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Islamic World News ( 27 March 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Muslims Inmates In Agra Jail Fast On Navratri, Hindus In RamzanIn A Display Of Communal Harmony

New Age Islam News Bureau

27 March 2023

Kolkata: A Muslim devotee offers prayers before breaking his day long fast during holy month of Ramadan, in Kolkata, Sunday, April 3, 2022. Islam's holiest month is the period of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts. (PTI Photo/Swapan Mahapatra)

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• Imran Khan Lobbies For Taliban’s Recognition, Asks The World To Recognize Them Before Asking For Human Rights

• Muslim Countries Express Outrage As Far-Right Extremists Burn Quran In Denmark During Ramadan

• Iran Raps European Female Ministers' Silence over French Police Violence Against Female Protesters

• Muslims Can Attend Weddings In Church, Says Selangor Sultan

 

India

• UP Rashtriya Bajrang Dal Men Object To Muslims Praying Taraweeh At Home; File Complaint

• Muslim Youth League Organises Torchlight Rally In Solidarity With Rahul Gandhi

• Amit Shah Justifies Scrapping 4% Muslim Reservation; Unveils Basaveshwara, Kempe Gowda

• Sensitise Police That Indian Muslims Are Indians; Learn From Telangana: Ex SC Judge

• Will restore scrapped 4% quota for Muslims in Karnataka when we come to power: Congress

• Shinde meets Raj Thackeray, assures action against illegal loudspeakers on mosques

• Jamiat to move court against Karnataka Muslim quota removal

• Madani to move court against Karnataka decision on Muslim quota

• Who is Indian fugitive and Islamic preacher Zakir Naik? Quotes from his 'Hindus love me' speech

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Pakistan

• Pakistani Sikh Community Continues Serving Food To Fasting Muslims During Ramazan

• Pakistan Hopes To Attend US-Led Summit Without ‘Irking’ China

• Nowruz An Opportunity To Create Regional, Cultural Synergies & Unity: ICCO Head

• Imran Khan unveils 10-point roadmap to revive cash-strapped Pakistan

• Pakistan President Arif Alvi acting at Imran Khan's behest: Shehbaz Sharif

• PTI to inform international community of crackdown

• Two ‘hired assassins’ held for killing cleric in Karachi

• In letter to CJP, JI chief demands suo moto notice over Karachi LG polls

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Europe

• What does it take to survive as a Muslim in France?

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Mideast

• ‘I Resign’: Israel’s Consul General In New York Quits, Says Cannot Serve Netanyahu

• Hamas condemns Israeli confiscation of Palestinian lands as Saudi, UAE rap settlements

• Mufti of al-Quds Condemns Assault On Worshipers In al-Aqsa Mosque

• Iran Denounces US Occupation of Syria, Bombing of Residential Areas

• Israel, UAE sign free trade pact into effect

• Houthis attack Yemeni forces in Shabwa amid militia’s escalating operations

• Tense Ramadan ahead for Palestinians as Israeli excesses continue

• Israeli settlers set fire to Palestinian home in West Bank

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Southeast Asia

• Muslims Can Get Free Drinks, Snacks From 60 Fairprice Outlets To Break Fast During Ramadan

• Malaysian mum reunites with unilaterally-converted kids whose religious freedom she won back

• After sultan’s call, PAS urges Muslims to uphold ban

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South Asia

• Islamic Emirate Calls for Removal of Members From UN Blacklist

• Islamic Emirate Pledges to Invest in Major Development Projects

• 8 Children Killed Due to Unexploded Ordnance in Afghanistan: UNICEF

• Afghan Security Forces Kill Key ISIS Fighter in Kabul

• Security Forces Discover ISIS Weaponry, Mine-making Centre in Northern Afghanistan

• Acting Minister of Refugees, Iranian Ambassador Discuss Afghan Refugees Problems in Kabul

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Arab World

• Kata’ib Hezbollah Warns US Of Direct Confrontation If Resistance Groups Targeted In Iraq

• Attacks on Iran-linked targets in Syria will draw prompt response, Tehran warns

• Gulf states appeal to US on Israeli minister’s Palestinian comments

• Researchers unearth 2,000 ram heads in Egypt temple

• Lebanon has two time zones amid daylight savings dispute between leaders

• Career guidance on the agenda at Saudi human resources fund, Diriyah workshop

• Iraqi group claims responsibility for US base attack in Syria

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Africa

• Tunisian Coast Guard Recovers 10 Dead As New Migrant Boat Sinks

• Burhan says Sudan’s army will be under leadership of civilian government

• Kenya's police chief bans opposition protests after riots

• Sudan leader says to build professional army under elected civilian authority

• Libya: Haftar's army chief arrives in Tripoli to hold military meetings

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North America

• US prepared to act 'forcefully' to protect personnel in Syria: Biden

• Damascus blasts US strikes on Dayr al-Zawr as cover-up to steal more oil in eastern Syria

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/muslims-agra-jail-navratri-hindus-ramzan-/d/129420

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Muslims Inmates In Agra Jail Fast On Navratri, Hindus In Ramzan In A Display Of Communal Harmony

26th March 2023

Kolkata: A Muslim devotee offers prayers before breaking his day long fast during holy month of Ramadan, in Kolkata, Sunday, April 3, 2022. Islam's holiest month is the period of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts. (PTI Photo/Swapan Mahapatra)

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Agra: In a display of communal harmony and brotherhood, some Muslim inmates at the Central Jail here joined their Hindu brethren to fast on Navratri — a gesture reciprocated by a few Hindu prisoners who observed ‘roza’ during Ramzan.

Chaitra Navratri, the nine-day Hindu celebration of the triumph of good over evil, started on March 22 while the Muslim holy month of Ramzan began the following day.

Radha Krishna Mishra, the deputy inspector general in-charge at Central Jail, told PTI, “Muslim inmates are observing fast for Navratri and also taking part in ‘bhajan (devotional songs)’ being organised at the temple on the premises.”

Pointing to the Hindu inmates observing roza, Mishra said, “It is a good concept where inmates from both the religions are generating a message of Hindu-Muslim unity.”

In a video released by the jail authorities, Naushad, an inmate, shared his views on fasting during Navratri.

“I kept a fast on the first day of Navratri and will keep one on the last day. In jail, we all live with unity and respect everyone’s religious sentiments.

“We take part in the bhajans organised at the temple and sing with the Hindu inmates.”

Alok Singh, the jailor, said the facility has 905 inmates. Of them, 17 Muslim inmates observed a fast on Navratri while 37 Hindus observed roza.

The jail administration has made arrangements for fruits and milk for inmates fasting for Navratri. For the inmates observing roza, the authorities have arranged for dates to break their fasts.

Since Friday, the jail authorities have also been organising ‘Bhagwat Katha’ for the prisoners. On March 31, a ‘bhandara’ will be organised.

“It brings positivity among the inmates and keeps them motivated,” Singh added.

Vartika Nanda, founder of TinkaTinka — a social organisation that works for the welfare of prison inmates — said jail is the perfect place for the exchange of religious festivals and rituals.

“When inmates from different religions take part in each other’s rituals, it is a perfect example of solidarity and mutual respect,” she said.

Source:Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/muslims-inmates-in-agra-jail-fast-on-navratri-hindus-in-ramzan-2555400/

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Imran Khan Lobbies For Taliban’s Recognition, Asks The World To Recognize Them Before Asking For Human Rights

By Fidel Rahmati

March 26, 2023

Imran Khan, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, said that the Taliban would not respect human rights, including women’s rights to education unless the world recognizes them.

In an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News on Thursday, Imran Khan, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, lobbed for the Taliban’s recognition and asked the world to recognize them before asking for human rights.

Imran khan said that the Taliban would not respond to the world’s demands to respect human rights, including reversing bans on women’s education and work, unless the international community recognizes their government.

“If you isolate them [Taliban], what influence are you going to have on them? If you mainstream and let them have a state, then talk about human rights. Right now, you push them on isolation; their money is frozen, so why would they listen to anyone?” he said.

He advised the Western countries that the Taliban should be part of the international community and then discuss human rights, women’s rights and girls’ education.

“My advice is to get them involved, give them a stake in the international community so that when you tell them to have girls educated, they will listen to you; right now, they are not,” he stated.

This is not the first time Imran Khan asked the international community to recognize the Taliban. Last year on February 15, he also asked the world to do so.

However, when he was asked about Pakistan’s position on the recognition of the Taliban, he said, “If Pakistan is the first to grant recognition, the international pressure will become too much for us as we try to turn our economy around,” said Imran Khan in an interview with French media outlet Le Figaro.

He also said that Pakistan would be isolated if it recognized the Taliban regime, “To be isolated by becoming the only state to recognize the Taliban regime would be the last thing we would want,” he added.

However, the condition for recognition of the Taliban regime is mentioned by the world community, as they reiterated “an inclusive government in Afghanistan”, respecting “human rights”, including “women’s rights”, and rights to education and work.

Imran Khan’s remarks came amid the human rights crisis in Afghanistan, including a ban on women’s education since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan.

However, the Taliban consistently reiterated their position. They said that their current policies about human rights and women’s rights are in accordance with the “Islamic Sharia” and described the international demands to respect human rights as “interference in the domestic affairs of Afghanistan.”

Moreover, the group also stressed that “religion” was more important than national interests and the progress of Afghanistan for the Taliban, said acting minister of Higher education, Neda Mohammad Nadeem.

While no country has recognized the Taliban regime, some countries handed over the diplomatic mission to the Taliban, including Pakistan, Iran, China, Qatar, and Turkey.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/imran-khan-lobbies-for-talibans-recognition-asks-the-world-to-recognize-them-before-asking-for-human-rights/

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Muslim countries express outrage as far-right extremists burn Quran in Denmark during Ramadan

26 March, 2023

There have been several Quran burning incidents in Europe over the past months [Getty]

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Members of a far-right group in Denmark burned a copy of the Quran on Friday, according to reports.

The group, known as PatrioterneGår Live (The Patriots Go Live), broadcast the burning on a Facebook Live broadcast.

They also displayed Islamophobic banners, and burned the Turkish flag in front of the Turkish embassy.

Several countries have criticised the burning of the Quran.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry called the incident a hate crime, and said that Ankara would not accept "vile actions being allowed under the guise of freedom of expression".

"This act, which was carried out in (the holy Islamic month of) Ramadan, has once again clearly revealed that Islamophobia, discrimination and xenophobia have reached an alarming level in Europe and that no lessons have been learned from the past," the ministry added, according to Turkish news outlet Daily Sabah.

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry denounced the move, and called the incident "an unacceptable and racist act that provokes the feelings of Muslims, especially in the holy month of Ramadan."

It added that the burning was "an act of serious hatred and a manifestation of Islamophobia that incites violence and insults to religions."

Qatar said PatrioterneGår Live’s actions were "an act of incitement and a serious provocation to the feelings of more than two billion Muslims in the world, especially in the blessed month of Ramadan."

Morocco also joined the chorus of condemnations, saying: "Although this heinous act was committed in front of the diplomatic representation of another Muslim country, the Kingdom of Morocco considers it a provocative act."

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry also condemned the burning "in the strongest terms".

There have been several such burnings of Islam’s holy book over the past few months in Europe. In January, dual Danish and Swedish citizen Rasmus Paludan burned a copy of the Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, and later again in front of a mosque.

Days later in the Netherlands, far-right extremist Edwin Wagensveld, who leads the anti-Muslim PEGIDA party, tore a Quran apart before setting it on fire.

Source: The New Arab

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

https://www.newarab.com/news/far-right-extremists-burn-quran-denmark-during-ramadan

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Iran Raps European Female Ministers' Silence over French Police Violence Against Female Protesters

2023-March-26

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kana'ani blasted female officials of the Western states for keeping mum on the French police brutality against demonstrators during the pension reform rallies.

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"Violence scenes in France raise question among public opinion and French women where Europe, Canada and Australia feminist ministers are," Kana'ani wrote on his Twitter account on Saturday.

"Why no collective concert to support rights of female French protesters?!" the spokesperson added.

Iranian Government Spokesman Ali BahdoriJahromi has also condemned using force by Paris against demonstrators, calling for the formation of an international research committee.

"Emmanuel Macron's government is directly responsible for widespread violations of human rights and harsh dealing with protesters who simply seek their rights; France must be to account for its actions towards its citizens," BahdoriJahromi said in a post on his Twitter account.

"The formation of an international fact-finding committee is necessary for dealing with violating the rights of hundreds of thousands of French protesters," the spokesperson added.

France has been rocked by protests since President Emmanuel Macron’s government bypassed parliament last week to pass a controversial pension reform bill that raises the country’s retirement age from 62 to 64. More than a million demonstrators took to the streets across the country on Thursday, and hundreds were arrested in Paris for lighting fires and clashing with riot police.

The Council of Europe condemned the government for using “excessive force” to police the protests, while France’s national Consultative Commission on Human Rights claimed that hundreds of demonstrators were arbitrarily arrested and subjected to extreme “kettling” tactics by police.

Iran blasts the blatant violations of human rights in the US and Europe, stressing for the US, human rights is merely a tool for exerting political pressure on independent states to advance their foreign policy objectives. Officials in Tehran call on the international community to hold the US accountable for its crimes. They mocked the US claim over supporting Iranian women and girls amid harsh sanctions which have disrupted the ordinary lives of the people.

Tehran has also denounces the disturbing human rights situation in the European countries, and note the West does not have the authority to be the flag-bearer in this field.

Iranian officials have numerously urged the international organizations to condemn police brutality against women in the United States and European states, instead of expressing concern over human rights in other countries.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14020106000119/Iran-Raps-Erpean-Female-Minisers'-Silence-ver-French-Plice-Vilence

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Muslims can attend weddings in church, says Selangor sultan

26 Mar 2023

Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah said the call by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council to restrict visits by Muslims to temples, churches and gurdwaras to learn about the other faiths ‘was correct and clear’. (Bernama pic)

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PETALING JAYA: Selangor’s Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah said there was nothing wrong with Muslims attending a wedding or a wake held at a church.

However, Muslims must not take part in the rituals or practices at either temples or churches, he said, The Star reported.

He said, similarly, Christians would not join in prayers or rituals held at Taoist temples.

Sultan Sharafuddin said his late grandfather, Sultan Alam Shah, attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. This was held at the Westminster Abbey church in London.

“He had just returned from Mecca then. He consulted the state mufti if it was acceptable for him to attend the coronation.

“The mufti said there was nothing wrong with it if he did not take part in any ritual such as prayers,” he was quoted as saying.

Sultan Sharafuddin also revealed that a mufti had informed his father that he could wear the medals and insignia on his uniform, including those that resembled a cross.

The Selangor ruler’s stance was similar to that of the Johor sultan who last week said Muslims in the state could visit houses of worship of other faiths as long as they did not participate in the rituals or prayers.

However, the call by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) to restrict visits by Muslims to temples, churches and gurdwaras to learn about other faiths “was correct and clear”, said Sultan Sharafuddin.

He said Mais was merely protecting the faith of Muslims by highlighting programmes in Selangor that “persuade Muslims to be inclined towards or to be interested in other religions” as this was an offence.

Mais had issued the statement in the wake of the controversy sparked by a programme under the youth and sports ministry to foster greater understanding among youths of other faiths. This programme has now been cancelled.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/03/26/muslims-can-attend-weddings-in-church-says-selangor-sultan/

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India

 

UP Rashtriya Bajrang Dal Men Object To Muslims Praying Taraweeh At Home; File Complaint

26th March 2023

Right-wing organisation Rashtriya Bajrang Dal objected to the offering of Taraweeh prayers by a group of Muslim men in the Moradabad district of Uttar Pradesh.

The incident happened on Saturday night when a group of Rashtriya Bajrang Dal led by its state president Rohan Saxena barged into the godown of a Muslim man named Zakir Hussain in Lajpat Nagar in Katghar police station area.

The right-wing men created a ruckus after which police had to be called to pacify the situation.

Later while speaking to reporters, Saxena said that they will not allow new Parampara (traditions) to brew in the city.

“We got information that Zakir is creating a new tradition by conducting prayers with his Muslim brothers. We vehemently oppose this and further will not allow any such tradition to spring up in our city or the state,” Saxena told reporters.

“We have repeatedly asked the police to lodge FIRs against violent people (referring to the Muslim community),” Saxena said.

When asked how did his organisation come to know about the incident, he said, “We received information from their neighbours. We also have images as proofs. We will not stand this.”

“We have asked the police officials to lodge a complaint against them. And if they fail to do so, the Rashtriya Bajrang Dal will come to the streets to protest against it,” Saxena said.

Siasat.com spoke to the SHO of Katghar police station under whose jurisdiction the incident happened.

The official said that Taraweeh was been offered by a group of Muslim men. “We have asked them to offer Taraweeh in mosques. The situation is under control,” he said.

Asked if any FIR was lodged, the official replied negatively and further declined to comment.

What is Taraweeh

Source:Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/up-hindutva-men-object-to-muslims-praying-taraweeh-at-home-file-complaint-2555314/

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Muslim Youth League Organises Torchlight Rally In Solidarity With Rahul Gandhi

27.03.23

Expressing solidarity with Rahul Gandhi, who was disqualified as an MP, hundreds of workers of the Muslim Youth League organised a torchlight rally here.

Muslim League state president Panakkad Sayyid Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal and youth league leader Sayyid Munavvar Ali Shihab Thangal participated in the rally held at 10 PM on Sunday, condemning the BJP-ruled Centre's "revengeful action" against Rahul Gandhi, who represented Wayanad seat in Lok Sabha.

Muslim Youth League is the youth outfit of Indian Union Muslim League, a key constituent of the Congress-led UDF in Kerala.

Talking to PTI, Munavvar Ali Shihab Thangal said thousands of workers of the Youth League participated in the protest march, raising slogans against the BJP-ruled Centre. The protesters accused the BJP government of "butchering democracy" in India.

Thangal alleged that the BJP government was scared of Gandhi who fearlessly exposed its wrongdoings.

He said the protesters have called for a united fight for a democratic India.

Source:TelegraphIndia

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/muslim-youth-league-organises-torchlight-rally-in-kerala-in-solidarity-with-rahul-gandhi/cid/1925323

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Amit Shah Justifies Scrapping 4% Muslim Reservation; Unveils Basaveshwara, Kempe Gowda

27 MAR 2023

In a bid to woo Lingayats and Vokkaligas, the two powerful dominant communities of Karnataka ahead of the assembly elections which are due in May, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday unveiled the statues of 12th-century social reformer and Lingayat sect founder Lord Basaveshwara and Bengaluru founder Kempe Gowda at Vidhana Soudha, the Karnataka seat of power. Shah also justified the decision of the BJP government in Karnataka led by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to scrap the four percent reservation for Muslims in the 2B category asserting that there was no provision in the Constitution for affirmative action on the basis of religion. The four percent reservation has been re-apportioned equally to the Lingayats and Vokkaligas, leaving the Muslims to compete for the 10 percent reservation provided for Economically Weaker Sections of the general category, which is decided based on family income.

The senior BJP leader also inaugurated a martyrs’ memorial at Gorata village in Bidar, where on May 9, 1948, more than 200 people are said to have been massacred by the Razakars of Nizam as the Hyderabad rulers opposed the erstwhile princely state's unification with India. According to the Sundarlal Committee that inquired into the violence during the annexation of Hyderabad, at least 27,000 Muslims too were murdered by the Indian Army at the time. The report was declassified only in the year 2013. Undertaking a whirlwind tour from Bidar in the far north of Karnataka to Bengaluru down south, Shah inaugurated various projects in Bidar, Raichur, and Bengaluru, and appealed to the people to bless the BJP with an absolute majority. He said the party was committed to eradicating corruption and developing Karnataka.

“The statue of JagadjyotiBasaveshwara here will send a message to the entire world that India is the mother of democracy. In the 12th Century AD, Basaveshwara had strengthened society by showing the courage to provide a common platform to people from the lowest strata to the highest echelons,” Shah said, unveiling Basaveshwara's and Kempe Gowda’s statues. Bengaluru, founded by Kempe Gowda, had assumed the shape of a global city, Shah said. Shah addressed the gathering from the podium at the grand steps of the imposing Vidhana Soudha, which was draped in colorful light and well-decorated. Sri Nirmalanandanatha Swamiji of Adichunchanagiri Math, a powerful seer of the Vokkaliga community, and Suthur Math pontiff Jagadguru Sri Shivaratri DeshikendraMahaswamiji along with a strong representative of the Lingayat sect found a prominent presence on the podium at Vidhana Soudha.

Hailing the "double engine" BJP government at the Centre and the State, Shah noted that Bengaluru had become the number one destination for Foreign Direct Investment and ‘ease of doing business’. Karnataka was also the home of the largest number of startups and it also contributed significantly in aeronautics and space technology, he added. The Union Home Minister lauded the Karnataka government’s decision of scrapping the four percent reservation for Muslims under 2B Other Backward Classes (OBCs) category, saying the Constitution does not provide for a quota on religious lines. Earlier, addressing public meetings at Gorata village in Bidar district and Gabbur in Raichur district, he slammed the Congress for introducing the four percent reservation for Muslims for "its vote bank politics". Shah said that the Bommai-led BJP government had also tried to do away with the "injustice to the Scheduled Castes" by introducing a new internal reservation.

The four percent quota taken away from the Muslims was equally divided among the two dominant communities of the state: Vokkaligas in 2C reservation category and Veerashaiva-Lingayats in 2D reservation category. With this, the 2B category became redundant while the Vokkaligas' reservation went up from four percent to six percent and that of the Lingayats from five percent to seven percent. “The BJP never believes in appeasement,” Shah said, strongly defending the decision to take reservation away from the Muslims and increase the quota of the Vokkaligas and VeerashaivaLingayats ahead of the Assembly Elections. "So, it decided to change the reservation." “The BJP abolished the four percent reservation given to the minorities and gave two percent to the Vokkaligas and two percent to the Lingayats,” Shah said. “The reservation for minorities is not Constitutionally valid. There is no provision in the Constitution to give reservations based on religion. The Congress government did it for its appeasement politics and gave reservation to the minorities,” he added.

Shah also hit out at the Congress, alleging that it never remembered those who fought and sacrificed their lives for the liberation of Hyderabad from the "brutal" Nizam rule. Addressing the people after inaugurating the Gorata Martyrs’ Memorial and the statue of the country's first Home Minister late Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at Gorata village, Shah also slammed the K Chandrasekhar Rao-led Telangana government for "hesitating" to celebrate Hyderabad Liberation Day. Hoisting a 103 ft high national flag at Gorata, he called it the "Jallianwala Bagh of South India". Recalling the horror of Gorata on May 9, 1948, the Union Minister said that 200 people were massacred by the "brutal" Nizam even though the country had become independent.

Source:OutlookIndia

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

https://www.outlookindia.com/national/amit-shah-justifies-scrapping-4-muslim-reservation-unveils-basaveshwara-kempe-gowda-statues-and-martyrs-memorial-in-poll-bound-karnataka-news-273549

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Sensitise police that Indian Muslims are Indians; learn from Telangana: Ex SC judge

26th March 2023

Former Supreme Court judge Rohinton Nariman, in a foreword to a report on the violence during last year’s Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti festivities, praised the Telangana police force as well as Telangana High Court for ensuring peace and harmony existed between Hindu and Muslim communities during the 2022 Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti festivities.

In a forward to a report called Routes of Wrath, written by the Citizens and Lawyers Initiative, which speaks about the violence that took place in April 2022 in several Indian states, Justice Nariman pointed out that there is an urgent need to sensitise ‘Indian Muslims’ to various state police forces.

“Given the preamble and the Fundamental Duties chapter of the Constitution of India, it is of primary importance to sensitise the police force in all the states of India to these constitutional values and fundamental duties of the citizens. This can be done by first informing them that Muslims situated in India are Indians,” Nariman wrote.

The report documents nine Indian states that reported widespread acts of hooliganism and violence. “In just three states, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, it has found that during these processions at least 100 persons from the minority community were injured and two killed,” the former SC judge wrote.

He stressed that Indian Muslims are not a homogenous group of people but are as Indian as the rest of the country.

“Once this basic fact is drilled into the police force in all the states, things could become much better. Also, some way must be found to stop political interference with the functioning of the police in all the states. All this should ensure a new beginning on the long and hard road to achieving fraternity, which alone ensures the dignity of every individual citizen,” Nariman wrote in the foreward.

Justice Nariman stated that India chose to be democratic and secular and rejected the British’s divide-and-rule policy.

Source:Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/sensitise-police-that-indian-muslims-are-indians-learn-from-telangana-ex-sc-judge-2555344/

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Will restore scrapped 4% quota for Muslims in Karnataka when we come to power: Congress

26th March 2023

BENGALURU: Flaying the BJP-led Karnataka government for its decision to scrap reservation for Muslims under Category 2B in the OBC list, the Congress declared on Sunday that it would restore the quota to the minority community in the event of the party coming to power in the State, where Assembly elections are due by May.

The Cabinet meeting on Friday also decided to split this quantum (four per cent) equally between Vokkaliga and Veerashaiva-Lingayats at two per each in jobs and admissions in educational institutions, which was welcomed by the two politically influential communities.

The government moved Muslims into the 10 per cent Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) pool.

President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) D K Shivakumar termed the step "unconstitutional". "They (the government) think that reservation can be distributed like a property. It's not a property. It's a right (of minorities)", he told reporters here.

"We don't want their four per cent to be scrapped and given to any of the major communities. They ((members of the minority community) are our brothers and family members". Entire Vokkaligas and Veerashaiva-Lingayats are rejecting this offer," Shivakumar claimed.

Exuding confidence that the Congress party will come to power in the "next 45 days", he said: "we will scrap all this" and added that there is no basis to remove Muslims from the OBC list.

Charging the Basavaraj Bommai-government with trying to rake up "emotional issues" as it's set to lose the polls, Shivakumar said as party president, he wants to declare that the first meeting of the Cabinet, in the event of Congress coming to power, would take a decision to restore the quota.

A Congress statement said the complete taking away of the decades-old reservation for Muslim minorities of four per cent has caused great consternation and a sense of injustice in the minority community.

It alleged that shifting of Muslims to the EWS quota is per se unconstitutional and is an attempt to deceive the minority community.

"EWS quota is founded upon economic status and income. It is not based upon caste or religion. A member of any caste or religion would anyway be entitled to EWS reservation based on his or her economic status," the party said.

Source:New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2023/mar/26/will-restore-scrapped-4quota-for-muslims-in-karnataka-when-we-come-to-power-congress-2559723.html

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Shinde meets Raj Thackeray, assures action against illegal loudspeakers on mosques

Mar 27, 2023

Mumbai: Chief minister Eknath Shinde on Sunday paid a courtesy visit to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief at the latter’s Dadar residence. Along with Thackeray, his wife Sharmila, son Amit and some party workers were present.

Four days ago, Raj Thackeray slammed the Eknath Shinde-BJP government for spending ₹1,700 crore for the beautification of Mumbai at his Shivaji Park rally and raised the issue of loudspeakers atop mosques.

At the meeting on Sunday, Shinde assured Thackeray to look into the issue of illegal loudspeakers and ‘noise pollution’ by mosques and to review the cases against MNS workers for various political and social agitations.

The meeting between the two assumes importance in the backdrop of the speculations of alliance with the MNS for the upcoming civic body polls in Mumbai and other cities.

Thackeray in his GudiPadwa rally on Wednesday had brought the issue of unauthorised construction in the sea to the fore and warned the government of consequences if no action was taken against it. The unauthorised structure around a Mazar near Mahim Dargah was removed by the authorities within hours of his warning. Thackeray had also criticised Shinde in his rally.

While speaking to the media after the meeting, Shinde denied any political discussion about upcoming elections. “In his rally, Raj Thackeray had raised the issue of loudspeakers atop mosques. I have assured him that supreme court guidelines will be followed and will look into his complaints. I have also been assured to review the cases on MNS workers for political agitations,” said CM Shinde.

Source: Hindustan Times

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https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/shinde-meets-raj-thackeray-assures-action-against-illegal-loudspeakers-on-mosques-101679857169851.html

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Jamiat to move court against Karnataka Muslim quota removal

Mar 26, 2023

NEW DELHI: Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind president Maulana Mahmood Madani in a statement on Saturday condemned the removal of a reservation quota for backward Muslim sub-castes in Karnataka by the state government. He said that Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind will move court against this decision.

Madani termed the move by the Karnataka government "as harmful to the comprehensive development policy of the country". He further said that this does not fit in with PM Modi's assertions for upliftment of Pasmanda Muslims. He added that on one hand the PM is promoting development policy for the backward Muslims, and on the other, the state government is snatching away the reservation from them in Karnataka and distributing it among other classes. BJP is in power in Karnataka.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/jamiat-to-move-court-against-karnataka-muslim-quota-removal/articleshow/99000832.cms?from=mdr

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Madani to move court against Karnataka decision on Muslim quota

26th March 2023

Saharanpur: The Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, has said that it will challenge in court the Karnataka government’s decision to remove Muslims from the 2B category of ‘Other Backward Classes’ (OBCs), which gave them 4 per cent reservation.

Maulana Mahmood Madani, president of the organisation, termed the move a “grave injustice meted out to Muslims”.

Madani told reporters in Deoband that: “The decision does not go hand-in-hand with Prime Minister Modi’s Pasmanda Muslim upliftment. The Prime Minister, on one hand, is promoting development policy for the marginalised section of Muslims, and on the other hand, his party’s government in Karnataka is snatching away the reservation from them and distributing it among other classes.”

The 4 per cent OBC Muslim quota has been divided between the Vokkaligas and Lingayats. Muslims eligible for quota have been categorised under economically weaker sections (EWS) now.

He argued that various official statistics and reports confirm the fact that the Muslims of India are economically and educationally at the lowest rung of development.

“Hence, no community deserves reservation more than the Muslims,” Madani said.

Source: Siasat Daily

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https://www.siasat.com/madani-to-move-court-against-karnataka-decision-on-muslim-quota-2555134/

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Who is Indian fugitive and Islamic preacher Zakir Naik? Quotes from his 'Hindus love me' speech

Mar 27, 2023

Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is a fugitive in India, recently delivered his first lecture in Oman on the topic 'The Quran is a Global Necessity’, and made several remarks about how the Hindus in India love him and follow his teachings.

During his speech in Oman, Zakir Naik said that most of the Hindu population in India which is why political parties are against him, as they want to divide the vote bank. Naik made these comments on Thursday, during an event to mark the commencement of Ramadam 2023.

As quoted by India Today, Zakir Naik said, “The problem is that the majority of Hindus in India love me. They love me so much that it is creating a problem for the vote bank. In India, when I do talks and meetings, there are hundreds and thousands of people, 50 million to 100 million, especially in Bihar and Kishanganj, and out of these, 20 per cent are non-Muslims.”

The Islamic preacher said that his Hindu followers approach him and tell him that the things that they learn from him, they haven’t learned these things from their own religious preachers in 40 hours of lecture.

According to a video shared on social media, Zakir Naik converted a Hindu woman to Islam during his speech. He read some lines the Quran during an event in Muscat, and asked the woman to repeat after him, sparking a major controversy on social media.

Who is Zakir Naik?

Zakir Naik is an Islamic preacher and televangelist, who promotes religion and religious concepts through his lectures and television shows. Naik is the president of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), and has been accused of promoting hate speech and terrorism.

Source:DNAIndia

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https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-who-is-indian-fugitive-and-islamic-preacher-zakir-naik-quotes-from-his-hindus-love-me-speech-3032549

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Pakistan

 

Pakistani Sikh Community Continues Serving Food To Fasting Muslims During Ramazan

MARCH 27, 2023

The Sikh community in Peshawar has continued its goodwill gesture of serving food among fasting Muslims during the holy month of Ramazan with the objective of promoting love, fraternity, respect and honor among people of different faiths.

Every year Sikh community living in different parts of the country including Peshawar, arrange Iftari (serving of food for breaking fast) and food distribution among fasting Muslims with the aim of reflecting the sentiments of reverence they had for holy month of Ramazan.

As the fasting month of Ramzan begins, Sikh residents in Peshawar come out for arranging Iftar dinners, announcing special discounts on their shops for fasting Muslims besides helping the poor fasting faithful by providing them edible goods at their doorsteps.

For ordinary citizens gathering of turban wearing Sikhs around long plastic mats spread to serve food for fasting Muslims at places like Bolton Block of Lady Reading Hospital of Peshawar becomes very strange and incomprehensible, leaving them in a state of bafflement.

Many faithful are found sharing their feeling of bewilderment over seeing Sikh youth standing in front of their doors for the distribution of food items to breakfast.

“This year within four days of Ramazan, we have distributed food items among 100 deserving Muslim families for providing them ease in fulfillment of their religious obligation”, informs Jatinder Singh, Chairman Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter of National Peace Council for Interfaith Harmony. We have not started holding of Iftari for which looking for volunteers and will start as arrangements are made, Jatinder told APP.

Each of the ration pack consists of essential items including cooking oil, rice, pulses, chick pea, beans, sugar and tea, he added. The price of ration has almost doubled this year from Rs. 4000 to Rs. 7500 because of inflation in the country. He said donations are coming from people from diversified faiths and soon the second phase of distribution of food rations will be made.

We used to make the arrangement for serving of big Iftari for fasting Muslims but corona pandemic affected the practice. Last year only on Friday iftaries were arranged in different areas of the city due to the shortage of volunteer, Jatinder added. Apart from arranging Iftari, we are also focusing on provision of edible goods to fasting Muslims at their doorsteps, Jatinder apprised.

Being a dweller of city since generations, we know who is in need of financial support in our locality so we extend them help. The objective behind this practice by Sikhs is to promote love, fraternity, respect and honor among people of different faiths, remarked Jatinder Singh, adding that we were living in this country from generations and wanted to convey the message of mutual coexistence among its citizens. Jatinder said our Muslims neighbours and friends also mark respect to holy occasions of Sikhs by extending goods wishes. Similarly both Muslims and Sikhs attend occasions of happiness and bereavement from both sides to maintain the bond of unity, neighbourhood and humanity. The measures taken by Sikh community of Peshawar are receiving commendations from people from all walks of life and social media users are displaying these news as beauty of Pakistan where people of different religions are living in harmony and respect of each other.

Bilal Ahmad, a graduate from Peshawar who serves as volunteer in iftar dinner arranged by Sikhs, said he share these pictures on social media with a pride that how people of different faiths are living in conformity in our country. “In each Ramzan I spare time and participate in such iftar dinners to acknowledge the good initiative taken by Sikh community members in promoting respect and love in society by serving fasting Muslims,” opines Ahmad Khan, a young dweller of Peshawar.

Source:DailyTimes Pakistan

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

https://dailytimes.com.pk/1077576/sikh-community-continues-serving-food-to-fasting-muslims-during-ramazan/

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Pakistan hopes to attend US-led summit without ‘irking’ China

Anwar Iqbal

March 27, 2023

WASHINGTON: This week’s democracy summit in Washington would be a test for Pakistan’s diplomacy as it’d look to rekindle ties with the US without irking its longtimeally China.

The virtual summit, led by the US, will begin on Tuesday (tomorrow).

Like the first democracy summit in 2021, both India and Pakistan have been invited to the summit. India attended the last meeting and may do so this year as well. Pakistan had opted out of the first summit, reportedly on back of the Biden administration’s refusal to reach out to the then prime minister Imran Khan.

For the cash-starved Pakistan, the summit could be a major opportunity to win over US support for raising funds from international lenders and bilateral donors.

But Pakistan’s long-standing ally and ‘all-weather friend’ China would be closely monitoring these overtures as the US has already annoyed Beijing by inviting Taiwan, China’s longstanding nemesis.

Washington invited Islamabad to participate in virtual moot on democracy

Beijing would want Pakistan to opt out of the ‘controversial’ moot but doing so will send negative signals to the US at a time when Islamabad wants Washington to be on its side to help secure a deal with the IMF.

The decision to keep Turkiye out of the summit was another cause of concern for Pakistan.

“One would expect Pakistan to pass again, assuming Taiwan is there, in deference to China,” said Michael Kugelman, a scholar of South Asian affairs at the Wilson Center, Washington.

“While very unlikely, I wouldn’t completely rule out Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari making an appearance,” Mr Kugelman said. “He’s been a very frequent visitor to the US lately.”

When contacted, officials at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington told Dawn they had not heard anything from Islamabad yet.

“Since it’s mostly a virtual meeting, Pakistan still has time to decide,” one of the embassy officials said. “The participation can be confirmed on Monday as well.”

The virtual summit has been co-sponsored by the US Department of State and USAID on the theme of ‘Global Declaration of Mayors for Democracy’.

The event will showcase the role of cities and subnational governments in the affirmation of democratic values and the renewal of democracy worldwide.

From March 29-30, the US will co-host the second ‘Summit for Democracy’ with the governments of Costa Rica, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Zambia.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will participate in most of the events. On March 28, Secretary Blinken will chair a virtual panel session on ‘A Just and Lasting Peace in Ukraine’ featuring Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

On March 29, the leader of each co-host government will participate in a virtual session.

“While democracy requires more than credible elections, they shape public perception of democracy’s efficacy and are vital for expressing the will of the people,” said a document released by the US State Department before the summit.

“The integrity of a country’s elections — in other words, the degree to which they conform to international standards — is important for a government’s legitimacy, as well as domestic and international support,” the document added. The discussions will focus on efforts to end corruption in democratic nations.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1744388/pakistan-hopes-to-attend-us-led-summit-without-irking-china

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Nowruz An Opportunity To Create Regional, Cultural Synergies & Unity: ICCO Head

March 26, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The head of the Organization of Islamic Culture and Communications (ICCO), Hojjat-ul-Islam wal-Muslimeen Mohammad Mahdi Imanipour on Sunday said Nowruz in addition to its cultural value is an opportunity to develop the cultural relations of his beloved country Islamic Republic of Iran with its neighbours and also to develop regional synergies and unity through cultural affinity.

Hojjat-ul-Islam wal-Muslimeen Mohammad Mahdi Imanipour, in his message, felicitated the Iranians and others nations on the arrival of the ancient Nowruz and the beginning of the Iranian new year 1402, especially Iranians living abroad, statesmen and citizens of the cultural and religious sphere of Nowruz.

The Organization of Islamic Culture and Communications issues Imanipour’s message here.

Mohammad Mahdi Imanipour said the spiritual and civilized view of Nowruz could become a point of the deep connection between the nations of the region. “Looking at Nowruz as an ancient ritual and tradition is not the whole story. Nowruz originated from a kind of original civilization and has the power to create a cultural-civilizational union in different countries,” he added.

In the region of Central Asia, Caucasus and West Asia, Nowruz could become more than a “common tradition” but rather a “common cultural center” to reach a “unified cultural system”, he emphasised.

He underlined that this cultural system was not limited to a specific time (the end of winter and the beginning of spring) and its extension included all the days of the year.

This cultural-civilized capacity should be considered and promoted by the countries that celebrate Nowruz for utilising it as a tool to unite and enhance cultural and people-to-people bilateral relationships, he added.

He also quoted a Persian saying, “The breath of the Saba wind will blow

The old world will be young again.”

Mahdi Imanipour elaborated that Nowruz was the crystallization of new life in the body of nature and a new opportunity for people to reflect on their life and circumstances and seek help from God to reach the best.

“Nowruz is an opportunity for renewal and interpretation of the human need to evolve in a holy path full of signs of the power of the Holy Prophet (PBUH),” he said.

This transformation and delivery was at the same a divine tradition that Nowruz could be considered as a turning point, he said, adding, “The harmony of the nations of Nowruz brings their hearts and minds closer to each other in the glorious and beautiful moments of the New Year beginning. The breath of Saba gives a sense of renewal to the Persian-speaking nations and even the non-Persian-speaking nations who consider Nowruz as the ancient heritage of their ancestors.”

On the other hand, he said in the religious teachings and life of the elders of Islam, Nowruz was considered as an example of modernisation, beauty and transition to a new era in human life.

“This exalting look at the category of New Year and Nowruz delivery shows that the guardians of the religion also have a look at it beyond a ceremony or tradition and consider it a turning point in the promotion of human values.

What now makes the necessity of observing the ancient Nowruz celebration more evident is the use of this common opportunity for the optimal coexistence, synergy and convergence of nations and the development, stabilization and evolution of their cooperation around this common civilization view,” he suggested.

Nowruz, he said guaranteed the unity of the nations and governments of the region and had a special place among the nations of the region and also guaranteed the creation of an exemplary and continuous alliance in the way of interaction between the nations and governments of the region.

The renewal hidden in the ancient Nowruz feast could be considered as a tool to promote a certain lifestyle based on “effective transformation” in the individual, social and international relations of the nations, he added.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/03/26/nowruz-an-opportunity-to-create-regional-cultural-synergies-unity-imanipour/

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Imran Khan unveils 10-point roadmap to revive cash-strapped Pakistan

Mar 26, 2023

LAHORE: Pakistan's ousted prime minister Imran Khan held a massive rally here on Sunday and presented his party's 10-point roadmap for the cash-strapped country's economic recovery, including sops for the diaspora.

Addressing the public rally at Minar-i-Pakistan in the early hours of Sunday, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman challenged the country's ruling party to put forward a plan to rescue Pakistan from the many crises it finds itself mired in.

"I challenge that the incumbent rulers don't have the ability or the intention [to save the country],” he said.

Khan, 70, said he would happily step aside if the establishment tells him they have a plan.

"I know what the programme is…there is no programme,” he was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.

Announcing the 10-point programme, Khan said that overseas Pakistanis will be motivated to invest in Pakistan to attract foreign direct investments to avoid going to the IMF again and again.

“We will facilitate all those who would export and bring dollars into the country,” he added.

Pakistan, which is in dire need of funds as it battles a wrenching economic crisis, has received economic assistance from the IMF in the past. The country is in discussions with global lender to resume its loan programme.

Khan asserted that the country needs to take difficult decisions to improve its tax collections and exports.

“A major surgery is needed to put our house in order. Overseas Pakistanis will bring their dollars to the country provided they are given incentives,” he said, adding that only 2.5 million Pakistanis out of 220 million pay taxes.

"There is a need to increase the tax base to achieve progress," he said and also proposed giving loans to young people to start businesses and reviving the mortgage scheme.

Khan said his government would promote tourism, adding that the minerals sector would be focused on generating revenue.

The ex-premier said after coming to power his government would increase agriculture productivity with the cooperation of China.

The government would take measures to stop money laundering, he said, adding that the current account deficit would be curtailed as well.

Khan, who is facing threats to his life, addressed the rally from a bullet-proof glass container.

Pakistan's broadcast media blacked out the coverage of the event under the 'pressure' of the PML-N-led government backed by the powerful military establishment.

The authorities appeared so desperate to fail the Khan's power show that all major roads leading to Minar-i-Pakistan were blocked by police with containers and barricades.

The internet services were snapped in parts of Lahore, especially at the rally site.

The people reached the venue on foot after covering long distances.

Lashing out at the PML-N-led government and its handlers (a reference to the military establishment) for arresting and torturing over 2,000 of his party workers ahead of this rally, Khan said, “one thing is clear, whoever is in power, they will get a message today that people's passion cannot be curbed via hurdles and containers."

"The way the powerful circles are behaving in Pakistan today it seems that Imran Khan is the only problem of the country," he said.

Khan said a cabal of thieves was imposed on the nation after the toppling of his government in April last year.

“I have completed a century of cases. I may cross 150. Poor spend their entire life fighting false cases in this country. Pakistan has no future if there is no rule of law," he said and added that ‘real freedom' will only come if rule of law prevails in the country.

He slammed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for begging around the world but still failing to get any reprieve.

Taking a jibe at prime minister Shehbaz, Khan said: “Former army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said he used to scold Shehbaz for 40 minutes and he would not react and listen patiently. This happens when you (Shehbaz) come to power through the backdoor”.

The cricketer-turned-politician said for the first time in his life he felt what the people in Palestine feel.

“Police attacked my house as they wanted to arrest me in false cases. The people supported me during the clash with the police as they knew I was right. They have booked me in 40 terrorism cases...will the nation accept that Imran Khan is a terrorist?” he asked.

He said despite Supreme Court's orders, the Election Commission of Pakistan delayed the April 30 elections of the Punjab Assembly for October 8 on the pretext of security and financial constraints.

“Who will guarantee that the elections will be held even in October? The government and its handlers have only one-point agenda – how to stop me from returning to power,” he said.

Khan said all eyes were on the Supreme Court to establish rule of law by holding elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 90 days.

Earlier on Saturday, the Lahore ATC granted Khan interim bail till April 4 in three cases filed at the Lahore Race Course police station.

Khan has been in the dock for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch, which he had received as the premier at a discounted price from the state depository called Toshakhana, and selling them for profit.

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-unveils-10-point-roadmap-to-revive-cash-strapped-pakistan/articleshow/99012100.cms

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Pakistan President Arif Alvi acting at Imran Khan's behest: Shehbaz Sharif

Mar 27, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Lingering animosity between Pakistan’s coalition government and Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has now spilled over to official PM-President interactions, with premier Shehbaz Sharif describing a recent letter by Arif Alvi as a 'press release' of the opposition party that reflected 'partisan' conduct.

In a virtual rejoinder to President Alvi’s letter opposing postponement of polls in the key Punjab state from April 30 to October 8 by the election commission, Sharif has said the stance was not reflective of his constitutional role as head of the State. Alvi, in office for several years now, has ties to Imran’s PTI.

In his letter, the President asked the PM to direct federal and provincial governments to refrain from abuse of human rights and assist the election commission in holding polls in Punjab, and another province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, “within a time frame (90 days) in compliance with the Supreme Court’s orders to avoid further complications, including contempt of court”.

Security concerns were cited as the reason for the poll postponements amid weeks of violent protests by Imran’s party over attempts to arrest him for alleged corruption and missed court appearances.

Sharif wrote back saying the Constitution “does not vest any powers in or assign any functions to the President whereby he can seek explanation from the government or the Prime Minister”. “The only reason I am responding to your letter is because I want to bring your partisan attitude and actions on record and to set the record of our government straight,” he wrote.

The PM cited Alvi’s silence -- “regrettably and ostensibly due to your party’s allegiance” -- on the violent PTI protests that he claimed were aimed at “bringing the country to the brink of civil war” and for not commenting on Imran’s failure to appear in courts.

Sharif accused Alvi of having acted at the behest of Imran’s “unconstitutional” instructions earlier by dissolving the National Assembly -- a move decreed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on April 7, 2022. Sharif said Alvi had also failed to fulfil his constitutional duty to administer him as the new PM after predecessor Imran’s exit following a trust vote last year.

The PM accused Alvi of also being silent when Imran was PM and his rivals were “victimised”. He cited a narcotics case -- which can bring the death penalty -- against Rana Sanaullah, current interior minister who was an opposition lawmaker then.

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-president-arif-alvi-acting-at-imran-khans-behest-shehbaz-sharif/articleshow/99017016.cms

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PTI to inform international community of crackdown

Atika Rehman

March 27, 2023

LONDON: As members of the embattled Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf face a slew of cases, late-night arrests and even alleged enforced disappearances, representatives of the party in the United Kingdom and Europe have sprung into action by staging protests, writing to MPs and speaking with human rights organisations to inform them about the crackdown against the party at the hands of the PDM government.

PTI’s focal person for UK and Europe Sahibzada ‘Chico’ Jahangir said the party doesn’t want anything from the international community, but it is certainly calling upon the Pakistan government to hold free and fair elections.

Talking to Dawn, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said the party is launching a report on Tuesday (tomorrow) which summarises “all the human rights violations against PTI from May 25 till now”.

The protests and demonstrations overseas took place shortly before senior PTI leaders Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Asad Umar in Islamabad met diplomats and ambassadors from the European Union.

Fawad says paper on rights violations to be launched tomorrow

Though no one from the party is commenting on the details of these meetings with diplomats, a source familiar with the matter said the crackdown against PTI, and the details of specific incidents have been communicated to these diplomats.

“The European countries specially are very pro-democracy and pro-human rights,” the source said, adding that though “it is obvious no intervention is expected, they are keen to know our point of view regarding what’s going on”.

The source added that the PTI decided to work on this outreach as the diplomats engage with the government and are already aware of the government’s point of view.

“Now our perspective has been given to them, regarding what happened in Zaman Park and the [Federal] Judicial Complex.”

Separately, PTI member and former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser approached the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), a global organisation of national parliaments, about the “political victimisation, assassination attempts and attacks on PTI”.

Mr Qaiser wrote a letter to the IPU, which has 179 members, in which he criticised the PDM government as being “fascist” and accused it of “illegal policies and severe violations” of human rights.

Mr Qaiser hoped the forum would take notice of the situation and play its role in protecting the people of Pakistan.

Protests in UK, Europe

In the last week, large PTI protests have been held in London outside Parliament House and 10 Downing Street, as well as a sizeable demonstration in Brussels outside the European Parliament.

At each of these protests, chants in favour of Imran Khan and against PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif were heard. PTI supporters also chanted slogans against and waved about posters criticising the army chief.

Speaking to Dawn, PTI’s focal person Sahibzada ‘Chico’ Jahangir said: “PTI is actively involved in UK and Europe, so we have not needed to say much to people to come out and protest. The people you see at the protests have families in Pakistan. They send billions in remittances each year back home so they are disturbed about what is happening”.

Mr Jahangir confirmed that British Pakistanis are writing letters to their respective MPs, apprising them of events back in Pakistan and demanding that they raise the issue in Parliament. In the past, the British Pakistani community has written to MPs to bring various issues to the attention of the British Prime Minister, such as regarding Covid-19 and red list restrictions on Pakistan.

When asked what the party hopes to achieve through these protests, he said: “We don’t want anything from the international community. But we have a demand for the Pakistan government: free and fair elections. Here [in the UK] we live in a democratic society… if a government loses people’s confidence, they leave. There is stability.”

He said that PTI representatives in London will be meeting UN bodies and human rights organisations to tell them “human rights are being suppressed in Pakistan”.

“We have gone so deep down in the gutter. We are seeking help from people who understand and who have created these organisations to give us support.”

In London, PTI activist Shayan Ali, famed for leading an aggressive anti-Nawaz campaign here, urged supporters to gather outside Mr Sharif’s flat in Park Lane to “protest against fascism”.

He also urged overseas Pakistanis to send letters to their MPs apprising them of the situation in Pakistan.

The efforts by the PTI locally and abroad are reminiscent of the campaign that was kickstarted by overseas Pakistanis when Mr Khan was ousted through a no-confidence motion in April 2022.

In the past, ahead of elections in 2013, a similar PTI-led campaign was seen when thousands of PTI supporters complained to British authorities, including police, about the MQM chief Altaf Hussain.

It prompted then British High Commissioner Adam Thomson to say that action against the MQM chief could not be ruled out, with an acknowledgement that the London police department was investigating complaints by hundreds of British Pakistanis.

PTI to launch report

Speaking to Dawn, Fawad Chaudhry said PTI is launching a report on Tuesday which summarises “all the human rights violations against PTI from May 25 till now”.

He alleged that the government in Pakistan is involved in “crimes and custodial torture for political reasons”.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1744392/pti-to-inform-international-community-of-crackdown

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Two ‘hired assassins’ held for killing cleric in Karachi

March 26, 2023

KARACHI: Police on Saturday claimed to have arrested two suspected hitmen for their alleged involvement in the recent targeted killing of a religious scholar in Gulistan-i-Jauhar.

They said that Sufi Abdul Qayyum was murdered on March 21 over a property dispute by hired assassins and there was no sectarian motive behind his killing.

Speaking at a press conference, DIG-East Muquddas Haider said that the police and an intelligence agency, with the help of CCTV footage, carried out raids in different areas and arrested two suspects.

He said that the suspects were identified as Ali Akbar alias Shahid and Tanveer. An unlicensed pistol and the motorcycle used in the murder were recovered from them, he added.

The DIG said that suspect Akbar “confessed” to have killed the scholar. “Their handler has been identified and efforts were under way to arrest him,” he said.

He clarified that the murder had nothing to do with any mosque issue as suggested by Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman.

He said that the held suspects were hired assassins, who were given Rs500,000 by their ‘handler’ for killing the scholar over some plot dispute.

SSP-East Zubair Nazeer Shaikh told Dawn that Akbar was arrested in 2013 as he was involved in a ‘political shooting’.

The second suspect, Tanveer, was also arrested in connection with a theft case and sent to the prison in the year 2014, the SSP said, adding that both Akbar and Tanveer became friends in prison.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1744191/two-hired-assassins-held-for-killing-cleric-in-karachi

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In letter to CJP, JI chief demands suo moto notice over Karachi LG polls

March 26, 2023

KARACHI: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Pakistan Ameer Sirajul Haq on Sunday urged Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial to take suo moto over “dubious role” of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) during local government (LG) elections in Karachi.

In a letter penned down to CJP Umar Ata Bandial following the LG elections in Sindh, including Karachi, Sirajul Haq alleged that most of the ECP staff during local government election in Sindh were supporters of ruling party – Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). “The electoral staff was appointed on the basis of political affiliation,” he noted.

“The ruling party cast bogus votes in 35 to 40 union councils (UCs) of Karachi,” the JI chief wrote, adding that even before the election, the party had started saying that the city’s mayor would be a ‘jiyala’.

Haq further said that the constituencies were delimitated on the basis of ‘bogus electoral lists’. “The cases were sent to the same ROs [returning officers] who were accused of rigging”, he added.

He pointed out that ‘worst rigging’ occurred in six union councils (UCs), accusing the ROs of announcing results against Form 11. “Results were changed in 66 polling stations,” he said, but ECP ordered recount in only 17 stations.

He urged the apex court to take ‘immediate notice’ of the matter using its constitutional powers. “A clear decision should be given on the deliberate violation of the constitution and law by the Election Commission”, he added.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Sindh High Court on Thursday served notices to parties over a petition filed by JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman for election in the remaining 11 union committees of Karachi.

The court has sought reply from the respondents within 10 days.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/03/26/in-letter-to-cjp-ji-chief-demands-suo-moto-notice-over-karachi-lg-polls/

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Europe

 

What does it take to survive as a Muslim in France?

Rabia Ali 

25.03.2023

If you are a French Muslim applying for a job, you are five times more likely to face discrimination than a non-Muslim.

And if you are a Muslim woman donning a headscarf, you have a 1% chance of finding employment.

Rights activist Yasser Louati cited those examples when he spoke to Anadolu about how life is for Muslims in France.

“If you apply for housing, it takes you twice as long to get housing because you are identified either as an African, North African or a Muslim,” he said.

“If you are a Muslim youngster in France, police brutality targets you first.”

European Islamophobia Report 2022 co-editor Enes Bayrakli named France as one of the most Islamophobic countries last year.

Activists and experts, in conversation with Anadolu, endorsed the ranking.

“The cost is that you have to struggle every single day and, even if you have rights on paper, they are never granted to you,” said Louati, a Paris-based political analyst.

What did re-election of Emmanuel Macron mean for Muslims

The re-election of French President Emmanuel Macron in 2022, “spells no good news for Muslims and the French population as a whole,” said Louati.

He said the president failed to tackle poverty, corruption, discrimination and instead of focusing on socioeconomic policies, he based last year's presidential campaign on identity politics.

“He set the stage for his second mandate to be basically about disciplining Muslims with the appropriate and the extreme tools,” Louati told Anadolu in a zoom interview.

For the activist, this means the French president can shut down any organization without going to court and researchers can be criminalized if they call out Islamophobia.

Abdennour Toumi, an expert from ORSAM, or the Center for Middle-Eastern Studies, believes Macron’s tenures have severed ties between the state and Muslims.

“Unfortunately, politically speaking, especially under the Macron administration -- he has damaged a great deal, the relation between Muslims and France in general.”

Haunted by the past

French Muslims continue to be haunted by the aftermath of the state of emergency which was declared by the government after terror attacks in November 2015 that killed 130 people.

“The fear and the trauma actually that we experienced in 2015 is still part of our psychology,” said Rayan Freschi, a French jurist and researcher at the British advocacy group, CAGE.

Freschi, who embraced Islam that year, said it was a very challenging time for Muslims and explained that changes were made to legislation, policies and courts in the way they were dealing with Muslims and it became harsher.

Louati said more than 4,000 raids were carried out with the overwhelming majority against Muslim families. And that the government “brutally assaulted” thousands of families and hundreds of businesses and charities and halal restaurants were raided to make them “pay for the attacks.”

Lambasting the government, he said: “During those terrorist attacks, many Muslims died, which means that even in times of national tragedy, when terrorists make no mistake between Muslims and non-Muslims, the government and the media will make a difference.”

Laws affecting Muslims

Experts have said the anti-separatism law introduced by the government in 2021 “systemically obstructs” religious freedom and Islamic practices.

While Louati said the criminalization of Muslims is still in effect as the anti- separatism law is still in place.

“For certain, this, the anti-separatism law deepened an already existing sense of fear, terror in the community,” according to Freschi.

The law led to the closure of mosques or Islamic schools, harassment of imams, and the closure of businesses that are run by Muslims. Thousands of Muslim establishments were investigated by the state with 900 forcefully closed by the state and more than €55 million seized, he said.

Leaving the country

As reports of Muslim professionals leaving France make headlines, Freschi said it is already a social phenomenon. Islamophobia is so intense in force because it is basically obstructing the very ability to live as free citizens.

“It's so intense that you have to leave at some point, you either have to leave or push back very strongly," he said.

Toumi said in the last five years, there is a good segment of young graduated Muslims who have immigrated to the US and Canada -- recently to Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar for a better life and to be “in peace.”

Hope for the future

Activists have no hope that the government will curb Islamophobia and expect strict laws and policies for Muslims in the future.

But their hope lies within the younger generation, who hopes to emerge as Muslim leaders and activists.

Freschi feels that the Muslim youth grew up during the war on terror era, followed by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, even though in Europe, they were closely exposed to the narratives.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/what-does-it-take-to-survive-as-a-muslim-in-france/2855248

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Mideast

 

‘I resign’: Israel’s consul general in New York quits, says cannot serve Netanyahu

27 March ,2023:

Israel's Consul General in New York, Asaf Zamir, announced on Sunday his resignation in protest over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s firing of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant who publicly criticized the judicial overhaul.

“Today’s dangerous decision to fire the minister of defense, convinced me that I can no longer continue representing this government. I have become increasingly concerned with the policies of the new government, and in particular, the judicial reform it is leading,” Zamir wrote on Twitter.

He added: “This is a pivotal moment in Israel’s history… I believe that it is now time for me to take action and join the fight for Israel’s future alongside fellow citizens as we work together to build a better, more just and more equal Israel.”

Zamir said his resignation should not be perceived in any way as a rejection of Israel or its people. “As a proud Israeli citizen, I believe it is my duty to ensure that Israel remains a beacon of democracy and freedom in the world.”

His resignation comes amid ongoing protests that saw tens of thousands of Israelis rally in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem after protest leaders called for a demonstration Sunday night following the firing of Galant.

Earlier, Netanyahu’s office announced Gallant’s dismissal. The dismissed defense chief had on Saturday publicly criticized the government’s controversial reforms of the judicial system as presenting a danger to state security in light of the widespread protests within the file and ranke of the military.

Political figures and business leaders alike decried Gallant’s dismissal, saying that Netanyahu posed a “danger” to Israel and labelled him a “dictator”.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/27/-I-resign-Israel-s-consul-general-in-New-York-quits-says-cannot-serve-Netanyahu

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Hamas condemns Israeli confiscation of Palestinian lands as Saudi, UAE rap settlements

27 March 2023

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has condemned the Israeli regime’s plans to confiscate more Palestinian-owned lands, amid ongoing Israeli attempts to press ahead with its expansionism and so-called settlement projects.

The movement slammed the Israeli occupation army’s plan to seize vast swathes of Palestinian-owned lands in the villages of Jinsafut, al-Funduq, and Hajjah in the occupied West Bank city of Qalqilya.

Hamas further called on the Palestinian people to confront the Israeli occupation’s attempts to impose its settlement schemes with all means possible.

Earlier Sunday, the Israeli occupation decided to confiscate hundreds of dunums of Palestinian lands east of the West Bank governorate of Qalqilya.

Amir Daoud, Director General of the Documentation and Publication department in the Wall and Settlements Resistance Commission, said that the Israeli occupation forces decided to confiscate 218 dunums of Palestinian lands in Jinsafut, Al-Funduq, and Hajja villages for military purposes.

Meanwhile, the UAE strongly condemned Israel’s decision to steal more Palestinian lands.

In a statement, the Emirati foreign ministry affirmed Abu Dhabi’s rejection of all practices that violate resolutions on international legitimacy and threaten to further exacerbate escalation and instability in the region.

Saudi Arabia also condemned the new Israeli plots to build hundreds of settlement units in the occupied East al-Quds.

In a statement, the Saudi foreign ministry said the Israeli decision “represents a continuation of the flagrant violations committed by the [Israeli] occupation authorities.”

On Friday, the anti-settlement group Peace Now said in a statement that the so-called Israel Land Authority had issued tenders for the construction of 940 units in the illegal West Bank settlements of Efrat and Betar Illit, as well as a further 89 units in Har Gilo settlement, located five kilometers (3.1 miles) south of al-Quds.

The watchdog added that a total of 747 units are planned to be built in 11 different complexes across Beitar Illit settlement, of which 727 are part of the so-called “Targeted Housing” program.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/27/700489/Hamas-condemns-Israeli-confiscation-of-Palestinian-lands-

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Mufti of al-Quds condemns assault on worshipers in al-Aqsa Mosque

26/March/2023

OCCUPIED AL-QUDS March 26. 2023 (Saba) - The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem/ al-Quds and the Palestinian territories, speaker of the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Mohammad Hussein has condemned the Zionist enemy’s authorities for storming al-Aqsa Mosque, attacking the worshipers inside it by beating, and expelling them by force.

Sheikh Hussein said, in a press statement reported by the Palestinian News Agency Sunday, that the enemy authorities are tightening their repressive measures at the entrances and doors of the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque.

The enemy forces prevented worshipers from entering it and detained them for long periods, describing the attack as very serious, as expelling the believers is an attack on the feelings of the believers.

Sheikh Hussein denounced the threats made by the so-called "alleged Temple groups" about their intention to storm the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque, during the blessed month of Ramadan, specifically on the sixth of next month, under the pretext of Jewish holidays.

He stressed that the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque will be an impregnable barrier in the face of anyone or desecration of its courtyards and corridors.

He called on the Arab and Islamic nations, and the international community with all its institutions, to take a real pause to respond to this sinful aggression against Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Source: SABA

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

https://www.saba.ye/en/news3231075.htm

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Iran Denounces US Occupation of Syria, Bombing of Residential Areas

2023-March-26

Kana'ani made the remarks on Saturday, while condemning the US air raids on the Syrian city of Deir Ezzur, which injured civilians, as a "terrorist and inhumane" act of aggression.

"The US' claim to be present in Syria to fight Daesh, in whose creation [Washington] itself played a substantive role, is a mere excuse for continuation of [the country's] occupation and plunder of Syria's national riches, including energy and grain," the spokesperson stated.

“Continuation of illegal military presence of the US in addition to occupation of swathes of the Syrian soil and attacking various targets in that country amount to violation of international laws as well as the country’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he underscored.

Responding to US troops' Thursday raid, Syrian resistance forces targeted two illegal American outposts with rockets, missiles and kamikaze drones on Friday.

Following the retaliatory attack and without providing any evidence, American officials, including the State Department and the Pentagon, accused the Iranian advisory center in Syria of being involved in it.

In his Saturday statements, Kana'ani roundly rejected such claims, asserting, "American officials always level baseless and unproven accusations and pass judgment on their basis, but the White House must know that this method is obsolete."

He also pointed to the "significant role" played by Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and Iranian anti-terror advisors in the fight against terrorism alongside the Syrian military and nation.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran's military advisors are currently present in Syria at the request of the Syrian government to help this country fight terrorism," the senior official said, adding that those advisors will remain in Syria to help its government establish peace, stability and security across the country.

Since 2011, Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy, as a result of which Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and other terror groups emerged in the country.

US forces were first sent to Syria in 2014, beginning with a contingent of special operators followed by more conventional ground troops the next year, most embedded with Kurdish fighters in the country’s oil-rich Northeast. Though then-President Barack Obama maintained the deployment was focused only on combating the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) terrorists, Washington had long intervened in Syria’s war against terror groups, sending and overseeing countless arms shipments to militants seeking to overthrow the government in Damascus.

Though American involvement in the conflict slowed under the next administration, in 2019 President Donald Trump noted some US troops would remain in Syria “for the oil”, openly suggesting Washington would simply “keep” the energy resources.

Subsequent reporting in 2020 would later reveal that the Trump administration had approved a deal between a US energy firm and Kurdish authorities controlling Northeast Syria to “develop and export the region’s crude oil” – a contract immediately condemned as “illegal” by Damascus. However, while that particular deal would later fall through after President Joe Biden took office, Syrian authorities have continued to accuse Washington of plundering its resources and some 900 US troops remain in the country illegally.

Syria, Iran, Russia and China have repeatedly called on Washington to stop plundering Syria’s national resources and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Arab country, calling on foreign occupation forces and their mercenaries to leave the war-ravaged country.

Israel frequently targets military positions inside Syria, especially those of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah which has played a key role in helping the Syrian Army in its fight against foreign-backed terrorists.

The Tel Aviv regime rarely comments on its cowardly attacks on Syrian territories, which many see as a knee-jerk reaction to the Syrian government’s success in confronting and decimating terrorism.

Israel has been one of the main supporters of terrorist groups that oppose the democratically-elected government of President Bashar Al-Assad since the foreign-backed militancy erupted in Syria.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14020106000225/Iran-Dennces-US-Occpain-f-Syria-Bmbing-f-Residenial-Areas

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Israel, UAE sign free trade pact into effect

26 March ,2023

Israel and the United Arab Emirates on Sunday signed a free trade pact into effect, reducing or removing tariffs on about 96 percent of goods traded between the nations, Israel's Foreign Ministry said.

The countries first reached the agreement last May, promising to boost bilateral trade after they normalized ties in 2020 in a US-brokered deal.

The deal will also allow Israeli companies to gain access to government tenders in the UAE, the ministry said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2023/03/26/Israel-UAE-sign-free-trade-pact-into-effect

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Houthis attack Yemeni forces in Shabwa amid militia’s escalating operations

SAEED AL-BATATI

March 26, 2023

AL-MUKALLA: Yemeni government troops in the southern province of Shabwa announced on Sunday that they had repelled a Houthi assault on their positions in the face of the militia’s continuing expansion of military operations.

Houthis attacked Shabwa Defense Forces on Saturday in a range of mountains which connect the Merkhah Al Ulya district with the adjacent Bayda province, resulting in a fierce battle that reportedly killed and wounded many soldiers on both sides.

Government troops said that the Houthis were forced to suspend the assault and withdraw after failing to capture control of the highlands, and that military reinforcements were sent to the front line to repel any future action.

Unofficial Houthi media sources said that its troops had moved 8 km into government-held territory in Merkhah Al Ulya.

A Yemeni official in Shabwa told Arab News that the Houthi attacks had been intended to distract government soldiers rather than occupy the province.

The official, who requested anonymity, said: “Rather than a full-scale military action in the area, the purpose of the strike is to stir up sluggish waters.”

The Houthi military buildup in Shabwa comes only days after heavy combat erupted in the central province of Marib when government soldiers were attacked in rural areas of Hareb.

The fighting subsided on Sunday amid reports that government forces had regained villages held by the Houthis.

Meanwhile, Taiz Gov. Nabil Shamsan said on Twitter that Houthis had attacked his convoy for 90 minutes on Saturday with a guided missile, mortars, and artillery bombs as he was returning to Taiz from the city of Mocha on the Red Sea.

One of his bodyguards was killed and two others were injured in the incident.

Houthi assaults and the militia’s military escalation have sparked outrage and warnings of the impending failure of UN-led diplomatic efforts to end the conflict.

Separately, Yemen’s Ministry of Human Rights said on Sunday that Houthis had encircled ancient areas in the city of Ibb and had detained scores of people, including two social media activists who took part in a rally against the militia last week.

The burial of a social media influencer turned into a protest against the Houthis on Thursday.

Protesters accused the militia of kidnapping, torturing, and executing Hamdi Abdel-Razzaq, also known as Al-Mukahal, an influencer abducted by the Houthis in October for criticizing corruption.

The Yemeni government said that armed Houthi forces in military vehicles surrounded Ibb, where the influencer had lived, and conducted raids on homes, detaining many people.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2275951/middle-east

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Tense Ramadan ahead for Palestinians as Israeli excesses continue

MOHAMMED NAJIB

March 26, 2023

RAMALLAH: Palestinian sources have warned that Israel has no intention of de-escalating during Ramadan, following a weekend of attacks in the West Bank and incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque.

On Sunday, four Israeli settlers threw flammable material at the house of Ahmed Awashreh in Sinjil north of Ramallah, a village repeatedly targeted by settlers from GivatHarel, Shilo and Ma’aleLibouna.

It comes weeks after fierce settler attacks on Huwara, Burin, and Qaryut, south of Nablus, where dozens of homes and vehicles were burned.

Awashra, 35, said he and his family of six had to flee for their lives and it was a miracle no one was killed.

Palestinian leaders have warned of a repeat of the 2015 attack in Duma, south of Nablus, when settlers burned the house of the Dawabsha family.

Ali Dawabsha, who was 18 months old, was killed in the fire while his parents, Saad and Riham, died of their injuries days later. Their four-year-old son, Ahmed, suffered severe burns but survived.

Yossi Dagan, head of the Israeli Settlements Council in the northern West Bank, on Sunday opened an office near Huwara to protest against the lack of security for settlers passing through the area.

The move is reminiscent of Itamar Ben-Gvir, minister for internal security, who set up an office in the Sheikh Jarrah area of East Jerusalem last year when Palestinians resisted the attempted seizure of their homes by settlers.

Meanwhile early on Sunday, the Israeli army arrested five Palestinians from Tulkarem and Huwara and closed off Nablus hours after two Israeli soldiers were wounded in a drive-by shooting in Huwara.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said that it had carried out the attack.

Dozens of settlers gathered in Huwara and attacked Palestinian vehicles with stones near the Deir Sharaf roundabout in northern Nablus, leaving some cars damaged.

Elsewhere, dozens of heavily armed settlers stormed the Old City of Hebron on Saturday night, chanting racist slogans amid a heavy deployment of the Israeli forces.

Israeli police officers and border guards meanwhile stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque on Saturday, forced all worshipers to leave, seized phones and arrested two people, Palestinian sources said.

Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the imam of Al-Aqsa, told Arab News that Israel was prosecuting a fierce campaign against the mosque that violated the freedom to worship.

“We did not see any facilities from the Israeli authorities during this Ramadan. Rather, we saw thousands of people gather at the Qalandia and Bethlehem checkpoints after the occupation prevented them from reaching Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform Friday prayers,” Sabri said.

Sabri added that the influx of worshippers to Al-Aqsa during Ramadan, whose numbers have exceeded those of previous years, is a response to Israel.

He said that a further tension and escalation depended on the actions of Israel.

“It depends entirely on the actions and procedures of the occupation. If the situation escalates, there will be tension, and if it does not, calm will prevail,” Sabri. “Whoever calls for calm must not take any action that provokes the feelings of Muslims."

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2275956/middle-east

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Israeli settlers set fire to Palestinian home in West Bank

26 March 2023

A Palestinian family has survived an incident where Israeli settlers set their house on fire in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian media reports said a group of settlers threw Molotov cocktails at the house of Ahmed Awashreh in Sinjil town, north of Ramallah, at dawn Sunday.

Awashreh said he was woken by the sound of a window smashing and managed to get his four children and wife out before the flames spread. "It was so close. I'm happy I saved my family."

A Sinjil resident told media outlets he saw cars nearby whose occupants he recognized as Jewish settlers minutes before the incident.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry denounced the arson attack and blamed the incident on "terrorist elements."

Israeli settlers carry out arson attacks and paint graffiti on Palestinian property in the West Bank and Jerusalem al-Quds under the “price tag” slogan. The price tag attacks are acts of vandalism targeting Palestinians and their property as well as Muslim holy sites.

In 2018, Israel’s so-called High Court of Justice upheld a decision to release a suspect and put him under house arrest in connection with a 2015 arson attack that took the lives of a Palestinian couple and their infant son.

In a separate incident on Saturday, two Israeli soldiers were wounded, the military said, in a drive-by shooting claimed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP), a Palestinian resistance group in the flashpoint town of Huwara in the West Bank.

Huwara has been the focus of attacks by the Israeli military and settlers alike in recent weeks.

In late February, hundreds of armed Israeli settlers attacked Huwara and nearby villages and torched dozens of houses and cars. They were angered by the killing of two Israeli brothers by a Palestinian gunman in the town. One Palestinian was killed and at least 390 injured. Israeli rights groups Peace Now and B’Tselem described the incident as a settler “pogrom” supported by the occupying regime.

Palestinians have been increasingly targeted since late December 2022, when Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power as prime minister of the regime’s most far-right cabinet ever.

Over the past year, Israeli forces have made thousands of arrests in the West Bank and killed more than 250 Palestinians, including resistance fighters and civilians.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/26/700477/West-Bank-Israel

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Southeast Asia

 

Muslims can get free drinks, snacks from 60 FairPrice outlets to break fast during Ramadan

Ang Qing

MAR 26, 2023

SINGAPORE – Muslims can get free drinks, snacks and dates from 60 FairPrice outlets to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

The initiative started on Thursday and will continue till April 21. The refreshments will be distributed 30 minutes before and after iftar, the evening meal eaten by Muslims to break fast after the sun has set, said the FairPrice Group on Sunday.

The group comprises four social enterprises – FairPrice, NTUC Foodfare, Kopitiam and NTUC Link.

This is the 15th year that the group has run the community outreach programme.

The group’s charity arm FairPrice Foundation will also contribute $40,000 to Malay/Muslim self-help group Yayasan Mendaki to provide academic support for children from low-income families.

In a speech at FairPrice’s Hari Raya Do Good Activity at its outlet at Our Tampines Hub, chief procurement officer Tng Ah Yiam said: “This donation will be used towards helping students defray costs in their educational pursuits, such as paying for school fees, transportation and purchase of school textbooks, assessment books and stationery.

The event on Sunday was attended by Minister for Social and Family Development MasagosZulkifli, who helped to distribute festive bags filled with essentials such as rice, oil and cereal to beneficiaries from Yayasan Mendaki.

He is also Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs and an MP for Tampines GRC.

The practice of giving out iftar packs at FairPrice outlets to customers started in 2009 when staff noticed that there were customers who were not able to get home in time for iftar due to work commitments.

Mr Tng said: “Hence, the idea was conceived to provide customers, who had been fasting for the whole day, with dates and drinks so that they may have something to eat first while on the go as they head home or back to work to break fast.”

The full list of FairPrice stores offering free beverages with dates or snacks over Ramadan can be viewed here.

Source: StraitsTimes

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

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/muslims-can-get-free-drinks-snacks-from-60-fairprice-outlets-to-break-fast-during-ramadan

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Malaysian mum reunites with unilaterally-converted kids whose religious freedom she won back

By Ida Lim

27 Mar 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 — A Malaysian non-Muslim mother is finally back with four of her children her Muslim convert ex-husband had unlawfully taken to Indonesia for four years in defiance of a court order.

Identified only as W, the Selangor woman had to go through years of court battles, with the hardest being to annul the ex-husband’s secret unilateral conversion of their five children to Islam when they were aged three to nine.

In January 2022, W won again at the Federal Court, which meant Selangor's Islamic bodies failed in their bid to appeal two previous decisions in the lower courts which had ordered the cancellation of the five children’s registration as Muslim converts

But even with the hard-fought win as well as past court orders granting her full custody over the children and stopping the father from taking the children out of Malaysia, W had not seen or spoken to four of her five children for four years from 2019 until 2022.

The mother and the youngest child who were in Malaysia have now been with her four other children for about six months, since their reunion in September 2022.

Here is her experience, as told to Malay Mail when contacted recently.

What happened to the four children

All five children were born to W and her then-husband L in their non-Muslim marriage, but L in 2018 converted himself and all the children to Islam without the mother’s knowledge and consent. W believes L converted as he was planning to marry an Indonesian Muslim.

After discovering that L had withdrawn the five children from school in January 2019, W managed to get an injunction from the High Court the same month to stop him from taking the children out of Malaysia and requiring him to inform her of any changes to their location.

According to the mother, the ex-husband initially tried to fly to Indonesia with the children, but had been stopped by Malaysia’s immigration authorities due to the injunction order.

However, he subsequently took the four of the children into Thailand by bus, before flying to Indonesia. To this day, W said she is puzzled why they were not stopped at the Malaysia-Thai border as the injunction prevented him from taking the children out of Malaysia.

In February 2020, the High Court issued an arrest warrant against the ex-husband after finding his removal of the children from Malaysia to be in contempt of the 2019 injunction order.

In September 2020, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur granted W sole custody, guardianship, care and control of all five children, as part of divorce proceedings. The divorce was finalised three months later. W said the ex-husband did not contest the custody order.

By then, however, four of the elder children had already been taken away, and she was left with only the youngest child.

Having been separated from her children for four years since 2019, the mother said she worried about them as she had no contact with them at all and had nightmares about losing them forever.

How did she manage to reunite?

In late August 2022, she heard that the ex-husband had returned to Malaysia with the four children as they were spotted at a school here.

When she went to the school, W said she was able to meet with two of the children briefly and for the first time in years.

While she had shown the school the court documents granting her full custody rights over the children, she was told to resolve that matter first before arranging to transfer her children to a new school.

The mother said the police also initially rejected her request for an escort to recover the four children from the ex-husband’s house on grounds that the order did not say their presence was required. She had applied to ensure her safety.

The mother then obtained a court order directing the police to accompany her for the recovery bid, which also authorised them to enter the premises to recover the children even if the ex-husband withheld permission.

Finally, on September 19, 2022, the mother went with her lawyers and the police to L’s residence, where he initially refused to open the door and sought to hide his presence.

W, L and their children were then all brought to the police station the same day, where the police explained to the father that the court order granted full custody and care of all children to the mother. All four children then followed the mother home.

Moving on

While the two elder children could recognise her after so many years apart, W said the third child had less recollection of her while the fourth had forgotten her as they had been separated while the child was at a very young age.

It took time and effort for them to bond again, after the years of being forcibly apart. Although glad to be reunited, W said she would always regret losing all those years with her children that she would never recover.

The children have adapted to living together, and W said she had previously already explained to the youngest child that the four elder siblings would be returning to stay with them to help him adjust.

W was initially worried the four children would not be able to cope in their new schools, but said they quickly made friends and settled down although they still must catch up on their studies due to the different level of education they had received in Indonesia.

Based on the court order granting her custody, the father still has visiting rights for alternate weekends. W said the fourth child, who is closest to the father, still regularly sees him but the three elder children have chosen not to do so.

Despite the previous ordeal, the mother said she did not intend to stop her ex-husband from seeing their children so long as they were willing to talk to him and the visits did not upset them and disrupt their studies.

W also said L has not made any of the maintenance payments from the divorce order including money for the children’s schooling as the ex-husband, who has a new family with other children, claimed he could not afford these.

She also questioned why L was never arrested despite the open warrant issued in 2020 after he took the four children out of the country in contempt of a court order, saying the warrant had also been meant to aid in her recovery of the four children who should be under her custody and care.

W said she was willing to let the matter go now since she has already been reunited with the children.

Why the mother challenged the unilateral conversion

The four children taken to Indonesia had studied Islam while there and continued with Islamic classes in the school the ex-husband had sent them to upon their return to Malaysia, W said.

She said they were enrolled under their names as Muslim converts even though their official names with the National Registration Department (NRD) remain their original birth names as non-Muslims.

After the successful recovery of the four children, W’s lawyers on October 11 last year wrote to the lawyers representing the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) to serve the court order which required the cancellation of all five children’s unilateral conversion to Islam.

When contacted, W’s lawyers Toh Lee Khim and Audrey Aw Yong said the council’s legal representatives on October 20 last year sent a written reply along with a confirmation letter from Mais dated October 19, 2022.

The Mais letter confirmed that all five children’s registration as Muslim converts have been stricken from its registry of Muslim converts, appending proof of the cancellation.

W said she had explained to her children that they were no longer converts as a result of the court order, and that she intended for them to have the freedom to decide their religion as adults.

“They understood. I explained that after you grow up, if you think you like Islam, Islam is suitable for you, you wish to convert to Islam, or if your girlfriend or boyfriend is a Muslim, you think it’s alright to convert to Islam, that is your freedom because you have already grown up, you can make your own choice,” she said.

“I’m not saying that Islam is not good, but I wish for the children to make their own choice when they grow up.”

She said she went through such lengths to secure her children’s freedom of choice as non-Muslims, as past cases have shown the difficulties in leaving the religion after converting to Islam in Malaysia.

W said her case, which was filed in 2019, still took years despite her series of victories and the ex-husband’s consistent absence as Islamic authorities kept contesting the decisions, requiring the matter to be argued all the way to the Federal Court.

She said her children have not been compelled to enter any religion now while living with her, and that they are also free to celebrate the many different festivals in Malaysia as a family or with their friends.

A mother’s advice

Asked if she has any advice for those in a similar situation, W urged them to be mindful of the financial costs, among others, of going to the courts for a solution.

W tried to seek legal aid from the government and a federal lawmaker’s legal team, but was unsuccessful due to the complexity of her case. In the end, she had to retain her own lawyer and was fortunate to find one that allowed her to make part payments as well as having friends who offered to lend her money if needed.

In total, W said it cost her more than RM100,000 in legal costs and court fees to secure her children’s return to her and their freedom to determine their own religion as adults.

“Unless you really love your child, no matter how much you need to spend in terms of money or time, you really wish to have your child to be by your side, you view your child to be more important than anything else, then you can go and do it,” she said, citing the determination, time and energy required for a parent to recover their children and also the legal costs that kept mounting.

She also said it was important to have the support of others such as friends as it would have felt insurmountable if she could only rely on herself.

Source:MalayMail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/03/27/malaysian-mum-reunites-with-unilaterally-converted-kids-whose-religious-freedom-she-won-back/61535

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After sultan’s call, PAS urges Muslims to uphold ban

26 Mar 2023

PETALING JAYA: Muslims in Selangor were again reminded by PAS against visiting other houses of worship, hours after the sultan of Selangor had said there was nothing wrong in Muslims attending a funeral or wake at a church.

The PAS statement, by its Selangor leader Ahmad YunusHairi, said Muslims should abide by a directive restricting them from visiting other houses of worship to learn more about other faiths.

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Yunus said it was important to preserve tolerance and the mutual respect between the different communities. He said PAS would work to ensure nobody threatens Malaysia’s harmony.

Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, in a media interview published this morning, said while Muslims can attend ceremonies such as funerals or wakes at non-Muslim houses of worship, they should remain observers and not take part in any rituals.

He said the Selangor religious council’s directive against visits to learn about other faiths was “correct and clear”.

The sultan said the council was merely protecting the faith of Muslims by highlighting programmes in Selangor that “persuade Muslims to be inclined towards or to be interested in other religions”.

Source:Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/03/26/after-sultans-call-pas-urges-muslims-to-uphold-ban/

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South Asia

 

Islamic Emirate Calls for Removal of Members From UN Blacklist

By Fatima Adib

The Islamic Emirate urged the United Nations to remove the names of its members from the blacklist, saying that instead of pressure, the international community should engage with the interim government of Afghanistan.

The Islamic Emirate’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said that nearly 20 to 25 members of the Islamic Emirate are on the blacklist.

“We can say that there are between 20 to 25 people who are on the blacklist and they were sanctioned. Some of them have died, of those who are alive, very few of them are now working in the government,” he said.

Mujahid said the placing of the Islamic Emirate’s officials on the blacklist of the UN is against the Doha agreement.

“We have said many times that pressure and force will not bring any results. The war of the past 20 years has proven it that the people of Afghanistan will not surrender to pressure. Engagement and understanding are better and negotiations are a good option,” Mujahid said.

This comes as political analysts said that neglecting the demands of the international community caused the continued presence of Islamic Emirate members on the UN blacklist.

“Ensuring the rights of women for education and work and including representatives that are not Taliban at the leadership level of Afghanistan after the intra-Afghan dialogue” is the reason for the sanctions, said Torek Farhadi, political analyst.

“I think it is part of the world’s political pressure on the Islamic Emirate; until the Islamic Emirate observes the current system and current international laws,” said Saleem Kakar, a political analyst.

Source:ToloNews

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

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-182676

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Islamic Emirate Pledges to Invest in Major Development Projects

By Habib Rahman Qooyash

The current Afghan government said there are plans for mining and water management projects, as well as projects in other areas, to be launched this year.

The deputy spokesperson of the Islamic Emirate, Bilal Karimi, emphasized that the current government supports domestic and foreign investors and is providing opportunities for them.

"The Islamic Emirate will focus attention on the projects that are very crucial for the country's infrastructure, for example, the management of water, in mining ... as well as in the health and education sector, and other sectors where there is a need," Karimi noted.

Economists say development efforts in the country are currently weak and poverty and unemployment have not decreased in Afghanistan.

"The investments made are insufficient, and the results show that even half-completed development projects were not completed. And because the World Bank and foreign nations did not support them, the initiatives that were scheduled to begin did not,” said Sayed Masoud, an economist.

Some residents of Kabul asked the Islamic Emirate to do more to eradicate poverty in the country.

“We will be happy if some help is given to us. We are poor people. I am the sole breadwinner of a family of seven members,” said Mohammadullah, a resident of Kabul.

"We want this government to be recognized, and we also want to see a reduction in the level of poverty and despair among the people. We ask our government to bring peace to our nation,” said Sayed Ahmad, another resident of Kabul.

Source:ToloNews

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

https://tolonews.com/business-182672

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8 Children Killed Due to Unexploded Ordnance in Afghanistan: UNICEF

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

March 27, 2023

UNICEF has announced that at least eight children lost their lives due to unexploded ordnance throughout Afghanistan last week.

These children lost their lives when they were playing with unexploded ordnance and collecting metal scraps to sell, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Sunday on Twitter.

UNICEF has not specified the date and location where these children were killed and has said that on average two children die of such explosions in Afghanistan on a daily basis.

Unexploded weaponry is having a devastating impact on children in Afghanistan. In 2022, more than 700 children were killed or maimed because of unexploded ordnances and war remnants. An average of two children every day. It is crucial to work together to protect children in the war-torn country, the organization said

Besides offering heartfelt condolences to the children’s families and friends, UNICEF stated that the effects of ordnances and war remnants have been devastating on the lives of children in Afghanistan.

UNICEF added that it is increasing its efforts to educate children, parents and the public about the dangers of landmines and unexploded ordnance left on battlefields.

Afghanistan has the most extensive minefields in the world, however, with the reduction of international funds, the demining budget has also decreased, putting the lives of vulnerable people, children in particular at huge risk.

Planting mines has been one of the main tactics of the warring parties in Afghanistan over the past decades. Remaining unexploded materials on the battlefields and around the military quarters has added to this problem.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/8-children-killed-due-to-unexploded-ordnance-in-afghanistan-unicef/

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Afghan Security Forces Kill Key ISIS Fighter in Kabul

By Fidel Rahmati

March 27, 2023

According to the intelligence department, Taliban security forces killed a key Islamic State fighter in a special counterterrorism raid against a Daesh hideout in the capital city of Kabul, District 12.

The Taliban security forces launched a special operation on an ISIS hideout in the Butkhaak, 12 districts of Kabul city, which resulted in the death of Asad Laghamani, known as ‘Qais’ who was allegedly involved in the attack on the interior ministry mosque, the department said on Twitter.

The statement also said that several weapons and ammunition were seized during the operation, including three AK-47, explosive materials, and hand grenades, while civilians were not harmed in the attack.

Recently, the group has intensified their attacks and targeted Taliban officials, civilians and foreign nationals in the country.

The ISIS militants claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks in the country, including the attack on the mosque at the interior ministry last year, which killed four people and injured 25 others.

The Deash group also claimed responsibility for the recent attacks in Balkh province; they claimed responsibility for killing the governor of Balkh with his two aides. A similar incident in the journalists’ gathering resulted in the death of three people, and 18 others were injured.

Earlier, the American general Michael Kurilla had warned about the presence of Deash in Afghanistan and their ability to target the US interest in Europe and Asia within six months.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-security-forces-kill-key-isis-fighter-in-kabul/

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Security Forces Discover ISIS Weaponry, Mine-making Centre in Northern Afghanistan

By Fidel Rahmati

March 26, 2023

The Taliban security forces in Afghanistan’s Northern Province discovered an Islamic State weapons cache and a mine-making centre on Sunday.

According to the provincial police chief of Jawzjan province, the Afghan security forces found massive weapons depot and mine-making facility of Deash or ISIS in Sakhi Abad of Shiberghan, the capital of Afghanistan’s northern Jawzjan province.

The discovered ammunitions and arms, including a suicide vest, hand grenades and objects used in making mines and explosive devices, Shah Mohammad Ahmadi said, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Similar operations were conducted by the Afghan security forces in the eastern Kunar province, where they found and confiscated 17 AK-47 assault rifles and other weapons and ammunition.

Nonetheless, the police head claimed that the Daesh militants planned to launch disruptive activities, but their plot had been prevented.

Recently, the Islamic State intensified its attacks on Taliban officials and people in various provinces of Afghanistan, including Kabul and Balkh provinces.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/security-forces-discover-isis-weaponry-mine-making-center-in-northern-afghanistan/

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Acting Minister of Refugees, Iranian Ambassador Discuss Afghan Refugees Problems in Kabul

By Fidel Rahmati

March 27, 2023

Afghanistan acting Minister of Refugees and Repatriation met on Sunday in Kabul with Hassan KazemiQomi, Iranian ambassador, a statement said.

According to the statement, acting minister of refugees Khalil Rahman Haqqani and ambassador Qomi discussed the issues facing Afghan refugees in Iran, including those that arise during the Hajj ceremony, cooperation with Afghan immigrants, the simplicity of transferring the bodies of Afghans who pass away in Iran, and good behaviour toward Afghan migrants.

According to Qomi, quoted by the ministry, he would work to improve relationships between the two countries and discuss the issues above with the Iranian officials.

In February, Iran handed over the Afghan embassy in Tehran to the Taliban and accepted Taliban-appointed diplomats without recognizing the Taliban government.

Since the Taliban returned to power in August 2021, a significant number of Afghan nationals have fled their country to Iran and Pakistan due to the fear of Taliban persecution, security threats, poverty, and a high rate of unemployment.

According to the report, between 2.1 and 2.6 million undocumented Afghans, including former residential permit cards, lived in Iran between 2020 and the second half of 2022.

Since most of these Afghan migrants entered Iran illegally, facing several challenges and difficulties.

Moreover, in the recent past, scores of Afghan migrants have returned to Afghanistan from Iran; some refugees are forced to leave the host country while others return home willingly.

In addition, last week, eleven Afghan citizens were shot dead by Iranian security forces in Sistan and Baluchistan province who were trying to enter Iran illegally, media reports said.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/acting-minister-of-refugees-iranian-ambassador-discuss-afghan-refugees-problems-in-kabul/

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Arab World

 

Kata’ib Hezbollah warns US of direct confrontation if resistance groups targeted in Iraq

26 March 2023

Iraq’s anti-terror group Kata’ib Hezbollah has warned American forces of "direct confrontation", saying its forces will take the US troops by surprise and deliver them a stinging blow if they launch attacks similar to air strikes in neighboring Syria against the positions of resistance forces in Iraq.

Abu Ali al-Askari, a senior security official with Kata'ib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Brigades), made the remarks in a statement on Sunday stating that they will directly attack US bases should they target Iraqi anti-terror groups’ positions.

“We reiterate once again that Kata’ib will directly target US bases across the region in case the US enemy commits a folly and decides to strike our resistance fighters and their camps [in Iraq],” he said.

The US military launched several air raids in Syria on Thursday night against the positions of resistance fighters that it blamed for a drone strike that purportedly killed an American contractor, wounded another, and also hurt five US troops.

The Pentagon said in a statement that the attack against US personnel took place at a base near Hasakah in northeast Syria at approximately 1:38 p.m. local time (1038 GMT) on Thursday.

According to the Pentagon, the attack was launched at the direction of President Joe Biden and targeted facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.

However, local sources pointed out that the target was not an Iran-aligned military post as the US military claimed, but rather a rural development center and a grain center in Hrabashneighborhood, near Dayr al-Zawr military airport. No Iranian was killed in the act of aggression.

Askari also congratulated Syrian pro-government forces for their rocket attacks against the illegal bases of American forces in the country’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.

He added that such moves are in line with Syrians’ efforts to reclaim their rights and the natural resources that are being pillaged by US occupation troops. Askari also said his comrades did not have any role in recent attacks against US military bases in eastern Syria.

On Friday, after the Pentagon carried out multiple airstrikes against Syrian troops, a military base housing US forces in the eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr came under a rocket attack.

local sources reported that the rockets landed in the vicinity of the US-controlled al-Omar oil field at around 11 a.m. local time (0800 GMT), causing several explosions.

On Saturday, Iran's Arabic-language al-Alam television news network reported that more than 20 rockets had been fired against two illegal bases belonging to American occupation forces in eastern Syria.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/26/700452/Kata%E2%80%99ib-Hezbollah-warns-US-of-painful-response-if-resistance-groups-targeted-inside-Iraq

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Attacks on Iran-linked targets in Syria will draw prompt response, Tehran warns

25 March ,2023

Airstrikes on Iranian-linked bases in Syria would draw a quick response, an Iranian security spokesperson said on Saturday, after the reported death of 19 people in one of the deadliest exchanges between the US and Iranian-aligned forces in years.

“Any pretext to attack bases created at the request of the Syrian government to deal with terrorism and ISIS elements in this country will be met with an immediate counter-response,” KeyvanKhosravi, spokesperson for Iran’s top security body, was quoted as saying by the semi-official news agency Nournews.

Iran says its forces and allied fighters are in Syria at the request of Damascus, and sees US forces as occupiers.

The death toll in US airstrikes on pro-Iran installations in eastern Syria has risen to 19 fighters, a Syrian war monitoring group said on Saturday.

The US carried out strikes in eastern Syria in response to a drone attack on Thursday that left one American contractor dead and another wounded along with five US troops. Washington said the attack was of Iranian origin.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said air raids killed three Syrian troops, 11 Syrian fighters in pro-government militias and five non-Syrian fighters who were aligned with the government.

The monitor’s head Rami Abdel Rahman could not specify the nationalities of the foreigners. Reuters was unable to independently confirm the toll.

The initial exchange prompted a string of tit-for-tat strikes. Another US service member was wounded, according to officials, and local sources said suspected US rocket fire hit more locations in eastern Syria.

President Joe Biden on Friday warned Iran that the United States would “act forcefully” to protect Americans.

Iran has been a major backer of President Bashar al-Assad during Syria’s 12-year conflict.

Iran’s proxy militias, including Lebanese group Hezbollah and pro-Tehran Iraqi groups, hold sway in swathes of eastern, southern and northern Syria and in suburbs around the capital.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/25/Attacks-on-Iran-linked-targets-in-Syria-will-draw-prompt-response-Tehran-warns

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Gulf states appeal to US on Israeli minister’s Palestinian comments

26 March ,2023

The Gulf Cooperation Council said Sunday it had written to Washington’s top diplomat condemning controversial comments from Israel’s finance minister in which he denied the existence of a Palestinian people.

The GCC, in a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, called on Washington “to assume its responsibilities in responding to all measures and statements that target the Palestinian people”.

The letter from the six-member GCC’s foreign ministers also called on the US “to play its role in reaching a just, comprehensive and lasting solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, speaking earlier this month, said that the Palestinians did not exist as a people, comments that sparked outrage among Arab nations.

The US State Department said they had found Smotrich’s comments “to not only be inaccurate but also deeply concerning and dangerous.”

Smotrich is part of veteran Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right government that took office in December.

The GCC ministers also denounced earlier remarks by Smotrich, calling for the Palestinian town of Huwara in the West Bank to be “wiped out” after two Israelis were shot dead there by an alleged Hamas militant in February, remarks he later walked back.

The GCC, whose foreign ministers met in Riyadh last week, includes the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which normalized relations with Israel under the US-crafted 2020 Abraham Accords, as well as Saudi Arabia, which has not.

Violence has intensified in the West Bank in recent months, which Israel has occupied since the Six-Day War of 1967.

On Tuesday, the State Department criticized a move by Israel’s parliament to annul part of a law banning Israelis from living in areas of the West Bank evacuated in 2005, calling it “provocative” and in direct contradiction of promises made to Washington at the time.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2023/03/26/Gulf-states-appeal-to-US-on-Israeli-minister-s-Palestinian-comments

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Researchers unearth 2,000 ram heads in Egypt temple

26 March ,2023

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered more than 2,000 ancient mummified sheep heads left as offerings in a temple to the pharaoh Ramses II, the tourism and antiquities ministry said Sunday.

Mummies of dogs, goats, cows, gazelles and mongooses were also exhumed by a team of US archaeologists from New York University at Abydos, a site in southern Egypt famous for its temples and tombs.

Sameh Iskandar, head of the American mission, said the ram heads were “offerings” indicating “a cult to Ramses II celebrated 1,000 years after his death”.

Ramses II reigned over Egypt for nearly seven decades, from 1304 to 1237 BC.

Mostafa Waziri, head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the finds will help people know more about the temple of Ramses II and the activities which took place there from its construction between 2374 and 2140 BC and the Ptolemaic period, from 323 to 30 BC.

As well as the remains of mummified animals, archaeologists discovered the remains of a palace with five-meter-thick (16 foot) walls dating to some 4,000 years ago.

They also found several statues, papyri, remains of ancient trees, leather clothes and shoes.

Abydos, which lies some 435 kilometers (270 miles) on the Nile river south of Cairo, is famed for its temples such as that of Seti I, as well as its necropolises.

Cairo regularly announces new archeological discoveries, which some suggest are made more for political and economic impact than their scientific or historic importance.

Egypt, home to some 105 million people, is mired in an economic crisis and relies on tourism for 10 precent of GPD, employing two million people.

Cairo hopes to revive tourism by targeting 30 million visitors a year by 2028, compared to 13 million before the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/26/Researchers-unearth-2-000-ram-heads-in-Egypt-temple

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Lebanon has two time zones amid daylight savings dispute between leaders

26 March ,2023

Lebanon woke up in two time zones on Sunday amid an escalating dispute between political and religious authorities over a decision to extend winter time for a month.

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati issued a decision on Thursday to roll clocks forward an hour on April 20, instead of entering daylight savings time on the last weekend of March as is usually the case in Lebanon, Europe and other regions.

Though no reason was given for the decision, it was seen as an attempt to score a win among Muslims by allowing those fasting during the holy month of Ramadan to break their fasts an hour earlier, at around 6 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.

But Lebanon’s influential Maronite church on Saturday announced it would disobey the decision, calling it “surprising” and saying there had been no consultations with other actors or considerations of international standards.

It said it would turn clocks forward on Saturday night.

Other Christian organizations, parties and schools announced similar plans.

Meanwhile, Muslim institutions and parties appeared set to remain in winter time, deepening divides in a country that witnessed a 1975-90 civil war between Christian and Muslim factions and where parliament seats are allocated by religious sect.

Businesses and media organizations, including two of Lebanon’s main news channels LBCI and MTV, announced they too would enter daylight savings on Saturday night as calls for disobedience gained steam.

LBCI said in a statement that it would disobey Mikati’s decision because it would have harmed its work, adding: “Lebanon is not an island”.

Others have tried to adapt.

Lebanon’s national carrier Middle East Airlines said its clocks and other devices would stay in winter time, in line with Mikati’s decision, but it would adjust its flight times to keep in line with international schedules.

The state-run telecoms duopoly sent messages to customers advising them to set the time on their devices manually on Sunday, in case the clocks had automatically gone forward.

Many have said the uncertainty and potential chaos was emblematic of decades of failed governance by leaders that led Lebanon into a 2019 financial crisis the World Bank said was “orchestrated” by elites.

‘Muslim or Christian time?’

Mikati, a Sunni Muslim, announced the decision after a meeting on Thursday with Shi’ite parliament speaker Nabih Berri, who repeatedly insisted on the change, according to a video of the meeting published by Lebanese outlet Megaphone.

“Instead of it being 7 o’clock, let it stay 6 o’clock from now until the end of Ramadan,” Berri said, according to the clip.

Mikati is seen responding that the change was not possible because it would cause “problems” including to flight scheduling.

“We can’t. We can’t do it anymore, it’s difficult,” he said.

But later that day, Mikati issued the decision to stay in winter time.

His office said in a statement on Saturday night the decision was a “purely administrative procedure” that was being given “an obnoxious sectarian turn”.

A spokesperson for the premier’s office said it did not have an immediate comment on the decision’s reasoning or the resulting backlash.

At a Beirut cafe on Saturday evening, a Reuters journalist heard one customer ask: “Will you follow the Christian or Muslim clock starting tomorrow?”

Independent MP WaddahSadek said on Twitter decisions were taken without “any consideration for the consequences or confusion that they cause”.

Some Twitter users shared an old recording of famed Lebanese composer and musician Ziad Rahbani speaking about daylight savings.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/26/Lebanon-has-two-time-zones-amid-daylight-savings-dispute-between-leaders

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Career guidance on the agenda at Saudi human resources fund, Diriyah workshop

March 26, 2023

RIYADH: The Saudi Human Resources Development Fund’s workshop, which was held in cooperation with the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, saw the participation of 15 education offices.

The workshop aimed at reviewing vocational guidance initiatives and analyzed needs in the education sector. It focused on developing plans to be presented to school students and mentors.

Those in charge of the education offices were briefed on the ideas at the event, which took place at the headquarters of the DGDA.

Discussions were also held regarding the skills and needs of the labor sector to help equip students with the necessary capabilities.

Career guidance initiatives aim to empower students through integrated counseling and training, in order to help develop their skills and increase their readiness to enter the labor market.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2275871/saudi-arabia

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Iraqi group claims responsibility for US base attack in Syria

26 March 2023

An Iraqi group has taken responsibility for a recent drone attack targeting a US-occupied base in northeastern Syria, which resulted in the death of an American contractor and injuries to at least five troops.

In a statement on Sunday, Liwa al-Ghaliboun said the group succeeded in conducting the operation on Thursday in legitimate response to brutal and terrorist crimes committed by the American occupation forces in the country and elsewhere in the region.

It warned of more precise operations using continuously developing weapons against the American occupying forces until their complete withdrawal from their country.

Americans will never feel safe in Iraq and beyond until their full withdrawal from the country, the group warned.

The Pentagon stated that a base near Hasakah in northeast Syria was targeted at approximately 1:38 p.m. local time (1038 GMT) on Thursday.

US warplanes subsequently launched several strikes on the eastern city of Dayr al-Zawr, targeting the positions of resistance fighters.

Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said the strikes were carried out at the direction of President Joe Biden, claiming that they targeted facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

However, local sources pointed out that the target was not an Iran-aligned military post, but rather, a rural development center and a grain center in Hrabashneighborhood, near Dayr al-Zawr military airport. No Iranian was killed in the act of aggression.

In a statement on Saturday, the Syrian Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the US strikes, saying the raids are a cover-up for Washington’s ferocious attempts to further plunder energy resources there.

An Iranian official on Saturday rejected US allegations that Tehran was involved in the attack on American forces, saying the US is trying to divert attention from its illegal occupation of Syria.

KeyvanKhosravi, the spokesman for Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), warned that the Islamic Republic will give a prompt response to any pretext for an attack on bases inside Syria established at the Syrian government’s request for the purpose of fighting terrorism.

Attacks on US-occupied bases in Syria have been on the rise as Washington has made it clear that it has no intention of putting an end to its illegal occupation of the Arab country.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/26/700469/Syria-US-base-Iraq-group-responsibility-drone-attack-Liwa-al-Ghaliboun-

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Africa

 

Tunisian coast guard recovers 10 dead as new migrant boat sinks

26 March ,2023

Tunisia’s coast guard recovered 10 bodies from a migrant boat which sank near the coast, the second vessel to sink within hours off Tunisia, bringing the death toll to 29, a security official told Reuters.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2023/03/26/Tunisian-coast-guard-recovers-10-dead-as-new-migrant-boat-sinks-

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Burhan says Sudan’s army will be under leadership of civilian government

26 March ,2023

Sudan’s leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said on Sunday that the country’s army will be brought under the leadership of a new civilian government.

Speaking before a session for security and army reforms in Khartoum Burhan said his country will build a military force that will not intervene in politics and will be trusted by the Sudanese people in building a modern and democratic state.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/03/26/Burhan-says-Sudan-s-army-will-be-under-leadership-of-civilian-government

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Kenya's police chief bans opposition protests after riots

Andrew Wasike

27.03.2023

NAIROBI, Kenya

Kenya’s inspector general of police announced Sunday that he has banned opposition protests in the country, saying they are illegal.

Japheth Koome warned of arrests for opposition leaders and activists who plan to protest on Monday and Thursday.

Koome has also threatened to arrest opposition leader Raila Odinga and other prominent figures if they attempt to hold the protests.

“The demonstrations are illegal and will not be allowed. We will arrest anyone who causes chaos,” he said

In response, Odinga challenged Koome to carry out his threat, saying the ban violates Kenya's constitution and that the opposition has a right to hold peaceful protests.

“We are not going to be intimidated by the police. We will continue with our protests,” Odinga said.

The opposition has been calling for protests demanding that the cost of living be reduced after rising considerably since President William Ruto came to power.

There are fears that the ban and the threat of arrest could escalate the situation, with the opposition vowing to defy the ban and continue with their protests.

The police have been accused of using excessive force in response to the protests, with reports of live ammunition being used against protesters.

One person was killed last Monday following countrywide protests that brought Nairobi to a standstill.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/kenyas-police-chief-bans-opposition-protests-after-riots/2856313

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Sudan leader says to build professional army under elected civilian authority

Awad al-Rujoub

26.03.2023

KHARTOUM, Sudan

Sudan’s military chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said Sunday he is seeking to build a professional army under an elected civilian authority.

“We want to build professional armed forces that will not participate in politics in the future, and will not stand in the way of the state's reform process,” al-Burhan said in a speech in the capital Khartoum.

“We want to enable any elected civilian authority to have the armed forces under its command,” he added.

“This is a good opportunity to reform all state agencies,” al-Burhan said. “We are working to build armed forces which have the trust of all Sudanese.”

On December 5, Sudan’s military and political forces signed a framework agreement meant to resolve Sudan’s months-long crisis.

The deal calls for the reform of the military and defense sector, unifying the military and integrating the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary force, into the army.

Sudan has been without a functioning government since October 2021 when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional government and declared a state of emergency, a move decried by political forces as a "military coup."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/sudan-leader-says-to-build-professional-army-under-elected-civilian-authority/2856114

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Libya: Haftar's army chief arrives in Tripoli to hold military meetings

Walid Abdullah

27.03.2023

TRIPOLI, Libya

A military chief from eastern Libya strongman Khalifa Haftar's army on Sunday arrived in the capital Tripoli to attend a meeting of the 5+5 joint military committee.

Abdel Razek al-Nadori, Haftar's army chief, landed at Tripoli's Mitiga airport escorted by a military delegation to attend the UN-sponsored meeting, Anadolu learned.

It is expected that al-Nadori will hold a meeting with Libyan Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al-Haddad in the presence of the UN envoy to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily.

On March 17, Bathily urged Libyan rivals to engage in talks to unify Libya's military institutions, and to pave the way for a safe environment to hold the country's long-awaited elections.

The 5+5 Joint Military Committee includes five members from the Libyan government military in western Libya and five other members from Haftar's forces in the east.

The committee has been holding UN-sponsored meetings over the past two years to ensure a continued cease-fire and hold talks on unifying the military in Libya.

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/libya-haftars-army-chief-arrives-in-tripoli-to-hold-military-meetings/2856296

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North America

 

US prepared to act 'forcefully' to protect personnel in Syria: Biden

Rabia İclalTuran

25.03.2023

WASHINGTON

President Joe Biden said Friday that the US "does not seek conflict with Iran" but is prepared to “act forcefully” to protect American personnel in Syria.

“That's exactly what happened last night,” Biden told reporters in Canada during a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Biden started his speech by noting his national security team informed him about a deadly drone by Iranian-backed groups against a US base in Syria on Thursday, which killed an American contractor and injured five service members along with another contractor.

Biden said he ordered his team to formulate an “immediate response,” noting that US airstrikes in Syria targeted those responsible for the attack.

“My heart and deepest condolences to the family of the American we lost and wish speedy recovery for those who are wounded,” he said. “But I'm also grateful for the professionalism of our service members who so ably carried out this response.”

The US conducted airstrikes Thursday against Iran-backed groups in response.

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-prepared-to-act-forcefully-to-protect-personnel-in-syria-biden/2855100

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Damascus blasts US strikes on Dayr al-Zawr as cover-up to steal more oil in eastern Syria

26 March 2023

Syria has condemned in the strongest terms the United States military for carrying out multiple air strikes in the eastern parts of the Arab country against resistance groups, saying the raids are a cover-up for Washington's ferocious attempts to further plunder energy resources there.

Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates made the remarks in a statement on Saturday, after the US conducted airstrikes in Syria on Thursday, blaming Damascus for a drone attack that purportedly killed an American contractor, wounded another, and also hurt five US troops.

The statement denounced the brutal attack launched by the US forces against some areas in Dayr al-Zawr province, which claimed the lives of a number of people, left several others injured, and caused property damage in the targeted regions.

“The US allegations about the targeted sites are nothing but a failed attempt aimed at justifying the act of aggression, which constitutes a blatant violation of Syria’s sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity,” it added.

The Syrian foreign ministry also said that such hostile US acts are in line with the attacks that the Israeli regime and the Daesh Takfiri terrorists have launched against local residents, and serve as a cover-up for the continued looting of Syrian oil by US occupation forces

“Syria repeats its demand for an immediate end to the presence of American occupation troops, increased authority of the Damascus government over all districts in the country, and cessation of Washington’s support and sponsorship of separatist and terrorist groups,” the statement also read.

It also urged the international community to condemn the latest Israeli air strikes, stand with the conflict-stricken Arab country, and help it preserve its territorial integrity and national unity.

The Pentagon said in a statement that the attack against US personnel took place at a base near Hasakah in northeast Syria at approximately 1:38 p.m. local time (1038 GMT) on Thursday.

Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said the strikes in Syria against the positions of resistance fighters were carried out at the direction of President Joe Biden and targeted facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.

However, local sources pointed out that the target was not an Iran-aligned military post as the US military claimed, but rather a rural development center and a grain center in Hrabashneighborhood, near Dayr al-Zawr military airport. No Iranian was killed in the act of aggression.

A military source in Syria told Press TV that the resistance groups reserve their right to respond to the American attack and will take reciprocal action.

On Friday, after the Pentagon carried out multiple airstrikes against Syrian troops, a military base housing US forces in the eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr came under a rocket attack.

local sources reported that the rockets landed in the vicinity of the US-controlled al-Omar oil field at around 11 a.m. local time (0800 GMT), causing several explosions.

On Saturday, Iran's Arabic-language al-Alam television news network reported that more than 20 rockets had been fired against two illegal bases belonging to American occupation forces in eastern Syria.

The news channel specified the targets as American outposts based near the al-Omar oilfield and the Koniko natural gas field in Syria's Dayr al-Zawr province.

US lawmakers call for American troop pullout from Syria

A number of Republican legislators in the House of Representatives and the Senate have called on the Biden administration to withdraw all US troops from Syria in the wake of attacks against them in the Arab country.

“Warmongers in both parties say keeping troops in Syria is necessary to preserve the balance of power. That is simply not true. If they believe that, they should say it directly to the parents of Americans in Syria who have to sleep there tonight and guard oil fields ... We need to bring our troops home,” Congressman Matt Gaetz tweeted on Friday.

He added that it is very sad that we continue to see Americans get killed and soldiers injured in Syria, noting this is the price of protecting oil fields in other countries, which will probably continue forever.

Congressman Ben Cline, echoing Gaetz’s remarks, wrote on his Twitter account on Friday that this week's development was exactly why he voted “to remove US armed forces from Syria and bring our troops home.”

Rand Paul, a senator from Kentucky, also considered the latest rocket attacks against American occupation troops as a reason for the need to withdraw the forces from Syria.

“Bring our troops home from Syria and end every unauthorized war going on today,” he tweeted on Saturday.

The US military has for long stationed its forces and equipment in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of the Daesh terrorists.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/26/700444/Syria-lambastes-US-strikes-on-Dayr-al-Zawr-as-cover-up-for-continued-looting-of-crude-oil

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