New Age Islam
Wed Aug 12 2020, 05:41 AM

Islamic World News ( 25 Nov 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Over 100 Renowned Muslims From Across the Country Oppose Ayodhya Review







Over 100 Renowned Muslims From Across the Country Oppose Ayodhya Review

Sunni Board Won’t Appeal Ayodhya Verdict, Undecided on Accepting 5 Acre Land

Muslim Teacher from Madhya Pradesh, India, Is the Go-To Person For Protecting Temples In His Region

Norway Warns People against Desecrating Holy Quran, Making Hate Speeches

'Muslim Hero' Delivers Flying Kick to Norway Man Burning Quran

Pakistan Has Sovereign Right to Make Any Decision On CPEC: US

Oberlin College Students Erect Memorial to Palestinian Terrorists

Traffic Dept Engages Imams to Raise Road Safety Awareness through Sermons

Chief Justice Suspends Notification of Gen Bajwa's Tenure Extension Until Tomorrow

Negative Attitudes about Muslims in Australia Remain High, Survey Finds

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/over-100-renowned-muslims-from-across-the-country-oppose-ayodhya-review/d/120368

 

India

Muslim Sanskrit Prof, Dr Firoz Khan, Applies For Job in Other BHU Faculties

Sikh Man Donates 900 Sq Ft Land for Building Mosque In UP

3 ISIS men planning to strike Delhi held, one has a 'love jihad' past

Hindus Teaching Urdu In Rajasthan Colleges Amid Row Over Muslim Sanskrit Prof In BHU

Kanakamala case: Six guilty, but they are not Islamic State men, says court

Delhi police prevents major terror attack in national capital, apprehends 3 men linked to Islamic State

Mumbai attacks: Eleven years since 26/11, nation remembers terror victims

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Europe

Muslims hand out roses in London in honour of Prophet Muhammad

‘My Faith Is What Drives Me To Do This,’ Says UK Muslim Woman Who Defended Jewish Family From Antisemite on London Underground

Jewish Dad Reunites with Muslim Woman Who Confronted His Children’s Abuser

Islamic State 'Not Present On The Internet Anymore' Following European Operation

French courts sabotage probe of official financing of Islamic State terrorism

Muslim group welcome hero firefighters to a dinner to celebrate mosque's 30th anniversary

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North America

Republican: 'Rainbow Jihad' Behind Trans Flag Display at Iowa Capitol

Europol culls thousands of Islamic State online accounts in ‘day of action’

Revived Falsehood that Trump Fired ‘Muslim Judge’

Dog who helped catch Islamic State leader given warm welcome at White House

Navy SEAL who shot bin Laden rips Pentagon for 'whiny' response to Trump's Eddie Gallagher move

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Mideast

Lebanese Army Controls Beirut after Clashes Between Sunni Activists And Shiites

Eyewitnesses Say Shia Party Supporters Attack Demonstrators, Burn Tents in Southern Lebanon

Iran Could Be on the Brink of Overthrowing the Mullahs' Regime

Israel punishes Muslim incitement, ignores Jewish one

Muslims hail Palestinians fighting for freedom: Turkey

Demonstrators in Tehran Issue Resolution against Rioters, Foreign Meddling

Syrian Army Continues Advancing in Idlib, Takes Full Control of Two Key Towns

IRGC Commander Warns US, Israel, Britain, S. Arabia Not to Cross Iran's Redlines

Police: 23 Violent Rioters Arrested in 3 Provinces

Army Commander: Iranian People Not to Keep Mum against Rioters

US VP Fails to Cut Tehran-Baghdad Ties in Surprise Visit to Iraq

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Arab World

On behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal attends 50th anniversary of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) ceremony

Taking Care of Mosques, a Top Priority to the Saudi Leadership, Prince Sultan bin Salman vows before an Int'l Conference

Minister of Islamic Affairs Receives Director General for Bilateral Affairs at Belgian Foreign Affairs Ministry

Young artists throw spotlight on Saudi Arabia’s social transformation

Twitter launches spam awareness drive in MENA

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Pakistan

IHC reserves verdict on maintainability of petition accusing PM of contempt

IHC to hear govt, Musharraf’s pleas against special courts reservation of verdict

Army announces major transfers, postings

OIC a platform uniting the Muslim world: Firdous

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Australia and New Zealand

Distribution of Millions to Christchurch Mosque Shooting Victims Outlined

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South Asia

SLF Manager Dismisses Rumour That Debts Will Be Settled If Students Convert To Islam

Jewish Rohingya Justice Network Condemns Forced Relocation of Rohingya People

The Muslim world can no longer ignore China’s persecution of Uighurs

Founder of Afghanistan’s first private insurance firm optimistic about economic growth

Afghan soldier given death sentence for deliberately killing an Army Officer

Afghan Air Force receives more light attack helicopters from MD Helicopters

26 Taliban militants killed in Special Forces raids in 3 provinces

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Southeast Asia

First-Ever Anti-Terrorism Exercise In S’pore Place of Worship Held in Sultan Mosque

Stop painting rosy picture of economy, Putrajaya told

Absent two votes, PKR defeated over new Melaka senator

Prabowo appeals to ASEAN nations to unitedly foil terrorism

Malaysia’s RHB Islamic’s third-quarter profit rise year-on-year soured by dip from June earnings

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Africa

Protesters In DR Congo Torch Mayor’s Office After Suspected Islamist Rebels Killed 8 In Raid

Africa’s Top University Decisively Rejects Call to Boycott Israeli Academic Institutions

Nigeria’s unity: What Buhari told Muslim leaders in Aso Rock

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Over 100 Renowned Muslims From Across The Country Oppose Ayodhya Review

Nov 26, 2019

MUMBAI: Over 100 renowned Muslims from across the country, including actor Naseeruddin Shah, actor-activist Shabana Azmi, poet-Urdu columnist Hasan Kamaal, journalist Javed Anand and activist Feroz Mithiborwala have opposed the decision of some Muslim litigants, including All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), to file a review petition of the Ayodhya verdict in the SC.

“We share the unhappiness of the Indian Muslim community, constitutional experts and secular organisations over the fact that the highest court has placed faith above law in arriving at its decision. But while agreeing that the court order is judicially flawed, we strongly believe that keeping the Ayodhya dispute alive will harm, and not help, Indian Muslims,” said the statement.

Javed Anand, who is also secretary of Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy, said it is high time the Muslims moved away from the mandir-masjid dispute as it helps to mask the real agenda of the Sangh Parivar, which is to replace the secular-democratic republic with a Hindu Rashtra.

The signatories to the statement observed that continuation of the dispute will add fuel to anti-Muslim propaganda and Islamophobia and aid communal polarisation. “In choosing not to pursue the matter further, Muslims stand to gain the goodwill and empathy of the non-communal millions from the majority community. This will be in the best interests of the community and the country,” they said.

At a meeting in Lucknow last week, the Muslim Personal Law Board and one faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind decided that some Muslim litigants would go for review of the Supreme Court verdict, which gave the entire disputed land in Ayodhya to the Hindus while ordering the Centre to allot five acres in Ayodhya to the Muslims to build their mosque.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/100-renowned-muslims-oppose-ayodhya-review/articleshow/72232650.cms

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Sunni Board won’t appeal Ayodhya verdict, undecided on accepting 5 acre land

Nov 26, 2019

The Sunni Central Waqf Board on Tuesday decided against filing an appeal against the November 9 verdict of the Supreme Court on the Ayodhya title dispute. The board, an original litigant in the Ayodhya title suit, has, however, put off a decision on the 5 acre land that the government has been ordered to give to them for building a mosque at an alternative site.

“The decision on the land will be taken after the government makes an offer,” senior board member Abdul Razzaq Khan told reporters. Once the government makes an offer that would also indicate the location of the plot, the board will meet again, he said.

Abdul Razzaq Khan was among the few prominent voices within the board that had been nudging the body to file a review petition against the Supreme Court’s verdict of November 9.

A five-judge bench led by former chief justice Ranjan Gogoi had cleared the construction of Ram Mandir in its verdict in favour of Ram Lalla Virajman. The constitution bench had also directed the Centre to allocate five-acre land to the Sunni Central Waqf Board in Ayodhya to compensate them for the wrongs committed including 1992 demolition of the mosque.

Many Muslim groups have called upon the board to reject the offer for land.

The Sunni Board’s decision will not make much of a difference since three Muslim litigants in the title suit have already made up their mind to file a review petition against the Supreme Court’s verdict.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has decided to assist them and rejected the offer to accept the five-acre land to construct a mosque.

At its meeting on November 17, the personal law board had also insisted that the offer for land to build the mosque cannot be accepted since building the same mosque at other site is not permissible in Islam.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/sunni-board-won-t-appeal-ayodhya-verdict-undecided-on-accepting-5-acre-land/story-L54CkgwCLHRzVuyEV2J3FK.html

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Muslim Teacher from Madhya Pradesh, India, Is the Go-To Person For Protecting Temples In His Region

Monday, 25 Nov

Shruthi H M Sastry,

This retired Muslim teacher from Nagamangala in Mandya district is the go-to person for protecting temples in his region. Mohammed Kaleemulla, a retired high school teacher, has renovated four dilapidated temples of historical importance in the district.

A member of Karnataka Itihasa Academy, he spends the majority of his time looking for old temples that need renovation, apart from documenting his findings, which are on the academy's website.

In the last six years, Kaleemulla has helped renovate the Machalaghatta Ishwara temple and two temples dedicated to Chennakeshava belonging to Krishnadevaraya period in his taluk, along with a Basava temple in Hirisave near Channarayapatna, Hassan district.

Interested in history, Kaleemulla completed post-graduation in the subject after retirement. 'I worked in Basaralu in Mandya. There is a Hoysala temple here dedicated to Lord Mallikarjuna. I used to see this every day when I went to work. I wrote about this and it was published in a local paper.

This encouraged me to take up more work. I began looking into ancient temples in my region. I soon found that the majority of them lacked maintenance,' he said.

People, in general, lacked awareness, he lamented, giving the instance of the ruins of one temple, near which people defecated, without knowing its importance.

'I later helped in renovating the structure and asked them not to defecate there,' he added.

Another member involved in the Academy's work, Dhanapal K is a BMTC driver assigned to Bengaluru Darshini trips. He spends his weekly offs documenting inscriptions and monuments around the city. While he could not study beyond SSLC, Dhanapal is now pursuing an epigraphy course.

He has also come up with a booklet containing information of the city, for the benefit of tourists who travel in his bus.

He developed interest in epigraphy when he went to tourist places as part of his work, he said.

'Three years ago, I found an inscription dating back 1528 in Yelahanka, in a ditch covered with slush and with snakes coiling beneath the stone. I alerted the archaeology department and the officials promptly recovered it. I felt that there could be other historical memorabilia neglected in this manner. I actively began looking for it,' he narrated.

While there is superstition attached with reading inscriptions, Dhanapal creates awareness about them. 'People believe that misfortune will befall them, if they decipher it. I wanted to fight against such superstitions.' He also puts up boards near neglected structures, giving information to locals.

In another part of the state is Raghavendra Achari, a mason from Davangere. Achari, who could not study beyond SSLC, has a diploma in epigraphy, which he completed through distance education.

When he works in construction sites, he ensures that all other workers with him get educated about the history and heritage of the region.

'I was always interested in monuments and historical structures since my school days. Now, I study epigraphy every night after work. I keep a watch out when I travel to different towns on work. I ask villagers to bring me photos,' he said. Achari has conducted 118 awareness drives in local colleges under the banner 'Prachina Itihasa Sanshodhana Kendra'.

The members of the Academy specified that their work was done out of their own interest spending from their pockets for conserving the state's heritage.

https://m.dailyhunt.in/news/india/english/deccan+herald-epaper-deccan/muslim+teacher+digs+deep+into+pocket+to+restore+temples-newsid-149413692

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Norway warns people against desecrating Holy Quran, making hate speeches

November 25, 2019

OSLO: A Norway police commissioner on Sunday warned people against desecrating the Holy Quran or making hate speeches, one day after an incident took place in Kristiansand.

According to the news agency, the remarks were made by a Norway police commissioner who said that everyone had the right to freedom of expression so long as it did not violate the law.

He said that if the law was violated then police would interfere.

Social media was set ablaze with praises on Friday for a 'Muslim hero' who interrupted an anti-Islam rally last week to stop another man from burning a copy of the Holy Quran in Norway.

A scuffle broke out after the leader of the 'Stop Islamisation of Norway (SIAN)' rally, Lars Thorsen, tried to burn a copy of the holy book in the city of Kristiansand despite warnings from local police officials.

In a video on social media, the 'Muslim hero' could be seen jumping into the barricaded circle to save the holy book from being desecrated. The rally soon turned violent, after which police took Thorsen and his attackers into custody.

The man who stopped Thorsen from burning the Holy Quran was being called Ilyas on social media, but his exact identity could not be ascertained.

Pakistan and Turkey had both condemned the incident and called for respect of all religions.

On Saturday, Islamabad summoned the ambassador of Norway to express its 'deep concern' over the incident.

"Pakistan’s condemnation of this action was reiterated to the ambassador and it was underscored that such actions hurt the sentiments of 1.3 billion Muslims around the world, including those in Pakistan. Furthermore, such actions could not be justified in the name of freedom of expression," read a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/573759-norway-warns-people-against-desecrating-holy-quran-making-hate-speeches

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'Muslim hero' delivers flying kick to Norway man burning Quran

25 November, 2019

Muslims around the world are praising one man as a "hero" after he confronted a man burnign a copy of the Muslim holy book in Norway.

The incident occurred during a rally organised by far-right organisation Stop Islamisation of Norway (SIAN) in the southern city of Kristiansand last weekend.

During the anti-Islam rally, far-right activists described Islam as "fascist" and labelled Prophet Mohammed a "paedophile", as well as throwing two copies of the Quran into a rubbish bin, Resett reported.

But the rage of Muslims who gathered in Kristiansand for a counter-protest bubbled over when SIAN leader Lars Thorsen set alight a copy of the Muslim holy book in front of the crowd.

Some counter-protesters managed to break a police cordon guarding the SIAN demonstration - with one making his way towards Thorsen and delivering a flying kick before being subdued and detained by the police.

The man, identified as Ilyas on social media, has since been widely praised by Muslims across the world. Pakistani media outlet Dawn later identified the man as Qusay Rashed, a Palestinian national living in Norway.

"Ladies and Gentleman presenting you 'The defender of Quran'," wrote one Twitter user.

"Salute you brother," he added, using the hashtag #RealHeroOfTheMuslimUmmah (community).

Another Twitter user wrote: "The man who jumped of the fence and saved the holy quran from burning in the anti-islam protest in Norway [has] won millions of hearts."

The incident particularly drew attention in Pakistan, where the Foreign Ministry summoned the Norwegian ambassador due to popular outcry.

"Pakistan's condemnation of this action was reiterated. It was underscored that such actions hurt the sentiments of 1.3 billion Muslims around the world, including those in Pakistan," the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.  "Furthermore, such actions could not be justified in the name of freedom of expression."

Pakistan's ambassador to Oslo was also "instructed to convey Pakistan’s protest and deep concern to the Norwegian authorities", the statement said.

Turkey also condemned the "disrespect of our holy book".

"We expect that such actions to be prevented and those who are responsible to be brought to justice as soon as possible," the foreign ministry said in a statement last week.

Norwegians on social media have been quick to distance themselves from SIAN.

"Kristiansand is a city for everyone, and we work systematically to create diversity. Such acts are provocative and regrettable," Kristiansand Mayor Harald Furre told Norway's national broadcaster NRK in an interview.

Both Thorsen and Ilyas were reportedly detained by Norwegian authorities following the brawl.  Four other Muslim protesters, all Palestinian or Syrian nationals, were taken into custody.

The far-right organiser was earlier this year slapped iwth a 30 day suspended jail sentence and fined 20,000 kroner ($2,180) after he was found distributing SIAN leaflets in the Norwegian capital Oslo describing Muslims as "notorious sexual predators", Dawn reported.

Kristiansand's local Muslim Union has said it wants to take Thorsen to court over the incident.

https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2019/11/25/watch-muslim-delivers-flying-kick-to-man-burning-quran

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Pakistan has sovereign right to make any decision on CPEC: US

November 26, 2019

LAHORE: Pakistan has a sovereign right to decide its future with regard to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), says the US ambassador.

"US Assistant Secretary Alice Wells’ comments on CPEC were meant to generate a debate; however, it is Pakistan’s sovereign right to decide its future (in this regard). We do not expect everyone to agree with us or agree with every aspect of her speech," US Ambas­sador to Islamabad Paul W. Jones said here on Monday.

Talking to reporters after visiting the historic Wazir Khan Masjid to review the ongoing restoration work under the ‘US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation’, Mr Jones said there should be plenty of debate and discussions on her [Ms Wells’] speech.

“Pakistanis should under­stand Alice Wells’ statement and this should be taken positively. Different aspects of this statement need to be understood,” he said.

The ambassador further said not only in Pakistan but in other countries also the path of development was important for the prosperity of people, therefore it should be transparent and discussed openly.

Accompanied by his wife Catherine, Mr Jones said Lahore is a beautiful city having great culture, commerce and tourism. “I am delighted that we have such a dynamic and experienced Consul General, Catherine Rodriguez, here,” he said.

Ms Well had said the CPEC might take a toll on Pakistan’s economy as it was not an aid but a form of financing that guaranteed profits for Chinese state-owned enterprises. Pakistan, however, had rejected the statement saying Alice Wells’ speech on the CPEC was based on wrong analysis and incorrect assessment of the facts. Chinese Ambassador to Islamabad Yao Jing also rejected Ms Wells’ statement, saying “Pak-China relations are based on win-win cooperation and are mutually beneficial”.

Mr Yao expressed astonishment over Ms Wells’ statement of higher tariff in power plants, established under the CPEC.

The ambassador questioned that when in 2013, the Chinese companies were establishing power plants in Pakistan, where was the US? Why it did not invest in Pakistan’s power sector despite knowing that Pakistan was in dire need of electricity.

He said China had always come forward to assist Pakistan in need without any political or government differences. He said if Pakistan was in need, China would never ask it to repay its loans in time, while on the other hand the International Monetary Fund, which is mainly governed by the West, was strict in its repayment system.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1518844/pakistan-has-sovereign-right-to-make-any-decision-on-cpec-us

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Oberlin College students erect memorial to Palestinian terrorists

November 25, 2019

Students at Oberlin College created a memorial on the Ohio campus to commemorate the deaths of multiple Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists, according to reports.

Two student groups who support the end of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories installed the memorial to remember the 34 Palestinians killed during airstrikes in Gaza earlier this month, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine and Oberlin Jewish Voice for Peace have created this installation to commemorate the lives of these 34 Palestinians who died at the hands of Zionist Settler Colonialism,” a sign at the installation said. “We list the names and ages of those who were lost on each black flag.”

The Israel Defense Forces said the majority of the fatalities were members of terrorist groups, including 25 militants, most of whom were from Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an Iran-backed organization.

The student group’s display didn’t mention the terrorist organization, but some condemned the memorial on social media and called on school officials to take action.

“Students on an American college campus memorializing terrorists… @oberlincollege, are you looking into this?” wrote Twitter user Jennie Taer. “Do you condemn this?”

Anne Herzberg, who identified herself as an Oberlin alumna, responded to news of the installation on Twitter, saying the “failure of @oberlincollege to strongly deal with the targeting of Jews on campus is precisely why I stopped donating 10 [years] ago.”

Oberlin said Monday that the students’ temporary installation is protected under the First Amendment.

“The opinions presented are solely the students’ and do not represent those of Oberlin College, its faculty or staff,” the school said in a statement. “Oberlin actively opposes all forms of anti-Semitism, as we do all forms of prejudice and oppression. We actively work with our students, faculty, staff and alumni to build upon Oberlin’s deep commitment to Jewish life and scholarship. ”

Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine did not immediately respond to request for comment.

https://nypost.com/2019/11/25/oberlin-college-students-erect-memorial-to-palestinian-terrorists/

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Traffic Dept engages Imams to raise road safety awareness through sermons

26 Nov 2019

By Sidi Mohamed / The Peninsula

The Ministry of Interior represented by the General Directorate of Traffic said that speeding and using mobile phone while driving are the two main reasons behind traffic accidents.

Director-General of the General Directorate of Traffic, Major General Mohammed Saad Al Kharji, said — during a meeting with Imams held yesterday at the Department headquarters as part of the efforts to save lives and public property  — that the two violations are common among all drivers and not limited only to young people, or adults, who are expected to be role models for others.

He called on compounding efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of those two violations. Al Kharji  pointed out that despite increase in the number of vehicles and population, the directorate was successful in bringing down accidents and their resulting deaths in the last few years.

“It is important for religious speeches to focus on the harmful impact of speeding and using the phone while driving,” he said, noting that this could have a positive impact on young people in particular.

Colonel Mohamed Radi Al-Hajri, Director of Traffic Awareness Department, explained that this meeting comes from the conviction of the General Directorate of Traffic of  the importance of religious discourse in the modification of traffic behaviours, and in implementation of the letter of intent, signed by the General Directorate of Traffic three years ago with the Department of Mosques at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs.

He recommended Imams to allocate time weekly or monthly to urge people against violation of traffic laws. The Imams sent a message to young people that they should abide by traffic rules and preserve their lives and the lives of others.

Regarding the issue of driving safety during winter season, First Lt. Abdul Wahid Ghareeb Al Enzi, Awareness Officer at the General Directorate of Traffic, said that speed is one of the most important causes of traffic accidents during rainy weather in addition to not leaving a distance between vehicles.

Motorists, specially drivers of  trucks and transport vehicles, should take more care while  driving in such weather conditions which require everyone to be vigilant and to drive with responsibility, while following traffic safety rules, Al Enzi said at the Ministry of Interior  Website.

Capt. Fahad Bu Hindi,  Traffic Officer, said that the patrols play a major role on all roads during rain or in water-gathering places to guide motorists, calling on motorists to stop their vehicles in cases of absence of visibility, adding that traffic patrols prevent trucks from driving completely in such cases.

https://thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/26/11/2019/Traffic-Dept-engages-Imams-to-raise-road-safety-awareness-through-sermons

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Chief justice suspends notification of Gen Bajwa's tenure extension until tomorrow

Haseeb Bhatti

November 26, 2019

Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa on Tuesday suspended the notification of Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa's tenure extension until the hearing tomorrow.

During the court proceedings, the chief justice said that "apparently the summary and approval of army chief's extension is not correct".

The court issued notices to defence ministry, federal government and Gen Bajwa, who is due to retire on November 29. The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday.

On August 19, Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved an extension in the tenure of Gen Bajwa for another three years.

"General Qamar Javed Bajwa is appointed Chief of Army Staff for another term of three years from the date of completion of current tenure," the brief notification issued by the prime minister's office had said.

The chief justice today took up a withdrawal application of a petition challenging the extension in Gen Bajwa's tenure. The top judge, however, rejected the application and took up the petition in public interest under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution. The case was converted into a suo moto notice.

"Only the president of Pakistan can extend the tenure of the army chief," he said during the hearing.

"Army chief's tenure was extended after the president's approval," Attorney General (AG) Anwar Mansoor Khan told the court. "The summary had been approved by the cabinet."

Justice Khosa said that out of 25 cabinet members, only 11 had approved the extension.

"Fourteen members of the cabinet did not give any opinion due to non-availability," Justice Khosa said. "Did the government take their silence as agreement?"

"Those who did not say 'yes' had not taken part in voting," the AG informed the court.

"Does the cabinet not want to give members the time to think? The 14 members of the cabinet still have not said 'yes' to army chief's extension," the top judge noted.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1518960/chief-justice-suspends-notification-of-gen-bajwas-tenure-extension-until-tomorrow

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Negative attitudes about Muslims in Australia remain high, survey finds

The vast majority of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia, but a significant minority still express negativity towards Muslims, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The findings come in the 12th annual Scanlon Foundation report into social cohesion which also found a major increase in the percentage of people concerned about climate change.

The 2019 Mapping Social Cohesion survey, an annual report produced by Monash University researchers, shows support for multiculturalism remains high at 85 per cent, and over 90 per cent of respondents also said they feel a sense of belonging in Australia. But despite the optimism about multiculturalism, 'negative' or 'very negative' attitudes towards Muslims remain high with a stark contrast between respondents who were interviewed over the phone and those who self-completed an online survey.

When people were asked about negative attitudes towards different faith groups, 21 to 25 per cent of those interviewed said they held negative views about Muslims, but the rate in the self-completion survey was almost double at 40 per cent.

In 2018, asked whether they felt positive, negative or neutral towards Muslims, 23 per cent of those polled said they felt ‘very negative’ or ‘somewhat negative’, increasing to 39 per cent when answering anonymously. Results were similar in 2017.

Professor Andrew Markus from Monash University in Melbourne is the report's author.

"The finding on Muslim Australians and that big difference was not a surprise the first time we did it. But we have now done it three times at 2017, 2018, 2019 and basically obtained the same result. So that level of difference is quite unusual," he told SBS News.

“If I look at the self-completion survey for the other groups, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, it's in the range of five to 10 per cent ... but the Muslim figure is four times that level at 40 per cent."

There were a total of 3,500 respondents to the survey - 1,500 via telephone interviews and 2,000 via the self-completion survey, which asks some 90 questions. All participants are anonymous.

Professor Markus said the result around attitudes towards Muslims indicated an underlying concern with some topics that people are reluctant to disclose if they are talking to an interviewer.

On the question 'have you experienced discrimination over the last 12 months on the basis of your skin colour, ethnicity or religion?' rates have consistently increased since the first survey in 2007 from about 10 per cent to 19 per cent in more recent surveys.

People who identify as Muslim or Hindu reported much higher rates of discrimination at 42 per cent for Muslims and 38 per cent for Hindus.

Between 2006 and 2016, the number of people identifying as Muslim in Australia increased from 340,400 to 604,200.

SBS Voices: The Sydney cafe attack shows the fear Muslim women deal with daily

Mohammad Al-Khafaji, CEO of the Federation of The Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia, said anti-Muslim sentiment is an issue the government needs to address.

"That should be a warning sign for all of us, and especially for our political leaders, to make sure that we address this issue before it becomes a bigger problem," he said.

"We know that there was a recent study released by the Islamophobia Register that has quantified some of those complaints and some of those attacks on people from Muslim backgrounds.

“We need to make sure that there are policies and social cohesion programs in place that facilitate a meeting between people so they understand each other's differences, each other's faiths, each other's cultures."

Since 2011, the survey has also sought to determine the issues that are of greatest concern in the community, asking the open-ended question: 'What do you think is the most important problem facing Australia today?'

While concerns about the economy and unemployment have consistently topped the list, concern about environmental issues was the biggest change recorded from one year to the next, up from 10 per cent to 19 per cent in the telephone administered survey and from five per cent to 17 per cent in the self-completion survey.

Professor Markus said the movement of an issue from quite far down in the middle of the list to ranking second is unusual in the history of the survey.

He added other findings also highlight changing public perceptions about environmental issues.

"In the past, 2010 to 2011, there were a lot of people indicating that what they were concerned about was that people talking about climate change was overblown. There was too much of it, they didn't believe it, they were sceptical," he said.

"And 2019, almost no one is indicating that they are concerned because the issue is being overblown."

Nearly half of those aged 18-24 reported being the most concerned about climate change, with much smaller rates seen in those over 65.

Hamsa Farah is one young Australian who sees climate change as one of the most pressing issues affecting Australia today.

The 23-year-old has a professional interest in the area, completing a Masters in Environmental studies and working as a sustainability advisor, but he also said he felt personally affected by the issue.

"I am trying to go to as many natural and beautiful landscapes that we still have while we still have them and try and create those memories with families and friends prior to losing them to these catastrophic impacts," he said.

Mr Farah believes politicians should do more to respond to public concerns about climate change.

"The technologies do exist, they are increasing. They’re getting better by the month. There is rapid progression in the scale of technologies and its availability. It's just about our willingness to have leaders who are willing to take action and who are willing to put the public interest before their own."

Professor Markus said the survey shows high, positive results on questions about the economic benefits of immigration and whether it is good that immigrants bring new ideas and cultures, with between 75 and 85 per cent agreeing it's a good thing for Australia to have immigration.

But, he said, the results are less favourable on other immigration-related issues.

"When we ask people 'do you think that the government is managing population growth well and are you concerned that immigration has got an impact of quality of life on overcrowding, on house prices, on the environment?' ... What we're picking up is in the self-completion survey is 60 per cent or more of people are indicating concern," he said.

The survey found concern about the level of immigration marginally declined from 43 per cent in 2018 to 41 per cent this year, with 53 per cent saying the intake is about right or too low.

The Scanlon Foundation said less concern about immigration levels has been found in three other 2019 surveys with a similarly worded question, including a Lowy Institute poll finding those of the view that the intake was ‘too high’ fell from 54 per cent in 2018 to 47 per cent this year.

Hass Dellal, the executive director of the Multicultural Foundation and the chairman of SBS, said the discussion around immigration had become better informed.

"I think there has been some excellent research, particularly the Deloitte one with SBS where we actually showed the economic benefits of social cohesion. I think people get a better understanding of the values of not only the economic contributions and factors around immigration but also the benefits into social cohesion," he said.

“A lot of the media are now being able to tell the stories of families and narratives of migrants and the contributions they make. I think there is a much more informed sense of understanding of immigration and I think that helps with that acceptance."

On the issue of happiness, 84 per cent of respondents said they had been 'very happy' or 'happy' over the past year, but there has been a steady increase in levels of pessimism since the survey began with youngest people reporting the highest rates, increasing 10 per cent since 2007.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/negative-attitudes-about-muslims-in-australia-remain-high-survey-finds

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India

 

Muslim Sanskrit Prof, Dr Firoze Khan, Applies For Job in Other BHU Faculties

Written by Avaneesh Mishra

November 26, 2019

Dr Firoze Khan, whose appointment as assistant professor in the Sanskrit Vidya Dharam Vigyan (SVDV) faculty of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) triggered protests by students, has now applied for teaching posts in the Sanskrit Department of the varsity’s Faculty of Arts in the hope of ending the ongoing impasse.

Khan, a PhD holder in Sanskrit, has also applied for the post of assistant professor in the university’s Faculty of Ayurveda.

Sources close to the Jaipur-based professor said that if selected, he would quit from the SVDV faculty. He is keen to teach in the Faculty of Arts as the students of SVDV have said that they have no problem with Khan, a Muslim, teaching there, they said.

The students of SVDV who opposed the appointment of Khan had said on multiple occasions that they did not find a Muslim fit to teach them about Sanatan Dharma and Karmkaand, as he was not connected with their culture.

Khan had joined the SVDV faculty on November 7, but could not conduct a single class as the students staged a dharna.

Last week, he went on leave and returned to his home in Rajasthan.

The protesting students called off their sit-in protest on Friday following a written assurance from the university administration that it would answer their questions. The students, however, said that they would continue to boycott classes and may even resume their agitation if the BHU administration fails to answer their questions in 10 days.

“Firoze Khan is not much interested in teaching in Ayurveda faculty because it will be like deviating from his field of interest and his area of expertise. Also, the books he would have to teach there are not enough as Sanskrit literature in Ayurveda is not that rich when compared to the other department. However, if he is selected in the Faculty of Arts, he will then resign from the SVDV,” said a source close to Khan.

The department of Samhita and Sanskrit of the Faculty of Ayurveda deals with study of classical texts (Samhitas) of Ayurveda, their scientific exploration and validation.

The Sanskrit Department of the Faculty of Arts, on the other hand, deals with oriental learning, culture, philosophy and thought of both Vedic and classical Sanskrit literature.

“It includes teaching and research of traditional Sanskrit texts, covering various domains like the Vedas, the Indian philosophy, Sanskrit grammar and linguistics, classical Sanskrit and poetics,” said a professor.

According to SVDV faculty website, the syllabus of Sahitya Department of SVDV — where Firoze is currently appointed as an assistant professor — include the study of Kavya Pradhan, Alankar Pradhan and Natya Pradhan.

The recommendation sheet for the post in Ayurveda faculty showed that Firoze has topped among the shortlisted candidates with 86.75 score.

A group of former professors of SVDV faculty and Sanskrit scholars had recently written to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking their intervention to cancel Khan’s appointment.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/muslim-sanskrit-prof-applies-for-job-in-other-bhu-faculties-6136818/

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Sikh Man Donates 900 Sq Ft Land For Building Mosque In UP

November 25, 2019

MUZAFFARNAGAR: A 70-year-old Sikh man has donated a piece of land for a mosque in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar district during the auspicious month of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

Sukhpal Singh Bedi, a social activist, made the announcement at an event in Purkazi town in the district on Sunday.

He handed over land documents for the 900 sq ft plot to Nagar Panchayat Chairman Zahir Farooqui.

Muslims constitute a majority of the population in Purkazi town.

Bedi said he wanted to spread the message of peace and communal harmony citing Guru Nanak's teachings of treating all people equally and with respect.

People from both communities welcomed the initiative as a step to foster brotherhood.

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/sikh-man-donates-900-sq-ft-land-for-building-mosque-in-uttar-pradeshs-muzaffarnagar-2138331

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3 ISIS men planning to strike Delhi held, one has a 'love jihad' past

Arvind Ojha

November 25, 2019

One of the three ISIS-inspired terror operatives arrested by Delhi Police in Assam was involved in a love jihad controversy seven months back.

The Delhi Police Special Cell and Assam Police in a joint operation on Monday busted an ISIS-inspired terror module and apprehended three operatives planning an attack in the Capital. Explosives and raw materials used to manufacture bombs were recovered from them.

Ranjeet Islam, Mukadir Islam and Luit Zameel Zaman were arrested from Goalpara in Assam while on way to plant an IED at Raas Mela, a local fair, in Dudhnoi village of the district. Police believe the three, all residents of Goalpara district, are inspired from the Bangladesh module of ISIS.

Police sources told India Today that Zameel had an affair with a Hindu girl in his hometown Krishnai in Goalpara district. After the affair came to light, some locals called it love jihad and circulated the couple’s photos on social media. As word spread about the affair in the town, the couple had to call it off. So much so that police had to be involved.

Zameel then came in contact with module leader Ranjeet. He became radicalised and learnt making bombs through videos posted by ISIS on Telegram, a cloud-based instant messaging and voice-over service. He spent his days reading about Islam and jihad on social media.

Police sources say they have strong evidence to believe that after Assam, the accused had planned to strike some religious places in Delhi-NCR. They say the trio was in touch with some ISIS-inspired people in the Capital.

To carry out their plan, the accused had arranged a kilo of explosives and materials to assemble an IED, which have been recovered. Police believe the intensity of the attack would have been similar to the 2017 BhopalUjjain passenger train bombing.

During interrogation, the accused told police that they had gathered IED components to carry out blasts in Delhi and the explosive substances were stored at Ranjeet and Zameel’s house at Krishnai town. Police then raided the two places and recovered about a kilo of explosives and IED components.

Police also recovered knives and swords from the accused, which they believe would have been used for lone-wolf attacks inspired from ISIS Bangladesh. Investigators are trying to locate the contacts of the accused in Delhi and have come across crucial information in their mobile phones.

Police said Zameel was employed as a supervisor at an Aadhaar enrolment centre. While Ranjeet worked at a fish market, Mukadir was unemployed. All the three are between 22 and 24 years of age.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/maharashtra-floor-test-supreme-court-order-1622616-2019-11-26

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Hindus teaching Urdu in Rajasthan colleges amid row over Muslim Sanskrit prof in BHU

Nov 26, 2019

Aabshar H Quazi

Even as Firoz Khan, the Muslim assistant professor from Rajasthan, had to face protests in Banaras Hindu University (BHU) for teaching Sanskrit, several Hindu lecturers are teaching Urdu across government colleges in the state.

Chhotu Meena (39), associate professor in Government Girls College of Peeplu (Tonk), can be seen taking class Urdu classes in his college. There are 15 students of Urdu in his class who are all Hindus and hail from Tonk, a district with considerable Muslim population.

When asked about his experience as an Urdu teacher, Chhotu said, “I have never faced any difficulty in teaching Urdu subject and most of the students even do not know that Urdu language is associated with any particular religion”

“Students consider Urdu as a Hindustani language and learn it like that,” he said, but refrained from commenting on the Muslim professor in BHU controversy.

Chhotu is not the only Hindu college lecturer who is teaching Urdu in Rajasthan.

Krishna Kumar Meena is another Urdu lecturer at the Government College, Tonk. When asked about the BHU controversy, he said, “Language cannot be confined within the boundaries of any religion”.

“If we are associating language with religion, then why are we studying English language in the country?” asked Krishna who has 40% Hindu and 60% Muslim students of Urdu language in the college.

Sunita Chawla (38), who is an Urdu lecturer at the government college in Sangod town of Kota district, said, “India believes in the tradition of ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ (entire world is a family) and it would be a narrow-minded view if we see language through the prism of religion.”

She said that there are over a dozen Hindu college lecturers and around 60 school lecturers who are teaching Urdu in the state.

Mukesh Kumar (32), who is an associate professor of Urdu at the University of Rajasthan, said, “Urdu or any other language is a literature in itself, so everyone has the right to learn and teach any language.”

Muslim lecturer taught Sanskrit

Anjum Saifi (64), who retired as a lecturer of Sanskrit from the Kota Government College, four years ago, said that he never faced any protest during his teaching days. “Students were very supportive when I taught Sanskrit in government colleges all my life.”

He said, “German and foreign scholars’ extensive work on Sanskrit would not have been possible if Sanskrit was confined to religion only.”

https://www.hindustantimes.com/jaipur/hindus-teaching-urdu-in-rajasthan-colleges-amid-row-over-muslim-sanskrit-prof-in-bhu/story-X34W5c9Q0mWlDURg5y3IVK.html

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Kanakamala case: Six guilty, but they are not Islamic State men, says court

26th November 2019

KOCHI: In a major setback to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the special court in Kochi on Monday found that the seven persons, arrested for holding a meeting to allegedly plot terror attacks at Kanakamala in Kannur, were not members of terror group Islamic State (IS). NIA Court Judge P Krishna Kumar, however, found six accused persons guilty of being members of a terrorist outfit, among other charges.

It also acquitted one person in the case. The court will sentence the convicts on Wednesday. “The prosecution failed to prove that the accused were Islamic State members. It could not provide evidence to prove charges under IPC Sections 121 and 122 – that they waged a war against the country and collected arms and ammunition for the purpose,” the court said.

“The court can categorically say the accused were not IS members. They are qualified to be called members of a terrorist gang,” the judge said in paragraph 270 of the verdict. In the hearing for awarding the sentence, the convicted persons submitted that their immaturity in using social media landed them in the case. They pleaded for maximum leniency as their families relied on them for meeting daily expenses.

However, NIA prosecutor Arjun Ambalapatta sought maximum punishment of life imprisonment under UAPA Sections 17, 18 and 18(b) for the accused and also requested the court to order the forfeiture of their movable and immovable property under UAPA Section 33(2).

“A message that people who are part of terrorist groups and plot terrorist activities here get only a minimum sentence should not be sent,” Ambalapatta submitted. Acting on a tip-off from the NIA headquarters, the agency had raided Kanakamala on October 2, 2016, and arrested five persons who had assembled there. The accused persons had formed groups on the mobile application Telegram in which they discussed IS ideology and plotted attacks on Jews, RSS leaders, BJP leaders, judges and police officers. They were alleged to be members of an IS-associated group ‘Ansarul Khilafah- Kerala’ which planned terror strikes in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Charges established

Manseed, Swalih and Rashid Ali were found guilty under IPC Section 120B (conspiracy), UAPA Section 17 (raising fund for terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy), 18(b) (recruiting any person for terrorist act), 38 (membership of a terrorist organisation), 39 (support given to terrorist organisation) and 40 (raising fund for a terrorist organisation). Ramshad N K was found guilty under IPC Section 120B and UAPA Section 38 and 39. Safvan was convicted under IPC Section 120B and UAPA Sections 18, 18(b), 38 and 39. Moinudheen was convicted under IPC Section 120(B) and UAPA Sections 38, 39 and 40.

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2019/nov/26/kanakamala-case-six-guilty-but-they-are-not-islamic-state-men-says-court-2067042.html

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Delhi police prevents major terror attack in national capital, apprehends 3 men linked to Islamic State

25 November 2019

Delhi police on Monday averted a major terror attack in the national capital and took three men into custody affiliated to the Islamic State terror outfit and recovered Improvised Explosive Device (IED) from them.

The three of them have been taken into custody from Assam’s Guwahati. They have been singled out as Muqaddas Islam, Ranjit Ali, Lewis Jamil Jamal.

DCP Pramod Kushwaha of Delhi Police Special Cell stated, "A terror strike has been averted as three persons have been apprehended with Improvised Explosive Devices (IED)."

Police suspect that the three men were enticed by the Islamic State. They were found carrying explosive meterials used to develop bombs and IED.

http://www.catchnews.com/national-news/delhi-police-prevents-major-terror-attack-in-national-capital-apprehends-3-men-linked-to-islamic-state-179444.html

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Mumbai attacks: Eleven years since 26/11, nation remembers terror victims

Nov 26, 2019

MUMBAI: Tributes are pouring in since this morning as the country and the world remembers the victims who had lost their lives, eleven years ago in the Mumbai terror attacks which begin on November 26, 2008.

The ghastly attacks lasted for four days killing 166 people and injuring over 300.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday paid tribute to the victims of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack and offered his salutations to the bravery and devotion of security personnel.

"My tributes to all those who lost their lives in the dastardly Mumbai terror attack of 2008. We stand in solidarity with the bereaved families. I salute the bravery and devotion of our security personnel who laid down their lives to protect the motherland," Naidu said.

US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus took to Twitter saying 11 years ago, "a cowardly act of terrorism" took the lives of 166 people, including six US citizens.

"Today we remember the victims of the #MumbaiTerrorAttack, and stand with their families in demanding that those responsible for this heinous event face justice," she added.

Twenty-Six Eleven, as these attacks are often referred to as, witnessed 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists came to Mumbai via sea route from Pakistan and carried out a series of coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across the city.

After sailing to the city under the cover of darkness, the terrorists targeted major landmarks of Mumbai with the first attack taking place at the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station.

Ajmal Amir Kasab and Ismail Khan carried out the attack at this station, killing as many as 58 people and injuring over 100.

Kasab and Khan later entered to attack Cama Hospital, but the same was thwarted with the alertness of the hospital staff. They, however, killed 6 police officials, including city's Anti-Terrorism Squad Hemant Karkare in an ambush after leaving the hospital.

The second site of the attack was Nariman House business and residential complex where a Rabbi, his wife, and six others, including five Israeli citizens, were killed by the terrorists who first held them as a hostage.

The two-year-old child of the Rabbi couple, Moshe, survived in the attack. Then 'Baby Moshe' became a face of the innocent victims of ruthless terrorism.

In July 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Moshe during his visit to Israel. Later, in January 2018 the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on also met the survivor of 26/11, Moshe Holtzberg at Nariman House in Mumbai.

The third site to come under attack on 26/11 was the Leopold Cafe followed by Taj Mahal Hotel and Tower. Four terrorists carried out the attack at the famous cafe before entering the iconic Taj hotel, where they killed as many as 31 people after laying a three-day siege at the hotel.

The other site to come under attack during the 26/11 was Oberoi-Trident hotel where another group of two terrorists entered at almost the same time, as other four had entered Taj. At Oberoi-Trident hotel the siege officially ended on the evening of November 28 with as many as 30 being killed in the horrific attack.

The attack and seize finally culminated on the morning of November 29, 2008, after the National Security Guards (NSG) secured the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

By the time commandos of the National Security Guards (NSG) gunned down the last terrorists who had been holed up in south Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace hotel, over 160 people were killed and hundreds were left injured.

After the attack, it was established that the 10 terrorists had sailed to Mumbai from Pakistan's port city, Karachi. Their voyage to Mumbai involved hijacking a fishing dingy and killing four of the five men crew, leaving one occupant to ferry them to Mumbai coast.

In these gruesome attacks, 9 terrorists were killed and the lone survivor, Ajmal Amir Kasab, was caught and was sentenced to death at Yerwada Central Jail in Pune in 2012.

The Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), whose mastermind was Hafiz Saeed, was believed to have plotted the 26/11 attacks.

New Delhi has, time and again, protested against Islamabad for harboring Saeed, who is wanted for allegedly plotting the 2008 attack. India's stand on Hafiz has been supported by many International personalities including a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director and former Afghanistan President.

Former CIA Director David Howell Petraeus in January 2018, said that there is substantial evidence against Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief and UN-designated global terrorist Hafiz Saeed for his role in 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

A day after in the same month, former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai also remarked that there is plenty of evidence against Saeed for his role in 26/11 Mumbai terror attack and everyone knows about it.

In May 2018, former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also asserted that terrorists sent by Pakistan were responsible for the deadly 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks that claimed over 160 lives.

"Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can't we complete the trial?" Nawaz noted in an interview to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper in a reference to the Mumbai attacks-related trials which have stalled in a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court.

Days after Nawaj's not so subtle confessions about Pakistan's involvement in Mumbai attacks, the United States State Department said that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and 26/11 Mumbai terror attack mastermind is a tremendous concern to Washington.

"We are concerned about the mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks. And he's a Lashkar-e-Taiba guy who was being held in Pakistan, and he was eventually let out on house arrest, and we have a reward out for," said spokesperson Heather Nauert while responding to Sharif's remark.

Ties between India and Pakistan have remained tense since the 2008 Mumbai terror attack and nosedived after the Uri and Pulwama terror attack by Pakistan-based terrorists in September 2016 and Feburary, 2019 respectively, in which many soldiers lost their lives.

After combating the attack several policy decisions were taken to strengthen nations anti-terrorism framework. One of the immediate decisions the then government took after the attacks were to deploy the NSG commandos in few metropolitan cities. Later on, several NSG hubs were set up for faster response to terror attacks. (ANI)

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/mumbai-attacks-eleven-years-since-26/11-nation-remembers-terror-victims/articleshow/72234205.cms

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Europe

 

Muslims hand out roses in London in honor of Prophet Muhammad

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Bianca Rahimi

How much do people in Britain know about the fastest growing religion in the world of Islam? What do they know about the prophet of Islam, and how do they feel when they are approached by Muslims?

London is one of the world's most cosmopolitan and culturally diverse cities. Nonetheless sometimes Muslims can feel marginalized and misunderstood here.

Muslims and Islam have been demonized by western media for decades now, but since 9/11 the anti-Islam campaign has been brutal and intense.

As a result Islamophobia has steadily risen in countries like Britain, as have Islamophobic attacks. British Muslims are refusing to given up on their communities though.

On Sunday volunteers handed out roses in Trafalgar Square and offered passersby information about Islam. The organizers of the Roses For Peace initiative say this is vital at a time when misinformation is rife.

The organizers hope to bring people of different faiths together but also strengthen the bond between different Islamic sects. The roses were tagged with quotes from the prophet himself and also similar quotes from the bible.

The purpose of this was to demonstrate the closeness of the two faiths. St Martin’s embraced the gesture and invited the flower bearers in to hand out roses to refugees visiting the holy place. We asked some of the volunteers about their experience.

Hundreds of roses were handed out. Some people rushed passed but others stopped to ask questions and listened closely to what the volunteers had to say.

A few hours into the event Trafalgar square and the streets surrounding it were dotted with roses and their little messages of peace and goodwill.

Prophet Muhammad’s birthday comes a few weeks before Christians celebrate the birth of their savior Jesus who is also one of Islam’s beloved prophets.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/11/26/612134/Muslims-hand-out-roses-in-London-in-honor-of-the-Prophet

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‘My Faith Is What Drives Me To Do This,’ Says UK Muslim Woman Who Defended Jewish Family From Antisemite on London Underground

NOVEMBER 25, 2019

The brave Muslim woman who rushed to the defense of a Jewish family who was being harassed by an antisemite while traveling on the London Underground has been reunited with the family’s father, who gave her a bouquet of flowers in appreciation of her actions.

A man was arrested on Saturday evening after a viral video of the incident showed a Jewish family being harassed and “targeted with antisemitic abuse” on the London Underground, British Transport Police said.

In the video, a man is seen loudly reading a passage from the New Testament that addresses “them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not,” while pointing to a kippah-clad Jewish man who was traveling with his wife and three young children.

The man was then confronted by Asma Shuweikh — a 36-year-old Muslim woman who was on the same train — who acted, she later explained, because “I thought it is my duty as a mother, as a practicing Muslim, as a citizen of this country, to have to say something.”

In a statement released by the UK’s Campaign Against Antisemitism, the father of the family — who did not wish to be named — said he was “extremely grateful” to Shuweikh for stepping in.

“We are certain that without her intervention and distraction, he would have continued his abuse which could have escalated to physical violence,” he said.

“This Tube journey has left me with mixed feelings about society,” he added. “On the one hand my wife, my children and I were subject to vile abuse in a full Tube carriage, however I am grateful for those who stood up for me.”

Speaking to London’s Jewish News, Shuweikh described her meeting with the father as “lovely.”

“He came and gave me beautiful flowers and we sat down and had a coffee and we were talking about our experiences and our backgrounds,” she said.

Shukweikh added that she had previously faced Islamophobic abuse, describing an incident in which a motorist threw jelly beans at her face while she was driving.

“It hit me in the eye, and he swore at me,” Shuweikh said. “We get these things. It’s unacceptable, and I’m the kind of person that if I see that, I can’t be quiet. My faith is what drives me to do this.”

https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/11/25/my-faith-is-what-drives-me-to-do-this-says-uk-muslim-woman-who-defended-jewish-family-from-antisemite-on-london-underground/

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Jewish dad reunites with Muslim woman who confronted his children’s abuser

By MATHILDE FROT

November 25, 2019

A brave Muslim woman who came to the defence of Jewish children subjected to racial abuse on the London underground in a viral video has met the dad whose family she stood up for.

Asma Shuweikh, 36, from Birmingham was hailed as a hero by online users after footage widely shared on social media showed the mum-of-two confronting a man who read anti-Jewish bible passages at two young boys wearing kippot during a journey on the Northern Line.

The video shows the man threatening another commuter off-camera who intervened, before Shuweikh stepped in to confront the abuser.

“I tried to bring him down to a level where you can have a conversation so he doesn’t go back to the Jewish family that were on the train,” said Shuweikh.

“I’m a mother and I thought if I were with my children, I would want someone to intervene, and the poor  man was trying to keep calm for his children,” she added.

In a statement released by Campaign Against Antisemitism, the father, who did not wish to be named, said he was “extremely grateful” to Shuweikh for stepping in.

“We are certain that without her intervention and distraction, he would have continued his abuse which could have escalated to physical violence,” he said.

“This Tube journey has left me with mixed feelings about society,” he added. “On the one hand my wife, my children and I were subject to vile abuse in a full Tube carriage, however I am grateful for those who stood up for me.”

The dad met Shuweikh for coffee on Monday in Manchester bearing flowers and thanking her in person for her intervention.

Speaking to Jewish News on Monday, she said: “He came and gave me beautiful flowers and we sat down and had a coffee and we were talking about our experiences and our backgrounds.

“It was very nice. It was lovely. We’re going to keep in touch,” she added.

Shuweikh said she previously faced Islamophobic abuse, recounting an incident in which a motorist threw jelly beans at her face while she was driving. “It hit me in the eye, and he swore at me. We get these things. It’s unacceptable, and I’m the kind of person that if I see that, I can’t be quiet,” she said.

“My faith is what drives me to do this. We always encourage to speak out against injustice,” she added.

Shuweikh, who created a Twitter account to read messages of support, said the response from friends and strangers across both Jewish and Muslim communities had been “very overwhelming.”

“It’s a breath of fresh air. It’s lovely to see communities can come together and put aside our differences,” she said.

A man, who has not been named by police, was arrested in Birmingham on Saturday night on suspicion of committing a racially aggravated public order offence.

https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jewish-dad-reunites-with-muslim-woman-who-confronted-his-childrens-abuser/

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Islamic State 'Not Present On The Internet Anymore' Following European Operation

November 25, 2019

In a major blow to terrorist radicalization efforts, European law enforcement agencies have stripped Islamic State propaganda from popular online services such as Google and Twitter.

Over 26,000 items, which included videos, publications, social media accounts and communication channels, were flagged by authorities as being terrorist propaganda. Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency, sent those items to several online service providers for removal.

"For the time being, for as far as we know, IS is not present on the internet anymore and we will see how fast, if ever, they will regain service," Belgian Federal Prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt said at a press conference Monday.

Authorities said that services such as Google, Twitter, Instagram and Telegram cooperated with the European-wide efforts to disrupt terrorist activities. Telegram, an online messaging platform used by about 200 million users, contained the most offending material, which resulted in a "significant portion of key actors within the IS network" being removed from the service.

As part of the operation, an individual suspected of distributing terrorist propaganda was arrested in the Canary Islands by Spanish police. Head of Counter Terrorism of the Spanish Guardia Civil Alberto Rodríguez Vázquez said the individual self-radicalized himself and others.

"His role in the dissemination is in the process of being established, but evidence points to the indoctrination of other individuals in his place of residence, where he exerted a sort of religious authority," Rodríguez said.

https://www.npr.org/2019/11/25/782712176/islamic-state-not-present-on-the-internet-anymore-following-european-operation?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

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French courts sabotage probe of official financing of Islamic State terrorism

By Francis Dubois

26 November 2019

The Paris appeals court dropped charges of complicity in crimes against humanity targeting the Lafarge corporation just before the fourth anniversary of the November 13, 2015 attacks in Paris and the conclusion of an investigation by anti-terror magistrates. On that date, deadly attacks by the Islamic State (IS), which was receiving funding from Lafarge with state complicity, claimed 130 lives and wounded 413 people.

Lafarge, an industrial company specializing in building materials, financed IS to the tune of at least $13 million while a wave of terrorist attacks devastated Europe from 2014 to 2016. This financing continued after the deadly attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January 2015.

The court ruling is line with Lafarge lawyers’ demands. In March 2019, charges were dropped against former LafargeHolcim director Eric Olsen—which, L’Express noted, “began the defense lawyers’ counterattack.” Charges were scaled back against a key defendant in the affair, Lafarge security chief Jean-Claude Veillard, and Frédéric Jolibois, the director of Lafarge’s Syrian plant starting in 2014, was released from preventive detention. Le Monde wrote that this scaling back of charges would “automatically knock major ‘holes’ in this complex legal case.”

The appeals court kept accusations of “financing terrorism,” “violating an embargo,” “endangering the lives” of former workers at Lafarge’s Jalabiya, Syria plant.

The charge of “complicity in crimes against humanity” was the most serious and had the broadest scope, however. The dropping of this charge limits the scope of investigations and effectively blocks a trial that would reveal the state’s actions between 2012 and 2016, and their repercussions with deadly attacks in France, Belgium, Germany, Britain and Spain.

Unlike the investigating magistrates, the appeals court demanded investigators prove not only that Lafarge financed crimes against humanity, but that Lafarge intended to commit such crimes.

Investigators had argued that Lafarge’s “intention” was proved by the fact that it was aware of IS crimes and contributed to them by financing IS. Courts “do not insist that someone guilty of complicity in crimes against humanity ‘share the same ideologically hegemonic policy as the main actors.’ Nor is it necessary for an accomplice to ‘know the precise crime being planned,’” they wrote in a note. The UN and the European Parliament reported IS war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2015 and 2016.

In October, prosecutors threw out four civil plaintiffs from the case, preventing any intervention by the public. Prosecutors settled on “throwing out all the legal briefs that non-governmental associations had filed,” wrote the Sherpa association, one of the plaintiffs, adding that without the civil plaintiffs “this case would not exist.”

Another civil plaintiff, the Chredo (Coordination of Christians in danger in the Orient), accused the state of “not respecting the obligation to mention Lafarge among the entities financing terrorism, though it was known to be doing so.”

This dropping of charges impedes the organization of a trial that would expose the imperialist policy of the French government and its NATO allies in Syria and the role of Western intelligence agencies during the deadly attacks of 2014-2016. In the war for regime change they launched against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, the NATO imperialist powers used Islamist terrorist militias like IS as proxy forces.

A key aspect of the affair was the ties between Lafarge’s financing and terror attacks in Europe. The Life in Paris association, which represents victims of the November 13 attacks and their relatives, had been allowed to file charges in January 2018. Investigating judges ruled it was “established” that “the overall size and duration” of Lafarge financing allowed IS to “plan and carry out violent attacks in Syria and abroad, including in France.”

L’Express wrote in May 2018: “According to judicial sources, ‘bank notes found in the pockets of Abaawud [the suspected organizer of the November 13 attacks] or of others could have come from Lafarge.”

According to investigating magistrate Charlotte Bilger, “nothing allows us to rule out the hypothesis that funds that Lafarge could pay to terrorist groups would have helped to finance the terror attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015.” Nevertheless, the Paris prosecutor’s office opposed allowing the association to be listed as a plaintiff in the case, claiming the charges were outside the association’s legal competence.

In a May 7, 2018 article, “Lafarge, the shadows of November 13,” L’Express noted: “According to judicial customs officials investigating for the investigating magistrates, Lafarge paid funds until 2015 to various terrorist organizations, including IS. The date is critical: indeed, on January 9, 2015, Amédy Coulibaly committed crimes, targeting a municipal policewoman in Montrouge and a kosher market in Vincennes in the name of IS, formally establishing the link via a posthumous video.”

The magazine added, “Investigators set up a chart of payments made to intermediaries known to be close to terrorist elements, and it seems that these payments continued after IS first claimed responsibility for attacks waged in France. … Thus, a line in this chart titled ‘payments, supplies’ notes that seven suppliers of raw materials established in Raqqa … received from Lafarge the equivalent of $3 million between 2010 and February 2015—which executives like Frédéric Jolibois downplayed during their interrogations.”

One row in this “chart describes ‘payments made to intermediaries’ between December 4, 2013 and January 31, 2015 for a total of $240,000. … Clearly this was not enough to embarrass certain executives of Lafarge, who thus continued to pay their ‘alms,’ as one of them put it, to the organization,” continued L’Express.

It is now established in particular that Veillard was in contact with the Elysée presidential palace, in “October or November 2014” by his account, to “make clear that this factory could serve as a base in the context of a deployment of French military forces.” Lafarge also established permanent contacts with France’s General Directorate of Interior Security (DGSI) regarding its ties and payments to IS—contacts which, according to a declassified DGSI report, continued until 2016.

The questioning of former minister for Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius, who denied all knowledge of any aspect of the case, reinforced suspicions that the Elysée and the foreign ministry were perfectly well informed.

Though it is also under investigation, the DGSI was allowed access to the case files. In October 2018, Lafarge lawyers accused it of “bias” and “conflict of interest.” The DGSI participated in searches of Lafarge facilities, participated in interrogations of suspects, and wrote up reports and summaries for the judges.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/11/26/lafa-n26.html

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Muslim group welcome hero firefighters to a dinner to celebrate mosque's 30th anniversary

26 November 2019

A Muslim group welcomed firefighters to a dinner to celebrate a mosque's 30th anniversary.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Australia (AMA) invited the NSW crew to the Baitul Huda mosque in Marsden Park in Sydney's west as part of the celebrations on Saturday.

Members of the NSW Rural Fire Service attended the event, along with community members, politicians and members of the general public.

The Muslim group posted images of the event on Twitter, thanking the firefighters for their service.

'Thanks NSW RFS for the wonderful work you do day and night,' it wrote.

'Thanks for attending our 30 years of Masjid Baitul Huda with outstanding exhibition to educate community & encourage our youth to become volunteers & service this beautiful country.'

Images show firetrucks sitting outside the mosque as volunteers from the RFS are pictured eating dinner and listening to key speakers at the event.

The Baitul Huda mosque accommodates the Sydney community of Ahmadiyya Muslims, an Islamic denomination, The Daily Telegraph reported.

There are more than 4,000 members of the denomination in Sydney with the Baitul Huda mosque becoming one of the country's biggest.

Imam and missionary, Imtiaz Ahmad Naveed said the group was formally formed in 1979 but has more than 100 years of history in Australia.

The group focuses on bridging the gap between communities through interfaith discussion.

'We regularly host interfaith symposiums, charity work, open mosque events, Australia Day and many more,' Mr Naveed said.

'We regularly have visits from several different schools; primary schools, high schools, colleges and some university students and local communities.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7725837/Muslim-group-welcome-hero-firefighters-dinner-celebrate-mosques-30th-anniversary.html

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North America

 

Republican: 'Rainbow Jihad' Behind Trans Flag Display at Iowa Capitol

BY TRUDY RING

NOVEMBER 25 2019

Iowa last week became the first state to fly the transgender flag at its capitol for Transgender Day of Remembrance, but some right-wing lawmakers have figuratively taken it down.

“It’s another way that the rainbow jihad continues to give those of us who don’t agree with them a finger in the eye and push their beliefs on us,” state Rep. Skyler Wheeler, a Republican, told The Iowa Standard, a right-leaning political news website.

“Flags flown at our state Capitol should not be flags that fuel division among Iowans,” he added. “How would the rainbow jihad react if we were trying to fly the Christian flag over the state capitol? The rainbow jihad is not OK with simply living their lives. They are so hell-bent on pushing their beliefs on us that they would go so far as to fly that flag over the state capitol. It’s one of the most egregious acts of political aggression I’ve ever seen.”

Another Republican state representative, Dean Fisher, also brought up the matter of a Christian flag. “I guess the question is, can I fly the Christian flag over it?” he told the site. “Do I think that’s right? Well, not necessarily. Yeah, I’m solidly a Christian, but should I be flying my flag over somebody else’s instead of the Iowa flag or the United States flag?”

“It’s the same point that the atheists made with getting one of their guys to have the time for the prayer in the House chamber,” he continued. “He didn’t actually pray, he simply gave a speech, which I think was inappropriate. It’s the same thing, they’re trying to gain attention and get legitimacy.”

Both objected to not being consulted about the flag display, but Iowa Safe Schools, which asked for the flag to be flown, went through proper channels. The group, which advocates for LGBTQ-affirming schools, petitioned the Iowa Department of Administrative Services for the display, and the agency granted its request, reports another political website, Iowa Starting Line. Representatives of Iowa Safe Schools showed up at the capitol building in Des Moines with the flag at the appointed time on November 20, and the flag was raised. It flew for just three to five minutes, which is standard practice for certain special flags, but it still sent an important message, said Nate Monson, executive director of Iowa Safe Schools.

“Doing something like having a flag flying over the capitol is a message and a beacon to youth that we serve across the state that they are accepted, they are loved,” Monson told Iowa Starting Line. “While today we’re honoring folks, we’re also moving forward on acceptance and equality.” TDOR is held annually to honor those who’ve lost their lives to anti-trans violence.

California displayed the trans flag at its capitol later the same day, but Monson took pride in Iowa being the first. “We beat California and we’re damn proud that Iowa’s first on another civil rights triumph,” he said.

Fisher wants to keep the flag from going up again, though. He’s preparing a bill that would allow only the U.S. and Iowa flags to be flown on the official poles at the capitol. “Maybe the bill would have to get massaged a little bit, but generally I don’t think we should be flying anybody’s flag over the capitol,” he told the Standard. “I’m not sure what message that sends. As we go through that process, I’d certainly listen to what exceptions there should be. I can’t think of what they might be, if there’s a visiting foreign dignitary, would we fly their flag? I don’t know why we would, but I’ll listen to that discussion. I don’t think it ought to be any group that wants to.”

https://www.advocate.com/transgender/2019/11/25/republican-rainbow-jihad-behind-trans-flag-display-iowa-capitol

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Europol culls thousands of Islamic State online accounts in ‘day of action’

NOVEMBER 26, 2019

BY JOSEPH FITSANAKIS

Telegram AppThe law enforcement agency of the European Union, in cooperation with the popular online messaging service Telegram, has culled thousands of Islamic State online accounts in what it described as “a day of action”. The operation was coordinated by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, better known as Europol. The agency coordinated its activities with the popular instant-messaging service Telegram, which the Islamic State has used as its main platform of mass communication since 2014.

In a press release that appeared on its website on Friday, Europol said that it had managed to locate “a significant portion of key actors within the Islamic State network on Telegram” and “push [them] away from the platform”. The messaging app confirmed the joint “day of action” with Europol and said it took down over 5,000 “terrorist accounts and bots” from its network on November 22 and 23. The company said this was nearly 10 times higher than the usual number of user accounts taken down daily for violating its user agreement.

The BBC said that the removal of the accounts appeared to affect heavily the activities of the Nashir News Agency, an Islamic State propaganda outlet that uses the Telegram app to publicize press releases from the Islamic State. Dozens of online channels and community groups that were moderated by Nashir News Agency editors were also impacted, as their moderators had disappeared from the network. On Saturday, some Telegram users began posting information about replacement accounts for Nashir News Agency press releases, but these too were taken down within hours.

This was the second major “day of action” against online terrorist propaganda that Europol coordinated, with the first one being in April of last year. But critics argue that such efforts are unlikely to have a long-term impact on the ability of terrorist groups to spread online propaganda, unless they are constant and systematic. Meanwhile, Islamic State sympathizers criticized the Telegram service on other social media platforms and warned that moves to silence the group would result in its membership going deeper underground.

https://intelnews.org/2019/11/26/01-2675/

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Revived Falsehood that Trump Fired ‘Muslim Judge’

November 25, 2019

Quick Take

A viral story shared on Facebook falsely claims President Donald Trump has fired a “Muslim federal judge” over “Sharia Law.” The story was published two years ago by a website that calls its work satire, but it is being spread again by a Tumblr site.

A headline shared more than 50,000 times on Facebook — from a Tumblr account whose URL is misleadingly made to look like a Fox News property — falsely tells users that President Donald Trump has removed a “Muslim federal judge for trying to implement Sharia Law.”

The falsehood, now being spread by foxnw.tumblr.com, has circulated for two years, and was originally published in 2017 by the self-described satirical publication called America’s Last Line of Defense. The Tumblr account links to a post on another website, which refers to a “22nd Circuit Court of Appeals Justice” named “Hansam al Alallawalahi-Smith.” But neither the court nor the judge exist.

We’ve written about many hoaxes stemming from America’s Last Line of Defense, which employs a network of different websites and publishes content that can mislead social media users. While the websites include satirical labels — for those who click beyond the headline — other websites, as in this case, often republish the stories without any such disclaimers. We’ve previously debunked similar stories from America’s Last Line of Defense that also claimed that Trump had fired made-up Muslim judges.

What’s more, while presidents nominate federal judges and the Senate confirms nominees, the power to remove a federal judge is held only by Congress. Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution says federal judges “shall hold their offices during good behaviour,” which “has been interpreted to mean that the only way federal judges can be removed from office is if the House of Representatives impeaches them, and the Senate convicts them, of ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,'” as the National Constitution Center explains on its website.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.

“About Us.” AsAmericanAsApplePie.org. Archived 28 Dec 2019.

“Biographical Directory of Federal Judges.” Federal Judicial Center. Accessed 25 Nov 2019.

“FAQs: Federal Judges.” U.S. Courts. Accessed 25 Nov 2019.

Navarro Smelcer, Susan. “The Role of the Senate in Judicial Impeachment Proceedings: Procedure, Practice, and Data.” Congressional Research Service. 9 Apr 2010.

https://www.factcheck.org/2019/11/revived-falsehood-that-trump-fired-muslim-judge/

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Dog who helped catch Islamic State leader given warm welcome at White House

November 25, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump welcomed an unusual guest to the White House on Monday — Conan, the military service dog who helped hunt down Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“This is Conan, right now probably the world’s most famous dog,” said Trump, flanked by his wife Melania, Vice President Mike Pence, Conan and a handler.

“We’re very honored to have had Conan here and to have given Conan a certificate and an award that we’re going to put up in the White House,” Trump told reporters on the steps facing the White House garden.

Baghdadi, an Iraqi who rose from obscurity to declare himself “caliph” of all Muslims as the leader of Islamic State, died last month by detonating a suicide vest after he fled into a dead-end tunnel as elite U.S. special forces closed in.

Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command which oversees American forces in the Middle East, said previously that Baghdadi brought two young children into the tunnel with him.

Both children were believed to be under the age of 12 and both were killed, he said.

“Conan is really a hero,” Pence said of the dog who was injured in the operation.

https://globalnews.ca/news/6215744/dog-caught-baghdadi-white-house/

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Navy SEAL who shot bin Laden rips Pentagon for 'whiny' response to Trump's Eddie Gallagher move

by Dominick Mastrangelo

November 25, 2019

A prominent veteran of the U.S. Navy SEALs scoffed at the controversy surrounding SEAL Eddie Gallagher’s war crimes case and applauded President Trump after Navy Secretary Richard Spencer was fired on Sunday.

“Everyone knows he’ll always be a SEAL," Robert O’Neill, the Navy SEAL who is said to have fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden, told the Washington Examiner on Monday. “They’ll never be able to take that away from him.”

Gallagher’s high-profile case, which has galvanized the SEAL community, was at the center of the Trump administration's ousting of Spencer, who was dismissed for privately proposing to White House officials a deal that would have allowed Gallagher to keep his SEAL Trident pin if the administration refrained from interfering in the proceedings against him.

Earlier this month, Trump restored Gallagher's rank after he was accused of war crimes and found guilty by a military court of posing with the body of a teenage ISIS fighter in 2017, but the Navy was considering further disciplining Gallagher by revoking his Trident insignia, a pin that is assigned exclusively to members of the U.S. Navy SEALS.

“This is all about ego and retaliation,” Gallagher said on Fox News over the weekend. “This has nothing to do with good order and discipline. They could have taken my Trident at any time they wanted.”

Trump intervened in Gallagher’s case last week, announcing he would not allow the U.S. Navy to strip him of the exclusive designation awarded to less than 5,000 service members ever.

“This case was handled very badly from the beginning," Trump said.

Gallagher’s attorney has requested the Department of Defense inspector general look into Spencer’s effort to have Gallagher’s Trident pin removed.

O’Neill, after learning of the Navy’s effort to demote Gallagher, offered to give his Trident pin up instead and described top Pentagon officials who disagreed with Trump's move as coming off as "whiny."

“It’s a special designation,” O’Neill said. “(SEALs) go through the hardest training in the world … basically beating you up. It turns you into a special warrior.”

The president's intervention, however, has sparked intense criticism from leading Democrats and media pundits.

"Secretary Spencer did the right thing, and he should be proud of standing up to President Trump when he was wrong, something too many in this administration and the Republican Party are scared to do,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said.

“Trump has recklessly crossed a line he had generally observed before, which had exempted the military from his belligerent, government-by-tweet interference,” wrote Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, whose father was secretary of the Navy in the late 1960s. “The Gallagher case illustrates how an irascible, vengeful commander in chief is ready to override traditional limits to aid political allies in foreign policy, law enforcement and now military matters.”

But the backlash to Trump’s intervention in the Gallagher case is par for the course, O’Neill, an outspoken Trump supporter, said.

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but everything he does stirs up controversy,” he said. “Look at the case of [Lt. Col. Alexander)] Vindman, who the Left is holding up as a hero and then they vilify Gallagher? I mean, really?”

Other prominent SEALs applauded Trump’s action.

“Glad we cleared that up this morning,” said veteran and author Carl Higbie. “How about you review ADM Green’s trident and let Eddie Gallagher pick the board.”

Gallagher’s case highlights what O’Neill characterized as “ridiculous” rules of engagement that service members are bound by while attempting to rid the Middle East of terrorism.

“I’ve been saying it for a while now,” he said. “These current rules of engagement are going to get somebody killed.”

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/navy-seal-who-shot-bin-laden-rips-pentagon-for-whiny-response-to-trumps-eddie-gallagher-move

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Mideast

 

Lebanese army controls Beirut after clashes between Sunni activists and Shiites

26.11.2019

Lebanese army and gendarmerie units took control of the situation in the western quarters of Beirut on Tuesday after clashes between supporters of the Al-Mustaqbal Sunni movement and activists from Shiite organizations Amal and Hezbollah, TASS reported.

The situation in the city worsened after the news of the death of two members of the Shiite community, which crashed on Monday into the barriers erected by demonstrators on the Beirut-Sayda highway. Shiite bikers with the flags of Amal and Hezbollah organized marches along the city streets and appeared in the center of the capital, which connects the western and eastern quarters of Beirut. The activists tried to get closer to the tent camp of the protest movement participants at the monument to the fallen heroes, but they failed to break through the police cordons.

According to the Arab television channel Al Hadath, the Lebanese unions supported the call of the demonstrators to hold a general strike in the coming days. The nationwide protest rally, which will cover the public sector and private companies, will begin on November 28 in Beirut and will last three days.

The mass protests in Lebanon that broke out on October 17 led to the resignation of a coalition cabinet led by Saad Hariri on October 29. On November 19, demonstrators foiled a parliamentary session in central Beirut as they blocked all the entrances.

https://news.am/eng/news/546422.html

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Eyewitnesses Say Shia Party Supporters Attack Demonstrators, Burn Tents in Southern Lebanon

26.11.2019

BEIRUT (Sputnik) – Supporters of the Amal Movement, a Shia-affiliated political party in Lebanon, have attacked anti-government demonstrators in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre, burning their tents, eyewitnesses have said.

Local media reported that at least three people were hospitalized after the attack. Videos released on social media showed burning tents with gunfire heard in the background.

Eyewitnesses added that military servicemen fired into the air trying to scare Amal supporters away from the demonstrators.

On Monday, Lebanon's security forces fired tear gas to break up clashes between demonstrators protesting against the government and supporters of Hezbollah and Amal, in Beirut’s central Martyrs’ Square.

The rallies began in the early hours of Monday after a video was published on the internet in which one of the demonstrators insulted the leader of the Hezbollah movement. The Shia parties’ supporters managed to destroy a protester camp in central Beirut before security forces arrived.

The Shia Hezbollah political party and Amal Movement were both represented in the Lebanese government until the cabinet of then-prime minister Saad Hariri resigned on 29 October. The resignation came after almost two weeks of anti-government rallies, triggered by increasing costs of living, new taxes, and fees.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201911261077401695-eyewitnesses-say-shia-party-supporters-attack-demonstrators-burn-tents-in-southern-lebanon/

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Iran Could Be on the Brink of Overthrowing the Mullahs' Regime

25 November 2019

There is no reason to assume that the world has a complete picture of the Iranian regime’s response to the ongoing Iran protests, argues Homeira Hesami of the Iranian-American Community of North Texas. The internet has been essentially cut off for everyone except government officials and state media outlets.

What little information has leaked out indicates that in many cases, the bodies of the deceased are not being returned to their loved ones. Such reports are reminiscent of the worst of Tehran’s crimes against humanity, such as the 1988 massacre, in which as many as 30,000 political prisoners were murdered and buried in secret mass graves, Hesami wrote for The Dallas Morning News on Sunday, November 24, 2019.

She said the world should be alarmed of "the prospect that the perpetrators of the latest killings may never be held accountable for their actions. After all, no one has ever been brought to justice for the 1988 massacre. In fact, many of the leading participants in that massacre have been rewarded with progressively more powerful appointments in the Iranian government and state-linked private industries."

Over the years, Tehran has been given good reason to believe that it will face no serious, long-term consequences for the repression of dissent within its own borders or beyond. In many instances, Western governments have deliberately looked the other way in order to appease the theocratic regime, she wrote.

"The current unrest is indicative of a deep desire for change that has been simmering for the better part of 40 years, expressed in a long series of protests that led inexorably to today’s uprising. The swiftly imposed internet blackout serves to isolate Iran from the world, so the regime can better hide its vulnerability. But from what has been seen so far, it may no longer be possible to conceal the fact that the Iranian people are on the brink of overthrowing their authoritarian government."

"The growing death toll essentially proves the truth of this assertion. This round of protests appears poised to continue in spite of many more deaths, injuries, and threats of harsh punishment by the Iranian judiciary, now in the hands of one of the leading perpetrators of the 1988 massacre, Ebrahim Raisi."

"As in the 2018 uprisings, Tehran begrudgingly attributed credit for guiding the protesters to the Iranian Resistance led by Maryam Rajavi and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The resistance’s leading role in organizing the current protests is a testament to the organizational and strategic prowess of the MEK and the fact that the clerical regime has utterly failed to destroy this movement."

If the regime’s long history of brutal repression has not yet accomplished this, neither will its crackdown on the current protests, Hesami pointed out. Still, an open question remains as to whether the international community will continue to turn a blind eye to this latest assault on the rights of the Iranian people, she wrote.

"To their credit, the White House, the State Department, and the U.N. Human Rights Council have each issued statements affirming the Iranian people’s right of dissent and condemning the excessive use of force by Iranian authorities. But such statements are only half-measures and must be followed by concrete measures to cut into the regime’s sense of impunity."

Anyone truly interested in defending Iranian activists or promoting their democratic goals should push for more decisive action, she added.

“Silence vis-à-vis the crimes against humanity perpetrated in Iran every day is absolutely unacceptable,” Rajavi said in a statement responding to the unrest in her homeland. The statement went on to urge the U.N. Security Council to convene an extraordinary session, declare Iran’s leaders responsible for crimes against humanity, and take steps toward bringing them to justice.

In Texas and nationwide, there is a bipartisan congressional condemnation of the killings and support for the uprising in Iran. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, as well as Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Sen. Robert Menendez. D-N.J., have all spoken in favor of the right of the Iranian people for democratic change. The U.S. must also act to ensure access to the internet to allow the Iranian people’s voice to echo to the outside world, Hesami pointed out.

Earlier this month, Sen. Cruz said in a policy briefing in the Senate: “The government of Iran has been under a shroud of darkness for decades now. Ayatollah Khamenei and the mullahs enforce brutal repression on the people. And I will say to the Iranian people, to the men and women of Iran: America is with you. America is with you and your struggle against cruel, oppressive, torturing, murderous tyrants. Freedom matters. I believe we can one day again have a free Iran, not with the Ayatollah in power.”

The current uprising aims to remove the entire regime, and it needs the U.S. and the rest of the free world on its side. After years of appeasement and inaction in the face of ayatollahs’ persistent human rights abuses, suppression and foreign adventurism at the expense of the Iranian people, it is the least the outside world can do, Hesami added.

Homeira Hesami is chairwoman of the Iranian-American Community of North Texas and a medical physicist in Carrollton. She wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.

https://www.ncr-iran.org/en/news/iran-protests/26961-iran-could-be-on-the-brink-of-overthrowing-the-mullahs-regime-dallas-morning-news-op-ed

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Israel punishes Muslim incitement, ignores Jewish one

Shlomi Eldar

November 25, 2019

Sheikh Raed Salah, former head of the northern branch of Israel's Islamic Movement, was convicted Nov. 24 of inciting terrorism and support for illegal organizations by the Haifa Magistrates Court. Salah had received a suspended sentence on a prior conviction and is therefore now expected to serve jail time.

According to Salah’s bill of indictment, Salah delivered a speech during the funerals of three terrorists from his city (Umm al-Fahm) who, in July 2017, murdered two border policemen in Jerusalem. Salah said: “At these moments [we need to stand together] as one house, as one family. We take leave of our martyrs and express the wish that they join the prophets, the righteous ones and the martyrs. At these moments, may we pray that God increases their value in the heavens in paradise. In the Garden of Eden above, God himself will honor them by drinking water together with the Prophet Muhammad.’’

In those days, when the tensions related to the Temple Mount were at their height, Salah was in the sights of Israel’s political and defense system. Otherwise, it is doubtful that he would have been arrested for what he said. Salah was the initiator and organizer of the Morabiton and Morabitat groups. These were established to remain on guard at the Al-Aksa Mosque against what Salah views as attempts to change the status quo (on praying times allotted to Jews and Muslims), in light of the fact that there has been a rise in the number of Jews who pray at the Temple Mount. The early signs of tensions in October 2015 were in fact the decisive factor that generated a wave of terror attacks. And it was this wave of attacks that ultimately led to the November 2015 Cabinet resolution to declare the northern branch of Israel's Islamic Movement as illegal. Since then, it was clear that Salah’s arrest would only be a matter of time.

But the bill of indictment did not only list Salah’s present praises for "martyrs," as serious as these statements were. The charges against him also included acts he committed in December 2015, when he spoke in Baqa al-Gharbiya and displayed a controversial racist Jewish religious book called “The King’s Torah” and claimed that it allowed Jews to spill the blood of Palestinian children. This 230-page book was written by two rabbis from the Yitzhar settlement, Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur. The book was supposed to present Jewish religious guidance regarding when is it permissible or even necessary to kill non-Jews. According to the book, in certain cases, the killing of children is justified since their presence helps facilitate the murder of Jews.

On Dec. 24, 2015, radical right-wing activists published a video recorded at a wedding just a few days earlier. At the wedding, activists were dancing, holding up and stabbing the photo of the Palestinian toddler Ali Dawabsheh, who was murdered in July 2015. Ali was murdered with other members of his family when settlers set their home on fire in the West Bank village of Duma. Three days later, Salah posted on social networks his Baqa al-Gharbiya speech.

“Our children, you are heroes, we will sacrifice for you. We are happy to be sent to prison for your sake, happy to inflict attacks and threaten on your behalf, happy to die as martyrs for your sake,” Salah said in his speech against the book. As mentioned, following these statements he was indicted and convicted.

Contrary to Salah, the author of "The King’s Torah," Elitzur, considered the Duma attack a heroic action. He published an article stating: "I hope that the people who perpetrated the act in the Duma village won’t be caught. I hope so because the people going after them are not honest people …’’ Following these statements, Elitzur was summoned to the police station and questioned. Again, he was not indicted and not convicted. It seems that time, as well freedom of religious expression, was on his side.

It is absurd that the freedom of religious expression granted to the two authors of the racist book was not granted to Sheikh Raed Salah. True, after "The King’s Torah" was published, the two authors were called in for investigation by the police. However, the attorney general closed the file against them due to a lack of evidence. Human rights groups petitioned the High Court, demanding that the authors be put on trial, but the petition was rejected because “the book still remains largely within the boundaries of freedom of expression with regard to Jewish law,” according to Supreme Court Vice President Elyakim Rubinstein, himself a religious Jew. According to the High Court, the book “defames Judaism, making Jews into racists, but they [the authors] should not be prosecuted under criminal law.”

Attorney Avigdor Feldman, who represents Salah, told Al-Monitor that “[Haifa Magistrate’s Court] Judge Shlomo Banjo did not leave out anything negative that could possibly be said against Raed; the judge created an atmosphere in which he tried to bring all the severity of the law against him [Raed]. Even Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said, after Raed’s arrest, that he hopes that this time the full severity of the law will be invoked against Raed, and with the hope that the latter will spend an extended period of time behind lock and key.”

According to Feldman, there is no doubt that double standards exist in court. “That’s the way it is when the prime minister himself expresses severe incitement against 20% of the population [the Israeli-Arab public]. Others get the message and continue to incite, and they are not arrested or brought to court,” he said.

Feldman said that during the court case, the justice was shown statements uttered by religious Zionist rabbis and right-wing extremists such as Otzma Yehudit (far-right Jewish Power) activists. In response, the justice merely said that each text must be examined on its own merits, and rejected the argument that he was under the influence of politicians.

After the verdict was delivered, Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman wrote, “I hope that the punishment he will receive will be in accordance [with the severity of his actions]. Anyone who saw today how the members of the [Arab] Joint List party made a pilgrimage to the High Court and then displayed their support for a terrorist now understands that we face a fifth column, period.” Aren’t these words of incitement?

Education Minister Rafi Peretz, the chairman of HaBayit HaYehudi, blessed the High Court and, while turning toward those members of the Joint List who were present at the time, he said, “To those who conceived of a minority government dependent on the Joint List — I suggest that you get a good look at those who came to the court this morning and supported that same inciting sheikh.” Peretz, a religious Zionist and a respected educator, has never come out publicly against words of incitement uttered by right-wing extremists such as Benzi Gopstein, head of the Lehava Organization, who uttered the following words: “If we don’t chase them away, they [the Arabs] will continue to laugh and rape and kill. Hardly a day goes by that an Ishmael [Arab] doesn’t try to harass and rape girls. They introduce a culture of murder and rape.”

In most cases, words of incitement uttered by right-wing extremists do not reach the courts due to the political-public defense protection they receive. True, Salah is a religious preacher whose fiery words and actions are offensive. But we will only know real justice when the same rules are applied to inciters of a different kind.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/11/israel-raed-salad-sentence-jail-incitement-terrorism-erdan.html

------

 

Muslims hail Palestinians fighting for freedom: Turkey

Ahmet Furkan Mercan

25.11.2019

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu hailed on Monday Palestinians who march for freedom on the streets of Gaza and those who resist the occupation of Jerusalem.

“I hail all; from little children who march on the streets of Gaza for freedom and honor, to men and women who resist the occupation of Jerusalem, and to brave men and women who are against the racist and inhumane isolation of Palestinians,” Cavusoglu told a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

"We hear your voice, hundreds of millions of Muslims are with you," he said.

Listing the achievements of the OIC, the top diplomat said, an emergency UN General Assembly session was convened for the protection of Jerusalem’s status and rights of Palestinians.

“It is our organization’s duty to defend the honor and rights of all Muslim nations, minorities and communities, including the people of Rakhine [State in Myanmar], Kashmir, Uighurs, Turkish Cypriots, Turkish minorities in Western Thrace, and Muslims in Northern America and Europe,” he added.

He said Turkey, as an active member of the bloc, was leading these fights and raising its voice against Islamophobia.

“Despite our differences, we have achieved unity in action,” he said.

Turkey took over term presidency of the OIC from Egypt in April 2016 and handed it to Saudi Arabia in May 2019.

*Writing by Sena Guler

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/muslims-hail-palestinians-fighting-for-freedom-turkey/1655247

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Demonstrators in Tehran Issue Resolution against Rioters, Foreign Meddling

Mon Nov 25, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- Participants in the massive rallies in Tehran on Monday in their final resolution condemned the US and other enemies' support for the recent riots in Iran, and stressed allegiance to the Supreme Leader and the establishment.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the capital city of Tehran poured to the streets on Monday to show allegiance to the Supreme Leader and the Islamic Republic and support for the country's security and might.

At the end of the rallies, the demonstrators underlined in their resolution that the only way to come over problems in the country is obedience to the guidelines of Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.

They also called on the government to explain about the timing and method to ration and increase the gasoline prices which led to protest rallies across the country.

The resolution asked the judiciary to rapidly try and punish the rioters who were led by the US, monarchists and Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCRI) terrorist group, and stressed the need for the government to increase control over the prices of other commodities and compensate for the damages inflicted on ordinary people during the recent riots.

The ralliers emphasized the necessity for the promotion of the economy of resistance and reliance on the internal capabilities without pinning hope on "fruitless" talks with the foreign states.

They also called on the government to launch the national internet and limit the activities of the hostile media which distort security of Iran.

The rallies started at 14:30 local time (1100 GMT) with demonstrators moving towards Enqelab (Revolution) Square in Central Tehran.

The demonstrators shouted 'death to the US', 'death to Israel', 'death to Britain', 'death to the plotters' and 'death to the rioters' slogans.

They also carried the Iranian flags and placards with Ayatollah Khamenei's images and remarks.

The ralliers also voiced their opposition to the hike in gasoline prices and other goods in Iran, but meantime, voiced hatred for the rioters who misused the recent protests to set ablaze the public and private properties and loot the big stores.

In similar rallies on Sunday, tens of thousands of people in Northern, Western and Southern Iran demonstrated to show allegiance to the Islamic Republic and Supreme Leader after the recent riots.

Demonstrators in the towns of Pardis and Baharesten in Tehran province, Nour, Savadkouh, Behshahr, Neka, Qa'em Shahr and Sari in Mazandaran province, Ahrom in Bushehr, Imam Khomeini port city in Khuzestan province and Sahneh, Sarpol Zahab, Gilan Qarb, Qasr-e Shirin, Kermanshah and Javanroud in Kermanshah province held massive rallies to condemn the rioters who misused the popular protests to destroy and set fire at public properties last week.

They shouted slogans, including 'death to the US' and 'death to Israel' to deplore their officials' interfering remarks against Iran as well as 'death to the rioters' and 'death to plotters' to condemn their acts of sabotage during the recent unrests.

The protestors also carried placards which called on the government to show more attention to people's welfare and living conditions and urged the judiciary to sue and seriously punish those who distorted security and tranquility of people in the recent riots.

Similar demonstrations have been underway throughout the country in the past few days.

On November 15, the government raised Iran’s extremely cheap gas price in order to moderate the national consumption rate, which stands at 110 million liters per day, 40 million liters above the maximum domestic requirement.

The government also announced a number of aid and subsidiary programs to protect vulnerable households from the adverse effects of the measure.

The price reform, required by Iranian legislature and essential as US-imposed sanctions seek to deplete Iran's budgetary resources, had been long delayed due to concerns regarding the move's probable backlash.

The measure's adoption prompted initially peaceful protests, but riotous elements, abusing the situation, quickly entered the scene, destroying public property, setting ablaze banks and gas stations among other facilities, and opening fire on people and security forces.

Last Friday, Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Ali Fadavi said that the US was disappointed that its perpetrated violent riots in Iran did not last more than 48 hours, adding that reports from all four corners of the country indicate that peace and calm has been restored much to Washington’s chagrin.

"Based on information we have received, the Americans have gone mad that the riots were over within 48 hours and are disappointed that there is no more disorder in Iran," Fadavi added.

However, Fadavi said that in numerous calls with other IRGC officials in the country no further riot attempts had been reported.

"Attacking homes, shops, hospitals, banks and gas stations is a malicious act which is not an act of protest nor rioting, but an act of thievery," Fadavi said.

"This is the difference between protest and disorder," he said.

The IRGC deputy commander added that peaceful protests were "natural" given the recent price hike and that the government has to adopt additional measures to reduce pressure on the general population.

Fadavi added, however, "The fact that the malicious actors of the world are targeting Iran in issues that are by no means related to them is a matter to note."

Deputy Head of Iran's Basij volunteer forces Brigadier General Salar Abnoosh said last Friday "a full-fledged war" had been meant to be waged against the country, only to be quelled early on.

Abnoosh added that interrogations of arrested rioters had revealed that a "coalition of evil" made up of "Zionists, America and Saudi Arabia" had joined forces to organize destructive riots from abroad.

Addressing worshipers during weekly Friday prayers in Tehran, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said certain foreign countries had spent "three years" preparing for an opportunity to wreak havoc in Iran, training specific elements to that end.

"But their schemes were neutralized," he said, adding that the riots ceased to continue despite the fact that countries such as Saudi Arabia had spent many resources and had provided much media coverage in order to instigate disorder.

Following the Friday prayers, numerous rallies were also held across Iran to condemn the recent riots.

The protesters condemned the US, Israel and seditionist elements for fueling the unrest and chanted slogans in support of the Islamic establishment.

Addressing recent riots during a speech, Iran's Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi said those "who have abused the concerns and troubles of the people in order to create disorder and insecurity" will face severe consequences.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is known as the safest country in the region due to the sacrifices of our martyrs and our wounded," he said.

"We will never allow the smallest breach in the security of our people," he added.

Riots by a small number who had taken advantage of legitimate public protests against the government's gas price hike plan in Iran were directed at sowing chaos through targeted attacks on public and private properties, forcing law enforcement to step in to stop saboteurs.

Early estimates of an intelligence body showed that a sum of nearly 87,000 protesters and rioters had taken part in protest rallies and gatherings since Friday night, mostly (over 93%) men. A large number of protesters had only been present in the gathering centers and avoided joining the rioters in sabotage attacks on public and private properties.

"The identical methods of the main core of violent rioters discloses that they are fully trained individuals who have been prepared and looking forward for the situation to rise, unlike most people who have been taken off guard by the sudden hike in gas price," the report said.

The report showed that gatherings have been comprised of 50 to 1,500 people held in 100 regions of the country out of a number of 1,080 major towns and cities. The report says violent raids and damage inflicted on properties has been larger than what happened in February 2018 unrests.

Most cases of damage to properties had happened in Khuzestan, Tehran, Fars and Kerman provinces. The report says most casualties have resulted from armed outlaws' attacks on oil storage and military centers, adding that a number of police and popular forces have been martyred in these attacks.

Nearly 1,000 people were arrested across the country while over 100 banks and 57 big stores were set on fire or plundered in just one province.

The Iranian intelligence ministry announced in a statement on November 17 that it had identified several rioters who misused the recent protest rallies against the gasoline price hikes to destroy public and private properties.

"The main culprits behind the riots in the past two days have been identified and proper measures are being adopted and the honorable nation will be informed about its result later," the statement said.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980904000976

------

 

Syrian Army Continues Advancing in Idlib, Takes Full Control of Two Key Towns

Mon Nov 25, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops continued their military operations in Southeastern Idlib, and managed to take control of the key towns of Um al-Khalakhil and al-Zarzour.

The Arabic-language website of Sputnik news agency reported that the Syrian Army continued its military operations against the Tahrir al-Sham al-Hayat (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusran Front) and Ajnad al-Qoqaz in Southeastern Idlib province.

Sputnik quoted a battlefield source as saying that the Russian fighter jets provided aerial support for the Syrian Army's military operations towards Um al-Khalakhil.

The source said that the Syrian Army managed to block the Al-Nusra Front's supply routes towards Um al-Khalakhil and imposed full control over the town.

It noted that over 50 terrorists were killed and wounded in clashes, and a major part of their military grid was also destroyed.

On November 14, the Syrian Army kicked off the second phase of its military operations in Southeastern Idlib from air and by using artillery attacks.

Al-Nusra Front has regained control over 70 percent of Idlib province as well as the Western and Northwestern regions of Aleppo.

People in Idlib have staged several protest rallies against terrorists, specially Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front), in the past few months, calling for the withdrawal of terrorists from the occupied territories.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980904000305

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IRGC Commander Warns US, Israel, Britain, S. Arabia Not to Cross Iran's Redlines

Mon Nov 25, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami warned the US, Israel, Britain and Saudi Arabia that they will face a crushing response and annihilation if they cross Iran's redlines.

"You have experienced our power in the battlefield and received a powerful slap across your face and could not respond; the world has come to observe some of these slaps, while it has not in some other cases. You should wait. If you cross our redlines, we will annihilate you," General Salami said, addressing the participants in the massive rallies held in Tehran to show allegiance to Supreme Leader and the Islamic Republic on Monday.

He referred to the US involvement and support for the recent riots in Iran after the hike in gasoline prices, and said, "We were monitoring. The US brought all its power onto the scene, including pressure, maximum psychological warfare and internal mercenary infantries."

General Salami said that the US carrier which had for several months kept distance from the Persian Gulf entered the waterway after the recent riots in Iran, and noted, "But I tell them that it is too late. I also tell the Zionists not to pin hope on the US. It comes too late when you have already been annihilated."

He also praised the people in Tehran and other Iranian cities for their mass participation in the pro-government rallies.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the capital city of Tehran poured to the streets on Monday to show allegiance to Supreme Leader and the Islamic Republic and support for the country's security and might.

The rallies started at 14:30 local time (1100 GMT) with demonstrators moving towards Enqelab (Revolution) Square in Central Tehran.

The demonstrators shouted 'death to the US', 'death to Israel', 'death to Britain', 'death to the plotters' and 'death to the rioters' slogans.

They also carried the Iranian flags and placards with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei's images and remarks.

The ralliers also voiced their opposition to the hike in gasoline prices and other goods in Iran, but meantime, voiced hatred for the rioters who misused the recent protests to set ablaze the public and private properties and loot the big stores.

In similar rallies on Sunday, tens of thousands of people in Northern, Western and Southern Iran demonstrated to show allegiance to the Islamic Republic and Supreme Leader after the recent riots.

Demonstrators in the towns of Pardis and Baharesten in Tehran province, Nour, Savadkouh, Behshahr, Neka, Qa'em Shahr and Sari in Mazandaran province, Ahrom in Bushehr, Imam Khomeini port city in Khuzestan province and Sahneh, Sarpol Zahab, Gilan Qarb, Qasr-e Shirin, Kermanshah and Javanroud in Kermanshah province held massive rallies to condemn the rioters who misused the popular protests to destroy and set fire at public properties last week.

They shouted slogans, including 'death to the US' and 'death to Israel' to deplore their officials' interfering remarks against Iran as well as 'death to the rioters' and 'death to plotters' to condemn their acts of sabotage during the recent unrests.

The protestors also carried placards which called on the government to show more attention to people's welfare and living conditions and urged the judiciary to sue and seriously punish those who distorted security and tranquility of people in the recent riots.

Similar demonstrations have been underway throughout the country in the past few days.

On November 15, the government raised Iran’s extremely cheap gas price in order to moderate the national consumption rate, which stands at 110 million liters per day, 40 million liters above the maximum domestic requirement.

The government also announced a number of aid and subsidiary programs to protect vulnerable households from the adverse effects of the measure.

The price reform, required by Iranian legislature and essential as US-imposed sanctions seek to deplete Iran's budgetary resources, had been long delayed due to concerns regarding the move's probable backlash.

The measure's adoption prompted initially peaceful protests, but riotous elements, abusing the situation, quickly entered the scene, destroying public property, setting ablaze banks and gas stations among other facilities, and opening fire on people and security forces.

Last Friday, IRGC Lieutenant Commander Brigadier General Ali Fadavi said that the US was disappointed that its perpetrated violent riots in Iran did not last more than 48 hours, adding that reports from all four corners of the country indicate that peace and calm has been restored much to Washington’s chagrin.

"Based on information we have received, the Americans have gone mad that the riots were over within 48 hours and are disappointed that there is no more disorder in Iran," Fadavi added.

However, Fadavi said that in numerous calls with other IRGC officials in the country no further riot attempts had been reported.

"Attacking homes, shops, hospitals, banks and gas stations is a malicious act which is not an act of protest nor rioting, but an act of thievery," Fadavi said.

"This is the difference between protest and disorder," he said.

The IRGC deputy commander added that peaceful protests were "natural" given the recent price hike and that the government has to adopt additional measures to reduce pressure on the general population.

Fadavi added, however, "The fact that the malicious actors of the world are targeting Iran in issues that are by no means related to them is a matter to note."

Deputy Head of Iran's Basij volunteer forces Brigadier General Salar Abnoosh said last Friday "a full-fledged war" had been meant to be waged against the country, only to be quelled early on.

Abnoosh added that interrogations of arrested rioters had revealed that a "coalition of evil" made up of "Zionists, America and Saudi Arabia" had joined forces to organize destructive riots from abroad.

Addressing worshipers during weekly Friday prayers in Tehran, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said certain foreign countries had spent "three years" preparing for an opportunity to wreak havoc in Iran, training specific elements to that end.

"But their schemes were neutralized," he said, adding that the riots ceased to continue despite the fact that countries such as Saudi Arabia had spent many resources and had provided much media coverage in order to instigate disorder.

Following the Friday prayers, numerous rallies were also held across Iran to condemn the recent riots.

The protesters condemned the US, Israel and seditionist elements for fueling the unrest and chanted slogans in support of the Islamic establishment.

Addressing recent riots during a speech, Iran's Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi said those "who have abused the concerns and troubles of the people in order to create disorder and insecurity" will face severe consequences.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is known as the safest country in the region due to the sacrifices of our martyrs and our wounded," he said.

"We will never allow the smallest breach in the security of our people," he added.

Riots by a small number who had taken advantage of legitimate public protests against the government's gas price hike plan in Iran were directed at sowing chaos through targeted attacks on public and private properties, forcing law enforcement to step in to stop saboteurs.

Early estimates of an intelligence body showed that a sum of nearly 87,000 protesters and rioters had taken part in protest rallies and gatherings since Friday night, mostly (over 93%) men. A large number of protesters had only been present in the gathering centers and avoided joining the rioters in sabotage attacks on public and private properties.

"The identical methods of the main core of violent rioters discloses that they are fully trained individuals who have been prepared and looking forward for the situation to rise, unlike most people who have been taken off guard by the sudden hike in gas price," the report said.

The report showed that gatherings have been comprised of 50 to 1,500 people held in 100 regions of the country out of a number of 1,080 major towns and cities. The report says violent raids and damage inflicted on properties has been larger than what happened in February 2018 unrests.

Most cases of damage to properties had happened in Khuzestan, Tehran, Fars and Kerman provinces. The report says most casualties have resulted from armed outlaws' attacks on oil storage and military centers, adding that a number of police and popular forces have been martyred in these attacks.

Nearly 1,000 people were arrested across the country while over 100 banks and 57 big stores were set on fire or plundered in just one province.

The Iranian intelligence ministry announced in a statement on November 17 that it had identified several rioters who misused the recent protest rallies against the gasoline price hikes to destroy public and private properties.

"The main culprits behind the riots in the past two days have been identified and proper measures are being adopted and the honorable nation will be informed about its result later," the statement said.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980904000922

------

 

Police: 23 Violent Rioters Arrested in 3 Provinces

Mon Nov 25, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- Police command centers in 3 Iranian provinces, Yazd, Kermanshah and Lorestan announced on Monday that they have managed to identify and arrest 23 more rioters who destructed public and private properties during the last week protests which were turned violent by foreign backed elements.

Commander of Yazd Province Police Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Heidari said on Monday that his forces were focused on identifying those elements who turned peaceful protests against gas price rise violent, adding that three of the main ringleaders who promoted violence and vandalism and damaged many public and private properties have been captured after hard work.

Commander of Kermanshah Province Police Brigadier General Ali Akbar Javidan said that three rioters have been arrested in the Western province, adding that the three were involved in shoot-out against police forces.

Commander of Lorestan Province Police Haji Mohammad Mahdian Nasab also said that 17 rioters and anarchists who perpetrated and executed attacks on public and private properties have been identified and arrested by his forces in the Western province.

On November 15, the government raised Iran’s extremely cheap gas price in order to moderate the national consumption rate, which stands at 110 million liters per day, 40 million liters above the maximum domestic requirement.

The government also announced a number of aid and subsidiary programs to protect vulnerable households from the adverse effects of the measure.

The price reform, required by Iranian legislature and essential as US-imposed sanctions seek to deplete Iran's budgetary resources, had been long delayed due to concerns regarding the move's probable backlash.

The measure's adoption prompted initially peaceful protests, but riotous elements, abusing the situation, quickly entered the scene, destroying public property, setting ablaze banks and gas stations among other facilities, and opening fire on people and security forces.

Last Friday, Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Ali Fadavi said that the US was disappointed that its perpetrated violent riots in Iran did not last more than 48 hours, adding that reports from all four corners of the country indicate that peace and calm has been restored much to Washington’s chagrin.

"Based on information we have received, the Americans have gone mad that the riots were over within 48 hours and are disappointed that there is no more disorder in Iran," Fadavi added.

However, Fadavi said that in numerous calls with other IRGC officials in the country no further riot attempts had been reported.

"Attacking homes, shops, hospitals, banks and gas stations is a malicious act which is not an act of protest nor rioting, but an act of thievery," Fadavi said.

"This is the difference between protest and disorder," he said.

The IRGC deputy commander added that peaceful protests were "natural" given the recent price hike and that the government has to adopt additional measures to reduce pressure on the general population.

Fadavi added, however, "The fact that the malicious actors of the world are targeting Iran in issues that are by no means related to them is a matter to note."

Deputy Head of Iran's Basij volunteer forces Brigadier General Salar Abnoosh said last Friday "a full-fledged war" had been meant to be waged against the country, only to be quelled early on.

Abnoosh added that interrogations of arrested rioters had revealed that a "coalition of evil" made up of "Zionists, America and Saudi Arabia" had joined forces to organize destructive riots from abroad.

Addressing worshipers during weekly Friday prayers in Tehran, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said certain foreign countries had spent "three years" preparing for an opportunity to wreak havoc in Iran, training specific elements to that end.

"But their schemes were neutralized," he said, adding that the riots ceased to continue despite the fact that countries such as Saudi Arabia had spent many resources and had provided much media coverage in order to instigate disorder.

Following the Friday prayers, numerous rallies were also held across Iran to condemn the recent riots.

The protesters condemned the US, Israel and seditionist elements for fueling the unrest and chanted slogans in support of the Islamic establishment.

Addressing recent riots during a speech, Iran's Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi said those "who have abused the concerns and troubles of the people in order to create disorder and insecurity" will face severe consequences.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is known as the safest country in the region due to the sacrifices of our martyrs and our wounded," he said.

"We will never allow the smallest breach in the security of our people," he added.

Riots by a small number who had taken advantage of legitimate public protests against the government's gas price hike plan in Iran were directed at sowing chaos through targeted attacks on public and private properties, forcing law enforcement to step in to stop saboteurs.

Early estimates of an intelligence body showed that a sum of nearly 87,000 protesters and rioters had taken part in protest rallies and gatherings since Friday night, mostly (over 93%) men. A large number of protesters had only been present in the gathering centers and avoided joining the rioters in sabotage attacks on public and private properties.

"The identical methods of the main core of violent rioters discloses that they are fully trained individuals who have been prepared and looking forward for the situation to rise, unlike most people who have been taken off guard by the sudden hike in gas price," the report said.

The report showed that gatherings have been comprised of 50 to 1,500 people held in 100 regions of the country out of a number of 1,080 major towns and cities. The report says violent raids and damage inflicted on properties has been larger than what happened in February 2018 unrests.

Most cases of damage to properties had happened in Khuzestan, Tehran, Fars and Kerman provinces. The report says most casualties have resulted from armed outlaws' attacks on oil storage and military centers, adding that a number of police and popular forces have been martyred in these attacks.

Nearly 1,000 people were arrested across the country while over 100 banks and 57 big stores were set on fire or plundered in just one province.

The Iranian intelligence ministry announced in a statement on November 17 that it had identified several rioters who misused the recent protest rallies against the gasoline price hikes to destroy public and private properties.

"The main culprits behind the riots in the past two days have been identified and proper measures are being adopted and the honorable nation will be informed about its result later," the statement said.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980904000847

------

 

Army Commander: Iranian People Not to Keep Mum against Rioters

Mon Nov 25, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Army Commander Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi underlined that participants in pro-government rallies in Tehran and other cities have displayed that they do not remain silent against the rioters who misused people's peaceful protests at the gasoline price hike.

"People do not keep mum vis-a-vis the rioters who are led by the US and attack the great Iranian nation's lives, properties and honor," General Mousavi said on Monday, while participating in the massive rallies held in Tehran to show allegiance to Supreme Leader and the Islamic Republic.

He added that despite having many problems, the Iranian people come to the scene when the Islamic Revolution's causes are endangered and they foil the US, Israel, their allies and the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCRI) terrorist group's plots.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the capital city of Tehran poured to the streets on Monday to show allegiance to Supreme Leader and the Islamic Republic and support for the country's security and might.

The rallies started at 14:30 local time (1100 GMT) with demonstrators moving towards Enqelab (Revolution) Square in Central Tehran.

The demonstrators shouted 'death to the US', 'death to Israel', 'death to Britain', 'death to the plotters' and 'death to the rioters' slogans.

They also carried the Iranian flags and placards with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei's images and remarks.

The ralliers also voiced their opposition to the hike in gasoline prices and other goods in Iran, but meantime, voiced hatred for the rioters who misused the recent protests to set ablaze the public and private properties and loot the big stores.

IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami is due to address the demonstrators later in the day.

In similar rallies on Sunday, tens of thousands of people in Northern, Western and Southern Iran demonstrated to show allegiance to the Islamic Republic and Supreme Leader after the recent riots.

Demonstrators in the towns of Pardis and Baharesten in Tehran province, Nour, Savadkouh, Behshahr, Neka, Qa'em Shahr and Sari in Mazandaran province, Ahrom in Bushehr, Imam Khomeini port city in Khuzestan province and Sahneh, Sarpol Zahab, Gilan Qarb, Qasr-e Shirin, Kermanshah and Javanroud in Kermanshah province held massive rallies to condemn the rioters who misused the popular protests to destroy and set fire at public properties last week.

They shouted slogans, including 'death to the US' and 'death to Israel' to deplore their officials' interfering remarks against Iran as well as 'death to the rioters' and 'death to plotters' to condemn their acts of sabotage during the recent unrests.

The protestors also carried placards which called on the government to show more attention to people's welfare and living conditions and urged the judiciary to sue and seriously punish those who distorted security and tranquility of people in the recent riots.

Similar demonstrations have been underway throughout the country in the past few days.

On November 15, the government raised Iran’s extremely cheap gas price in order to moderate the national consumption rate, which stands at 110 million liters per day, 40 million liters above the maximum domestic requirement.

The government also announced a number of aid and subsidiary programs to protect vulnerable households from the adverse effects of the measure.

The price reform, required by Iranian legislature and essential as US-imposed sanctions seek to deplete Iran's budgetary resources, had been long delayed due to concerns regarding the move's probable backlash.

The measure's adoption prompted initially peaceful protests, but riotous elements, abusing the situation, quickly entered the scene, destroying public property, setting ablaze banks and gas stations among other facilities, and opening fire on people and security forces.

Last Friday, Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Ali Fadavi said that the US was disappointed that its perpetrated violent riots in Iran did not last more than 48 hours, adding that reports from all four corners of the country indicate that peace and calm has been restored much to Washington’s chagrin.

"Based on information we have received, the Americans have gone mad that the riots were over within 48 hours and are disappointed that there is no more disorder in Iran," Fadavi added.

However, Fadavi said that in numerous calls with other IRGC officials in the country no further riot attempts had been reported.

"Attacking homes, shops, hospitals, banks and gas stations is a malicious act which is not an act of protest nor rioting, but an act of thievery," Fadavi said.

"This is the difference between protest and disorder," he said.

The IRGC deputy commander added that peaceful protests were "natural" given the recent price hike and that the government has to adopt additional measures to reduce pressure on the general population.

Fadavi added, however, "The fact that the malicious actors of the world are targeting Iran in issues that are by no means related to them is a matter to note."

Deputy Head of Iran's Basij volunteer forces Brigadier General Salar Abnoosh said last Friday "a full-fledged war" had been meant to be waged against the country, only to be quelled early on.

Abnoosh added that interrogations of arrested rioters had revealed that a "coalition of evil" made up of "Zionists, America and Saudi Arabia" had joined forces to organize destructive riots from abroad.

Addressing worshipers during weekly Friday prayers in Tehran, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said certain foreign countries had spent "three years" preparing for an opportunity to wreak havoc in Iran, training specific elements to that end.

"But their schemes were neutralized," he said, adding that the riots ceased to continue despite the fact that countries such as Saudi Arabia had spent many resources and had provided much media coverage in order to instigate disorder.

Following the Friday prayers, numerous rallies were also held across Iran to condemn the recent riots.

The protesters condemned the US, Israel and seditionist elements for fueling the unrest and chanted slogans in support of the Islamic establishment.

Addressing recent riots during a speech, Iran's Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi said those "who have abused the concerns and troubles of the people in order to create disorder and insecurity" will face severe consequences.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is known as the safest country in the region due to the sacrifices of our martyrs and our wounded," he said.

"We will never allow the smallest breach in the security of our people," he added.

Riots by a small number who had taken advantage of legitimate public protests against the government's gas price hike plan in Iran were directed at sowing chaos through targeted attacks on public and private properties, forcing law enforcement to step in to stop saboteurs.

Early estimates of an intelligence body showed that a sum of nearly 87,000 protesters and rioters had taken part in protest rallies and gatherings since Friday night, mostly (over 93%) men. A large number of protesters had only been present in the gathering centers and avoided joining the rioters in sabotage attacks on public and private properties.

"The identical methods of the main core of violent rioters discloses that they are fully trained individuals who have been prepared and looking forward for the situation to rise, unlike most people who have been taken off guard by the sudden hike in gas price," the report said.

The report showed that gatherings have been comprised of 50 to 1,500 people held in 100 regions of the country out of a number of 1,080 major towns and cities. The report says violent raids and damage inflicted on properties has been larger than what happened in February 2018 unrests.

Most cases of damage to properties had happened in Khuzestan, Tehran, Fars and Kerman provinces. The report says most casualties have resulted from armed outlaws' attacks on oil storage and military centers, adding that a number of police and popular forces have been martyred in these attacks.

Nearly 1,000 people were arrested across the country while over 100 banks and 57 big stores were set on fire or plundered in just one province.

The Iranian intelligence ministry announced in a statement on November 17 that it had identified several rioters who misused the recent protest rallies against the gasoline price hikes to destroy public and private properties.

"The main culprits behind the riots in the past two days have been identified and proper measures are being adopted and the honorable nation will be informed about its result later," the statement said.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980904000867

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US VP Fails to Cut Tehran-Baghdad Ties in Surprise Visit to Iraq

Mon Nov 25, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- US Vice-President Mike Pence could not accomplish his mission in Baghdad to coax the Iraqi officials into taking a hostile position towards Tehran after Baghdad officials rejected meeting him, an Arab paper reported.

The Arabic-language al-Akhbar newspaper referred to the last Saturday surprise visit by Pence to Iraq, noting that none of the Iraqi government officials, including Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, met with him.

Abdul Mahdi's office announced in a statement that he had a phone conversation with Pence during which the two sides conferred on the latest developments in Iraq, but there was no meeting between the two sides.

The paper said the Iraqi officials' rejection of a meeting with Pence displays the darkening relations between Washington and Baghdad as the US witnesses Iraq's tendency towards Iran.

Iraqi officials told al-Akhbar that Pence has during the phone conversation persuaded Abdul Mahdi to take distance from Tehran and decrease ties with Iran.

Meantime, another Iraqi official said that the distance between Iraq and the US has never set such a record high, adding that differences between them are increasing day by day.

Pence made an unannounced trip to Iraq on Saturday, the highest-level American trip since President Donald Trump ordered a pullback of US forces in Syria two months ago.

Flying in a C-17 military cargo aircraft, Pence landed in Irbil, capital of Iraq's semiautonomous Kurdish region, to meet with Iraqi Kurdistan President Nechirvan Barzani.

Pence spoke by phone with Abdul Mahdi after the Iraqi leader declined an invitation to meet with Pence at a US airbase when security concerns prevented Pence from traveling into Baghdad.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980904000481

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Arab World

 

On behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal attends 50th anniversary of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) ceremony

2019/11/26

Jeddah, November 25, 2019, SPA -- On behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Prince Khalid Al Faisal, the Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Governor of Makkah Region, here this evening attended a ceremony held by Organization of Islamic Cooperation on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of its founding, under the slogan "United for Peace and Development".

After arrival, Prince Khalid Alfaisal opened the accompanying exhibition by the participating parties. A speech ceremony was held on the occasion.

The speeches were delivered on behalf of the Arab Group, the African Group and the Asian Group. This was followed by a speech by the Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of Moroccans living abroad, Nouzha El Wafi.

The speakers thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud for patronizing the event. The speakers also thanked Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, for the warm welcome and generosity and Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen for his efforts in this regard.

--More

https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewfullstory.php?lang=en&newsid=2003018

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Taking Care of Mosques, a Top Priority to the Saudi Leadership, Prince Sultan bin Salman vows before an Int'l Conference

2019/11/25

Kuala Lumpur, Nov. 25, 2019, SPA -- Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Abdul Lateef Al-Fozan Award for Mosques Architecture, who is also President of the Heritage Charitable Foundation, strongly affirmed that "the great honor is to take care of mosques because they are the houses of Allah and are integral part of Islam religion and daily life".

In a key speech before the 2nd International Conference on Mosques Architecture, organized in Kuala Lumpur by Abdul Lateef Al-Fozan Award for Mosques Architecture, Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz affirmed that the national unity forming the foundation for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was based on the true Islamic religion and the inherent values, asserting that "our unity is launched from mosques".

He added that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, gives special attention and priority to mosques, pointing out that the Kingdom spares no effort in taking care of mosques.

https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewfullstory.php?lang=en&newsid=2002902

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Minister of Islamic Affairs Receives Director General for Bilateral Affairs at Belgian Foreign Affairs Ministry

2019/11/25

Riyadh, Nov. 25, 2019, SPA -- Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance Sheikh Dr. Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz Al Al-Sheikh received here today Director General for bilateral affairs at Belgian Foreign Affairs Ministry Anick Van Calster and her accompanying delegation.

At the outset of the meeting, Minister of Islamic Affairs welcomed Calster and the accompanying delegation, wishing them a pleasant stay in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, praising the deep historical relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Belgium as well as the cooperation in various fields.

For her part, Calster noted the strong relationship and mutual cooperation between Belgium and Saudi Arabia.

--SPA

https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewfullstory.php?lang=en&newsid=2002898

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Young artists throw spotlight on Saudi Arabia’s social transformation

November 26, 2019

JEDDAH: An exhibition by emerging artists throwing a spotlight on the social changes taking place in Saudi Arabia has been launched in the Kingdom.

Athr Gallery in Jeddah is hosting “In the Midst of It All,” the sixth edition of its Young Saudi Artists (YSA) initiative, showcasing the works of 23 talented newcomers to the country’s growing art scene.

The YSA program, which began in 2011, aims to project the innovative and original content of Saudi-based artists onto a regional and international stage.

This year’s edition, curated by artist Zahra Bundakji, attempts to understand the societal reforms underway in the Kingdom and their implications on a collective and individual level.

The art display is the result of an open invitation to Saudi nationals and residents living in the Kingdom, aged between 19 and 40, to participate in the YSA initiative.

As this year’s exhibition theme, Bundakji posed a commonly asked question among youth about art, culture, and entertainment, “who are you, in the midst of it all?”

Bundakji told Arab News: “When I was preparing for the exhibition’s theme, I went around asking people what matters, and almost everyone said it’s our identity. It was based on everything around us, and now everything is changing, so who are we?”

She said that the exhibition contained artworks that expressed personal experiences and memories of childhood, identity crises, tragedies, traumas, and inner conflicts in an attempt to “tell people 100 years from now who we were in 2019. Through bringing all of these people together, you have an idea of what people are going through and begin to see a pattern.”

Most of the exhibitors are not from an art-related, academic background and have never exhibited before.

The art display is the result of an open invitation to Saudi nationals and residents living in the Kingdom. (Photo/Supplied)

Aisha Zakia Islam, 27, a Saudi-born Bangladeshi multidisciplinary artist, is taking part with a series of elegies represented by henna patterns on X-rays belonging to her late mother.

“My work represents the process of accepting the loss, and turning something sad into something happier,” Islam told Arab News. “My mother loved henna, it was very ceremonial for her, and made her really happy. Working on this series was my mourning process.”

Islam said that henna becomes permanent on the X-ray, unlike the human skin, and trying to scrape it will remove the whole X-ray.

As an expatriate, she added that being able to present her artwork in Saudi Arabia and being exposed to the local art scene meant a lot to her. “Such initiatives usually target locals; I am glad to get this chance.”

Shaimaa Saleh, 24, a textile artist and printmaker based in Jeddah, explored themes of domesticity, family, memories, and time in her Athr display.

Her artwork takes its roots from “Majdolin,” a novel translated by Egyptian writer and poet Mustafa Lutfi Al-Manfaluti. It contains 22 pieces, each expressing a scene from the book and reflecting on the search for happiness.

“The text captivated me, and I couldn’t get over it. It lists scenes from our interactions with nature and people in our daily life as expected sources of comfort, happiness, and contentment.”

Using techniques such as embroidery, silkscreen printing and collage fabrics, Saleh’s art is inspired by her emotional experiences through everyday situations. The book’s text made her realize that she had misconstrued the source of happiness, and that it was “actually a journey, not a destination.”

She noted that the YSA initiative was important in introducing and giving space to young artists.

Mohammed Hammad, 36, a filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist, shared his experience of immigration and struggle with his fragmented identities in a video piece titled #Infinitesence83. His experimental short film presents an introspective examination of his immigration from Saudi Arabia and returning during the current socioeconomic change.

Through sound, film, and painting he highlights the stark contrasts between his country of birth, Saudi Arabia, and the European metropolitan cities where he was raised.

“I lived most of my life outside Saudi Arabia, and the video includes footage from my journey abroad in different countries and continents over the last seven years,” Hammad told Arab News.

“It is narrated by voice messages from my mother who used to send me a lot of messages updating me about the family, praying for me, and asking me to come back. And I’m finally here with her.”

Hammad said that he liked the idea behind the exhibition because it focused on personal experiences and inner crises. “Most of my art is expressive, it represents internal experiences and sometimes indirectly addresses social issues through self-reflection. In the past, exhibitions used to impose a certain topic on the artists, and my style was usually not in sync with their style.”

In September, the Athr Gallery invited artists from all disciplines to apply to take part in the YSA initiative. The program is designed to help young artists conceptualize their work and develop their projects, while allowing them to exhibit in a professional context, collaborate with a curator, and expose their work to criticism as well as to the marketplace.

“It is pleasant how the public and artists reacted to the initiative; we received over 200 applications, our biggest-ever number of applicants,” said Mohammed Hafiz, the gallery’s co-founder.

“There are two things we did differently this year. We appointed an independent curator and a partly international committee to select the artists,” Hafiz told Arab News. “We believe in supporting and stimulating the creative market. However, everyone has to take charge and responsibility for their future.

“Therefore, during the exhibition, artists get to engage with the public and professionals, including critics, the media, and other galleries. This is an opportunity to interact with the world as artists.

“Some of the artists will end up being represented by us in YSA; those who are no longer presented by YSA might be picked up by other galleries or decided to change their path. Some YSAers decided to become film directors or graphic designers because when they went through the process, they realized that this was not their preference,” Hafiz added.

The exhibition, which will also introduce the works of 110 Saudi-based artists in a gallery context, runs until Jan. 15, 2020.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1589776/saudi-arabia

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Twitter launches spam awareness drive in MENA

26 November 2019

RIYADH: A major campaign to raise awareness about internet spam among social media users in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region was launched by Twitter on Monday.

The platform shared a series of videos in Arabic on its @TwitterMENA account as part of a safety drive aimed at helping people to identify and report unsolicited online communications.

George Ibrahim, Twitter’s MENA head of public policy, government and philanthropy, told Arab News: “We have launched the social awareness campaign to educate people on Twitter about how to deal with spam and to highlight our efforts around the health of the public conversation in the region.

“We want to educate people about the safety tools they can make use of, such as the ability to report the type of spam, in addition to tips and techniques to help identify spam behavior.”

He said spam was a kind of platform manipulation and could take many forms. It could be commercially motivated to divert attention from a Twitter conversation to certain products and initiatives or associated to inauthentic engagements that attempted to make accounts appear more popular than they were.

Sometimes referred to as junk, it could also take the form of coordinated activity that attempted to artificially influence conversations through the use of multiple accounts, fake accounts or automation, Ibrahim added.

“We use the term (anti-spam challenges) to describe our process for confirming whether a human is in control of an account we suspect is engaging in platform manipulation.”

For example, Twitter may require an account holder to verify a phone number or email address, or complete a reCAPTCHA test (to tell humans and robot software apps apart), he said, adding that these challenges were simple for authentic platform users to solve, but difficult or costly for spam and malicious account owners to complete.

“Accounts which fail to complete a challenge within a specified period of time may be suspended. We challenged 291 million accounts for spammy behavior in the 12 months between July 2018 and June 2019,” said Ibrahim, noting that 50 percent fewer accounts were challenged in the first half of 2019 compared with the second half of 2018.

The Twitter official pointed out that approximately 75 percent of challenged accounts failed the tests and were ultimately suspended.

“We have made a number of investments in machine learning including the acquisition of Fabula AI (a London startup), which focused initially on expanding applications to stop spam,” he said.

Machine learning played a key role in Twitter’s attempts to serve the public conversation, he said, and Fabula AI had employed a world-class team of researchers to detect network manipulation.

“In September, we expanded our policies to prohibit financial scams. We want Twitter to be a place where people can make human connections and find reliable information.”

Ibrahim added that Twitter wanted to stop people from using its services to deceive others into sending them money or personal financial information via scam tactics, phishing, or other fraudulent methods.

“Using scam tactics on Twitter to obtain money or private financial information is prohibited under this policy. People are not allowed to create accounts, post tweets, or send direct messages that solicit engagement in such fraudulent schemes,” he added.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1589751/saudi-arabia

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Pakistan

 

IHC reserves verdict on maintainability of petition accusing PM of contempt

Tahir Naseer

November 26, 2019

Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday reserved its verdict on the maintainability of a petition accusing Prime Minister Imran Khan of contempt of court for his recent remarks on the judiciary.

The petition, which was filed by Advocate Saleemullah Khan yesterday, said that the premier had "committed serious contempt".

It refers to remarks made by the prime minister during a speech he delivered at the inaugural ceremony of Havelian-Mansehra section of the Hazara motorway at Havelian, where he urged Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa and senior judge of the Supreme Court Justice Gulzar Ahmed to restore public confidence in the judiciary. The premier said there was a perceived disparity in how the powerful and common people were treated in the country’s judicial system.

Imran's statements had come days after the Lahore High Court (LHC) issued a verdict allowing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for four weeks for medical treatment. The LHC, in its order, had also exempted Nawaz from paying the indemnity bond worth Rs7 billion, which the government had demanded from the PML-N supremo as a condition to let him go.

The prime minister comments had also garnered a reaction from Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who said: “Do not hurl taunts at us for favouring the powerful, because everybody is equal before us.”

During the proceedings today, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, who was hearing the petition, asked the appellant: "What problem do you have with the prime minister's speech?"

The petitioner responded that the prime minister had "ridiculed the judiciary".

"The courts welcome criticism," said Justice Minallah. Saleemullah said that there was a "difference between criticism and contempt".

"Do you want a trial of an elected prime minister?" Justice Minallah asked. "Do you know the outcome of such a move? Do you want the prime minister to be disqualified?"

The hearing was adjourned until later in the day.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1518957/ihc-reserves-verdict-on-maintainability-of-petition-accusing-pm-of-contempt

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IHC to hear govt,Musharraf’s pleas against special courts reservation of verdict

November 26, 2019

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) is set to hear the interior ministry and former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s pleas today, requesting it to stop the special court from announcing its verdict in the high treason case against the former president.

A three-member bench headed by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah will hear the plea.

The special court constituted to try the former military ruler for high treason, is set to announce its verdict on November 28. However, the interior ministry on Monday had submitted a plea, stating that the accusers to be tried with the former president were not included in the trial.

The prosecution team was de-notified on October 23, but it proceeded with the case on October 24 without having any authority in the matter.

The petition further said the prosecution team submitted written arguments for which it had no authority.

The special court, without giving the prosecution team a chance to notify, reserved the verdict on November 19 and set the date of November 28 for announcing it.

The ministry further said the government has the power to change the prosecution team and appealed to the IHC to declare null and void the special court's order of November 19. It further appealed to stop the court from announcing the final verdict on November 28.

Separately, Musharraf’s lawyer Salman Safdar in his plea stated that the former army chief should be treated as per the law, adding that Musharraf was not given the right to defend himself in the case.

Musharraf’s plea mentioned that the decision is a contradiction to Article 4 and Article 10A of the Constitution and there the November 19, a special court should be suspended.

The petition further said the special court should be barred from giving judgment until Musharraf had a chance to be cleared.

High treason case

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had filed the treason case against Musharraf over the president's imposition of extra-constitutional emergency in November 2007.

Earlier this year, head of the prosecution, Mohammad Akram Sheikh, tendered his resignation. In his resignation letter sent to the interior secretary, Sheikh expressed his inability to proceed with the case after the imminent change of government at the centre.

Sheikh was appointed as the head of the prosecution in the case in November 2013, by the then-PML-N led government.

The former army chief was indicted in the case in March 2014 after he appeared before the court and rejected all charges.

On March 18, 2016, the former president left Pakistan for Dubai for medical treatment after his name was removed from the exit control list on the orders of the Supreme Court.

A few months later, the special court had declared him a proclaimed offender and ordered the confiscation of his property owing to his continuous inability to appear.

Later, his passport and identity card were also cancelled on orders of the apex court.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/574674-ihc-to-hear-govtmusharrafs-pleas-against-special-courts-reservation-of-verdict

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Army announces major transfers, postings

Muhammad Anis

November 26, 2019

RAWALPINDI: With promotion of two Major Generals, the Pakistan Army announced postings and transfers in military’s top brass on Monday. According to the ISPR, Major General Ali Amir Awan and Major General Mohammad Saeed have been promoted as three-star Generals.

Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, who was serving as Adjutant General in the General Headquarters, has been transferred and posted as Chief of the General Staff (CGS). His predecessor Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza on his promotion as four-star General would take charge of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) on November 27.

The Chief of General Staff has organisational lead on operations and intelligence in the Pakistan Army as two critical directorates of Military Operations (MO) and Military Intelligence (MI) fall under him.

Corps Commander Mangla Lieutenant General Nadeem Zaki Manj has been given the posting of Director General of Strategic Plans Division (SPD). He would replace Lieutenant General Sarfraz Sattar, who was superseded with promotion of Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza as General.

Lieutenant General Muhammad Amir has been posted as Adjutant General while Corps Commander Peshawar Shaheen Mazhar Mehmood would now assume new responsibilities of Corps Commander Mangla. Lieutenant General Nauman Mahmood, serving as Inspector General Communication and Information Technology (IG C&IT), would replace Lieutenant General Shaheen Mazhar as Corps Commander Peshawar.

The newly-promoted Lieutenant General Ali Amir Awan has been appointed as IG C&IT. Lieutenant General Ali Amir, who hails from Artillery, was General Officer Commanding of 14 Infantry Division at the time of his promotion.

Lieutenant General Mohammad Saeed on his promotion has been posted as President National Defence University (NDU) in Islamabad. The post of NDU was vacant with the retirement of Lieutenant General Amir Riaz.

The newly-promoted Lieutenant General Mohammad Saeed, who hails from Sindh Regiment, was posted as Director General Analysis in the Inter-Services Intelligence as Major General .

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/574409-army-announces-major-transfers-postings

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OIC a platform uniting the Muslim world: Firdous

November 26, 2019

JEDDAH, Nov 26 (APP):Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has said that Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was a platform uniting the Muslim world.

Talking to media persons after her arrival at Jeddah, she said that Pakistan was the founder member of the OIC which played its due role for strengthening social, cultural and religious values among the member countries, said a press release issue here Tuesday.

Dr Firdous said that Pakistan had always played its due role for Ummah’s unity and resolution of its problems.

She said in the present world scenario, there was a dire need to forge unity among the Muslim world and Prime Minister Imran Khan had emerged as an active leader.

She said that PTI Core Committee strongly condemned the desecration effort of the Holy Quran in Norway and its ambassador was summoned to lodge a strong protest. She said that such incidents hurt Muslims’ sentiments all over the world.

The SAPM said that there was need to promote the real message of Islam from the platform of the OIC. Pakistan was ready to cooperate with OIC on all issues, she added.

Firdous said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was determined to project the real face of Islam in front of the world and he wanted that OIC may highlight the concept of State of Madina.

She said that negative propaganda against Islam could be countered by projecting the real message of Islam. She urged the OIC members to pay heed to the cries of the hapless Kashmiris and represent their sentiments and pressurize India to give the people of Kashmir their inherent right to self-determination.

She said that India had deprived Kashmiris of their fundamental rights and converted it into a vast prison. The Indian Supreme Court’s verdict on Babri mosque had exposed the so-called secular face of India, she remarked.

Earlier on her arrival to attend OIC golden jubilee celebrations, she was received by Governor Makkah Khalid bin Faisal bib Abdul Aziz.

https://www.app.com.pk/oic-a-platform-uniting-the-muslim-world-firdous/

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Australia and New Zealand

 

Distribution of millions to Christchurch mosque shooting victims outlined

Former Christchurch City councillor Raf Manji led efforts to decide how the nearly $12 million fund would be distributed, with the help of the Muslim community.

The Victims' Fund, which provides cash support for those directly affected by the attacks, totals $7m and includes $3.57m for next of kin, $1m for those injured by bullets, $1.375m for children and widow support, $400,000 for medical support for those with severe injuries, and $500,000 for a hardship fund.

The $1.5m Education Fund will support higher education for children aged under 18 at the time of the attack. It is estimated about 100 children will receive $15,000 each. Distributions will be made based on application.

A $500,000 Community Support fund will remain open for further donations to help the Muslim community's long-term recovery and wellbeing.

There were about 60 donors of significance, but donations ranged from 50 cents to $1.5m - the largest single payment.

About $2m has already been paid out, including to purchase two ambulances for St John and distribute $120,000 worth of grocery and petrol vouchers.

Mr Manji said he had 160 meetings with members of the Muslim community over the last few months and received professional advice about funds distribution in relation to the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing, the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, and the 2018 Toronto van attack.

He said the foundation would also be prioritising a long-term approach to manage the mental health impacts of the attacks.

"Many victims, outside the bereaved and bullet injured, have reported the effects of ongoing trauma and a challenging issue to treat, but a real long-term risk in the wider community."

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/404202/distribution-of-millions-to-christchurch-mosque-shooting-victims-outlined

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South Asia

 

SLF manager dismisses rumour that debts will be settled if students convert to Islam

Nov 26. 2019

Student Loan Fund (SLF) manager Chainarong Katchapanan on Tuesday (November 26) denounced the “groundless rumour” circulating on social media that the SLF would remit the debt of borrowers who switch their religion to Islam.

“The rumour is completely groundless,” he said.“It is not true that the SLF will remit the debt of borrowers who convert to Islam. Religion has no influence on the loan application or conditions. Borrowers should refrain from believing unverified information and contact the SLF office if they have any inquiry,” he said.“The SLF is an affiliate of the Finance Ministry, which assigned two banks under its supervision to handle loan applications – Krungthai Bank and the Islamic Bank of Thailand. Borrowers can freely choose to apply for a loan at either of these two banks.”Chainarong said Krungthai Bank had been assigned to manage the SLF’s applications since 1996, and in 2010 the Finance Ministry decided to add the Islamic Bank to the campaign to increase its service channels for borrowers.

“The SLF currently has 5.7 million borrowers, 97 per cent of them applied via Krung Thai Bank, and 3 per cent through the Islamic Bank,” he said.

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30378763?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

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JEWISH ROHINGYA JUSTICE NETWORK CONDEMNS FORCED RELOCATION OF ROHINGYA PEOPLE

November 1, 2019

The Jewish Rohingya Justice Network (JRJN) is committed to ending the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya people. We stand strongly with the Rohingya people who have fled the genocide against them in Burma to Bangladesh, where they continue to face restrictions on their livelihoods, movement, and access to healthcare and education.

In light of the recent news that a group ofapproximately 3,000 Rohingya people are expected to be forcibly relocated by the Bangladeshi government to the flood and cyclone-prone island of Bhasan Char in November, we call on the United States government to strongly condemn this dangerous move that places Rohingya people at further risk.

This first wave of relocating Rohingya persons to Bhasan Char will be followed by many more. The government of Bangladesh has been very public about its plans to relocate 100,000 Rohingya to this dangerous island off the coast of the Bay of Bengal, in an attempt to address overcrowding in the camps in Cox’s Bazar and the strain on host communities. Despite promises from the Bangladeshi government that all of these people from the Rohingya community have “volunteered” to go, the Rohingya community has been clear that they strongly oppose being relocated. 

The current state of conditions on Bhasan Char remains deeply concerning as United Nations agencies have not been granted access to the island since September 2018. When staff from a number of UN agencies, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, visited Bhasan Char last year, their trip was quite brief. Additionally, a safety and security assessment of the island, including an evaluation of the sea wall constructed in anticipation of the severe weather events, has not been completed. 

The UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, has repeatedly warned that the Bangladeshi government’s forced relocation of the Rohingya to the island would “create a new crisis,” and she has strongly expressed her concerns about “whether the island is truly habitable.”

As a network of Jewish organizations and people, we know the horrors and indignities of ongoing genocide. We recall the pain of being forced to live in places not of our own choosing, with conditions so inhumane. Acting on our commitment to speak out in support of the Rohingya people’s demands in Cox’s Bazar, we implore members of the U.S. Congress, as well as all U.S. government officials, to condemn this move immediately and in the strongest terms. 

The Jewish Rohingya Justice Networkis the powerful consortium of Jewish NGOs advocating for the rights of thepersecutedRohingyapeople of Burma. JRJN’s membership includes26 organizations and all four major branches of American Judaism—all standing together against genocide.

Jewish Rohingya Justice Network Members include: American Jewish Committee, American Jewish World Service, The Association of Rabbis and Cantors, Anti-Defamation League, Cantors Assembly, HIAS, Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, JACOB, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish World Watch, The Orthodox Union, Rabbinical Assembly, Reconstructing Judaism, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, T’ruah and The Union for Reform Judaism. Allies: Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, Hebrew College, The Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee, The New York Board of Rabbis, The Shalom Center and Uri L’Tzedek. 

For all media inquiries, please contact:

David L. Marcus

212.792.2857

https://ajws.org/press-releases/jewish-rohingya-justice-network-condemns-forced-relocation-of-rohingya-people/?utm_medium=partner&utm_source=JRJN&utm_campaign=FY20-Gen-Advocacy&utm_content=2019111-RohingyaRelocation&ms=partner_JRJN_2019111-RohingyaRelocation

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The Muslim world can no longer ignore China’s persecution of Uighurs

November 25, 2019

China is undoubtedly a colossus on the world stage — and its rise is far from over. The nation will continue to grow in influence and relative power in international affairs for at least the next two decades. This means that the choices smaller countries make now about how to engage with this developing reality will greatly influence their future for the rest of this century.

So then, the question is what are we to do when this emerging colossus persecutes the indigenous majority Muslim Uighurs in its western province of Xinjiang? This has also affected other Muslim minorities, including the Kazakhs and the Kyrgyz.

This is a matter that is especially pressing for the Muslim world. The heartlands of the Islamic world are close neighbors of China, and therefore particularly affected by Beijing’s geopolitical designs for the 21st century. Take the Belt and Road initiative, for example, which aims to build the trade infrastructure that will dominate economic and political relationships on the Eurasian mainland for the rest of the century and will mostly pass through lands in the Muslim world.

The economic fortunes of countries in the Middle East will be inextricably linked to Belt and Road for the foreseeable future. Yet at the same time, China is engaged in policies of cultural eradication that target Muslims inside its borders, to the ridiculous extent of laws banning Islamic religious names. With the mass incarcerations and “re-education” efforts being carried out by Beijing, what we are seeing in Xinjiang is no longer a “domestic matter.” We are now in the realm of crimes against humanity as defined by international law.

This is to say nothing of the long-standing tradition in the Muslim world of leaders speechifying about the Ummah and “Muslim solidarity.” After decades of anti-Western rage based on real or perceived slights to Islam and Muslims, the leaders of the Muslim world have been shockingly acquiescent to Beijing’s narrative. Not only has Muslim leader after Muslim leader failed to speak up against what is happening to the Uighurs, many have gone as far as to actively and publicly defend the actions of China in Xinjiang.

But what else are they to do if they are to best serve their own citizens and the economic prospects of their own countries?

It is true that China has shown itself both willing and able to use checkbook diplomacy, and to pit countries against each other as they seek to curry favor with Beijing. So long as each of the nations in the Muslim world considers its relationship to China in isolation, they have no chance to resist Beijing’s demands.

Yet considered together as a bloc, the Muslim world remains one of the most formidable constituencies on the planet. It is comparable in strength and leverage to the US and China, and certainly competitive with India or the EU.

This bloc is not typically relevant in global politics, however, because Muslim countries are too busy fighting each other. The political elite of many Muslim countries in the Middle East are driven by hard-line sectarianism.

But if the Muslim world should be able to agree on anything, it is that the genocide of Muslims is a bad thing — even if that genocide is still in its incipient phase, as in Xinjiang, and seems to be mostly cultural in nature.

We even have a very recent precedent for this. Gambia, as a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), this month announced that it is referring Myanmar to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on charges of genocide against Rohingya Muslims.

The Rohingya lived in Myanmar, not in China proper, but Myanmar is increasingly a Chinese client state, and native Rohingya lands are adjacent to major Belt and Road construction projects linking southern China to the port of Sittwe in the Bay of Bengal.

The OIC has been typically slow to organize a united response even to this bona fide genocide against Muslims in Myanmar, but after Gambia’s action at the ICJ, they have started to rally around the issue. It turns out that, against all odds, something like Muslim solidarity is indeed still possible.

With this precedent in mind, the countries of the Muslim world cannot continue to skirt the Uighur issue. Yes, China will be displeased but Beijing has to build its Belt and Road somewhere. If the OIC countries stand together on this issue and do not allow China to divide and conquer, the Muslim world, within the framework of the OIC, can exert significant leverage.

The truth of Belt and Road is that China needs it as much as the countries of the Middle East need it. Even Beijing should be able to agree that the safety and security of the Uighurs as a distinct ethnic and religious group in their native lands in Xinjiang is a price worth paying for the success of its grand infrastructure project.

Dr. Azeem Ibrahim is a director at the Center for Global Policy and author of “The Rohingyas: Inside Myanmar’s Genocide” (Hurst, 2017). Twitter: @AzeemIbrahim

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1589611

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Founder of Afghanistan’s first private insurance firm optimistic about economic growth

Tuesday, 26 Nov 2019

Afghan entrepreneur Sayed Sadat Mansoor Naderi who founded Afghanistan’s first private insurance firm is optimistic about the economic growth of the country, expressing hopes that an absolute peace would have a huge positive impact on economy.

“For the Afghanistan economy I always like to be optimistic hoping for absolute peace in our country which will have a huge positive impact on Economic growth,” he said in response to a question about the future of Afghanistan’s economy.

Mr. Naderi further added “I do expect Afghanistan with peace to achieve the highest Economic growth rate compared to any Country in the World. New projects whether in infrastructure, mining, retail or hospitality shall trigger exponential economic growth.”

“In turn, driving all other sectors forward including the Insurance industry as each project will simply require Project Cargo Insurance and Construction Insurance, protection of employees from accidents or health. Assets insurance such as vehicles and buildings,” he added.

Naderi registered Insurance Corporation of Afghanistan (ICA), the first private insurance firm in 2007 despite expecting to incur high losses for a couple of years.

The UK-based Capital Finance International recently declared ICA as 2019 winner of the Best Insurance Company (Afghanistan) award.

The judging panel of Capital Finance International unanimously declared ICA as the winner of the award, recognizing the impressive portfolio of the company, tailor-made insurance solutions and the company’s continued role in fueling product development to best serve Afghanistan’s needs.

Challenges and barriers the insurance sector facing in Afghanistan:

Meanwhile, Naderi said establishing an insurance company anywhere is bound to involve complications. Our typical standard challenge was developing a local insurance company in a largely deserted market accepting to incur losses until foundations are set. While this has been an incredibly ambitious risky project, neither ICA nor SMN Investments were short on motivation, and ICA, while still in an infant insurance market, has made extraordinary strides into the market.

He said ICA has faced three primary challenges: providing confidence and security to its clients in a new, growing, and insecure environment; collaborating with lawmakers to shape a legal environment capable of cultivating an insurance industry; and convincing local clientele of the personal benefit insurance provides, despite the lack of fair compulsory insurance laws. Since 2007, ICA has been vigorously addressing these challenges and shall continue doing so.

“As with many other SMN ventures, ICA strive to operate according to international best practices,” he said, adding that “This has allowed the company to forge partnerships with many of the world’s largest international insurance and reinsurance companies such as Swiss Re, Hannover Re, top syndicates at the Lloyd’s of London as well as Zurich Insurance Group.”

These partnerships provide reinsurance security and credibility to ICA various stakeholders. We have achieved a huge edge above other local players and have elevated our reputation significantly with such partnerships, Naderi added.

Government’s role in promoting the insurance sector in Afghanistan:

In regards to government’s role in promoting the insurance sector in Afghanistan, Naderi said ICA is continuously advising the GDIA and other relevant government bodies to improve the insurance legal landscape.

“Hence, for any insurance market to witness success the government is the main player to make initiative work in line with international best practices. For example, the GCC insurance market grew at 300% from 2006 to 2016 due to various compulsory insurances such as health, motor, fire and third party liabilities. Despite that, insurance penetration rate in the GCC (Average 1.9%) is still low compared to Europe (6.72%) or Asia (5.59%),” he added.

However, he said “As for Afghanistan, unfortunately we lack the transparency that are standard in other 3rd World Countries (e.g. Jordan, Iraq, Uzbekistan) and we don’t know the market size or the insurance penetration rate yet. We are hoping to see insurance statistics released by the GDIA so we can all work as one body to appear on the World’s insurance map.”

He also added “A good move forward made recently by the government is enforcing fire insurance on commercial entities; ICA welcomes such an initiative and will advise the government as in fire insurance certain codes of construction are required to be eligible for insurance. Such move if implemented properly will make reforms on standards affecting the whole community positively.”

Suggestions and recommendations to government to improve insurance sector in Afghanistan:

Meanwhile, Naderi said the government has a critical role to move matters forward, suggesting that it should set a clear road map for the insurance industry like ‘’2025’’ on insurance, obtain technical-knowhow support from other countries regulators and review the insurance law to fairly treat local companies according to facts compared to other countries.

He also suggested that the government should protect the insurance market through having strict fines for the ones who insures abroad and regulating the issuance of pure Fronting policies as these would leak high premium volume outside of the country affecting Afghanistan hard currency position.

According to Naderi, the government should also conduct periodic Technical Audits ensuring that companies operate according to internationally accepted solvency margins through tighter control on policy issuance ensuring that companies operating in the market will deliver their promise in paying a covered claim supported by sound reinsurance support through balancing exposure with the strength of the balance sheet.

In other parts of his suggestions, Naderi said the government should also consider HR review. “In most insurance regulations across the globe management of insurance companies should have the minimum necessary expertise to manage an insurance company we need to see these adopted so every company should have strict technical and underwriting discipline,” he said.

https://www.khaama.com/founder-of-afghanistans-first-private-insurance-firm-optimistic-about-economic-growth-04402/

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Afghan soldier given death sentence for deliberately killing an Army Officer

Tuesday, 26 Nov 2019

A court sentenced a soldier of 209th Shaheen Corps to death for deliberately shooting and killing an Army officer in North of Afghanistan.

According to a statement released by 209th Shaheen Corps, the Court sentenced Syed Musa to death on charges of deliberate murder of Major Hashmatullah late in the month of October.

The statement further that Syed Musa broke into the room of Major Hashmatullah late in the month of October and shot the Major six times in the chest using his M16 assault rifle.

Syed Musa committed the crime after he did not receive his salary for three months for being absent from duty, the statement added.

Meanwhile, the court added that the convict has the right to file an appeal as per Article 48 of Penal Code of the Military.

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-soldier-given-death-sentence-for-deliberately-killing-an-army-officer-04401/

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Afghan Air Force receives more light attack helicopters from MD Helicopters

Tuesday, 26 Nov 2019

According to a statement released by MD Helicopters, the helicopters, part of a 30-aircraft order arrived in Kandahar Airfield on 27th of October.

Lynn Tilton, Chief Executive Officer for MD Helicopters said “The vigilant efforts of the Afghan Air Force to protect their country and their citizens from the expanse of terrorism are both noble and steadfast.”

Tilton further added “Our respect for the warfighter is unwavering, and we are honored that the growing MD 530F Cayuse Warrior fleet plays such an important role in the safe, effective and efficient execution of these efforts.”

With this shipment, MD Helicopters has successfully met all requirements of IDIQ Delivery Order 1, and the number of MD 530F training and combat aircraft delivered to the Afghan Air Force has reached 60, the MD Helicopters added in its statement.

The statement further added that MD Helicopters has an additional 24 aircraft contracted via the IDIQ contract vehicle. Future deliveries remain on schedule.

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-air-force-receives-more-light-attack-helicopters-from-md-helicopters-04400/

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26 Taliban militants killed in Special Forces raids in 3 provinces

Tuesday, 26 Nov 2019

The Special Forces killed 26 Taliban militants during the operations in three provinces in the past 24 hours, the military officials said.

The officials further added that the Special Forces killed 12 Taliban militants during a raid in Kunduz city of northern Kunduz province.

The Special Forces also destroyed a small cache of weapons during the same operation.

In a separate operation the Special Forces killed 11 Taliban militants and destroyed a small cache of weapons during a raid in Alingar district of Laghman, the officials said, adding that the Special Forces killed 3 Taliban militants in another raid in Alisheng district of the province.

The Special Forces also destroyed a small cache of weapons in Alisheng and a separate weapons cache in Sayyid Karam district of Paktiya, the officials said.

The Taliban group has not commented regarding the operations so far.

https://www.khaama.com/26-taliban-militants-killed-in-special-forces-raids-in-3-provinces-04399/

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Southeast Asia

 

First-ever anti-terrorism exercise in S’pore place of worship held in Sultan Mosque

Syahindah Ishak

November 26

It was the first such counter-terrorism exercise held in a place of worship in Singapore, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in a joint statement.

The purpose of the exercise, which was codenamed “Heartbeat”, was to validate and enhance the mosque’s contingency plans when dealing with a terror attack.

About 60 staff and volunteers from Sultan Mosque were deployed and trained for the exercise.

Using the SGSecure app, they executed the “Run, Hide, Tell” protocol and Improvised First Aid Skills (IFAS).

A table-top exercise (TTX) was also jointly conducted by SPF and the mosque to identify any loopholes in the response plans.

The TTX is part of a workplace guide produced by SPF and the Ministry of Manpower.

According to The Straits Times, the simulated terror attack in Sultan Mosque was part of a series of anti-terrorism exercises in Singapore.

The exercises were held in different locations.

On May. 17, it was conducted at the lobby of Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, and on July 23, it was held at Republic Polytechnic.

Exercise “Heartbeat” took place in Sultan Mosque due to the attacks on places of worship and religious institutions around the world this year.

In March 2019, there were two mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand.

A series of bombings also took place in Sri Lanka in April 2019.

Three of the attacks took place in churches.

Top photos from SPF.

https://mothership.sg/2019/11/anti-terrorism-sultan-mosque/

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Stop painting rosy picture of economy, Putrajaya told

Robin Augustin

November 26, 2019

PETALING JAYA: An economist has urged the government to stop trying to prop up the weakening economy with initiatives that he says are unproductive.

Speaking to FMT, Barjoyai Bardai of Universiti Tun Abdul Razak said one such initiative was the decision to reduce the statutory reserve requirement.

“Investors know what lies ahead for the economy,” he said. “They know a recession is coming and that won’t change no matter how rosy a picture we try to paint of the economy.”

Citing the Malaysian Institute for Economic Research’s Business Conditions Index and Consumer Sentiments Index for this year’s third quarter, he noted that business had been bad for many companies.

The two recently released reports point to a drop in sales, sluggish production volumes and a weakening job outlook and purchasing power.

Barjoyai attributed the weakening of sentiments mostly to global uncertainties, but he said Putrajaya could tweak some policies to boost its coffers.

He said the sales and services tax, for example, could be modified by adding provisions to curb the shadow economy and taking elements from the goods and services tax, such as by widening the tax base.

But he also said no amount of tweaking would prevent people from lowering their spending in the coming year, adding that such a trend would be part of what he called a “normal” economic cycle.

“Businesses will see a drop in demand, and once manufacturers and sellers feel the pinch, they will reduce their overheads and drop their prices.

“Once prices drop to a certain point, people will start buying again. It’s not whether it will happen, but when. The economy has to get worse before it can get better.”

Another economist, author Hoo Ke Ping, told FMT he did not believe a recession would come any time soon.

He spoke instead of an economic slowdown, saying the worst to be hit would probably be people in the middle income bracket.

“This is the group that spends and this is why the business sentiment isn’t good,” he said.

He noted that the poorer section of the public would continue to enjoy government support but many in the so-called M40 group would be paying unsubsidised prices for diesel and RON95 petrol next year.

“Naturally, they will reduce their spending. And this will hit businesses more, since most businesses cater to the middle-income group,” he said.

He also spoke of those in the M40 group as “the ones saddled with housing loans”, saying those owning more than one property would be hit especially hard because selling off the extra burden might prove difficult.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/11/26/stop-painting-rosy-picture-of-economy-putrajaya-told/

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Absent two votes, PKR defeated over new Melaka senator

November 25, 2019

MELAKA: The absence of two assemblymen from PKR caused a motion proposing Melaka PKR chairman Halim Bachik as a senator to be defeated in the state assembly today.

All 13 Barisan Nasional assemblymen opposed the motion, while 12 Pakatan Harapan assemblymen voted in favour. Two assemblymen from PKR were not in the hall when the vote was taken – Ginie Lim Siew Lin (Machap Jaya) and Muhamad Jailani Khamis (Rembia).

Another Pakatan Harapan assemblyman, G. Saminathan (DAP-Gadek), had been excused from attending the sitting after he was charged with supporting LTTE.

The motion to appoint Halim Bachik as the new senator was tabled by Chief Minister Adly Zahari and supported by Damian Yeo Shen Li (DAP-Duyong) and Gue Teck (PKR-Klebang). Opposition leader Idris Haron (BN-Sungai Udang) and Sulaiman Md Ali (BN-Lendu) opposed the motion.

Adly told reporters later that Pakatan Harapan lost the vote when the two PKR assemblymen decided to leave the hall.

“We will gather information from the other assemblymen as well as an explanation from the two assemblymen who left the hall,” he said.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/11/25/absent-two-votes-pkr-defeated-over-new-melaka-senator/

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Prabowo appeals to ASEAN nations to unitedly foil terrorism

25th November 2019

I highly hope for good communication among ASEAN member states in the event of the terrorism threat,

Bandung, W Java (ANTARA) - Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto has appealed to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states to exert combined efforts to tackle terrorism.

Terrorism poses a threat to state security, and every nation must remain alert to the threat, he remarked while opening the 20th ASEAN Chiefs of Army Multilateral Meeting (ACAMM) in Bandung, the capital of West Java Province, on Monday.

"I have pinned high hopes for sound communication among ASEAN member states in the event of a terrorism threat," he informed military delegations from ASEAN member states.

He highlighted three terrorism-induced threats to ASEAN member states in the form of transnational crimes, radicalism, and terrorism.

"Regardless of whether we come to the realization and we like it, a dynamic movement exists that threatens ASEAN member states," he stated.

For its part, the former commandant general of the Army's special elite troops (Kopassus) appealed to all countries to establish coordination to thwart the ideology.

"Hence, the meeting is hoped to pave the way for sound cooperation among ASEAN member states," he stated.

Furthermore, he is upbeat about ASEAN member states establishing sound cooperation as part of the efforts to create peace among all nations in the world.

"This is for the sake of strong sovereignty in each ASEAN member state to facilitate continued progress and development in future," he added. Related news: Prabowo Subianto visits Malaysia

https://en.antaranews.com/news/137151/prabowo-appeals-to-asean-nations-to-unitedly-foil-terrorism

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Malaysia’s RHB Islamic’s third-quarter profit rise year-on-year soured by dip from June earnings

25 NOV 2019

Malaysia’s RHB Islamic posted 35.94% increase in profit before tax for July-September versus the same period in 2018 but this was 5.6% lower than its second-quarter result.

“The lower profit was mainly attributed to higher allowance for credit losses by RM36.7 million, partially offset by higher net funding income by RM22.6 million, higher non-funding income by RM1.9 million and lower overhead expenses by RM0.8 million,” said the bank in a filing with Bursa Malaysia on Monday (Nov 25).

RHB Islamic reported 192.57 million ringgit ($46.13 million) in profit before tax for July-September compared to 141.66 million ringgit for the same period last year.

Its overall Group saw its own PBT rise by a much lower 7.05% to reach 833.97 million ringgit in PBT for the third-quarter, up from 779.04 million ringgit for the same three months in 2018.

The Islamic subsidiary saw its income from investment of depositors' funds surge by 22.46% to 726.77 million ringgit for the third-quarter versus the same period in 2018.

Its income from investment account funds also rose, by 6.7% to 108.46 million ringgit.

RHB Group’s Shariah-compliant subsidiary’s assets grew by 11.8% to 73.36 billion ringgit from December 31, accounting for around 29.1% of the Group's 252.15 billion ringgit in assets.

Overall, the Group's assets grew by a much lower 3.69%.

Gross financing for RHB Islamic expanded to 57.6 billion ringgit, an increase of 19.3% year-on-year, said the bank in a statement. This accounts for 37% of the Group's total domestic loans and financing.

On the liabilities side, customer deposits reached 51.46 billion ringgit from 45.73 billion ringgit, an increase of 12.53%.Around 60%, or 34.9 billion ringgit, of its financing assets were based on murabahah, followed by around 22% on musharakah, according to Salaam Gateway calculation.

“Our strategic focus under the current five-year roadmap, FIT22, is growth through key segments of affluent, SME, mid-cap and large cap, and innovation through digital technology and adopting the AGILE way of working across the organisation aimed at better productivity and efficiency as well as delivering a holistic customer journey and ecosystem,” said the bank.

https://www.salaamgateway.com/story/malaysias-rhb-islamics-rise-year-on-year-in-third-quarter-profit-soured-by-dip-from-june-earnings

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Africa

 

Protesters in DR Congo torch mayor’s office after suspected Islamist rebels killed 8 in raid

25 Nov, 2019

Protesters in the city of Beni in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo set the town hall on fire on Monday after suspected Islamist rebels killed eight people in an overnight raid, Reuters reported.

Rebels believed to belong to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have killed more than 70 civilians in massacres since the Congolese army launched an offensive against them this month.

Violence by the ADF and a patchwork of militias and criminal bands near Congo’s borders with Uganda and Rwanda has hampered efforts to eradicate a more than year-long Ebola outbreak. The ADF has been operating near the Ugandan border for more than two decades.

https://www.rt.com/newsline/474253-protesters-congo-mayor-office/

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Africa’s Top University Decisively Rejects Call to Boycott Israeli Academic Institutions

NOVEMBER 25, 2019

by Ben Cohen

An overwhelming majority in the Senate of the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa has rejected a long-standing proposal to endorse an academic boycott of the State of Israel, in a decision that was hailed by Jewish leaders and denounced by Palestinian solidarity activists in equal measure.

At the vote on Friday, 68 percent of the 363 members of the senate opposed a resolution that would have pledged UCT — one of Africa’s most prestigious universities — “not enter any formal relationships with Israeli academic institutions operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well as other Israeli academic institutions enabling gross human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

Pro-boycott activists had been pushing the resolution since 2017, and Friday’s vote finally drew a line under the matter, after nearly three years of procedural wrangling and bitter political campaigning involving UCT’s Senate and governing Council.

The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) commended UCT in a statement on Monday “for firmly rejecting a motion to boycott Israeli academic institutions.”

“We thank the Senate for standing up to this campaign of hate and asserting the importance of academic freedom over narrow political agendas,” Rowan Polovin — the national chairman of the SAZF — said. “The academic boycott campaign against Israel was driven by the antisemitic BDS movement and loomed over the University for almost three years. Its goal was to single out and isolate the one and only Jewish state for unfair sanction and discrimination. The campaign consumed a disproportionate amount of airtime at the Academic Freedom Committee, Senate and Council at the expense of more relevant and important issues for UCT. Its repudiation sends a strong message that freedom of academic enquiry without limitation is essential for academic freedom to thrive.”

The influential pro-Palestinian lobby in South Africa reacted to the decision furiously, with one organization at UCT claiming that the Senate had been swayed by powerful and wealthy “Zionists.”

The decision was “a clear indication of the persisting conservatism of UCT and the fact that UCT, and the vice-chancellor in particular, is beholden to its donors and the Zionist lobby,” a statement from Palestine Solidarity Forum (PSF) at UCT asserted.

And in a separate statement, Bram Hanekom  — a spokesperson for BDS South Africa — said his campaign would continue to call for academic institutions to cut ties with the “apartheid Israeli state until it respects international law.“

In rejecting the proposal to boycott Israeli academic institutions, the UCT Senate also encouraged faculty “to establish positive academic links with Palestinian academic institutions and individuals, with financial and logistical assistance from the UCT.”

https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/11/25/africas-top-university-decisively-rejects-call-to-boycott-israeli-academic-institutions/?utm_content=news1&utm_medium=daily_email&utm_campaign=email&utm_source=internal/

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Nigeria’s unity: What Buhari told Muslim leaders in Aso Rock

November 25, 2019

By Wale Odunsi

President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, in Abuja expressed the strong determination of his administration to forge a strong, united nation from the diverse religious and ethnic communities in the country.

Receiving the Tijjaniyya Muslim Religious Movement at the State House, President Buhari lauded the prevalence of mutual understanding among the followers of the two major religions in the country, Islam and Christianity.

“It is generally said that differences divide people. We in Nigeria understand that there is no way a misunderstanding can cause division among us. We are one people,” he said.

Buhari told leaders of the delegation, mostly Senegalese, that the Tijjaniyya religious order was not new to him or to Nigerians, citing specific communities around him who practised its ways and commended them for being orderly, peaceful and constructive.

“The requirements of our people, whatever religion they follow, and to whatever ethnic group they belong in Nigeria is the same.

‘‘They need security, education and participation in an inclusive economy. On this, we are being very fair to all Nigerians,” he said.

The Nigerian leader welcomed the prayers of the religious group for his wellbeing and for the peace and progress in Nigeria.

He urged them to convey his best wishes to President Macky Sall of Senegal, saying: “I assure you that I am very close to your President. He addresses me as ‘Baba’.

The leader of the delegation, Sheikh Muhammad Lamin Inyas, son of one of the greatest Muslim religious leaders in West Africa, Sheikh Ibrahim Inyas, said their father brought them up to love and appreciate his large following in Kano and Nigerian cities.

“We are part of this country. We have come here to renew ties and the bonds of relationship. This is our reason for the homage,” he said.

The delegation prayed for the realization of best wishes and aspirations of President Buhari, and for unity and solidarity among the universal followers of the religion.

https://dailypost.ng/2019/11/25/nigerias-unity-what-buhari-told-muslim-leaders-in-aso-rock/

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