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Islamic World News ( 21 Jan 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Muslims Will Turn Cities into 'Karbala', If Anyone Tries To Put Hands on 'Izzat' Of Prophet Muhammad: JD (U) Leader Ghulam Rasool Balyawi

New Age Islam News Bureau

21 January 2023

 

JD (U) leader Gulam Rasool Balyawi.(File image)

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• Saudi Arabia Links Israel Normalisation with Israel with Two-State Solution with the Palestinians

• UK Failing To Tackle “Involuntarily Celibate” Culture Due To Focus on Islamist Extremism: MP

• 42 Journalists Murdered In Last 4 Years: Senate Told By Minister for Parliamentary Affairs

• Newly-Released Footage Shows Israeli Settlers Drink Alcohol, Urinate In Al-Aqsa Mosque

 

India

• Supreme Court to Hear Pleas Challenging Constitutional Validity of Polygamy and 'Nikah Halala' Among Muslims

• “Muslim Outreach” Has Become the Latest Buzzword for the BJP in Poll-Bound Karnataka

• Haridwar: 7 Mosques Fined For Violating Permissible Sound Levels

• Legacy of ‘Golden Age of Islam’ Between the 8th And 14th Centuries Recreated In Hyderabad

• UP Madrassa Board Made Silly Statement: NCPCR Chief on Non-Muslim Students

• ‘Take Pro-Woman Stand on Muslim Succession Laws’ Asks Forum for Muslim Women’s Gender Justice

• Popular Front Of India Forms ‘Service Teams’, ‘Killer Squads’ To Establish Islamic Rule By 2047: NIA Charge Sheet

• Police complaint against PM Modi BBC documentary for 'conspiracy to incite Muslims’

• 6 MoUs to be inked during Egypt president’s Republic Day trip

• 'BBC documentary timing is sinister when India heads G20': UK's Lord Rami Ranger writes to broadcaster

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Arab World

• Lebanon stripped of voting rights at UN over unpaid annual dues

• Lebanon Central Bank sets new rate for withdrawals from dollar deposits

• Iraqi football fans chant ‘Iran out’ at Arabian Gulf Cup final

• Residents protests YPG/PKK terror group in Syria's Deir ez-Zor

• Saudi foreign minister, Interpol chief discuss combating crime, terrorism

• Bahraini courts sentence 21 protesters, including three minors to prison

• Nasralllah: US Pursuing Maximum Pressure Policy on 'Axis of Resistance' Countries

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Europe

• Matthew King, the British Teenager Admits Plotting Islamist Terrorist Attack against Police Officers

• Russia Says There Is Evidence US Secretly Sponsoring Daesh in Afghanistan

• Having banned far-right parties, Greece overlooks terror group PKK’s operations on its soil

• UN says Taliban divided on appeal to restore women’s rights

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Pakistan

• UAE Businessmen Need To Exploit Business Opportunities In Pakistan: PM Shehbaz Sharif

• Nawaz Sharif blames Gen Bajwa & Gen Faiz for Pakistan's current turmoil

• China steals rich natural resources of Balochistan while locals remain impoverished

• Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Russian Federation: PM

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Mideast

• Sunni Leader Calls for Updating Iran’s Constitution as Protesters Take to Streets

• Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque, perform provocative dances

• Türkiye Summons Swedish Envoy over Planned Desecration of Holy Quran in Stockholm

• Ankara cancels Sweden defence minister visit over planned anti-Turkey protest

• Iran: IRGC Largest Anti-Terror Organization in World

• Israeli forces remove West Bank settler outpost, angering rightists in government

• Palestinian killed after allegedly trying to stab Israeli

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South Asia

• Pakistan Seeks Afghan Taliban Cooperation in Countering Terrorism

• Moscow Discussed Recognition with Islamic Emirate: Russian Foreign Ministry

• UN says Taliban divided on appeal to restore women's rights

• Kabul residents SOS as 78 die in severe cold wave in Afghanistan

• 30,000 Afghan refugees return from Iran in last 3 weeks

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Africa

• Islamic Scholar Calls For Establishment of Hisbah (An Islamic Doctrine on Upholding Community Morals) In Katsina

• Kano State Court Remands 8 Sharia Judges, 7 Others For Allegedly Diverting N99m Belonging To Orphans

• In ‘Alegría,’ Jews, Christians and Muslims come to a boil in a Spanish melting pot

• Al-Shabaab kills senor commando in attack on army camp in central Somalia

• Türkiye condemns 'heinous' terrorist attacks in Somalia

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Southeast Asia

• On Lunar New Year, Indonesia’s Minority Chinese Muslims Embrace Ancient Heritage

• Malaysian employers happy with fewer foreign labour recruitment requirements, but concerns linger

• Another mufti comes out against anti-HIV drug for LGBT

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North America

• Three Drones Target US Base In Syria, Injuring Two Opposition Fighters

• Canada to repatriate 19 women, children from Syria

• US says its base in Syria comes under suicide drone attack

• Turkish foreign minister hopes US extradites members of FETO terror group

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/muslims-karbala-izzat-prophet-jdu-balyawi/d/128935

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 Muslims Will Turn Cities into 'Karbala', If Anyone Tries To Put Hands on 'Izzat' Of Prophet Muhammad: JD (U) Leader Ghulam Rasool Balyawi

 

JD (U) leader Gulam Rasool Balyawi.(File image)

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Jan 20, 2023

PATNA: JD(U) national general secretary and former Rajya Sabha member Ghulam Rasool Balyawi has sparked a major political controversy with his remark that Muslims will turn cities into "Karbala" if anyone tries to put hands on the "Izzat" of Prophet Muhammad.

A video clip of Balyawi's speech at the Karbala Maidan near Barhi town of Hazaribagh district in which he categorically said that Muslims will turn cities into "Karbala", went viral on different platforms of social media on Friday, inviting sharp reactions from the BJP leaders.

"Agar Mere Aaka Ki Izzat Par Hath Daloge Toh, Abhi Toh Hum Karbala Maidan Mein Ekattha Hai, Unki Izzat Ke Liye Hum Shahron Ko Bhi Karbala Bana Denge (If you put hands on the Izzat of Prophet Muhammad, - right now we are gathered at the Karbala Maidan, - we will turn cities into ‘Karbala’ for His honour)," Balyawi said while addressing a religious congregation of Muslims near Barhi town on Wednesday. But the video clip of his speech went viral on Friday.

Karbala is a place in Iraq where Prophet Muhammed's grandson Imam Hussein, along with 72 followers and members of his family, were believed to have been slaughtered in the battle. They laid down their lives to keep the flag of Islam high.

Contacted, Balyawi told TOI on Friday that whatever is being shown and heard in the video, he had said all those during his speech at the Karbala Maidan near Barhi town. "I stand by my speech and I have said nothing against any person or any institution. Karbala means supreme sacrifice. Karbala means to 'give away everything' and 'sacrifice everything, but not let humanity and brotherhood be sacrificed," the JD(U) leader said.

Balyawi also said that at his Barhi meeting, he called upon Muslim brothers to launch a struggle against the atrocities with members of the minority community.

"If exhorting people for struggle and supreme sacrifice is a crime, I am ready to commit such a crime every day," Balyawi told this newspaper.

During his speech at Barhi, Balyawi also said, "Not a single so-called secular leader demanded the arrest of this crazy woman." He was referring to the now suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma's comments over the Prophet which led to a controversy and triggered nationwide violent protests.

"On other hand, when our children came on roads to protest over offensive comments against the Prophet (in Ranchi), they were shot dead," Balyawi can be heard in the video.

Balyawi, in his speech, also demanded a "Muslim Safety Act" just like the one for the scheduled caste to protect the Muslim youth from being "labelled as terrorists" or being "shot dead.”

Balyawi’s speech invited sharp reactions from senior leaders of the BJP. Rajya Sabha member and former deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi urged CM Nitish Kumar to take cognizance of "provocative speech" of Balyawi.

"Balyawi is issuing threats to create internal strife in the country. Like BJP took action against Nupur Sharma, the CM Nitish should show his courage by taking action against Balyawi," Sushil Modi said on Friday.

The Union Minister Giriraj Singh said, "Nitish Kumar is the helpless chief minister. He is sitting like 'Dhritarashtra' for power and trying to increase social tension in the state.”

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/muslims-will-turn-cities-in-karbala-if-anyone-tries-to-put-hands-on-izzat-of-prophet-muhammad-jdu-leader-gulam-rasool-balyawi/articleshow/97180932.cms?from=mdr

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Saudi Arabia Links Israel Normalisation with Israel with Two-State Solution with the Palestinians

 

Image: AP

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January 21, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will not normalise ties with Israel in the absence of a two-state solution with the Palestinians, the kingdom’s top diplomat has said, according to a tweet by the foreign ministry on Friday.

The comments by Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud on the side-lines of the World Economic Forum in Davos came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed normalisation with Saudi Arabia in talks with White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Jerusalem on Thursday.

“True normalisation and true stability will only come through… giving the Palestinians a state,” Prince Faisal told Bloomberg at the summit.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, is a close partner of the United States but it has repeatedly refused to normalise ties with US-ally Israel due to its occupation of Palestinian territories.

The US-brokered Abraham Accords in 2020 saw the kingdom’s neighbours — the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — establish full diplomatic ties with Israel.

Netanyahu has repeatedly expressed his desire to see Saudi Arabia join the list.

In their talks on Thursday, Netanyahu and Sullivan discussed “measures to deepen the Abraham Accords… with an emphasis on a breakthrough with Saudi,” the Israeli leader’s office said.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip plus Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem were long touted as the basis of a Palestinian state in a “two-state” solution to the long-running conflict. But that goal has become ever more distant, with the occupied West Bank fragmented by Jewish settlements.

Netanyahu plans to pursue a policy of increased settlement expansion in the West Bank, with ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties in his coalition advocating the annexation of some of the territory.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1732775/saudi-arabia-links-israel-normalisation-with-two-state-solution

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UK Failing To Tackle “Involuntarily Celibate” Culture Due To Focus on Islamist Extremism: MP

 

The UK’s counter-extremism strategy Prevent is failing to tackle “incel” culture due to its focus on Islamist extremism, an MP for the main opposition Labour Party has warned. (File/AFP)

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January 20, 2023

LONDON: The UK’s counter-extremism strategy Prevent is failing to tackle “incel” culture due to its focus on Islamist extremism, an MP for the main opposition Labour Party has warned.

“Incels,” or “involuntarily celibate,” are men who consider themselves unable to attract women and resultantly express hostility toward them.

Despite half of those referred to Prevent for having a “mixed, unstable or unclear ideology” being incels — compared to 22 percent for Islamist extremism and 25 percent for being far right — Prevent does not yet have a category specifically for them.

MP Luke Pollard told The Times that the government needs to amend the strategy to address the rising numbers of young men in Britain joining incel communities online.

“We know there’s a lot of incels who are referred to Prevent and then drop out because a lot of those programs are designed to tackle Islamic or Irish terrorism. Because we don’t track what incel is, we cannot see how many incel-related attacks there are,” he said.

“We don’t have a strategy to tackle incel because we don’t know what it is. The only thing we have is we say it’s not terrorism.”

Pollard said the buck for tackling the issue is being passed among people working in policing, education, social services and health because it is not being prioritized by any one government department.

“Every day that goes by without action, we have incel culture growing online and more young men and adults being radicalized, pushing them toward misogyny — and violent misogyny, in some cases,” he added.

Pollard’s activism in this area follows the killing of five people in his constituency of Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport in 2021 by 22-year-old Jake Davison, who identified as an incel.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2236036/world

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42 Journalists Murdered In Last 4 Years: Senate Told By Minister for Parliamentary Affairs

 

File picture of Pakistani journalists staging a demonstration to condemn a suicide bombing in Quetta that killed dozens of people including some journalists, in Karachi, Pakistan, on August 8, 2016 | Photo Credit: AP

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January 21, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi on Friday informed the Senate that 42 journalists were murdered in the last four years across the country.

Responding to the question of Jamaat-e-Islami’s Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, he said that it was a critical situation and the government should take prompt action against the culprits and journalists should be provided special security.

Abbasi directed the Ministry of Interior to prepare a consolidated report on the matter and present it to the House within the period of two months.

Balochistan Awami Party’s Senator Danesh Kumar pointed out that there were more than 10 journalists who were murdered in Balochistan instead of three shown in this report.

To this, the minister said that this report was compiled after a thorough consultation with all the quarters concerned of the provinces and if someone had given a wrong figure, he must be accountable as it was a sensitive matter.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s Senator Kamran Murtaza proposed the minister that the journalists who had lost their lives in line of their duty, should be properly probed on which subject they were working before their murder.

To this, the minister assured the House that the report would be a comprehensive one.

According to the statistics, 15 journalists were murdered in Punjab while 11 in Sindh, 13 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 3 in Balochistan.

Muhammad Saad, Safdar Ali, Muhammad Wajid, Zeeshan Ashraf Butt, Mirza Waseem Baig, Saeed Butt, Zia -ur-Rehman Farooqi, Rao Matloob, Husnain Shah, Mian Razzaq, Zahid Ali, Muhammad Nizam, Kashif Hussain, Lala Fazal Jan, Zia Kamboh, Aziz Memon, Ajay Lalwani, Ali Sher Rajpar, Mureed Abbas, Ilyas Warsi, Zulfiqar Ali Mandrani, Noor Lanjwani, Nazim Jokhio, Murtaza Shar, Athar Mateen, Ishtiaq Sodharo, Wahab, Zaman Mehsood, Haroon Khan, Javidullah Khan, Noonul Hassan, Iftikhar Ahmad, Tahir Hussain, Ihsan Ullah Sherpao, Waseem Alam, Abdul Wahab, Muhammad Sohail Khan, Aman Ullah, Qais Javed Maseeh, Abdul Wahid Raisani, Anwar Khetran and Shahid Zehri were the journalists murdered during the last four years across the country, he added.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/01/21/42-journalists-murdered-in-last-4-years-senate-told/

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Newly-Released Footage Shows Israeli Settlers Drink Alcohol, Urinate In Al-Aqsa Mosque

 

Photo: Middle East Monitor

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20 January 2023

Newly-released footage shows Israeli settlers drinking alcohol and urinating in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East al-Quds.

According to footage published by the Middle East Monitor on Friday, two settlers are seen taking alcoholic drinks and another one urinating at a corner of the holy place.

The blatant acts of desecration come in continuation of Israeli provocations at the Muslims’ third holiest site.

Dozens of settlers stormed the mosque compound late on Thursday under the protection of Israeli forces. According to eyewitnesses, the radical settlers raised Israeli flags and performed provocative dances inside the vicinity.

The resistance movement Hamas called upon Palestinians from all walks of life to mobilize en masse, increase presence at the mosque’s compound, and protect the sacred site against recurrent incursions by Israeli settlers. “We hail the Palestinian people in occupied Palestinian territories and across the West Bank who stand steadfast against the Israeli occupation violations and crimes,” it said in a statement.

Hamas also called on the Arab and Muslim Ummah, along with the free people of the world, to “support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and work toward protecting them against the Israeli occupation’s violations.”

The new wave of desecration comes as one of the most far-right cabinets have taken control of Israel, raising fears of probable attempts to change the status quo of al-Aqsa Mosque. Extremist right-wing groups have openly called for turning al-Aqsa into a Jewish worship area and tearing down the Islamic shrines in order to build a Jewish temple on the location.

Hardline Israeli legislators and settlers regularly storm the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied city, a provocative move that infuriates Palestinians. Such mass settler break-ins almost always take place at the behest of Tel Aviv-backed temple groups and under the auspices of the Israeli police in al-Quds.

The issue has been a major flash point between the Israeli occupation and Palestinians for decades. It was the epicenter of the 2000-2005 Palestinian Intifada, also known as the Uprising.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/01/20/696692/Israeli-settlers-desecrate-aqsa-mosque

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India

 

Supreme Court to Hear Pleas Challenging Constitutional Validity of Polygamy and 'Nikah Halala' Among Muslims

Jan 20, 2023

The Supreme Court on Friday said that it will set up a five-judge Constitution bench to hear pleas challenging the constitutional validity of polygamy and 'Nikah Halala' practice among Muslims.

A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha took note of the submissions of lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, who has filed one of the PILs on the issue, that a fresh five-judge bench was needed to be constituted as two judges of the previous constitution bench -- Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Hemant Gupta -- have retired.

“There are very important matters which are pending before a five-judge bench. We will constitute one and bear this matter in mind,” the CJI said. The matter was earlier mentioned on November 2, last year also by Upadhyay.

On August 30, last year, a five-judge bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee, Hemant Gupta, Surya Kant, M M Sundresh and Sudhanshu Dhulia had made the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Commission for Women (NCW) and the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) parties to the PILs and sought their responses.

Later, Justice Banerjee and Justice Gupta retired on September 23 and October 16 this year respectively giving rise to the need for re-constitution of the bench to hear as many as eight petitions against the practices of polygamy and 'nikah halala'.

Upadhyay, in his PIL, has sought a direction to declare polygamy and 'nikah halala' unconstitutional and illegal.

While polygamy allows a Muslim man to have four wives, 'nikah halala' deals with the process in which a Muslim woman, who wants to re-marry her husband after divorce, has to first marry another person and get a divorce from him after the consummation.

Source: India Today

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/sc-to-hear-pleas-challenging-polygamy-and-nikah-halala-among-muslims-2324060-2023-01-20

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“Muslim Outreach” Has Become the Latest Buzzword for the BJP in Poll-Bound Karnataka

K.M. Rakesh   |   Bangalore  

21.01.23

“Muslim outreach” has become the latest buzzword for the BJP in poll-bound Karnataka, apparently following a nudge from Prime Minister Narendra Modi after months of minority-bashing over “love jihad”, hijabs and halal food.

While senior BJP leaders have been mouthing what in the Hindutva lexicon counts as placatory noises towards the minority community — such as “not all Muslims are bad” — police on Thursday removed Sangh parivar banners debarring Muslim vendors from a temple festival in Mangalore.

The banners were put up by parivar outfits near the Kadri Sri Manjunatha Temple to prohibit the entry of Muslim vendors during the January 15-21 festival. No complaint had been lodged against the banners — a  regular feature of temple festivals in Karnataka in recent times.

E. Shujayatullah, state general secretary of the People’s Union of Civil Liberties, told The Telegraph: “The sudden love for Muslims is all because of the coming elections.”

Another activist said the BJP was trying to garner Muslim support in Bangalore, Mysore and the northern districts to offset the possible loss of votes from the Panchamashali sub-sect among Lingayats, whose demand for a higher percentage of OBC reservation remains unfulfilled.

On Wednesday, former chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa had told reporters in Shimoga that Modi had at the two-day BJP national executive in New Delhi, which ended on Tuesday, told the party to take Muslims into confidence.

“In any case, we have a good rapport with the Muslims whom we respect. We shall contact them more in the coming days in keeping with the Prime Minister’s advice,” he said.

Yediyurappa had been invited to a one-to-one meeting with Modi on the sidelines of the national executive, apparently to keep him in good humour and retain the support of his Lingayat community.

Maharashtra leader Devendra Fadnavis had on Tuesday told reporters that Modi had, at the national executive, emphasised the proximity of the 2024 general election and asked the party to reach out to all sections whether or not they voted for the BJP.

Questioned on Thursday about Yediyurappa’s comment, Karnataka higher education minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan told reporters: “We never said all Muslims are bad.”

He went on to praise Hyder Ali, 18th-centuryruler of Mysore and father of parivar bugbear Tipu Sultan.

“We never said Hyder Ali was a fanatic like his son, Tipu Sultan. Hyder Ali was a good ruler while his son was a fanatic who was against Kannada. In the same way, there are a lot of good Muslims,” Narayan said.

The minister, who is in charge of the BJP’s Vijaya Sankalpa Yatra — a voter outreach drive — said the party would “explain” its programmes to Muslims and “convince them to vote for us” in the upcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

Mangalore-based social activist Shabbir Ahmed, formerly with the Jamaat-e-Islami, said the BJP’s efforts to woo Muslims would not work in coastal Karnataka. “Any move to befriend Muslims will only prove counter-productive for the BJP in these parts. Muslims will anyway never vote for them after all the hate campaigns over the hijab, halal and love jihad,” he told this newspaper.

Coastal Karnataka has witnessed a spurt in Hindutva vigilantism against “love jihad” — an alleged Muslim conspiracy to romance and marry Hindu women to convert them —with Sangh parivar outfits demanding a specific law and a dedicated police wing against it.

Days before the latest efforts to court Muslims began, state BJP chief Nalin Kumar Kateel had told booth-level party workers to highlight “love jihad” rather than “small issues” like roads and sewerage, buttressing the charges of an attempt to polarise voters.            

Karnataka’s Muslim voters — 13 per cent of an electorate of 5.05 crore — have traditionally supported the Congress and the Janata Dal Secular.

Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/poll-set-bjp-discovers-utility-of-amity/cid/1911166

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Haridwar: 7 mosques fined for violating permissible sound levels

Mudit Aggarwal

Jan 21, 2023

The Haridwar administration has imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 each on seven mosques that were found violating the sound levels permitted in the High Court order, on Thursday, January 19.

The administration acted after the replies furnished to the show-case notices served on the respective clerics were found unsatisfactory. This action was carried out on orders of Haridwar SDM Puran Singh Rana.

The seven mosques which were penalised are Jama Masjid, Ibadullahahitala (Kikkar Wali) Masjid, Bilal Masjid, another Jama Masjid in the city, Sabri Jama Masjid and two others.

These mosques have been told not to exceed the permissible decibel levels when playing Azan, said the official.

SDM Rana said that as per the orders of the Uttarakhand High Court, a limit on the sound level has been fixed for the loudspeakers.

“We had some complaints from the area about non-compliance with the noise levels. On the basis of these complaints, inspections were carried out. The checks revealed the deviations”, he said.

Muslim cleric Mohammad Arif said that a meeting was held, wherein everyone accepted that there was no problem in reducing the sound.

“Our point is that the pollution is not spreading because of Azan. It is being spread by car honking and DJs at weddings. DJs at weddings play music till 1 am and the police are not paying attention to it”.

Source: India Today

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/haridwar-administration-slaps-fine-against-7-mosques-for-being-loud-2324405-2023-01-21

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Legacy of ‘Golden Age of Islam’ Between the 8th And 14th Centuries Recreated In Hyderabad

21st January 2023

By Ramya Vennapusala

HYDERABAD: The exhibition aims to retrieve the legacy that has been overshadowed by western culture and highlight the scientific and intellectual revolution that took place during the ‘Golden age of Islam’ between the 8th and 14th centuries.

The two-day exhibition showcases the Muslim legacy of invention and innovation, is being held by Springfield Educational Society in Tolichowki. This exhibition features interesting models, artefacts, and enlightening presentations created by the students of Springfield Education, using 'Do IT Yourself' techniques. Most of the models were rather cute, with a touch of innovation.

There were various booths related to science, math, language, art, and architecture, highlighting the many innovations and inventions made during the 8th and 14th centuries, such as the Garden of Fields by Hyder Ali, different models of fountains invented by the Syrian Banū Mūsā brothers, the elephant clock (a model of water clock) invented by the medieval Islamic engineer Ismail al-Jazari, and the beautiful stained glass window by Abbas ibn Firnas.

The exhibition aimed to retrieve the legacy that has been overshadowed by Eurocentric culture and highlight the scientific and intellectual revolution that took place during the "golden age of Islam" between the 8th and 14th centuries.

So far, 25 schools have visited the exhibition, with many more expected to come. The exhibition was inaugurated by the chief guest Ashgar Hussain, the former President of UNESCO, and MA Lateef Atear, academic head of Telangana Minorities Residential Educational Institutions Society. During the inaugural, Asghar Hussain said, "It is the first exhibition on Muslim Scientists. There shall be a continued effort to improvise and curate many more such exhibitions around the world."

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/2023/jan/21/legacy-of-golden-age-of-islamrecreated-in-hyderabad-2539788.html

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UP Madrassa Board Made Silly Statement: NCPCR Chief on Non-Muslim Students

Jan 21, 2023

The Uttar Pradesh Madrassa Board had made an objectionable and silly statement that it will continue to admit non-Muslim students in madrassas, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) chief Priyank Kanoongo said on Friday after the child rights panel asked state chief secretaries to identify madrassas which are being attended by non-Muslim students as well.

"We have received complaints from various places about non-Muslim students attending madrassas funded or recognized by the government. We have issued notices to all state chief secretaries to identify such madrassas and shift non-Muslim students from these madrassas to the schools," NCPCR chief Priyank Kanoongo told ANI.

Uttar Pradesh Madrasa Education Council Chairman Iftikhar Ahmed Javed had earlier urged the NCPCR to reconsider their letter urging states and UTs to conduct a detailed inquiry of all recognized madrasas admitting non-Muslim children. The child rights panel had also recommended the chief secretaries facilitate admission of all non-Muslim students in the said Madrasas to formal schools subsequent to the inquiry besides the mapping of all unmapped madrasas.

Madrasas are primarily responsible for imparting religious education to children. They are of three types "Recognised Madrasas", "Unrecognised Madrasas" and "Unmapped Madrasas".

Replying to the child rights panel's letter, Iftikhar said, "Non-Muslims are studying in madrasas and non-Hindu children are studying in Sanskrit schools. Children of every religion are also studying in missionary schools. Even though I myself studied at Banaras Hindu University (BHU), NCPCR should reconsider their letter."

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/up-madrassa-board-made-silly-statement-ncpcr-chief-on-non-muslim-students-101674265952165.html

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‘Take Pro-Woman Stand on Muslim Succession Laws’ Asks Forum for Muslim Women’s Gender Justice

21st January 2023

KOZHIKODE: The Forum for Muslim Women’s Gender Justice has asked the state government to file an affidavit in the Supreme Court that is favourable to Muslim women in the matter of succession rights. In a memorandum submitted to the chief minister, the forum said the apex court had sought the opinion of state governments on a petition that sought to declare as unconstitutional provisions in the Muslim Succession Laws that are discriminatory. “The government had sought the opinion of male Muslim scholars on the issue, who reportedly said neither the government nor courts have any right to change Indian Sharia,” said the memorandum.

It added that Muslim women were facing discrimination while taking a decision on succession. The absence of a codified law is proving disadvantageous to women, the memorandum said. A member of the delegation that submitted the memorandum said many Muslim countries have revised the succession laws.

Goa has a uniform code and the laws in Lakshadweep are different.

There is an opinion that the present law is framed as quid pro quo for some Muslim scholars’ support to British rule. Therefore, the law needs to be revised, they said.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2023/jan/21/take-pro-woman-stand-on-muslim-succession-laws-2539918.html

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Popular Front Of India Forms ‘Service Teams’, ‘Killer Squads’ To Establish Islamic Rule By 2047: NIA Charge Sheet

21 January, 2023

New Delhi [India], January 21 (ANI): As part of its agenda to create terror, communal hatred and unrest in society and to further its agenda of establishing Islamic rule in India by 2047, the banned outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) formed secret teams called ‘Service Teams’ or ‘Killer Squads’ to carry out killings of its ‘perceived enemies’ and targets.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) made these revelations in a charge sheet filed on Friday before a special court in Bengaluru pertaining to the killing of BJP’s Yuva Morcha district committee member Praveen Nettaru on July 26 last year in Bellare village of Sullia Taluk in Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district. Nettaru was killed in full public view with lethal weapons to create terror among the people at large and especially among members of a particular community.

The charge sheet, which was filed against 20 PFI members, further mentions that “these ‘Service Team’ members were given arms as well attack training and surveillance techniques training in order to identify, list out and to mount surveillance on individuals and leaders belonging to certain communities and groups”.

“These ‘Service Team’ members were further trained to assault and kill identified targets on the instructions of senior PFI leaders,” said the NIA in the charge sheet.

In furtherance of conspiracy meetings by PFI members and leaders held at Bengaluru city, Sullia Town and Bellare village, said the charge sheet, adding “the head of district Service Team Mustafa Paichar was instructed to recce, identify and target a prominent member of a particular community”.

“As per instructions, four persons were recced and identified and among them, Praveen Nettaru, who was a BJP Yuva Morcha member, was assaulted and killed on July 26 last year in full public view with lethal weapons to create terror among the people at large and especially among members of a particular community,” mentions the charge-sheet.

Of the 20 chargesheeted PFI members, six are absconding and rewards have been declared for information leading to their arrest in the case.

The accused persons have been charge-sheeted under various sections of 120B, 153A, 302 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code and sections 16, 18 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and Section 25(1)(a) of Arms Act.

Mahammed Shiyab, Abdul Basheer, Riyaz, Mustafa Paichar, Masud KA, Kodaje Mohammed Sherif, Abubakkar Siddik, Noufal M, Ismail Shafi K, K Mahammad Iqbal, Shaheed M, Mahammad Shafeek G, Ummar Farook M R, Abdul Kabeer CA, Muhammad Ibrahim Sha, Sainul Abid Y, Shekh Saddam Hussain, Zakiar A, N Abdul Haris, Thufail MH have been chargesheeted in the case.

Among the chargesheeted accused, Mustafa Paichar, Masud KA, Kodaje Mohammed Sherif, Abubakkar Siddik, Ummar Farook MR and Thufail MH are currently absconding and rewards have been declared for information leading to their arrest.

The case was initially registered on July 27 by at Bellare Police Station of Dakshina Kannada district and re-registered by the NIA on August 4 last year.

The Home Ministry in September banned the PFI, its associates, and affiliates for a period of five years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 by declaring it as an unlawful association.

Source: The Print

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https://theprint.in/india/popular-front-of-india-forms-service-teams-killer-squads-to-establish-islamic-rule-by-2047-nia-charge-sheet/1327029/

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Police complaint against PM Modi BBC documentary for 'conspiracy to incite Muslims’

Kanu Sarda

Jan 20, 2023

Supreme Court advocate and social activist Vineet Jindal filed a complaint against the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Friday over a documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi that questions Modi’s leadership as the state CM during the 2002 Gujarat riots when violence broke out following the burning of a train carrying Hindu pilgrims in Godhra.

The advocate took to Twitter and wrote, “The people of the country chose PM Modi. There is a constitutional government in the country and this act of BBC News is a conspiracy to incite Muslims against Hindus not just in India but in the world. Therefore, it can be dangerous and action should be taken against it.”

The advocate also said that he filed a complaint against the BBC for “attacking the integrity of the country.”

He called the documentary a deliberate act to provoke the Muslim community in India as well as all over the world against Hindus.

He filed complaints under sections 121,153,153A &B, 295,298, and 505 of IPC.

Source: India Today

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/police-complaint-against-pm-modi-bbc-documentary-for-conspiracy-to-incite-muslims-2324065-2023-01-20

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6 MoUs to be inked during Egypt president’s Republic Day trip

Jan 21, 2023

NEW DELHI: India and Egypt are hoping to sign six MoUs during President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s visit to India next week. While the details are still being worked out, the government is also examining a request by Egypt, which imports a lot of foodgrains from Russia and Ukraine, for supply of more wheat from India.

Meanwhile, India and Egypt are now conducting their first-ever joint Army exercise between their special forces at Jaisalmer, even as New Delhi is all set to host El-Sisi as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade on January 26.

The visit comes at a time the two countries are looking to boost economic, security and defence ties as evident from foreign minister S Jaishankar and defence minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to the Arab world’s most populous country and also its third largest economy. The 14-day “Exercise Cyclone-1” aims to “focus on sharing professional skills and interoperability of special forces in desert terrain while undertaking counter terrorism, reconnaissance, raids and other special operations” an officer said on Friday. “It would provide an insight into the culture of both armies, thereby fostering military cooperation and interoperability to further strengthen bilateral diplomatic ties. A 120-member Egyptian Army contingent will also take part in Republic Day parade,” he said.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/6-mous-to-be-inked-during-egypt-presidents-republic-day-trip/articleshow/97187314.cms

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'BBC documentary timing is sinister when India heads G20': UK's Lord Rami Ranger writes to broadcaster

Jan 20, 2023

By Shishir Gupta

Lord Rami Ranger, a member of the House of Lords of the UK Parliament, wrote to the BBC strongly condemning the documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said the timing of the documentary is sinister when India and the UK are working for a free trade agreement, India has assumed the presidency of G20 and the UK has an Indian-origin prime minister.

Urging the broadcaster to stop screening the second part of the documentary, Rami Ranger wrote the 2nd part would exasperate the "already tense situation" between British Hindus and Muslims in many of UK cities. "The timing of this documentary is sinister; when India assumed the Presidency of G20, we have our first Prime Minister of Indian origin in No.10 and we are working for the UK-India free trade agreement," he said asking the broadcaster whether BBC's "Pakistani-origin staff were behind this nonsense".

Lord Rami Ranger wrote a letter to BBC director general Tim Davie.

The documentary insults the democratically elected prime minister, the Judiciary and also Parliament, he wrote in a letter addressed to Tim Davie, director general of BBC.

"I am appalled by the documentary," Rami Ranger wrote accusing the producer of the document of showing a lack of vision, common sense and judgement.

"I condemn violence and loss of life wherever it takes place, and I equally condemn those stirring up religious hatred in the United Kingdon by bringing up the politics of the subcontinent to the United Kingdom," he wrote.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bbc-documentary-timing-is-sinister-when-india-heads-g20-uk-s-lord-rami-ranger-writes-to-broadcaster-101674227892565.html

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Arab World

 

Lebanon stripped of voting rights at UN over unpaid annual dues

NAJIA HOUSSARI

January 21, 2023

BEIRUT: Lebanon has been stripped of its voting rights at the UN General Assembly for failing to pay its annual dues.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the government in Beirut must pay arrears of about $1.8 million to regain its status. Other countries that lost the right to vote were Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, South Sudan and Venezuela.

Under UN rules, a country can lose its vote if it is in arrears of at least two years’ contributions, unless it shows evidence that it cannot pay for reasons beyond its control. Lebanon has been mired in economic chaos since 2019, when its financial system collapsed after decades of profligate spending, mismanagement and corruption.

The Foreign Ministry said on Friday the debt would be paid “immediately, in a manner that preserves Lebanon’s rights in the UN.”

Meanwhile two independent MPs who spent Thursday night in parliament said on Friday they were refusing to move until the assembly elected a new president. Lebanon has had no head of state for more than two months and the government has been operating in a caretaker capacity since May.

Melhem Khalaf and Najat Saliba were elected last year on the back of protests in late 2019 against Lebanon’s corrupt ruling elite. The squabbling over the presidency is mostly between supporters and opponents of the Iran-backed Hezbollah group.

Saliba said: “Our constitutional right is to remain in the hall until a president is elected, and we … are simply asking MPs to do what they are asked. We are not challenging anyone, nor can we force anyone to do anything. But we are staying here.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2236311/middle-east

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Lebanon Central Bank sets new rate for withdrawals from dollar deposits

20 January ,2023

Lebanon’s central bank said on Thursday it had set a new rate of 15,000 Lebanese pounds to the US dollar for withdrawals from bank deposits denominated in dollars, but which can now be accessed largely in the local currency.

The rate was previously set at 8,000 pounds under central bank Circular 151, which implied a “haircut” or loss of more than 80 percent at the current market rate of around 50,000 pounds per dollar. The new rate represents a haircut of around 70 percent.

The central bank also set a withdrawal ceiling of $1,600 per month equivalent in Lebanese pounds for account-holders, who have been unable to freely access their savings since the collapse of the financial sector in 2019.

The central bank had maintained a pegged rate of 1,500 pounds per dollar until the summer of 2019, when it unofficially allowed the currency to become untethered after accumulating tens of billions of dollars in losses.

The pound has since lost more than 95 percent of its value, throwing the majority of Lebanon’s population into poverty and leading to shortages of basic goods such as medicines in the formerly middle-income country.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/business/economy/2023/01/20/Lebanon-Central-Bank-sets-new-rate-for-withdrawals-from-dollar-deposits

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Iraqi football fans chant ‘Iran out’ at Arabian Gulf Cup final

20 January ,2023

Iraqi fans gathered in the city of Basra to watch their national football team compete in the final of the Arabian Gulf Cup on Thursday used the occasion to call for Iran to stay out of Iraq’s affairs, according to footage circulating on social media.

In a video shared on social media, fans can be seen chanting “Iran out” at Jaza’a Al Nakhla Stadium in Basra.

This sentiment is echoed by many Iraqis who accuse Iran of destabilizing their country and interfering in its internal affairs by supporting dozens of armed militias within Iraq.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/20/Iraqi-football-fans-chant-Iran-out-at-Arabian-Gulf-Cup-final

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Residents protests YPG/PKK terror group in Syria's Deir ez-Zor

Eşref Musa, Ethem Emre Özcan 

21.01.2023

TAL ABYAD, Syria

Residents living under the YPG/PKK terror group occupation rallied Friday in Deir Ez-Zor to protest deteriorating living conditions and increasing corruption in the region.

Dozens of protesters, gathered in the villages of Havayic Busama and al-Jurzi in the countryside of Deir ez-Zor, protested corruption incidents in the so-called municipal councils of the YPG/PKK terror group.

Deir ez-Zor is east of the Euphrates River in Syria.

Sources said bakeries of the terror group have been stealing flour -- reducing the quality of bread.

Angry villagers in al-Jurzi burned tires and blocked roads.

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/residents-protests-ypg-pkk-terror-group-in-syrias-deir-ez-zor/2793338

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Saudi foreign minister, Interpol chief discuss combating crime, terrorism

January 20, 2023

DAVOS: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with the Secretary-General of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) Gen. Jurgen Stock, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum 2023, in the Swiss city of Davos.

During the meeting, they reviewed several issues of common concern, in addition to discussing international efforts to eradicate crime and combat terrorism and extremism, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2236131/saudi-arabia

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Bahraini courts sentence 21 protesters, including three minors to prison

21 January 2023

Courts in Bahrain have handed down prison sentences to nearly two dozen anti-regime protesters, including three minors as the ruling Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy-handed clampdown in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.

The Arabic-language Lua Lua television network reported that the courts gave the dissidents jail terms from three years to life in prison.

It said seven of the defendants were given life sentences in absentia, while 9 others received 10 years in jail each. Two young dissidents were also handed down five years in prison, and three minors received three years each.

All the defendants were convicted of trumped-up terror-related charges, and found guilty of forming a “terror” cell.

Pro-democracy campaigners scoffed at the rulings passed against the three minors, stating that they have been deprived of their most basic rights in the notorious prisons of Bahrain. They also warned against their exposition to various forms of harsh mental and physical torture.

Bahrainis voice solidarity with political inmates, demand their freedom

Protesters have taken to the streets in Bahrain to show solidarity with political prisoners, and demand their immediate and unconditional release.

The protesters staged rallies in the villages of Abu Saiba, Shakhura and Dumistan to denounce Bahraini authorities’ mistreatment of jailed activists and their miserable conditions at detention centers.

The demonstrators held up pictures of prisoners of conscience being kept behind bars in crowded jails, and demanded their freedom.

Demonstrations have been held in Bahrain on a regular basis since a popular uprising began in the Arab country in mid-February 2011.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/01/21/696714/Bahraini-courts-give-prison-sentences-to-21-more-anti-regime-activists,-including-three-minors

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Nasralllah: US Pursuing Maximum Pressure Policy on 'Axis of Resistance' Countries

2023-January-20

“The United States is pursuing the policy of maximum pressure and economic sanctions against the countries and nations that are part of the Axis of Resistance, like the Islamic Republic of Iran, Syria and Yemen. These nations’ financial problems are due to the fact that they do not want to surrender to Washington’s diktats,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addressed a ceremony in the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Thursday evening, presstv reported.

He added, “It is regrettable that some people in Lebanon deny the existence of an economic siege. They believe that the blockade of Lebanon would happen only if a battleship is moored off the coast of the country. This is while the policies and actions of US administrations vis-à-vis our country are a testimony to such a fact.”

Nasrallah noted that Washington has been behind the decades-long economic woes in Lebanon, adding that the US obstructs financial aids to the country in one way or another, and does not allow any state to offer assistance to Beirut to help it meet its basic needs.

“No one would argue that Lebanon is facing an unprecedented economic crisis. Our country is no exception because many countries in the world are now on the brink of collapse. Despite some evil attempts to spread hopelessness, we must not allow the existing financial problems to drive us to despair,” the Hezbollah chief pointed out.

He stressed, “It is utterly unacceptable to remain in a state of confusion, as was the case in the past. A competent authority should somewhere take the initiative to develop a vision aimed at addressing the current economic turmoil. Accordingly, detailed plans and programs can be drawn up to resolve the issue.”

“Corruption is a long-standing problem in Lebanon. We would not have encountered the status quo if all factions had done their share, came up with novel ideas and shouldered their own administrative responsibilities,” Nasrallah said.

The Hezbollah leader went on to refer to lack of production, racketeering, absence of sustainable development, political brinkmanship and rivalry among political groups as some of the main reasons behind Lebanon’s financial crisis.

“We must build an economy that would ensure food security, and would not depend on foreign aid and assistance,” he highlighted.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Nasrallah said, “It is a mistaken belief that the region is heading towards making peace with Israel and embracing the regime. Such a wrong notion has driven us to the current situation.”

“Whoever wants to formulate [Lebanon’s] new economic policies should abandon the false illusion that regional states are about to make peace with Israel and that the so-called two-state solution is within reach, especially as a corrupt and terrorist Israeli administration is now in place," he added.

In case of a peace with Israel, “there would definitely be more tensions in the region. There would neither be any settlements nor any scenes of peace. Crises would be rampant across the region,” Nasrallah warned.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Nasrallah called for the election of “a brave [Lebanese] president who is willing to sacrifice”.

“We want the election of a president, the formation of a government and the salvation of the country,” the Hezbollah leader said.

“We want a brave president who is willing to sacrifice and does not care about the threats of the Americans. There are such examples and we must look for a government of this type and ministers of this type,” the Hezbollah chief underlined.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011030000125/Nasralllah-US-Prsing-Maximm-Pressre-Plicy-n-'Axis-f-Resisance'-Cnries

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Europe

 

Matthew King, the British Teenager Admits Plotting Islamist Terrorist Attack against Police Officers

Gillian Duncan

Jan 20, 2023

A British teenager accused of holding extremist beliefs pleaded guilty to planning an Islamist terrorist attack, allegedly with the intention to target police officers or military personnel.

Prosecutors said Matthew King, 19, carried out surveillance at police stations, railway stations, a magistrate’s court and a British Army barracks.

At a hearing at the Old Bailey in London on Friday, King pleaded guilty to preparation of terrorist acts.

The teenager stood in the dock to enter his plea wearing a grey shirt and sleeveless black padded jacket.

His lawyer, Hossein Zahir KC, said the defence had submitted a basis of plea to the court.

Judge Mark Lucraft KC adjourned sentencing until April 14 for a pre-sentence report to be prepared, which will include the issue of the danger posed by the defendant.

Addressing King, Judge Lucraft stressed it was in his "best interests" to help those preparing the report.

Speaking quietly in the dock, King replied: "Understood."

Authorities had been tipped off about King through an anti-terrorist hotline and the Prevent counter-terrorism programme after he posted a video on a WhatsApp group on April 13 last year.

In it was an image of a male holding a knife with the words: "Those who said that there is no jihad and no battle. They are lying!

"Our jihad will continue until disappearance, until the day of judgment! Now the battle has begun and it will continue until the day of judgment. So take out your sword, O youth, and destroy the kufr."

King, from Wickford, Essex, was arrested at his home on May 18 by officers from the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command and his mobile phone was examined.

After being cautioned, he responded: "I don't believe in the UK law, the only law I believe in is the law of Allah."

He was subsequently charged with preparing an act of terrorism between December 22, 2021 and May 17, 2022.

Prosecutors alleged the plot was related to extreme Islamist beliefs and that King carried out surveillance at railway stations, police stations, Stratford Magistrates Court in east London and an Army barracks in East Ham, also east London.

At an earlier hearing, prosecutor Gillian Curl had said that no "specific act of terrorism" had been identified.

Source: The National News

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

https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/uk-news/2023/01/20/british-teenager-admits-plotting-islamist-terrorist-attack-against-police-officers/

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Russia Says There Is Evidence US Secretly Sponsoring Daesh in Afghanistan

2023-January-20

"Yes, there is such data, they [the US authorities] do it not for good, but for harm, because they really want to avenge their shameful military-political defeat in Afghanistan and, in retaliation, they do everything so that peace is not established in this long-suffering land, but even worse is that, in addition to contacts with the armed opposition in Afghanistan, the Anglo-Saxons secretly sponsor the Daesh," Kabulov told Russian broadcaster, RIA Novosti reported.

Since the Taliban return to power in Afghanistan in mid-August, militants have allegedly carried out several terrorist attacks across the country, including at the Kabul airport in August in which more than 180 people were killed, and on a Shiite mosque in Kunduz in October that resulted in more than 150 people being killed.

The United States withdrew from Afghanistan in the specified time-frame, but did so haphazardly, causing chaos at the Kabul airport, with Afghans desperately attempting to make it out of the country, and 13 American soldiers killed in a bombing perpetrated by a local branch of the Daesh terror group.

The Taliban government has not been recognized by the international community, although some countries, including Russia and China, are holding diplomatic meetings with representatives of the movement to rectify the humanitarian situation in the country.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011030000439/Rssia-Says-There-Is-Evidence-US-Secrely-Spnsring-Daesh-in-Afghanisan

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Having banned far-right parties, Greece overlooks terror group PKK’s operations on its soil

20.01.2023

Amid media reports that the Greek government seeks to outlaw the Ellines party, led by Ilias Kasidiaris, a former deputy and spokesperson of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party that was declared a criminal group and banned in October 2020, one rightfully wonders what Athens thinks about the terror group PKK’s current operations on its soil.

The presence in Greece of the PKK, which has been listed as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, and UK, dates back to the 1980s. Athens saw the PKK, along with other far-left terror groups, including the DHKP-C and ASALA – the latter infamous for its campaign to assassinate Turkish diplomats in 1973-1986 – as a “strategic asset” against Ankara. This was marketed to the Greek public as part of Greece’s policy of supporting so-called “national liberation struggles.”

Against this background, Greece provided numerous PKK terrorists with political asylum, safe houses, and the freedom to operate freely to enlist the political and financial support of the Greek public.

Greece’s support for the PKK terror group reached its zenith in the 1990s in parallel to the deterioration of relations with Türkiye. Many PKK arsonists and terrorists who were arrested at the time confessed that Greek spy services had trained them.

Even though Greece kept rebuffing the accusations as “Turkish propaganda,” Ankara’s arguments proved vindicated in the events surrounding the 1999 capture of the terrorist PKK ringleader Abdullah Ocalan, who stayed for a couple of days in Athens after being expelled by Syria and ended up in the Greek Embassy’s residence in Kenyan capital Nairobi before his capture.

It was later understood that then-Prime Minister Costas Simitis had ordered the Greek secret service to remove Ocalan from Greece and Greek protection out of concern that Türkiye would become aware of his presence and sever ties with Greece, triggering a crisis that could even lead to war.

Consequently, Athens, caught red-handed, significantly reduced its support for the PKK terror group. The improvement of Turkish-Greek relations from the late 1990s to the mid-2010s also played a role in this state of affairs.

In recent years, along with the deteriorating relations between Ankara and Athens as a consequence of Greece’s maximalist demands in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, provocative actions, and rhetoric against Türkiye, Athens brought back its “PKK card.”

In March 2022, a major Greek broadcaster aired footage of a PKK camp in the central city of Lavrion and interviews with some terrorists and sympathizers affiliated with the terror group. Moreover, Turkish authorities last September arrested some PKK terrorists who said they had been trained in the same camp.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/having-banned-far-right-parties-greece-overlooks-terror-group-pkk-s-operations-on-its-soil/2792633

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UN says Taliban divided on appeal to restore women’s rights

January 21, 2023

UNITED NATIONS: A delegation led by the highest-ranking woman at the United Nations urged the Taliban during a four-day visit to Afghanistan that ended Friday to reverse their crackdown on women and girls. Some Taliban officials were more open to restoring women’s rights but others were clearly opposed, a UN spokesman said.

The UN team met with the Taliban in the capital of Kabul and the southern city of Kandahar. It did not release the names of any of the Taliban officials. The meetings focused on the restrictive measures the Taliban have imposed on women and girls since they took power in August 2021, during the final weeks of the US and NATO forces’ pullout after 20 years of war.

The team, headed by UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, found that some Taliban officials “have been cooperative and they’ve received some signs of progress,” said UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq. “The key thing is to reconcile the (Taliban) officials that they’ve met who’ve been more helpful with those who have not.”

Haq stressed that “there are many different points of authority” among the Taliban and that the UN team will try to get them to “work together to advance the goals that we want, which include most crucially, bringing women and girls back to the full enjoyment of their rights.”

Mohammed, a former Nigerian Cabinet minister and a Muslim, was joined on the trip by Sima Bahous, executive director of UN Women, which promotes gender equality and women’s rights, and Assistant Secretary General for political affairs Khaled Khiari.

As the Taliban did during their previous rule of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, they gradually re-imposed their harsh interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia. Girls have been barred from school beyond the sixth grade and women are banned from most jobs, public spaces and gyms.

In late December, the Taliban barred aid groups from employing women, paralyzing deliveries that help keep millions of Afghans alive, and threatening humanitarian services countrywide. In addition, thousands of women who work for aid organizations across the war-battered country are facing the loss of income they desperately need to feed their own families.

Limited work by women has been allowed in some sectors, including the health field.

“What we’ve seen in terms of basic rights for women and girls is a huge step backwards,” Haq said. “We are trying to do more and we’ll continue on that front.”

In a statement, Mohammed said her message to the Taliban was very clear — “these restrictions present Afghan women and girls with a future that confines them in their own homes, violating their rights and depriving the communities of their services.”

She stressed that delivery of humanitarian aid is based on the principle requiring unhindered and safe access for all aid workers, including women.

“Our collective ambition is for a prosperous Afghanistan that is at peace with itself and its neighbors, and on a path to sustainable development. But right now, Afghanistan is isolating itself, in the midst of a terrible humanitarian crisis and one of the most vulnerable nations on earth to climate change,” she said.

During the trip that also included a visit to western Herat, Mohammed’s team also met humanitarian workers, civil society representatives and women in the three cities.

“Afghan women left us no doubt of their courage and refusal to be erased from public life,” Bahous, of UN Women, said in a statement. “They will continue to advocate and fight for their rights, and we are duty bound to support them in doing so.”

“What is happening in Afghanistan is a grave women’s right crisis and a wakeup call for the international community,” she said, stressing that the Taliban restrictions and edicts show “how quickly decades of progress on women´s rights can be reversed in a matter of days.”

Before arriving in Kabul, members of the delegation visited Muslim countries in the Middle East as well as Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkiye. They met leaders of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Islamic Development Bank and groups of Afghan women in Ankara, Turkiye, and Islamabad, as well as a group of ambassadors and special envoys to Afghanistan based in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

“The need for a revitalized and realistic political pathway was consistently highlighted and all remained firm on the fundamental principles, including women’s and girls’ rights to education, work and public life in Afghanistan,” the UN said.

Haq apologized for a photo on social media of seven men from the UN delegation’s security team posing in front of a Taliban flag, calling it “a mistake” and “a significant lapse of judgment.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2236296/world

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Pakistan

 

UAE Businessmen Need To Exploit Business Opportunities In Pakistan: PM Shehbaz Sharif

January 20, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that businessmen of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) need to utilize the immense business opportunities in Pakistan – a market of over 220 million people – offering its investors a strong and large consumer market.

In an interview with Khaleej Times during his visit to the UAE last week, he said, “Energy, infrastructure, e-commerce, agro-based industry, and IT sectors are up for grabs.”

Premier Shehbaz Sharif besides his meeting the UAE leadership, also witnessed the signing of three memoranda of understanding (MoUs) in the fields of combating human trafficking, information exchange, and cooperation between the diplomatic academies of both countries.

To a question about the trade relations between Pakistan and UAE, the prime minister pointed out that the bilateral trade with the UAE had increased by 25.40% during 2021-22 as compared to the previous year, amounting to US$10.60 billion.

However, he said, “The current level of bilateral trade is still not a true reflection.”

“We are looking to further strengthen our existing economic, trade and investment ties.”

PM Shehbaz said the average annual trade between the two countries stood at US$8 billion making the UAE the largest trading partner of Pakistan in the MENA region.

Responding to another query on new areas of cooperation, he said, “We find new avenues of economic cooperation to take our economic relations at par with our excellent political relations.”

The prime minister described Information Technology (IT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Financial Technology (Fintech) as new areas of collaboration with much greater potential.

Commenting on the UAE humanitarian aid to flood victims in Pakistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz thanked the UAE for its “valuable and timely” humanitarian support for flood-affected people.

“The day floods hit Pakistan I received a call from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, who said, ‘we will immediately start sending relief goods for the flood-affected areas’,” he recalled.

And then, he said, an air bridge was established between Abu Dhabi and Pakistan, and relief goods were sent to Islamabad, and different cities of Sindh including Karachi, Badin and Shikarpur.

On the UAE and Pakistan friendship, the prime minister explained that the foundation of these relations was laid by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who wanted Pakistan to be among the leading, prosperous and progressive countries.

“We will never forget his benevolence and generosity for all times to come.”

Shehbaz Sharif thanked the UAE government and its leadership when asked about the welfare of Pakistani diaspora, noting that the UAE was hosting and allowing 1.7 million Pakistanis to earn their livelihood in the country with dignity and respect.

Source: Pakistan Today

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/01/20/uae-businessmen-need-to-exploit-business-opportunities-in-pakistan-pm/

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Nawaz Sharif blames Gen Bajwa & Gen Faiz for Pakistan's current turmoil

January 20, 2023

Pakistan's former three-time premier and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif has blamed the ex-Army chief and ex-ISI head for the current turmoil in the country by rigging the 2018 general elections and installing Imran Khan-led government.

The former prime minister held ex-Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ex-Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence Lt Gen Faiz Hamid responsible for spinning Pakistan around for their personal wishes and whims, the Geo News reported.

Talking to the media on Thursday in London after meeting with a delegation of senior PML-N leaders from Pakistan, Mr. Sharif recalled his 2016 Gujranwala speech at the PML-N public gathering where he directly accused the ex-military men of rigging elections to make way for installing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in 2018.

At the time he also questioned who was responsible for the “two governments” in the country and went on to blame then-army chief Gen Bajwa and then-ISI chief Faiz Hamid as being behind everything.

The PML-N meeting comes at a time of heightened political activity in Pakistan as both Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assemblies dissolved.

His latest remarks come in the wake of a top-level huddle where he and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz who is also PML-N senior Vice President, met with party leaders to discuss strategy as the possibility of polls in two provinces grows.

Earlier, Mr. Sharif blamed the military top brass for installing PTI's Mr. Khan as the prime minister in violation of the Constitution, removing his government, muzzling the media, pressurising the judiciary, and victimising opposition politicians, the report said.

Mr. Sharif broke his silence for the first time after his party faced a major political blow in Punjab following the victory of PTI's Parvez Elahi in a vote of confidence shortly before the dissolution of the provincial assembly, saying “a cruel joke had been played on Pakistan… for the sake of personal gains”.

He said that the people of Pakistan are well aware of the “faces and characters of the two retired generals who are believed to be behind implementing the Tabdeeli project originally envisioned by former intelligence chiefs General (retd) Shuja Pasha, General (retd) Zaheer-ul-Islam and their colleagues." When asked if he held Gen Bajwa and Gen Hamid responsible for the state of the country, he said, “The reality is before everyone. Now no name or face is hidden. Pakistan was used for personal gain. It was a cruel joke played on the nation." "Lt Gen (retd) Faiz and Gen (retd) Bajwa were responsible for making it all about their personalities, wishes, and desires," the 73-year-old Mr. Sharif said.

Talking about the meeting with his daughter and party leaders, Mr. Sharif said that he discussed Pakistan’s current situation with them.

“Inshallah, all will be well. Pakistan will come out of the difficulties and we will make sure that happens. Our track record of progress is a witness and it’s not possible that we will not make that happen," he said.

In the four-hour huddle at Stanhope House on Thursday, senior leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) — Rana Sanaullah, Pervaiz Rashid, and Javed Latif were present where along with the ongoing political situation, Maryam Nawaz’s return to Pakistan and the party’s election campaign prospects were also discussed.

Although it was being speculated that Sanaullah — who was charged with overseeing trust vote proceedings in the Punjab Assembly — had been summoned to London to explain the party’s defeat, a source privy to the discussion rubbished reports that the senior Sharif was annoyed with the interior minister.

According to the source, the meeting was called to discuss the return of Ms. Nawaz and her role as chief organiser, saying that Sanaullah’s opinion on the programme and implementation to mobilise the party was critical to Ms. Nawaz’s return, the Dawn newspaper report said.

When pressed on the party’s defeat in the vote of confidence at the Punjab Assembly, Sanaullah attributed it to the “doublespeak” of former CM Elahi, who had earlier said he wouldn’t take a vote of confidence or dissolve the assembly.

“We had the numbers and we will show we have the numbers. The coming elections will show PML-N strength and victory,” he told reporters outside the PML-N’s London headquarters.

He said there will be more meetings in the coming days, and that the party’s election campaign will be kicked off according to the guidance given by their leader. He confirmed Ms. Nawaz will return next week. When asked about the return of the senior Sharif, Sanaullah said, “It is understood MNS (Muhammad Nawaz Sharif) will return, and he will lead the party’s election campaign. The legal formalities regarding his return were also discussed.

“MNS return is critical as he is the leader of the party, he has the vote and support of the people.” According to Dawn, the interior minister also rubbished reports of rifts between former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the PML-N leadership. “There are no differences and Mr Abbasi is committed to the party.” Calling the PTI chief Khan a "mad man", Mr. Sharif said, “Compare his [performance during the] four years of [PTI] government with four years of our government and you will see how happy and prosperous people were in two tenures and how he [Khan] destroyed Pakistan,” he was quoted as saying.

Source: The Hindu

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https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/nawaz-sharif-blames-gen-bajwa-gen-faiz-for-pakistans-current-turmoil/article66413716.ece

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China steals rich natural resources of Balochistan while locals remain impoverished

21 January, 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], January 21 (ANI): Balochistan, the treasure trove of natural resources, is being excavated by China, while it remains an impoverished area with a per capita GDP under USD 1,000, reported Islam Khabar.

Pakistan’s largest province is being robbed of its natural resources by China under the Belt and Road Initiative and CPEC and the profits are being garnered by Chinese companies.

The local population gets little by way of employment or monetary benefits. A similar situation is obtained in Myanmar, where China has in recent years, been illegally mining in the border areas. This experience indicates the deleterious impact of Chinese activity in the extraction of natural resources, reported Islam Khabar.

China is playing a major role in the local economy. Notably, the Chinese company which mines gold, silver and copper in the Balochistan province has claimed that it made profits of around USD 75 million in 2021 (Invest Pakistan,14 January 2022), despite disruption to its operations caused by Covid.

A majority of profits will be sent back to China. Supporters of the mine say it has helped to fund better education and health facilities, as well as creating jobs. However, many local people say their lives have not improved much.

The reality on the ground is that Balochistan remains an impoverished and neglected province, and the Saindak copper and gold project epitomises the tragedy that Chinese investment has brought with it while generating profits for the Pakistani state, reported Islam Khabar.

Pakistan and China signed a deal worth USD 350 million for the development of the mine, initially a 10-year lease to Metallurgical Corporation of China Ltd (MCC), a subsidiary of China Metallurgical Group Corporation.

The agreement shows that 50 per cent of revenues from the mine go to MCC, 48 per cent to the Government of Pakistan, and 2 per cent to the Balochistan provincial government. The lease was extended (January 2023), for another 15 years, with Pakistan’s share of revenue up to 53 per cent, and 5 to 6.5 per cent going to the Balochistan provincial government, reported Islam Khabar.

According to the revised terms that Pakistan’s Cabinet Economic Coordination Committee recently approved, the Chinese company also agreed to enhance rent, royalty, and social uplift payments to the federal and Balochistan governments.

However, Kazim Baloch, a political activist in Chagai told The China Project that the area still has “features of the medieval era”. “Mud houses, muddy and unpaved roads, a lack of potable water, poverty, deprivation, underdevelopment and backwardness still rule,” said Baloch.

Akbar Notezai, an investigative journalist from Chagai associated with Pakistan’s leading media group Dawn recently published a story which said that the jobs created for local people were “menial” and the overall situation in the region is “pitiable.” “Despite extracting gold and copper for two decades, why has the administration not yet constructed a metalled road? There are roads that lead to the company’s sites, but many villages are left without any roads,” says Notezai.

Clearly, the odds have been stacked against Balochistan, for it is getting peanuts for minerals extracted from its soil. Activists regard it as unjust that Balochistan receives less than 6 per cent of the profits, reported Islam Khabar.

Source: The Print

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

https://theprint.in/world/china-steals-rich-natural-resources-of-balochistan-while-locals-remain-impoverished/1327031/

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Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Russian Federation: PM

January 20, 2023

LAHORE: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has said that Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Russian Federation.

Speaking during a meeting with a delegation led by the Russian Energy Minister Mr Nikolay Shulginov which called on him in Lahore on Thursday, the prime minister recalled his meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Samarkand in September 2022 and said that the meeting had reached important decisions to further strengthen Pakistan-Russia relations.

Premier Shehbaz Sharif also noted with satisfaction the keen desire on both the sides to upgrade the bilateral cooperation in trade, investment and economic matters.

The Russian Energy Minister reciprocated Prime Minister’s sentiments and delivered a special message of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Prime Minister. In his message, President Putin referring to Pakistan as Russia’s important partner in South Asia and the Islamic World reiterated Russia’s strong interest to deepen the bilateral relationship.

Both sides agreed on the importance of energy sector for the development of bilateral economic and trade relations. In this regard views were exchanged on supplying oil and gas from Russia to Pakistan on a long term basis. Matters related to gas pipelines were also reviewed.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif provided guidance for the work of 8th Round of Pakistan-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission meeting scheduled to be held in Islamabad on 20 January 2023.

Source: Pakistan Today

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/01/20/pakistan-attaches-great-importance-to-its-relations-with-russian-federation-pm/

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Mideast

 

Sunni leader calls for updating Iran’s constitution as protesters take to streets

20 January ,2023

Protesters took to the streets in Iran’s southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan on Friday to denounce the Islamic Republic, in what has become a weekly show of defiance against the regime in the Sunni-majority region.

Despite a brutal crackdown by security forces, Sistan-Baluchistan has witnessed protests weekly after Friday prayers since late September.

Videos shared on Twitter showed a large crowd marching in the streets of Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchistan, with demonstrators chanting against Iran’s clerical rulers, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and the Basij, a paramilitary force heavily involved in the regime’s crackdown on protests.

“Khamenei is a murderer, his rule is illegitimate,” protesters chanted in one video.

Prior to Friday’s protests, Molavi Abdolhamid, Iran’s most prominent Sunni cleric, called on authorities not to imprison, torture or execute protesters.

Abdolhamid, who is based in Zahedan, also urged for the Islamic Republic’s constitution to be updated to reflect the needs of the new generation.

“The new generation has new conditions and different needs. It is very unfortunate that the whole of our constitution is the same law that was approved 44 years ago. This law should be updated according to the conditions of the time,” he said in a Friday prayers sermon, according to his website.

The Sunni cleric has been openly critical of the regime since nationwide protests erupted in Iran following the death of 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody on September 16.

In November, Abdolhamid called for an internationally monitored referendum in Iran.

The protests, which quickly escalated into calls for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic, have been met with a violent crackdown from authorities, who view the protests as “riots” backed by foreign powers.

According to the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights, at least 481 people, including 64 children and 35 women, have been killed by security forces during the protests, with Sistan-Baluchistan having the highest number of fatalities at 131.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/20/Sunni-leader-calls-for-updating-Iran-s-constitution-as-protesters-take-to-streets

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Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque, perform provocative dances

20 January 2023

Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East al-Quds, in yet another provocative move against Palestinian worshipers.

Eyewitnesses told Ma’an news agency that the raid by the radical settlers was carried out under heavy protection from Israeli forces. They said the settlers raised Israeli flags and performed provocative dances inside the vicinity.

The occupation troops also deployed soldiers inside and around the mosque to secure the settlers’ intrusions, said the eyewitnesses.

Israeli soldiers also attacked scores of Palestinians, including young men, in the mosque’s courtyards through the Bab al-Amoud area and the Old City. They tried to force the Palestinians to leave the site to allow the colonizers to tour it, leading to protests.

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas called upon Palestinians from all walks of life to mobilize en masse, increase their presence at the mosque’s compound, and protect the sacred site against recurrent incursions by Israeli settlers.

“We hail the Palestinian people in occupied Palestinian territories and across the West Bank who stand steadfast against the Israeli occupation violations and crimes,” it said in a statement.

Hamas also called on the Arab and Muslim Ummah, along with the free people of the world, to “support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and work toward protecting them against the Israeli occupation’s violations.”

On Friday morning, thousands of Palestinian worshipers reached al-Aqsa Mosque to perform Friday prayers in its courtyards amid the strict Israeli measures. According to local news agencies, the number of Palestinians attending the prayers reached 75,000.

Israeli settler incursions into al-Aqsa Mosque have been on the rise in recent weeks in light of the arrival of a new far-right extremist regime led by PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

Such mass settler break-ins almost always take place at the behest of Tel Aviv-backed temple groups and under the auspices of the Israeli police in al-Quds, leading to daily confrontations with Palestinians at the mosque, with many injured, arrested and killed.

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/01/20/696668/Dozens-Israeli-extremist-settlers-storm-al-Aqsa-Mosque

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Türkiye Summons Swedish Envoy over Planned Desecration of Holy Quran in Stockholm

JAN 20, 2023

The Foreign Ministry summoned the Swedish envoy in Türkiye's capital Ankara over the country’s authorization of a demonstration involving the burning of the Holy Quran in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on Saturday, diplomatic sources said Friday.

Staffan Herrstrom was told that Türkiye strongly condemns the provocative act, which amounts to hate speech, and that Stockholm's stance is unacceptable.

The ministry also told him that the desecration of sacred values cannot be defended under the "guise of democratic rights."

The ministry further said that Sweden's authorization of the planned demonstration by sympathizers of the PKK terrorist group and its affiliates in downtown Stockholm is a clear violation of the trilateral memorandum signed between Türkiye, Finland and Sweden, under the scope of their NATO membership.

Ömer Çelik, spokesperson for the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), also condemned the "permission for an action aimed at burning the Quran in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm."

"What the Swedish authorities are doing is patronizing hate crime," he said on Twitter, adding that "the Swedish authorities are encouraging fascism by permitting such acts."

He also said, "any disrespect toward the Quran is a crime against humanity."

Rasmus Paludan, the leader of a Danish far-right party, was given permission to burn the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, according to Stockholm police.

Meanwhile, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom seemed to comprehend that the planned desecration of Islam's holy book specifically chosen to be conducted in front of the Turkish Embassy risks further "delaying" Türkiye's ratification of Sweden's NATO bid. However, he said that it would be "very inappropriate" for him to not allow a person to carry out, what he termed, "a demonstration."

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

However, Türkiye, a vital NATO member for more than 70 years, opposed the two countries' membership aspirations due to their tolerance and even backing for terrorist groups.

A trilateral agreement signed among the countries in June stipulates that Finland and Sweden will not provide support to the YPG/PYD, the PKK's Syrian offshoot, nor to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) – the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Türkiye – and said Ankara extends full support to Finland and Sweden against threats to their national security.

Source: Daily Sabah

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https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/diplomacy/turkiye-summons-swedish-envoy-over-planned-desecration-of-quran

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Ankara cancels Sweden defence minister visit over planned anti-Turkey protest

21 January ,2023

Turkey said on Saturday that it had called off a visit by Sweden’s defense minister over a planned anti-Turkey protest in Stockholm.

“At this point, Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson’s visit to Turkey on January 27 has lost its significance and meaning, so we canceled the visit,” Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said.

The Swedish minister visit was aimed at overcoming Ankara’s objections to Sweden’s bid to join the NATO military alliance.

Turkey has been angered by permission obtained by a right-wing extremist to demonstrate later on Saturday in front of the Turkish embassy in the Swedish capital.

The Danish-Swedish politician, Rasmus Paludan, whose anti-Islamist actions sparked riots across Sweden last year, has expressed his intention to “burn the Quran”, Islam’s holy book, during his protest on Saturday.

Turkey had on Friday summoned Sweden’s ambassador to “condemn this provocative action which is clearly a hate crime - in strongest terms,” a diplomatic source said.

This is the second time in more than a week that Sweden’s ambassador to Turkey was summoned.

Last week, he was called to answer for a video posted by a Kurdish group in Stockholm that depicted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan swinging by his legs from a rope.

Sweden, along with neighboring Finland, needs Turkey’s consent to join NATO.

Both countries dropped decades of military non-alignment last year when they applied to join the Western defense alliance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ankara says any progress depends on Swedish steps to extradite people it accuses of terrorism or of having played a part in the 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/21/Ankara-cancels-Sweden-defense-minister-visit-over-planned-anti-Turkey-protest

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Iran: IRGC Largest Anti-Terror Organization in World

2023-January-20

"Israel's apartheid regime is the biggest organized terrorist entity in the world, the British regime is the founder and the United States regime is its biggest backer," Kana'ani tweeted in response to the approval of the European Parliament's anti-IRGC motion.

He saidd that the reason for the anger of the 'Global Club of Terrorists' at the IRGC is clear, adding, "It is because the IRGC is the largest anti-terrorism organization in the world."

The European Parliament passed a resolution on Thursday that calls for blacklisting the IRGC. The resolution has been sent to the European Council to decide on it.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011030000312/Iran-IRGC-Larges-Ani-Terrr-Organizain-in-Wrld

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Israeli forces remove West Bank settler outpost, angering rightists in government

20 January ,2023

Israeli security forces on Friday evicted a small group of Jewish settlers from an outpost they erected hours earlier in the occupied West Bank, upsetting pro-settlement members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

The group had built a handful of small, temporary structures on a rocky field near a larger Jewish settlement, according to pictures carried by Israeli media. Similar outposts have been built and removed many times over the years.

While there were no reports of violence or injuries between the settlers and security officers, Friday’s eviction was a test for Netanyahu’s new government, which took office about a month ago and includes senior ministers from the far right.

A member of Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party heads the defense ministry, which runs the authority that coordinates policy in the West Bank, though it ceded some settlement policymaking to hardline politician Bezalel Smotrich.

Smotrich on Friday had instructed the authority that coordinates policy not to remove the outpost until after a discussion next week, according to a statement from his office.

The statement said that Defense Minister Yoav Galant went ahead regardless and ordered its removal, “completely contradicting the coalition agreements that form the basis for the government’s existence.”

Netanyahu issued his own statement afterward, saying that “the government supports settlement but only when it is done legally and is coordinated in advance with the prime minister and security officials, which was not done in this case.”

Most countries view settlements that Israel has built on land captured in a 1967 war as illegal and their expansion as an obstacle to peace, since they eat away at land the Palestinians claim for a future state.

Israel disputes that and cites biblical, historical and political links to the West Bank, as well as security interests.

The Palestinian foreign ministry, before the outpost’s removal, had condemned its building, calling it “a flagrant challenge to international and US requests that Israel’s unilateral and illegal measures must end.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/20/Israeli-forces-remove-West-Bank-settler-outpost-angering-rightists-in-government

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Palestinian killed after allegedly trying to stab Israeli

January 21, 2023

JERUSALEM: Israeli fire killed a Palestinian Saturday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, after he allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli in a West Bank settler outpost, according to the Israeli military.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the man as Tariq Maali, 42, saying only that he was shot northwest of the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli military said the man arrived at the outpost and tried to stab an Israeli civilian. Israeli media reported he was armed with a knife and that the settler shot him.

Palestinians and rights groups accuse Israel of using excessive force against the Palestinians, who have in recent years carried out a spate of shooting, stabbing and car-ramming attacks. The military says soldiers, and in some cases civilians, face complex, life-threatening situations.

Saturday’s death was the latest in months of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Tensions have soared in the West Bank, where the Israeli military has been conducting near-nightly arrest raids since last spring after a wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis killed 19 people. Another 10 Israelis were killed in a second string of attacks later last year.

Israel says the raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks. The Palestinians see them as further entrenchment of Israel’s open-ended, 55-year occupation of lands they seek for their future state.

Saturday’s death put at 18 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank since the beginning of 2023.

Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed by Israel in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 2022, according to figures by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem, making it the deadliest year since 2004.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2236366/middle-east

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South Asia

 

Pakistan seeks Afghan Taliban cooperation in countering terrorism

By Fidel Rahmati

January 20, 2023

Foreign Minister of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto Zardari emphasized the need for cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan to combat terrorism.

Zardari, in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday, said, “I am confident that if we can work with the Afghan interim government, which influences these groups, we will be successful in maintaining our security,”

Meanwhile, he added that “we are not interested in initiating a cross-border operation, nor would we want to push for an advocate for military action after what we have already witnessed was the most prolonged conflict.

Instead, he asked the interim government in Afghanistan to join hands in combating Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other terror organizations threatening Pakistan’s security.

On the other hand, he accused PTI chief Imran Khan former prime minister of Pakistan, of providing TTP with a place to hide. He said that Khan released the TTP prisoners in Pakistan’s custody and engaged in dialogue with them.

When asked if Pakistan had hoped the new Afghan government would take action against the TTP, FM Bilawal responded, “Our desire, and they agreed that their soil would not be utilized for terrorism. We hope to work with them to combat terrorists, which is a concern to us.”

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/pakistan-seeks-afghan-taliban-cooperation-in-countering-terrorism/

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Moscow Discussed Recognition with Islamic Emirate: Russian Foreign Ministry

By Mohammad Farshad Daryosh

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that during the visit of its envoy to Afghanistan, the two sides discussed recognition of the Islamic Emirate.

The statement said that Russian envoy Zamir Kabulov has also discussed strengthening of economic, cultural education relations between the two countries as well as issues of terrorism and prevention of narcotics.

“In the meeting, there was a considerable attention by the Russian envoy for Afghanistan for recognition and the diplomacy of the Islamic Emirate by the international community,” the statement reads.

The Islamic Emirate called recognition important for economic and political improvement in the region.

“Countries should understand that imposition of pressure and other political pressures will not bring results. It is better to engage with the Afghans,” Islamic Emirate spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said.

“They have discussed some of the issues. Russia is trying to make the Taliban busy in improvement of relations with Russia and show the Taliban that it is recognizing them,” said Rahmatullah Bizhanpor, a political analyst.

“Russia will not recognize Afghanistan in the near future and if Russia is the only country to recognize Afghanistan, the problems of Afghanistan will not be solved” said Torek Farhadi, a political analyst.

Source: Tolo News

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

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-181682

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UN says Taliban divided on appeal to restore women's rights

Jan 21, 2023

UNITED NATIONS: A delegation led by the highest-ranking woman at the United Nations urged the Taliban during a four-day visit to Afghanistan that ended Friday to reverse their crackdown on women and girls. Some Taliban officials were more open to restoring women's rights but others were clearly opposed, a UN spokesman said.

The UN team met with the Taliban in the capital of Kabul and the southern city of Kandahar. It did not release the names of any of the Taliban officials. The meetings focused on the restrictive measures the Taliban have imposed on women and girls since they took power in August 2021, during the final weeks of the US and NATO forces' pullout after 20 years of war.

The team, headed by UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, found that some Taliban officials "have been cooperative and they've received some signs of progress," said UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq. "The key thing is to reconcile the (Taliban) officials that they've met who've been more helpful with those who have not."

Haq stressed that "there are many different points of authority" among the Taliban and that the UN team will try to get them to "work together to advance the goals that we want, which include most crucially, bringing women and girls back to the full enjoyment of their rights."

Mohammed, a former Nigerian Cabinet minister and a Muslim, was joined on the trip by Sima Bahous, executive director of UN Women, which promotes gender equality and women's rights, and Assistant Secretary General for political affairs Khaled Khiari.

As the Taliban did during their previous rule of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, they gradually re-imposed their harsh interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia. Girls have been barred from school beyond the sixth grade and women are banned from most jobs, public spaces and gyms.

In late December, the Taliban barred aid groups from employing women, paralysing deliveries that help keep millions of Afghans alive, and threatening humanitarian services countrywide. In addition, thousands of women who work for aid organisations across the war-battered country are facing the loss of income they desperately need to feed their own families.

Limited work by women has been allowed in some sectors, including the health field.

"What we've seen in terms of basic rights for women and girls is a huge step backwards," Haq said. "We are trying to do more and we'll continue on that front."

In a statement, Mohammed said her message to the Taliban was very clear — "these restrictions present Afghan women and girls with a future that confines them in their own homes, violating their rights and depriving the communities of their services."

She stressed that delivery of humanitarian aid is based on the principle requiring unhindered and safe access for all aid workers, including women.

"Our collective ambition is for a prosperous Afghanistan that is at peace with itself and its neighbours, and on a path to sustainable development. But right now, Afghanistan is isolating itself, in the midst of a terrible humanitarian crisis and one of the most vulnerable nations on earth to climate change," she said.

During the trip that also included a visit to western Herat, Mohammed's team also met humanitarian workers, civil society representatives and women in the three cities.

"Afghan women left us no doubt of their courage and refusal to be erased from public life," Bahous, of UN Women, said in a statement. "They will continue to advocate and fight for their rights, and we are duty-bound to support them in doing so."

"What is happening in Afghanistan is a grave women's rights crisis and a wakeup call for the international community," she said, stressing that the Taliban restrictions and edicts show "how quickly decades of progress on women´s rights can be reversed in a matter of days".

Before arriving in Kabul, members of the delegation visited Muslim countries in the Middle East as well as Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey. They met leaders of the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the Islamic Development Bank and groups of Afghan women in Ankara, Turkey, and Islamabad, as well as a group of ambassadors and special envoys to Afghanistan based in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

"The need for a revitalised and realistic political pathway was consistently highlighted and all remained firm on the fundamental principles, including women's and girls' rights to education, work and public life in Afghanistan," the UN said.

Haq apologised for a photo on social media of seven men from the UN delegation's security team posing in front of a Taliban flag, calling it "a mistake" and "a significant lapse of judgment".

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/un-says-taliban-divided-on-appeal-to-restore-womens-rights/articleshow/97187253.cms

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Kabul residents SOS as 78 die in severe cold wave in Afghanistan

Jan 20, 2023

KABUL: At least 78 people have died in Afghanistan in just over a week amid extreme cold conditions that have compounded the country's humanitarian crisis.

"The ministry in collaboration with other governmental institutions has provided food and cash aid to at least one million people," TOLOnews quoted Shafiullah Rahimi, a spokesperson for the Taliban-led Ministry of Natural Disaster Management.

Many needy families claimed that the temperature drop has caused them a lot of trouble. Shila, a native of Kabul and a mother of 10 children, claimed she was unable to afford to buy firewood to heat their homes during the winter.

"We even don't have a heater in our home," Shila said, as she described her plight.

"We just have one blanket and all of us sleep under it," said Ahmad, a member of a vulnerable family in Kabul.

A number of Kabul residents said the government and aid organizations should provide support to them during this winter. The distribution of relief to those in need has been hampered by the shutdown of numerous important roadways in numerous regions due to extreme weather and snowstorms, TOLOnews reported.

"We call on Islamic Emirate to help the needy people this winter," said Ramin, a Kabul resident.

On Tuesday, at least 140 people were hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning in Herat province as they were using gas as the only option to warm their homes amid harsh winters due to the surge in the price of firewood and other basic amenities being too high in the country.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, the country is under a severe economic as well as a humanitarian crisis.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/kabul-residents-sos-as-78-die-in-severe-cold-wave-in-afghanistan/articleshow/97178881.cms

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30,000 Afghan refugees return from Iran in last 3 weeks

January 21, 2023

The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) says in the last three weeks, more than 12,500 people entered Afghanistan through the Islam Qala border and nearly 16,000 Afghan migrants entered Afghanistan through the Nimroz border.

According to MoRR, most of the returnees went to Iran illegally and were without their families. Many were also deported from Iran.

“We request all countries not to relate the issues of immigrants to politics; the rights given to immigrants by Islam and the world must be respected,” said Mohammad Arsala Kharoti, deputy refugees minister.

Some returning immigrants have said they are back home but want the government to provide job opportunities for them.

A number of experts meanwhile have said that Iran is not so keen on hosting Afghan migrants as sanctions imposed on Tehran by the West is having an impact on their economy.

“There are still financial and unemployment problems in Afghanistan and many are unemployed and cannot support their families,” said Sara Rahmani, an immigrant affairs expert.

“They are forced to leave Afghanistan and migrate to neighboring countries,” she added.

Khalil-ur-Rehman Haqqani, minister of refugees, also said that efforts are underway to free Afghan prisoners from prisons in Pakistan and China.

“The office of the prime minister has ordered us to start work on releasing Afghan refugees, and this ministry is ready to make any sacrifices for the release of Afghan prisoners,” said Haqqani.

Source: Pak Observer

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

https://pakobserver.net/30000-afghan-refugees-return-from-iran-in-last-3-weeks/

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Africa

 

Islamic Scholar Calls For Establishment of Hisbah (An Islamic Doctrine on Upholding Community Morals) In Katsina

By Mustapha Usman

January 20, 2023

Sheikh Yakubu Musa, a renowned Islamic Scholar in Katsina State, on Thursday called on the state government to establish a Hisbah board in the state.

Hisbah is an Islamic doctrine on upholding community morals, based on the Qur’anic injunction, to enjoin good and forbid wrong.

It is otherwise known as the enforcement arm of the Sharia law.

Sheikh Musa, who is the state Chairman, Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’ah Wa Iqamatus Sunnah, JIBWIS, made the call during the launching of the State’s Action Plan, SAP, on women, peace and security in Katsina.

According to him, if such a board is established in the state, it will contribute towards controlling the wrong doings in the society, especially among women, girls and the youth.

He commended Governor Aminu Masari for all his efforts towards ensuring that any issue related to the good moral training of the children brought before him, was given prompt attention.

Sheikh Musa said, “I am calling on the governor to assist us by ensuring that the Hisbah comes on board, because they know the society and also can enter places that other security personnel can not.

“Those youths that are into drug abuse and other social vices are from the society, they are all known, therefore, Hisbah will assist in reducing the menace.

“Those that are into the drug businesses can be fished out from society. I know about a bill before the assembly on the establishment of the board, but at the moment I don’t know where it’s hanging.”

He appealed to the governor’s wife, Hadiza Masari, to ensure that before the end of their tenure, the agitation for the establishment of the board became reality.

The scholar explained that the introduction of the SAP was a good initiative, but advised that such a plan should be properly used in such a way it could go with the teaching of Islam.

The Sheikh noted that women were the backbone of any society because of their importance, giving examples from the holy Qur’an where there is a whole chapter (Suratul Nisa’i) that talked about them.

He explained that the training of children was the major responsibility of the mother, saying that any child without good moral training, must have gotten the wrong training from the mother.

Source: Daily Nigerian

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

https://dailynigerian.com/islamic-scholar-calls/

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Kano State Court Remands 8 Sharia Judges, 7 Others for Allegedly Diverting N99m Belonging To Orphans

January 20, 2023

By Francis Ugwu

A magistrate court in Kano State has ordered eight Sharia Court judges and seven Sharia Commission staff members to be remanded in prison custody over the allegation of diversion of N99 million belonging to orphans in the state.

Magistrate Mustapha Sa’ad Datti gave the order on Thursday following charges of diverting N99 million instituted against the 15 persons before the court by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC.

Magistrate Datti ordered that the defendants be kept behind bars pending the next sitting of the court.

The defendants include Gazzali Wada, Yusuf Abdullahi, Sani Ali, Bashir Baffa, Sani Uba Ali, Hadi Tijjani Mu’azu, Mustafah Bala, and Alkasim Abdullahi.

Other defendants in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Center facility are Abdullahi Sulaiman Zango, Jaafar Ahmad, Bashir Ali Kurawa, Adamu Balarabe, Garba Yusuf, Aminu Abdulhadi, and Usaina Imam.

As presented, the judges and the staff were accused of “conspiracy, betrayal of trust and theft of N99 million.”

Meanwhile, the defendants all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Accordingly, the lead counsel for the plaintiff, Zaharaddin Kofar Mata, called for an adjournment to present substantial evidence before the court.

Source: Daily Post Nigeria

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

https://dailypost.ng/2023/01/20/court-remands-8-sharia-judges-7-others-for-allegedly-stealing-n99m/

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In ‘Alegría,’ Jews, Christians and Muslims come to a boil in a Spanish melting pot

By RICH TENORIO

20 January 2023

Located on the coast of a rocky peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean Sea, Melilla, an autonomous Spanish port city in North Africa, is home to Christians, Muslims and Jews. The enclave’s 12 square kilometers are a mix of coexistence and tension that is only heightened by the fence that separates it from Morocco.

For the new feature film, “Alegría,” isolated Melilla is the ideal venue for navigating some complex family history.

Directed by Spanish filmmaker Violeta Salama, “Alegría” is screening on January 22 at the New York Jewish Film Festival, where Salama will host a live Q&A session.

The film focuses on its protagonist, Alegría, who is portrayed by Mexican actress Cecilia Suárez. Although Alegría is of Jewish descent, she is reluctant to embrace her heritage, in contrast to the next generation of her family, including her niece Yael (Laia Manzanares), who comes to Melilla to have an Orthodox wedding. When Alegría hosts Yael for the upcoming celebration, the issue of identity becomes inescapable.

Initially screened in Spain, the film has received an enthusiastic response abroad, including at festivals in Israel and the United States.

Salama drew upon her own background to make it: The daughter of a Sephardic Jewish father and a Catholic mother, she grew up in Melilla and lived there for 12 years. The film shows sweeping shots of the director’s hometown — its seascapes and palm trees with the mountains of Morocco beyond, along with the call of the muezzin and the cry of the seagulls.

“Alegría [the character] is my father and my grandmother all mixed together,” Salama told The Times of Israel. Meanwhile, the director said, Yael exemplifies “the way of being Jewish in your own way.” She embodies those who “try to move around, travel, know different cultures, decide how you want to live your life.”

That’s what Salama herself has tried to do. She describes her father as coming from a traditional Sephardic background and her mother from a military family, noting that there has long been a military presence in Melilla — it was where the first shots of the Spanish Civil War were fired.

Growing up, Salama was one of only a handful of Muslim and Jewish children who did not attend Catholic religious school.

And while she was unsure about her identity, she was quite certain of her career path. She received a master’s degree in creative documentary from the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona and then, in 2007, went across the globe to the Vancouver Film School. When she wasn’t working on shows such as “Smallville” in Canada, she was meeting other people with complex identities.

“It was the first time I met Jewish people like me,” she said — which she defines as “Jewish in your own way.”

She further explored her identity by journeying to Israel with her grandmother and meeting other family members there.

“I started to connect a lot of dots,” Salama said. “For me, it was fascinating. I wanted to imagine more about it.”

What began as a film project about her family transformed into a different kind of narrative — set not in Israel but in Melilla. Its theme would be similar, though — finding oneself.

For the character Alegría, it’s quite a journey.

When the film begins, Alegría, a doctor, has returned to her hometown of Melilla. She seems ready to meet any challenge in her way, whether treating an injured North African refugee boy or working with her Muslim housekeeper, Dunia (Sarah Perles), to get her home ready for Yael.

Yet tensions arrive even before Yael does. We learn that Alegría is estranged from her Jewish roots — as well as from her daughter Sara. Born from a relationship in Mexico that further alienated Alegría from her family, Sara has embraced her Judaism and lives in Israel.

Alegría tweaks the customs of observant Jewish family members visiting for the wedding. She installs a mezuzah on her doorpost for them, but delights in gluing it to the surface, in defiance of a technicality in the Jewish law. As for Israel, she calls it the one country she will never visit.

As the film progresses, there are hints, however, that Alegría is less dismissive of her Jewish heritage than she seems. She has a complicated history with Simón, one of Melilla’s rabbis, as shown in a scene in what Salama considers the most beautiful of the city synagogues. Simón is played by veteran Argentine actor Leonardo Sbaraglia.

“He is a very famous actor in the Latin world,” Salama said. “It was just an honor for him to want to play that character.”

The director describes Alegría’s backstory with Simón as follows: “If she had been less stubborn with the religion, maybe she would have admitted the person behind the veil. She denied her Judaism when she was a teenager. She missed a lot of things. She missed [seeing] Simón as a person.”

In the present, Salama said, Alegría “does not want a family, but needs it at the same time.” She explains the main character’s view of her brother, Yael’s father: “’I do not want to be judged by you, but I need you to approve of me’… Family always brings your contradictions out. I wanted that to happen with the brother. She has this mask of strength, she cannot be hurt at all. Her brother is the one who has the power, who knows she is vulnerable.”

If there is to be a reconciliation between Alegría and her family — or between Alegría and her Judaism — it must come through acceptance that life gets complicated. And throughout the film, there are hints that Alegría is less willing to construct barriers than she is to overcome them.

For example, she sympathizes with the situation of Melilla’s Muslims. Many come from the indigenous Amazigh people of Morocco (commonly known as Berbers, though many don’t prefer this nomenclature) and are represented in the film by Dunia. According to Salama, Muslims in Melilla generally consider themselves Spanish, yet this is not reciprocated among the exclave’s Christian population, leading to feelings of alienation.

In the film, Alegría encourages Dunia and Yael to get to know each other. When Yael expresses a desire for a “Berber night” — a Sephardic version of a bachelorette party — Alegría finds a way to make it work. The gathering takes place in a poignant scene at Dunia’s family home in Morocco, hosted by her grandmother. (The grandmother was played by the actual grandmother of one of Salama’s Amazigh friends in Melilla.) In this scene, there’s a retelling of the story of La Kahina, a historical Amazigh heroine who navigated among the Maghreb’s Jews, Muslims and Christians. A song from the terrific soundtrack references La Kahina, with lyrics in Spanish, Hebrew and Arabic.

“I’ve always loved the song,” Salama said. “I tried to make it with the three languages, more powerful.”

Alegría’s willingness to break down barriers for others presages her coming to terms with the barriers in her own life, some of them self-constructed. Even if she can’t quite answer the question of whether or not she is Jewish, she’s on the way to feeling more comfortable in the complexities.

Source: Times Of Israel

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

https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-alegria-jews-christians-and-muslims-come-to-a-boil-in-a-spanish-melting-pot/

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Al-Shabaab kills senor commando in attack on army camp in central Somalia

Mohammed Dhaysane 

21.01.2023

MOGADISHU, Somalia

A senior trained Somali national army commando was killed Friday and several wounded when al-Shabaab terrorists launched an early morning attack on a military camp in central Somalia, said officials.

The attack involved car bombs at a military base in the newly liberated Galcad town in Galmudug state that resulted in multiple casualties, including US-trained commandos (DANAB) deputy commander Hassan Tuurre, according to Ilyas Ali, a security official who spoke to Anadolu.

Galcad is a strategic town located 375 kilometers (233 miles) northeast of the nation’s capital of Mogadishu.

Tuurre was a key figure in the ongoing military offensives against the al-Shabaab terror group in the central region.

Residents who spoke to Anadolu reported that they heard heavy explosions and a fierce gunfight between commandos and the terrorists.

Former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire described Tuurre as “brave” and who devoted himself to protecting “the life, wealth and honor of the nation.”

He urged Somalia to unite and fight terrorists.

“I once again urge the Somali people to unite to eradicate the Kharijite group,” he said in a statement.

Al-Shabaab terrorists claimed responsibility for the attack and said it killed more than 100 soldiers.

The group has intensified its attacks, mainly targeting security personnel and their bases, since the national army, backed by residents, started its offensive against the terrorists.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared a “total war” on all fronts against the terrorists and since the announcement, the army has scored significant victories against the group.

Earlier this week, the army liberated the strategic seaside town of Haradhere which has been under the control of the terror group for more than a decade.

Somalia has been plagued by insecurity for years, with al-Shabaab and Daesh/ISIS being among the main threats.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/al-shabaab-kills-senor-commando-in-attack-on-army-camp-in-central-somalia/2793339

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Türkiye condemns 'heinous' terrorist attacks in Somalia

Diyar Guldogan 

20.01.2023

Türkiye on Friday strongly condemned "heinous" terrorist attacks targeting military bases in Somalia’s central Galgaduud region.

"We are deeply saddened to learn that many soldiers lost their lives and were injured in the terrorist attack that took place today against the military bases in the Galgaduud region of Somalia,” said a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.

Some of the wounded are under treatment at the Recep Tayyip Erdogan Training and Research Hospital in the capital Mogadishu, it added.

The ministry said the attack will not hinder the Somali National Army’s determination in its fight against the terrorist group.

"We wish Allah's mercy upon those who lost their lives, extend our condolences to the relatives as well as to the friendly and brotherly people and the Government of Somalia, and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.

"Türkiye will continue to stand by Somalia in its fight against terrorism," it added.

Al-Shabaab terrorists claimed responsibility for the deadly early morning attacks, which claimed the lives of many soldiers.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/turkiye-condemns-heinous-terrorist-attacks-in-somalia/2793039

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Southeast Asia


On Lunar New Year, Indonesia’s minority Chinese Muslims embrace ancient heritage

SHEANY YASUKO LAI

January 20, 2023

JAKARTA: Ahead of Lunar New Year, Lili Sumiati is constantly busy cleaning her family home to sweep away ill fortune and open space for good luck.

The routine she follows is the same as that of the rest of her family: chores, shopping, cooking. Only, unlike them, she is Muslim.

It is estimated that Chinese-descended citizens make up about 3 percent of Indonesia’s Muslim-majority population of over 270 million. Most are either Buddhists or Christians, while a small minority professes Islam.

Every year, Sumiati’s family gathers at her mother’s home in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, to celebrate the new year together — to give children pocket money in red envelopes, light firecrackers, and feast.

Widely observed across Asia, the Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year festival is believed to date back to the 14th century B.C., to the times of the Shang Dynasty, China’s earliest ruling dynasty, when people celebrated good harvests.

“I feel happy during Lunar New Year celebrations. It’s a form of gratitude, so as an ethnic Chinese, I am equally excited about the festivities,” Sumiati, a 48-year-old mother of four, told Arab News.

“Lunar New Year is cultural, and Muslims are respectful of non-Muslim traditions.”

Sumiati became Muslim right after high school. Initially, dining at home posed a problem as some dishes on the table would not be halal. Eventually, her mother began cooking only halal food for everyone to enjoy.

But for others, such as Qisha K., navigating between two identities can be a more complex affair.

“Being Chinese Muslim is a bit awkward,” she told Arab News. “It’s like we’re a minority within a minority.”

Most Indonesians have the idea that Chinese culture is one where pork is a staple food and so clashes with Islam, Qisha said.

“They forget that each of those things is just a sliver of the culture and religion. And, honestly, it’s very easy to eat halal Chinese food in Indonesia.”

On the other hand, her unfamiliarity with the Chinese language is also a source of insecurity.

Many Indonesian Chinese are unfamiliar with the speech of their great-grandfathers, which was banned for decades under former President Suharto, who put in place restrictive policies of forced assimilation, some of which were only lifted years after his regime fell in the late 1990s.

Those, such as 29-year-old Qisha, or her parents, had no chance to learn Chinese at school.

Growing up in Jakarta as both Muslim and Chinese, she often felt that she did not belong. But during the Lunar New Year festival that feeling disappears.

“It’s like the time I can embrace and go all out to show my appreciation of my heritage,” she said.

“Lunar New Year makes me feel like I actually do belong.”

In 2023, Chinese New Year falls on Jan. 22 and will be celebrated for another two weeks.

For Jodi Baskoro, 37, from Jakarta, the festival is a way to reconnect with his ancestry.

Baskoro realized only recently how little he knows about the Chinese side of his mixed family. “As I’m getting older, I’m starting to embrace my Chinese heritage,” he told Arab News.

His curiosity was piqued as he learned more about Indonesia’s discriminatory treatment of ethnic Chinese, whose role in society has always been complex.

“I feel like we, as Chinese Indonesians, never had a chance to just live. We are forced to adapt and yet get shunned at the same time,” he said.

“Celebrated Chinese Indonesians are often athletes, businessmen, or some kind of clerics — we need to be worth something just to be accepted.”

In his personal celebration of Lunar New Year, Baskoro looks for traditional food items, such as mooncakes and mandarin oranges. This year, he also bought some traditional knick-knacks for good luck.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2236071/world

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Malaysian employers happy with fewer foreign labour recruitment requirements, but concerns linger

By Keertan Ayamany

21 Jan 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 — The government’s announcement that it will ease up on rules for hiring foreign workers has inspired a new hope that business will improve, said Zobir Osman, managing director of construction company Juru Wajar Sdn Bhd.

“It’s been a struggle to get foreign workers since after the movement control order (MCO)... at this site, I have seven workers but if I could, I would rather have 11 or 12,” he said, when met at a construction site in Kuala Lumpur.

Zobir said that the lack of foreign labour and the rising price of raw materials played equal parts in creating a business environment full of desperate contractors willing to underquote to get projects, which left those unwilling to take such risks out of stable work.

“Many of these government contracts pay contractors a lump sum before work begins, and the desperate companies want this so they can service their bank loans... but if they do this too often, they may cause their business to die later,” he said.

With Malaysia preparing to face a global recession this year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced on January 10 that “unprecedented” steps would be taken to meet the country’s economic development needs.

He said this includes the removal of a quota that previously required Malaysian employers to hire at least three local workers before being eligible to hire one foreigner.

Furthermore, it was decided that the Illegal Immigrant Recalibration Plan 2.0 (IIRP) programme would be reintroduced.

The plan provides an official working permit to undocumented migrants after they pay a compound, with Malaysia earning over RM700 million in earnings this way last year.

Between November 2020 and the end of June 2022, 418,528 individuals registered for the recalibration programme.

“These initiatives by Datuk Seri Anwar will be solving a big part of the problem for all industry players, whether Malay contractors, Chinese contractors, everyone,” said Malaysian Malay Contractors Association (PKMM) president Datuk Seri Mohamed Fadzill Hassan when contacted by Malay Mail.

Similarly, the Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association’s (Presma) president Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan said his members were “very happy” with the prime minister’s decision.

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Datuk Soh Thian Lai on February 11 issued a statement thanking the government for “recognising the importance and complementary role that foreign workers play in supporting economic recovery.”

However, employers said that they would also like several long-standing requests to be fulfilled.

Mohamed Fadzill said that the ineligibility of refugees that are United Nations High Commission For Refugees (UNHCR) cardholders to work in Malaysia was a situation that should be changed.

“They are here with their families. They too need food to eat, so it’s better to let them work instead of them causing social issues. It will also be a win-win for Malaysian companies that are struggling to find workers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jawahar Ali said that there needs to be protection for employers when foreign employees want to return home or run away.

“If the foreign employee is determined to return to his home country, he needs to make a confession in front of a high-ranking immigration official and after his departure is recorded then an automatic replacement of an employee should be given to the employer.

“Also, there should be an automatic replacement for foreign employees who run away, after the employer reports the matter to the police and pays a RM750 fine,” he suggested.

Malaysia also recently had its relationship with neighbouring countries tested because of how it treats foreign workers.

In July 2022, Indonesia temporarily stopped sending its citizens to work in Malaysia. This included thousands recruited for the plantation sector, citing a breach in an agreement that aimed at improving the protection of domestic workers employed in Malaysian households.

However, this was sorted out about a month later, in August 2022.

Arulkumar Singaraveloo, the co-founder of Malaysia HR Forum, said that Malaysia needs to be careful to avoid a similar situation and make sure that even as employment rules are relaxed, the needs of migrant workers are taken care of — especially appropriate accommodation.

“There should be at least a minimum criteria that companies who are applying to get foreign workers must first prove that they have accommodation for their existing workers that is approved by the labour department.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/01/21/malaysian-employers-happy-with-fewer-foreign-labour-recruitment-requirements-but-concerns-linger/50276

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Another mufti comes out against anti-HIV drug for LGBT

'Ainin Wan Salleh

January 20, 2023

PETALING JAYA: The Penang mufti has agreed with the Selangor mufti department in issuing an advisory note against dispensing an oral drug to prevent HIV infection among homosexuals.

Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor said the medicine, called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), should be limited to those in a physical relationship with people living with HIV, such as a wife of a drug addict.

Wan Salim said dispensing PrEP to the LGBT community was akin to encouraging such behaviour; it could “also further promote such deviant lifestyles”, he told FMT.

His stance is similar to that of the Selangor mufti department and came from a religious understanding on how Islam viewed homosexuality.

However, he said: “I have no authority to force my views on others” as life in a democratic country meant that people were free to accept or reject his views.

Wan Salim’s comments come in response to the head of a health think tank who had criticised the Selangor mufti department for issuing a “misinformed” advisory which it said was likely to mislead the public.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/01/20/another-mufti-comes-out-against-anti-hiv-drug-for-lgbt/

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North America

 

Three drones target US base in Syria, injuring two opposition fighters

20 January ,2023

Three suicide drones attacked a US base in eastern Syria on Friday, wounding two Syrian opposition fighters, the US military said. No Americans were hurt in the attack.

It was not clear who was behind the drone attack, but Iran-backed fighters in the region have carried out such operations in the past. Sleeper cells of ISIS are also active in the area.

Two of the drones were shot down and the third struck the compound at al-Tanf base where the borders of Syria, Iraq and Jordan meet, the US military said.

The military said the drone that struck the building wounded two members of the Syrian Free Army, who received medical treatment.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the attack was likely carried out by Iran-backed fighters who are deployed in different parts of war-torn Syria.

“Attacks of this kind are unacceptable — they place our troops and our partners at risk and jeopardize the fight against ISIS,” US military spokesman Joe Buccino said, using an acronym for ISIS.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/20/Three-drones-target-US-base-in-Syria

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Canada to repatriate 19 women, children from Syria

January 21, 2023

MONTREAL: Canada will repatriate six women and 13 infants who have been detained in northeast Syria in camps for family members of Daesh Group fighters, Ottawa announced Friday.

It is the largest such repatriation of Daesh family members yet for Canada, and comes after the women went to court to force the government to bring them home, saying it was obliged to under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

On Friday the country’s foreign ministry said it had reached a “mutually acceptable resolution” of the case over their application to return.

The agreement resolved the case for the 19 Canadian women and children, but left four men who are also seeking repatriation as part of the case to be decided on in the coming weeks.

“The safety and security of Canadians is our government’s top priority,” said Global Affairs Canada, the foreign ministry.

“We continue to evaluate the provision of extraordinary assistance on a case by case basis, including repatriation to Canada, in line with the policy framework adopted in 2021,” it said.

Up until now the government of Justin Trudeau has treated the detained IS families on a case-by-case basis, and in four years only a handful of women and children have been repatriated.

Since the destruction of the Daesh “caliphate” across Syria and Iraq in 2019, more than 42,400 foreign adults and children with alleged ties to the Daesh have been held in camps in Syria, according to Human Rights Watch.

Repatriating them is a highly sensitive issue for many countries, but rights groups have denounced their reluctance to bring back their own nationals from the camps, controlled mostly by Syrian Kurds.

Human Rights Watch said around 30 Canadian citizens, including 10 infants, remain in the camps.

Farida Deif, the group’s head in Canada, said that Global Affairs Canada has informed a number of them by letter that they fulfill the requirements for repatriation.

However, she said, “none of the men have been notified of anything or have been part of any agreements thus far.”

The authorities did not say when the 19 would come to Canada or whether any of them would face legal proceedings for their association with Daesh.

Last October Canada brought back two women and two children from Syria.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2236281/middle-east

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US says its base in Syria comes under suicide drone attack

Michael Hernandez 

20.01.2023

WASHINGTON

A US military base in southeastern Syria came under attack from three suicide drones on Friday, resulting in casulties to some of the US's partner forces.

Two of the drones were shot down, but a third hit the al-Tanf Garrison, resulting in injuries to two members of the Syrian Free Army who required medical attention, US Central Command said in a statement. No US service members were injured.

“Attacks of this kind are unacceptable – they place our troops and our partners at risk and jeopardize the fight against ISIS,” spokesperson Joe Buccino said.

The base sits in the remote Syrian desert near the Iraqi and Jordanian borders.

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-says-its-base-in-syria-comes-under-suicide-drone-attack/2792992

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Turkish foreign minister hopes US extradites members of FETO terror group

Servet Günerigök  

20.01.2023

WASHINGTON

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday that he "hopes" Washington will extradite members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) based in the US.

Speaking at an event to meet members of the Turkish American community and Ahiska Turks in Houston, Texas, Cavusoglu stressed that FETO members are "intensely" present in the city.

Stating that FETO's educational institutions were shut down in many countries and their members were handed over to Türkiye, Cavusoglu said: "I hope the United States will also extradite" them.

The minister said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been carrying out investigations in connection with FETO's activities in several US states and added that officials with the US investigative bureau traveled to Ankara and provided their counterparts with information about their work.

"The FBI told us that they saw the dark side of the FETO terrorist organization and that they resorted to all kinds of methods, including human smuggling, irregularities in visas, money laundering," said Cavusoglu.

"I hope the entire US will see what FETO is at the end of these investigations," he added.

FETO orchestrated the July 15, 2016 defeated coup in Türkiye in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/turkish-foreign-minister-hopes-us-extradites-members-of-feto-terror-group/2792274

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