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Islamic World News ( 30 Jan 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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‘No Country Like India’, Even Gulf Countries Don’t Offer This Much Freedom For Islamic Work: Samastha Kerala Jamaat Ul Ulama

New Age Islam News Bureau

30 January 2023

Ponmala Abdulkhader Musliyar, secretary of Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyyathul Ulama (Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musaliyar segment).


• Ilhan Omar Blasts GOP's 'Islamophobia' Amid Committee Removal Bid: ‘They’re Not OK’ With Muslims ‘Having A Voice’

• Danes Uneasy About Quran Burning In Front Of Mosque

• ‘Reformist’ Muslim-Majority Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim Turns His Back On LGBTs

• Time for Elon Musk’s Starlink to Save Afghanistan’s Women



• RSS Functionaries To Sit In With Muslim Religious Leaders From Deoband, Bareilly

• Kerala Governor Recalls Words Of Aligarh Muslim University Founder “You Must Call Me A Hindu” At Hindu Conclave

• No Need To Defame Country To Oppose Policies Of Government: Sunni Students' Federation

• Saffron Rallyists Rail Against ‘Love Jihad’, Mouth Anti-Muslim Lines

• Muslims keeping Assamese language alive, says Badruddin Ajmal

• Rashtriya Muslim Manch welcomes renaming of Mughal Garden as ‘Amrit Udyan’


North America

• NYC Council Considering Naming Harlem Street To Honour Separatist Nation Of Islam Leader Elijah Muhammad

• Canada has planned for years to handle returnees from the Islamic State. Now the plan has to work

• US again issues warning of possible terrorist attacks against tourists in Turkey

• Blinken: All options available to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon



• Macron calls for restraint after Israeli-Palestinian violence

• Turkey may accept Finland into NATO: Erdogan

• Muslims in London protest Quran burning


Southeast Asia

• Johor school’s SPM workshop issue settled, says PTA

• Malaysia to Print 1 Million Quran Copies to Distribute Worldwide

• It’s not race or religion that threatens Malays and Malaysia but corruption, says PM Anwar


South Asia

• Death Toll of Afghanistan’s Harsh Winter Reaches 166 People

• Pompeo slams ex-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in his book, calls him ‘a total fraud’ who hampered peace talks with Taliban

• Taliban raise concerns over ‘problems’ faced by Afghan refugees in Iran



• Israeli Govt To Revoke Rights Of ‘Terrorist Families’

• Reports Of Torture, Unfair Trials In Iran Trigger Fresh Alarm Over Fate Of Protesters

• Israeli opposition leader apportions blame on Ben-Gvir for synagogue attack

• Israeli officers seal off home of Palestinian synagogue shooter

• Iran condemns Jenin carnage, reiterates sustained support for Palestinian nation

• Israel stepping up armed crackdown on Palestinians following retaliatory attack in al-Quds

• Türkiye Issues Travel Warning For EU, US Over Anti-Muslim, Racist Attacks

• Iranian Speaker Hails Palestinians for Teaching Great Lesson to Israel After Jenin Attack



• Islamic State-Affiliated ADF Rebels Kill 15 In Eastern DR Congo

• LP Guber Candidate, Asake, Woos Islamic Leaders

• Miyetti Allah condemns FG’s silence over death of pastoralists

• Italy’s PM Meloni holds talks in Libya as Eni signs $8 bln energy deal

• Tunisians elect weakened parliament on 11% turnout

• Parliamentarians agree on need to digitize OIC work ahead of annual conference



• Protest Over Mysterious Chopping Of ‘Allah Rakha’, An Eight-Decade-Old Banyan Tree, In Lahore

• Unpacking TTP’s curious new narrative

• Govt advancing human rights in line with UN goals

• PM Shehbaz calls for global unity to fight Islamophobia


Arab World

• Bin Salman Urged Baghdad To Arrange Face-To-Face Meeting Between Saudi, Iranian Fms: Iraqi FM

• Kuwait opens large mosque in Australia

• Egyptian singer Mohamed Ramadan 'breaks TikTok record' for artists in Arab World

• Seven dead in eastern Syria air strikes: Monitor

• Report: Drones attack convoy in east Syria coming from Iraq

• Philippines to send delegation to Kuwait to probe labour abuses after recent killing

• Airstrikes target Iranian-backed terrorists in eastern Syria

• Iran receives messages from nuclear deal parties through Qatar

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



‘No Country Like India’, Even Gulf Countries Don’t Offer This Much Freedom For Islamic Work: Samastha Kerala Jamaat Ul Ulama

by Shaju Philip

January 30, 2023

Ponmala Abdulkhader Musliyar, secretary of Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyyathul Ulama (Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musaliyar segment).


A prominent Muslim scholar belonging to pro-CPI(M) Sunni Muslim organisation has stated that there is no other country like India where Islamic works could be carried out.

PonmalaAbdulkhaderMusliyar, secretary of Samastha Kerala Jamaat ul Ulama (Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musaliyar segment), said, “When you examine various countries in the world, there is no other country like India where we can carry out the Islamic work. Even in Gulf countries, which we are familiar with, there is no freedom as we have in India. In Eastern countries like Malaysia also we do not see the freedom for Islamic work as we have in India. Will the organisational work which we are carrying out India be possible anywhere else? There is no other country like ours which is suitable for Islamic work,’’ he said.

The Musliyar was addressing a meeting of the Sunni Students Federation of the A P Sunni segment in Kozhikode on Sunday. The A P Sunni segment in Kerala is known for its Left leanings and its supremo Aboobacker Musaliyar is one who wears his pro-Left stand on his sleeves. Another Sunni segment is the E K faction, close to the Indian Union Muslim League.

IUML leadership did not summarily reject the stand of PonmalaMusaliyar, but supplemented his view saying it (the freedom for Islamic work) demonstrated the strength of the Constitution. IUML state president Sayyid Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal said if Muslims do not face any threat in India, it is due to the strength of the Constitution, he said.

Source: Indian Express

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Ilhan Omar Blasts GOP's 'Islamophobia' Amid Committee Removal Bid: ‘They’re Not OK’ With Muslims ‘Having A Voice’

January 29, 2023

Rep. Ilhan Omar says McCarthy's decision was a political stunt and a blow to a democratic institution


Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., accused Republicans of Islamophobia on Sunday after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy moved to eject her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee for what he described as anti-Semitic remarks.

Omar appeared Sunday on CNN’s "State of the Union" alongside Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., after McCarthy removed the latter two from the House Intelligence Committee, citing national security concerns.

Omar, who has apologized in the past for repeating anti-Semitic tropes, said Republicans are targeting her because she’s Muslim.

"It is politically motivated, and in some cases motivated by the fact that many of these members don't believe a Muslim refugee, an African, should even be in Congress, let alone have the opportunity to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee," she said.

CNN anchor Dana Bash interjected, saying Omar has "said this before" and that it seemed like she was "accusing Kevin McCarthy of racism."

"I mean, I'm not making any accusations," Omar responded. "I'm just laying out the facts. You remember Donald Trump coming into my state and saying Muslims, Somali refugees are infiltrating our country. You remember Marjorie Taylor Greene coming to Congress after Rashida [Tlaib] and I got sworn in and saying Muslims are infiltrating Congress. You remember [Lauren] Boebert saying that I was a terrorist. What did McCarthy do? He said, ‘she apologized, and we don't have to worry about her Islamophobia.’"

"These people are OK with Islamophobia," she continued. "They're OK with trafficking, in their own ways, in antisemitism. They are not OK with having a Muslim have a voice on that committee."

Omar previously labeled McCarthy "racist" and "xenophobic" for trying to remove her from the Foreign Affairs Committee.


McCarthy has said he is removing Omar from the position as she has upset many of her colleagues in the past with controversial anti-Israel statements that highlighted antisemitic tropes.

She once said, "It's all about the Benjamins, baby" to explain why McCarthy criticized her for opposing the Jewish country. She also sparked backlash for a remark comparing the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban.

McCarthy, as House speaker, has the authority to approve committee appointments offered by Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. While McCarthy had the authority to remove Schiff and Swalwell from their select committee without a vote, a full House vote is needed for Omar’s removal.

McCarthy can only afford to lose four votes in passing the resolution to remove Omar, and Reps. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., Nancy Mace, R-S.C., and Ken Buck, R-Colo., have said they will vote against it.

Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., is also recovering at home with an injury, giving McCarthy zero wiggle room.


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Danes uneasy about Quran burning in front of mosque


File photo


People living in Denmark expressed their frustration at the burning of a copy of the Quran, the holy book for Muslims, by a far-right Swedish-Danish figure.

On Friday, Swedish-Danish politician Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the far-right StramKurs (Hard Line) Party, burned a copy of the Quran in front of a mosque in Denmark.

The Islamophobic act came days after the far-right leader burned a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, during a police-approved protest.

Anadolu asked the people living in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, for their views on the burning of the Quran.

AneAndresem, a 35-year-old Danish scientist, said that Paludan was just doing it to irritate people.

"So I don't think what he's doing makes any sense. Legally, he can do whatever he wants, he can say whatever he wants, but that doesn't mean it was the right move. The Bible could've burned too. I personally don't care because I'm not Muslim, but I can see the Muslims are frustrated," she said.

Andresem said in countries such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark, such acts are "permitted to protect freedom of expression."

A 51-year-old Danish entrepreneur DorchemieSvain also described Paludan as "a lunatic," saying he did not understand why the police and the state were allowed to devote so much time to this man.

He added: "If it provokes these people, you won't do it. Why are you doing this? I think you shouldn't. Why would you do it if such behavior makes people angry or upset?"

Another Danish citizen, who requested anonymity, said Paludan's action is only causing trouble.

Global condemnations have poured in with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson condemning Paludan’s actions as "deeply disrespectful," while the US called it "repugnant."


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‘Reformist’ Muslim-Majority Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim Turns His Back On LGBTs

By Richard S Ehrlich

JANUARY 27, 2023

Malaysian leader Anwar Ibrahim's 'reformist' credentials under fire for comment on LGBT rights. Image: Twitter


Muslim-majority Malaysia’s newly elected Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who was jailed twice for homosexual sodomy, is warning lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) that they, along with communism and secularism, “would never be recognized” by his administration.

Anwar made the remarks after a popular hardline Pan-Islamic Party (PAS) official, Razman Zakaria, claimed the prime minister and his allies would legalize same-sex marriage in the Southeast Asian country.

PAS, an Islamist component party of the opposition Perikatan Nasional coalition, won 49 seats out of the 222 available at last year’s election, the most of any party and up substantially from the 18 it won at the 2018 poll.

“Sometimes these [rival] politicians say if Anwar becomes prime minister, then Islam will be destroyed, secularism and communism will be established, and LGBT will be recognized,” Anwar said back on January 6.

“This is just a delusion. Of course, it will never happen and, God willing, under my administration, it is unlikely to happen,” the prime minister said.

“Such anti-LGBT sentiments, coupled with scapegoating for political expediency and survival, are dangerous,” responded ThilagaSulathireh, co-founder of Justice for Sisters. “It has effectively increased LGBT-related misinformation and bias.”

Justice for Sisters spotlights violence and persecution in Malaysia against transgender women, and has interviewed LGBT Malaysians for New York-based Human Rights Watch.

“LGBTphobia in Malaysia is increasing at an alarming state,” Thilaga wrote in a published statement on January 9.

“PAS has made the LGBT issue a major social media campaign, particularly on TikTok and on some Facebook fan pages where [Anwar’s] supporters are attacked with homosexual memes and jokes,” Focus Malaysia online media reported on January 7.

For the past 25 years, PAS has emphasized Anwar’s sodomy convictions and tried to quash his political popularity. Anwar along with around 60% of Malaysia’s 33 million population is Muslim. Islam condemns LGBT as a sin.

Malaysia’s secular, federal, anti-sodomy laws are enshrined in Section 377 of the penal code, a legacy of British colonialism. It punishes “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” with up to 20 years in prison, plus a mandatory whipping.

Islamic courts also enforce anti-LGBT Shariah criminal laws, based on the Koran and applicable only to Muslims, depending on which Malaysian state they live in. In 2021, Forbes magazine reported that Malaysia was among the “20 Most Dangerous Places For Gay Travelers.”

When Anwar, 75, was elected prime minister in November 2022, he became “the first to reach the top of an Islamic country after being accused of homosexual relations,” noted Rome-based Agenzia Nova online media.

In addition to imprisonment, convicted LGBT Malaysians can be whipped with a bamboo or rattan cane.

Shariah authorities publicly caned two women – each six times – after they pleaded guilty to lesbian sexual relations in Terengganu state, governed by PAS, in 2018. It was the first time lesbians in Malaysia were beaten to punish them.

Anwar was Malaysia’s finance minister and deputy prime minister until 1998 when he was convicted of sodomy committed in 1993, and corruption.  He denied the charges.

Anwar’s wife Wan Azizah Wan, clad in a Muslim-style “tudung” headscarf, laughingly told the Washington Times in a 1998 interview, “I have six children. If you think he’s bisexual, six children is a lot.”

The published charges against Anwar were explicit:

Anwar was told he “voluntarily committed carnal intercourse against the order of nature against one Munawar Ahmad Anees, by introducing your penis into his anus, and you have, therefore, committed an offense under section 377B of the Penal Code.”

Anwar was beaten by police while in custody and sentenced to 15 years – nine years for sodomy and six years for corruption.

Anwar’s adopted brother, SukmaDermawan, 37, and 51-year-old former speechwriter Anees, both confessed – and were found guilty – of allowing Anwar to sodomize them.

They were each sentenced to six months in jail. When Anwar was imprisoned, Washington expressed concern and denounced the trial.

“I am deeply disturbed by the verdicts handed down in Malaysia in the case of Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and his adopted brother,” then-US vice president Al Gore said at the time.

“The show trial the two men were forced to endure mocked international standards of justice…I hope the appeals process will overturn these verdicts.”

An appeals court acquitted and freed Anwar in 2004 after he spent six years in prison for sodomy. In 2008, a second separate conviction for homosexual sodomy delayed his political return.

He was pardoned for that conviction and released in 2018. Malaysia’s then-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad supported the lengthy trials which were ruining his former colleague.


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Time for Elon Musk’s Starlink to Save Afghanistan’s Women

By Fidel Rahmati

January 30, 2023

Starlink Satellite: (AP Photo/John Raoux)


Mark R. Whittington, a renowned space exploration author, has discussed Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite that how best can help Afghan women who are banned from education by the Taliban, the Hill reported.

Elon Musk is a multimillionaire entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of SpaceX. Starlink is a group of satellites that provide internet, voice and text communications directly from space and has revolutionized how people communicate with one another. The project was started in 2019 by SpaceX successfully.

The Starlink system can offer access to high-speed Internet in remote areas without installing cables or constructing a significant amount of new infrastructure.

Mark stated that Afghanistan is now in a situation that needs Starlin the most. He further argues that this has been the consequence of the abrupt military withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan, which led to the brutal suppression of women in the country. 

On the other hand, people need access to the internet in most parts of the country, mainly rural areas. As a result, “Starlink can provide internet access in rural regions of the country, and the system could turn all of Afghanistan into an online school that the Taliban would find difficult, if not possible, to stop.”  

Mark’s opinion on Starlink comes following the Taliban’s decreed ban on women’s education in Afghanistan as the best possible alternative to prevent further women’s isolation from the public.

The De facto authorities have decreed a ban on women’s education in Afghanistan since December last year and subsequently banned them from working in national and international organizations. In addition, the Taliban’s Ministry of Higher Education issued a new decree banning female students’ enrollment from all public and private universities in Afghanistan.

He also stated that the report shows that Afghan females started taking classes in an online university in the United States called the University of the People and another in the UK called Future to learn to bypass the recent decree on education.

The system has worked successfully in countries indulged in conflict and political unrest. For example, Starlink has provided Ukraine with a crucial weapon in its war against Russia and helped the Iranian resistance in its opposition to the authoritarian regime.

He concluded that restoring the American moral authority, which had been lost due to the withdrawal from Afghanistan, is beyond evaluation. However, the US should still use Starlink in collaboration with SpaceX to support Afghan women’s education despite the current regime. Starlink should be made available through this cooperation to the growing number of Afghan women and all other advocacy groups.

Source: Khaama Press

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RSS functionaries to sit in with Muslim religious leaders from Deoband, Bareilly


Senior RSS functionaries will meet Muslim spiritual leaders from Deoband and Bareilly in the coming days, and discuss with them various contentious issues, sources said on Sunday, as the Sangh continues with its outreach exercise to the community.

The date for the meeting will be decided mutually, they said, adding a meeting is also in the offing with senior Muslim spiritual leaders in Kerala.

Earlier on January 14, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) members had met with Muslim religious leaders and discussed various issues including the temple issues in Kashi and Mathura, hate speech, and Muslims living in ghettos. It was a follow-up to a meeting RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had on August 22 last year with five prominent members from the community.

The August meeting was held at the residence of former Delhi Lt governor Najeeb Jung, and the RSS was represented also by its joint general secretary Krishna Gopal, Ram Lal and Indresh Kumar, the sources said.

During the meeting, they had talked about finding an amicable solution of the Kashi and Mathura temple issues, they said. Prominent Muslim bodies including Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind were represented in the meeting, also attended by Ajmer Dargah's Salman Chishti.

Source: TelegraphIndia

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Kerala Governor Recalls Words Of Aligarh Muslim University Founder “You Must Call Me A Hindu” At Hindu Conclave

28th January 2023

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Saturday recalled the words of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, founder of the Aligarh Muslim University who was said to have urged to call him a “Hindu” over a century ago.

While speaking at a Hindu conclave here, the Governor quoted the reported words of Sir Syed Khan that “you must call me a Hindu” which he had made during an Arya Samaj meeting.

Khan said Sir Syed was given a reception by the Samaj members when he completed his tenure in the Legislative Council during the colonial regime.

Recalling the words of the reformer-educationalist, Khan said he had asked the Samaj members why they didn’t call him a Hindu and made it clear that he did not consider “Hindu” as a religious term.

“But, my serious complaint against you (Arya Samaj members) is that why don’t you call me a Hindu? I do not consider Hindu as a religious term…Hindu is a geographical term,” the Governor said recalling Syed Ahmed Khan’s words.

Anybody who is born in India, anybody who lives on the food which is produced in India, anybody who drinks water from the rivers of India is entitled to call himself a Hindu and so “you must call me a Hindu”, Khan said quoting the Aligarh University founder’s words.

Arif Mohammed Khan also said it was “perfectly fine” to use the terminology like Hindu, Muslim and Sikh during the colonial era because the Britishers had made the communities as the basis for deciding even the ordinary rights of citizens.

The conclave was organised by the outfit Kerala Hindus of North America (KHNA).

Union Minister V Muraleedharan took part in the concluding session of the conclave held at Muscat hotel here.

He alleged a conspiracy has been going on in the state to make it feel that it is wrong to say “I am a Hindu”.

Even before independence, the kings and rulers of the country, who believed in “sanatana dharma”, had accepted all religious groups with open arms, he said.

In the same manner that the union government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is opening the door for people suffering persecution in neigbouring countries, he said.

Source:Siasat Daily

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No Need To Defame Country To Oppose Policies Of Government: Sunni Students' Federation

30 JAN 2023

The Sunni Students' Federation (SSF) on Sunday said the ruling dispensation of the country should be "corrected" but not by creating hatred against the nation.

A resolution passed at the state conference of the SSF, the student wing of the A P Kanthapuram Aboobacker Musliyar faction of the Samastha Kerala Jem-Iyyathul Ulama, said there was no need to defame the country to oppose the policies of the government.

The resolution said Islam cannot accept turning hatred towards fascism and its violent nature into hatred against the nation.

"The ruling government should be corrected but not by creating hatred against the country. The country and its ruling dispensation should be seen as two different entities. And there is no need to defame the country to oppose the policies of the government," the resolution read.

It said the values of the nation should be upheld uncompromisingly even while raising strong criticisms against the government.


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Saffron Rallyists Rail Against ‘Love Jihad’, Mouth Anti-Muslim Lines

Jan 30, 2023

By SaurabhaKulshreshtha

Mumbai : On Sunday morning, a sea of saffron-capped agitators were seen on the streets of Dadar, raising saffron flags and demanding a state law to curb alleged cases of ‘love jihad’ and religious conversion. The rally was held by the Sakal Hindu Samaj, a conglomerate of Hindutva organisations, under the banner of the Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha.

The rally, which commenced from Shivaji Park in Dadar, ended at Kamgar Maidan in Parel. Slogans like ‘Jo Hindu hit ki baatkahega, vahi Maharashtra pe raj karega (Only those who speak of Hindu interests will be allowed to rule Maharashtra) rent the air—an indication that the saffron parties and their allies were determined to introduce religious polarisation in Maharashtra’s politics before the upcoming elections. Leaders from the BJP and the Eknath Shinde-led BSS also participated in the rally.

The Sakal Hindu Samaj has under its umbrella Hindutva organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and Sanatan Sanstha. It has participated in several such rallies held by right-wing outfits in the last few weeks across the state.

The rallies come at a time when the BJP-BSS government is contemplating bringing in a law against love jihad or post-marriage religious conversion on the lines of the BJP-ruled states. Indeed, the Shinde-Fadnavis government in December set up a committee to look into inter-faith marriages. ‘Love jihad’ is a term used by right-wing activists who say that inter-faith marriages are nothing but a concerted effort by Muslim men to convert Hindu women to Islam.

T Raja Singh, a BJP MLA from Telangana, who addressed the public meeting at Kamgar Maidan, used aggressive and provocative language against inter-faith love affairs and warned Muslim youths to keep their distance from Hindu girls. “Be aware about ‘love jihad’ and (religious) conversions,” bellowed Singh, addressing the Hindu community. “Do not buy goods with ‘halal’ tags on them. Now that the BMC polls are coming, vote only for those parties that talk about Hindu interests and have the capacity to free land from encroachers of a particular community.”

Many BJP leaders such as Gopal Shetty, Manoj Kotak, Atul Bhatkhalkar, Nitesh Rane, Pravin Darekar and former MP Kirit Somaiya participated in the rally. SadaSarvankar from Eknath Shinde’s faction also participated with his son and former corporator SamadhanSarvankar.

BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar, when questioned, said he had participated in the protest not as a BJP MLA but “as a Hindu”. “We support the demands by the organisers,” he said. “Though our party is in power at the Centre and in the state, every issue cannot be solved by the government. The support of society is important. In the case of love jihad, we want to send out a message that Hindus are awake now and Hindu girls have the support of society and several organisations.”

Vishwa Hindu Parishad spokesperson Shreeraj Nair declared that the Shraddha Walkar murder case, incidents of land-grabbing and the construction of religious structures and forcible conversion were the main reasons that led to the decision to organise such protests. “Love jihad is a known fact now,” he said. “In order to create awareness among Hindu girls and society about it, we have all come together.” Nair said that 31 such rallies had been organised in 12 districts, including Mumbai. There will be many more rallies in the remaining districts of Maharashtra.

Ajit Pawar, Leader of the Opposition in the assembly, was vocal in his criticism. “The BJP is trying to spread hatred in society by supporting such rallies,” he said. “The issue of the anti-love jihad act is being raised only for political benefit. Unfortunately, no one is raising a strong voice against this Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha.”

Political analyst Prakash Bal said the rallies were nothing but the politics of polarisation for the forthcoming municipal corporation and zilla parishad elections in Maharashtra. “Besides, the BJP central leadership knows very well that it has failed on the economic and governance front, and that the polarisation of the Hindu vote bank is its only hope to win the 2024 general elections,” he said. “That is the reason they are using Hindu organisations belonging to the Sangh Parivar for rallies.”

Source: Hindustan Times

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Muslims keeping Assamese language alive, says Badruddin Ajmal

29th January 2023

Guwahati: All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief Badruddin Ajmal on Sunday said that Muslim people in Assam are keeping the Assamese language alive.

Speaking at a function in Dhubri, he said: “The Assamese language’s heritage has been preserved, and it has also been protected by Muslims residing in Assam. I can challenge that. But even after that, Assamese people refer to us as Bangladeshis in a fraction of a second.”

Ajmal commented that Assamese is not taught in Bangladesh.

“Then how can a Bangladeshi learn that language,” he questioned.

The AIUDF leader further said that in Char areas of Assam, Muslim people send their children to Assamese-medium schools.

“The problem is that our (Muslim) people send the children to Assamese medium schools, but they don’t have the habit of speaking Assamese at home,” he added.

Meanwhile, Assam Minister Pijush Hazarika has criticised Ajmal for his remarks.

He said: “This is a ridiculous claim. I have noticed that even Badruddin Ajmal speaks half Assamese language and mixes Bengali and Hindi into it.”

Hazarika also asked Ajmal whether he could really speak Assamese like him.

“There is absolutely no need for Badruddin Ajmal to protect our language since Assamese people know it well enough to protect and preserve it,” the BJP

Speaking at a function in Dhubri, he said: “The Assamese language’s heritage has been preserved, and it has also been protected by Muslims residing in Assam. I can challenge that. But even after that, Assamese people refer to us as Bangladeshis in a fraction of a second.”

Ajmal commented that Assamese is not taught in Bangladesh.

“Then how can a Bangladeshi learn that language,” he questioned.

The AIUDF leader further said that in the Char areas of Assam, Muslim people send their children to Assamese-medium schools.

“The problem is that our (Muslim) people send the children to Assamese medium schools, but they don’t have the habit of speaking Assamese at home,” he added.

Meanwhile, Assam Minister Pijush Hazarika criticised Ajmal for his remarks.

He said: “This is a ridiculous claim. I have noticed that even Badruddin Ajmal speaks half Assamese language and mixes Bengali and Hindi into it.”

Hazarika also asked Ajmal whether he could really speak Assamese like him.

Source:Siasat Daily

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Rashtriya Muslim Manch welcomes renaming of Mughal Garden as ‘Amrit Udyan’

29th January 2023

New Delhi: Welcoming President DroupadiMurmu’s move to rename all the gardens of Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi including Mughal Garden as ‘Amrit Udyan’, Muslim Rashtriya Manch, a Muslim wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Saturday said that the new name symbolises ‘VasudhaivaKutumbakam’.

The National Media Incharge of RSS’ Muslim wing Shahid Saeed said that ‘Amrit’ means power, which is immortal or which is seen in association with the gods.

Therefore, the ‘Udyan’ is given such great importance and such great vastness.

He said, “Amrit Udyan is the eternal idea of India, which reflects ‘VasudhaivaKutumbakam (the world is one family)’. It reminds me of the ancient sages of India. 5000 years ago, Lord Shri Krishna inspired Arjuna to establish Indraprastha in place of Khandavprastha at this very place.”

Union Rural Development Minister Giriraj Singh also welcomed the move by saying that the country should celebrate its independence in a true manner.

Members of Rashtriya Muslim Manch also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for naming the 21 largest unnamed islands of Andaman and Nicobar in the names of national heroes and termed it a commendable step.

“The islands whose names were changed included the names of the British oppressors. Manch believes that it was very sad that the names that were still floating around included the names of British generals ‘Havelock’, ‘Neil’ and ‘Ross’ who crushed Indian freedom fighters and inflicted countless tortures. The Manch believes that the names of such people should not have been mentioned at all. And for this, whatever praise may be given to Narendra Modi is less,” he said.

Source:Siasat Daily

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North America


NYC Council Considering Naming Harlem Street To Honour Separatist Nation Of Islam Leader Elijah Muhammad

By Carl Campanile

January 29, 2023

The City Council is set to rename a Harlem street after Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad — a figure civil rights activists consider a bigot who promoted black separatism.

According to a street-naming list, the corner of West 127th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard would become “The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad Way.”

The site is where Mosque Temple No. 7 — the Eastern regional headquarters of the Nation of Islam — is located.

The honor for Elijah Muhammad is among 128 street renamings on a list before the Council — which will vote on the entire list.

But naming an intersection for Elijah Muhammad along a section of Malcolm X. Boulevard is expected to raise eyebrows at a Tuesday public hearing.

NYPD Patrolman Phillip Cardillo was killed by Nation of Islam radicals in 1972 at Mosque No. 7’s previous location on 116h Street in 1972 while responding to a fake emergency call. No one has been convicted in the slaying.

Malcolm X was a protege of Elijah Muhammad, but the pair had a falling out and Malcolm X split from the Nation of Islam.

Malcolm X was later assassinated by members of the black religious and nationalist organization in the Audubon Ballroom on Feb. 21, 1965 — with speculation continuing to rage over whether others, allegedly including Elijah Muhammad, ordered the hit.

Muhammad denied any involvement but said days after the assassination that “Malcolm X got just what he preached.”

Harlem democratic socialist Councilwoman Kristin Richardson Jordan put in the request to honor Elijah Muhammad.

But Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens) said the proposal to honor Elijah Muhammad should be removed from the list. The issue will be discussed at the Council’s public hearing Tuesday.

“I’m going to oppose Elijah Muhammad. He was a black supremacist. He was a bad guy,” Holden said. “It’s an insult to Malcolm X Boulevard.”

Councilman Kalman Yeger (D-Brooklyn) said it would be “highly embarrassing for the Council to pass… [the Elijah Muhammad street renaming]. Streets renaming should be reserved for principled and respected individuals.”

The Anti-Defamation League argued the Nation of Islam has “maintained a consistent record of antisemitism and bigotry since its founding in the 1930s.”

“The Nation of Islam opposes racial integration and advocates for the creation of a separate nation for Black people,” the ADL said. “Anti-white doctrines are incorporated into NOI ideology. Unlike many civil rights activists who critique whiteness with regard to power structures and systemic racism, the NOI engages in the demonization of and conspiracy theories about the biological nature of all white people, portraying white people as satanic, sub-human, and inherently inferior to Black people.”

The civil rights group said Elijah Muhammad “took over and promoted the idea that white people were created by an evil Black scientist and that Black people are the superior race.”

Others point out Elijah Muhammad drew blacks into the Nation of Islam and encouraged self empowerment.

Richardson Jordan’s proposal says Muhammad “served as the inspiration and mentor

to many, by preaching a new form of Islam tailored to the needs and problems of African

Americans, such as economic self-reliance, clean living and the promise of a future in

which African Americans would no longer be oppressed by racial discrimination.”

The request noted Elijah Muhammad’s economic development program for black people was an integral part of the growth of the Nation of Islam. During his tenure in the 1970s,  the Nation of Islam owned properties, bakeries, barber shops, grocery stores, laundromats, night clubs, a printing plant, retail stores, farmland and the Guaranty Bank and Trust Company.

The renaming has it backers.

“Absolutely. Elijah Muhammad was a historical figure throughout the nation. It’s a good thing,” said Harlemite Keith Wright, leader of the Manhattan Democratic Party and former state assemblyman,

And Council Republican Minority Leader Joseph Borelli said local council members should be given deference in who they want to honor in their district — even controversial figures.

“I don’t care who council members want to name streets after in their districts. But I don’t want to hear bitching and moaning when we want to honor Christopher Columbus,” said Borelli, who represents a Staten Island district with a significant Italian American population.

Source: New York Post

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Canada has planned for years to handle returnees from the Islamic State. Now the plan has to work

By Allan Woods

Jan. 29, 2023

Slowly and mysteriously, then in a growing wave, young Canadians left behind their homes and families to join fellow Muslims fighting in Syria and Iraq or to experience the radicalized utopia of an Islamic caliphate promised by the Islamic State terrorism group.

Five or so years ago, psychologists such as Michael King and Ghayda Hassan began preparing for their imminent return — one that is expected only now, with a judge’s ruling last week that the federal government must bring Canadian citizens home from overseas detention camps.

“When the caliphate kind of crumbled and lost all its territory,” said King, of Alberta’s Organization for the Prevention of Violence, “there was this massive fear that everyone was going to come back to their countries of origin and charges wouldn’t be laid because it was hard to collect evidence in foreign countries.”

Like surfers in a strange sea, psychologists, social workers, police and radicalization experts waited in vain for that wave of returning male ISIS fighters, female adherents and their children.

Now it is taking shape. Six women, between the ages of 27 and 40. Among them are 13 children between the ages of two and 14.

Separately, there are four Canadian men who range in age from late 20s to early 40s. They have been detained for years in makeshift Syrian prisons on suspicion they fought with or supported ISIS, but they have never been charged with a crime.


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US again issues warning of possible terrorist attacks against tourists in Turkey

30 January ,2023

The US embassy in Turkey warned Americans on Monday of possible attacks against churches, synagogues, and diplomatic missions in Istanbul, marking its second such notice in four days, following Quran-burning incidents in Europe.

In an updated security alert, the US embassy said “possible imminent retaliatory attacks by terrorists” could take place in areas frequented by Westerners, especially the city’s Beyoglu, Galata, Taksim, and Istiklalneighborhoods.

Turkish authorities are investigating the matter, it added.

On Friday, several embassies in Ankara including those of the United States, Germany, France and Italy issued security alerts over possible retaliatory attacks against places of worship, following separate incidents in which the Muslim holy book, the Quran, was burned in Sweden, Netherlands and Denmark.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Blinken: All options available to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon

29 January ,2023

US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, said on Sunday that Iran has rejected the current proposal to return to the nuclear agreement, adding that Washington still believes that diplomacy is the most effective way to deal with the Iranian nuclear file.

Blinken said in an exclusive interview with Al-Arabiya that Iranian youth are defending their basic rights in the face of Tehran’s regime, adding that US focus now is on the Iranian regime's suppression of its people in the streets.

‘We support the Iranian people’

Blinken highlighted US support to Iranian people, stressing that the decision of “regime change” remains ultimately up to the people. He added: “The Iranian regime is convincing its people of the idea that the US wants regime change.”

In addition, he stressed that Iran supports Russia in its war against Ukraine and provides it with drones and other weapons, expressing his concern about Tehran providing Moscow with drones and missiles.

‘All options are available’

He stressed that US President Joe Biden stressed his determination that Iran not acquire nuclear weapons, explaining that all options are available on the table to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

He pointed out that Washington has punished all those responsible for repression in Iran, stressing that his country continues to search for ways to disrupt Iran's malign activities.

‘Deterring aggressors’

Blinken also said that the main goal of US military efforts was deterring aggressors, specifically the US military exercises with Israel.

He announced that he would hold talks with the Israelis and Palestinians to reduce the escalating tensions.

‘Important relationships’

As for the Saudi-American ties, Blinken said that the relations between his country and the Kingdom have been important and ongoing for decades, noting that Saudi Arabia has provided great support to Ukraine in the face of the Russian war.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Macron calls for restraint after Israeli-Palestinian violence

30 January ,2023

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday called for restraint after the latest flare-up in violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

In a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Macron “recalled the need for all to avoid measures likely to feed the spiral of violence,” said his office.

He also expressed his “readiness to contribute to the resumption of dialogue between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” the statement added.

Macron repeated his condemnation of Friday's shooting attack outside a synagogue in Jerusalem that claimed seven lives.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkey may accept Finland into NATO: Erdogan

29 January ,2023

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said for the first time Sunday that Ankara could accept Finland into NATO without its Nordic neighbor Sweden.

Erdogan's comments during a televised meeting with younger voters came days after Ankara suspended NATO accession talks with the two countries.

Turkey and Hungary remain the only members of the 30-nation Western defense alliance to have failed to ratify the membership bids by Sweden and Finland.

The Hungarian parliament is expected to approve both bids in February.

But Erdogan has dug in his heels heading into a tightly contested May 14 presidential election in which he is trying to energize his conservative and nationalist base of support.

Erdogan's main complaint has been with Sweden's refusal to extradite dozens of suspects that Ankara links to outlawed Kurdish militants and a failed 2016 coup attempt.

He signaled on Sunday that he was willing to accept Finland into the US-led defense bloc on its own.

“If necessary, we can give a different response concerning Finland. Sweden will be shocked when we give a different response for Finland,” Erdogan said in televised remarks.

He repeated his demand for Sweden to hand over suspects sought by Ankara.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Muslims in London protest Quran burning

Burak Bir 



A group of Muslims on Saturday gathered outside Sweden’s Embassy in London to protest the provocative burning of a copy of the Quran by a far-right Swedish-Danish figure.

The protesters held signs condemning the Islamophobic extremist act and chanted slogans.

Dozens of people from different communities in Birmingham, Manchester, and London also performed prayer and recited verses from the Quran, Islam’s holy book, in the area.

On Friday, Swedish-Danish politician Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the far-right StramKurs (Hard Line) Party, burned a copy of the Quran in front of a mosque in Denmark.

The Islamophobic act came days after the far-right leader burned a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, during a police-approved protest.

He also announced he would burn the holy book of the Muslims every Friday until Sweden is included in the NATO alliance.

Global condemnations have poured in with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson condemning Paludan’s actions as "deeply disrespectful," while the US called it "repugnant."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Southeast Asia


Johor school’s SPM workshop issue settled, says PTA

January 30, 2023

PETALING JAYA: The controversy over the SPM workshop which was held exclusively for Muslim students of SMK Infant Jesus Convent has come to an amicable conclusion, says the school’s parent-teacher association (PTA).

The PTA said all those involved had apologised over the issue and that moving forward, there will be more transparency practised by the school.

“The lesson we have learned, as acknowledged by the school’s principal, Ande Noor MunawarahBachok, is that going forward, the flow of information must be transparent and made known to all, across the board.

“The matter was accepted by the PTA committee because those involved have apologised,” it said in a statement that was undersigned by seven committee members.

The PTA also detailed its findings on the issue as well as the measures needed to prevent such an incident from occurring again.

“We found that there was no due process in the approval and organisation of the SPM workshop, which was held only for Muslim students at a hotel on Jan 19 and 20.

“The PTA committee members were not at all informed of such a programme,” it said adding that the workshop sessions covered Islamic topics, as well as Chemistry and Additional Mathematics.

The PTA said two more programmes were organised, on Jan 26 and 27, respectively, with the first held in the school for all Form 5 students, and the second one at the same hotel for “21 students who had failed or were ‘near misses’ in their examination”.

It added that due process was again not observed in the organisation of the Jan 27 programme.

In a Twitter thread on Jan 23, social media user @sangria200 posted a series of screenshots of a WhatsApp conversation in a school chat group where parents alleged that the school had discriminated against non-Muslim students by holding the SPM workshop only for Muslim students at a hotel on Jan 19 and 20.

In response, the education ministry said the workshop was not discriminatory and was intended for all the students, adding that it was broken up into different sessions to avoid disrupting the festivities for students celebrating Chinese New Year.

On the measures to prevent a recurrence of such incidents, the PTA said details of all school programmes, especially those held outside the school, “must henceforth be communicated to the entire PTA committee, right from the initial planning stages”.

“Due process for the approval, organising and staging of such events and programmes will then be forwarded to all PTA members.

“The SMK IJ Convent WhatsApp chat group will be completely transparent, with guidelines on ethical communication within the group made known to all,” it added.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Malaysia to Print 1 Million Quran Copies to Distribute Worldwide

January 29, 2023

Anwar Ibrahim said on Saturday that the move was part of a stern response against Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan for burning a copy of the Muslim Holy Book in Stockholm, Sweden.

"The most efficient way to counter this crazy and barbaric action is to continue with efforts that have been made.

"We are determined to print and distribute one million copies of Quran across the globe immediately.

"It will follow with several programs on understanding and appreciation of the Quran with clear message and content," he said after visiting the Quranic Arts Festival at Nasyrul Quran Complex, Putrajaya Saturday.

Anwar said the printing and distribution process would be done in stages.

"The program has started and we will start contacting other Islamic countries to streamline the distribution.

"Most of the allocation is from the government. We will seek the local religious councils and contact our friends in other Muslim nations (for distribution)," he said.

Last Saturday, Paludan, the leader of the Danish right-wing political party Hard Line burned a copy of the Quran during a protest in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm.

On Friday, 500 people held a rally in front of the Hampshire Place building in Kuala Lumpur, which houses the Swedish embassy protesting the action of Paludan and called on the Swedish government to take action against the politician.

Among the organizers of the rally were Angkatan Bersatu Anak Muda (Armada), PartiPribumi Bersatu Malaysia along with component members of Perikatan National as well as Islamic non-governmental organizations (NGOs).


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It’s not race or religion that threatens Malays and Malaysia but corruption, says PM Anwar

By Ida Lim

28 Jan 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — The real threat to the survival of the ethnic Malay community and Malaysia as a whole is corruption as well as leaders who steal the country’s wealth, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.

Anwar was countering politicians who harp on race and religion, saying these are irrelevant to good governance.

“People can harp upon issues of race or religion, to me, it's completely irrelevant. It's a way and attempt by political leaders to disguise and hijack the central issues of governance in this country. They are going to appeal to the race, including the Malays, that their position, their power base is challenged.

“Now my answer to that question is, it is not being challenged by Malay businessmen or Chinese businessmen or Indian businessmen or Sabah, Sarawak. The Malay survival is being threatened by a corrupt system, a greedy coterie of leaders who have been stealing public funds from this country, so we will have to continue to work together to make sure we save this country from corruption,” he said in his keynote speech at the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia's (ACCCIM) Chinese New Year open house here.

Anwar did not name the leaders who were said to have stolen public monies.

As someone who went from being the Opposition leader to the prime minister, Anwar said he looks at files and papers, but does not have the power to investigate and prosecute.

“You in the business community know precisely what I'm talking about, every deal, every contract, they will attempt, and of course in the process, huge commissions and bribery.

“It's not for me to conduct investigations or prosecute, but I trust the authorities will not delay this, because we are not talking about the political survival of an individual or party or a government, we are talking about the survival of this great nation of Malaysia for all Malaysians in this country,” he said to applause from the audience.

In his speech, Anwar also alluded to ACCCIM president Tan Sri Low Kian Chuan’s earlier speech on issues of good governance and a firm commitment and determination to wipe out corruption which had become systemic and endemic in Malaysia.

Earlier, Low had pointed out how excessive regulations raise the costs of business transactions and discourage investments while also leading to corruption, and noted that eradication of corruption, regulatory and compliance reforms and enhancement of public delivery services would be necessary to ease the cost of doing business in Malaysia.

Low, who heads the 102-year-old ACCCIM representing over 11,000 members from the local business community, was proposing for priority to be given to the implementation of progressive and moderate policies and the enhancement of a conducive business environment that would help boost both local and foreign investment.

In his speech, Anwar cautioned against any "silly, racist" arguments that would push the idea of him purportedly neglecting Malay businessmen just because he attended the Chinese New Year reception hosted by the Chinese business community.

Noting the need for Malaysia to give space to all races, Anwar said attention will continue to be given to segments in society which are the poorest and marginalised including those from the Malay and Bumiputera community, saying however: "But this is not a zero-sum game."

"I come today, Azizah and the ministers, to honour our friends -- Chinese friends in the business community. This is not a zero-sum game, this does not mean therefore I neglect Malay businessmen. unless some silly racist arguments are being forwarded," he said, referring to his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Cabinet members who also attended the event.

He used his own experience of growing up in a multiethnic Bukit Mertajam in Penang where "we were all like family" to illustrate how different races in Malaysian society show love and tolerance towards each other.

While pointing out he is a Malay and had a strict upbringing by his parents who ensured he fasted and prayed, Anwar said he had childhood friends of Chinese and Indian ethnicity, and noted the "phenomenal" respect by non-Muslims towards Muslims' practise of their faith.

He cited an anecdote such as when his father's non-Muslim friend was very particular and ensured that halal food was served when they ate at his house, noting that there was no need to force non-Muslims as they understand such matters.

"He is very particular, what I eat, what is halal, what is haram, you don't need to force them, they understand, this is what we mean by tolerance, love and affection," Anwar said to applause.


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South Asia


Death Toll of Afghanistan’s Harsh Winter Reaches 166 People

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

January 29, 2023

Afghanistan’s State Ministry for Disaster Management has announced that due to the “harsh winter” more than 166 people have died across the country so far.

Rahman Zahid, a disaster management authority in a video said that 168 individuals have died due to extreme weather conditions and gassing in 24 provinces of the country.

Mr. Zahid added that hundreds of houses have collapsed and nearly 80,000 livestock has died across the country, leaving server economic impacts on the living conditions of vulnerable families.

In the meantime, the weather forecast authorities have warned of possible snowfall in at least 19 provinces in the coming days, which will further complicate the living conditions of the people who are in dire need of humanitarian support.

The country’s weather forecast bureau on Saturday announced there will be heavy snowfalls in the coming days in provinces including, Badakhshan, Nuristan, Kunar, Nangarhar, Laghman, Kapisa, Panjshir, Parwan, Kabul, Logar, Paktika, Zabul, Ghazni, Maidan Wardak, Bamyan, Daikundi and Ghor. 

Meanwhile, humanitarian aid organizations had warned of the consequences of the harsh winter, 50 percent of Afghanistan’s 38 million population is in dire need of aid and winterization support. It is also stated that nearly four million children suffer from serious malnutrition in the country.

Amid the humanitarian crisis, the harsh winter is a new addition to the problems of the Afghan people. With gender-based bans restricting women employees from working with non-governmental aid organizations have interrupted the distribution of aid to needy families across the country during these difficult times.

Instead of easing the situation for women employees of NGOs, the de facto government of Afghanistan issued a new decree banning female students from taking the university entrance exam (Kankor) in all private and public universities of this year.

Source: Khaama Press

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Pompeo slams ex-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in his book, calls him ‘a total fraud’ who hampered peace talks with Taliban

January 29, 2023

Ashraf Ghani, the former Afghanistan President who fled the country when the Taliban seized power in Kabul, was “a total fraud” solely focused on his own desire to stay in power, and a big hurdle in any peace talks, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has alleged.

In his book titled ' Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love,' Mr. Pompeo claims that both Mr. Ghani and Afghanistan's former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah were involved in corruption at the highest levels that limited the U.S.’ ability to successfully exit the war-torn country in August 2021.

The U.S. completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 31, ending its 20-year-old military presence in the war-torn country.

“As negotiations accelerated, Ghani was always a problem. I met scores of world leaders, and he was my least favourite. That’s saying a lot when you have Kim (Jong-un), Xi (Jinping), and (Vladimir) Putin in the mix. Yet Ghani was a total fraud who had wasted American lives and was focused solely on his own desire to stay in power,” Mr. Pompeo writes in his book that hit the bookstores last week.

“Never once did I sense that he was prepared to take a risk for his country that might imperil his power. This disgusted me,” he writes in the book that gives a detailed account of the negotiations the previous U.S. administration led by ex-President Donald Trump had with the hardline Taliban militants.

The Trump administration had appointed former diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad as the special envoy for talks with the Taliban.

Mr. Pompeo claims that Mr. Ghani won his re-election mainly because of massive electoral fraud.

“According to the final nominal tally, Ghani had defeated the country’s chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah. But the truth was that Ghani simply had bribed more voters and vote counters than the other candidates had,” writes the former Secretary of State.

Mr. Pompeo says both Mr. Ghani and Mr. Abdullah were fighting about who would be the next President without regard for whether there would even be a government to lead in Afghanistan.

“At General (Austin Scott) Miller’s request, I hopped a plane to Afghanistan on March 23, 2020, to tell them that they needed to find an accommodation, or I would advise President Trump that we should exit the country immediately, beginning with the elimination of the roughly USD 5–6 billion per year in foreign assistance that we were providing at the time,” he said.

This was a real threat, Mr. Pompeo notes.

“While the public focus was almost always on how the aid provided security assistance, its larger purpose was to preserve civil order. It funded schools and health care, but it also meant ‘walking around money’ for local leaders. That’s a euphemism for bribery, and it’s the sad reality of both how American aid and Afghan society worked,” he said.

“My message got their attention. Eventually, we shaved off USD 1 billion in assistance to show we weren’t bluffing. In May, Abdullah essentially gave control to Ghani, and we had, at least, a head of the Afghan government,” he said.

After joining the Trump administration, Mr. Pompeo said, he assessed that Afghan low-level corruption secured a measure of stability, as it kept the country from completely unravelling, albeit at a staggering cost to the government’s credibility with its own people.

“The fact was that even Afghan’s president Ashraf Ghani and the country’s chief executive Abdullah Abdullah both led cartels that stole millions of dollars in aid money from the United States. That corruption at the highest levels limited our ability to exit successfully,” the 59-year-old former top American diplomat claims in his book.

Mr. Ghani has previously denied taking "millions of dollars belonging to the Afghan people" and also explained the reasons why he had to flee to Dubai overnight from Kabul.

In a statement he shared on Twitter in September 2021, Mr. Ghani said: “Leaving Kabul was the most difficult decision of my life, but I believed it was the only way to keep the guns silent and save Kabul and her 6 million citizens".

"I must now address baseless allegations that as I left Kabul I took with me millions of dollars belonging to the Afghan people. These charges are completely and categorically false.

"Corruption is a plague that has crippled our country for decades and fighting corruption has been a central focus of my efforts as president. I inherited a monster that could not easily or quickly be defeated," the 73-year-old former Afghan president said in the statement.

In his book, Mr. Pompeo writes that Mr. Ghani, for all his eloquence and charm, was not the leader of a war-torn, deeply divided tribal nation seeking to build the political institutions needed.

“He was a dim bulb in his political instincts and a Brussels-style manager in a cauldron of violence that demanded an Ultimate Fighting Championship mindset. Nor did he have much credibility among Afghan leaders, nearly all of whom had been fighting in one war or another for their entire adult lives,” Mr. Pompeo said.

Mr. Ghani’s years in the West had made him masterful at gaming American lawmakers and nonprofit organisations, he claims.

“He also spent extravagantly on lobbyists. I say with no exaggeration that Ghani had more friends inside the district of Columbia than he did in Afghanistan. When I met him the first time during my CIA days, I told him straight up: ‘You’re squandering your time on K Street and Capitol Hill when you should be hustling for allies in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif,’ Pompeo wrote.

Source: TheHindu

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Taliban raise concerns over ‘problems’ faced by Afghan refugees in Iran


January 29, 2023

KABUL: The Taliban administration has raised concerns with Tehran over difficulties faced by Afghan refugees in Iran, an official said on Sunday, as reports of mistreatment continue to emerge from the neighboring country.

Iran has for decades hosted millions of Afghans fleeing armed conflict in their country.

Nearly 600,000 Afghan passport holders live in Iran and about 780,000 are registered as refugees, according to 2022 data from UN High Commissioner for Refugees, while 2.1 million Afghans remain undocumented.

The number of Afghans crossing into their western neighbor has increased since 2021, when the Taliban took control of the country and international sanctions slapped on their administration shattered the economy. Many have since been forcibly expelled back to Afghanistan, and reports of their abuse at the hands of Iranian security forces have been on the rise.

This month, videos circulated on social media shed new light on the ordeal faced by Afghan refugees in Iran. At least one clip showed topless Afghan men chained together and kneeling on the sand, crying and pleading as they are whipped with a belt. Other footage has emerged since last year, with reports of abuse not only by the Iranian police but also by criminal gangs and human traffickers.

“There is no doubt that Afghans have faced a number of problems in neighboring Iran,” Abdul Mutalib Haqqani, spokesman for the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, told Arab News on Sunday.

“We have talked to Iranian officials…and shared such concerns and problems of Afghans with them,” Haqqani added. “One of the problems is that a big number of Afghans have been forcibly expelled from Iran.”

Iranian security forces have “unlawfully killed” at least 11 Afghans, according to a report by Amnesty International published last August, which also documented the forced returns and torture of Afghans.

Last April, viral footage showing the mistreatment of Afghan refugees in Iran prompted a wave of protests targeting Iranian diplomatic missions in Kabul and Herat.

Those reports, however, have not deterred Afghans from seeking a better life in Iran, said social activist Dr. Azad, who is based in the western province of Herat.

“About 80 percent of Herat residents have been living in poverty and economic problems,” he told Arab News. “Almost one member of each family from Herat province is traveling to neighboring Iran to find work until they can provide food for their family.

“Those who have passports and those without any documents have all had to face different problems with the Iranian authorities.”

But problems faced by Afghan refugees in Iran are multifaceted and do not always directly involve Iranian officials, said Attaullah Khogyani, an Afghan activist based in Tehran.

“Afghan refugees have a lot of problems in Iran. Sometimes they are arrested and beaten very badly, and after the arrest, they are forcibly expelled to Afghanistan,” Khogyani, whose work focuses on refugee rights, told Arab News in a phone interview.

“There are some groups who abduct Afghans and then ask them to pay money, taking away their passports and other legal documents too,” he added.

Source: Arab News

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Israeli govt to revoke rights of ‘terrorist families’

29 January ,2023

The Israeli security cabinet announced measures to revoke certain rights of “terrorist families” after two attacks in east Jerusalem, one of which killed seven people near a synagogue.

Meeting late Saturday, the security cabinet “decided on a series of steps to ... exact a price from terrorists and those who support them,” according to a statement.

It announced the revocation of the rights to social security of “the families of terrorists that support terrorism” and a discussion on Sunday by the council of ministers of a bill to revoke their Israeli identity cards.

At the start of the meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised a “strong” and “swift” response to the Palestinian attacks over the past two days.

The measures announced are in line with proposals from his far-right political partners which enabled him to return to power at the end of December, following elections the previous month.

They are likely to apply to Palestinians with Israeli nationality (Israeli Arabs) and Palestinians with resident status in annexed east Jerusalem.

Friday’s synagogue attack, one of the deadliest in Jerusalem in years, was carried out by a 21-year-old Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem.

Hours later, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy shot and wounded a father and son in east Jerusalem on Saturday.

Deploring scenes of people in several Palestinian cities celebrating the killings near a synagogue in a Jewish settlement neighborhood in east Jerusalem, the security cabinet also agreed “on steps to strengthen settlements that will be submitted this week,” without giving further details.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Reports of torture, unfair trials in Iran trigger fresh alarm over fate of protesters

29 January ,2023

Rights groups warned that several young people, including teenagers who’ve been jailed by Iran for their involvement in anti-government protests, are at risk of being executed, and have been tortured.

In a statement, London-based Amnesty International urged Iran to immediately quash death sentences for three protesters — ages 18, 19 and 31 — charged with at least two capital offenses each after court hearings that lasted less than an hour.

Widespread demonstrations against the leadership of the Islamic Republic erupted in mid-September over the death in police custody of MahsaAmini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman. She collapsed at a police station after being arrested for allegedly flouting Iran’s strict dress code for women.

Iran has been condemned by many countries for its use of violence and executions to suppress the protests, which have been largely led by women and young people and have presented a major challenge to the hardline clerical leadership.

Arshia Takdastan, Mehdi Mohammadifard and Javad Rouhi are each accused of “inciting arson or vandalism by dancing, clapping, chanting or throwing headscarves into bonfires during protests in a town in northern Iran on Sept. 21, according to Amnesty.

The men have have been subjected to “floggings, electric shocks, being hung upside down and death threats at gunpoint by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in order to extract confessions, Amnesty said, citing “informed sources on the ground.

In its statement, Amnesty added that one of the men had been raped and another sexually tortured while in detention. Rouhi was also charged with a third capital offense of apostasy after being accused of burning a copy of the Koran.

Activists have also called for the release of 21-year-old Armita Abbasi, who was arrested in October after criticizing the Islamic Republic in social media posts and is due to stand trial on Sunday. According to a Nov. 21 report by CNN, citing interviews with unnamed doctors in Iran, she has been repeatedly raped in detention and needed treatment in hospital for severe bleeding.

Iran’s state-run media denied the reports.

According to the BBC, Abbasi’s father confirmed in an Instagram post on Saturday that she’ll be represented by a court-approved lawyer after her original attorney resigned from his position because he was barred from meeting her.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Israeli opposition leader apportions blame on Ben-Gvir for synagogue attack

Zain Khalil 



Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid has held National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir responsible for a shooting attack that killed at least seven Israelis near a synagogue in occupied East Jerusalem.

"You are responsible, hold the responsibility instead of looking all day for a person to blame," Lapid told the local Ynet radio.

"This man does not know how make anything, he is living in the TikTok [mobile application] and looks for someone to blame," Lapid added.

The opposition leader also accused Ben-Gvir of failing to carry out his duties as national security minister.

The accusation came after seven Israeli settlers were killed in a shooting attack near a synagogue in Neve Yaakov settlement in East Jerusalem Friday night.

On Saturday, Ben-Gvir accused Israel's Attorney General GaliBaharav-Miara of being late in ordering the closure of the house of the Palestinian attacker.

Israeli settlers verbally attacked Ben-Gvir as he visited the scene of the attack on Friday. A video published by Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper showed the far-right minister while being escorted away by police amid verbal altercations with settlers.

Ben-Gvir triggered a storm of Palestinian condemnations on Jan. 3, when he visited the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem amid warnings of unrest.

Ben-Gvir holds far-right views on the Palestinians and has called for their displacement. He has repeatedly joined Israeli settlers in storming the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem.

In November, Israeli President Isaac Herzog warned in a leaked audio that "the whole world is worried" about Ben-Gvir’s far-right views.

On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a request by Ben-Gvir to allow settlers to organize a "provocative" flag march in Jerusalem.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Israeli officers seal off home of Palestinian synagogue shooter

29 January ,2023

Israeli officers on Sunday sealed off the Jerusalem family home of a Palestinian gunman who killed seven people outside a synagogue on the outskirts of the city, police said, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised “a swift response.”

Seven people including a 14-year-old were shot dead on Friday in the attack on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which drew wide international condemnation and heightened fears of already spiraling violence escalating further.

It was the worst such Palestinian attack on Israelis in the Jerusalem area since 2008 and followed a fatal Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank city Jenin on Thursday, the deadliest there in years.

The shooting presents a challenge to Netanyahu, who returned to power in December at the head of a hard-right nationalist government, promising to improve personal safety for Israelis after a spate of lethal Palestinian street attacks last year.

The Israeli military said on Saturday it was sending additional troops into the occupied West Bank, which has seen months of worsening clashes that culminated in 2022 with the highest death toll, including militants and civilians, in more than a decade.

Still, there was no sign Israel was preparing for a large-scale military response to the shooting. With US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken visiting this week, Israeli and Palestinian leaders were expected to try to contain the violence.

After convening his security cabinet for a late-night meeting on Saturday, Netanyahu said the government would pursue sanctions against families of assailants and that he would present steps this week to “strengthen settlements.”

Sworn in a month ago, Netanyahu’s government - the most right-wing in Israel’s history - has prioritized settlement building on lands the Palestinians seek for a state, though it has not yet taken major steps on the ground in that direction.

Most world powers consider as illegal Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, land it captured in the 1967 war.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has not remarked on Friday’s attack and on Saturday blamed Israel for the spiraling violence.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran condemns Jenin carnage, reiterates sustained support for Palestinian nation

30 January 2023

Iran will continue its support to the Palestinian nation in face of Israeli aggression, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has said, as Palestine is struggling against the escalating acts of violence committed by Israeli settlers and army under the new extremist far-right cabinet.

In separate phone calls with the heads of the Palestinian Hamas resistance group Ismail Haniyeh and Secretary General of the Islamic Jihad Ziyad al-Nakhalah, Amir-Abdollahian strongly condemned the Israeli killings of innocent Palestinian people, the Iranian Foreign Ministry Website reported early on Monday.

He emphasized that Iran will stand by its Palestinian brethren. His statement comes following the recent round of crimes committed by the Israeli regime in the Jenin camp, where 10 Palestinians including a woman were killed.

Palestinian media outlets reported that Israeli occupation forces raided the Jenin camp early on Thursday, killing 10 and injuring more than 20, leaving residents and popular resistance groups with no choice but to defend themselves and confront the occupation forces.

They said that more than 70 Israeli armed vehicles stormed the flashpoint city and the neighboring refugee camp, while Israeli snipers were deployed on rooftops and heavily armed soldiers opened fire at Palestinian youths who tried to block their way.

The Iranian foreign minister also paid tribute to the souls of the Palestinian martyrs and expressed sympathy with their families and the Palestinian nation. He reassured that Palestine has the continued support of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

For his part, Haniyeh thanked Iran for its principled positions in supporting the Palestinian nation on all levels.

Nakhalah also said, “We are proud of the positions announced by the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has been always standing with us against the Zionist regime and its actions against Palestine and its Holy places.”

‘Some Arab states pressuring Palestinian resistance’

Washington and Tel Aviv have claimed repeatedly that Iran is deeply involved in encouraging so-called Palestinian “terrorism” against Israel.

However, Saleh abu Izzah, a senior Palestinian political analyst from the Jenin camp, believes that Iran is sincere in its relations with other nations and that the Palestinian people have all the right to defend themselves in face of Israeli aggression.

Speaking to Press TV website, Abu Izza said while Iran supports the Palestinian people who live under apartheid, unfortunately, there has been immense pressure from some Arab countries on the Palestinian resistance to stop its retaliation to Israeli crimes.

Following the Jenin massacre, regional countries, including the UAE and Turkey, have condemned Palestinian resistance operations against the Israeli apartheid regime. The UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco agreed to normalize relations with Israel under US-brokered agreements in 2020, when former US president Donald Trump was in office. Also, Saudi Arabia has been encouraging other nations to normalize with the Israeli apartheid regime, signaling it is willing to follow the lead of other Arab countries.

“The Israeli Institute for National Security Studies issued a strategic report a few days ago in which it expressed worry and fear over what it called an imminent danger facing Israel, meaning the resistance in the West Bank that Israel wants to crush” Abu Izzah, a senior expert in West Asia affairs, told Press TV.

Nevertheless, Abu Izza noted that the resistance factions in Palestine have a legitimate right to fight the Israeli occupation, which committed the Jenin massacre.

The political analyst went on to say that “the Jenin refugee camp massacre is a continuation of Israeli crimes and human rights violations against the Palestinian people. It is part of the Israeli scheme to crush the Palestinian resistance in the occupied West Bank.”

Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, with East al-Quds as its capital, have condemned the Israeli massacre through rallies across occupied Palestine.

International bodies and many Arab countries, like always, failed to condemn the Israeli deadly attacks, which are a blatant violation of human rights.

Iran, meanwhile, has shown sincerity and consistency in its stance toward the Palestinian people. Iranian officials have time and again expressed support for Palestine’s right to fight the Israeli apartheid regime and its policies of deliberate killing.

Earlier on Friday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani said the inaction and the deafening silence of relevant international organizations and so-called advocates of human rights in the West over the daily crimes committed by the Tel Aviv regime are painful and a cause for shame.

Kan’ani also called on Muslim states to adopt a united stance and act in defense of the oppressed Palestinian people and their legitimate resistance against the occupiers.

Source: PressTV

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Israel stepping up armed crackdown on Palestinians following retaliatory attack in al-Quds

29 January 2023

Israel has announced plans to provide illegal settlers with firearms and weapons in response to the recent retaliatory operations by Palestinians, which killed at least seven illegal settlers in the occupied al-Quds, amid escalating violence in the occupied territories.

Speaking after an emergency meeting late on Saturday, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed a "strong, swift and precise" response to the latest retaliatory attacks and said his cabinet, comprised of a group of hardline politicians, had decided to expedite gun permits for Israeli people to defend against Palestinian street attacks.

Netanyahu also announced that his cabinet had decided on a series of steps to “strengthen settlements” in the coming week, without providing further details.

He said that more soldiers and police would be deployed, and security forces would embark on a series of operations to gather intelligence, confiscate illegal firearms and carry out arrests.

Itamar Ben Gvir, the far-right security minister, said after the cabinet meeting that he would soon propose a law allowing for the “death penalty” against perpetrators of such attacks.

The Israeli threats came hours after two retaliatory operations. In a shooting operation carried out on Friday near a synagogue in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied East al-Quds seven illegal settlers were killed and 10 others wounded. Two illegal settlers were also injured in another shooting attack in the same area on Saturday.

On Thursday, the Israeli regime's forces raided the city of Jenin and its neighboring refugee camp in the north of the Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank, gunning down nine Palestinians.

Palestinian resistance groups have hailed the retaliatory operation near the synagogue, describing it as a "direct response" to the deadliest Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank in years.

The Israeli raid comes in the context of recent escalations that have been on the rise, especially in light of the new extremist far-right cabinet headed by Netanyahu and his extremist affiliates.

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

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

More than 170 Palestinians, including at least 30 children, were killed across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem last year. In January 2023 alone, at least 38 Palestinians including five children have been killed.

Source: Press TV

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Türkiye issues travel warning for EU, US over anti-Muslim, racist attacks

JAN 28, 2023

As the protests over a Quran burning by a far-right politician in Sweden and Denmark gripped other countries, the United States and European Union countries warned their citizens to avoid crowds in Türkiye. In response, Türkiye's Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning for Turkish nationals visiting European countries due to the surge in anti-Muslim, xenophobic and racist acts.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the ministry referred to the "dangerous levels" of the surge in anti-Muslim, xenophobic and racist acts, including anti-Türkiye propaganda by supporters of the PKK terrorist group. The statement noted that the developments reflect the worrying level of racist and discriminatory rhetoric in Europe and said Turkish citizens planning to visit countries where such demonstrations occur should be cautious and refrain from visiting areas with large crowds that support the ideologies mentioned above.

The ministry also suggested that Turkish citizens stay calm if they experience such hostility in European countries and contact local security forces, or the ministry, embassies and consulates. It also provided a phone number for the Consulate Call Center, which can be contacted by Turkish citizens at times of emergencies.

The ministry's travel warning followed weeks of anti-Türkiye and anti-Muslim demonstrations in Europe, mainly in Sweden, as Turkish officials criticized Swedish authorities for failing to take action against terrorist sympathizers and far-right figures who desecrated the Quran. Sweden's bid for NATO membership is facing a dead end as ties strained over the past two weeks due to anti-Türkiye propaganda in the country, which recently peaked with Quran burning by Rasmus Paludan.

Earlier on Saturday, the Swedish, Norwegian and Danish foreign ministries issued a travel advisory, calling on their citizens to avoid large gatherings in Türkiye amid ongoing tensions. Several embassies in Ankara including those of the United States, Germany, France and Italy on Friday released security alerts for their citizens in Turkey that flagged "possible retaliatory attacks by terrorists against places of worship."

The U.S. Embassy said in its warning that Quran-burning incidents could lead to "possible retaliatory attacks by terrorists against places of worship in Türkiye."

"Terrorists could attack with little or no warning, targeting places of worship or places Westerners frequent," the warning on its website said, after days of peaceful protests in Türkiye to condemn the anti-Muslim act by Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan.

The U.S. Embassy was quick to issue a travel advisory for its citizens last year as well over a rally by the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). After last year's travel warning, U.S. Ambassador in Ankara Jeff Flake was summoned to the Foreign Ministry to express Türkiye's grievances over the warning, while Turkish police and the Foreign Ministry advised Turkish citizens in the United States to stay away from "widely participated events."

Though they have been close allies, Türkiye and the United States are often at odds over a number of issues, and embassy warnings to U.S. citizens traveling to Türkiye are among the areas of dispute. Washington angers Ankara over what politicians call an exaggeration of the situation in Türkiye.

In 2018, Türkiye issued a travel warning to the United States, citing a number of far-right and racist incidents, including shootings, shortly after the U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory for visitors to Türkiye, urging them to “reconsider travel” over safety concerns.

Türkiye's warning for travelers to the United States issued on the Foreign Ministry's website points out nationwide protests over the death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee and notes that it was "observed" that xenophobic, racist verbal and physical assaults prevailed across the country. Nichols, a young black man, died after being beaten by five police officers. The city of Memphis has disbanded the special police unit involved in the beating whose video emerged and sparked protests. Several dozen demonstrators called for police reform on Saturday afternoon as they gathered in the chilly rain in front of city hall shouting, "No justice, no peace!" and carrying signs with slogans such as "Justice for Tyre Nichols." At one point, a police car ended up surrounded by a group of protesters, who directed their angry chants at the vehicle. Protests in Memphis, Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta and a handful of other cities on Friday evening were small and largely peaceful after the video was released.

The five Memphis officers, who are all black, were charged with second-degree murder in the beating of Nichols, who died in hospital on Jan. 10, three days after being stopped on suspicion of reckless driving. Despite nationwide calls for police reform following George Floyd's death and subsequent protests in 2020, the number of people who died in the U.S. during interactions with police hit a 10-year high in 2022, at 1,186 fatalities, according to the website Mapping Police Violence.

In its warning to Turkish travelers, the Foreign Ministry urged them to avoid areas where protests are concentrated and act calm "against possible xenophobic, racist harassments and attacks, and contact local security forces in such cases." It called upon travelers to monitor local media against the possibility of such incidents and follow additional warnings and announcements by U.S. authorities and Turkish diplomatic missions in the United States.

In a travel warning for European countries, the ministry noted the escalation in anti-Muslim, xenophobic and racist incidents and anti-Turkish propaganda rallies by groups affiliated with terrorists. The ministry said these developments revealed the dangerous heights of religious intolerance and hatred in Europe and expressed concerns about racist movements in the continent. It urged travelers planning to visit European countries to avoid sites of protests and contact local security forces in case of xenophobic and racist attacks and follow warnings by local authorities as well as Turkish diplomatic missions in the countries they visited.

Turkish officials have criticized their Western counterparts for remaining indifferent to anti-Muslim sentiments and ideologies fueling them, while experts believe Türkiye can lead the fight against it. Türkiye has continuously called on world leaders to take action to stop the demonization of Muslims and has been taking action to tackle the growing problem.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has frequently said that Western countries insist on not taking measures against growing anti-Islam sentiment. Erdoğan also called on Turkish institutions to take action on issues related to Muslims and Turks in these countries.

According to the European Islamophobia Report 2021, Islamophobia was "as pressing a problem" across the continent as it was in previous years. It said countries such as the United Kingdom and France became "the main spots of anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobic incidents."

"Furthermore, anti-Muslim campaigns of far-right parties in EU member states dominate the discrimination against Muslim individuals and communities," read the report, which focused on 27 European countries and was prepared with contributions from 35 leading academics and experts in the field.

The report links the persistence of anti-Muslim racism to "the backdrop of a general worrisome trend: The decline of liberal democracy in Europe." It warns that major forces within Europe, singling out countries like France, are still "investing less in the fight against Islamophobia, and more ... into normalizing Islamophobia."

Source: DailySabah

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Iranian Speaker Hails Palestinians for Teaching Great Lesson to Israel After Jenin Attack


Qalibaf made the remarks in a meeting with Speaker of the People's National Assembly of Algeria Ibrahim Boughali on the sidelines of the 17th Session of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States Conference (PUIC).

The Iranian speaker expressed hope that the Tehran-Algiers relations would lead to unity among the Islamic World and the fight against the Zionist regime to defend the oppressed Palestinian people.

"Islamic countries must know that the Zionist regime seeks to remove the issue of Palestine from the agenda of the Islamic world," he underscored, underlining that the issue of Palestine is the first issue of the Islamic world.

"The Zionists seek to disrupt the unity among Islamic countries and normalize ties between Islamic states and the regime," he said, stressing that Islamic governments and especially nations should raise the cost of such moves in such a way that no Islamic government dares to normalize ties with the Zionist regime.

"The pressures of the new Israeli government on the Palestinian people have increased," Qalibaf stated, noting, "Of course, Palestinians have given them a great lesson these days."

On Thursday, the Israeli military carried out a deadly raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. Ten Palestinians were killed, including an elderly woman, following several hours of intense confrontations between dozens of Israeli soldiers and Palestinian resistance fighters.

The latest killings bring the total number of Palestinians killed in Israeli fire so far in 2023 to at least 30, including five children.

In a retaliatory operation near a synagogue in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied East Al-Quds on Friday, eight settlers were killed and many others injured. Tel Aviv has announced that the gunman involved in the shooting was "neutralized" by Israeli soldiers.

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

The United Nations marked 2022 as the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in 16 years.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Islamic State-Affiliated ADF Rebels Kill 15 In Eastern DR Congo

January 29, 2023


A wave of attacks on villages in eastern DR Congo attributed to Islamic State-affiliated ADF rebels killed at least 15 people Sunday, local officials said.

These latest killings come a week after a similar attack left more than 20 dead.

"There were simultaneous attacks this Sunday between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. on three villages," said local official DieudonneMalangai.

"In Manyala village we found seven bodies... at Ofay, there were eight dead, including seven women," Malangai told AFP, and indicated that the final toll might be higher.

A humanitarian source confirmed seven fatalities in Manyala and "at least eight" in Ofay.

"These ADF rebels also attacked Bandibese village but ran into resistance from soldiers who intervened and so there were no civilian deaths," Malangai said after the raids on three villages in the Ituri province bordering Rwanda.

"We are tired of giving the death toll day after day," he added.

ADF fighters were also blamed for last week's raids in the neighboring province of North Kivu which claimed at least 23 lives while in the same province at least 14 other people were killed in a bomb blast at a Pentecostal church.

Islamic State portrays the ADF, which has its roots in Rwanda, as its central African incarnation.

Source: VOANews

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LP guber candidate, Asake, woos Islamic leaders

By SaxoneAkhaine

30 January 2023

Labour Party (LP) Governorship candidate in Kaduna State, Jonathan Asake, assured the Muslim community in the state that he will operate on the principles of justice as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, if elected into office in March.

Asake gave the assurance in Zaria, at the weekend, when he and his running mate, Bashir Idris, met with Muslim clerics, in continuation of their dialogue with stakeholders in the state.

He said as religious leaders, who command large following, majority of whom have been negatively affected by the policies of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government, it was imperative to seek their prayers, support and interact on the way forward for the state.

The governorship flag-bearer said he would defend the rights of citizens to exercise their socio-cultural and religious freedom at all times, adding that inclusiveness would be his watchword.

In a statement by his media aide, James Swam, the governorship candidate urged the clerics to deeply reflect on the prevailing economic and security situations of the state and preach the truth, so that the electorate would understand what choice to make on March 11.

Said Asake: “I came to unveil myself to you, to seek your prayers and support to succeed in becoming the governor of Kaduna come March 11, so that, together, we can secure the state and restore hope to the people. I will defend all and promote all. Each person will exercise their freedom as the constitution permits.”

He, however, lamented that poverty, unemployment, banditry, kidnapping, as well as ethnic and religious conflicts were the result of bad leadership in the state, and pledged to reverse the trends within a record time in office.

Asake told the clerics that only LP has the family as its centrepiece as emphasised on its logo showing a father, mother and child. He said, as the party of the working class and the downtrodden, the people of the state would not regret voting LP.

Imam Shugaba Muhammad, who spoke on behalf of other Islamic leaders, urged the candidate to keep to his promise, stressing the need for an open door policy.

Source:Guardian Nigeria

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Miyetti Allah condemns FG’s silence over death of pastoralists

29 January 2023 

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has condemned the silence of the Nigerian Government and the military authorities over the killing of pastoralists in Nasarawa State.

About 40 herders and butchers were killed by a military drone fire on January 25 in Rukubi village, Doma, Nasarawa state.

MACBAN described the silence as reprehensible and a lack of regard for the loss of lives of ordinary Nigerians. It said the deceased were “victims of high handedness of Benue State Government and the officers of the Makurdi-based Operation Whirl Stroke who deployed an aircraft/drone.”

The herders’ organisation demanded an explanation for what it described as “intentional killings” of the pastoralists and butchers.

Before their deaths, MACBAN said the pastoralists went to Makurdi earlier in the day to retrieve their 1250 livestock earlier impounded by the Benue State livestock guards after paying a fine of N29 million.

“If nothing, we expect the President to commiserate with families of the victims of this heinous crime, MACBAN’s spokesman Muhammad Nura Abdullah said in a statement.

“MACBAN recalls this is the third time in one year that the Air Force was involved in the bombing of pastoralists and livestock in Nasarawa, Benue and Taraba States.

“The recent killings constitute a war crime and a panel of inquiry must be constituted to find out on whose authority the drone/aircraft was used and punish the culprits.”

MACBAN claimed in the statement that “the trucks carrying the livestock were closely monitored until they reached the destination before the armed drone was unleashed on pastoralists.”

The group also criticised President Muhammadu Buhari for being nonchalant about the killings.

“We find it shameful that while people were being killed, the President was enjoying a state dinner in Katsina State,” Abdullahi said.

Source:Guardian Nigeria

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Italy’s PM Meloni holds talks in Libya as Eni signs $8 bln energy deal

29 January ,2023

Prime Minister GiorgiaMeloni visited Libyan capital Tripoli on the occasion of the signing of an $8-billion energy deal for Italian oil giant Eni SpA, and held talks aimed at bolstering energy and migration ties with the north African country.

Under the agreement, Eni will invest in Libyan gas fields as part of a broader strategy to secure more oil and gas from North Africa. Meloni is also seeking to reinforce security ties aimed at reducing illegal immigration across the Mediterranean to Italy.

The deal between Eni and Libya’s National Oil Corp. (NOC) is the first major gas project in the country since 2000, Eni said in a statement on Saturday. Gas production will start in 2026 and will peak at 750 million cubic feet of gas per day, according to the company. The agreement will generate $13 billion in revenue for Libya, the NOC said in a statement.

The agreement “is a turning point for Libya’s rejuvenated oil and gas sector and a signal to the world that we are open for business,” NOC Chairman Farhat Bengdara said. Two offshore platforms will be connected to Eni’s Mellitah plant and the deal will also include a carbon capture and sequestration plant.

Eni and Noc are also in talks to develop the Bouri 2 field, he added. Discoveries over the past four years can raise gas production to more than 4 billion cubic feet, the NOC chairman said.

The deal “strengthens Eni’s role as the main company operating in Libya,” Eni’s Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi said during the visit on Saturday, according to news agency Ansa.

Stronger ties

During her visit, Meloni met Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who leads the Tripoli-based administration that controls part of the divided country. FathiBashagha leads another administration based in the central city of Sirte. Hundreds of foreign mercenaries are also thought to remain in the country.

Italy wants to help stabilize the country and accelerate the process toward elections which had been originally scheduled for 2022, Meloni said in a press statement in Tripoli. Eni’s deal with NOC is a step toward fulfilling Italy’s ambition of becoming “an hub for Europe’s gas supply,” she added.

“Irregular migration from Libya to Italy is still high,” Meloni said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Tunisians elect weakened parliament on 11% turnout

January 29, 2023

TUNIS: Tunisia announced that a mere 11 percent of the electorate had voted on Sunday in parliamentary runoffs, with critics of President Kais Saied saying the empty polling stations were evidence of public disdain for his agenda and seizure of powers.

The head of the electoral commission, over which Saied assumed ultimate authority last year, gave a provisional turnout of 11.3 percent for Sunday’s runoff votes.

During December’s first round, the official turnout was only slightly lower, at 11.2 percent.

“Today Tunisians issued a final verdict rejecting Kais Saied’s process and elections,” Nejib Chebbi, head of the main opposition coalition, the Salvation Front, told a news conference.

Economic decline in Tunisia, where some basic goods have disappeared from shelves and the government has cut subsidies as it seeks a foreign bailout to avert bankruptcy, has left many disillusioned with politics and angry with their leaders.

“We don’t want elections. We want milk and sugar and cooking oil,” said Hasna, a woman shopping in the Ettadamon district of Tunis on Sunday.

The newly configured parliament has had its role shrunk as part of a political system Saied introduced last year after a power grab in 2021 that grants the presidency nearly absolute power.

About 887,000 voters cast ballots from a total electorate of 7.8 million, the electoral commission said. Final results were not expected on Sunday. The main parties boycotted the vote and most seats are expected to go to independents.

“I’m not interested in elections that do not concern me,” said NejibSahli, 40, passing a polling station in the Hay Ettahrir district of Tunis.

Independent observers, including the local Mourakiboun group, have questioned official turnout figures, accusing authorities in many districts of withholding data they rely on to monitor the election’s integrity.

The commission denied this and said polling station officials had been too busy to cooperate with monitors.

Opposition groups have accused Saied of a coup for shutting down the previous parliament in 2021, and say he has trashed the democracy built after Tunisia’s 2011 revolution — which triggered the “Arab Spring.”

Saied has said his actions were both legal and necessary to save Tunisia from years of corruption and economic decline at the hands of a self-interested political elite.

Though his new constitution passed in a referendum last year, only 30 percent of voters took part.

Opposition activist Chaima Issa, who has led protests against Saied and faces a military court on charges of insulting the president, described the poll as a “ghost election.”

At one polling station in the Ettadamon district of Tunis, no voters attended during the 20 minutes a Reuters journalist spent there.

At another Ettadamon polling station, one voter who gave his name as Ridha said he was supporting Saied: “He is a clean man fighting a corrupt system.”

In a cafe in Ettahrir, another district of the capital, only one of seven men sitting drinking coffee said he might vote.

Another man in the cafe, who gave his name only as Imad, said he did not believe his vote mattered after Saied’s political changes.

“The president alone is deciding everything,” he said. “He does not care about anybody and we do not care about him and his elections.”

Many Tunisians appeared initially to welcome Saied’s seizure of powers in 2021 after years of weak governing coalitions that seemed unable to revive a moribund economy, improve public services or reduce stark inequalities.

But Saied has voiced no clear economic agenda except to rail against corruption and unnamed speculators, whom he has blamed for rising prices.

Source: Arab News

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Parliamentarians agree on need to digitize OIC work ahead of annual conference

January 29, 2023

ALGIERS: Parliamentary committees of member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Saturday agreed on the need to digitize the OIC’s work and organize periodic virtual sessions and meetings to enhance its work.

General secretaries unanimously agreed during preparatory meetings for the 17th session of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States, which is set to be held in the Algerian capital, Algiers, on Sunday.

PUIC Secretary-General Mouhamed KhouraichiNiass renewed his call for setting up a cooperation mechanism between Islamic and international parliaments to strengthen relations in all fields.

Niass expressed his hope to develop a work program to achieve the objectives of the PUIC’s General Assembly and to exchange scientific and practical expertise to upgrade the performance of the General Secretariat.

On Friday, the ninth meeting of the standing committee specialized in cultural and legal affairs and the dialogue of civilizations and religions was held, where members reviewed a number of draft resolutions related to Islamic sanctities in Muslim and non-Islamic countries, especially the protection of the Al-Aqsa Mosque from threats.

Source: Arab News

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Protest Over Mysterious Chopping Of ‘Allah Rakha’, An Eight-Decade-Old Banyan Tree, In Lahore

January 30, 2023

LAHORE: Allah Rakha, around an eight-decade-old banyan tree, along with other trees on the campus of Government Associates College, Lake Road, was chopped down on Saturday.

According to legend, the banyan tree was named by Maulana Abdul Haq Abbas, the founder of AnjumanMadrasatul Banat, which has managed a number of educational institutions from the pre-Partition era, when he relocated here from India in August 1947 with a busload of students from Jalandhar.He found a small sampling of pilkhan tree (banyan family) badly damaged during looting and burning, which also damaged the nearby building and the furniture lying there, says Anjuman’s president Dr Amin U Khan, also a grandson of Maulana Abbas.

He says Maulana Abbas tried to restore the tree and put a brick fence around it with the help of students praying, if the sampling survived, they would call it Allah Rakha.

The tree not only survived, but also grew to have girths of more than three meters and a crown diameter of around ten meters. It was providing shelter to about 350 house sparrows, which were counted every year by the Good Citizens Society, and shelter to students during the summer. It has eighty years of carbon sequestered in its stem.

The area people allege that the principal of the government-run college quietly decided to sell the tree on a holiday. They say as they learnt about the ‘tree-chopping spree’ they protested and managed to save one branch of Allah Rakha.

They hope that with the help of friends, they will be able to preserve Allah Rakha for a long time.

AnjumanMadrasatul Banat administrator Ilyas Shah says he has also submitted a written complaint with the police because the college authorities cannot change anything, including the landscape, on the campus because the ownership of the premises lies with the Supreme Court.


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Unpacking TTP’s curious new narrative

Dr Raza Khan


After remaining dormant for nearly five years, the largest militant network of Pakistan, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), commonly known as Pakistani Taliban, has made a strong comeback in terms of its attacks inside Pakistan, thanks to the return to power of Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan, where the TTP is based. In order to become a force to reckon with and to sustain the group, its leadership has come up with a seemingly elaborate narrative.

The new narrative can mainly be attributed to TTP’s current head, Maulvi Noor Wali Mehsud, a far more articulate head of the TTP than its founder Baitullah Mehsud (2007-2009), followed by Hakimullah Mehsud (2009-2013) and Maulvi Fazlullah (2013-2018). The foremost reason for this being that Noor Wali has received formal religious education while Baitullah and Hakimullah did not study at an established Muslim seminary. Although Fazlullah received education at a madrassah, it was not at par with that of Mehsud.

Loopholes in the previous narrative

Under Mehsud, the TTP leadership realised the need for a shift in its previously extant narrative or to come up with a more comprehensive a narrative or discourse. An elaborate narrative is a sine-qua-non both for internal and external consumption. For an internal audience, a comprehensive narrative is critically needed to justify its operations, and for the external public, the narrative must significantly communicate the need for TTP’s formation and its resort to violence, so as to win followers.

Considering TTP’s history, it never had an extensive, compelling and profound narrative. The only consistent line of argument on its part regarding its terrorist attacks in Pakistan and on its security forces had been that the country joined the US, and the West orchestrated the global war on terror. In groups such as the TTP, this war view dislodged an ‘Islamic Emirate’ in Afghanistan in 2001, referring to US-NATO occupation of Afghanistan by forcibly ousting the Afghan Taliban regime there, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US.

The previous narrative could not justify much of its violence in Pakistan, specifically the attacks on civilians and non-combatants and above all schoolchildren (2014 Peshawar school massacre). Consequently, the group became disliked in Pakistan and elsewhere for such loathsome activities.

Against this backdrop, the TTP ought to shift its narrative and come up with strong concatenated argumentations regarding the raison d’etre, and more importantly for its continued and gushing violence. It has to assume a new identity to overcome public hatred and fear. The new narrative could be instrumental in shaping a new identity and personality of TTP.

The new narrative

The foremost argument in the new discourse of the TTP has been to associate itself with society in Pakistan as the vanguard of Islam and society’s Islamic personality. More importantly, TTP’s bid to link itself with the Muslim-dominated society of Pakistan is aimed at exploiting the profound Islamic sentiments of common Pakistanis. “The mujahideen of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan are children of their Islamist nation, no matter how many operations the government conducts, the impression of Mujahideen in this Islamist society cannot be eradicated,” said the TTP head, during an interview to a Turkish media outlet in November 2022.

According to Dr Naila Qazi, a specialist in political sociology at the University of Peshawar, “The TTP would not be able to make a place in the Pakistani society, which may be Islamic in orientation and associate emotionally with everything Islamic, because it does not support mass violence in the name of religion, for instance, on adherents of other religions. Having said this, over the last two decades, the Pakistani society has become profoundly radicalised, supporting violence in individual instances on the pretext of religion. The TTP efforts to associate with Pakistani society by exploiting its Islamic sentiments could be successful to a certain extent, particularly given that the country’s political and economic situation has remained adverse for decades.”

It is important to understand that the TTP leadership has been cognizant of the profound political and economic issues of Pakistan and hence, it has started arguing more vociferously, that as long as the western democratic constitution with its parliamentary political system are in vogue, people will suffer. This argument of the TTP has considerable substance and logic, because Pakistan’s parliamentary political system, which is personality and individual driven, and designed to provide benefits to specific groups, families, institutions and individuals has brought misery to the people.

Wearing the political hat

The TTP has been excessively eulogising Afghan Taliban victory in Afghanistan, moreso after realising that the Afghan Taliban enjoy a sympathy vote in Pakistan, particularly among the fellow Pashtun tribes, and those who have a myopic worldview in the backdrop adverse political, economic and social conditions prevalent for decades.

It also presents itself as a group that could replicate the Afghan Taliban style of victory and hence impose what it considers Islamic Shariah in Pakistan, and dispense Islamic punishments like Afghan Taliban have been doing in Afghanistan. Of late the TTP has even started claiming that the Afghan Taliban victory in Afghanistan and restoration of their ‘Islamic Emirate’ in August 2021 was indeed due to the sacrifices of the TTP.

While this may not sit well with the Afghan Taliban, the aim of such an argument by TTP is to solicit Pakistani support to help it establish a ‘puritanical Islamic’ rule in the country.

The bottom line

Not just confusing, TTP’s new narrative has a lot of contradictions. On the one hand, it claims to be a countrywide movement which is why the group’s name includes “Pakistan.” But on the other hand, the TTP claims to be a Pashtun nationalist movement, glorifying Pashtuns and their role in Islamic causes. It does not recognise the Durand Line and believes that the border has divided the Pashtun “nation” making a clear Pashtun ethno-linguistic nationalistic division. The two Islamist and ethno-nationalist claims of the TTP are self-contradictory. Islam only advocates one Islamic nationalism and does not accommodate narrow nationalism.

Source: Tribune Pakistan

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Govt advancing human rights in line with UN goals

January 30, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has taken a range of legislative, policy and institutional steps to advance the human rights agenda, aligning it with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations.

According to official sources, to safeguard rights of women and children, Women’s Property Rights Act, 2020, Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Act 2020 and, Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Act 2021 had been enacted. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018 guaranteed rights for transgender citizens and prohibited any discrimination against them in their enjoyment of fundamental rights of voting, inheritance, education, work, property, access to public areas. The enactment of ICT Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2020 went further to safeguard and prevent any discriminatory acts against persons with disability. Senior citizens were also protected from discrimination under ICT Senior Citizen Act, 2022.

The Human Rights Council through the Universal Periodic Review mechanism periodically reviews the human rights record of every UN member state. The ultimate goal of UPR is to strengthen the realization and enjoyment of human rights in a country.

Established in 2007, this peer-driven review mechanism provided a platform for dialogue and constructive engagement among states.

In line with the goals of the United Nations, Pakistan had also paid significant attention to strengthening rule of law, accountability and access to justice in the country. Among these were the Juvenile Justice System Act, 2018, which laid down a comprehensive system to deal with juvenile cases with enhanced focus on social rehabilitation and reintegration. Under the Legal Aid & Justice Authority Act, 2020, a legal aid and justice authority had been established for providing affordable and quick access to justice of the poor and vulnerable segments.

The Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment) Act, 2022 criminalised torture, death and rape in custody and protected due process and fair trial rights of under trial persons.

The government had also taken credible steps to provide a safe and enabling environment to journalist community. The Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act, 2021 (Journalist Act) was its concrete example. The act stipulated establishment of a Commission as a grievance redressal mechanism for journalists and media professionals in any case of intimidation and harassment.

Despite the serious social and economic impacts of the COVID pandemic, global economic downturn and devastating floods of 2022, the Government had taken wide ranging measures to alleviate poverty, provide adequate standard of living, strengthen social safety net, and reduce inequalities.

The Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) was a flagship initiative under which unconditional cash transfers had been disbursed to the poor and the marginalized. During the pandemic, the program was launched to help poor families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and an amount of approximately Rs 180 billion to around 14.9 million beneficiaries (Rs 12,000 per beneficiary) was disbursed.

Moreover, the government was also implementing the National Population Action Plan with the target to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health by taking multi-pronged measures including involvement of all public and private sector health facilities. A national campaign to fight malnutrition and stunting among children was also underway.

Source: Pakistan Today

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PM Shehbaz calls for global unity to fight Islamophobia

January 29, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif, has condemned the desecration of the Quran by a far-right Danish politician, calling for global unity to combat the rising issue of Islamophobia.

Anti-Islam activist Rasmus Paludan, a Danish-Swedish dual national, burned two copies of the holy book, one near a mosque in the Danish capital and another outside the Turkish embassy.

He has vowed to continue the actions every Friday until Sweden is admitted into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Sweden and Finland, both seeking to join the military alliance amid the armed crisis in Ukraine, would require the approval of all group members.

Turkey has already indicated that it will block Sweden’s bid, in part due to Paludan’s initial actions, and had already been pressuring the two countries to crack down on Kurdish militant groups and other organisations considered terrorists by Ankara.

The prime minister took to Twitter Sunday to express his disappointment and called on the international community to come together to fight against Islamophobia.

“The highly offensive desecration of the Holy Quran by a Danish politician is the third such incident in a row that should be strongly condemned by the civilised world,” he wrote.

The Foreign Office also issued a statement condemning the desecration and conveyed Pakistan’s concerns to the Danish authorities.

Pakistan has strongly condemned the senseless and deeply offensive act of desecration of the Holy Quran in Denmark, by the same Islamophobe who committed a similar act in Sweden a few days ago.

In a statement, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said the repetition of the vile act leaves little doubt in the minds of Muslims around the world that freedom of expression is being blatantly abused to spread religious hatred and incitement to violence.

“This repetition of the vile act leaves little doubt in the minds of Muslims around the world that freedom of expression is being blatantly abused to spread religious hatred and incitement to violence,” the Foreign Office Spokesperson said in a press release.

“We urge them to be mindful of the sentiments of the people of Pakistan and Muslims around the world and take steps to prevent such hateful and Islamophobic acts,” it was further added.

PM felicitates newly elected Punjab PbBC office bearers

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday extended his best wishes to newly-elected Vice Chairman, Punjab Bar Council (PbBC) Basharat Ullah Khan and Chairman Executive Committee Tahir Shabir.

On his Twitter handle, the prime minister said that Asma Jehangir Group had always stood firm for the rule of law and strengthening of democracy in the country.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Arab World


Bin Salman urged Baghdad to arrange face-to-face meeting between Saudi, Iranian FMs: Iraqi FM

30 January 2023 

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein says Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has urged senior Iraqi authorities to arrange a face-to-face meeting between the top diplomats of Riyadh and Tehran, amid a diplomatic process between the two neighbors aimed at mending strained ties.

Hussein told Iraq’s Kurdish-language Rudaw television news network on Sunday evening that “Mohammed bin Salman has demanded senior Iraqi officials set up the meeting between Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian [in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad]. We are busy organizing the event, and the timing will be announced later on.”

The Iraqi foreign minister noted that Saudi and Iranian delegates have already held five rounds of security-level meetings in Baghdad.

The confidential negotiations will be publicized through Iraq’s mediation, and Iranian and Saudi foreign ministers will meet in public, Hussein explained.

Earlier this month, the Saudi foreign minister said Riyadh was trying to find a path to dialog with Tehran as the best way to resolve differences.

Speaking at a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 17, the chief Saudi diplomat said a decision by Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states to focus on their economies and development was a “strong signal to Iran and others in the region that there is a pathway beyond traditional arguments and disputes toward joint prosperity.”

He added, “I think the more we can build a sense of cooperation in the region and the more we can work together, the more we can deliver not just prosperity for our people, but also for our immediate region and beyond.”

Amir-Abdollahian expressed hope on January 13 during a visit to Lebanon that diplomatic ties between Tehran and Riyadh could be restored through dialog between them.

“We are ready to restore ties, and such a move would have positive repercussions on the entire region,” Amir-Abdollahian told a news conference in Beirut.

He also said the first steps should be resuming talks on reopening Iran’s consulate in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, and Saudi Arabia’s consulate in the holy northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad for citizens interested in religious travel.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr by the Saudi government, stormed its embassy in Tehran.

The kingdom then pursued a confrontational foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic, especially during the administration of former US President Donald Trump, with whom the Saudi rulers had close ties.

Saudi Arabia appears to have recently changed its antagonistic course, showing willingness through diplomatic channels and third parties to mend fences with Tehran and resume bilateral relations.

Source: Press TV

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Kuwait opens large mosque in Australia

January 29, 2023

KUWAIT: Rahma International and the General Secretariat of Awqaf, represented by Ahmed Abdul-ilah, opened one of the largest mosques in Australia in Sydney in the presence of the representative of the King of Britain and governor of the State of New South Wales Margaret Beazely, as well as ministers of labor and diversity and representatives of official authorities in Australia.

Head of the European sector at Rahma International and its representative Khaled Al-Mullah said: “On behalf of the Awqaf general secretariat, the main supporter of the mosque, and under the supervision of Rahma International, we open this blessed Islamic edifice and a distinctive architectural masterpiece in the city of Sydney.”

He said the mosque is an educational hub that preserves the identity of Muslim children and works to educate them, conducting prayers, sermons as well as memorization of the Holy Quran, launching scientific courses in faith, jurisprudence, hadith and Islamic culture, and a pioneering advocacy role in embracing new Muslims.

“The mosque is characterized by its multiple facilities, with 500 worshipers benefiting. It was built with modern architectural methods and means, which were praised by the crowds present at the opening ceremony. It shows Kuwait’s keenness in exporting major Islamic and advocacy projects that enhance the presence of Muslims as well as their various educational incubators in various parts of the world,” Mullah said.

In related news, Society for the Revival of Islamic Heritage implemented a charity bank project in Kuwait in cooperation with the general secretariat of the awqaf and Islamic affairs ministry. The director of coordination and follow-up department at the society, Nawaf Al-Sanae, said: “This project aims to help poor families, low-income families, widows, divorcees, orphans, new converts and workers in Kuwait. The implementation of this agreement represents one of the successful steps achieved by the association in partnership with the General Secretariat of Awqaf in the field of implementing endowment banks.”

“Since its inception, the society has been striving to meet realistic social and developmental needs, taking into account achieving interdependence between endowment projects as well as other projects through charitable partnership with the General Secretariat of Awqaf,” he clarified.

Source: Kuwait Times

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Egyptian singer Mohamed Ramadan 'breaks TikTok record' for artists in Arab World

January 29, 2023

Egyptian singer Mohamed Ramadan announced that a hashtag bearing his name on social media app TikTok exceeded 8 billion views, making him the first artist to reach such heights in the Arab world.

The Arabic hashtag of his name is formatted to #Mohamed_Ramadan (translated), and has brought him increased social media success as the number one viewed hashtag of any artist's name in the Arab World on the app, according to reports he has retweeted.

"Thanks God for being Number One in the Arab World. Trust in God. Success will keep escalating," Ramadan said in an Instagram post.

The artist is preparing to release his  new music video 'NASSABA' , featuring Algerian rapper Didine Canon, next Wednesday.

The clip was filmed by the Pyramids in Cairo, Ramadan revealed. The location was chosen to promote tourism in the country, according to local media.

Ramadan has over one million monthly listeners on Spotify, and over 14.4 million subscribers on YouTube.

Source: The New Arab

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Seven dead in eastern Syria air strikes: Monitor

30 January ,2023

Seven people have been killed after air strikes destroyed a convoy of trucks that crossed into eastern Syria from Iraq, a war monitor said Monday.

“Seven truck drivers and their assistants, all of them non-Syrians, were killed as a result of unidentified aircraft targeting a convoy of Iran-backed groups, last night,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Report: Drones attack convoy in east Syria coming from Iraq

30 January ,2023

Drones attacked a convoy of trucks in eastern Syria Sunday night shortly after it crossed into the country from Iraq, Syrian opposition activists and a pro-government radio station said. There was no immediate word on casualties.

The strike comes amid heightening tension between Iran and its rivals in the region.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack on the convoy in the Syrian border region of Boukamal, which is a stronghold of Iran-backed militias.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the drones appear to have been from the US-led coalition, adding that they targeted six refrigerated trucks. The group said there were casualties and ambulances rushed to the area.

Another activist said the strike hit a convoy of trucks of Iran-backed militiamen. Omar Abu Layla, a Europe-based activist from Deir el-Zour who runs a group that monitors developments, tweeted that there was no immediate word on casualties.

The pro-government Sham FM radio station also reported that six refrigerated trucks were hit.

In Baghdad, an official with an Iran-backed militia confirmed there was a strike saying it only targeted one truck. He gave no word on casualties.

The attack in eastern Syria came hours after bomb-carrying drones targeted an Iranian defense factory in the central city of Isfahan causing some damage at the plant.

Last month, Israel’s military chief of staff strongly suggested that Israel was behind a strike on a truck convoy in Syria in November, giving a rare glimpse of Israel’s shadow war against Iran and its proxies across the region.

Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, who finished his military service earlier this month, said Israeli military and intelligence capabilities made it possible to strike specific targets that pose a threat.

Israeli leaders have in the past acknowledged striking hundreds of targets in Syria and elsewhere in what it says is a campaign to thwart Iranian attempts to smuggle weapons to proxies like Lebanon’s Hezbollah group or to destroy weapons caches.

The November strike hit tanker trucks carrying fuel and other trucks carrying weapons for the militias in Syria’s eastern province of Deir el-Zour, the Observatory reported at the time. It said at least 14 people, most of them militiamen, were killed in the strike.

The strike, along the border with Iraq, targeted Iran-backed militiamen, Syrian opposition activists said at the time. Some of those killed in the attack were Iranian nationals, according to two paramilitary officers in Iraq.

At the time, Israel declined to comment on the strike.

Iran is a main backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has sent thousands of Iran-backed fighters to help Syrian troops during the country’s 11-year civil war. Both Iran and Assad’s government are also allied with Hezbollah, which has fought alongside Assad’s forces in the war.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Philippines to send delegation to Kuwait to probe labor abuses after recent killing

28 January ,2023

The Philippine government said Saturday it will take steps to assess and prevent abuses including rape and maltreatment of Filipino workers in Kuwait, after a housemaid was killed and dumped in a desert in the Gulf country.

The remains of JullebeeRanara were flown home Friday night from Kuwait, where the 35-year-old was reportedly killed by her employer’s son then dumped with burn marks, Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople said.

Filipino officials were trying to confirm news reports that she was raped and was pregnant when she was killed by the 17-year-old suspect, who has been taken into custody by Kuwaiti police, she said. The Philippine government would do everything to ensure justice for the victim, she said.

“It’s a very gruesome, senseless crime and so the perpetrator must be punished,” Ople said in an online news conference.

Her killing is the latest tragedy to befall an overseas worker from the Philippines, where about a tenth of its more than 110 million have left mainly due to unemployment and poverty and now work or live in more than 200 countries to provide for families back home. The huge income they send home has helped keep Manila’s economy afloat.

Ople said she would send a team of officials to Kuwait to find out what sparked a rise in cases of abuse of Filipino workers in recent years in the tiny emirate and what preventive steps could be taken. Sexual abuse and rape, human trafficking, labor contract violations and illegal terminations were among the common complaints of Filipinos, she said.

About 268,000 Filipinos currently work in Kuwait, including many housemaids. More than 400 Filipinos sought shelter in recent weeks in an emergency center run by the Philippine Embassy due to labor problems, and nearly half have flown back to Manila, Migrant Workers Undersecretary Hans Cacdac said.

Kuwait’s ambassador to Manila, Musaed Saleh Althwaikh, expressed his condolences and assured Ople that Ranara’s “tragic passing” was an isolated case.

“Kuwaiti society is shocked and saddened to hear about the demise of Mrs. Ranara,” the ambassador said in the letter, copies of which were provided to journalists. “Our justice system will not lose sight in ensuring justice for Mrs. Ranara.”

In 2018, then-President Rodrigo Duterte banned the deployment of workers to Kuwait after a Filipino housemaid, Joanna Demafelis, was found dead and mutilated inside a freezer in an abandoned apartment. The ban was eventually lifted.

The killing led to the signing of a 2018 labor pact between the Philippines and Kuwait, which provided more protection to Filipinos, including a ban on a practice of employers to take hold of the passports and travel documents to prevent workers from fleeing when abuses happen or disputes arise.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Airstrikes target Iranian-backed terrorists in eastern Syria

Esref Musa, Omer Koparan and Mehmet BurakKaracaoglu



Iranian-backed foreign terrorist groups were targeted in eastern Syria in airstrikes Sunday night, according to local sources.

A logistics convoy of foreign terrorists came under attack in Abu Kamal district of Deir ez-Zor province, according to information obtained by an Anadolu correspondent from field sources.

The strikes were carried out by unmanned combat aerial vehicles whose ownership remains unknown.

There were at least four trucks loaded with sealed boxes in the convoy, which entered Syria from Iraq.

No details were shared regarding casualties.

The Israeli army announced in November last year that it targeted an Iranian arms convoy on the Syria-Iraq border.

Deir ez-Zor is a strategic location on the border that has land routes from Iran to Lebanon and trade routes and oil pipelines.

It was captured by forces of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime following the withdrawal of the Daesh/ISIS terrorist group in 2017.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Iran receives messages from nuclear deal parties through Qatar

Syed Zafar Mehdi



Iran's foreign minister on Sunday said Tehran received messages from other parties to the 2015 nuclear deal through Qatar aimed at resuming the stalled talks.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks during a joint press conference in the Iranian capital with his Qatari counterpart Mohammad bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani.

He thanked the Qatari government for its efforts in bringing all parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, back to their commitments in order to salvage the deal.

The marathon talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers remained stalled since August last year due to key disagreements between Iran and the US.

Recent protests in Iran and reports regarding Tehran's supply of drones to Russia for use in the Ukraine war have exacerbated tensions between the two sides, with US officials publicly saying the nuclear talks are no longer on the agenda.

The top Qatari diplomat, for his part, said he came to Tehran carrying messages from the US, adding that it provided a "good opportunity" to solve problems that are impeding the revival of the agreement.

The two officials also discussed bilateral and regional issues, Amir-Abdollahian said, including the "development of commercial and economic cooperation" and removal of obstacles.

The Iranian foreign minister stressed that Iran has "always welcomed regional dialogue" to ensure "strong and stable" cooperation with all regional countries.

He also confirmed the exchange of messages between Iran and Bahrain "through an intermediary", while referring to "great developments" in Iran's relations with its Persian Gulf neighbors.

On tension-easing talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, brokered by Iraq, the top Iranian diplomat said the new round will resume as agreed between the two sides.

On relations with Ukraine, Amir-Abdollahian said it cannot be termed "hostile", adding that the first round of talks between the two sides was held in Oman while welcoming the second round.

He also commented on drone attacks on a military complex in the central province of Isfahan on Saturday night, calling it an "attempt by Iran's enemies to destabilize the country's security".

Source: Anadolu Agency

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