from December-January 2022, hitting Afghanistan’s foreign ministry, the military section of Kabul’s airport, the Pakistani embassy, and a hotel housing Chinese guests, according to the nonprofit Counter Extremism Project.

Source: Khaama Press

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.khaama.com/isis-in-afghanistan-capable-of-overseas-attacks-says-us-commander/

--------

Taliban Stealing Humanitarian Aid, Starving Afghan People: Afghanistan Mission tells UN

Ajeyo Basu

March 17, 2023

Geneva: The legal advisor of the Afghanistan Mission in Geneva has accused the Taliban regime in Kabul of interfering with aid deliveries, leading to food shortages for sections of the Afghan population.

“The Taliban have also forced NGOs to register and provide information which has led to the interference with the equitable delivery of humanitarian aid,” Mohibullah Tayib told a United Nations (UN) meeting in Geneva.

The senior Afghan official also expressed concerns over the prevailing humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, which has been worsened due to shortages of food and medicines and extreme weather conditions.

However, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan – the official name by which the Taliban rulers of Kabul call themselves – denied the charges and claimed that aid is being delivered to all sections of Afghan society with transparency.

“The Islamic Emirate has no interference in humanitarian aid delivery. We are trying to distribute the aid to the vulnerable people and ensure transparency in delivering the aid,” Abdul Latif Nazari, the deputy Minister of Economy of Afghanistan’s Taliban regime, was quoted as saying by the media.

Source: Firstpost

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.firstpost.com/world/taliban-stealing-humanitarian-aid-starving-afghan-people-afghanistan-mission-tells-un-12308432.html

--------

 

Pakistan

 

Maryam calls on govt to treat PTI as ‘terrorist organisation’

March 17, 2023

PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif on Friday called on the coalition government to treat the PTI as a “terrorist organisation”.

“The way the government, the state deals with a banned organisation, a terrorist organisation, Imran Khan should be dealt with in the same way. Thinking of it (PTI) as a political party and dealing with it as a political party needs to end,” she said.

She said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan was now amenable for talks with the government after all his tactics had failed. “The government should deal with them in the same way it deals with terrorists.”

She made the remarks during a fiery press conference in Lahore in which she lashed out at the ex-premier for “openly revolting against the state”.

The PML-N leader’s comments come as Imran has been resisting arrest in the Toshakhana case and is holed up inside his Zaman Park residence surrounded by hundreds of supporters, who have fought “pitched battles” with the police and Rangers.

“After the foreign funding case, I have no doubt that he (Imran) was launched to spread civil unrest and anarchy in Pakistan,” Maryam said.

“What do terrorists do when they are planning to carry out terrorism? They hide in caves and pass orders from there.

“In political and democratic movements […] we have always seen that political leaders or the party head leads from the front. He is at the front and the people come out behind him.”

She said that only in terrorists organisations were orders given “from a cave”, adding that the same was happening at Zaman Park.

“Statements are being given from the Zaman Park bunker,” she said, adding that people were also being given orders to throw petrol bombs.

“Where did the petrol come from? Where did the petrol bombs come from? Where did the technology for making petrol bombs come from? Have you ever seen petrol bombs in the hands of a political party?”

Maryam alleged that Imran had pitted the police forces of two provinces against each, adding that members of banned organisations were also present outside Zaman Park.

“The way in which terrorist organisations tell people to wear suicide jackets and carry out suicide attacks, in the same way he is calling on people to attack the state with the promise of a [party] ticket. It is the same thing.”

She further said that the state appeared to be on the back foot as it did not want bloodshed and valued the lives of citizens. She said that the state had to “look after everyone”.

“But yes, now the state will have to sit together with the country’s institutions and remove the label of a political party from it (PTI). It should be dealt with as a banned organisation […] and a terrorist organisation.

“If this doesn’t happen, then a huge question mark will arise on this government.”

During the press conference, Maryam was also asked about why she only blamed ex-spymaster retired Lt Gen Faiz Hameed and not former army chief retired Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa for ousting her father Nawaz Sharif.

Source: Dawn

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1742708/maryam-calls-on-govt-to-treat-pti-as-terrorist-organisation

--------

Imran Khan to appear before LHC ahead of graft case hearing in Islamabad court

Mar 17, 2023

LAHORE: Ousted premier Imran Khan will appear before a Pakistani court here on Friday and provide an assurance that he was ready to present himself on Saturday before the judge handling a corruption case against him.

Khan, the 70-year-old Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief, has been resisting arrest in the Toshakhana case and is holed up inside his Zaman Park residence here surrounded by hundreds of his supporters, who have fought pitched battles with the police and Rangers over the past few days.

“Imran Khan will come to the Lahore High Court himself and assure the judge that he is ready to go to the Islamabad court,” PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry told media persons on Friday, adding that “an undertaking has also been given to the court”.

Additional District and Sessions Judge in Islamabad Zafar Iqbal had re-issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Khan on February 28 and directed the capital city police to bring him to court by March 18.

While hearing the case, the judge remarked that Khan should surrender unconditionally before seeking any favour from the court.

Khan has skipped several hearings in the case.

Judge Iqbal on Monday re-issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Khan and directed the police to bring him to court by March 18.

However, when the police reached Khan's Zaman Park residence in Lahore to arrest him on Tuesday, they were met with resistance, leading to two-day pitched battles between PTI supporters and law enforcement agencies. The clashes ultimately subsided after the courts intervened on Wednesday.

Ahead of the hearing in LHC on Friday, Chaudhry tweeted that both parties had “agreed to resolve the issues” and the agreed solution will be presented in court.

Khan has been 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.

Established in 1974, the Toshakhana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats, and officials by heads of other governments and states and foreign dignitaries.

According to Khan, he was facing over 80 different cases in various courts across Pakistan.

Khan was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China, and Afghanistan.

Source: Times Of India

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/imran-khan-to-appear-before-lhc-ahead-of-graft-case-hearing-in-islamabad-court/articleshow/98732422.cms

--------

Pakistan court to decide if police can move to arrest Imran Khan

Mar 17, 2023

LAHORE, PAKISTAN: Scores of supporters of Imran Khan barricaded his home on Friday to protect him as the former Pakistani prime minister waited to hear a ruling on whether security forces could launch an operation to arrest him for failing to show up in court.

Ahead of the court decision, a tense calm prevailed in Khan's Lahore neighbourhood which earlier this week was the scene of pitched battles between hundreds of supporters and security forces that had tried to force the former international cricketer to attend a hearing in a case in which he is accused of selling state gifts given to him while he was prime minister.

Khan denies the charges.

Even though there was no police presence on Friday, witnesses said Khan's supporters, armed with batons and iron rods, remained stationed outside his home.

Khan's aide Fawad Chadhury said his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, had filed another plea on Friday at the Islamabad high court to suspend the warrant after a lower court rejected a similar plea a day earlier.

"Our supporters are outside Imran Khan's house but I don't think matters will become extreme," he added.

Police are waiting for the court ruling on the warrant before taking any action, the provincial government's information minister Amir Mir said.

The violence on Tuesday and Wednesday, in which protesters hurled petrol bombs and security forces used tear gas and water cannon, had raised fears of a new political stand-off in nuclear-armed Pakistan, which is already grappling with an economic crisis.

The arrest warrant was issued by a court in Islamabad when Khan, 70, failed to appear before it over charges that he unlawfully sold state gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries when he was prime minister from 2018 to 2022.

The Election Commission of Pakistan had found him guilty and barred Khan from holding public office for one parliamentary term.

Khan has said he was willing to submit a written undertaking that he would voluntarily appear before the court on Saturday, but the court said such an undertaking was insufficient. It was unclear whether the court hearing on Friday would take this undertaking into consideration.

The legal proceedings against Khan began after he was ousted from office in a parliamentary vote early last year. Since then, he has been demanding a snap election and holding nationwide protests, and was shot and wounded in one of those rallies.

Source: Times Of India

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-court-to-decide-if-police-can-move-to-arrest-imran-khan/articleshow/98725910.cms

--------

‘Mastermind, handler’ of Peshawar mosque attack traced; TTP faction involved in blast: KP police

Sirajuddin

March 17, 2023

The Additional Inspector General of Police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Shaukat Abbas, said on Friday that the Counter Terrorism Department has apprehended a key suspect linked to the Peshawar mosque bombing that killed dozens in January as he attributed the attack to a splinter faction of the proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

On Jan 30, a powerful explosion ripped through a mosque in Peshawar’s Red Zone area where between 300 and 400 people — mostly police officers — had gathered for prayers. The suicide blast blew away the wall of the prayer hall and an inner roof and claimed 84 lives.

The outlawed TTP had initially claimed responsibility for the attack. However, it later distanced itself from it but sources earlier indicated that it might have been the handiwork of some local faction of the outlawed group.

Addressing a press conference today, the senior KP police official asserted that the TTP’s group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar was behind the incident. “The bomber who carried out the attack is known as ‘Qari’ in the TTP circles,” the official added.

He said that the suspect detained by law enforcement officials was a “backup suicide bomber” who would have been used as a secondary option during the attack in case the first bomber failed to detonate his vest.

The suspect was identified as Imtiaz Khan and was arrested by the CTD with the help of law enforcement agencies, according to the additional IG.

The senior official declined to identify the place from where the suspect was arrested. However, he reiterated that the alleged bomber got training in the Kunduz area of Afghanistan.

Furthermore, he mentioned that law enforcement had identified a “mastermind” and a “handler” associated with the bombers, and they were currently making efforts to apprehend them.

The mastermind was identified as Ghaffar alias Salman. “We have found that Ghaffar was in contact with the suicide bomber on the day of the incident. We are trying to apprehend the handler and mastermind of the attack.”

Pakistan has witnessed a surge in TTP violence since peace talks between the militant group and the government broke down in the latter half of last year. The TTP formally ended the ceasefire on November 28 and since then 58 attacks have been claimed by the group in which 170 people died.

Source: Dawn

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1742701/mastermind-handler-of-peshawar-mosque-attack-traced-ttp-faction-involved-in-blast-kp-police

--------
Punjab CTD nicks 11 suspected terrorists of banned outfits

March 17, 2023

LAHORE: The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) on Friday arrested 11 alleged terrorists of banned outfits during operations across Punjab.

CTD spokesman said 55 intelligence-based-operations (IBOs) were conducted in different districts of the province to effectively deal with any untoward incident of terrorism, in which 56 suspected persons were interrogated and 11 alleged terrorists were arrested with weapons, explosives and other prohibited materials.

He said among the arrested terrorists were three members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi namely Najibullah, Muhammad Tahir and Abdul Sami, one member of Tehreek Jafaria Muhammad Aftab, four members of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan namely Kaleemullah, Manzoor Khan, Niaz Muhammad and Muhammad Zubair, two members of Sepah Sahaba Pakistan identified as Muhammad Hussain Muawiya and Muhammad Daniyal and a proclaimed offender Muhammad Zubair.

Source: Pakistan Today

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/03/17/punjab-ctd-nicks-11-suspected-terrorists-of-banned-outfits/

--------

 

Mideast

 

Tally shows 100 killed in Israeli-Palestinian conflict this year

18 March ,2023

Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian Friday in what the army described as an attempted “stabbing attack,” bringing the number of people killed in the conflict this year to 100.

The Palestinian health ministry announced the death of Yazan Omar Jamil Khasib, 23, who died “after the occupation (Israel) opened fire on him at the northern entrance of al-Bireh” city near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli army said “soldiers spotted a suspect and asked him to identify himself. The suspect drew a knife and approached the forces who responded by opening fire.”

“The assailant was neutralized,” the army said in a statement, adding that the incident took place close to Beitin, a Palestinian village near al-Bireh.

No military personnel were injured in the incident, it added.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967.

Since the start of the year, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of 86 Palestinian militants and civilians, including children.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/18/Tally-shows-100-killed-in-Israeli-Palestinian-conflict-this-year

--------

Turkey’s parliament will begin ratifying Finland's NATO bid, but not that of Sweden

17 March ,2023

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey’s parliament will begin ratifying Finland's NATO bid, but not that of Sweden, removing the biggest remaining hurdle to enlarging the Western defense alliance as war continues to rage in Ukraine.

Speaking in Ankara alongside Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto, Erdogan said Helsinki won Turkey’s blessing after taking concrete steps to keep its promises to crack down on what it sees as terrorists and to free up defense exports.

Ankara will continue discussions with Stockholm on terrorism-related issues and Sweden’s NATO membership bid would depend directly on measures taken, he added.

The parliaments of all 30 NATO members must ratify newcomers.

“We have decided to initiate the ratification of Finland’s accession process to NATO in our parliament,” Erdogan told reporters after meeting with Niinisto, adding he hoped parliament would endorse the bid before May 14 elections.

Niinisto said he welcomed the decision and called it “very important” for Finland, which shares a long border with Russia.

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland applied last year to join the trans-Atlantic pact but faced unexpected objections from Turkey. Ankara says Stockholm harbors members of terrorist groups, a charge Sweden denies.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/17/Turkey-s-Erdogan-agrees-to-approve-Finland-s-NATO-membership-application

--------

Iran executes Kurdish ‘political prisoner’: Rights groups

17 March ,2023

Iran on Friday executed a Kurdish man viewed as a political prisoner by activists for membership of an outlawed group, rights groups said.

Mohayyedin Ebrahimi was hanged at dawn at Urmia prison in northwestern Iran, the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) and Hengaw rights groups said in separate statements.

Five other men were also executed on drug-related charges at Urmia on Friday morning, the groups added.

Ebrahimi, arrested in 2017 and sentenced to death in 2018, was accused of involvement in the Kurdish Democratic Party, a banned group which has waged an armed struggle for self-determination of Iran’s Kurdish populated region.

Ebrahimi denied the charges, with rights groups saying that he had only been working as a porter carrying goods from Iraq.

Both IHR and Hengaw described him as a “political prisoner.”

IHR said a protest took place outside the doors of Urmia prison late on Thursday after it became apparent his execution could be imminent, and his son was arrested.

Hengaw said Ebrahimi’s family was initially told he was moving to another prison after the sentence was suspended, only to be called to collect the body.

Meanwhile another convict was hanged on Thursday in the prison of Khorramabad in western Iran for the murder of a policeman, the official IRNA news agency said.

The hangings come as alarm intensifies over the high numbers of executions in Iran, which has also faced strong international condemnation over its crackdown on a protest movement that erupted in September.

Iran has executed four people over the protests, sparked by the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who had been arrested for allegedly violating the strict dress rule for women.

Rights groups have warned that executions on all kinds of charges are on the rise, arguing this seeks to intimidate society into not protesting.

According to IHR, at least 144 people have been executed this year.

IHR director Mahmood Amiry Moghaddam described those executed “as victims of the government’s execution machine, whose purpose is only to intimidate people and prevent protests.”

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/17/Iran-executes-Kurdish-political-prisoner-Rights-groups

--------

Turkish foreign minister to head to Egypt after a decade of tension

17 March ,2023

Turkey’s foreign minister will travel to Cairo on Saturday in a further sign of thawing relations a decade after diplomatic links were cut by the overthrow of Egypt’s then president and Ankara’s ally Mohamed Mursi.

The visit by Mevlut Cavusoglu will be the first time Turkey has sent its top diplomat there since Egypt’s army chief, now president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the ousting of Mursi in July 2013.

It comes two weeks after Cavusoglu’s Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shourky, visited Turkey to show solidarity after the massive earthquakes that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

“All aspects of our bilateral relations will be discussed, and views will be exchanged on regional and international issues,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said.

The visit “inaugurates a path for restoring normal relationships between the two countries,” Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a simultaneous statement.

The visit would launch a “deep dialogue” aiming to reach “a mutual understanding that achieves both countries’ interests,” the Egyptian ministry’s spokesperson added.

Mursi, a senior figure in the Muslim Brotherhood who died in 2019, was supported by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Party.

There have been signs of a growing rapprochement between Turkey and Egypt in recent months.

Sisi and Erdogan shook hands during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

In the wake of the deadly earthquakes last month, Sisi and Erdogan spoke on the phone, and Egypt’s Shoukry visited Turkey on Feb. 27, marking another first in a decade.

After visiting earthquake-hit areas, Turkey’s Cavusoglu said he could visit Egypt soon, and that Erdogan and Sisi could meet “either in Turkey or Egypt” after that.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/17/Turkish-foreign-minister-to-head-to-Egypt-marking-first-visit-since-a-decade

--------

Israel arrests two teenagers for arson attack on mosque

MOHAMMED NAJIB

March 17, 2023

RAMALLAH: Two teenagers from Tel Aviv have been arrested for firebombing the Sayedna Ali Mosque in Herzliya in January.

Israel’s internal security service Shin Bet said on Friday that Liad Ohana, 19, and a 16-year-old boy, who was not named, had been indicted on multiple charges, including committing terrorist acts, arson and the use of weapons for terrorist purposes.

It said the pair had also initially planned to lynch an Arab citizen, “but they abandoned the idea and decided to attack a mosque.”

The statement said there had been an increase in nationalism in the wake of the terrorist attacks by settlers in Hawara in February, which “constitutes a threat to the state’s security.”

“During the investigation conducted by the Shin Bet, it became clear that the two suspects were involved in the crime attributed to them and the evidence collected revealed that the attempt to burn the mosque was motivated by nationalism,” Shin Bet said.

It added that after looking at mosques in the Tel Aviv area, the teenagers decided to target one in the abandoned village of Haram, near the city of Herzliya.

According to the arrest request submitted by the public prosecution to the court, the two suspects manufactured “incendiary Molotov cocktails to implement the plan to arson the mosque.”

“If the defendants’ plan had been fully implemented and the mosque caught fire, this would have led to an escalation of severe acts of violence in Israeli society,” Shin Bet said.

Jalal Banna, a political analyst, told Arab News that statements made by Israel’s Internal Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich had emboldened Jewish extremists to commit terrorist attacks against Arabs.

“This gives them legitimacy to take revenge on the Arabs and it becomes part of the policy of the Israeli government that the extremists are leading,” he said.

Banna referred to a petition submitted by hawkish deputies from the Knesset on Thursday to Defense Minister Yoav Galant demanding the release of Jewish extremists who burned Palestinian homes and vehicles in Hawara on Feb. 26.

Israeli Arabs were living in fear of retaliation during the upcoming month of Ramadan, he said.

Yousef Jabarin, a former Arab member of the Israeli parliament, told Arab News that the comments made by Ben-Gvir and Smotrich against Arabs had encouraged Jewish extremists to carry out terrorist acts with impunity.

Source: Arab News

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2270531/middle-east

--------

Young Palestinian man killed in West Bank as Israel’s atrocities continue unabated

18 March 2023

Israeli forces have killed a young Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank amid simmering tensions as the Tel Aviv regime have intensified crackdown on growing armed Palestinian resistance.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced the death of Yazan Omar Jamil Khasib, 23, who died “after the occupation [Israeli forces] opened fire on him at the northern entrance of al-Bireh” city near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, on Friday.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that he was arrested in critical condition by Israeli soldiers, only to succumb to his serious gunshot wounds and pronounced dead a few minutes later. 

Palestinian ambulance and medical staff were denied access by the Israeli army to the scene, where the young man was first reported wounded.

Khasib's body was held by Israeli occupation military force for two hours, before it was turned over to the Palestinian side.

The Israeli army later asserted in a statement that its forces “spotted a suspect and asked him to identify himself”. It further claimed that the man then drew a knife and Israeli troops opened fire and “neutralized” him.

It added the killing took place close to Beitin, a Palestinian village near al-Bireh. None of the Israeli forces was harmed in the purported incident.

Since the start of this year, at least 88 Palestinians, including 17 children and one woman, have been killed by Israeli forces, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Jenin recorded the highest number of fatalities with 35 victims, followed by Nablus with 21.

Seven Palestinians were also shot and killed by Israeli military forces in al-Khalil, and another six lost lives in al-Quds. The rest of the Palestinians were fatally shot in the cities of Ariha, Qalqilya, Ramallah, al-Bireh, Bethlehem, Salfit and Tubas as well as the besieged Gaza Strip.

EU calls for immediate probe into Israel’s killing of Palestinian teen in Jenin

The European Union called for an immediate investigation into the murder of 16-year-old Palestinian teenager Omar Awadin by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin a day earlier.

In a tweet, the bloc called for a prompt and transparent investigation into the killing, affirming that children enjoy special protection under international law.

Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.

Most of the raids have focused on Nablus and Jenin, where Israeli forces have been trying to stifle a growing Palestinian resistance in the occupied cities.

Source: Press TV

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/18/700063/Israeli-forces-shoot-dead-Palestinian-man-in-latest-bloodshed-in-occupied-West-Bank

--------

 

North America

 

US to send Islamic terrorists to Ukraine, Syria's Assad tells Russian media

By BOAZ EDIDIN

MARCH 17, 2023

The United States plans to send Islamic terrorists from Syria to Ukraine to aid in the war against Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Russian state-owned media RIA Novosti.

On Wednesday, Assad met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since the Ukraine-Russia War began to discuss Syria and Russia’s political, economic, and military relationships. RIA spoke to Assad after the meeting about the situation in Ukraine and the United States' presence in Europe and the Middle East.

Both the interviewer from RIA and Assad accused the US of harboring terrorists and manipulating the war for its own benefit.

"We don't have proof,” said Assad when asked whether the US is transferring militants into Ukraine. “But it's quite expected...the US is moving terrorists from one place to another, in addition to the terrorists moving on their own.”

The militants he accuses the US of enlisting are “Islamic terrorists,” he says, who hide behind the veil of religion. Although there are no religious motives associated with the war in Ukraine, Assad insists that he knows the purported terrorists are there based on videos he has seen online.

“Judging by the videos circulating on the Internet, they are present there,” Assad said. “They didn't go there because of the idea of jihad. It is certain that someone abandoned these terrorists, and undoubtedly this happened under the patronage of the United States and its agents from Western countries.

"This is a typical topic that happens all the time and is not connected with either Syria or Ukraine, it is connected with the mechanism of action of America and Western countries in the issue of using terrorism as an agent in their wars. Naturally, there are terrorists who were transferred from other regions, including from Syria, in order to fight Russia in Ukraine," he told RIA.

Russia pushes claims of American recruitment of militants

RIA reported that, according to their sources, the CIA has been recruiting militants from Kurdish-controlled camps in northeastern Syria for shipment to Ukraine.

According to Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, the CIA recruited 90 militants in June and 60 in January, including several members of Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups affiliated with the Islamic State.

RIA claims that the militants were transferred to America’s Al-Tanf base in Syria to receive formal training in the execution of terror attacks at the behest of the US military against foreign government officials, military personnel, and civilians.

In addition to claiming that the US is using terrorists to manipulate the war in Ukraine, RIA reported that the US is guilty of supplying terrorists in Syria with advanced weapons. When asked about America’s sending arms to the terrorists that oppose his regime, Assad responded: “It will be only a small fraction of what will come to these terrorist groups directly from the United States.”

“The United States provided them with modern advanced air defense missiles; the terrorists have all the satellites,” he continued. “What does the leak of small stocks of weapons mean? Nothing. They have everything, they are an alternative army to the regular army of the United States and other NATO member states.”

Source: J Post

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.jpost.com/international/article-734642

--------

US welcomes Türkiye's decision to ratify Finland's NATO bid in parliament

Rabia Iclal Turan 

17.03.2023

WASHINGTON

The US Friday welcomed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's announcement to move ahead with Finland's NATO membership bid, the White House said.

"The United States welcomes President Erdogan’s announcement that he will send Finland’s NATO accession protocols to the Turkish Parliament and looks forward to the prompt conclusion of that process," National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

"We encourage Türkiye to quickly ratify Sweden’s accession protocols as well. In addition, we urge Hungary to conclude its ratification process for both Finland and Sweden without delay," he added.

Noting that Sweden and Finland are both "strong, capable partners that share NATO’s values," he said that they will "strengthen" the Alliance and contribute to European security.

"The United States believes that both countries should become members of NATO as soon as possible," he added.

Türkiye on Friday said it is approving the process of Finland's NATO membership protocol in its parliament.

Noting that Finland has fulfilled Türkiye's security concerns, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at a joint press conference with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto in Ankara, said: "We have decided to launch the approval process of Finland's NATO membership protocol in our Parliament.”

On Sweden's process, however, Erdogan said the process "will be directly linked to the concrete steps which Sweden will take."

Abandoning decades of military non-alignment, Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO last May.

However, Türkiye, a longstanding NATO member, asked the two Nordic states to take concrete action against terror groups like the PKK and FETO.

In June, Finland, and Sweden signed a memorandum with Türkiye to address Ankara’s security concerns, and senior diplomats and officials from the three countries have held various meetings since then to discuss the implementation of the trilateral agreement.

Among the NATO members states, only Hungary and Türkiye have not yet ratified Sweden's and Finland's applications for inclusion in NATO.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-welcomes-turkiyes-decision-to-ratify-finlands-nato-bid-in-parliament/2848853

--------

 

Europe

 

Greece violates principle of reciprocity by keeping several mosques closed: Experts

Halil Ibrahim Medet

17.03.2023

ISTANBUL

Greece's move to use Ottoman-era mosques for different purposes by keeping them closed to worship is seen as a violation of the principle of reciprocity that secures the freedom of religion, according to an expert.

Evaluating the current status of historic mosques in Greece, Sabri Can Sannav from the History Department at Trakya University told Anadolu that the Mecidiye Mosque was converted into the Byzantine Museum of Chios in 1912 when the island was under the control of Greece.

Slamming Greece for its practice of shutting down historic mosques in the country dating back to Ottoman times, Sannav said: "Mecidiye Mosque underwent a great change and lost its historical character to a significant extent," and added that the museum now hosts Christian artifacts and Muslim and Jewish gravestones.

Also, Sannav said the Mecidiye Mosque is "almost the only Ottoman structure on the island that has survived in its entirety."

Underlying the contrast between religious freedom in Türkiye and Greece, he said Muslims cannot worship in historic mosques on Chios, while the Christian community is free to perform religious services in churches on the coast of Izmir's Cesme district.

"Today, non-Muslims can freely pray in their own religious establishments in many parts of our country. Christians can come to Cesme and pray freely in churches. Why can't Muslims pray in Mecidiye Mosque or other mosques on Chios?" he said.

In the last 20 years, Türkiye has opened approximately 84 Greek-Orthodox churches, dating back to the 19th century in Edirne, Cesme, Alacati, Ordu, Gemlik, and other places, which do not even have a congregation, to worship on certain days, he noted.

The Suleymaniye Mosque on Rhodes is also closed to worship," he added, saying: "Today, as in the past, Greece failed to adhere to reciprocity in securing the religious rights of the Muslim community."

Meanwhile, an associate professor of architecture from Marmara University, Neval Konuk, said: "We have four imperial Ottoman mosques standing on Chios."

"One of them, the Bayrakli Mosque, is used as a warehouse for an electrical appliance repair shop. Mecidiye Mosque was converted into a museum immediately after the occupation and is still used as a museum today, while Osmaniye Mosque and Orhaniye Mosque are used forr storage of artifacts from archaeological excavations," Konuk said.

Architectural works built during the Ottoman period in Greece are not registered as Ottoman or Turkish works but as Muslim architecture, Konuk said, adding that Greece follows a policy of "ignoring Ottoman-Turkish structures within its borders."

Greece ignores Ottoman buildings constructed in the period after the 1821 Greek uprising against the Ottomans, while there were 8,500 buildings built during the Ottoman rule in the Greek records, she stressed.

According to Konuk's field research, around 20,000 structures dating back to the Ottoman era were present in Greece despite the war, deliberate policies of demolition, and development plans.

Criticizing Greece for its unnatural restoration of Ottoman-era buildings that "erases traces of the original purpose of buildings," she said some are restored in a way to make them resemble Byzantine architecture.

Despite the Ottoman rule from 1566 to 1912 in Chios, there was only an Ottoman cemetery named Karaali Cemetery, while tombstones belonging to Muslims in the Ottoman period collected from other cemeteries were randomly placed in areas serving as an open-air exhibition museum, she said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/greece-violates-principle-of-reciprocity-by-keeping-several-mosques-closed-experts/2848386

--------

Pro-Palestinian group launches campaign to check Israeli products in Ramadan across UK mosques

March 18, 2023

LONDON: More than 20,000 leaflets urging Muslims to #CheckTheLabel and boycott Israel are being distributed at mosques across the UK, coinciding with the last Friday before the fasting holy month of Ramadan, organizers said on Friday.

The initiative is part of a campaign launched by the UK-based Friends of Al-Aqsa — concerned with defending the human rights of Palestinians and protecting the Al-Aqsa sanctuary — to “Check The Label,” and is calling on Muslims in the UK and Europe not to break their fasts with the “taste of apartheid.”

The boycott campaign has gained huge momentum in the run-up to Ramadan this year, with press coverage from the UK to Morocco and Malaysia, FOA said in a statement.

“Running since the early 2010s, #CheckTheLabel has had an unprecedented impact on the British public’s understanding of the connection between the products they buy and Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine (and) many individuals have become ethical consumers who avoid buying Israeli produce as a result of this campaign,” FOA said.

“This Ramadan, it’s more important than ever that we boycott Israel,” said Shamiul Joarder, head of public affairs at FOA. “By checking the label and avoiding Israeli dates, we can send a clear message: We won’t give our money to an apartheid state that breaks international law and kills Palestinian children.”

The organization says that Israel has killed at least 83 Palestinians in the first 76 days of 2023, including at least 16 children.

Source: Arab News

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2270806/middle-east

--------

France refuses to comment on Iraq crash of helicopter carrying PKK terrorists

Umit Donmez 

17.03.2023

PARIS

France’s Foreign Ministry on Friday refused to comment on the crash of a helicopter in northern Iraq that was carrying PKK terrorists.

The chopper, a Eurocopter AS350, crashed in Iraq’s Duhok region on Wednesday, and a day later Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) said some of those on board were members of the PKK terrorist organization.

The Eurocopter AS350 helicopter, also known as "Squirrel", was a light engine developed and produced by French companies.

In response to an Anadolu query about the incident, the French Foreign Ministry said: “We have no comment.”

The KRG earlier said it had contacted the Iraqi government, US-led international coalition forces and Türkiye regarding the crash in Duhok.

It said the helicopter did not belong to the PKK terrorist group, but a number of its members were on board the aircraft.

Initial findings indicated that it was a Eurocopter AS350 helicopter and some of the crash casualties happened to be PKK terrorists.

A detailed investigation is underway to ascertain who owned the helicopter.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/france-refuses-to-comment-on-iraq-crash-of-helicopter-carrying-pkk-terrorists/2848789

--------

 

Arab World

 

European team ends questioning Lebanon’s Riad Salameh, to return in April

17 March ,2023

The European legal team on Friday wrapped up two days of questioning of Lebanon’s Central Bank chief in Beirut in a money-laundering probe linked to the governor, officials said.

Several European countries are investigating Gov. Riad Salameh, who in recent years has been charged with corruption-related crimes, in a case of money laundering of some $330 million. Salameh, 72, has been the head of Lebanon’s Central Bank since 1993.

He was questioned for two hours on Friday and six hours the day before, according to Lebanese judicial officials. The European delegation — with representatives from France, Germany, and Luxembourg — questioned Salameh through a Lebanese judge, acting as a go-between. Under Lebanese laws, the representatives cannot directly question Salameh.

On Thursday, Salameh was questioned about an apartment in Paris rented by Lebanon’s Central Bank and Forry Associates Ltd, a brokerage firm owned by Salameh’s brother, Raja Salameh, the officials told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the probe proceedings.

The questions mostly focused on the Central Bank, its assets and investments outside Lebanon, the officials added.

Salameh issued a statement later saying he responded to the questions out of respect to the law, adding that he was not questioned “as a suspect or accused.” He also denounced what he described as “bad intentions” against him.

“Nations are not built on lies,” said Salameh, who has repeatedly denied corruption charges.

The European team set April 15 to start questioning Salameh’s brother and an associate, Marianne Hoayek, the officials also said.

Judge Helena Iskandar, who is representing the Lebanese state in the European questioning, charged on Wednesday Salameh, his brother and Hoayek with corruption.

In addition to the European probe, there are other legal proceedings against Salameh underway in Lebanon. In late February,

Beirut’s public prosecutor, Raja Hamoush, charged the same three suspects with corruption, including embezzling public funds, forgery, illicit enrichment, money-laundering and violation of tax laws.

Lebanon is grappling with the worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history. The economic meltdown that began in late 2019 is rooted in decades of corruption and mismanagement by the country’s political class. More than 75 percent of the tiny nation’s population of 6 million has been plunged into poverty.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/17/European-team-ends-questioning-Lebanon-s-Riad-Salameh-to-return-in-April

--------

Lebanon central bank chief denies financial misconduct

March 17, 2023

BEIRUT: Lebanese central bank governor Riad Salameh maintained his innocence Friday following a second day of questioning before European investigators in Beirut as part of a probe into his personal wealth.

Salameh, 72, is part of the Lebanese political elite widely blamed for a crushing economic crisis that began in late 2019 and which the World Bank has dubbed one of the worst in recent history.

He faces allegations of crimes including embezzlement in separate probes in Lebanon and abroad, with investigators examining the fortune he has amassed during three decades in the job.

Following a three-hour session Friday, Salameh released a statement saying he appeared as a witness and “not as a suspect or facing charges.”

“Funds from the Lebanese central bank were not transferred to my account,” he said in a statement, adding: “The transfers I made abroad, whatever the amount, were from my personal account.”

The European investigators are looking into allegations of financial misconduct, including possible money laundering and embezzlement.

In January, the European investigators interviewed banking officials in Beirut about the transfer of funds to countries where Salameh has significant assets.

They have also been examining the central bank’s ties to Forry Associates Ltd, a British Virgin Islands-registered company that listed Salameh’s brother as its beneficiary.

Forry is suspected of having brokered Lebanese treasury bonds and Eurobonds at a commission, which was then allegedly transferred to bank accounts abroad.

Salameh denied he profited from any commissions to the company.

He decried “ill intentions” against him and blamed an “ongoing media campaign” for his legal woes.

Thursday’s more than five-hour session at Beirut’s heavily guarded justice palace was the first time Salameh had appeared as part of the European investigation.

The hearing had been scheduled to begin on Wednesday but Salameh failed to show up, claiming it was in “conflict with national sovereignty,” an argument the judiciary rejected.

For procedural reasons, the European investigators submitted their questions to a Lebanese judge, who was then responsible for putting them to Salameh in their presence, a judicial source previously told AFP.

France, Germany and Luxembourg seized assets worth 120 million euros ($130 million) in March last year in a move linked to a French probe into Salameh’s personal wealth.

Salameh has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has rarely appeared before investigating judges, despite numerous complaints and summonses.

Last month, Lebanese authorities charged Salameh with embezzlement, money laundering and tax evasion as part of their own investigation.

Source: Arab News

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2270511/middle-east

--------

Syrian team provides relief for quake-affected dogs, cats in Idlib

17.03.2023

A Syrian team led by Muhammad Wattar, a citizen of Aleppo and founder of Ernesto's Sanctuary for Cats, is caring for dozens of cats and dogs injured in the earthquake that struck Idlib province in northwest Syria.

The earthquake that hit southern Türkiye on Feb. 6 also caused significant damage on the Syrian side, affecting animals as well as humans and structures.

Wattar and his crew quickly mobilized to assist animals affected by the quake, establishing search and rescue teams to retrieve animals from under the rubble in several areas, including Salqin, Jisr al-Shughur, Darkush, and Termanin in Idlib, as well as Atarib and Jandiris in Aleppo.

Thanks to their efforts, dozens of animals were saved and given the necessary health care.

Wattar and his associates helped about 2,200 animals, including 2,000 cats and 33 dogs, in a shelter affiliated with the association.

Speaking to Anadolu, Wattar explained that they rescued 60 cats and 10 dogs from under the debris and provided medical care to injured animals such as cows, sheep, and horses in pens.

He stated that they plan to establish new shelters for animals outside Idlib.

For his part, Ahmed Youssef, a veterinarian working with the association, said they collected stray animals in the areas most affected by the earthquake.

He further said that they are creating bicycles with toy wheels to help paralyzed and amputee animals walk and placing food for animals in certain areas heavily impacted by the earthquake.

More than 48,400 people were killed in Türkiye in the quakes on Feb. 6, according to official figures.

More than 13.5 million people in Türkiye have been affected by the powerful quakes that rocked 11 provinces, including Kahramanmaras, Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, Elazig, and Sanliurfa.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/syrian-team-provides-relief-for-quake-affected-dogs-cats-in-idlib/2848582

--------

EU's top diplomat calls for redoubling diplomatic efforts to solve conflict in Syria

Agnes Szucs

17.03.2023

The international community must “redouble its efforts” to reach a solution to the conflict in Syria, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said Thursday.

In a statement marking the 12th anniversary of protests leading to the Syrian civil war, Josep Borrell called on the international community to “redouble its efforts to reach a durable and comprehensive political solution for Syria.”

He said the EU continues to support the work of UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen for this purpose.

Borrell called the support of the Syrian people a “priority” for the EU, which is the largest provider of international aid to the country.

The EU will host a fundraiser Monday for the victims of last month’s earthquake in northern Syria and will organize the 7th Syria donors' conference on June 15, he said.

At the same time, Borrell ruled out the normalization of relations with the Assad regime, which is responsible for the “brutal repression” of its own people.

“Huge human rights abuses and grave violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict continue to be perpetrated, in particular by the Syrian regime and its allies,” he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/eus-top-diplomat-calls-for-redoubling-diplomatic-efforts-to-solve-conflict-in-syria/2847980

--------

Assad: War on Syria proved West acts against own claims on democracy

17 March 2023

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the years-long foreign-backed war in his country has proven that everything the West does runs counter to what it claims about democracy and humanitarian principles.

Assad made the remark in an interview with Channel One Russia on Friday, saying the West attempts to “transform other countries into subordinate states” by portraying itself as an advocate of pro-democracy and pro-freedom movements.

“The war in Syria has proven that the West will not change and seeks to transform other countries into subordinate states that meet its conditions, even at the expense of the interests of the peoples,” the Syrian president said.

“Freedom is a beautiful term, but this freedom could be that of a person to kill, destroy and do everything bad, and democracy for the West is to be an agent and subservient to them.”

Assad said Western countries seek to transform smaller or weaker countries into “vassal states” to satisfy their needs even at the expense of the interests of these nations.

He said certain Western governments tried to persuade him to resign during the foreign-sponsored war but they later realized that Syria “fully understands Western policy.”

“During the war, certain Western governments tried to persuade me to resign the presidency in exchange for full immunity,” the Syrian president said, without providing any further details and naming any countries.

“They gave up on these attempts a long time ago and understood that Syria fully understands Western policy, that it no longer fools us.”

The US and its allies invaded Syria in 2014 under the pretext of fighting Daesh. The Takfiri terrorist group had emerged as Washington was running out of excuses to extend its regional meddling or enlarge it in scale.

The US-led coalition sustains its illegal presence on the Arab country's soil, although Damascus and its allies defeated Daesh in late 2017.

Damascus has repeatedly urged the United Nations Security Council to end the US-led military presence in the country, saying that illegal US deployment is tantamount to occupation and aimed at plundering Syria’s natural resources.

Former US President Donald Trump admitted on several occasions that American forces were in the Arab country for its oil wealth.

‘Syria’s interests must be taken into account for Turkey meeting’

Elsewhere in the interview, Assad pointed to a potential meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and said the interests of the Syrian people must be taken into account before any meeting with Ankara.

Assad said contacts between Syria and Turkey had started at the level of security and defense ministers, and a meeting at the level of deputy foreign ministers was under discussion.

“We can have a meeting at the level of foreign ministers, and the most important of these meetings is to achieve the interest of Syria, end the war and stop the bloodshed,” the Syrian president 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 conducted three major ground operations against United States-backed militants based in northern Syria.

The Turkish government accuses the militants, known as the People's Protection Units (YPG), of bearing ties with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) group, which has been fighting a hugely-deadly separatist war against Ankara for many decades.

Source: Press TV

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/17/700051/Syrian-President-Bashar-Assad-war-West-democracy-humanitarian-principles

--------

 

Africa

 

Tunisian president names one of his staunchest supporters as interior minister

March 18, 2023

TUNIS: Tunisian President Kais Saied named Kamal Feki, the former governor of Tunis, as his new interior minister on Friday, just hours after Taoufik Charfeddine resigned from the post, amid a crackdown of prominent opposition figures that has prompted international ire.

Tunisian interior minister Taoufik Charfeddine, a close aide of President Kais Saied, announced Friday he had resigned to spend more time with his three children following the death of his wife last year.

Charfeddine, 54, who had held his post since October 2021, told reporters he wished to thank the president for “his understanding and for allowing me to be relieved of my duties.”

“The time has come for me to dedicate myself to this responsibility she left me,” he said.

Replacing Charfeddine as interior minister is Kamal Feki, governor of Tunis since 2021 and also part of Saied’s inner circle.

A former lawyer, Charfeddine was a key figure in the election campaign that propelled the previously little-known Saied to the presidency in 2019.

After Saied froze parliament and sacked the then-government in a dramatic July 2021 move against the sole democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings, Charfeddine became a close adviser.

As the president pushed through sweeping changes to the country’s political system, concentrating near-total power in his office, Charfeddine was one of the most outspoken defenders of Saied’s power grab.

Saied’s office regularly released video footage of the two men’s meetings in the presidential palace.

During the wave of arrests that accompanied Saied’s power grab, Charfeddine held news conferences to defend the incarceration of opposition politicians.

When the vice president of the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, the largest in parliament before its dissolution by Saied, went on hunger strike to protest his detention, Charfeddine alleged that terrorism fears had forced the security forces to respond.

“There were fears of acts of terrorism targeting the country’s security and we had to act,” the minister said last year of the arrest of Noureddine Bhiri, a former justice minister.

Last month, Charfeddine was by Saied’s side as Tunisia faced an international outcry over a tirade by the president against illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.

“There is no question of allowing anyone in an illegal situation to stay in Tunisia,” the president said in one of his videotaped meetings with the minister.

“I will not allow the institutions of the state to be undermined or the demographic composition of Tunisia to be changed.”

The president’s speech two nights previously had triggered a wave of violence against African migrants and prompted several West African countries to organize repatriation flights for fearful nationals.

On March 8, more than 30 Tunisian non-governmental organizations demanded an apology from Charfeddine after he branded as “traitors” the president’s many critics in the private sector, the media and trade unions.

Source: Arab News

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2270881/middle-east

--------

Libya’s boxers recover from Qaddafi-era knockout

March 18, 2023

TRIPOLI: Omar Zlitni holds a decades-old, black-and-white photo of himself as a boxer in his prime, posing in shorts and a training vest before Libya’s then-dictator, Muammar Qaddafi, banned his beloved sport.

Boxing was “in his blood,” said the 63-year-old Tripoli resident who proudly keeps the image as his phone’s wallpaper.

In 1979, he was just 19 when boxing, along with wrestling and other combat sports, was banned by Qaddafi, who considered such contests a threat to his personality cult.

“We were a whole group. We were going to fight in Italy. And then, suddenly, they banned it. Why?” Zlitni said, with anger clouding his usually peaceful face.

“There were friendships and love; boxing was everything,” he said, adding he regretted their way of life had been taken away and that “everyone went his own way.”

Officially, authorities considered the sport too violent — despite Qaddafi’s regime being accused for more than 40 years of atrocities including terrorism, torture, massacres of civilians and targeted assassinations.

Following Libya’s 2011 revolution, in which Qaddafi was ousted and killed, Zlitni reunited with former fighters and worked to revive boxing, re-establishing the national federation through their “own efforts.”

Since then, Libyan boxers have shone in various competitions, modeling themselves after Malik Zinad, a light heavyweight fighter who found success after leaving the country for Europe.

Under a tin roof, in a Tripoli barn, young fighters spar in a dusty old ring. They are striving to be selected to compete in African qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Now a coach, Zlitni deplores the lack of support from authorities, pointing out the rudimentary equipment that he and other former boxers had to pay for out of their “own pockets.” But the sight of so many young people freely practicing the sport and “waving the flag of Libya” brings him “joy.”

A crowd of spectators seated on plastic chairs shout at a boxer parrying blows from his opponent: “Block!” “Come on!” “Again!”

One in particular stands out among the ringside crowd — Mountaha Touhami, one of few women boxers in the conservative country.

The self-declared “sports lover” said she was encouraged to get into the ring by her father, who had sought exile in the US because of the boxing ban.

“Among the girls of my generation, we did not know that others practiced,” the 25-year-old said, describing how she often trained in secret with a punching bag.

“Even here, people are surprised to see a woman,” she said, having come to the boxing gym to support a friend.

“But the fact of being a woman, child or adult, does not prevent you from playing sports.”

Other combat sports have reappeared and emerged in Libya since 2011. For Omar Bouhwiyah, an ardent kickboxer and Thai boxer, their existence provided the opportunity to develop new passions.

“These sports have allowed me to have more self-confidence, to remove negative energy, have a sense of responsibility and to socialize more,” he said.

A fan of action films, the 29-year-old said he first came across a Facebook group dedicated to kickboxing in his hometown of Benghazi in 2013.

Having gone on to win several competitions, including regional titles, Bouhwiyah now trains in a modern gym in Tripoli.

Dressed in gloves and shorts in Libya’s colors, he delivers strong punches and kicks to a punching bag, while filming the scene for his 14,000 followers on Instagram.

Source: Arab News

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2270726/middle-east

--------

URL:    https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/muslim-right-hindu-conservatives-lgbtqia/d/129352

 

New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomen in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomen In ArabIslamophobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism

Loading..

Loading..