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Nizamuddin Dargah, A Place of Religious Confluence, Lights Up For Diwali Uniting People

New Age Islam News Bureau

25 October 2022


 Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah (Photo/ANI)


• Diwali Celebrated With Lights, Lamps and Explosions at Shri Swami Narayan Mandir and Other Karachi Temples

• Another Mass Execution Could Happen In Saudi Arabia Anytime Soon: Independent Rights Organization

• Iran State TV Song Threatens Israel, Azerbaijan with ‘Destruction’

• Iran Seeks To Designate UK-Based Persian Media as ‘Terrorists’ Amid Protests



• Kashmiri Muslim Potter Makes 16,000 Diyas Highest Order Ever, This Diwali

• FIR Against Slain Bajrang Dal Leader’s Sister, 10 Others for Vandalising Muslim Man’s Car In Shivamogga

• BSF, Pakistan Rangers exchange sweets along International Border in Jammu, Punjab on Diwali



• Anti-Saudi Propaganda Meant To Create Chaos, Anarchy in Arab Islamic World: Pakistan Ulema Council Chairman

• Federal Minister of Pakistan Greets Hindu Community on Diwali

• Pakistan court rejects Imran Khan's appeal on disqualification

• OIC conference calls on media to promote informed discourse

• IHC tells govt to keep journalists’ bodies in the loop in Arshad Sharif death probe

• Karachi court asks police to record statement of complainant against Ahmadi community members

• Pakistan condemns Houthi attacks on Saudi energy facilities


Arab World

• Islamic State Group Still Active in Southern Syria, Observers Say

• Islamic State regains momentum in Syria's Kurdish areas

• Lebanon fails to elect new president for fourth time as Aoun’s departure looms

• Saudi Arabia continues to support global anti-terror efforts: FM

• Syrian air defences intercept, confront Israeli missile barrage targeting Damascus suburbs

• Saudi-led coalition using all means to prolong aggression, suffering of Yemeni nation: PM



• Iran ‘Ally and Supporter’ Of Palestinian Resistance, Nation: Islamic Jihad Movement Leader

• Iran maintains silence on 'massacre' in Sunni-majority city 

• Iran's Rayeesi Congratulates China's Xi on Third Term

• Iran Arrests 10 Mossad Spies Planning to Assassinate Intelligence, Security Forces

• Iran charges 300 in Tehran protests, four could face death penalty

• Six Palestinians killed in Israeli raids in West Bank



• Greece Turns Spiritual Centre Of Muslim Turks On Rhodes Island Into Music Faculty

• Brit police pay settlement to arrested street preacher who criticized Islam at Speakers’ Corner

• Bradford: Mentally ill man responsible for stabbing in mosque

• Spanish man trekking to Qatar for World Cup goes missing after crossing into Iran

• Sweden ‘will fulfil deal with Turkey on NATO’

• Iran rejects ‘illegal’ UN probe into alleged use of its drones in Ukraine


South Asia

• Sarwar Danesh, Former Afghan Vice-President Announces New Political Party, “Afghanistan Justice and Liberty”

• Islamic Emirate’s Leader Meets with MoD Officials

• Nine dead, million seek shelter as cyclone hits Bangladesh

• Taliban Members Killed in Explosion in Northeastern Afghanistan

• Taliban Announces Killing Nearly 40 Resistance Front Members in Northeastern Afghanistan

• UN Human Rights Rapporteur: ‘Massive’ Taliban Crackdown on Civilians in Northern Afghanistan

• Danish Siddiqui’s parents file new evidence against Taliban at ICC



• Niger Govt Sacks 25 Judicial Staff over Fake Certificates, Dismisses Sharia Court Judge

• Sudan names new military chief for conflict-hit Blue Nile state

• 10 soldiers killed, nearly 50 wounded in attack on Burkina Faso army base

• Ethiopia rivals gear up for South Africa peace talks


North America

• Muslim-Americans Find Common Ground with Conservatives over Politicization of America's Schools

• White House ‘Categorically’ Denies Dissuading US Companies from Going To Saudi Arabia

• US designates 3 Syrian military officials over Eastern Ghouta chemical attack


Southeast Asia

• Expert Urges Increased Cooperation between Muslims States to Improve Quran Knowledge 

• Why is Malaysia deporting Myanmar asylum seekers?

• Ismail Sabri says not 'our culture' for PM candidates to debate publicly

• We’ll find you, Indira Gandhi tells daughter on Deepavali

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Nizamuddin Dargah, A Place of Religious Confluence, Lights Up For Diwali Uniting People


Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah (Photo/ANI)


25 October, 2022

New Delhi [India], October 25 (ANI): Festivals are occasions that bring people together irrespective of caste, religion and belief. And Diwali is one such festival that has a long history of uniting people, according to the Chairman of the Muslim Students Organisation of India Dr Shujaat Ali Quadri.

On the auspicious occasion of Diwali, the shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi lit up in the very spirit of the festival and welcomed one and all to soak in the festive spirit.

The Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin was beautifully decorated with lighting and Diwali diyas on Monday as the whole of India was rinsed off the festivities. People coming from far-flung areas lit diyas in every corner of the Dargah and prayed for peace in the country.

According to Nazim Nizami, Gaddi Nasheen of the shrine, Hindus come every year to lit Diyas and distribute sweets at the Dargah to mark the festival of lights that is locally known as Eid e Charaghan. “They also carried some Diyas or candles to their homes as blessings of Hazrat Nizamuddin,” he said.

Nazim Nizami said that the history of the Diwali celebration on the Dargah is as old as the Dargah itself. “Though the Dargah itself does not organise the celebration. Hindu brothers come of their own volition, lit Diyas, and distribute sweets. Locals help them and take part in their celebration as this is a gesture of heart meant to spread feelings of love and brotherhood. They seek the blessings of Hazrat Nizamuddin on this occasion and lit up the whole surroundings of the Dargah. The whole precipice bathes in Roshni (light) on Diwali. It makes for a beautiful scene,” said Nizami.

Nizami added that many Hindus take one or two Diyas to their home as they believe that it will add Auliya’s blessings to their celebration.

Some people believe that lighting Diyas at the Dargah started as a call for peace amid wars among various kings and local chieftains during the medieval period.

Historian Khwaja Ahmed Nizami has recorded the celebration of Diwali (Jashn e Charaghan or Roshni e Zeest) in his epic on Hazrat Nizamuddin.

Amir Khusrau, the Sufi poet and disciple of Mehboob-e-Ilahi Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya has composed numerous poems in Persian as well as Braj language celebrating “Rang” with his beloved Auliya. The “Roshni-e-Zeest” as he claims here in a taslees (a verse of three lines) in Pahalavi was also close to his heart.

“He writes, “Zee astin rang-e-zeest, Zee astin roshni-e-zeest, Barmala mee azghaf jashn-e-durai,” quoted Quadari.

“One festival bespeaks colours of life and another one enumerates upon the light of life Ergo, these two festivals are so dear to me”

The lighting of diyas is done along the shrine’s pathways and around the Muslim chaddar during the occasion of Laxmi Poojan. The mausoleum would be filled with people in brightly coloured clothes not only on Laxmi Poojan but also on Bhai Dooj and other religious days.

The dargah also observes the Dua-e-Roshni (prayer of light) ritual wherein evening prayers are sung in the presence of lamps.

Several non-Muslim devotees arriving at the dargah with diyas a day before Diwali told the Times of India that they did not want to be named because their love for Nizamuddin was personal to them. However, they added that the dargah visit was not about religion. “It is about the peace one doesn’t find everywhere but here. It is only to be experienced — it is a sentiment beyond description,” said one of them.

“A Hindu visitor, lighting an earthen lamp, said, “The richness of the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb blending in the echoing voices of qawwals in praise of Lord Krishna and Hazrat Ali sums it up. The light shines for everyone at Nizamuddin,” as quoted by Quadri.

The resting place of the Sufi saint has always drawn people from across faiths. “It is not only during Diwali that people from different faiths come here with their festive sentiments to express their love for Mehboob e Ilaihi (beloved of God) Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya,” said Nizami. “Even during Basant, programmes are organised here that attract people from across faiths,” he added.

“Ever since Sufis came to India, we have only offered langar, goodwill, assimilation, and shared festivities to all. We will continue to do so,” he said.

Notably, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) National Executive member and Muslim Rashtriya Manch patron Indresh Kumar on Saturday paid a visit to Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah and lit earthen lamps inside the premises of the shrine, ahead of Diwali.

The RSS’ Muslim wing, Muslim Rashtriya Manch called for peace and prosperity in the country.

“The festival of Diwali is celebrated in the world including India. It brings happiness and prosperity to every household. This festival erases all the religious differences and the differences between the provinces. India is a land of pilgrimages, festivals, and fairs. All of them give bread to the poor and increase brotherhood among themselves. He said that every festival teaches us that we do not want bigotry, malice, hatred, riots, or war. We want peace, harmony, and brotherhood,” Indresh Kumar said.

“No one should be forced to convert and do violence. Everyone should follow their own religion and caste. Do not criticize and insult other’s religions. When all religions are respected in the country, then the country will be free from the fundamentalists who make stone pelting on Friday. India is the only country that respects and accepts all religions,” he added. (ANI)

Source: The Print

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Diwali Celebrated With Lights, Lamps and Explosions at Shri Swami Narayan Mandir and Other Karachi Temples


The Hindu community celebrates Diwali in different temples of Karachi and Hyderabad on Monday. — Shakil Adil / Fahim Siddiqi / Umair Ali / White Star


Shazia Hasan

October 25, 2022

KARACHI: The modest homes lined inside the compound around the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir on Monday were all lit and decorated with colourful fairy lights and clay lamps, also those battery-operated plastic lamps and candles for Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

The Sindh government had already declared Monday as a holiday for the Hindu community in all offices, autonomous, semi-autonomous bodies, corporations and local councils so there was nothing coming in the way of them and the celebrations.

The entrance of each home was also decorated with pretty and colourful designs known as the rangoli. The practice of making Rangoli is considered auspicious even in the Zoroastrian or Parsi culture. Rangoli carries a spiritual significance as it reflects happiness and liveliness.

Both the lights and the decorated entrances welcome the goddess Lakshmi, who, according to Hindu mythology, is known to bring wealth and good luck.

Diwali, in fact, is celebrated to commemorate the birthday of Lakshmi. It is also said that she chose to get married on her birthday to Lord Vishnu, the god of preservation and the protector of the universe, according to Hindu scriptures. Therefore, there is a double celebration.

Another belief associates the Diwali festival with Lord Rama’s victory over the devil Ravana. It is said that after finishing him off when Rama returned to his home city of Ayodhya, he was welcomed back by the people by lighting up his path with oil lamps.

Back to present times, the festivity also includes cooking of halwa or other sweetmeats at home or just buying them from any sweetmeat shop to distribute among friends and family.

But the other things associated with this festival such as the fire crackers, the rockets, etc., turn the temple premises into a battlefield with mines all around. It is not clear why they are so popular, but the naughty children are absolutely in love with them. They also like sparklers, which are quite harmless, but the other things are both noisy and scary.

So if you see anything resembling a smoking cigarette stub that has not been put out on the ground on Diwali night, run as fast as you can or cover your ears with your palms. They are firecrackers, not cigarette stubs. And the naughty children seem to have an endless supply as they never run out of them and love to place a firecracker near your feet. Then as it goes off, you jump and scream and they squeal with delight and are jumping up and down as they clap their hands.

Source: Dawn

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Another Mass Execution Could Happen In Saudi Arabia Anytime Soon: Independent Rights Organization


Intl. rights group releases shocking report on human rights violations in Saudi Arabia


24 October 2022

A non-governmental organization (NGO) has warned about massive violations of human rights in Saudi Arabia as officials employ brutal forms of physical and mental torture against imprisoned political dissidents and activists, saying another mass execution could happen in the kingdom anytime soon.

The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in the Arabian Peninsula (CDHRAP) said in a statement that the so-called Specialized Criminal Court in the capital Riyadh has sentenced several more Saudi nationals to death, simply for the sake of expressing their opinions on social media platforms, participating in peaceful pro-democracy rallies or denouncing social discrimination.

The Beirut-based human rights organization went on to highlight that the issuance of such arbitrary rulings on numerous occasions proves the hollow nature of the House of Saud’s claims about respect for human rights.

CDHRAP said that Saudi Arabia is the kingdom of terror, and called on the international community and human rights institutions around the world to stop the looming mass execution, which could take place under false accusations and not based on legal criteria.

It also identified some of those who have been handed down death sentences as Youssef al-Mansaf, Abdul Majid al-Nimr, Javad Qariris, Mohammad al-Faraj, Hassan Zaki al-Faraj and Ali Hassan al-Subaiti.

Since Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has arrested hundreds of activists, bloggers, intellectuals and others for their political activism, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnation of the crackdown.

Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured as freedom of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied by the kingdom's authorities.

Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.

Source: Press TV

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Iran State TV Song Threatens Israel, Azerbaijan with ‘Destruction’


A new music video aired by Iranian state-run TV threatened Israel and Azerbaijan with “destruction”. (Screengrab from Twitter/@Caucasuswar)


24 October, 2022

A new music video aired by Iranian state-run TV threatened Israel and Azerbaijan with “destruction” after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) held military exercises along the country’s border with Azerbaijan.

“Israel … don’t stray too far from your path, don’t dig your own grave with your own hands … Iran declares this so that Azerbaijan knows and understands … anyone who looks at Iran the wrong way must be destroyed,” according to the lyrics of the song, which was aired by Iran’s Azeri-language Sahar TV.

The music video included footage from military drills the IRGC held last week in Iran’s northwest along the border with Azerbaijan.

Iran and Azerbaijan share a border of around 700 kilometers (430 miles).

Iran is wary of Azerbaijan’s relations with Israel, a major supplier of arms to Baku. Tehran is also wary over nationalists in Turkey and Azerbaijan fanning separatist tendencies among its sizeable ethnic Azeri population.

Azeris are the largest minority group in Iran, with millions living in a region in northwestern Iran that shares the same name as the independent state of Azerbaijan.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran Seeks To Designate UK-Based Persian Media As ‘Terrorists’ Amid Protests




Syed Zafar Mehdi



Iran has called for the designation of UK-based Persian-language news outlets as "terrorist organizations", accusing them of stoking unrest amid ongoing protests over the death of a young Iranian woman in police custody.

Kazem Gharibabadi, the deputy judiciary chief for international affairs and head of the country's top human rights body, said Iran International and BBC Persian must be added to the list of terrorist organizations.

He said Tehran will be initiating legal measures against these Persian-language news outlets for "directing and inciting riots in Iran through the promotion of terrorist acts and encouraging people to destroy public and private property.”

His call came amid countrywide protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, who died following her detention by the country's morality police last month for allegedly wearing "inappropriate dress".

The tragic incident sparked unprecedented protests that spread across the country, including the capital Tehran.

It also drew strongly-worded statements of condemnation from Western governments, including the United States and the European Union, who imposed sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities over the incident.

Iranian authorities have denied any foul play in Amini's death, despite her family insisting that she was killed in police custody, blaming "foreign forces" for "instigating riots" in the aftermath of the incident, which resulted in more than 100 fatalities.

Iranian authorities have in particular taken strong umbrage to the role of UK-based Persian-language news websites such as Iran International, BBC Persian, and Manoto as well as the US-funded Voice of America Persian and Radio Farda for "fanning the protests".

In a detailed report published on Monday, Mizan News Agency, affiliated with Iran's judiciary, blamed these news channels for causing "evil disturbances" through their programs and reports on Amini's death and the protests that followed.

It specifically referred to Iran International and BBC Persian, calling them "violent" and "interventionist" that have "encouraged terrorism" in Iran in recent weeks.

Last week, the top commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), General Hossein Salami, issued a stern warning to Saudi Arabia over Iran International's coverage of protests in Iran, accusing Riyadh of bankrolling it.

He accused the Saudi leadership of "provoking the Iranian youth", and threatening "consequences" if the anti-Iran slant of the news channel was not controlled.

The focus has been on these UK-based news channels right from the beginning of protests over Amini's death in mid-September.

The British envoy in Tehran was summoned by the country's foreign ministry at least three times last month to lodge a protest against London for hosting these Persian-language news channels.

In the first such summon on September 25, Iran protested what it called the role of London-based Persian-language media outlets in "instigating riots" and "creating a hostile environment" in Iran in the wake of Amini's death.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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 Kashmiri Muslim Potter Makes 16,000 Diyas Highest Order Ever, This Diwali

25th October 2022

By Fayaz Wani

SRI NAGAR: A Kashmiri Muslim potter, receiving his highest order ever, made 16,000 earthen lamps (Diyas) for Diwali this year with much enthusiasm and passion. Mohammed Umar said that he received a bulk order of 16,000 Diyas for this Diwali festive season. He said he had to work very hard to ensure that the Diyas were supplied on time.

“My father, brother and I worked very hard for about a month to make the Diyas. We were making about 500-600 Diyas per day and completed the order well on time and these Diyas were also dispatched to other states,” he said.

“We could not rush with making of Diyas as this is an art and we never want to bring a bad name to our art by rushing with the manufacturing process,’’ he added. Hailing from Isbher, Nishat area of Srinagar, Umar said it gives him satisfaction that the Hindu brethren are celebrating Diwali this year by lighting their homes with the Diyas made by him (a Muslim). He said that besides earning money, he has also contributed in strengthening communal harmony and bond by making Diyas for Diwali. Diwali, the festival of lights, was celebrated today across the country with religious fervour. Umar said that he used to earlier make 500-700 diyas every year, but this year he received a bulk order.

He said, “Besides, I also made diyas for some other customers. I also used to sell diyas at my shop in Hazratbal area of Srinagar.” He said making each Diya costs him between Rs 2 to 5, while it is sold in the market for Rs 5 to 10 per piece. Umar, who is a graduate, instead of looking for a government job wants to revive the dying art of pottery and glazed (decorative) pottery in the valley.

Source: New Indian Express

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FIR Against Slain Bajrang Dal Leader’s Sister, 10 Others For Vandalising Muslim Man’s Car In Shivamogga

Sagay Raj

Oct 25, 2022

Shivamogga police in Karnataka registered an FIR against murdered Bajrang Dal leader Harsha's sister, Ashwini, and ten others for damaging an Innova car belonging to a Muslim man identified as Syed Parvez.

The FIR states that Ashwini and ten others came on bikes, shouted “Jai Shri Ram” and damaged Syed Parvez’s car. The incident took place on Saturday, October 22.

After this incident, a few miscreants on bikes were seen roaming with machetes and other lethal weapons near Harsha’s residence. They also shouted slogans near his house. The situation was quite tense in Shivamogga on Monday night, October 24.

When one of the local men, Prakash, tried to block Harsha’s house, the miscreants pelted a stone at him and injured him. Police have also registered a case in this matter and are conducting further investigations.

According to Shivamogga Superintendent of Police, Mithun Naik, “Prakash, aged 25, was injured in an incident at Barmappa layout, 2nd Cross. As per the doctors, he has minor head injuries and is safe. According to his statement, he was hit with a stone on his head by three assailants who came on a bike and were shouting and making vulgar comments. We have filed a case and are investigating the matter.”

According to officials, the situation in Shivamogga is now under control and police security has been beefed up.

On Saturday, October 22, pro-Hindu activists took out a Savarkar rally on bikes at 5.15 pm. Ashwini, the sister of slain Bajrang Dal leader Harsha, was also seen at the bike rally.

During the bike rally, Ashwini, along with a few other activists, damaged an Innova car belonging to a person identified as Syed.

Subsequently, a case was registered under Sections 416, 143,147,427 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code.

Source: India Today

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BSF, Pakistan Rangers exchange sweets along International Border in Jammu, Punjab on Diwali

Oct 25, 2022

JAMMU/ATTARI: The Border Security Force and the Pakistan Rangers on Monday exchanged sweets at several border outposts along the International Border in the Jammu region and Punjab on Diwali.

The border guarding forces of India and Pakistan exchange sweets and wishes on various religious festivals such as Eid and Diwali, and also on their respective Independence Days.

Armies two sides also exchanged sweets at some forward posts along the Line of Control on the occasion.

"Today, on the occasion of Diwali, BSF and Pakistan Rangers exchanged sweets at various border outposts under the Jammu frontier in a very cordial atmosphere," a BSF spokesperson said.

It was done along the border outposts in Samba, Kathua, R S Pura and Akhnoor border, he said.

At the Attari-Wagah border, the BSF offered sweets to Pakistan Rangers on the occasion of Diwali, officials said.

A commandant-rank officer of the BSF, along with other personnel, gave sweets to the Pakistan Rangers at the joint check post.

Officials of both forces shook hands and exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes.

The spokesperson said the BSF has always been at the forefront of creating a peaceful and congenial atmosphere on the border while dominating it effectively.

Source: Times Of India

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Anti-Saudi Propaganda Meant To Create Chaos, Anarchy in Arab Islamic World: Pakistan Ulema Council Chairman

OCTOBER 24, 2022

ABUJA: The world-renowned Ulema have pledged to counter the propaganda against Saudi Arabia and its leadership through all possible means as it is meant to create chaos and anarchy in the Arab Islamic world.

Chairing the joint declaration on the conclusion of the International Tehzeem-e-Haramain Al-Sharifain Conference, held in Abuja (Nigeria), Secretary General of International Tahzeem-e-Harmain Al-Sharifain Council Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi said efforts were being made at all respective levels and forums to strengthen relations with religious scholars, Ulema and Mashaikh of Pakistan and Islamic countries.

Ashrafi who is also the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Interfaith Harmony and the Middle East and Pakistan Ulema Council Chairman said Makkah and Medina were centers of unity for the Muslim Ummah and that the security and stability of Saudi Arabia were dear to every Muslim. Islam spread from the holy land and its message was peace, security, and moderation, he added.

He further said Ulema and Mashaykh of the Muslim world fully supported the stance of Saudi Arabia regarding oil and other issues.

He said the attacks on Saudi Arabia and its oil facilities by the Houthi rebels were condemnable and regrettable. “The conference welcomed the proposals of Saudi Arabia to resolve the Yemen issue and endorse the mechanism to take the path of negotiation,” he added.

Ashrafi said the Muslims were harmed by the sectarian violence and extremism adding the solution to the problems of the Muslim Ummah was lying in unity.

He said the joint declaration of the conference also pointed out that threats to Muslim countries were from internal chaos and instability. The situation in Muslim countries was being worsened by sectarianism and foreign interference, he added.

Highlighting the significance of inter-religious and inter-faith dialogues, he said, “Islam commands to live with faithful of other religions in peace, security, and moderation.”

He said the Last Messenger of Allah Almighty Muhammad Peace Be Upon He had given the message of mercy and peace, and the same was advocated by the Ulema and Mashaykh of Pakistan in the form of ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan’ which is also raised by the religious scholars in the form of Makkah Declaration.

He said there was a dire need to make the Organization of Islamic Cooperation more active and to immediately play an effective role in resolving the problems of Muslim Ummah, particularly Kashmir and Palestine.

Ashrafi said in the conference, Ulema expressing regret about the flood situation in Pakistan, Sudan, Nigeria, and other places, appealed to the Islamic world and other countries to extend all possible assistance to flood victims.

At the end of the conference, an award was also conferred to Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi acknowledging his matchless services to Islam, Muslims, and Harmain Al-Sharifain on behalf of the Ulema and Mashaykh of Nigeria and Africa.

Source: Daily Times Pakistan

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Federal Minister of Pakistan Greets Hindu Community on Diwali

October 25, 2022

Federal Minister for Water Resources, Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah on Monday congratulated the Hindu community on the eve of Diwali celebration. He said that all the religious communities living in Sindh enjoyed equal rights and reiterated his stance to safeguard their rights.

He said that every community living in the province whether Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Parsi belonged to him and he belongs to them. According to a statement issued here, conveying his warm greetings to the huge gathering of Hindu community he underlined the need for forging further unity among all the communities.

Source: Pak Observer

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Pakistan court rejects Imran Khan's appeal on disqualification

Oct 24, 2022

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani court rejected a request by former premier Imran Khan to immediately suspend a decision by the Election Commission to disqualify him as a lawmaker after he was found guilty of hiding his assets.

The Chief Justice of Islamabad’s High Court Athar Minallah gave the former cricket star three days to refile his appeal and then seek suspension of the order, local media reported.

The judge, who wants Khan to file the appeal with complete documents, said there is no need to immediately suspend the order as his disqualification covers the current tenure in parliament and it does not bar him from contesting in future polls, Geo Television channel said.

The commission is yet to publicly release its full decision since Friday’s ruling, causing confusion on the term of the disqualification, Khan’s party spokesman Fawad Chaudhry earlier said by phone.

Law minister Azam Nazeer Tarar had said Khan would be disqualified from participating in elections for five years while Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has said the disqualification covers his current parliament seat.

The mounting legal challenges against Khan add to more political uncertainty in a country reeling from dwindling foreign exchange reserves, widespread floods and high inflation. Khan however is pushing forward with plans to call for a protest march to Islamabad later this week as he seeks to pressure Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to call snap elections.

The a five-member panel of the election commission issued a short order on Friday that Khan committed “corrupt practices” by not disclosing money he had earned from selling gifts from various foreign dignitaries. Pakistani law does not bar lawmakers from selling such gifts but hiding these transactions is illegal.

Source: Times Of India

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OIC conference calls on media to promote informed discourse

October 24, 2022

The Information Ministers of OIC emphasized the importance of cooperation among the member states in developing necessary mechanisms to fight disinformation and Islamophobia in all its manifestations.

This was emphasized in Istanbul Declaration adopted by the 12th Session of the Islamic Conference of the Information Ministers of OIC held in Istanbul.

The Istanbul Declaration has emphasized upon the importance of cooperation among the member states in developing necessary mechanisms to fight disinformation and other related challenges of the Post-Truth era.

The declaration also underlined the need for devising short, medium and long-term strategic processes in the total fight against disinformation.

The Information Ministers of the OIC Member States, participated in the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers, titled ‘Combating Disinformation and Islamophobia in the Post-Truth Era’ held in Turkiye on October 22.

The declaration said that the conference recognized the importance of focusing on specific issues and possible scenarios in the short term, multidimensional crisis communication and management and mechanisms to check the accuracy of the information in the medium term, and news content, media literacy and digital media literacy in the long term.

The conference took into consideration the Final Report of the 12th Islamic Conference of Information Ministers, which aimed to promote OIC Member States’ contributions and cooperation in the area of media and information, a press release of the OIC Secretariat said.

The Istanbul Declaration underscored the need to combat Islamophobia/hatred against Islam in all its manifestations by presenting the truth about the magnanimous religion of Islam in an effective manner, utilizing new and emerging platforms and technological innovations.

Underscoring the perils of disinformation as a destructive weapon, the declaration said, it was easy to wield and require complex measures to counter, targeting the noble religion of Islam and the need to combat this phenomenon and highlighting the risks it posed particularly in countries with Muslim communities and minorities.

It recognized the necessity of raising awareness against disinformation and fake news through social norms. The declaration highlighted the importance of combatting disinformation, which posed a serious threat to their countries and societies in the new digital era, as encapsulated in the theme chosen for the conference. “Recognizing that terrorism has no particular identity and that correlating this term with other identities is a product of disinformation and condemning all manifestations of violence, extremism, fanaticism and terrorism which distort the noble messages of human cultures,” the declaration said.

The conference mulled over the significance of media and information in all its forms in shaping the local, regional, and international public. The conference called for a renewed commitment to the noble objectives of the OIC and support for all its initiatives and activities, particularly in the communication and information domains with a view to encouraging unity, solidarity and cooperation in the Islamic World.

It urged the media outlets in the Member States to raise global awareness about deliberate acts of destruction and desecration of Islamic cultural and religious heritage in non-Muslim countries, especially in those areas where indigenous Muslim communities were subjected to ethnic cleansing.

The conference welcomed the progress towards the operationalization of the OIC Media Forum and called upon media entities and institutions in the Member States to join the OMF. It affirmed the principle of consolidating joint Islamic actions among the OIC Member States, especially in the area of media and information, and of its constant support for the Palestinian cause and Al-Quds in international fora.

It stressed upon the crucial role of media in Islamic countries in exposing the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians and called for illuminating the legitimate cause of the Palestinian people to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The conference highlighted the importance of international solidarity and assistance to support refugees, and people seeking shelter, particularly in the OIC Member States.

The conference also welcomed Resolution No. 76/254 on “International Day to Combat Islamophobia” adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 15 March 2022 and the Resolution No. 76/227 on “Countering disinformation for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms” adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 24 December 2021.

It commended the efforts of the OIC towards the advancement of the mission of Islam and promote dialogue between the Islamic culture and the world’s other cultures.

Source: Pak Observer

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IHC tells govt to keep journalists’ bodies in the loop in Arshad Sharif death probe

Tahir Naseer | Naveed Siddiqui

October 25, 2022

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday directed the government to keep journalist bodies on board while it investigates the killing of journalist Arshad Sharif reportedly at the hands of the Kenyan police two days ago.

Sharif was shot dead in Kenya allegedly by the local police on Sunday night, with an official police statement later expressing “regrets on the unfortunate incident” and saying an investigation was underway.

Initially, Kenyan media quoted the local police as saying Sharif was shot dead by police in a case of “mistaken identity”.

Amid widespread condemnation and condolences pouring in from various quarters, a petition was filed with the IHC yesterday, seeking the court to order the formation of a judicial commission to investigate why the journalist was forced to flee Pakistan, and later the United Arab Emirates. The court had admitted the plea the same day.

The hearing

In its hearing today, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said he made it to the court today for this particular case.

“Did anyone visit the aggrieved family? Do they need any [legal] assistance,” Justice Minallah asked while reminding the government of the court’s previous orders wherein directions were issued to government officials to visit the heirs of the slain journalist.

Petitioner Shoaib Razzaq said the body of the slain journalist would reach home today. He reiterated his request to the court that a judicial commission must be formed to probe the death of Sharif.

Justice Minallah remarked that the formation of the commission at this stage would not serve any purpose,

Deputy Attorney General Syed Ahsan Raza Shah said the incident was indeed unfortunate, adding a report from the Kenyan government was awaited.

“Once the report from the Kenyan government is received and if the petitioner raises any objections to it, we will listen to his concerns,” he told the court.

After hearing arguments, the court adjourned the hearing for a week.

Body to arrive early tomorrow morning

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office, in a statement, said “the mortal remains of the late journalist are being repatriated from Nairobi tonight on board flight departing Nairobi at 1:25am for Doha.”

“Onward flight will leave Doha at 1935 hours (25 Oct) and arrive Islamabad 1:05 hours tomorrow night,” the FO added.

It said Pakistan High Commissioner Saqlain Syeda was at the Nairobi airport overseeing the arrangements.

Yesterday’s hearing

In yesterday’s hearing, Justice Minallah had instructed representatives from the foreign and interior ministries to immediately meet the journalist’s family.

The court also issued notices to the federal and interior secretaries.

The petition requested the court to order the formation of a judicial commission to investigate why the journalist was forced to flee Pakistan, and later the United Arab Emirates.

“The judicial commission may also be directed to liaison with national agencies and the Kenyan agencies and probe into the heinous act which had led to the unwarranted cold-blooded murder of Arshad Sharif,” the petition stated.

It also requested the court to issue directives for bringing the journalist’s body back to Pakistan.

The killing

A statement released by the National Police Service of Kenya later confirmed that the incident occurred last night along the Kwenia farm/Kamukuru Marram road within Magadi, where “a foreigner namely Arshad Mohammed Shariff (sic), a Pakistani national aged 50 years was fatally wounded by a police officer while a passenger in a motor vehicle KDG 200M.

Source: Dawn

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Karachi court asks police to record statement of complainant against Ahmadi community members

October 25, 2022

KARACHI: A sessions court has directed the police to record statement of an applicant against members of Ahmadi community for allegedly using epithets reserved for Muslims at their worship place in Karachi, and registerd a case if cognizable offence is made out.

Additional District and Sessions Judge (South) Naseer Noor Khan passed this order on an application filed under Section 22-A of the Criminal Procedure Code, seeking a direction for the Preedy SHO to record his statement and lodge an FIR against the members of the Ahmadi community.

The judge ruled: “Police Station Preedy is directed to take the statement of the applicant on record and if cognizable offence is made out, then statement be incorporated in 154 Cr.P.C. book. In above terms the instant application stands allowed”.

Source: Dawn

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Pakistan condemns Houthi attacks on Saudi energy facilities

October 24, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday condemned “unacceptable” attacks by Yemen’s Houthis on energy facilities of Saudi Arabia and reaffirmed its strong support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the oil-rich kingdom.

The Foreign Office said Pakistan also supported the efforts of Saudi Arabia for achieving a peaceful settlement in war-torn Yemen.

The statement came as the war between the group and the Saudi-led coalition entered its eighth year, and violence has worsened over recent months. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, and left millions facing starvation and disease.

“Pakistan has consistently urged all parties to the conflict in Yemen to engage in peaceful and meaningful talks to end the hostilities, in line with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions,” the statement said.

The Foreign Office noted the truce reached earlier this year yielded dividends by bringing about relative peace, however, termed it “deplorable” that it was not renewed by the group.

“This would cause mounting hardship for the ordinary Yemenis, and potentially derail the entire effort for the attainment of durable peace,” it said.

“We once again urge upon the Houthis to cease militant activities and terrorist actions, and engage in a serious dialogue to end the conflict on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and renew the UN-brokered truce.

Pakistan believes that war serves no purpose, and all issues can be resolved through peaceful dialogue. Adopting this path early will save thousands of innocent lives, and protect the future of the Yemeni people,” it said.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Arab World


Islamic State Group Still Active in Southern Syria, Observers Say

Sirwan Kajjo

October 24, 2022


Despite the heavy presence of Syrian and Russian forces in southern Syria, militants affiliated with the Islamic State group appear to be active in the region.

Last week, local fighters, some of whom were affiliated with the Syrian government, carried out an operation targeting several hideouts belonging to IS operatives in a town in the southern province of Daraa. During the raid, at least six IS members were killed, and three houses used as IS operations centers were destroyed, according to local news reports.

The multi-day operation, which ended Sunday, seemed to be in response to an October 13 bombing of a military bus in the Syrian capital of Damascus that killed at least 18 Syrian soldiers.

Russia, a strong backer of the Syrian government, has accused IS cells in Daraa of carrying out the attack.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA it couldn't confirm whether the individuals targeted in Daraa were responsible for orchestrating the Damascus bombing.

"But what is certain is that those killed in the town of Jasim [in Daraa] were Syrian and Iraqi nationals that were indeed members of Daesh," said Rami Abdulrahman, director of the U.K.-based observatory, using an Arabic acronym for the terror group.

A media activist in Daraa who requested anonymity for safety reasons told VOA that one of the IS operatives killed during the clashes last week was a high-profile leader responsible for assassinating several former opposition figures in southern Syria.

Occasional attacks

Since 2018, when Syrian government forces and allied militias recaptured the region from rebel forces, Daraa and surrounding areas have seen occasional attacks claimed by IS militants and other extremist groups.

Sadradeen Kinno, a Syria researcher who closely follows militant groups in the war-torn country, said the Syrian regime and its Russian allies have not cleared the south of all radical groups, including IS.

"The security situation in Daraa and other southern parts of the country remains fragile because the Syrian regime's ability to provide post-IS stability is different from that of other players that have fought Daesh, such as the [U.S.-backed] Syrian Democratic Forces in northeast Syria," he told VOA.

For one, Kinno said, the regime's military units in every part of Syria fall under different foreign commands, including Russia and Iran.

"The units that are affiliated with Russia in the south have in recent months proven to be ineffective and disorganized, largely because Russia has been focused on its war in Ukraine," he said, adding that IS cells "have naturally exploited the situation to increase their presence in the south."

The Syrian regime is currently not capable of pushing back IS operatives in areas that are entirely under its control, Kinno said.

Other experts said the Syrian government could have tolerated the presence of some elements of IS to threaten the remaining rebel groups that have not reconciled with the government.

As part of a Russian-brokered deal in 2018, the Syrian government allowed several rebel groups to remain in Daraa if they agreed to lay down their arms or fight under the regime's command. Some groups, however, kept their arms without fighting alongside government forces.

"The Syrian regime's narrative is that all fundamentalist groups in the south have been arrested since 2018, but we keep hearing about the emergence of Daesh cells in towns across Daraa," said Hisham al-Masalmeh, a Belgium-based Syrian political analyst who hails from Daraa.

Source: VOA News

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Islamic State regains momentum in Syria's Kurdish areas

Sultan al-Kanj

October 24, 2022

The Islamic State has recently renewed its activities in the areas under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeast Syria.

On Oct. 14, IS claimed responsibility for an operation in the village of Tal Alo in Hasakah province, targeting Hamidi Bandar Hamidi al-Hadi, the son of the leader of al-Sanadid Forces (Forces of the Brave) formed by the Arab Shammar tribe and operating under the umbrella of the SDF and the US-led coalition.

Hadi’s car was blown up on the road between Tal Alo and Sheikh Hamidi’s farm in the Qamishli countryside. Hadi, who survived the assassination attempt, is also the grandson of the sheikh of the Shammar tribe in Syria, Hamidi Daham al-Jarba.

On Oct. 19, IS members also shot dead Amer Awad al-Shawi, a former member of the SDF, and his companion Ayman al-Shawi, in al-Busayrah in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor.

Zain al-Abidin al-Akeidi, a journalist from the Deir ez-Zor countryside, told Al-Monitor, “IS would suspend its operations in the area for a few days or a few weeks, only to make a more ferocious comeback. Moreover, some tribes are creating a suitable environment for IS. The large numbers of displaced people in the eastern and northeastern countrysides of Deir ez-zor enables IS to hide its cells and fighters.”

He explained that IS has been able to regain momentum amid the fragile security of the SDF. “Corruption plaguing most security services affiliated with the SDF is fostering the presence of IS, which pays bribes for freeing its fighters and suspending prosecutions against its cells. Also, the religiously conservative tribal areas are ethnically and religiously sensitive toward the Kurdish forces and label the SDF as atheists or enemies of Islam. In some cases, they even sympathize with IS.”

Akeidi added, “IS carries out security operations according to the method of lone wolves. It has great influence in the countryside of Deir ez-Zor, and sometimes imposes zakat [obligatory charitable payment] on residents. IS also pursues workers and employees in the oil fields run by the SDF." But the failed assassination attempt, he said, was the first time IS broke into an area controlled by al-Sanadid forces.

“IS’ strategies are based on three main factors to ensure its continuity," Raed al-Hamid, an Erbil-based expert on armed groups, told Al-Monitor. The first, he said, is preserving its own men, which is "why it has been operating in small, mobile groups of less than 15 fighters. IS has stopped fighting major offensive battles in large numbers to preserve its human resources.”

Source: Al Monitor

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Lebanon fails to elect new president for fourth time as Aoun’s departure looms

24 October, 2022

Lebanon’s parliament failed on Monday to elect a president for the fourth time, with just a week left until outgoing President Michel Aoun’s term ends and warnings of a constitutional crisis growing louder.

With parliament more fractured than ever after May’s elections, political blocs have been unable to reach consensus on a candidate to succeed Aoun.

The presidency has fallen vacant several times since the 1975-1990 civil war but a vacuum now would be especially worrisome. The government is already operating in a caretaker capacity and the country is sinking deeper into a three-year-old financial meltdown.

Economic and political turmoil has sunk the currency by more than 90 percent, spread poverty, paralyzed the financial system and frozen depositors out of their savings in the most destabilizing crisis since the country’s civil war.

Votes in parliament on Monday were split mostly between independent MP Michel Mouawad, scholar Issam Khalife, who was newly nominated, blank ballots and some votes for political slogans.

Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri set the next session for Thursday, October 27.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Arabia continues to support global anti-terror efforts: FM


October 24, 2022

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan reiterated the Kingdom’s support of all international efforts to eradicate terrorism “from its roots.”

Speaking at the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security on Monday, Prince Faisal said terrorism posed a threat to international maritime trade and the global economy.

He highlighted the Kingdom’s “leading role” in fighting terrorism.

“Saudi Arabia supports peaceful resolution to conflicts and comprehensive economic development,” he said.

“We believe in multilateral global action to create a just world.”

Prince Faisal also reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s efforts to overcome climate change, reiterating the Kingdom’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2060 and the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Source: Arab News

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Syrian air defences intercept, confront Israeli missile barrage targeting Damascus suburbs

24 October 2022

Syrian air defense units have managed to intercept and bring down most of the missiles launched by the Israeli military at various targets in the vicinity of the Arab country’s capital city of Damascus.

Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing a military source, reported that Israeli warplanes fired several missiles from the direction of the north of the occupied Palestinian territories at some targets near Damascus at about 2 p.m. local time (1400 GMT) on Monday, but Syrian air defenses could bring down most of the projectiles.

The source also noted that the strikes injured a soldier and caused some material damage.

Earlier, the state-run and Arabic-language al-Ikhbariyah Syria television news channel reported that two loud explosions were heard across Damascus after the Israeli military fired several missiles towards Syrian military positions in the countryside around the capital.

The Israeli attack is a rare example of strikes during the daytime in Syria, as the Tel Aviv regime usually hits military installations under the cover of darkness.

Syrian air defenses intercepted an Israeli missile attack over Damascus and the southern region late on Friday, and explosions were heard in the capital's vicinity

No immediate information was available on possible damage or casualties.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.

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

The Tel Aviv regime mostly keeps quiet about its attacks on Syrian territories, which many view as knee-jerk reaction to Syrian government’s increasing success in confronting terrorism.

Source: Press TV

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Saudi-led coalition using all means to prolong aggression, suffering of Yemeni nation: PM

24 October 2022

The Yemeni prime minister has strongly condemned the Saudi-led coalition for using all available means in order to prolong its ongoing atrocious military onslaught against the crisis-stricken country and increase the suffering of its impoverished people.

Abdulaziz bin Habtoor made the remarks in a meeting with the visiting Director of Operations of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Martin Schüepp, in the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a on Sunday evening.

He said that Riyadh and its allies are drawing on their financial, diplomatic and media resources to plunder Yemen’s energy reserves and steal the proceeds of its sold oil derivatives.

Bin Habtoor lauded the humanitarian activities of the ICRC and its efforts to alleviate the suffering of Yemenis.

He also praised the Geneva-based humanitarian organization for facilitating a prisoner exchange between Yemen’s National Salvation Government and Saudi-backed Takfiri militants.

Schüepp, for his part, said that the ICRC attaches great importance to the Yemeni conflict and has placed it atop its humanitarian projects.

He noted that the organization will spare no effort to undertake new projects within the framework of its contribution to the UN and international humanitarian agencies and will help assuage the suffering of the Yemeni people.

Saudi-led coalition violates Hudaydah truce 50 times in 24 hours

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and its allies have stepped up their attacks in breach of a UN-brokered truce in the port city of Hudaydah, violating the truce deal dozens of times.

The official Saba news agency reported that the mercenaries of the Saudi-led alliance continued violations of the ceasefire in Hudaydah, taking advantage of the commitment of the Yemeni Army Forces and fighters from the Popular Committees to exercise restraint and not to respond to their successive violations.

It said the coalition infringed upon the truce 50 times in the past 24 hours.

An unnamed military official said eight artillery shells were fired at residential areas and the positions of the Army and Popular Committees.

Several flights of armed Saudi-led reconnaissance aircraft in the skies of Hays and Maqbana districts were recorded as well.

He added that Saudi-led troops and their mercenaries also fortified their positions around the Maqbana district.

Delegates from the popular Ansarullah resistance movement and representatives loyal to former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi attended the peace negotiations in Rimbo on the outskirts of Stockholm in December 2018. The talks resulted in the announcement of a breakthrough agreement.

The document included three provisions: a ceasefire along the Hudaydah front and the redeployment of armed forces out of the city and its port; an agreement on prisoner exchange; and a statement of understanding on the southern Yemeni city of Ta’izz.

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.

The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly Hadi regime and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.

Source: Press TV

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Iran ‘ally and supporter’ of Palestinian resistance, nation: Islamic Jihad movement leader

24 October 2022

The secretary general of the Islamic Jihad resistance movement has hailed Iran’s unwavering support for the resistance groups and factions across the occupied Palestinian territories, saying the Islamic Republic is an ally of the Gaza-based movement and a supporter of the resistance and Palestinian people.

“Iran is an ally of the [Islamic] Jihad movement and the Palestinian people, and its political stances are hostile to Israel and supportive of the resistance,” Ziad al-Nakhala said in an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera news network on Sunday.

“Iran stands against the American policy and Israel, and supports the resistance,” Nakhala added. “While the Arab regimes are in alliance with the Israeli regime and the West and do not support the resistance, Iran supports the Islamic Jihad movement and all Palestinian resistance groups.”

The secretary general of the Islamic Jihad resistance movement stressed that the Arab regimes are moving towards normalizing their relations with Israel and stay “loyal to the United States, whose weapons kill the Palestinian people.”

Pointing to the Israeli regime’s illegal expansionist policies, Nakhala said Tel Aviv has in recent years seized a large part of the West Bank and that the number of settlers has witnessed an exponential rise.

"The Zionist regime has occupied a large part of the West Bank and is building settlements on a large scale, and the number of settlers has reached more than 800,000," Nakhala told Al Jazeera.

He added, "The Zionist regime basically does not recognize us as a nation, while they want us to recognize this regime. The occupation of Palestine must end because the people who replaced the Palestinian people were gathered from different parts of the world and settled in our land."

“What is happening in the West Bank proves the failure of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s project to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank,” he said, adding, “The US had adopted a project to rehabilitate the Palestinians so that they could coexist with Israel, and the [Palestinian] Authority had no other choice.”

During the exclusive interview with the Doha-based news network, Nakhala referred to the economic and political pressures that were being exerted on the Palestinian resistance groups in order to recognize Israel, stressing that the Islamic Jihad movement has a clear vision on the issue of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and is not obliged to follow the same path as other resistance factions.

Nakhala said that Israel is after implemeing a Western project in the region, “which is on the basis of complete abolition of the Palestinian nation.”

Source: Press TV

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Iran maintains silence on 'massacre' in Sunni-majority city 

October 25, 2022

Nearly a month on, horrifying details continue to trickle out from the killing of scores of civilians in Iran's southeastern city of Zahedan — the capital of Sistan-Balouchistan province and home to the ethnic Balouch community who are followers of Sunni Islam — under the Shiite-led central government. 

The killings occurred on Sept. 30, a day described by government critics as "the bloody Friday" when police, members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and paramilitary Basij forces gunned down at least 96 people, according to tallies documented by rights advocacy organizations. The violence was the worst in a single day since Iran was rocked by nationwide unrest triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the morality police in mid-September. 

Prior to the Zahedan tragedy, campaigns gained momentum for protests against the alleged rape by a local police commander of a 15-year-old girl from the Sunni Balouch community in the city of Chabahar in the same province. Following Sunni Friday prayers in Zahedan's Makki Mosque, angry protesters marched toward a nearby police station, where security forces and Basij militia used live ammunition indiscriminately from rooftops. Iranian authorities say the protesters were armed, an argument rejected by activists. 

Local sources in the city have confirmed to Al-Monitor that the IRGC also deployed drones to target some of the protesters in flashpoint districts, while helicopters and snipers fired randomly into the crowds. 

With government-imposed internet blackouts in place, details of the killings were widely unavailable in the first few days from a city all but disconnected from the rest of the country. Yet Balouch activists say they managed to gather data and verify some witness accounts and identities. The victims, they say, include women, the elderly, the disabled and children as young as 2, some of them mere bystanders of the protest. 

Amnesty International confirmed 82 deaths, among them 10 children, noting that bullets were mostly fired in the head and the chest or other vital organs. 

In the fallout of the killings, a medical doctor in Zahedan dismissed the government narrative, reporting that most of the injured he treated or the bodies he saw had been shot from behind while running away, as opposed to the government statements that they were attacking with arms in their hands. "Shame on you! You are the most brutal forces history has seen," the doctor wrote in condemnation of the government forces.

As those accounts gradually came out, other Iranians launched campaigns online calling for blood donations as Zahedan hospitals were found overwhelmed with hundreds of wounded. "From Zahedan to Tehran, we will sacrifice our souls for Iran," protesters chanted in other cities to put a spotlight on the bloodshed and amplify the voices of the Balouch community. 

Iran's state media reported that the clashes were provoked by "terrorists" and left only 19 dead. They also confirmed six deaths among government forces, including that of the influential head of the provincial branch of the IRGC Intelligence Organization. 

Government-run outlets laid the blame on Jaish ul-Adl (Army of Justice), a militant group that has been fighting for the rights of religious and ethnic minorities and has in the past claimed many attacks on security forces. Yet the group has denied any involvement this time. In a statement, Jaish ul-Adl said it had been inactive during the Mahsa Amini protests so as not to provide the government with an excuse to link ordinary protesters to opposition groups. Still, the militants vowed that following "the massacre of the Sunni worshipers," their position has now changed "and we will enter the battlefield to hold the regime accountable."  

'Khamenei cannot evade responsibility' 

Mowlawi Adbul-Hamid, the popular Sunni cleric who led the Friday prayers on the day of the killings, called on locals to exercise restraint and allow officials to investigate and hold the perpetrators to account. 

However, the cleric's patience appeared to have worn thin due to the weekslong failure of those officials to address the tragedy. He broke free from his typical moderate approach and took a swipe at Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a rare fiery speech Oct. 21. 

"The supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, as well as other officials are all responsible, and no one can evade this responsibility," he said, rejecting as "absolute lies" the government account that the protesters were "terrorists." 

"Under whose order did you open fire in a place where God is worshipped?" he asked, expressing "disbelief" at how authorities were "resorting to silence" in the face of the killings of the Sunni worshippers.

Following the speech, an IRGC news outlet hit out at the Sunni cleric, giving him the "last warning" that he will "pay a big price." 

'We are not separatists' 

In the aftermath of the killings, many members of the Balouch community clawed their way onto social media — despite the internet disruptions — to challenge the state narrative that described the protesters as "separatists."

They have shared the agony of the ethnic community during decadeslong discrimination and marginalization, which critics argue has been "systematically" imposed by the Islamic Republic. 

Alarming levels of unemployment and poverty and lack of educational and professional opportunities compared to other Iranian provinces have pushed Sistan-Balouchistan to the bottom of the national lists in most welfare indices. 

The area has also historically proven an easy target for the Islamic Republic when it comes to crushing dissent, with the "separatism" and "terrorism" cards in store to be pulled and played. 

Most notably, due to the same marginalization, the Iranian government has denied official birth certificates to thousands of Balouch community members, leaving them effectively deprived from an array of services, education and mobility onto the social ladder.

Source: Al Monitor

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Iran's Rayeesi Congratulates China's Xi on Third Term


Rayeesi made the remarks in a congratulatory message to Xi on Monday, as he secured a historic third term as leader of China.

"Accomplishing the objectives of comprehensive strategic partnership between Iran and China provides a model for the all-out expansion of relations based on mutual interests and respects," Iran'spresident wrote.

"Cooperating within the framework of organizations and multilateral entities, not only serves both countries' interests but also helps preserve international peace and stability," he added.

Xi was re-elected as leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on Sunday, retaining the position for a third term. This is set to make him Beijing's longest serving leader since Mao Zedong.

Xi, who has now secured another five years in power, will also retain his role as chairman of the Central Military Commission, the highest defense body in charge of the People’s Liberation Army.

Back in March 2021, Iran and China signed a 25-year comprehensive strategic partnership deal to strengthen their long-standing economic and political alliance. The partnership was first announced in 2016, when Xi visited Iran to strengthen Tehran-Beijing ties.

It aims to boost economic cooperation between the two countries and paves the way for Iran’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, a massive infrastructure project stretching from East Asia to Europe.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran Arrests 10 Mossad Spies Planning to Assassinate Intelligence, Security Forces


Iran's Judiciary announced in a statement on Monday that 10 individuals with links to the Mossad have been arrested in West Azarbaijan province.

The members of the terror outfit received rigorous training from Israeli intelligence officers and were collecting information about individuals cooperating with the Iranian security and intelligence apparatus, the statement read.

They tried to extract information from their victims through abduction, various threats and violent assault and battery, it noted.

"The members of the team were in direct contact with several Mossad officers by establishing video communications with them," the Iran's Judiciary added.

Members of the group also set fire to the private cars and houses of some Iranian security forces and were paid sums of money for taking pictures and sending them to Mossad officers," the statement said, adding they had even unsuccessfully tried to assassinate Iranian security and intelligence forces.

"These people had received money from the agents of the Zionist regime and Mossad officers on several occasions for the missions they had completed," according to the statement.

They were operating in the provinces of West Azarbaijan, Tehran and Hormozgan, Iran's Judiciary reported.

Intelligence Minister: Several Successful Operations Carried out Against Israel in Recent Months

— Fars News Agency (@EnglishFars) July 27, 2022

Iran has in recent months identified and arrested several members of spy networks affiliated to foreign secret services.

Back in July, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry announced that it has captured a network of Israeli Mossad agents who had entered the country to conduct terror attacks on sensitive sites.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran charges 300 in Tehran protests, four could face death penalty

24 October, 2022

More than 300 people have been indicted over Tehran protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, including four charged with an offence that can carry the death penalty, Iran's judiciary said Monday.

The Islamic republic has witnessed a wave of protests over the death of 22-year-old Amini on September 16 after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating the country's strict dress code for women.

The street violence has led to dozens of deaths, mostly among demonstrators but also among the security forces, and hundreds of protesters have been arrested.

Tehran prosecutor Ali Salehi said that indictments have been issued for 315 people on charges of “congregating and colluding with the intention of acting against the country's security”, “propaganda against the system” and “disturbing public order”, the Judiciary's Mizan Online news website reported.

He added that “indictments were also issued for four rioters on charges of moharebeh,” which means 'war against God', a charge that can carry a death sentence.

They are accused of “using a weapon to terrorize the society and people, injuring security officers, setting fire to and destroying public and government property with the intent to disrupt the country's security and confronting the holy system of the Islamic republic of Iran,” Salehi added.

Meanwhile, Iran's Judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei announced that the processing of cases related to protesters “has already started,” he was quoted as saying by Mizan Online.

“The trial of those who committed crimes... and were affiliated with counter-revolutionary elements inside and outside and with foreigners will be held carefully and according to the law, and these people will be punished according to the law,” he stressed.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Six Palestinians killed in Israeli raids in West Bank

October 25, 2022

NABLUS: Six Palestinians were killed and nearly 20 others injured early Tuesday in sweeping raids by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said that Wadih Al Houh, a militant leader of a new coalition of Palestinian fighters dubbed “The Lions’ Den,” had been among those killed in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

The Palestinian health ministry initially reported three dead and 19 wounded, three of them seriously, shot “by Israeli fire in Nablus.”

Later statements said that two more Palestinians had died in Nablus, while another Palestinian was also killed in overnight clashes near Ramallah.

The Israeli army said it had carried out a vast operation with police and intelligence officers targeting a site “used by the main operatives of the ‘Lion’s Den’,” describing it as a “headquarters and a workshop for making weapons” of the militants.

“The forces detonated the explosive manufacturing site,” the army statement added, which did not provide a death toll. “During the activity, multiple armed suspects were hit.”

Violence has increased in recent months in the northern West Bank, the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 by Israel, especially in the areas of Nablus and Jenin.

More than 100 Palestinian fighters and civilians have been killed since the start of the year, the heaviest toll in the West Bank for nearly seven years, according to the United Nations.

Lapid, speaking on Israeli public broadcaster Kan radio, warned Palestinian militants that “they need to know that we will reach them wherever they are,” he said.

“Israel will never stop acting for its security and we will do what needs to be done,” he added. “The goal is to reduce terrorism and ensure that it does not affect Israeli citizens.”

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is establishing “urgent contacts in order to stop this aggression against our people” in Nablus, his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah said in a statement.

In recent weeks, a group of young Palestinian fighters — some affiliated with mainstream groups such as Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad — have launched militant attacks from Nablus.

The new group, called “Areen Al-Ossoud” or “The Lions’ Den” in English, claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on an Israeli soldier two weeks ago in the occupied West Bank.

Late leader Ibrahim Al-Nabulsi, nicknamed “The Lion of Nablus,” was known for galvanizing the youth before he was shot dead by Israeli forces in August. He has since become a folk hero to Palestinians on social media.

In the aftermath, the Israeli army tightened its grip on Nablus, setting up controls to identify people leaving the city and constantly scanning the skies of the city with observation drones.

On Saturday night, a Lions’ Den fighter, Tamer Al-Kilani, was killed in Nablus by an “explosion” attributed by the group and the Israeli press to a bomb remotely activated by the Israeli army.

The army did not comment on these claims.

Separately, rights group Amnesty International on Tuesday called for an International Criminal Court (ICC) probe into possible “war crimes” committed in August by both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants during deadly fighting in Gaza.

Source: Arab News

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Greece Turns Spiritual Centre Of Muslim Turks On Rhodes Island Into Music Faculty

Halil İbrahim Medet 


Greek authorities have turned the historical Murat Reis Complex, a spiritual center for Muslim Turks living on Rhodes Island, into a music faculty.

The center comprises a mosque, a dervish lodge, and a cemetery for soldiers.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Neval Konuk, a lecturer at Istanbul-based Marmara University’s Faculty of Architecture and Design, said the historical Murat Reis Complex was primarily a cemetery where "martyred" soldiers were buried after the island was conquered by the Ottomans in 1522.

Konuk, who has written 12 books and more than 50 research papers on Ottoman architecture in the Balkans, noted that the building also hosts the tomb of Murat Pasha, who conquered Cyprus, as well as two Crimean Khans, and the tomb of an Iranian Shah.

She said the complex also hosts Muslim events, such as weddings, circumcision and mawlid, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.

According to Konuk, following the death of the volunteer tomb keeper Saban Karginlioglu in 2018, the complex was confiscated by the Council of Monuments on Rhodes Island.

“Murat Reis Complex was the religious and spiritual center where the Turks living on Rhodes Island held their wedding, circumcision, mawlid, and other ceremonies,” she said.

“It was converted into a music faculty. This is an enormous destruction culturally and an immense disrespect religiously.”

Erasing island's Ottoman heritage

She said Greece tries to erase the island's Ottoman heritage by refusing to register the relics of that era.

“The number of Ottoman-Turkish works registered throughout Greece, including Western Thrace and the islands, is zero.”

“These works of art are recorded as Muslim works. Muslim fountain, in the form of a Muslim library. ‘And who is this Muslim?’ if we ask, there is no answer,” she added.

“Greece ignores all Ottoman artifacts within its borders, it does not accept them.”

She said the Ottoman monuments – built in the period from the Greek Declaration of Independence to the occupation of Rhodes by the Italians in 1912 – were also ignored.

“They also do not accept structures such as public buildings, junior high schools, high schools, or government buildings within the borders of present-day Greece,” she added.

“Hamidiye Hospital in Thessaloniki is a very famous building which is still in use. Since the French used the hospital during World War I, it is registered as a French hospital in all records, theses, and tourism guides,” she said.

Planned destruction

Konuk also claimed that there has been no Islamic burial in the cemetery since 1912 and that historical cemeteries and tombs have been destroyed in a planned manner.

Several theft incidents of historical tombstones have been reported at the cemetery, Konuk said.

In addition, the Greeks living on the island constantly pour cat-dog food in the cemetery, leaving behind a lot of residue, she said.

“These tombstones are not maintained except for minor repairs by the Turks who have been visiting since 1912,” she added. “By pouring cat-dog food, the cemetery is destroyed, and defiled because of the animal droppings.”

Among the 250 tombstones and six shrines at the cemetery, there are graves belonging to the clergy who served in the lodge, the flag bearer of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Mevlevis, scholars and notable Turks of Rhodes.

“The shrines are in a very bad condition as they have not been maintained for 110 years."

She further said the tombstones at the cemetery are original examples of Ottoman art.

“There are tombstones that contain very different symbols and are very important in terms of Ottoman-Turkish art,” she added. “For example, a gallows was placed on the full neck of the tombstone of the person who was buried after he was executed. It has a hook and rope on it. I have not seen this symbol on any other tombstone.”

Faulty restoration work

She lamented that the structures which have been restored have been done haphazardly, causing more harm than good.

“Have you ever seen a mosque restoration in the concept of a kindergarten with colored walls? In Kavala Halil Bey Mosque and Madrasa, it is as if you are walking in Venice. There are mosque restorations with all the walls in color.

“In other words, the identity of the buildings is lost, their originality is lost, their style is lost,” she said.

“Apart from this, minarets and inscriptions are also removed. In the dome, instead of lead, corrugated tiles are used to evoke Byzantine architecture. Ottoman architecture is being destroyed with restoration work.”

Konuk noted that in the last 20-25 years, Türkiye has opened many Greek-Orthodox churches, most of them from the 19th century, even if they do not have a congregation.

“Churches in Edirne, Ordu, Cesme, and Alacati were restored and opened to worship even if they did not have congregations."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Brit police pay settlement to arrested street preacher who criticized Islam at Speakers’ Corner

By Mark A. Kellner

October 24, 2022

Britain’s Metropolitan Police apologized and paid £10,000 ($11,286.23 U.S.) to a woman they wrongfully arrested for preaching against Islam in London’s famed Speakers’ Corner, a settlement labeled “a rare admission” by an attorney who helped her.

Hatun Tash, 40, a former Muslim turned Christian who says she now believes Islam is a false religion, moved to the United Kingdom from Turkey nine years ago, and has since been arrested twice.

She was also stabbed on the street in 2021 by an unknown assailant.

Ms. Tash, who operates Defend Christ Critique Islam (DCCI) Ministries, said she donated the settlement to the Christian Legal Centre, which represented her in seeking redress from the police headquarters, known colloquially as Scotland Yard.

CLC Chief Executive Andrea Williams said: “This payout to Hatun is a rare admission by the police that they got it wrong.”

She said Ms. Tash “has been repeatedly silenced or removed by the police because she challenges the religious ideology of Islam. … If Hatun is silenced by violence at Speakers’ Corner, we are all silenced.”

Police Inspector Andy O’Donnell of the Civil Actions Investigations Unit in the agency’s professional standards directorate sent an apology to Ms. Tash for arrests in December 2020 and May 2021.

The first arrest involved a dispute with police over coronavirus regulations. The second came when she was “assaulted, abused and harassed by a group of Islamic men for wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Muhammad on it while taking part in weekly debates at Speakers’ Corner, known as the home of free speech,” the CLC said in a news release.

According to the release, police told Ms. Tash to leave the park instead of dealing with her harassers before then arresting her for “breaching the peace.” She was held for 24 hours “before being released with the police taking no further action,” the group said.

“I have considered the background to your claim and am satisfied that on these occasions the level of service did fall below the requisite standard, Mr. O’Donnell wrote in a letter made public on Friday. He added, “I would like to take this opportunity to [apologize] to you for the distress that you have suffered as a consequence of these incidents.”

Neither the letter nor the settlement addressed a July 2021 incident in which Ms. Tash was stabbed “in front of police at the same location by a man in a black Islamic robe in broad daylight,” according to the CLC statement.

Ms. Tash said the settlement and apology must be “just the beginning” of protecting the freedom of Christians who speak in Hyde Park.

Source: Washington Times

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Bradford: Mentally ill man responsible for stabbing in mosque

October 24, 2022

A mentally ill man stabbed and seriously hurt his former childhood friend in a crowded mosque in Bradford, a jury has decided.

CCTV footage of Fezan Hussain, 27, pulling out a machete before stabbing his victim without warning had earlier been shown at Bradford Crown Court.

Hussain had hugged his victim before attacking him at the Madni Masjid Islamic Centre in May, the court heard.

Hussain was found unfit to enter a plea or stand trial over the attack.

As a result the jury had to decide whether Hussain, of Radfield Road, Wyke, had carried out the stabbing at the mosque on Newton Street on 2 May, without hearing evidence from him.

Opening the case to the jury, prosecutor Jonathan Sharp said Hussain had bought the knife he used in the attack by mail order in April.

Hussain had no motive or reason to attack the complainant, Mr Sharp said.

In an interview with police in June, the victim described how Hussain had stabbed him straight in the stomach after he had hugged him.

He said Hussain was angry and staring at him, but added that the two men had never had any issues or problems in the past and he had not seen Hussain for about three years.

'Still pushing'

The man said that after the initial attack, Hussain, who only has one hand, was still holding the machete with his left hand and was trying to push it further into him.

"I don't know why he did it, to be honest," he said.

"I only realised it was a machete when it was stuck inside me. He was still pushing. I had to push him off to get it out."

The complainant had undergone several operations to repair damage to his liver and he had spent nearly a month in hospital after the attack, the court heard.

Source: BBC

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Spanish man trekking to Qatar for World Cup goes missing after crossing into Iran

25 October, 2022

A Spanish man, trekking from Madrid to Doha for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, arrived in Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdish region of Iraq on his way to Qatar, before he went missing after crossing into Iran at the beginning of October.

The experienced 41-year-old trekker, Santiago Sanchez, has not been heard from since he crossed Iraq-Iran border over three weeks ago, his family said on Monday, stirring fears about his fate in a country convulsed by mass unrest.

On his way to the border, Sanchez met local farmer Tofiq Ahmad and his wife Mahiya in the district of Penjwin.

“He came to us and asked, which (football) club you support, and we replied, well, we like Barcelona. He said, I am a Real fan, and you should support Real,” Ahmad said.

The Spanish adventurer explained how he planned to go to Tehran, the Iranian capital, the following day, where a television station wanted to interview him.

“I am going to Iran, I am going to Bashmakh (border gate), where is the road to Bashmakh. We said, this road takes you to Bashmakh, and so he took away his bike,” Ahmad added.

Sanchez next step would have been Bandar Abbas, a port in southern Iran where he would hop on a boat to Qatar.

The Kurdish couple offered him food and a place to stay before he continued his journey.

“I made him breakfast in the morning, and at night I cooked chicken and okra soup for him,” Mahiya Rashid recalled.

He left the couple’s house and headed to the border on October 1, which was the last day he was seen.

“I offered him a sandwich, but he said I have enough, and then offered him a bottle of water, and he said I have everything with me, then I said farewell to him, and he said bye-bye,” Mahiya said.

Sánchez had arrived in Iraqi Kurdistan in late September, after trekking thousands of kilometers (miles) carrying a small suitcase in a wheeled cart, packed with little more than a tent, water purification tablets and a gas stove for his 11 months on the road.

His parents reported him missing on October 17, and they said Spain’s police and diplomats were helping the family.

Sanchez’s reported disappearance in Iran comes as protesters continue to sweep the Islamic Republic in the largest anti-government movement in over a decade.

Tehran has violently cracked down on protesters and blamed foreign enemies and Kurdish groups in Iraq for fomenting the unrest, without offering evidence.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Sweden ‘will fulfil deal with Turkey on NATO’

October 24, 2022

STOCKHOLM: Sweden’s center-right government will fulfill all requirements under a deal with Turkey to join NATO and will concentrate external relations to its immediate neighborhood while dropping the previous administration’s “feminist foreign policy,” the country’s top diplomat said on Monday.

Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said the new government shares Turkey’s concern about the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization in Turkey, Europe and the US.

“There will be no nonsense from the Swedish government when it comes to the PKK,” Billstrom told the Associated Press in an interview.

“We are fully behind a policy which means that terrorist organizations don’t have a right to function on Swedish territory.”

Turkey stalled Sweden and Finland’s historic bid to join NATO over concerns that the two countries — Sweden in particular — had become a safe haven for members of the PKK and affiliated groups.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed by Sweden’s previous left-leaning government at a NATO summit in June, Sweden and Finland committed to not support Kurdish groups in Syria that Turkey says are affiliated

with the PKK and to lift arms embargoes on Turkey imposed after its incursion in northern Syria in 2019.

They also agreed to “address pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects,” which has proven more complicated due the broad definition of terrorism in Turkey, where anti-terror laws have been used to crack down on opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Everything which is written into the trilateral memorandum, and which has been agreed upon by all three parties, should be fulfilled, needs to be fulfilled by all the three parties,” Billstrom said, adding that “everything also has to be done in a legally safe way.”

The PKK has led an armed insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 and the conflict has since resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people.

Paul Levin, director of the Institute for Turkish Studies at Stockholm University, said the new government may have an advantage over the previous Social Democratic government in dealing with Turkey because it does not have the same links to the Kurdish diaspora in Sweden.

However, the independence of the authorities and the courts in Sweden “sets limits to what is possible, and so does international law,” Levin said.

Hungary and Turkey are the only NATO countries which have not yet ratified the accession of Sweden and Finland, traditionally non-aligned countries which rushed to apply for membership after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Like most European countries, Sweden has clearly taken Ukraine’s side in the war, supplying its armed forces with anti-tank weapons, assault rifles and anti-ship missiles.

Ukraine has also asked Sweden to provide the Archer artillery system and RBS-70 portable air defense system. Billstrom said the new government has not yet decided on those requests.

“We are ready to try and give as much aid as possible to the Ukrainian government in its heroic struggle against the Russian forces,” Billstrom said.

“We shall see when we have made the proper assessments about these matters.”

A former migration minister, Billstrom is a senior member of the conservative Moderate Party, which formed a coalition government last week with the center-right Liberals and Christian Democrats.

The new government relies on support from the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats with whom it has drafted a joint policy platform that includes sharp restrictions on immigration and a crackdown on organized crime.

Billstrom also pledged a shift in Sweden’s foreign relations, with emphasis on northern Europe.

Traditionally Sweden has sought to project itself internationally as a “humanitarian superpower” with relatively generous support for developing countries around the globe and a strong commitment to the United Nations.

“This is not to say that we won’t be interested in the rest of the world, far from it,” Billstrom said, noting that he had given a speech earlier at celebration for UN Day, which marks the anniversary of the 1945 UN charter.

“But when it comes to these recalibrations that we are aiming at, it is true that there will be a shift of focus,” he said. “And the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries and the EU will be the three legs on which we will base this recalibration.”

In addition, the new government will give up the “feminist foreign policy” which the previous government established in 2014. The label has since been used by other countries, including Canada, France, Spain and Germany.

Source: Arab News

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Iran rejects ‘illegal’ UN probe into alleged use of its drones in Ukraine

25 October 2022

Iran has warned the United Nations against implementing the West’s “instructions” to conduct a so-called investigation in the context of Security Council Resolution 2231 to assess the type of unmanned aerial vehicles allegedly used in the current conflict in Ukraine.

The United States and its European allies have in recent months accused Iran of providing Russia with drones to be used in the war in Ukraine.

The anti-Iran claims first emerged in July, with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan alleging that Washington had received “information” indicating that the Islamic Republic was preparing to provide Russia with “up to several hundred drones, including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline” for use in the war in Ukraine.

Both Iran and Russia have in the past vehemently denied the allegations.

Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations Amir Saeed Iravani on Monday sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, President of the Security Council Michel Xavier Biang and Facilitator for the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015) Fergal Mythen regarding the allegations, saying the “resolution itself provides no legal basis for such an investigation.”

“Iran cautions the Secretariat against conducting such an illegal investigation or engaging in any activity that advances and implements the Western States’ ‘instructions’ and urges the secretary general to prevent the conduct of any such flawed tasks by the Secretariat [and] refrain from reporting on such irrelevant requests and unsubstantiated claims in his subsequent report on the implementation of Resolution 2231,” Iravani said.

He categorically rejected all accusations against Iran contained in the letters sent by the E3 – France, Germany, and Britain – and Northern Ireland to the president of the Security Council as well as those raised by its certain members and non-members.

“It is ironic that these countries, particularly the three permanent members of the Security Council, accuse Iran of violating a specific paragraph of Security Council Resolution 2231, while they continue to be in flagrant violation of all their explicit legal obligations under that same resolution,” he said.

He also pointed out that the United States’ illegal withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is in material breach of the peremptory norms of international law, the UN Charter and Security Council Resolution 2231.

“The authors of the aforesaid letters have desperately made every effort, including through disseminating unsubstantiated, undocumented, and erroneous information, raising inaccurate assumptions as well as resorting to totally flawed, arbitrary, and misleading interpretations of Security Council Resolution 2231, to establish an entirely artificial linkage between that resolution and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine so as to seemingly justify their unfounded claims against my country,” the Iranian envoy wrote.

He argued that the wording, references, and requests in the aforementioned letters, even in the letter from Ukraine’s permanent representative, are “nearly identical, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is a cunningly orchestrated attempt to advance the authors’ political agenda.”

He also emphasized that the restrictions specified in Resolution 2231 “officially terminated” on October 18, 2020, saying, “Since then, none of Iran’s ‘supply, sale, or transfer of arms or related material’ to other countries fall within Resolution 2231.”

Iravani further said any misuse of the functions described in Resolution 2231 for conducting the so-called “investigation” requested would be “illegal and in clear violation of the Secretariat’s mandate,” adding, “Furthermore, any findings resulting from such an illegal investigation would be null and void.”

Meanwhile, the anti-Iran allegations come while the United States and its European allies have since the onset of the conflict in Ukraine been providing Kiev with an assortment of arms and weapons, fanning the flames of war in the ex-Soviet republic.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Monday that the country is ready to discuss Western countries’ allegations about exporting drones to Russia in a joint session with Ukrainian officials.

Source: Press TV

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South Asia


Sarwar Danesh, Former Afghan Vice-President Announces New Political Party, “Afghanistan Justice and Liberty”

By Saqalain Eqbal

24 Oct 2022

Sarwar Danesh, a former vice president of Afghanistan, has announced the formation of the “Afghanistan Justice and Liberty” party. The newly formed political party sees “fighting the Taliban and building a federal republic in Afghanistan” as its two main goals.

The Afghanistan Justice and Liberty party’s statement highlighted the necessity to fight the Taliban and stated that the “growth of international terrorism” is a result of the Taliban’s “illegitimate rule.”

This political movement, which is led by Sarwar Danesh, released a statement on Monday, October 24. Before the Afghan government collapsed to the Taliban, Danesh served as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s VP.

The statement addresses that “the emergence and growth of international terrorism and extremist groups in our land and the failure and collapse of the nation-state building process in Afghanistan is the consequence of the illegitimate rule of the extremist and monopolistic Taliban group in the current situation.”

With regard to establishing a federal republic system in Afghanistan, the newly formed party stated that “the time has come to facilitate the implementation of a federal system in our country within the framework of the national consensus.”

The absence of a competing and alternative system to be put out as an alternative when criticizing the Taliban administration has long been one of the main issues in political discussions.

One of the most highly contentious issues in recent Afghan political discussions has been the creation of federalism, which has a large following.

The party has declared that it will submit its full blueprint for a federal government in Afghanistan for its future at the appropriate time.

The statement of the party calls for “the fair participation of all ethnic groups in the administration of the country,” as well as the involvement of women in leadership positions and political decision-making.

This party also counts Rasool Talib as a member who was a senior advisor to the former Afghan president in public and social affairs.

Source: Khaama Press

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Islamic Emirate’s Leader Meets With MoD Officials

October 24, 2022

The leader of the Islamic Emirate, Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada, met with the officials of the department of strategy and intelligence of the Defense Ministry, and commanders of the corps. 

In a statement released by the Islamic Emirate’s Spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada instructed that innocent people should not be detained and investigated. 

The deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate, Bilal Karimi, said that in the meeting the need to exclude inappropriate individuals from the command of the Islamic Emirate was stressed.

“In accordance with the Islamic regulation, they (detainees) should not be harassed and they should be treated based on Islamic rules and Sharia,” he said. 

The Islamic Emirate leader ordered the officials to treat detainees based on Sharia law and to avoid illegal torture. 

“The officials have been provided with recommendations to form their forces with honest and committed people to serve the country and their religion and pave the way for development of the country,” Karimi said. 

Sayed Bilal Ahmad Fatimi, a political analyst, said that the international and Islamic laws in this regard match each other. 

“This is similar to the Islamic sharia as well as international laws--the Islamic law in this regard matches international regulation,” he said. 

Source: Tolo News

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Nine dead, million seek shelter as cyclone hits Bangladesh

October 25, 2022

At least nine people have died after a cyclone slammed into Bangladesh, forcing the evacuation of around a million people from their homes, officials said Tuesday.

Cyclones — the equivalent of hurricanes in the Atlantic or typhoons in the Pacific — are a regular menace but scientists say climate change is likely making them more intense and frequent.

Cyclone Sitrang made landfall in southern Bangladesh late Monday but authorities managed to get about a million people to safety before the monster weather system hit.

“Nine people have died, most by trees falling including three from one family in (the eastern district of) Cumilla”, Jebun Nahar, a government official, told AFP.

People evacuated from low-lying regions such as remote islands and river banks were moved to thousands of multi-storey cyclone shelters, Disaster Management Ministry secretary Kamrul Ahsan told AFP.

“They spent the night in cyclone shelters,” he said.

In some cases police had to cajole villagers who were reluctant to abandon their homes, officials said.

Heavy rains lashed much of the country, flooding cities such as Dhaka, Khulna and Barisal – which witnessed 324 millimetres (13 inches) of rainfall on Monday.

About 33,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, controversially relocated from the mainland to a storm-prone island in the Bay of Bengal, were ordered to stay indoors and there were no reports of any casualties or damage, officials said.

In the neighbouring eastern Indian state of West Bengal, thousands of people were evacuated Monday to more than 100 relief centres, officials said, but there were no reports of damage and people were returning home on Tuesday.

Cyclone Amphan, the second “super cyclone” ever recorded over the Bay of Bengal, which hit in 2020, killed more than 100 people in Bangladesh and India, and affected millions.

Source: Dawn

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Taliban Members Killed in Explosion in Northeastern Afghanistan

By Saqalain Eqbal

23 Oct 2022

Following an explosion in Taleqan city, the provincial capital of Takhar province in northeastern Afghanistan, two Taliban military personnel were killed and three others were wounded, according to local sources.

The sources familiar with the incident said that the explosion happened at around 8 o’clock on Saturday night, October 22, in the Shahidi road of Taleqan city’s police district 3.

The explosion was brought on by a sticky mine that was embedded inside a Taliban Ranger vehicle, according to sources, which detonated and killed the Taliban members.

The Taliban government’s security authorities in Takhar province confirmed the veracity of the incident, but they asserted no one was injured as a result of the explosion.

A second explosion that occurred at the same time in the Taliban government’s Police Chief Office building in the Ishkemesh district of the same province resulted in the deaths of five Taliban members.

Five military soldiers of the Taliban government, including a prominent commander of the Taliban in the province, were killed in the explosion, which, according to the sources, also happened on Saturday night.

Source: Khaama Press

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Taliban Announces Killing Nearly 40 Resistance Front Members in Northeastern Afghanistan

By Saqalain Eqbal

24 Oct 2022

Local Taliban officials in the northeastern Afghan province of Badakhshan said that as a result of an operation, they killed 38 members of the opposition, National Resistance Front (NRF), and arrested 78 others.

Following the reports of heavy clashes in Badakhshan and allegations of mass human rights violations, Moizuddin Ahmadi, the Taliban Director of Information and Culture for Badakhshan confirmed the operation over the last week and stated that 8 Taliban members are killed and wounded.

The Taliban official said that throughout these encounters, the opposition had sustained significant casualties. According to Ahmadi, 38 frontline NRF fighters were slain and 78 more were detained.

Conflicting accounts of the hostilities in Badakhshan have been released during the past few days. As the local media has been suspended and journalists have been threatened, there is still no verified information about the outcomes of the bloody armed clashes in Badakhshan.

According to several local media outlets which cited local informants, the Taliban had allegedly shot 8 prisoners of war in Badakhshan. Furthermore, according to sources, the Ansarullah armed group has assisted the Taliban in the confrontations in Badakhshan.

Although the Ahmad Massoud-led resistance front had previously declared significant Taliban losses, it has yet to respond to the Taliban’s claims.

Source: Khaama Press

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UN Human Rights Rapporteur: ‘Massive’ Taliban Crackdown on Civilians in Northern Afghanistan

By Saqalain Eqbal

24 Oct 2022

Following concerns expressed by the people of Panjshir province regarding the Taliban’s “massive crackdown” on Panjshir’s civilians, Richard Bennett, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, invited Afghans to communicate human rights concerns to his office.

The UN official, Bennett, in a thread of tweets on Sunday, the 23rd of October, stated that he met stakeholders including civil society representatives in several as part of his visit to Afghanistan.

Bennett noted on Twitter that the representatives of Panjshir province in northern Afghanistan described the Taliban’s widespread repression of civilians there, including egregious violations of women’s and children’s rights.

The National Resistance Front (NRF) fighters’ treatment by the Taliban, while they were out of combat, was described as “shocking” by the UN human rights rapporteur for Afghanistan.

Following the conclusion of Richard Bennett’s visit to Afghanistan, a group of protesting women claimed that Bennett had instead spoken to the Taliban government’s governor in Panjshir rather than the locals and victims in Panjshir.

The UN official, however, has said that the Taliban should stop violating human rights in Panjshir and that he will raise the issue at the UN General Assembly on October 26.

Bennett has also urged Afghans to contact the UN office of the human rights rapporteur with any concerns they may have regarding human rights, providing his email address.

Source: Khaama Press

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Danish Siddiqui’s parents file new evidence against Taliban at ICC

24th October 2022

New Delhi: Even as Danish Siddiqui, the photo-journalist who was tortured and killed by the Taliban, was formally awarded his second Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography — for his groundbreaking work in documenting the COVID-19 crisis in India posthumously, his parents, Prof. Akhtar Siddiqui and Shahida Akhtar have filed additional evidence pertaining to their complaint, dated March 22, 2022, with the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, asking for an investigation into their son’s killing and bringing those responsible to justice.

The evidence comprises affidavits, a medical opinion on the autopsy, and a copy of a WhatsApp chat that allegedly took place between members of the Taliban.

On July 16, 2021, Siddiqui, who was embedded by Reuters with the Afghan Special Forces in Spin Boldak, was injured in an attack by the Taliban. He was taken to a mosque, historically a place of refuge, for medical treatment. The mosque was attacked by the Taliban, and Danish was taken into custody, tortured and murdered. Reports say that he was attacked by the Red Unit of the Taliban. After his killing, his body was mutilated, including being run over by a heavy vehicle in public. His body revealed marks of torture and 12 bullet entry and exit points. These were received after his capture, as his bulletproof jacket had no bullet marks.

A report published by the ‘Washington Examiner’, says, “The Taliban are always brutal but likely took their cruelty to a new level because Siddiqui was Indian.”

“Danish was murdered by the Taliban for simply carrying out his journalistic duties,” said the late photojournalist’s mother, Shahida Akhtar. “While his second Pulitzer Prize makes us proud, we hope that the International Criminal Court will bring those responsible for his torture and death to justice.”

The International Criminal Court has been engaged in an ongoing investigation on international crimes, including crimes against humanity and war crimes, in Afghanistan, over which it has jurisdiction after Afghanistan’s government acceded to the Rome Statute.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Niger Govt Sacks 25 Judicial Staff over Fake Certificates, Dismisses Sharia Court Judge

October 24, 2022

By Priscilla Dennis

No fewer than twenty-five staff of the Niger State Judiciary have been sacked by the Judicial Service Commission, NJSC, over alleged certificate forgery.

Confirming the sack, the Secretary of the commission, Abdulraman Ahmed Garafini in Minna, said the twenty-five staff were dismissed after the commission considered their case based on the findings of the state’s staff verification committee at the conclusion of its assignment in the state

According to him, the Engr Ibrahim Panti committee on staff verification set up by Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello in 2021 discovered that the certificates of the sacked judicial personnel were forged and it recommended their dismissal from the service.

Garafini revealed, “When the NJSC forwarded the certificates to the schools they claimed to have attended, it was discovered that the certificates were forged”.

It was further gathered that the dismissed workers were mostly of the junior and intermediate staff cadre.

Similarly, a Shariah Court Judge and his Court Registrar were said to have been dismissed for allegedly diverting money from sales of inheritance estates to the tune of N400m belonging to a popular family in the state.

It was gathered that the duo were made administrators of the properties in question to sell and share the proceeds to heirs of the deceased head of the family

Source: Daily Post Nigeria

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Sudan names new military chief for conflict-hit Blue Nile state

24 October, 2022

Sudan on Monday named a new military commander for troubled Blue Nile state, where recent bitter ethnic clashes over land have left at least 200 people dead and sparked angry demonstrations.

The new chief comes a day after eyewitnesses reported that crowds of thousands protested in front of army headquarters in the state capital Damazin, accusing the government of failing to protect them, with the local university suspending work.

Army spokesman Nabil Abdallah, announcing Monday a new commander for the southern Blue Nile state, said the military had ordered a committee to “evaluate the security situation.”

Blue Nile, which borders South Sudan and Ethiopia, is awash with guns and is still struggling to rebuild after decades of civil war, with over 300 people killed in recent months.

Sudan has been grappling with deepening political unrest and a spiraling economic crisis since last year’s military coup led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

A surge in ethnic violence in recent months has highlighted the security breakdown since the coup.

On Sunday, thousands of protesters demanded the resignation of state governor Ahmed al-Omda Badi, with eyewitnesses reporting the crowd “tried to enter the army headquarters” before “setting fire to the state government building.”

Badi declared a state of emergency on Friday to quell some of the worst fighting in recent months.

On Monday, Blue Nile University in Damazin announced “the suspension of classes and exams” due to “the unfortunate events.”

At least two hundred people were killed in two days of fighting last week, official media said Saturday, after clashes broke out over reported land disputes between members of the Hausa people and rival groups.

The violence follows clashes earlier this year between the same groups in Blue Nile, leaving at least 149 people killed and 65,000 displaced from July to early October, according to the United Nations.

The Hausa have mobilized across Sudan, claiming they were discriminated from owning land in Blue Nile because they were the last group to arrive there.

Access to land is highly sensitive in the impoverished country, where agriculture and livestock account for 43 percent of employment and 30 percent of GDP, according to UN and World Bank statistics.

Source: Al Arabiya

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10 soldiers killed, nearly 50 wounded in attack on Burkina Faso army base

James Tasamba  


KIGALI, Rwanda

At least 10 soldiers were killed and around 50 others were wounded when suspected terrorists attacked an army base in Burkina Faso’s Sahel region on Monday, the army said.

The attack targeted the 14th Inter-Arms Regiment in Djibo.

A provisional assessment showed that 10 soldiers were killed in the fighting and about 50 wounded were evacuated to health facilities, the army said in a statement.

“The army valiantly responded to the direct and indirect enemy fire. They came in significant numbers,” it said, adding up to 18 terrorists were neutralized during the ensuing operations.

The army said air reinforcements were deployed in the area to ensure rescue and response operations.

Burkina Faso has suffered regular insecurity posed by an insurgency that spread from neighboring Mali over the past decade.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Ethiopia rivals gear up for South Africa peace talks

October 24, 2022

NAIROBI: Negotiators from the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan rebel authorities were readying on Monday for peace talks in South Africa aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the brutal two-year war.

The African Union-led negotiations have been flagged to start on Monday, after a surge in fighting that has triggered alarm in the international community.

Kindeya Gebrehiwot, a spokesman for the rebel authorities in Tigray, announced their delegation’s arrival in South Africa in a tweet late on Sunday.

“Pressing: immediate cessation of hostilities, unfettered humanitarian access & withdrawal of Eritrean forces. There can’t be a military solution!” he added.

Addis Ababa said in a statement its delegation had left for South Africa on Monday morning, adding: “The government of Ethiopia views the talks as an opportunity to peacefully resolve the conflict and consolidate the improvement of the situation on the ground.”

But it also said its forces “have continued taking control of major urban centres in the past few days”, without identifying them.

Last week, the government vowed to take control of airports and other federal sites in Tigray from the rebels as Ethiopian and Eritrean troops seized towns in the region including the strategic city of Shire, sending civilians fleeing.

Fighting resumed in August, shattering a five-month truce, and has seen the return of the Eritrean army in support of Ethiopian forces and their regional allies.

In two years, the conflict in Africa’s second most populous country has left millions in need of humanitarian aid, and according to the US, as many as half a million dead.

The South African government itself has not confirmed the talks or disclosed a venue.

Abiy, who sent troops into Tigray in November 2020 promising a quick victory over the northern region’s dissident leaders in the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, had said on Thursday the war “would end and peace will prevail.”

“Ethiopia will be peaceful, we will not continue fighting indefinitely,” said Abiy, who won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.

International calls for a ceasefire and a withdrawal of Eritrean troops have grown since the AU failed earlier this month to bring the warring sides to the negotiating table.

The return to the battlefield in August halted desperately needed aid for Tigray’s 6 million people who lack food, medicine and basic services.

Tigray has been under a communications blackout for over a year, and independent reporting from the region has been heavily curtailed.

The UN Security Council held a closed-doors meeting on Friday to discuss the spiraling conflict and fears for civilians caught in the crossfire.

The US envoy to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said after the talks that thousands of Ethiopian, Eritrean and Tigrayan forces were engaged in active combat.

“The scale of the fighting and deaths rival what we’re seeing in Ukraine, and innocent civilians are being caught in the crossfire,” she said.

“Over two years of conflict, as many as half a million — half a million — people have died, and the United States is deeply concerned about the potential for further mass atrocities.”

The International Crisis Group think tank said while reliable data was scarce, it believed the fighting since August alone may have involved more than half a million combatants and killed tens of thousands of people.

“According to most estimates, it is among the world’s deadliest conflicts,” it said in a report Friday.

The IGC’s Ethiopia senior analyst William Davison said the planned talks were a “positive development” but warned “major obstacles to peace remain” including the government’s attempted takeover of federal facilities in Tigray.

“The first objective for mediators is therefore to try and get the federal and Tigray delegations to agree to a truce despite the momentum towards continued military confrontation,” he said.

The AU’s Peace and Security Council also met Friday, saying it welcomed “the mutual commitments to genuinely participate in the peace process” and hoped for a “fruitful outcome.”

The AU’s mediation team for the talks was to include Horn of Africa envoy Olusegun Obasanjo, South Africa’s former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta.

Source: Arab News

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North America


Muslim-Americans find common ground with conservatives over politicization of America's schools

October 25, 2022

An alliance is forming in some communities across the country between Muslim American parents and conservative groups over what they see as leftist, woke politicization of America's schools.

Muslim Americans have increasingly begun showing up at school boards from Minnesota to Virginia to excoriate education officials for embracing woke priorities, including critical race theory, and allowing explicit materials in the classroom.

"We’re hearing from folks in the community that they’re tired of the politicization of the schools their children attend," said Preya Samsundar, the Republican National Committee's Midwest communications director. "It’s not just explicit materials in schools, but they're concerned about [COVID-19] lockdowns, distance learning, the quality of education, woke politics in classrooms, and the achievement."

For many the fight is personal. Muslim Americans, especially recent immigrants, have long viewed U.S. schools as the key to upward mobility and success. That viewpoint has changed for some in recent years, however.

Shukri Abdirahman, a Somali-American who ran for Congress this year as a Republican in Minnesota, said the coronavirus pandemic exposed critical flaws within the education system.

"With our children and doing in-person learning, we saw the curriculums and how teachers were responding," said Abdirahman. "Slowly it became apparent that our children were learning more about gender identity and critical race theory, than they were about math and reading."

Abdirahman said she was stirred to action when her six-year-old son was scolded in school for saying "oh God" after falling down in school. Since then, she's worked to mobilize the Somali American community in support of the Minnesota Parents Alliance.

The group is working to educate and empower parents to push back on progressive policies being adopted by school districts across the state. So far, the effort has paid off.

At a recent school board meeting in Wilmer, Minnesota, nearly a dozen Somali American parents showed up to protest reports of LGBTQ pride flags being flown at K-12 educational institutions. Although the local school district denied such flags were being flown, the presence of so many Somali American parents alongside conservative activists showcased a new coalition.

"Muslim Americans want the same thing as any parent in this country," said Abdirahman. "The right for their children to get a quality education without being indoctrinated. This shouldn't be political, but it seems only like conservatives and Republicans agree."

The alliance between conservative education activists and Muslim Americans has also been on display in Virginia, Missouri, and Michigan.

Muslim and South Asian Americans have increasingly shown up at school board meetings throughout Virginia to oppose critical race theory and policies allowing transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms of the sex they identify as. The latter issue was highlighted last year when a female student was raped by a male student allegedly wearing a skirt at a school in suburban Loudon County.

In Missouri, meanwhile, Bosnian American Muslims have been vocal in opposing the inclusion of sexually explicit material in school libraries. The same issue recently catapulted to national attention at a school board meeting in Dearborn, Michigan.

Muslim Americans, from Dearborn's large Middle Eastern population, turned out in high numbers to protest the school district's decision to include LGBTQ books in school libraries. The parents claimed that many of the books were sexually explicit and inappropriate for young children.

"We're not worried about [LGBT] people," said a Dearborn parent, who attended the school board meeting. "We're worried about our children. If they wind up gay at 18, who cares? But the school library shouldn't be letting 10-year-olds read books that detail sexual acts."

The appeal of conservative parents' rights message to some members of the Muslim American community has Republicans hopeful of expanding their party. GOP elected officials in Virginia, Michigan, and Minnesota are working to make inroads with Muslim voters using the issue.

Source: Fox News

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White House ‘categorically’ denies dissuading US companies from going to Saudi Arabia

24 October, 2022

The White House on Monday “categorically” denied trying to dissuade American companies and business leaders from attending this week’s “Davos in the desert” in Saudi Arabia.

Reports citing current and former US officials suggested that the Biden administration was trying to pressure American companies against expanding business ties with Saudi Arabia amid a rift between Washington and Riyadh over a decision by OPEC+ to cut oil output.

Asked what the consequences might be for US businesses attending this week’s conference in Riyadh, National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby said: “We don’t have a message for corporate leaders that are attending the [conference]… These are decisions that they obviously can and should make for themselves.”

In the aftermath of the OPEC+ decision, the Biden administration launched a heavy media campaign against Riyadh and held it responsible for what it said was a “shortsighted decision.”

The White House also said that the OPEC+ move was a “mistake” and accused the organization of “aligning with Russia.”

In response, Saudi Arabia denied the accusations and said Biden administration officials had asked for the oil cuts to be announced after the November midterm elections in the US.

Record inflation and rising gasoline prices are major hurdles for Democrats to overcome as they fight to retain hold of both chambers of the US Congress.

Washington also called for a reevaluation of the relationship with Saudi Arabia, with several Democratic lawmakers going as far as demanding an immediate halt to arms sales with the kingdom.

Nevertheless, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Biden would not rush to decide on what steps to take in response.

Source: Al Arabiya

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US designates 3 Syrian military officials over Eastern Ghouta chemical attack

Servet Günerigök 



The US on Monday designated three Syrian regime military officials involved in a chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, in 2013.

"Of the atrocities committed by the Assad regime, some of which rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity, few are as inhumane and abhorrent as the repeated use of chemical weapons against civilians...Today, we are taking additional action to promote accountability," said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement.

Those sanctioned are Brigadier General Adnan Aboud Hilweh, Major General Ghassan Ahmed Ghannam and Major General Jawdat Saleebi Mawas, who Blinken said were involved in gross violations of human rights, “namely the flagrant denial of the right to life of at least 1,400 people in Ghouta.”

"As a result of today’s action, Hilweh, Ghannam and Mawas as well as their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States," said the top diplomat.

In August 2013, the Syrian army launched rockets carrying the nerve agent sarin, a deadly chemical, on Eastern Ghouta.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms any use of chemical weapons anywhere, by anyone, under any circumstances," said Blinken, adding the US calls on the Assad regime to fully declareand destroy its chemical weapons program.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Southeast Asia


Expert Urges Increased Cooperation between Muslims States to Improve Quran Knowledge 

October 24, 2022

Sheikh Mohamed Ali Atafay, a jury member of the 62nd International Quran Recitation and Memorisation Assembly (MTHQA), made the remarks on Sunday in an interview with a Malaysian outlet.

He said Muslims in the country can study the 'Manhaj' or methodology to memorise the Quran adopted by other Muslim countries to improve their mastery of the knowledge.

Sheikh Mohamed Ali said he was impressed with the fact that the knowledge of memorising the Quran is so close to the hearts of Muslims in the country which has been inculcated in them from a young age.

He said he was also pleased that Muslims in the country are aware that he is in Malaysia to be on the jury for MTHQA, an occurrence that he has rarely experienced in other countries.

Sheikh Mohamed Ali who is from Morocco said a total of 36 reciters from around the world have been selected to participate in the 62nd MTHQA.

According to him, reciters are judged based on their mastery of tajwid (Quran recitation pronunciation rules), fluency in reciting verses, maqamat or taranum (the art of recitation or voice) as well as the melodious tone of the reciter's voice.

Syeikh Mohamed Ali said he hoped that Malaysia will continue hosting the programme to produce more hufaz (Quran memorisers) in the future.

Meanwhile, Dr Maria Ulfa, who is the first female jury for MTHQA applauded Malaysia's openness in selecting the jury, saying that the involvement of two female members, including the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) director-general Datuk Hakimah Mohd Yusoff, showed that the country practises gender equality which should be emulated.

"In the past, although there were many female reciters, there was no female jury. This proves that Malaysia has moved forward as a country," said Maria who won the MTHQA in 1980.

Source: IQNA

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Why is Malaysia deporting Myanmar asylum seekers?

By Jonathan Head

October 24, 2022

On 6 October a flight departed from Malaysia taking 150 Burmese asylum seekers back to Myanmar.

Among them was Kyaw Hla, a young ethnic Rakhine officer from the Myanmar Navy, who defected last year and fled to Malaysia. He was one of six navy defectors on that flight.

Now he is back in Myanmar, in jail. What happened to the others is still unclear.

Malaysian authorities have said little about this and several other flights taking Burmese deportees back to Myanmar. However, the Myanmar embassy in Kuala Lumpur has been posting regularly on its Facebook page about its efforts to get undocumented Burmese nationals sent back - photographs of apparently happy passengers on the flight, and also photos of embassy personnel posing with Malaysian immigration officials.

Officially, Malaysia does not welcome refugees. It is not a signatory to the UN Convention and Protocol on Refugees. It also does not recognise the refugee status given to asylum seekers assessed by the UN Refugee Agency as being at risk if returned to their own country.

Yet Malaysia is home to 185,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers, and many more who are not registered - most of them from Myanmar. It hosts 100,000 Muslim Rohingyas, who fled repression in Myanmar and overcrowded camps in Bangladesh.

"Malaysia has become the preferred destination for a number of threatened minority groups from Myanmar, including the Rohingya, the Chin, and the Kachin," says Phil Robertson from Human Rights Watch. "Those communities and their networks in Malaysia help to protect new arrivals, and support efforts to get refugee status and protection from UNHCR."

Kyaw Hla's cousin, Saw Shwe Mya, who has been living in Malaysia for several years, says he arrived last year. He fled Myanmar after the coup which deposed the government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, and set off a conflict which has consumed much of the country. His wife joined him more recently. Both are from Kyauktaw, a town in Rakhine which has seen some of the fiercest fighting between the army and ethnic Rakhine insurgents of the Arakan Army, and where his mother still lives with his two young sons.

Saw Shwe Mya says she did not ask him whether he was involved in the civil disobedience movement that spread across Myanmar to resist the coup in the weeks after the army seized power. She does not know whether he was driven to defect by opposition to the coup, or by the escalating conflict in Rakhine State.

But she says he tried to keep a low profile, staying near Kuala Lumpur so that he could register as an asylum seeker with the UNHCR. He did whatever jobs he could find to cover his living costs. She says he registered with the UN, and was expecting to receive his "Under Consideration" card, which asylum seekers get while their applications are considered by the UNHCR.

As a defector from the Myanmar military, which has jailed thousands of opponents of its coup, Kyaw Hla would have been a strong contender for refugee status.

He received a call on 21 September telling him to come out and collect his UN card, Saw Shwe Mya says. It was a trick: he and his wife were arrested and detained, pending deportation. On arrival in Yangon on 6 October, they were both arrested, and are now being detained separately in different parts of the city.

In the past Malaysia largely left refugees and asylum seekers alone.

But in the past six months, the country has deported around 2,000 Burmese asylum seekers, according to Human Rights Watch, without any assessment of what risks they might face on their return to Myanmar.

This hardline attitude is in contrast to the stand the Malaysian government has taken against the military regime in Myanmar, and its willingness to reach out to the opposition and the National Unity Government, which remains loyal to deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Malaysian Foreign Minister, Saifuddin Abdullah, a former human rights activist, is viewed by the Myanmar opposition as one of its best friends in Asean - the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

"It's a Jekyll and Hyde policy," Mr Robertson says. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working hard to demand the junta respect human rights and end the violence, while the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Immigration Department are doing deals with the Myanmar embassy to send refugees back."

He says Malaysia's relaxed attitude towards refugees changed at the height of the Covid pandemic, when the public feared that the large migrant communities would spread the disease. This has made mass deportations a popular move in the weeks leading up to the general election scheduled for mid-November.

The BBC contacted Home Affairs Minister Hamzah Zainuddin for a statement about the deportations, but is yet to receive one.

Source: BBC

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Ismail Sabri says not 'our culture' for PM candidates to debate publicly

By Radzi Razak

25 Oct 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — Malaysia does not have a "culture" of seeing its prime ministerial candidates debate in public, according to the Barisan Nasional's "poster boy" Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Saying there were no benefits to holding public debates, Ismail Sabri today turned down the proposal from his Pakatan Harapan (PH) rival Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for the two of them to battle each other on policy matters in the run-up to the November 19 general election.

The caretaker prime minister from Barisan Nasional claimed that Anwar would promise "the moon and the stars” in the debate while he is busy working on his electoral campaign.

"Debate is not our culture. We have never done it before and it does not give any benefits.

"If we let him debate, he will give his promise, manifesto, even the moon and the stars will be promised. So I think it is not necessary.

"We have never organised a debate before elections and we form governments based on people’s confidence in us,” he told reporters after attending a briefing at the national police headquarters at Bukit Aman.

On October 20, Anwar suggested that prime ministerial candidates from the three main coalitions clashing in the 15th general election should debate each other ahead of polling day.

The PH chairman said the debate should focus on policy-related matters and not have insults and accusations take centre stage in their electoral campaigns.

Ismail Sabri also said the BN will be tightening its vetting process for electoral candidates this time.

He said potential candidates will have to be filtered not by the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission but the Islamic Development Department as well.

"We want to know whether the proposed candidates got married in Siam or have not paid for nafkah,” he said, using the old word for Thailand.

Nafkah is support money a Muslim man has to pay his wife and children.

Ismail Sabri said Umno's top five leaders will be meeting again soon to finalised their party's election candidates before nomination day on November 5.

The Umno vice-president was also asked about the application from Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) to become a BN component party.

"We are still evaluating it,” he said.

PBM and several other parties applied to join the BN coalition which is anchored by Umno in August.

Source: Malay Mail

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We’ll find you, Indira Gandhi tells daughter on Deepavali

Faisal Asyraf

October 24, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Amid the thanksgiving prayers and rangoli adorning the doorway this Deepavali, M Indira Gandhi has only one wish – to be reunited with her daughter, Prasana Diksa.

As she prepared for the day ahead and tried to remain cheerful for her two other children, Indira could not help but yearn for her daughter whom she had not seen for the past 13 years after her former husband, Riduan Abdullah, took the girl away.

“Prasana, by now, I’m sure you can read well.

“Know that you are not alone. Your mother and siblings are waiting for our reunion.

“No matter what, we will try to find you and we will never give up,” Indira said in a poignant message to Prasana who was taken away when she was only one year old.

Last year, Indira filed a nonfeasance suit against the government, the inspector-general of police (IGP), the police and the home ministry, citing police inaction in executing the warrant against her former husband for failing to hand over custody of their youngest daughter to her.

On Sept 7, the government lost its appeal to strike out the suit after a three-member Court of Appeal panel found no merits in the appeal and upheld the High Court’s decision to proceed with the hearing.

In 2016, the Federal Court instructed the IGP to execute the warrant of committal against Riduan after he was found guilty of contempt for not handing over Prasana.

Riduan had unilaterally converted the couple’s three children to Islam.

Prasana was a year old when Riduan took her away in 2009.

Indira said it mattered little to her if her daughter celebrated Deepavali or Hari Raya Aidilfitri, what was most important was to be together.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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