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Islamic World News ( 10 May 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pakistan Internet Cut As Violence Erupts After Arrest of Ex-PM Imran Khan; Dragged Into an Armoured Vehicle by Scores of Security Forces in Riot Gear

New Age Islam News Bureau

10 May 2023

 

Supporters of Imran Khan throw stones at a water cannon in Lahore. Photograph: KM Chaudary/AP

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Pakistan

Crunch time for PTI as Imran held; nationwide riots erupt

US, UK back ‘rule of law’ in Pakistan after ex-PM’s arrest

PM warns Imran over assertion of Pakistan becoming ‘jungle’

‘Imran’s Arrest Has Nothing to Do with Army’, Sources Said

PTI panel devises strategy for Imran’s release

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Mideast

Hamas Will Determine the Scale of Expected Escalation between Israel, Islamic Jihad

Israeli Airstrikes against the Islamic Jihad Armed Group Kill 13 People In Gaza

Israel awaits Gaza counter-strike after killing of Islamic Jihad leaders

Assassination of Resistance leaders to further unite Muslims

Education Must Adhere To Islamic Teachings: Bahrain

Political office of Ansar Allah mourns Al-Quds Brigades leaders, Al-Ghanam, Al-Bahtini, & Izz Al-Din

U.N. says Iran executes on average more than ten people per week

Israel kills three Islamic Jihad leaders, 10 civilians in Gaza

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North America

White House Urges Israel, Palestinian Islamic Jihad to ‘De-Escalate’ Amid Violence

Canadian court sentences two brothers for brutal assault on Muslim men

CAIR-Houston Congratulates Muslims Elected to Fort Bend County MUD

Navy SEAL Who Helped Kill bin Laden Slams Drag Queen Ambassador

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Europe

Choice between ‘Breaking Law and Missing Prayers’ At Aberdeen MosqueIn Scotland

Rare and important Iznik water bottle at Bonhams Islamic and Indian Art sale

Crawley Coronation celebrations 2023: Kings Coronation Party event at Crawley Mosque

Pupils raise staggering £38k to help with Islamic centre renovations

Nottingham Emmanuel School addresses 'unfounded claims' made by pupils about Muslim prayer

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Arab World

Saudi Cabinet: Kingdom welcomes Syria’s return to Arab League

Madinah festival showcases world cultures

Saudi students win 41 medals in Geneva invention awards

Saudi Arabia says work at diplomatic mission in Syria to resume

International Luxury Week kicks off in Jeddah

Makkah to launch Saudi International Catering Conference in May

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India

Assam Govt for Ban on Polygamy by State Law

Hyderabad Pharma Professor, Mohammad Saleem alias Saurabh Raj Vaidya, Cloud Engineer among Five Arrested, 'Jihad' Plot Feared

The Kerala Story Ban: SC Agrees to Hear Filmmaker’s Plea against West Bengal Ban On May 12

Court awards 20-year jail to two for gang rape of Muslim woman during Muzaffarnagar riots

Tolerant Muslims wear mask to get Governor or Vice President post: MoS Baghel

Mamata Banerjee Takes Dig At BJP, Refers To Tagore's Stand For Secular Vision

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Africa

Outrage over Abduction, Forceful Conversion of 14-Year-Old Esther To Islam In Kaduna

Gunmen kidnap 25 in a Nigerian church

Nearly 10,000 flee from Sudan to neighbouring Central African Republic

Sudan: 16 dead in ethnic clashes, curfew imposed

Protesters rally in support of army in Port Sudan as conflict displaces over 700 000

Tuan Guru Quran handover- a preservation of Islamic heritage

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 Southeast Asia

Perak MB: Mosques In The State Urged To Set Up Co-Ops To Generate Income

Federal Territories Islamic council donates RM150, 000 to patients in HKL, Tunku Azizah Hospital

Azam Baki’s tenure as MACC chief extended for one year

Law minister Azalina says more comfortable with Pakatan instead as partner in reform

Malaysia, UK sign MoU on strengthening ties in education

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South Asia

Over 700 Afghan Refugees Return Back from Pakistan

Mine Blast Kills 3 Children in Afghanistan’s Kandahar

Renowned Actor Monowar Hossain Dipjol Slams ‘Pathaan’ Ahead of the Shah Rukh Khan Film’s Release In Bangladesh

UAE’s GAAC Signs Contrat to Operate Afghanistan’s Airports

Iran’s First Direct Freight Train Arrives in Afghanistan

Kabul Traffic Announces New Taxi Colour in Afghanistan

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/pakistan-violence-imran-security-army/d/129749

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 Pakistan Internet Cut As Violence Erupts After Arrest of Ex-PM Imran Khan; Dragged Into an Armoured Vehicle by Scores of Security Forces in Riot Gear

 

Supporters of Imran Khan throw stones at a water cannon in Lahore. Photograph: KM Chaudary/AP

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Shah Meer Baloch in Islamabad and Hannah Ellis-Petersen in Delhi

Tue 9 May 2023

Internet services have been suspended across Pakistan after violence erupted when the former Prime Minister, Imran Khan, was arrested at a court appearance in Islamabad and dragged into an armoured vehicle by scores of security forces in riot gear.

The arrest of Khan – who was ousted from power last year and has evaded arrest several times since – came hours after he released a video message reiterating his allegations that Pakistan’s powerful military establishment had tried to assassinate him twice.

Khan’s arrest is the latest twist in a political and economic crisis that pits the popular former prime minister against the military and the government, led by his successor, Shehbaz Sharif, whom Khan alleges conspired to remove him from power and make threats on his life, charges they deny.

Hours after his arrest, protests began to erupt across Pakistan, with the army accused of orchestrating his detention. More than 40 people were arrested and officials said one protester had been killed after they were shot by an officer near a military checkpoint in the city of Quetta. In Karachi, a police vehicle was set on fire and in Lahore, supporters broke into the house of the military corps commander, smashing windows and setting furniture on fire, while shouting: “We warned you not to touch Imran Khan.”

Mobile internet services were cut across the country, according to the Pakistan telecommunication authority, and access to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, where videos of the protests were being widely shared, was restricted.

Late on Tuesday the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office issued a new travel warning advising against travel to several regions of Pakistan, and saying that “further disruption should be expected.”

Khan had travelled to Islamabad on Tuesday morning to seek bail in two corruption cases, some of dozens involving corruption, sedition and terrorism that he is facing.

As he entered the court premises, Khan was arrested by agents from the National Accountability Bureau, the country’s anti-corruption body, who were followed by a contingent of paramilitary officers. Khan was put into a vehicle with tinted windows and driven off under heavy security, while a scuffle broke out between his supporters and police.

According to a statement released by Islamabad police, his detention was connected to a separate case, known as the Al-Qadir Trust case, which involves allegations Khan earned billions of rupees through illegal land transactions and where he had not been granted bail. It stated that Khan would be produced before the court on Wednesday.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) called his arrest a “black day for our democracy and country”. Fawad Chaudhry, a PTI spokesperson, alleged Khan had been “abducted from court premises, scores of lawyers and general people have been tortured, Imran Khan has been whisked away by unknown people to an unknown location”.

In a video posted to PTI’s official Twitter account, the barrister Gohar Khan alleged Khan had been struck on the head and the legs by paramilitary officers who entered the premises of the Islamabad high court to arrest him.

The interior minister, Rana Sanaullah, said Khan’s arrest was because of his failure to turn up to hearings in a corruption case and denied all allegations of torture. “The arrest has been conducted by the National Accountability Bureau for causing losses to the national treasury,” he said.

After Khan’s arrest, the chief justice of Islamabad, Justice Aamer Farooq, demanded an explanation “within 15 minutes” from the police chief and the interior ministry secretary as to why Khan had been detained. “Come to court and tell us why Imran has been arrested and in which case,” he said. Farooq said that if they did not appear, he would summon both Khan and the prime minister, Sharif.

The arrest warrant for Khan was released soon after, dated 1 May, stating he was accused of “corruption and corrupt practices”. On Tuesday night, the Islamabad high court ruled that the arrest was legal and that Khan had ignored several notices to appear in court.

Insp Gen Akbar Nasir Khan, of Islamabad police, urged calm and said the situation in Islamabad was normal. However, in an attempt to prevent protest, a section 144 was imposed in the city to prevent gatherings of more than five people and internet was cut off in some areas.

Since Khan fell from power in April last year in a vote of no confidence, he has been on a crusade against Pakistan’s powerful military establishment, and in particular the senior army generals who it is widely acknowledged helped bring him to power. But after the relationship disintegrated, they orchestrated his removal as prime minister.

He accused the military and the Sharif government of a “western-backed conspiracy” to topple him and of being behind an attempt on his life in November last year, when a gunman opened fire during a rally in Punjab and Khan was shot in the leg. This week, the media wing of the armed forces issued another strongly worded rebuttal of Khan’s allegations.

Yet during this time Khan’s popularity his soared, with many admiring his determination to go up against Pakistan’s military establishment, which has long been Pakistan’s political puppet master. There is widespread discontent with the Sharif government, as inflation and food shortages have rocketed, and it is expected that Khan could return to power in the next general election, due in October, if he is not disqualified from politics before then.

Khan has been putting pressure on the Sharif government to call an early general election, claiming that the coalition that took power after he was removed is “illegitimate”.

Source: theguardian.com

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

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/may/09/pakistan-former-pm-imran-khan-arrested-in-islamabad

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Delivering an Anti-Semitic Sermon Iran Cleric Says Muslims That Don’t Go On Hajj ‘Might Die As A Jew’

 

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba and pray at the Grand mosque ahead of annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia August 16, 2018

(Photo credit: ZOHRA BENSEMRA/REUTERS)

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MAY 10, 2023

The representative for the Islamic Republic of Iran’s supreme leader in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province delivered an anti-Semitic sermon in late April, declaring that Muslims who can afford the Hajj pilgrimage but do not go “might die as a Jew.”

Nassir Hosseini said “There are those who are wealthy but do not want to go on Hajj. There are those who have real estate, and if they sell off 100, 50, or 10 square meters, they can afford to go on Hajj twice, but they refuse. This will cause them hardship.”

The Shi’ite cleric continued that “The Prophet said that if a person is rich but does not perform the Hajj, he might die as a Jew. There is such a hadith. A person on his deathbed could die as a member of the Jewish religion.  A person who is financially well-off and physically healthy, and does not perform Hajj can be thrown out of Islam. In the last moment, he will die in the Jewish religion, as you see in the hadith.”

Beni Sabti, an expert on Iran from the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, Hosseini’s anti-Semitic sermon “ is something very common in Iran.” He added, “When you call someone a Jew in Iran, it is like cursing him.”

Iranian antisemites invoke the word Jew to insult people, Sabti said, noting they wish to convey that  “he is not honest, he is cheap, he is a  liar, and he hides something or he does not do things like in the clip” about Hosseini.

Sabti said Hosseini’s  usage of the word Jew is an insult and  “is anti-Semitic and a Nazi word  in Iran “ and has “ for many of hundreds of years a tradition in Iran.”

Sabti, who was born in Tehran, said about his time growing up in Iran that “I remember as a child seeing on the walls on sayings from Imams or the Prophet Mohammad that blame a Jewish woman for killing the Prophet. They made this up. Mohammad died naturally.”

The sermon conducted by Hosseini was aired on Dena TV in Iran on April 28, 2023 and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Former US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said during the Trump administration that Iran’s regime is the leading state-sponsor of antisemitism.

The CEO of the US-based Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, said during a congressional hearing in 2020 that the Islamic regime in Tehran was the top state sponsor of Holocaust denial and antisemitism.

Bahraini Islamic scholar talks about The Protocols of the Elders of Zion

In a separate but related anti-Semitic sermon, the Bahraini Shi'ite Islamic scholar Ibrahim al-Safa claimed in an April 14, 2023 lecture in the village of Karzakan that the anti-Semitic document The Protocols of the Elders of Zion were "produced" at the 1897 first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland.

According to the US Holocaust Museum, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is the most notorious and widely distributed anti-Semitic publication of modern times. Its lies about Jews, which have been repeatedly discredited, continue to circulate today, especially on the Internet. The individuals and groups who have used the Protocols are all linked by a common purpose: to spread hatred of Jews.”

The Museum added “The Protocols is entirely a work of fiction, intentionally written to blame Jews for a variety of ills. Those who distribute it claim that it documents a Jewish conspiracy to dominate the world. The conspiracy and its alleged leaders, the so-called Elders of Zion, never existed.”

The Protocols have gained enormous traction in the Arab world, Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

MEMRI located and translated Safa’s antisemitic conspiracy diatribe.

He said "Herzl made a concerted effort to gather all the Jews from everywhere. He sought to create Zionism and to establish a central leadership for the Jews. What did they seek to achieve? They sought to gather what was left of the Jews. The first meeting was held in 1897 in Switzerland. This meeting was the most dangerous Jewish gathering. The Jewish leaders, thinkers, and political strategists were there, and they produced the so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion. These protocols represented the basic principles of the Zionist movement, which are satanic and dangerous principles. Satan undoubtedly collaborated with them in the creation of these principles.”

Safi continued that "The first protocol they agreed upon, as was mentioned in the newspapers, stated that Zionism must control the world, and not just a specific piece of land. No. They had a big plan to establish Greater Israel, which would stretch from the Nile to the Euphrates.”

He said "When you engage in politics with the Jews, you must be careful, because they have no principles, values, or ethics. All that they present to you is just for appearances' sake. Another principle which they agreed upon was the need to drown the Gentiles... The term 'Gentiles' appears in their holy book. They refer to all non-Jews as 'Gentiles', who are the servants of the Jewish race. There is us and there is them, according to their view. Those [Gentiles] must be drowned with vice, prostitution, drugs, and abomination, by means of the plans made in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion."

Source: jpost.com

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

https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/iran-news/article-742609

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UN Security Council Invites Pope Francis, Al-Azhar Imam For Joint Speech

 

Pope Francis (L) poses for a picture with the Grand Imam of al-Azhar mosque Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb during their meeting at the Papal residence near the Sakhir Royal Palace, in the eponymous Bahraini city on Nov. 4, 2022. - MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images

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May 9, 2023

CAIRO — The head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb, have received an official invitation from the United Nations Security Council to each deliver a historic speech during its meeting in June in New York, Al-Monitor has learned.

An Egyptian clerical source told Al-Monitor that the ?speeches of the prominent religious leaders will be delivered before a high-level session of the council dubbed, “The ?Importance of Human Fraternity Values in Promoting and ?Sustaining Peace,” due in mid-June at the UN’s headquarters.?

"The United Arab Emirates [which will be holding the Security Council’s presidency] will highlight pressing and urgent humanitarian issues and try to take serious steps toward establishing security and ending conflicts around the world,” the invitation states.

The two religious leaders will confirm their attendance this month, the source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity.

“They [the two leaders] are used to supporting any step that can promote peace in the world, so their attendance could help solve crises and stop wars around us,” the source added.

The historic speeches will come at a time the world is witnessing unending quarrels, fights and wars. The war in Ukraine has entered its second year and the latest fighting in Sudan could destabilize the fragile situation in Central, North and West Africa.

Moncef Slimi, a political analyst on Arab and European affairs and head of the German-Maghreb Institute for Culture and Media, told Al-Monitor that it would be the first time the Security Council hosts two religious leaders as prominent as Pope Francis and Sheikh Tayeb.

“That would be an important political and moral message at a difficult time for the world, both in the Arab world where wars are raging, most recently in Sudan, as well as in the West, where Ukraine's war continues unabated,” he said.

In January 2011, relations between Al-Azhar and the Vatican were severed against the backdrop of remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI on Islam and Muslims, which were interpreted by some in Egypt as accusing Muslims of persecuting adherents of other religions in the Middle East and calling for intervention to protect them.

However, Tayeb's visit — who is known as a moderate and centrist religious leader — to the Vatican and his first meeting with Pope Francis in May 2016 ushered in a new era for Al-Azhar and the Vatican. The meeting motivated Pope Francis’ trip to Egypt in 2017.

Since then, nine meetings between the grand imam and the pope have taken place.

In February 2019, the two leaders signed the “Document on Human Fraternity,” which they presented to the world in Abu Dhabi. One year later, the UN General Assembly adopted the document and called on the international community to observe Feb. 4 as the annual “International Day of Human Fraternity.”

Father Rafic Greiche, supervisor of Le Messager Catholic weekly newspaper and secretary of the Information Committee for the Catholic Church in Egypt, told Al-Monitor that the invitation to deliver a speech at the UN comes as the culmination of the same process that led to the signing of the historical Document on Human Fraternity.

He said that the UN has formed an international committee consisting of some heads of churches and Islamic institutions to engage in dialogue with governments to mainstream the principles contained in the historic document, which calls for an end to religious-based hatred and extremism.

He added that Pope Francis has sought to consolidate peace diplomacy since he was appointed head of the Catholic Church in 2013. He has also led many dialogues with leaders of churches and Islamic institutes that have helped strengthen relations between Christians and Muslims, according to Greiche.

Greiche also mentioned the meeting between Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and Pope Francis in Rome on Wednesday. They will pray together for peace and an end to all wars and crises affecting humanity, he said.

The visit comes on the 50th anniversary of the historic “Joint Christological Declaration” signed between the heads of the Coptic Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches in 1973, which ended a 1,500-year theological dispute between the two churches.

“Believers always need symbols of reconciliation from religious leaders in the midst of war and economic crises, especially considering that religion plays a central role in the lives of people in Egypt and the East,” Greiche said.

“I expect that speeches calling for peace to move the sleepy consciences of politicians at the wheel, who are supposed to be aware that poor people are dying of wars and famines,” he noted. “That could push presidents and officials involved in wars to respond to the suffering of mankind."

However, the ability to stop wars is a “relative [concept] and depends on politicians' responsiveness to their calls,” Slimi said.

Source: al-monitor.com

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

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2023/05/un-security-council-invites-pope-francis-al-azhar-imam-joint-speech

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Alfie Best Jnr: 'I'm The Son of UK's Richest Gypsy – But Now I’ve Made Life-Changing Conversion ‘To Islam

 

Alfie Best Jnr: 'I'm The Son of UK's Richest Gypsy – But Now I’ve Made Life-Changing Conversion' To Islam

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10 May 2023

The son of Britain’s richest gypsy says he has now found inner peace after turning to Islam.

Alfie Best Jnr, whose billionaire dad, Alfie Snr, is one of the richest people in the country, reckons he is the first traveller to take up the faith, which has resulted in him ditching booze and instead studying the Quran.

The 25-year-old Romany gypsy is joint 85th on the Rich List for people under 30, with an estimated £10million fortune – he drives around in a £180,000 Bentayga Bentley, has a £1.2million fifth-floor Knightsbridge flat overlooking Harrods and wears a £150,000 platinum watch that is encrusted with grains of stone from a space meteorite.

But since becoming a Muslim, he now says prayers in Arabic five times a day and visits a mosque at least once a week, and all after finding Allah following a helicopter trip to Cornwall for lunch.

He and four friends flew off to a five-star hotel in his dad’s £4.5million Aston Martin helicopter for a bite to eat last September, but had to return early as one of his mates’ mum was attending a mosque in Lewisham, South London, for The Shahada – declaring her faith in one God, Allah.

He revealed to The Sun: “We were going for food afterwards so it was either sit outside in the car or take my shoes off and go into the mosque. My friend cried as his watched his mum take her Shahada.

“And I felt something I haven’t experienced before in any religious place. It made my whole body tingle, like this is right for me.

“Something was trying to either contact me or something was trying to reach me.

“It was very, very strange but in a good way. I felt I belonged there.”

The entrepreneur, who is also super-featherweight professional boxer, left school at just 12 and hired a van and a driver to sell cleaning products to factory bosses.

Such was his success that he bought a nightclub just four years later – which he sold after 12 months – and now he owns two caravan parks and sells expensive watches.

Alfie Jnr added: “I’m unique – I’m the only gypsy who has converted to Islam."

He had his own Shahada at Regent’s Park mosque and also revealed that while his father had reservations about his new life choice, his mother was fully supportive.

Source: mirror.co.uk

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

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/im-son-uks-richest-gypsy-29940050

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‘King of Journalism’, Based On Turki Al-Sudairi, Premieres at Saudi Film Festival

 

Arab News tribute photo to Turki Al-Sudairi's passing. (AN Photo)

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 May 09, 2023

 DHAHRAN: The life of esteemed Saudi journalist Turki Al-Sudairi has been memorialized in “King of Journalism,” a documentary that premiered at the Saudi Film Festival at Ithra this week.

Turki Al-Sudairi, a pioneer of journalism in the region, had a career that spanned decades and earned him widespread recognition. The documentary’s title, “King of Journalism,” is a nod to the appreciating words of the late King Abdullah.

Al-Sudairi worked for more than four decades in the Kingdom’s media industry. He began his career as a sports journalist for the Al Riyadh newspaper, then became involved in other areas of reporting, making his way up to managing the paper as deputy chief editor and later as chief editor.

His passing impacted journalists around the world. Ali Saeed, a former Al Riyadh journalist, was so moved by the loss that he decided to team up with his twin brother, Hassan Saeed, to direct and produce a documentary on Al-Sudairi.

“Ali used to work in Al Riyadh newspaper for many years. When he became a full-time filmmaker, he decided to make a documentary about the inspirational Turki Al-Sudairi,” Hassan told Arab News.

For more than two years, the pair conducted meticulous researched and worked on their project. A critical aspect of that process was finding archives of Al-Sudairi’s work. Hassan added: “Al Riyadh newspaper and SRMG helped us with the archive. It was really a journey.”

Mazen Al-Sudairi, the son of the late journalist, was featured in the documentary. He told Arab News that he was proud of the film, which “tells the true story” of his father’s life.

He said: “The idea is to give the story an objective image and give the audience the chance or the space to judge his actual trial as a leader, as a journalist and as a writer.

“He was editor-in-chief for 40 years, from 1974 till 2015. So many changes have happened in society, economy and geopolitics. This gives you a story of an era, not just of a man.”

While filming the documentary, the producers took care to replicate Al-Sudairi’s daily routine and added a layer of authenticity by filming in his workplace and including a docudrama scene.

Hassan said: “Every location in the film is the actual location with an actor who came to play the role of Turki Al-Sudairi … we filmed at his actual office in Al Riyadh office and home office.”

The Saeed brothers said they will continue on the path of creating documentaries on important figures.

“We are also working on a few ideas for the future, but this focus is really important for the industry right now. Just to focus not on only narrative films, but also to focus on documentaries.”

Source: arabnews.com

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2300416/saudi-arabia

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Pakistan

 

Crunch Time For PTI As Imran Held; Nationwide Riots Erupt

May 10, 2023

ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: The arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan on the premises of the Islam­abad judicial complex by a contingent of Rangers in connection with a corruption case set off a ser­ies of violent protests across the country, including in the high-security zones where PTI supporters and the law enforcers faced off.

The detention which the Islamabad High Court (IHC) said was made within parameters, came hours after the PTI chairman upped the ante by claiming that he could prove his allegations that an intelligence officer was behind the assassination attempt on him.

The arrest triggered claims and counter-claims by the government and the opposition PTI, with the former defending it while the latter condemning the action.

Soon after the arrest, Section 144 was imposed in Islamabad and some other places to control the law and order situation while exams in some cities were postponed in light of violent protests which continued into the night.

Twitter and some other social media services were also suspended on the instructions of the interior ministry. Some protesters took out their wrath on the military, storming the residence of the corps commander in Lahore and laying siege to a gate of the army’s General Headquar­ters in Rawalpindi.

Police fired teargas and water cannon to disperse Mr Khan’s sup­p­orters in Karachi and Lahore, while protesters blocked roads in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Pesha­war, Faisalabad, Multan, Quetta, etc.

Contempt proceedings

The way Mr Khan was arrested also prompted the Islamabad High Court to initiate contempt proceedings against the interior secretary and the police chief of Islamabad for mishandling the arrest, though it agreed the detention was made within the parameters.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq issued contempt notices to both these officials and directed the registrar’s office to get a case registered over the ransacking of the court premises.

After an inquiry by the registrar, responsibility will be fixed in the case and a senior officer would be appointed to register an FIR in this regard. Further hearing was adjourned till May 16.

Imran arrested

In a surprise move, Rangers detained Imran Khan from the high court in an operation that lasted barely three minutes and whisked him away in a black vehicle.

The PTI chief was scheduled to appear before the IHC chief justice in connection with his petitions seeking to quash FIRs registered against him at the Ramna police station for inciting mutiny and with the Secretariat police over violence outside the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Mr Khan also appeared before an anti-terrorism court and the judge confirmed his bail in seven different cases.

In addition, Mr Khan sought pre-arrest interim bail from the IHC in a National Acco­un­tability Bureau (NAB) investigation on charges of corruption in the Al-Qadir University Trust case.

Mr Khan was required to conduct biometric verification at the diary branch of the IHC, but the Rangers contingent arrested him in the same case while he was completing this process.

In its case, NAB alleged that the PTI government struck a deal with Malik Riaz that caused a loss of more than $239m to the national exchequer, in a quid pro quo arrangement with the real estate businessman. In December 2019, Britain’s National Crime Agency had accepted a settlement offer of £190m, which included a UK property — 1 Hyde Park Place, London, W2 2LH.

It was valued approximately at £50m and all of the funds landed in the frozen accounts of Malik Riaz. Later, former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife were accused of accepting billions in cash and hundreds of kanals of land from Bahria Town in return for the help that Mr Khan’s government extended to Malik Riaz during the NCA investigation against him.

IHC proceedings over arrest

The arrest created a wave of unrest among the PTI lawyers present in the IHC to welcome Imran Khan. Chief Justice Aamer Far­ooq took up the matter and summoned the secretary of the interior, the Islamabad police chief, and the additional attorney general.

During the hearing, Barrister Gohar Ali Khan and advocate Ali Bukhari, who accompanied Mr Khan, recalled the events leading up to the arrest of their client.

Barrister Gohar told the court that Mr Khan was sitting in the diary branch to complete the verification process when some officials of Rangers appeared all of a sudden and tried to enter the office. However, when they found that the door was locked, they broke the windows and used pepper spray to discourage resistance.

Barrister Gohar stated that one of the personnel struck Mr Khan on the head and another kicked his injured leg. He said that the officials then dragged PTI chairman from the said office to shift him into their vehicle.

Advocate Bukhari said that he was with Mr Khan in the ATC and then came with him to the IHC. He further said that Mr Khan’s movement was also being monitored through a drone.

Mr Bukhari told the court that after the Rangers used pepper spray, he could not see what happened and he also got injured in this incident. According to him, the Rangers smashed the windows and hurled abuses at Mr Khan.

‘Against dignity of court’

During the hearing, IHC Chief Justice observed that this matter is against the dignity and independence of the court, and anything beyond set parameters will not be tolerated and any person whether a minister or prime minister if found responsible will be taken to the task.

Advocate Khawaja Haris Ahmed argued that Mr Khan learnt that the inquiry in Al Qadir Trust was upgraded into an investigation on April 30 through a newspaper. He asserted that Mr Khan was seeking pre-arrest bail and also filed a petition before the IHC.

He argued that the investigation agencies show restraint in such situations and they keep waiting for the court’s orders but in this case, Mr Khan was arrested while he was resorting to legal course.

Additional attorney general Munawar Iqbal Duggal told the court that since the arrest has been made, the counsel could approach the accountability court to redress grievances.

“This is not simple as such,” remarked Justice Farooq. He then summoned director general and prosecutor general of NAB and adjourned the hearing.

When the hearing was resumed, NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi told the court that the bureau asked the federal government for Mr Khan’s arrest after serving him repeated call-up notices.

Inspector General Akbar Nasir Khan told the court that during the incident, some police officials also got injured. He denied having prior information regarding the arrest of Mr Khan but assured the court that he could probe the matter.

Violent protests

In Rawalpindi and Islamabad, violent confrontations between the police and PTI supporters were witnessed followed by a crackdown on party supporters. In Rawalpindi, sensitive installations, including GHQ and Hamza Camp (Ojhri Camp), were targeted by the PTI supporters.

Two police officials –Waris Khan DSP Tahir Sikandar and Ratta Amral SHO Chaudhry Riaz were also injured in an altercation with the PTI workers.

The metro bus service was also suspended between the two cities.

In Lahore, the PTI workers gathered at Liberty Chowk and started marching towards the Cantonment. The announcements were made on social media sites to reach the Cantonment to protest outside the military corps commander’s house.

In footage circulating on different social media platforms, the PTI workers carrying clubs and party flags reached the corps commander’s house in the Cantonment area.

The protestors forced their way into the house while chanting slogans against the arrest of their chairman. They were also seen breaking the windowpanes, TV, and furniture of the house and also setting the trees and furniture on fire.

In another video, the PTI activists could also be seen pelting stones and bottles at an army convoy on Mall Road. The workers also set police vehicles outside Fortress Stadium Lahore on fire in addition to several security posts in the Cantt.

Sindh

In Karachi, hundreds of PTI workers took to the street in different parts of the province against the arrest of party chairman Imran Khan prompting action from the police resulting in the arrest of Ali Zaidi, a couple of MPAs, and dozens of opposition party workers.

Sharea Faisal turned into a battleground hardly an hour after the arrest of Mr Khan when PTI Karachi chapter president Aftab Siddiqi urged the workers to reach Insaf House – the party headquarters. As the workers marched on Sharea Faisal suspending traffic on the key road link, the police resorted to baton-charge and teargas shelling which attracted a strong reaction from the protests. In a three-hour-long face-off between police and the protesters, over a dozen vehicles, including a police van, and two check posts each of the Karachi police and Pakistan Rangers were set on fire.

In KP, after learning about the arrest of the PTI chief, scores of the opposition party’s workers reached the Hashtnagar Chowk in Peshawar blocking the Grand Trunk Road.

The protesters torched the replica of the Chaghi Mountain, where Pakistan conducted its first nuclear test in 1998. They also smashed the main gate of the provincial assembly’s building and threw stones inside the premises.

In Quetta, one person was killed and over a dozen injured, including six police personnel were injured in clashes between workers in clashes between the protesting PTI workers and police during a demonstration against the arrest of Imran Khan.

In Gilgit-Baltistan, protesters blocked many roads, including Karakoram Highway, at various points, leaving a number of travellers stranded.

Mohammad Asghar in Rawalpindi, Manzoor Ali in Peshawar, Saleem Shahid in Quetta, Imran Ayub in Karachi, and Ikram Junaidi in Islamabad also contributed to this report

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1751955/crunch-time-for-pti-as-imran-held-nationwide-riots-erupt

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US, UK back ‘rule of law’ in Pakistan after ex-PM’s arrest

May 10, 2023

WASHINGTON: The top diplomats of the United States and Britain together called on Tuesday for adherence to the “rule of law” in Pakistan after former prime minister Imran Khan’s arrest triggered nationwide violence.

“We just want to make sure that whatever happens in Pakistan is consistent with the rule of law, with the constitution,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a joint news conference in Washington.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, speaking alongside Blinken, noted that Britain enjoyed “a longstanding and close relationship” with Commonwealth member Pakistan. “We want to see peaceful democracy in that country. We want to see the rule of law adhered to,” Cleverly said.

Both declined to comment in further detail, with Cleverly saying he had not been fully briefed on the situation.

UN says it’s monitoring political situation in the country

“As we have said before, the United States does not have a position on one political candidate or party versus another,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said when asked about the situation in Pakistan.

Fair treatment

The United Nations said on Tuesday that it would monitor the political situation in Pakistan following Imran Khan’s arrest to make sure that all political figures in the country were treated fairly, Anwar Iqbal in Washington adds.

“Our concern is making sure that all of the political figures in Pakistan are treated fairly and, of course, that the due process is followed,” said deputy spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Farhan Haq when asked to comment on Imran Khan’s arrest.

“So, we will follow this process as it goes on to make sure that our concerns are being addressed,” Mr Haq added while addressing a Tuesday afternoon news briefing at the UN headquarters in New York.

In Washington, Amnesty International, a London-based rights group, shared a statement issued by its headquarters. “The clashes unfolding between Imran Khan’s supporters and security enforcement following the former prime minister’s arrest risk several human rights violations,” Amnesty warned in its statement.

“We call upon authorities to show restraint, and ensure any response is in line with the principles of proportionality, legality, necessity, and non-discrimination,” it added.

Michael Kugelman, a Washington-based scholar of South Asian affairs, noted in a tweet that the situation in Pakistan was getting messier day by day.

“Today it appears the Pakistan army has reached an ‘enough-is-enough’ moment re Khan. After several false starts/unsuccessful arrest attempts by the police, this time the mil took matters into its own hands,” he wrote. “What a mess!”

Jeremy McLellan, a social media personality who often comments on events in Pakistan, claimed in his tweet that “Imran Khan wasn’t arrested, he was illegally kidnapped … because he got too popular”.

“The Pakistani people will not take this lying down,” he warned.

Madiha Afzal, another scholar of South Asian affairs associated with the Brookings Institution, Washington, pointed out that “while things unravel in Pakistan, PM Shehbaz Sharif has stayed on in London for one more day “on [his brother] Nawaz’s instructions” — as per the information minister.

Zalmay Khalilzad, a former US diplomat who negotiated the peace deal with the Taliban, also commented on the situation following Iran Khan’s arrest.

“The arrest of Imran Khan is deplorable and will have far-ranging consequences. I condemn it in the strongest terms,” he wrote in a tweet. “It’s painful to watch a country so rich in potential, with an ancient heritage of culture, natural resources, an entrepreneurial spirit and hard-working people, repeatedly be thrown into chaos by its own dysfunctional elites — civilian and military — with some exceptions.”

He also urged Pakistan’s allies — like China, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE — to step in and help defuse the situation. “Countries with strong ties to Pakistan must help its leaders reach an agreement that averts the imminent meltdown,” he wrote.

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1751933/us-uk-back-rule-of-law-in-pakistan-after-ex-pms-arrest

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PM warns Imran over assertion of Pakistan becoming ‘jungle’

May 10, 2023

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif warned Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan over his earlier assertion of Pakistan becoming a ‘jungle’, saying “facts were often bitter and disastrous” as he hinted at the former premier’s rule.

The statement comes a day after the ex-premier asked Shehbaz if military officers were above the law. The PTI chief, with a screenshot of the incumbent premier’s tweet, questioned if he could “dare” to ask the prime minister if he, as a citizen “who suffered two assassination attempts on his life in [the] last few months”, had the right to nominate those he thought “responsible” for the assassination attacks.

Retorting to Imran’s tweets, PM Shehbaz maintained that he had “no doubt” that Imran’s politics were defined by “blatant lies, untruths, U-turns, and vicious attacks on institutions”. He added that Imran bent the judiciary to his “whims” and behaved as if rules did not “apply” to him.

“What I said about you in my tweet is established by facts over the past few years,” he said, defending his earlier statement.

Listing “counter questions” Shehbaz stated that “maligning Pakistan Army as an institution” was a recurring pattern in Imran’s politics after his ouster. He questioned if Imran did “not resort to constant mud-slinging of the leadership of the army and intelligence agency much before the Wazirabad attack?”

He asked Imran what legal routes he adopted “other than hurling threats and making baseless allegations almost on a daily basis?”

“You refused the offer of cooperation from the federal government and boycotted the legal proceedings. You were never interested in finding the truth about the attack but used the condemnable incident for petty political objectives,” he stated.

He further questioned at whose behest “the savaging social media campaign against the martyrs of the armed forces [was] launched after the helicopter crash?”

Source: pakobserver.net

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https://pakobserver.net/pm-warns-imran-over-assertion-of-pakistan-becoming-jungle/

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‘Imran’s Arrest Has Nothing to Do with Army’, Sources Said

May 10, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested a political leader Tuesday in accordance with the law, which has no connection whatsoever with the Pakistan Army, sources said.

However, some nefarious leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) incited their misguided workers and caused unnecessary damage to government properties and military installations and buildings, using their agitation and pressure tactics to further their political agenda.

Sources said under a particular heinous scheme, these miscreants were instructed to damage the buildings, assets, and properties of government and law enforcement agencies so that they could achieve their malicious political goals through intimidation and agitation.

Sources said despite the dissemination and violence by the PTI leadership and their unlawful actions, the agencies responsible for enforcing the law showed complete restraint and will continue to do so. However, some PTI political leaders continue to use the strategy of agitation and pressure on people to further their political gains, which is unacceptable and will be dealt with according to the law.

Sources said people should stay away from such nefarious and provocative elements, not take the law into their own hands, and avoid reprehensible acts of violence against government property. Such provocative elements and their gang leaders will be dealt with according to the law because no one has the right to jeopardise the peace and security of the country.

Source: thenews.com.pk

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https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/1068827-imran-s-arrest-has-nothing-to-do-with-army

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PTI panel devises strategy for Imran’s release

May 10, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Tuesday devised a comprehensive strategy to secure safe and early release of Imran Khan during its seven-member emergency committee meeting.

PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi had summoned the committee meeting immediately to review the situation in the wake of arrest.

Qureshi interacted with the committee members Senators Saifullah Khan Nyazee, Azam Swati, Ijaz Chaudhry, Murad Saeed, Ali Amin Khan Gandapur and Hassan Niazi.

According to the party’s Central Media Department, Qureshi said a meeting of the senior leadership and emergency committee was convened to review the situation from all angles and announce a comprehensive action plan. He said Imran’s arrest was completely unjustified and unacceptable.

He said the PTI will hold peaceful but vigorous protests across the country to ensure the release of its chairman as soon as possible. He claimed that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) was raided to detain Imran Khan despite the fact that Imran had offered voluntary arrest in his statement before appearing in the court.

“Detention of Imran Khan is fascism and it is condemnable to attack the Islamabad High Court during biometrics and injure lawyers,” he remarked and made an appeal to the chief justice of Islamabad High Court to issue an order for his immediate recovery and appearance in the court. Qureshi said the entire nation was deeply concerned about the health and safety of Imran.

“There is a lot of anger in the entire nation against the abduction and torture of the PTI chairman and the PTI will register its strong protest without taking the law into its own hands. We will fight this battle through political and legal means for the safe recovery and release of the chairman,” he noted. The PTI vice-chairman made it clear that the schedule of the rallies released by Chairman Imran Khan was intact. “We are turning all these things into peaceful unity rallies. I appeal to all organizations to continue their preparations. All workers should remain peaceful and determined. We will win this war morally and politically,” he said.

In a video message, Qureshi has said the PTI will challenge the Islamabad High Court’s decision on PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest before the Supreme Court of Pakistan today (Wednesday).

He said people’s reaction to Imran Khan’s arrest was natural as the arrest was unwarranted. He said Imran Khan had said before leaving for Islamabad that he would court arrest if there were warrants for it. There was no reason for resorting to violence, breaking glasses, manhandling lawyers and arresting PTI activists.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Bar Association Tuesday condemned the arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

In a statement, President Abid S Zubairi and Secretary Muqtedir Akhtar Shabbir said the arrest, which occurred on the court premises, had raised serious questions about respect for the fundamental rights and impartiality of NAB/law enforcement agencies.

They also condemned the assault and torture perpetrated by the law-enforcement agencies on the lawyers during the entire episode that violated the sanctity of the court.

They said the arrest represented a clear infringement of the principles of democracy, freedom of expression and the right to dissent. They also condemned the violence being perpetrated and asserted that it was a fundamental right to peaceful protest but no one should take law into their hands.

They also urged the government and law-enforcement agencies to uphold the rule of law, adhere to the principles of democracy, and provide a fair and unbiased judicial process to former prime minister and refrain from using state institutions as tools for political persecution and instead focus on fostering an environment of inclusivity and respect for human rights and law.

Source: thenews.com.pk

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https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/1068821-pti-panel-devises-strategy-for-imran-s-release

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Mideast

 

Hamas Will Determine the Scale of Expected Escalation Between Israel, Islamic Jihad

05/09/2023

Hamas faces a dilemma: Let the conflict remain between Israel and the PIJ or bend to pressure for a unified retaliation

Three top commanders of the military wing of the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror organization were killed early Tuesday morning by the Israeli army in Gaza. Israel is expecting a retaliation that most likely will lead to a significant escalation, but its scale will depend on whether Hamas will join the PIJ against Israel.

Israel’s targeted airstrike operation came after the PIJ fired over 100 rockets toward Israeli towns surrounding the Gaza Strip last week, in response to the death of PIJ member Khader Adnan following an 87-day hunger strike in an Israeli prison.

Israelis living within a 40-kilometer radius of the Gaza Strip were instructed by the IDF on Tuesday to open bomb shelters and stay near them, as this retaliation is likely to include the firing of rockets toward Israeli towns.

The IDF reported that 13 people total were killed in the bombings, including 10 civilians. The three commanders killed were identified as Khalil Al-Bahtini, the commander of Northern Gaza, Jihad Ghanem, a senior official in the PIJ’s military council, and Tareq Izz ed-Din, who coordinates the group’s terror activities in the West Bank from Gaza, according to the IDF.

“Al-Bahtini was entrusted with approving and carrying out all terrorist activities from northern Gaza, as well as planning and directing terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians and planned rocket attacks against Israel in the immediate future,” said the Israeli army.

Security expert Danny Citrinowicz, a research fellow at the Israel Institute for Security Studies, who served in various Israeli intelligence command positions, told The Media Line that the expected escalation has the potential of being very serious.

“As we all know from previous rounds with the PIJ, after events like these, they launched rockets toward Tel Aviv. [These rockets] are not highly sophisticated, but they can cause damage,” he said.

However, Citrinowicz believes that the real question is whether Hamas will decide to join the retaliation, “which will determine the [nature] of this escalation.”

Dr. Omer Dostri, a researcher at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security and an expert on national security and military strategy, says that Israel must be prepared for three types of escalation that all remain a possibility.

The first type “is a basic and low-level conflict lasting for one or several days, involving only PIJ while Hamas remains inactive,” he told The Media Line. The second, he continued, “involves a collective response from all terrorist factions in Gaza, including Hamas, and can last for two to several days of military conflict.”

The third possibility is a multifront conflict where Israel would face attacks from both Gaza and the northern borders with Lebanon and Syria.

“It is expected that such attacks would include a thousand rocket launches in the first and second options, as well as the use of UAVs, sniper shootings, RPGs, and anti-tank weapons, targeting both military and civilian targets,” Dostri said.

Citrinowicz notes that for Hamas, whether to join the PIJ in its response is a great dilemma and the group’s leadership is likely currently discussing strategic ways to face the situation.

Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email

On the one hand, Israel weakening the PIJ is not a bad thing for Hamas, as in some way it is one of its biggest power contenders in the Gaza Strip. Also, Hamas usually hesitates to escalate knowing that clashes with Israel will have a high cost for the organization, he explained.

On the other hand, “Hamas is considered to be the protector of the Gaza Strip and it cannot stay on the sidelines,” Citrinowicz said. If it does not join, it may lose its credibility as Gaza’s protector figure.

Dostri notes that currently, “Hamas is not interested in engaging in a full-scale military operation or war with Israel. Instead, it aims to strengthen its position from within Gaza and improve the economic well-being of Gaza’s residents for political gain, which will help maintain popular support,” he said.

Furthermore, he pointed out that Israel has targeted only the Islamic Jihad and has communicated to Hamas that it has no intention of targeting them. That said, Hamas faces significant pressure to join the conflict with Israel and support the Islamic Jihad.

“If Hamas does not respond to the Israeli attack, it will break the existing equation which Hamas and other terrorist organizations attempted to impose on Israel,” Dostri said, explaining this equation as any Israeli attack in Gaza resulting in a unified and comprehensive response from all factions in the strip.

Regarding the timing, Citrinowicz said that the targeted attack is most likely triggered by the rocket attacks launched by the PIJ toward Israel last week.

“The continued aggression from the Gaza Strip has left Israel with no option but to respond strongly to the terrorism against it,” Dostri agreed.

Nonetheless, he added that Israel prefers to engage in offensive initiatives and deception to achieve operational success against terrorist organizations in Gaza.

“Israel has been waiting for the right operational moment, which includes accurate and high-quality intelligence, favorable weather conditions, and other factors, to launch a military operation against these groups,” he said.

Source: themedialine.org

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https://themedialine.org/top-stories/hamas-will-determine-the-scale-of-expected-escalation-between-israel-islamic-jihad/

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Israeli airstrikes against the Islamic Jihad armed group kill 13 people in Gaza

10.05.23

The Israeli military launched airstrikes against the Islamic Jihad armed group in Gaza on Tuesday, killing three of its leaders, ending an uneasy weeklong cease-fire between the two sides and leaving them braced for a sharp escalation in cross-border violence. Palestinian officials said that the airstrikes had killed at least 10 civilians, including children.

The pre-dawn strikes hit residential buildings across the Palestinian coastal territory of Gaza, roughly a week after an exchange of fire between Islamic Jihad and Israel.

Islamic Jihad, which Israel, the US and many other western countries classify as a terrorist organisation, confirmed that three of its senior leaders were among the dead. The Palestinian ministry of health in Gaza said that at least 13 people had been killed and 20 others injured. Among the dead were Dr Jamal Khiswan, a director of the Wafa Hospital in Gaza, and his wife and son, the ministry said.

Tensions in the region had been high after the death in Israeli custody last week of a Palestinian hunger striker who was a leader of Islamic Jihad. Violence has also been on the rise recently in Israel and the occupied West Bank. The death of the hunger striker, Khader Adnan, was followed by rockets fired at Israel from Gaza, and retaliatory strikes by the Israeli Air Force.

Members of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government pressed for a stronger response.

Source: telegraphindia.com

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https://www.telegraphindia.com/world/israeli-airstrikes-against-the-islamic-jihad-armed-group-kill-13-people-in-gaza/cid/1935642

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Israel awaits Gaza counter-strike after killing of Islamic Jihad leaders

MAY 9, 2023

Following the IDF’s targeted killing of three top Islamic Jihad leaders in the middle of the night between Monday and Tuesday, Israel was still awaiting a potentially massive counter-strike of rockets from Gaza on Tuesday night.

The main questions are: When will Islamic Jihad strike back, will Jihad fire rockets beyond the South and will Hamas join in a serious way for the first time since the May 2021 Gaza conflict?

On one hand, Hamas’ Gaza leadership does not take orders from Iran, has avoided multiple rounds of fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad over the last two years and IDF intelligence views it as currently preferring stability over war. On the other hand, Hamas cannot afford to appear weak in the eyes of its general public in comparison to Islamic Jihad.

Further, former IDF intelligence chief Tamir Hayman said that Hamas’ leadership outside of Gaza often is more in favor of conflict, for one because it does not put them or their immediate teams in danger.

Operation Shield and Arrow

Israel’s proactive strike, dubbed Operation Shield and Arrow, on the three Islamic Jihad leaders was framed by Israeli political and military officials as a move to reestablish deterrence following the recent round of rockets and airstrikes on May 2-3.

Throughout Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials held consultations with key security officials, including finally discussing the issues with the security cabinet - who was not informed of the strike on Islamic Jihad beforehand.

Already Tuesday evening, Islamic Jihad had started to try to respond, but at least one of its rocket crews was killed when the air force destroyed a car holding a rocket crew of two on their way to attack.

The officials assassinated in the earlier IDF strikes included: Khalil Bahitini, the commander of the al-Quds Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip, Tareq Ezzaldin, a spokesperson for the movement who also manages terrorist activities in the West Bank and Gaza, and Jihad Ghanem, secretary of the movement's military council.

They were all killed almost simultaneously, within minutes of each other, by a mix of around 40 aircraft and drones.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Tuesday that already on May 2 he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had approved the IDF and Shin Bet moving toward such a major operation.

The week-long delay was attributed to a mix of technical factors, such as weather, avoiding larger ancillary civilian casualties and other factors. 

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant Tuesday night said, "This episode was not just an act of terror, but against our residing in our land."

"The goals were realized in their entirety. Islamic Jihad's Gaza leadership was eliminated," he said.

Further, Gallant said, "We can multiply it and carry it out on other fronts and against varying threats. Anyone who tries to test us, will face the full force of the defense establishment and its iron wall defending the State of Israel."

IDF chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said that anyone who acted constantly to harm Israelis in Sderot or anywhere else would not be immune from paying the price.

Halevi added he was saddened by the ancillary harm to civilians, but that the IDF had worked hard to avoid such harm, unlike the Gazan terror groups who aim directly at civilians.

Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar flagged the role of Iran in pressing for its proxies in Gaza and elsewhere to increase conflicts with Israel.

Source: jpost.com

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https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/article-742561

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Assassination of Resistance leaders to further unite Muslims

10-05-23

TEHRAN, May 09 (MNA)- Hezbollah has said the assassination of Resistance leaders in Gaza will make the Islamic community and the Resistance Front more determined than ever to defeat the occupying Israeli regime.

In a statement on Tuesday, Hezbollah strongly condemned the Israeli regime’s latest aggression in the Gaza Strip, saying the Resistance movement of Lebanon completely supports “all options” to counter the Zionist enemy.

Hezbollah said the earlier Tuesday's assassination of Resistance leaders in Gaza will make the Islamic community and the Resistance Front more determined than ever before to defeat the occupying regime.

“The assassination of resistance leaders will increase the Islamic and Arab unity and awareness and will make them more determined to continue choosing the option of jihad and resistance until complete victory,” the movement said.

The Israeli regime launched massive airstrikes across the besieged Gaza Strike early on Tuesday, killing 13 people, including six women and four children. Three senior commanders of the Islamic Jihad movement were among those martyred.

“The brutal attacks of the Zionist enemy on the Gaza Strip showed the true meaning of betrayal, terrorism and intimidation,” Hezbollah said, calling on the international community and humanitarian organizations to take steps to end Israeli atrocities.

Source: en.mehrnews.com

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https://en.mehrnews.com/news/200533/Assassination-of-Resistance-leaders-to-further-unite-Muslims

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Education Must Adhere To Islamic Teachings: Bahrain

MAY 10, 2023

His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, directed the Minister of Education to immediately halt any changes made to the Kingdom’s educational curricula that are not compatible with Bahrain’s national values designed to protect religion and its core pillars.

The directive was in line with His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s commitment to protecting the Islamic religion. HRH Prince Salman ordered the Education Minister to ensure educational curricula adhere to Islamic teachings, in line with the National Action Charter and the Constitution.

His Royal Highness reiterated that the Islamic religion is inviolable and should be respected and protected at all costs. HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad concluded by extending his appreciation to the Kingdom’s religious scholars and members of the Legislative Authority for their commitment to upholding the Kingdom’s national values.

Source: newsofbahrain.com

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https://www.newsofbahrain.com/bahrain/90076.html

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Political office of Ansar Allah mourns Al-Quds Brigades leaders, Al-Ghanam, Al-Bahtini, & Izz Al-Din

09/May/2023

SANA'A May 09.2023 (Saba) – The Political office of Ansar Allah mourned Al-Quds Brigades leaders, Jihad Al-Ghannam, Khalil Al-Bahtini and Tariq Muhammad Izz Al-Din, who were martyred with their families as a result of the treacherous Zionist aggression on Gaza Strip.

In a statement, a copy of which was received by the Yemeni News Agency (Saba), the office extended its condolences to the Palestinians and the resistance movements for the martyrdom of the three senior leaders inside their houses with their families in a brutal assassination committed by the Zionist enemy at dawn today in Gaza.

The statement saluted the Palestinians for their great sacrifices for the sake of a sacred cause whose victory requires more, more patience and sacrifice.

It reaffirmed Yemeni people's support for the Palestinians, and confidence in the ability of the Palestinian jihad and resistance movements to confront the arrogance of the brutal enemy.

Source: saba.ye

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https://www.saba.ye/en/news3239153.htm

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U.N. says Iran executes on average more than ten people per week

At least 209 people were executed in the country since January 1, primarily for drug-related offences, but a United Nations statement said the actual number is likely much higher

May 10, 2023

UN human rights chief Volker Turk said on Tuesday that Iran has executed a "frighteningly" high number of people this year, rising to more than ten per week on average.

At least 209 people were executed in the country since January 1, primarily for drug-related offences, but a United Nations statement said the actual number is likely much higher.

"On average so far this year, over ten persons are put to death each week in Iran, making it one of the world's highest executors," said Mr. Turk.

"At this rate, Iran is worryingly on the same track as last year when around 580 people were reportedly executed," he added, calling this track record "abominable".

Iran on Monday hanged two men on charges of spreading blasphemy on social media, prompting U.S. condemnation and accusations from Amnesty International that the Islamic republic has reached a "new low" in a spree of executions.

On Saturday, Iran executed Swedish-Iranian dissident Habib Chaab for "terrorism", prompting sharp criticism from Sweden and the European Union.

The UN said at least 45 people, including 22 from the Baluch minority, were executed in the last 14 days alone. Most were executed for drug-related charges.

"Imposing the death penalty for drug offences is incompatible with international human rights norms and standards," said Turk.

"The Human Rights Committee is clear on prohibiting imposition of the death penalty for any but the 'most serious crimes' - crimes of extreme gravity, involving intentional killing. Drug offences do not meet this threshold."

Source: thehindu.com

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https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/un-says-iran-executes-on-average-more-than-ten-people-per-week/article66831212.ece

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Israel kills three Islamic Jihad leaders, 10 civilians in Gaza

May 10, 2023

JERUSALEM, May 9 (Reuters) - Israel killed three Islamic Jihad commanders in Gaza and at least 10 civilians including several children in surprise pre-dawn air strikes on Tuesday, drawing threats of reprisals and warnings of a further escalation in fighting.

The strikes, targeting senior militant commanders Israel said had planned attacks from Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, were the latest in an extended period of Israeli-Palestinian violence stretching back more than a year.

Islamic Jihad confirmed the death of the commanders, Jihad Ghannam and Tareq Izzeldeen - who an Israeli military spokesman said orchestrated operations in the West Bank and sought to bring rockets to the city of Jenin - as well as Khalil Al-Bahtini who coordinated rockets fired at Israel a week earlier.

As explosions rocked parts of Gaza, a coastal enclave where 2.3 million people live squeezed into an area of just 365 square kilometres, Israeli jets also hit rocket production workshops and military compounds, sending columns of smoke into the sky.

Dawoud Shehab, a spokesperson for the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad, said Israel "must expect a response at any moment and anywhere".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had instructed the security forces to prepare for any scenario, including an escalation on more than one front.

"In the coming days we will all be required to show patience and resolve," Netanyahu told a press conference in Tel Aviv.

In all, at least 15 Palestinians were killed in the strikes, including a well-known dentist, his wife and 21-year-old son who lived in the same Gaza City apartment block as militant leader Izzeldeen, as well as seven other civilians including women and children elsewhere in the enclave, Palestinian officials said.

Two men died later, Palestinian paramedics said, after Israeli jets hit what the military called an anti-tank team near the southern border of Israeli-blockaded Gaza.

Israeli military spokesmen said the "pinpoint" operation involved 40 aircraft but they confirmed that women and children had been killed.

While the West Bank and Jerusalem have seen a spread of Israeli-Palestinian violence over the past year, exchanges of fire across the fortified Gaza border have also intensified - most recently following the death last week of an Islamic Jihad leader on hunger strike in Israeli custody.

Israel on Tuesday closed roads in towns near the Gaza border, told residents there to keep close to bomb shelters and said it was calling up some military reservists.

Images on social media showed Iron Dome rocket interceptor batteries being taken by truck to the area.

'MORE RESISTANCE'

Islamic Jihad, based in Gaza alongside the larger and more powerful Hamas movement which runs the territory, is one of an array of militant groups that have been increasingly clashing with Israel over the past year.

Israeli officials said that much would depend on how closely Hamas chose to identify itself with any response to the air strikes.

"Assassination of leaders will not bring the Occupation (Israel) security but more resistance," Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, who has divided his time recently between Qatar and Turkey, said in a statement.

The Palestinian foreign ministry, based in Ramallah in the West Bank, condemned Israel's air strikes and said a negotiated solution was the only way to achieve security.

Egypt, which has brokered past ceasefires in Gaza, said the Israeli strikes "contradicted the foundations of international law and international resolutions". Qatar condemned the strikes while special U.N. Middle East peace coordinator Tor Wennesland condemned the killing of civilians and called for restraint.

The developments offered a political reprieve for Netanyahu.

Jewish Power, a far-right party in his coalition government, said it was ending a boycott of parliamentary voting called in protest at what it deemed lax policy on Gaza, attributing its decision to "the transition from containment to attack".

More than 100 Palestinians and at least 19 Israelis and foreigners have been killed in violence since January.

Israel captured Gaza and the West Bank, areas Palestinians want for an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, in a 1967 war. Israeli forces and settlers withdrew from Gaza in 2005. Peace talks have been frozen since 2014.

Source: reuters.com

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https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israeli-jets-strike-islamic-jihad-targets-gaza-military-2023-05-08/

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North America

 

White House Urges Israel, Palestinian Islamic Jihad to ‘De-Escalate’ Amid Violence

By Jackson Richman

May 9, 2023

The White House on May 9 called on Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to “de-escalate” amid tensions between the two groups, with the latter launching hundreds of rockets in the past month.

“We are closely following Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip that killed three leaders of Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” a National Security Council spokesperson told The Epoch Times.

“Israel has the right to protect itself and defend its people from indiscriminate rocket attacks launched by terrorist groups,” continued the spokesperson. “We are also aware of reports that 10 civilians were tragically killed in the Israeli strikes. We call for all parties to de-escalate the situation. The U.S. commitment to Israel’s security remains ironclad.”

Israel launched Operation Shield and Arrow on May 8.

“Terrorism is a threat to civilians everywhere. [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad and its leaders have been threatening the security of Israelis for too long. The IDF has launched a targeted campaign against Islamic Jihad in Gaza,” posted the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Twitter with a video explaining who PIJ is and stating that Israel “will stand against terrorism.”

On May 9, Israel took out three top leaders of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is a U.S.-designated terrorist group: Khalil Bahitini, Tarek Az Aldin, and Jahed Ahnam.

Bahitini “was entrusted with approving and carrying out all terrorist activities from northern Gaza as well as, planning and directing terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians and planned shooting attacks against Israel in the immediate future, he was also responsible for the rocket fire toward Israel in the past month,” according to the IDF.

Az Aldin was the director of Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s operations in the West Bank from Gaza, according to the IDF.

He “was entrusted with planning and directing multiple attacks against Israeli civilians, the coordination between the Islamic Jihad in Judea and Samaria, as well as transferring funds for terrorism from Gaza to Judea and Samaria,” according to the IDF.

“Az Aldin was also responsible for disturbing inciting content of the terrorist organization in Israel meant to promote and encourage terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians,” the IDF said.

According to the IDF, Ahnam “entrusted with coordinating weapons and money transfers between the Hamas terrorist organization and the Islamic Jihad.”

In addition to the three senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad members, 10 others were killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.

Senior Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh warned of retaliation for the strikes.

“Assassinating leaders with a treacherous operation will not bring security to the occupier, but rather more resistance,” he said in a statement.

In a statement, Palestinian Islamic Jihad threatened that “the Palestinian response to this heinous aggressive massacre will not be delayed.”

Source: theepochtimes.com

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https://www.theepochtimes.com/white-house-urges-israel-palestinian-islamic-jihad-to-de-escalate-amid-violence_5253525.html

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Canadian court sentences two brothers for brutal assault on Muslim men

10/05/2023

Two brothers were sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison for a vicious assault on two Muslim men, but “no sentence can undo the harm to our family,” said the wife of one of the victims.

The assault took place July 15, 2018, as reported by Anadolu.

Abu Marzouk, then 39, his wife Diana Attar and their two daughters, aged 4 and 6, were about to head home after a picnic in Mississauga, just outside of Toronto.

Two men approached the family’s vehicle and Marzouk got out to speak to them. They had indicated that they had been hit or nearly so by the vehicle. The pair then yelled anti-Arab racist remarks and one man struck Marzouk in the face and the other began beating him as his daughters watched from inside the van.

Marzouk sustained life-threatening injuries. The assailants also attacked Fuat Yucel, then 49, a friend of Marzouk and a Turkish national, when he attempted to help the victim. Yucel received major injuries.

“The Abu Marzouk and Yucel families, as is typical for many who suffer such attacks, have been struggling for years in the aftermath of the incident—physically, mentally, and emotionally,” the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) said in a statement Tuesday, following the sentencing. “This is the hidden and unreported reality of hate in Canada. The difficulties and traumas do not end when the attack ends.”

Attar said she was glad that “this is over and our family can move on towards the road to healing” but the pain will remain.

"There is no sentence that can undo the harm to our family," she said at a news conference.

Nadia Hasan, NCCM’s chief operating officer, said hate crimes are on the rise in Canada. For that reason, the organization has urged a National Support Fund for Victims of Hate-Motivated Crimes.

In 2021, the National Action Summit on Islamophobia recommended the fund be established.

Source: yenisafak.com

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https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/canadian-court-sentences-two-brothers-for-brutal-assault-on-muslim-men-3664155

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CAIR-Houston Congratulates Muslims Elected to Fort Bend County MUD

Ismail Allison

May 9, 2023

(SUGAR LAND, TX, 5/9/2023) – The Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Houston), a chapter of the nation’s largest civil rights and advocacy organization, today congratulated three Muslim community members elected to serve as part of the Fort Bend County Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs). 

Ather Mohiuddin has been elected to serve in MUD 134B, while Asif Quereshi and Mohammed Rizwan have been elected to serve in MUD 134C.

In a statement, CAIR-Houston Director William White said:

“Their victories are significant for the American Muslim community and the wider community in Fort Bend County. Ather Mohiuddin, Asif Quereshi and Mohammed Rizwan have demonstrated that diversity in leadership can make a positive impact and serve the best interests of the community as a whole.

“This is a proud moment for the American Muslim community, and we congratulate them on their success. Their leadership will empower fellow American Muslims to take an active part in the political process, serve their communities and contribute to the betterment of society.

“The success of Ather Mohiuddin, Asif Quereshi and Mohammed Rizwan demonstrates the importance of civic engagement, and we encourage more American Muslims to get involved in politics at all levels.”

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.            

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.           

Become a Fan of CAIR on Facebook        

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Subscribe to CAIR’s Twitter Feed        

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http://www.youtube.com/cairtv         

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Do you like reading CAIR press releases and taking part in our action alerts? You can help contribute to CAIR’s work of defending civil rights and empowering American Muslims across the country by making a one-time contribution or becoming a monthly donor. Supporters like you make CAIR’s advocacy work possible and defeating Islamophobia an achievable goal. Click here to donate to CAIR.

If you would like to join CAIR’s media list, please sign up here: https://action.cair.com/a/newsletters — For more information, email: info@cair.com, CC ihooper@cair.com 

END 

Source: cair.com

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https://www.cair.com/press_releases/cair-houston-congratulates-muslims-elected-to-fort-bend-county-mud/

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Navy SEAL Who Helped Kill bin Laden Slams Drag Queen Ambassador

May 9, 2023

A former Navy SEAL, who claims to have killed Osama bin Laden, slammed one branch’s strategy of using an active service drag queen to convince people to join the military.

Rob O’Neill, who appeared on “Varney & Co.” Monday, revealed whether he believes the new tactic will bring in more recruits to the military.

“No, this is not going to boost recruitment. It’s going to do the opposite because we don’t join the military to express ourselves,” he said. “All we have in common is that we’re all afraid that we get our heads shaved, then we’re part of a team, and our job as a military is alliance, solidarity, forward defense, and deterrence. And a deterrent is a way you avoid conflict by projecting strength.”

O’Neil also emphasized the importance of having strong men and women who are the best for the job.

“I’m all about freedom. You do what you want behind closed doors, or on your own time, but we need to have submarines with nuclear capability, aircraft carriers, men and women who fly jets, and the best infantry in the world, which is the United States Marine Corps,” he added.

O’Neil further stated he believes “our military needs to be ferocious, not fabulous.”

His comments came after the U.S. Navy enlisted “drag queen influencer” Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley as their “digital ambassador” in November 2022.

Kelley, who goes by the stage name “Harpy Daniels,” announced the news in a video on his social media platforms.

He referred to himself as “an advocate for the LGBTQ community in the military.”

“I am Joshua Kelley, currently 2nd class petty officer in the U.S. Navy. I identify as Non-Binary and this has been an unbelievable experience since I’ve joined the Navy,” he wrote in the caption.

He concluded his statement, writing, “Come follow me on this journey and see where we go next. Thank you to the Navy for giving me this opportunity!”

In June 2022, Ret. Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr of the Heritage Foundation spoke with NBC News, about the decline of people willing to join the military.

“This is the start of a long drought for military recruiting,” he said.

He added, “2022 is the year we question the sustainability of the all-volunteer force.”

Source: ijr.com

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https://ijr.com/navy-seal-who-helped-kill-bin-laden-slams-drag-queen-ambassador/

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Europe

 

Choice between ‘Breaking Law and Missing Prayers’ At Aberdeen MosqueIn Scotland

May 10 2023

By Alastair Gossip

Community leaders “never thought it would get so busy” at the former Frederick Street School, which Aberdeen Mosque and Islamic Centre (AMIC) took over in 2021.

The popularity of Aberdeen Central Mosque is leading to problem parking, with leaders even urging members to “miss prayers” rather than compound the issue.

Now “very, very worried” trustees have asked the city council to help.

But the Imam, Ibrahim Alwawi, has called for the change to cover all city mosques and other places of worship too.

The root of the problem parking: ‘Everyone loves to go and pray’ at Aberdeen Central Mosque

Councillor M Tauqeer Malik painted the city transport committee a picture of the problem, as he called for assistance.

The mosque is next door to the Frederick Street multi-storey, which has earmarked spaces for the Aberdeen Health Village across the road.

“AMIC is a great addition for our Muslim community, a really good, reasonable space to pray on Fridays,” Mr Malik said.

“There are a few other venues but it’s very, very busy on Fridays because everyone loves to go there and pray.

“Sometimes people are breaking the law, parking on double yellow lines and across the road or using NHS-marked spaces.”

Aberdeen Central Mosque leaders urge people to ‘miss prayers’ rather than break the rules

Mr Malik said trustees were so worried by the problem parking that they have urged worshippers to even “miss the Friday prayers”, rather than add to the trouble.

Their concerns have fallen on deaf ears though.

Currently, parking is free in Aberdeen’s pay and display car parks until 1pm on Sundays.

This allows Christian worshippers to drive to church without a financial barrier or fear of landing a fixed penalty notice ticket.

But Sunday is not a universal Sabbath. The Qur’an’s most important day of prayer is a Friday.

City chiefs will now price up how much it would cost to afford Aberdeen’s Muslims the same flexibility over Friday lunchtimes.

Aberdeen Central Mosque Imam: ‘Equality for all houses of worship’

Imam Ibrahim Alwawi told The Press And Journal it is “all about equality” and supporting Aberdeen Central Mosque to succeed.

He fears the issues could deter people from attending at all, especially given the present cost of living.

“This is a consideration of the religious need to encourage those who want to practice their faith,” he said.

“We are not talking about every day. It would just be once a week, for two hours for the most important sermon and prayer of the week.

“Lunchtime is very tight. People want to pray and to eat and when you introduce finding parking and paying it becomes stressful.

“We are talking about all mosques. And I want to be clear, we are calling for this to cover all houses of worship.”

Source: pressandjournal.co.uk

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https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen-aberdeenshire/5654281/aberdeen-central-mosque-parking-problems/

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Rare and important Iznik water bottle at Bonhams Islamic and Indian Art sale

LONDON.- A rare and important 16th century Iznik pottery water bottle known as a surahi is to be offered at Bonhams Islamic and Indian Art sale in London on Tuesday 23 May 2023. Made in Turkey in around 1575, the 37.8 cm. high bottle is estimated at £100,000-200,000.

The water bottle comes from the collection of the Rolin family. The Belgian businessman Leon Rolin (1871-1950), nicknamed 'The Lion of Cairo', was the owner of one of the largest civil contractors in Egypt. His firm built the Heliopolis Palace Hotel, which on its opening in 1910 was the most luxurious hotel in Africa. (It was taken into public ownership in 1958 and is now a presidential palace).

Inspired by their surroundings, Leon and his wife, Madeleine formed a collection of Islamic art which was added to by their daughter Jacqueline. She later returned to Belgium and distributed her rich collection amongst her children and their descendants.

Oliver White, Bonhams Head of Islamic and Indian Art, said: “This beautiful bottle with its motifs of red roses, blue hyacinths and cypresses is a rare and important survivor. The cypress tree, which had been present as a decorative element in Turkey since the early 15th century began to appear on dishes and related forms such as this water bottle in the third quarter of the 16th Century.”

Other highlights of the 219-lot sale include:

• Two rare 17th/18th century Safavid embroidered cotton panels from the Caucasus, probably Azerbaijan. The panels were once in the collection of Lieutenant General Augustus Pitt Rivers (1827-1900) ethnologist and archaeologist whose collection of around 22,000 objects became the founding collection of the Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford. They are estimated at £60,000-80,000 and £40,000-60,000.

• A Timurid moulded pottery mihrab tile, Central Asia, second half of the 14th Century. This beautifully crafted terracotta panel takes the form of a mihrab arch. The terracotta has been delicately carved in high relief to give the pierced effect of a veil of lace, with the subtle luminous glazes of rich turquoise, white, lilac and aubergine floating against the deeply recessed ground.

• An illuminated Qur'an, Safavid Persia, Shiraz, second half of the 16th Century. Formerly in the collection of the late Dr Mohammed Said Farsi (1935-2019), it is estimated at £30,000-40,000.

Source: artdaily.cc

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https://artdaily.cc/index.asp?int_new=157126&int_sec=11#.ZFtH93ZByM9

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Crawley Coronation celebrations 2023: Kings Coronation Party event at Crawley Mosque

9th May 2023

Over 40 guests inc. neighbours, friends, army and police participated as well as members of the local Ahamdiyya Muslim members who attend the Noor Mosque for lunch.

The President of the AMA Crawley branch Adeel Shahzad, said:“The UK AMA is celebrating the event up and down the country to share the nation's joy on the occasion of the King’s Coronation with parties and prayers. Events included sharing delicious food cooked and served by the AMA community as well as games and fun for children. Our Worldwide spiritual head, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad sent a message of special prayers for the King where his Holiness said:“I pray that the occasion of His Majesty’s Coronation proves not only a means of bringing people of different nations together but also a means of fostering a spirit of trust and mutual understanding in society and between nations.

“It is my prayer that may God Almighty through His Grace and Beneficence, keep our honoured King safe and in good health. May his reign be one of peace and prosperity for the world, and may the attributes of justice, tolerance and freedom of belief forever remain the guiding principles of the British Monarchy. Amen”

At the Noor Mosque the proceedings began with recitation of the Holy Quran by Atta-ul Haq followed by a short speech by Lt. Harry Brimacombe from the Prince of Wales’ 4th Battalion in Northgate, who outlined “the importance of the special occasion and the uniting of different communities and what joy and honour it was being part of those celebration at Noor Mosque”

Jeredyne Stanley, from River’s charity for empowering women explained how the organisation helps women and said:“our programmes and resources help local women to expand their skills and become an active part of our community. We also signpost the community to other organisations that can support them.” Several members of the group attended the celebration.

Ahsan Ahmedi, the spokesman for the AMA Crawley in his address stated that:“faith has always been our inspiration and not just from the teachings of Islam, but others also as all religions are from God”.

He cited examples of Prophet Moses (pbuh) on how “he did not rebel against the Pharoah but after delivering the message of God, he led his people to migrate following the consecution persecution. But remained loyal to him up until that moment”.

Likewise, he said, when Jesus (pbuh) was confronted by those trying to stir trouble, “that to whom should loyalty belong, to God or Caesar?” he replied “to both in their own right- Lend to Ceasra what belongs to Ceasar and to God what belongs to God” (Mark 12:17)

Finally, Mr. Ahmedi cited the example of the Holy prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) that “After severe persecution in Mecca, he sent some of his companions to Abyssinia to live under the rule of a fair and just Christian King and to live in peace and in obedience under him. In fact, some companions even joined the Kings army to fight a battle to protect his nation and after winning that battle, the companions showed great joy that they had won and had protected the King.

“It was this principle of Islam, to be loyal to the country where you live, which led to the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, the Promised Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (pbuh) to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and also King Edward VII’s coronation in 1902.

“Loyalty to one’s nation and giving back to society as loyal, peaceful citizens is a fundamental duty of every Muslim, especially to a nation which grants you freedom of faith and to live in peace, something Mirza Ghulam Ahmad highlighted in the book he wrote as gift to Queen Victoria on her Jubilee entitled “Gift to the Queen”

The proceedings at Noor Mosque ended with everyone present standing for the National Anthem and then concluded with silent prayers for the King, nation and world peace.

Over 100 people attended the event at Noor Mosque who enjoyed the food provided by the community, cooked by their catering team led by Muhammed Harris.

Source: sussexexpress.co.uk

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https://www.sussexexpress.co.uk/news/people/crawley-coronation-celebrations-2023-kings-coronation-party-event-at-crawley-mosque-4135228

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Pupils raise staggering £38k to help with Islamic centre renovations

10-05-23

A group of children from Blackburn have raised a staggering £38,265 to help with renovations at their local madressa.

Pupils from the Dawat-e-Islami Education Centre based on the corner of Granville Road and Leamington Road, have also challenged themselves to reach £40,000 in the coming weeks.

The 75 pupils and their parents had initially set a target of £8,000, with each child asked to raise £100, but soon it soon became clear the children were going to surpass that figure quite easily.

A spokesperson for the centre said: “We’re very proud of our children and they have shown that with the right support, they can achieve great things, and this is exactly what we aim to achieve at our education centre.

“Recently, the children climbed Pendle Hill to help raise money for the renovations. It was a wonderful effort by the young fundraisers and we are thankful for their efforts."

The Islamic centre, which was a former church, is presently at full capacity and the expansion will mean 300 children will be able to study for free and be taught by qualified teachers.

The Dawat-e-Islami acquired the building following the closure of the Leamington Road Baptist Church in 2014.

The decision to sell the building, which opened in 1895, was due in a large part to spiralling maintenance and repair costs.

Since taking over the site the charitable group has looked to renovate the historic building and give it a new lease of life to serve the local community.

Source: lancashiretelegraph.co.uk

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https://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/23510102.pupils-raise-staggering-38k-help-islamic-centre-renovations/

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Nottingham Emmanuel School addresses 'unfounded claims' made by pupils about Muslim prayer

9 MAY 2023

Staff at a Nottingham secondary school have moved to address 'unfounded claims' made by pupils in a TikTok video about Muslim prayer. The video, believed to have been uploaded by a student, made allegations that pupils at The Nottingham Emmanuel School in West Bridgford had been told they were not allowed to pray on a Friday.

In the video, two pupils could be seen kneeling and praying in a school corridor, with claims made in the video alleging the pupils had to leave the classroom to pray whilst others had to miss prayer.

However, in a statement officials at the school in Gresham Park Road said the claims made in the video were 'unfounded', saying the school has always allowed Muslim students to pray.

A spokesperson from Archway Learning Trust, of which The Nottingham Emmanuel School is a part of, said: "We are aware of a video that has been circulating on TikTok regarding Muslim prayer at The Nottingham Emmanuel School. We are working with our Muslim students and community to address the unfounded claims made in the video.

"We have always allowed Muslim students to pray and have provided the space and opportunity to do so within school. We are saddened that this video has come after our entire school came together on Friday to celebrate our diverse cultures through our very successful Culture Day."

Source: nottinghampost.com

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https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/nottingham-emmanuel-school-addresses-unfounded-8426752

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Arab World

 

Saudi Cabinet: Kingdom welcomes Syria’s return to Arab League

May 09, 2023

The Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday welcomed the Arab League’s decision to resume Syria’s participation in its council meetings.

Council ministers said that the Kingdom was keen to support efforts to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

The cabinet also disscussed the crisis in Sudan, announcing that the Kingdom was making diplomatic and humanitarian efforts to solve the dispute.

Saudi Arabia continues its efforts to mitigate the effects of the conditions that the Sudanese people are going through, the cabinet said.

Source: arabnews.com

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2300386/saudi-arabia

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Madinah festival showcases world cultures

May 09, 2023

RIYADH: A festival in Madinah is showcasing many of the world’s cultures with over 80 pavilions, as part of efforts to promote global peace and coexistence.

Organized by the Islamic University of Madinah, the 11th Festival of Cultures and Peoples will be held in the holy city until Saturday.

The festival aims to enable students to participate in a forum that promotes dialogue, coexistence, love and peace among all people.

It is also aimed at helping to boost communication between university students and the community.

Visitors can take part in various entertainment, educational and cultural activities.

Source: arabnews.com

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2300631/saudi-arabia

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Saudi students win 41 medals in Geneva invention awards

May 09, 2023

RIYADH: Students of King Abdulaziz University won 41 medals during their participation in the 48th Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions.

The recently concluded exhibition saw 825 exhibitors from 44 countries take part with more than 1,000 inventions.

The head of innovation at the university, Dr. Iqbal Ismail, told Arab News: “Other Saudi universities are also participating. However, the participation of King Abdulaziz University at this exhibition is the largest and has been ongoing since 2016.”

Dr. Hana Al-Naim, acting president of the university, praised the achievements of the university’s male and female students, which have contributed both to the community and the Kingdom’s ranking, regionally and globally, in the field of creativity and innovation.

The students came from the university’s various colleges including departments of medicine, engineering, information technology and nursing. 

Rahaf Alem and Raghad Al-Jundi won the International Federation of Inventors Association Award for the invention of a laser blood disease detector, also winning the gold medal.

A special prize from Taiwan was awarded to student Faisal Al-Subaie for inventing a cistern made from palm fronds to provide irrigation water.

Ahmed Al-Zahrani, Saleh Bakraa, Marwan Al-Jadaani, and Mohammed Al-Khamis also won the special award for their automated diagnostic platform.

The silver medal was awarded to Duaa Al-Shabani, Lama Al-Jelani, Gaitha Al-Khatami, Emtinan Yamani, and Hadeel Al-Lazori for their invention of an antimicrobial agent for dialysis patients.

Several Saudi inventions received the bronze medal. Safwan Hashim and Abdullah Abu Thyab won it for their renewable-energy car umbrella and Abdullah Al-Khotami for his work on protective glasses that shield wearers from thermal diseases.

Hala Mogarbel, Shahad Asiri, and Shatha Al-Sulami won the bronze medal for their urinary catheter holder invention.

Dina Al-Shibeeni, Marwa Bakour, and Hind Al-Rashid also won the bronze medal for the invention of an artificial intelligence gardening system.

The invention of a bedsore-proof bed earned Bateel Bajamal, Rena Al-Qahtani, Joud Hakami, Asmaa Bahmeed, and Shahad Al-Nahdi the bronze medal.

Shathar Al-Shabak, Jumana Al-Madhoun, Njoud Al-Ghamdi, and Raneem Saati were also awarded for their invention of “Minqath,” a drowning warning system.

Finally, Sumayah Baamer, Raniya Baksh, Rahaf Al-Saeed, and Deema Majashi won the bronze medal for school environment safety measures using artificial intelligence.

Ismail said: “There is no doubt that such student participation will have a great impact on raising a generation that thinks and researches in a scientific way and develops appropriate solutions to the problems facing the…community.”

He added that the exhibition constitutes an important opportunity to transform inventions into products that can be manufactured and marketed inside and outside the Kingdom.

Al-Naim will honor the exhibition’s winning students in a ceremony on Wednesday.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2300611/saudi-arabia

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Saudi Arabia says work at diplomatic mission in Syria to resume

 May 09, 2023

 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has decided to resume the work of its diplomatic mission in Syria, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

The decision comes after the Arab League on Sunday welcomed back Syria’s government, ending a more than decade-long suspension.

In November 2011, the body suspended Damascus over its crackdown on peaceful protests, which had begun earlier that year and which spiralled into a war that has killed more than 500,000 people, displaced millions, and battered the country’s infrastructure and industry.

“In the interests of contributing to the development of joint Arab action and strengthening security and stability in the region, and taking into account the decision issued by the ministerial meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of Arab States that was held in Cairo,” the Kingdom has decided to resume the work of its diplomatic mission in Syria, the ministry said.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2300591/saudi-arabia

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International Luxury Week kicks off in Jeddah

 May 09, 2023

JEDDAH: A luxury exhibition in Jeddah is showcasing limited-edition pieces and luxury collections from more than 120 jewelry houses from 15 countries across the globe.

Jeddah International Luxury Week kicked off on Monday at the Jeddah Hilton with the participation of renowned jewelry houses, such as Charles Oudin, Etho Maria, Ferrari Firenze, George Hakim Jewelers, Hasbani, Luca Carati, Nafees, Pearl Biography, Renée Jewellers, Scavia, Sicis Jewels, Silvia Furmanovich and Tijoree Jewellery, among others.

Krayem Al-Enazi, president of the National Committee for Precious Metals and Gemstones and the Federation of Saudi Chambers, inaugurated the exhibition and toured the pavilions, where he was briefed on the most prominent collections of jewelry, watches and rare gemstones displayed by participating Saudi and international companies.

As the event coincides with wedding season in the Kingdom, a wide selection of sought-after bridal sets are also being showcased.

Highlight pieces include a platinum ring from Moussaieff Jewellers with a 5.01-carat natural fancy vivid blue emerald-cut diamond; a Yoko London necklace from its Kaleidoscope Collection, with 4-7.5 mm freshwater pearls, 2.87 carats diamonds, 4.21 carats pink sapphires, 2.85 carats blue sapphires, and 1.22 g mother of pearl, with matching earrings; and the 7.12-carat Nsouli Royal Collection diamond necklace.

“With inspiring, fast-paced development and a booming economy, Saudi Arabia is quickly becoming one of the most important markets in the Middle East, especially in terms of the luxury landscape. With Jeddah and Riyadh International Luxury Weeks, we are bridging the gap between leading jewelry brands and the rapidly growing consumer market at an important moment in the year during wedding season. The rare gemstones and unique pieces on display are some of the finest in the world, and we have no doubt that visitors will be wowed,” said Ibrahim Al-Zeer, CEO of Saudi International Luxury Week.

On behalf of Moussaieff, one of the world’s most discreet and exclusive high jewelry emporiums, Leslie Kegg said: “We are very thrilled to participate in the Jeddah International Luxury Week and display our latest white diamonds and colored gemstones.”

On display at the exhibition is a diamond necklace from Moussaieff worth $3 million.

Commenting on the participation of Scavia, the Italian high jewelry house, Fulvio Maria Scavia, jeweler and president of Scavia, and his son Alessandro told Arab News that Scavia has actively participated in various events held in Saudi Arabia and is looking forward to showcasing its exceptional pieces, designed by father and son.

Fulvio, who learned jewelry-making from his grandfather, said: “We create pieces that look nothing like any other designs and only represent the brand’s originality using high-quality materials.”

The exhibition will move to Riyadh next week.

Source: arabnews.com

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Makkah to launch Saudi International Catering Conference in May

May 09, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will host the first Saudi International Catering Conference from May 15-19 at the Makkah Chamber for Exhibitions and Events Center.

The event is aimed at exchanging experiences in the food and beverages sector, and will be attended by key industry leaders in pilgrim catering services, crops and agricultural products, and the packaging and industry sectors.

It has been organized to enhance the Kingdom’s provision of the best hospitality services to pilgrims, enriching their journeys to Makkah, Madinah and other holy sites part of the Pilgrim Experience Program, one of the most important goals of Vision 2030.

SICC seeks to enable producers and suppliers to improve their services and products in line with international standards. It also aims to leverage technology to establish new innovative and profitable businesses and solutions, in addition to exchanging expertise between local and international companies.

According to the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the volume of investment in the food products industry in the Kingdom amounts to SR88.191 billion ($23.518 billion), representing 6.12 percent of the total volume of investments in the industrial sector.

Factories dedicated to food products constitute 14 percent of the total number of factories across the country, with about 1,183 facilities operating in the Kingdom during 2021. The food and subsistence sector is one of Saudi Arabia’s largest sectors, with imports estimated at 78 percent, equivalent to SR153 billion.

Source: arabnews.com

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India

 

Assam Govt for Ban on Polygamy by State Law

May 10, 2023

Guwahati: The BJP-led Assam government has decided to set up an expert committee to examine whether polygamy can be banned in the state by a legislation to provide a major push for empowering women as it steps into its third year from Thursday.

Chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, on the eve of completion of second year in office, on Tuesday said the prevalence of the practice of polygamy, both formal and informal, was found to be high during the crackdown on child marriages since January last.

Polygamy is generally prohibited in all religious communities in India, except the Muslim community. Practising polygamy is an offence punishable under Section 494 and 495 of the IPC, except for the Muslim community, where Section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 governs the law pertaining to marriage which allows it.

Moreover, India is also a signatory to various international conventions and covenants viz. UN Committee on Civil and Political Rights, Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women which notes that Polygamy violates the dignity of women and should be abolished wherever it continues to exist.

“The Assam government has decided to form an expert committee to examine whether the state legislature is empowered to prohibit polygamy in the state. The committee will examine the provisions of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Act, 1937 read with Article 25 of the Constitution of India, in relation to the directive principle of state policy for a Uniform Civil Code (UCC),” Sarma said.

“We are not going towards Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for which a national consensus is required and the Centre will take the initiative on that. But in Assam, as one component of the UCC, we want to declare polygamy unconstitutional and illegal through a state act,” he added.

“I have studied last seven days and found that polygamy is not an essential practice of Islamic law. We see that even Prophet Mohammed preferred monogamy,” Sarma said.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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Hyderabad Pharma Professor, Mohammad Saleem alias Saurabh Raj Vaidya, Cloud Engineer among Five Arrested, 'Jihad' Plot Feared

May 10, 2023

HYDERABAD: Telangana intelligence personnel and Madhya Pradesh ATS in a joint operation with Intelligence Bureau (IB) on Monday, busted a MP-based radical module affiliated to a global Islamist organisation, Hizbul ut Tahrir. The suspects, including a professor with a Hyderabad college, were purportedly planning to unleash unrest and wage war against the country, said police.

Besides the head of the pharmacy-biotechnology department of a private college, five others in the police dragnet include a dentist and a cloud service engineer. They were arrested in simultaneous raids in MP and Hyderabad and of the six suspects, five were rounded up in Hyderabad. Madhya Pradesh police took custody of the five terror suspects and a manhunt has been launched for the sixth member, Salman. The pharmacy college faculty, Mohammad Saleem alias Saurabh Raj Vaidya, 41, came to city from MP in 2018. Over the years, he befriended and radicalised four others, who were residents of Odisha, Golconda, Santosh Nagar and Jagadgirigutta - all private workers, auto drivers or labourers.

Saleem would often go into a huddle with the six radicals - Sheikh Junaid, 32, a dentist from Golconda, Md Abbas Ali alias B Venu Kumar, 36, auto driver from Hafeez Baba Nagar, Abdur Rahman alias Devi Prasad Panda, 33, a cloud service engineer and native of Odisha, Md Salman, 27, a daily wage worker from Jawaharnagar and Md Hameed, 30, a daily wager from Jagadgirigutta - and kept the hotline open with the Madhya Pradesh-based group. Their ambition was to establish an Islamic state in India, said police.

The frequent meetings in Hyderabad triggered an alarm in the intelligence machinery, who tipped off IB and MP police. "The Hyderabad module wanted to start off their own to propagate jihadi ideology," said police. Jihadi literature, a laptop, pen drives, toy air pistol with pellets were seized, but no weapons or explosives were found during searches. The suspects are likely to be booked under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other sections of IPC, said a Telangana police official.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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The Kerala Story Ban: SC Agrees to Hear Filmmaker’s Plea against West Bengal Ban On May 12

Senior advocate Harish Salve pleaded urgency for case hearing, saying the makers were ‘losing money every day’

May 10, 2023

THE HINDU BUREAU

The Supreme Court on May 10 urgently listed the petition filed by The Kerala Story filmmakers against West Bengal Government’s ban on screening and Tamil Nadu Government’s “de facto” freeze on the movie for a hearing on Friday, May 12.

Chief Justice D. Y. Chandrachud initially told senior advocate Harish Salve that the appeal against the Kerala High Court’s refusal to stay the release of the movie on May 5 was coming up for hearing on May 15, and this case could be listed along with that.

However, Mr. Salve pleaded urgency, saying the makers were “losing money everyday”.

Mr. Salve added that West Bengal has banned the film, Tamil Nadu issued a high alert at the time of the release of the film and another State was also following suit.

Refusing to stay the release of the movie on May 5, the Kerala High Court had emphasised on “artistic freedom” and the need to strike a balance.

The High Court had watched the trailer and found nothing offensive against a particular community. It had said the movie made it clear that it was only “inspired by true events” and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had already cleared it for public viewing.

On May 4, the Supreme Court had refused to intervene in multiple challenges against The Kerala Story, saying it had to be very cautious, even reluctant, while dealing with petitions seeking to ban the screening of a film.

Multiple petitioners have argued that the film demonised the entire Muslim community, particularly Muslim youth, with a “malicious propaganda” that 32,000 girls in Kerala were lured through ‘love jihad’ and trafficked to West Asia to join the IS.

Source: thehindu.com

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https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/the-kerala-story-ban-sc-agrees-to-hear-filmmakers-plea-against-west-bengal-ban-on-may-12/article66833617.ece

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Court awards 20-year jail to two for gang rape of Muslim woman during Muzaffarnagar riots

May 09, 2023

ISHITA MISHRA

A trial court in Muzaffarnagar on May 9 convicted two men, Maheshvir and Sikander, for the gang rape of a Muslim woman during the communal riots that shook the western Uttar Pradesh town in September 2013. In the first conviction for gang rape during the riots, that left over 60 people dead and hundreds homeless, the accused have been awarded 20 years of rigorous imprisonment and ?10,000 fine under Section 367D of the Indian Penal Code.

The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Anjani Kumar Singh, also convicted the two accused for 10 years of imprisonment under Section 376 (2)(g) of the IPC and a fine of ?5,000 and two years of imprisonment under Section 506 of the IPC. The third accused Kuldeep died during the court proceedings.

The court pronounced the judgment almost after 9 years and 7 months of the incident in which the judge maintained that the accused gang-raped the helpless woman when she was trying to save herself and her ailing son’s life during riots by hiding in sugarcane fields.

The woman, who was one among the seven who had alleged that they were raped during the Muzaffarnagar riots, could not hold her tears when she held the copy of the order in her hands.

“Though the judgment has come after a wait of 10 years, I am happy that justice has prevailed and I hope that my case serves as an example and a source of strength to other women victims who were till now afraid to seek justice,” the rape survivor said.

The matter pertains to September 8, 2013 when the woman, who was living in Muzaffarnagar district which was affected by communal riots, was fleeing from her home along with her three-year-old son. As she hid in sugarcane fields, the accused, Kuldeep, Sikander and Maheshvir, raped her by taking her child at knifepoint. The accused also threatened the woman to kill her and her husband if she reported the matter.

This was not the lone case of rape/gang-rape during the Muzaffarnagar violence. Earlier, seven women had complained of the same crime during the 2013 riots but six of them later withdrawn their cases citing different reasons.

As the woman was displaced after the riots, she had to take shelter at the Malakhpur rehabilitation camp.

“Initially I was afraid to lodge a criminal complaint as I had been threatened by the convicts that I will be killed if I tell anyone about the gang rape. However, at the camp I heard that there were other women who were coming forward with their complaints who have also been sexually assaulted and raped during the communal riots. This gave me strength to come forward and get my complaint typed and posted to the police,” she added.

SC’s intervention

However, to her great disappointment, no criminal proceedings were initiated on the basis of her complaint. It was only after she approached the Supreme Court along with other victims that the court intervened and the First Information Report (FIR) in her case was registered.

In May 2014, a case of gang rape was filed in the Supreme Court against the accused on a plea filed by the woman through Senior Advocate Vrinda Grover and advocate Kamini Jaiswal. The lawyers took the matter to the apex court again seeking a fast-track hearing of the case, later which the Muzaffarnagar court started hearing her case on a day-to-day basis and finally convicted the two.

“This is one of the first cases of conviction under 376(2)(g) IPC [added by way of the 2013 Criminal Law Amendment] which recognises rape during communal violence as a specific offence,” said Ms. Grover.

Source: thehindu.com

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https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/court-awards-20-year-jail-to-two-for-gang-rape-of-muslim-woman-during-muzaffarnagar-riots/article66831258.ece

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Tolerant Muslims wear mask to get Governor or Vice President post: MoS Baghel

May 9, 2023

Union minister of State for Law and Justice Satya Pal Singh Baghel kicked up a controversy, saying that a few hundred Muslims are tolerant and even those who appear to be tolerant use it as a mask to stay in public life.

But the real face of such so-called intellectuals from the Muslim community gets revealed after they complete their term in office or retire, he alleged.

The Union Minister of State for Law and Justice made the comments on Monday while addressing the Dev Rishi Narad Patrakar Samman Samaroh an event organised by the RSS's media wing Indraprastha Vishwa Samvad Kendra to present awards to journalists.

The Union Minister's remarks came after Information Commissioner Uday Mahurkar, in his speech at the event, said that India must fight Islamic fundamentalism but the tolerant Muslims should be taken along. Referring to Mughal emperor Akbar's efforts to foster Hindu-Muslim unity during his rule, Mahurkar claimed that Chhatrapati Shivaji had seen him in a positive light. "Akbar tried his best to achieve Hindu-Muslim unity," he said.

Dismissing the remarks, Baghel, however, termed Akbar's efforts mere tactics and alleged that the Mughal emperor's marriage with Jodha Bai was part of his political strategy. "It did not come from his heart. Otherwise, the massacre of Chittorgarh would not have happened," he said, adding "Look at the Mughal period... the deeds of Aurangzeb. Sometimes, I wonder how did we survive." Baghel said India's bad days began in 1192 AD when Muhammad Ghori defeated Rajput King Prithviraj Chouhan. Baghel also raised the issue of religious conversion to allege that the number of people who have been converted to another religion through "gande-tabeez" (amulets) is larger than those under the swords. "Be it Khwaja Gareeb Nawaz Saheb, Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, or Saleem Chisti... Still today, people from our community go there in large numbers seeking children, jobs, tickets (to contest election), ministerial berth, elevation from a minister of state to a cabinet minister," he added. The minister said members of the minority community feel that since they were rulers for such a long period, how could they become subjects.

Source: oneindia.com

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Mamata Banerjee takes dig at BJP, refers to Tagore's stand for secular vision

09.05.23

Even as a controversy broke out over what political rivals saw as an attempt to usurp the legacy of national poet Rabindranath Tagore by the BJP, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a speech here on Tuesday to mark the Nobel Laurette’s birth anniversary pointedly spoke about his secular vision and his use of Raksha Bandhan to promote Hindu-Muslim unity.

Analysts saw this as thinly veiled attack on the BJP and Home Minister Amit Shah who is in the city to pay homage to the poet at a function organised by a BJP supported cultural NGO. TMC has long accused BJP and its top leadership of promoting a political ideology opposed to the tenets of secularism.

"We hardly have the qualifications to define the Poet Laurette … he is in our soul, he is the poet of the freedom movement, the poet who stood against communal disharmony, who stood for Raksha Bandhan (Tagore tied Rakhis on the wrist of Muslim leaders to unite them with Hindus in the struggle against the British move to divide Bengal in 1905)," Banerjee said.

She also said that many things are being bandied about for the sake of electoral calculations such as that "Tagore was born in Santiniketan".

"We should not think that for the sake of elections we can purchase someone spending Rs 5, or mistakenly we can say that Rabindranath Tagore was born in Santiniketan," Banerjee said.

The TMC had two-and-a-half years ago gone to town with a screenshot of a tweet by BJP’s Bengal unit quoting the party president J P Nadda as making the claim as against the fact that he was born in Kolkata at Jorashankho Palace, where Shah had gone Tuesday morning. It has also long been claiming that the BJP hired people for its rallies and processions.

She also pointed to an incident which occurred a few years back when a bust of Bengal renaissance icon and educationist Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was destroyed in a college in Kolkata during a BJP rally some years back, shocking people in the state.

"We should not think that one can vandalise the bust of Vidyasagar," Banerjee said.

"Those who have Tagore in their hearts always feel him. If 'Ravi-upasana' (Rabindranath homage) is done from the bottom of your heart, then that will be the real homage to the real Rabindranath," Banerjee added.

Earlier in the day, one of Banerjee's lieutenant’s, state urban minister Firhad Hakim alleged that the BJP was trying to reap benefits from Tagore’s cult status in the state by organising a visit by Shah's to pay homage to the poet.

Hakim said, "The BJP is trying to woo Bengalis before next year's Lok Sabha polls. But Rabindranath Tagore should not be used for political reasons or electoral benefits.

He said that Tagore's ideology of secularism, humanism needs to be understood. "You need to follow his path of tolerance, harmony among all religions, which the BJP does not," the minister said.

CPI(M) state secretary Md Salim also alleged that both TMC and BJP were trying to use Tagore politically.

"Today those who are playing with religion, are trying to use Tagore for their divisive politics. Tagore was against all this. Neither BJP’s nor TMC's ideologies match with that of Tagore," Salim told reporters.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

Source: telegraphindia.com

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Africa

 

Outrage over abduction, forceful conversion of 14-year-old Esther to Islam in Kaduna

By Bertram Nwannekanma

10 May 2023

Nigeria must outlaw sexual slavery, forced conversion, says HURIWA

Outrage has trailed the abduction from school and forceful conversion to Islam of a 14-year-old, Esther Duniya, by the village head of Dorayi (Sarkin Dorayi) Ikara  Local Council of Kaduna State.

The Guardian gathered that the teenager abducted on April 5, 2023, is currently living in captivity and in custody of Hakimin Makarfi in Makarfi Local Council of the state.

The Senior Secondary (SS) 1 student of Government Secondary School, who hails from Magamia Dama Kasuwa of Zangon Kataf Local Council of Kaduna State, was born on April 29, 2009.

She relocated to Ikara to live with her aunty, Esther Danjuma, as a result of ill health and insecurity, which affected her village.

The Guardian learnt that her aunty opted to treat her with local herbs since her sick father could not adequately take care of her.

When she started responding to treatment, her aunty thought it wise for her to continue with her education, which was on hold for a while due her health challenge.

Consequently, on March 10, 2023, Esther was enrolled at Government Secondary School Danlawal Ikara, which was very close to where the aunty runs her restaurant business.

According to a source, as Esther continued to attend her classes, on April 5, 2023, she left for school in the morning, but didn’t return home. 

“Esther’s aunty started looking for her that very day but couldn’t find her.  The following day, she was alerted by someone who saw Esther in the house of one Mallam Sani Danmeyamma Danlawal.

On reaching the house, Danlawal’s daughter, Mansura, who is  Esther’s classmate, confessed that the teenager came to her house to help her with washing, but left the house afterwards.

“When the matter was reported to the Village head of Danlawal, he summoned and questioned the said Mansura, who later confessed that Esther was taken to Dorayi to the house of one Aisha Basiru.

“On hearing this, Esther’s aunty left for Dorayi in search of the teenager, and on reaching there, she received the shocking news that one Badeyi Bala, who claimed to be a police officer and one Alhaji Lawal, who is an aide to the village head of Dorayi (Dogarin Sarkin Dorayi), admitted that one Aisha brought Esther to him to convert her to Islam, which he did with the said Badeyi Bala, who claims to be a policeman.

They said that Esther was with them and they will not give her back to the parents since they have now converted her to Islam.

“When the parents insisted on the return of Esther, the two staff members of the village head refused and even threatened their lives.

“In view of the threat they received and the refusal to return Esther to them, Esther’s aunty went and reported the matter to the Kunkumi Police Station and thereafter the matter was transferred to the Makarfi Local Council Divisional Police Station.

“Instead of handing over Esther back to her family, the Makarfi Police Command handed over Esther to the Makarfi District Head (Hakimin Makarfi). Esther’s aunty, together with some Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) officials of Makarfi council went to see the Hakimi on the same matter, but he refused to grant them an audience.

“The same Hakimi handed over Aisha to Daawa, the Islamic group in charge of converting and indoctrinating Muslims converts who are now boasting and threatening to convert even Esther’s aunty.

“The same matter was taken to the Zaria Police Command by the same Muslim group to gain the support of the Police, because the Zaria Police Command ignored justice and decided to scold Esther’s aunty for insisting on the release of her daughter.

“On Monday, May 1, 2023, Esther’s biological father, Mr. Duniya, despite his health challenge, risked his life to go and see the Hakimin Makarfi, instead of listening to him, in conspiracy with the Daawah group threatened to convert him also.

“When they brought Esther to see him, she was crying and wanted to follow him, but Hakimi said that he would not release her to the parents. He said Esther will stay with him for one month until she finally decides to speak of her intention publicly to remain a Muslim,” the source added.

MEANWHILE, Hausa Christians Foundation (HACFO) has expressed sadness of Esther’s abuse, abduction and  forceful conversion, as well as  what it called continuous systematic persecution of Christians in the North.

In a letter, the group said: “We as Christians understand and appreciate the need for peaceful co-existence among the Christians and Muslims of Kaduna State and even Nigeria as a whole, which is why we the Hausa Christians Foundation, on behalf of the Duniya’s family decided to write to the Nigerian Government, the Nigerian Police Force and all the relevant laws enforcement agencies to ensure the safe release and return of Esther Duniya back to her family.

“From experience, our Christian girls that are usually abducted and forced into Islam are usually raped, abused sexually, physically and psychologically and even forced into marriage, which we are afraid that such have happened to our sister, Esther.

“Knowing well that Esther is still a minor (just 14 years old) and cannot make decisions for herself, we are calling on your good sense of justice, to intervene into the matter, and to see that, Esther Duniya is re-united back with her family and continue with her education, which is paramount. This can go a long way in promoting the peaceful co-existence between these people of different faith in their community, Kaduna State and Nigeria in general.

“We will continue to reject such evil doings and advocate for justice and respect for human rights and dignity across board.

“We therefore call on all Christians the world over to be praying for the Christians in Northern Nigeria. The persecution is surging and unbearable; from deliberate abduction, forced conversion to Islam and forced marriage of our young Christian girls through the help of the Islamic traditional rulers, to the displacement of several communities and kidnapping of many others for ransom.”

ALSO, civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has asked the Attorney -General  of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and the Director General of National Anti-Human Trafficking Agency (NAPTIP), Fatima Waziri- Azi,  to ensure the immediate release from captivity and forced conversion to Islam of Miss Esther Duniya.

Besides, HURIWA promised to sponsor a bill in the 10th session of the National Assembly to specifically criminalise the frequent capture of young Christian virgins in parts of North West of Nigeria and their forced conversion and marriage by local traditional and Islamic leaders, which the group calls modern day sexual enslavement.

HURIWA also reminded the Kaduna State governor and the State’s Attorney General that if their offices fail to free the 14-year-old Esther Duniya from the alleged sexual slavery and forced conversion to Islam, the duo can be dragged to the International Criminal Court in the Haque, Netherlands, for this specific crime against humanity.

Specifically, HURIWA through the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, has alerted the National Assembly of the alleged abduction from school and forceful conversion to Islam of Esther Duniya.

Source: guardian.ng

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Gunmen kidnap 25 in a Nigerian church

10-05-23

A gunman attacked a Baptist church in northwestern Nigeria on Sunday, abducting 25 worshippers, a church official said Monday.

The massive attack is the latest in a series of attacks in Nigeria, where insecurity will be one of the main challenges for the new president, Bola Tinubu, who is due to take office later this month.

On Sunday, the attackers broke into the Bege Baptist Church in the Chikun area of Kaduna State, initially kidnapping 40 people.

But 15 managed to escape afterward, the Rev. Joseph Hayab, head of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna state, told AFP.

"Twenty-five are still being held" by the attackers, he added.

A police spokesman in Kaduna confirmed the attack on Sunday but declined to comment further.

Kidnappings are rife in northwest and central Nigeria. Hostages are held in camps hidden in vast forests awaiting ransom payment, an activity that has become very lucrative. Kidnappings can also be an issue between opposing communities.

Last month, 33 people were killed by gunmen in a village in Kaduna State in an attack that was part of a conflict between herding and farming communities over water resources and grazing land.

Last year, assailants opened fire on a Catholic church in southwestern Ondo, killing at least 40 people.

Source: africanews.com

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Nearly 10,000 flee from Sudan to neighbouring Central African Republic

07-05-23

UN officials returning from a border town in Central African Republic say around 9,700 people have crossed over from Sudan so far and that they expect more to come.

About a third of them were Central Africans returning home.

Some have been taken in by local families whilst other have had to form makeshift camps around the town of Am Dafok.

"We are currently discussing with the minister who will decide on behalf of the government where this population will be settled," said Mohamed Ag Ayoya, the UN's top humanitarian official in the country.

Conditions in Am Dafok town are far from ideal as the rainy season started this month and the region is prone to flooding.

Outbreaks of disease, in particular malaria are worrying the World Health Organisation (WHO). And malnutrition is a concern too, if people get weak from it they will be all the more prone to getting sick.

"We are already starting to take care of the sick, at least in relation to this. We are trying to see if we can provide mosquito nets so that people can at least protect themselves against malaria," Gervais Tengomo, an emergencies officer with the WHO said.

"We are also intensifying surveillance to be able to quickly detect a possible epidemic and to be able to control it as quickly as possible," he added.

Central African Republic has many troubles of its own. The UN say more than half the population is "in need of assistance and protection."

It's been enduring its own civil war for several years which has kept it amongst the ten poorest countries in the world.

The UN says around 120,000 people also need food assistance there.

Source: africanews.com

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https://www.africanews.com/2023/05/06/nearly-10000-flee-from-sudan-to-neighbouring-central-african-republic/

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Sudan: 16 dead in ethnic clashes, curfew imposed

09-05-23

At least 16 people have been killed in clashes between ethnic Hausa and Nuba groups, Sudan's Suna news agency reported Tuesday, prompting the governor to declare a curfew in White Nile state, which borders South Sudan.

The state, which stretches from Khartoum to the southern border, has so far been spared the recent war between the two rival generals who have been in charge since their 2021 putsch, which has left hundreds dead, mainly in the capital and in Darfur.

This ethnic violence is not related to the power struggle in Sudan.

Conflicts between communities regularly erupt in Sudan over access to water and land, vital for farmers and herders - often from rival ethnic groups - while a large number of weapons are in circulation after decades of civil war.

"Ethnic clashes that broke out Monday in Kosti," the capital of White Nile, "between the Hausa and Nuba, escalated again on Tuesday, killing 16 people on both sides," the official Suna news agency said.

There were also "many injuries and houses burned," it said.

The events prompted the governor to declare a "curfew from 20:00 to 05:00" local time (18:00-03:00 GMT), the agency added.

Already in October, a conflict between the Hausa and rival clans had left more than 200 dead in the Blue Nile state, bordering Ethiopia.

The Hausa have long claimed to be discriminated against by an ancestral law that prohibits them from owning land as recent arrivals, which they dispute.

Since the 2021 coup, inter-ethnic and inter-tribal conflicts have increased due to the security vacuum created by the coup, experts say.

The issue of access to land is very sensitive in Sudan, where agriculture and livestock account for 43% of jobs and 30% of GDP.

Source: africanews.com

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https://www.africanews.com/2023/05/09/sudan-16-dead-in-ethnic-clashes-curfew-imposed/

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Protesters rally in support of army in Port Sudan as conflict displaces over 700 000

10-05-23

The exodus of civilians has accelerated with more than 700,000 people displaced by the war in Sudan, twice as many as a week ago, the United Nations announced Tuesday, with no end in sight after more than three weeks of fighting.

Looting and fighting continued for the 25th consecutive day in Khartoum. In Port Sudan, a coastal town 850 kilometers east of the capital, hundreds of Beja tribesmen demonstrated, demanding weapons to fight alongside the army.

"The Beja are ready to be armed," said Mahmoud al-Bichari, one of the organizers of the demonstration, as the crowd chanted "no to negotiations.

Since April 15, the war has pitted army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane against General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), who became rivals after leading the October 2021 putsch together.

"With the war continuing and insecurity taking hold, there is a growing risk that people will start arming themselves locally or that the army will try to form a militia to counter the RSF," Sudanese analyst Magdi Gizouli of the Rift Valley Institute told AFP.

- 700,000 displaced -

The conflict has already left more than 750 people dead and 5,000 injured.

Nearly 150,000 refugees have fled to neighboring countries, while the number of internally displaced people in Sudan has risen to more than 700,000, according to the UN, more than double the 340,000 recorded on Tuesday.

Many have fled Khartoum, a city of five million people, where those who remain are now living barricaded in their homes.

Without water or electricity, with food stocks almost exhausted and with less and less money, they are surviving in the sweltering heat thanks to solidarity networks between neighbors and relatives.

On Tuesday, fighting took place in several neighborhoods, according to witnesses.

At the start of the conflict, the army claimed that "astronomical sums" had been stolen during fighting around a central bank branch.

On Tuesday, the federation of Sudanese banks acknowledged that "looting" had affected "some banks in Khartoum", but claimed that the savings of the Sudanese people were "fully preserved".

The telephone and internet networks have come and gone, depending on the efforts of the telecommunications companies, which are struggling to find fuel to run their generators.

Almost no hospitals are functioning and most humanitarian supplies have been bombed or looted. The same is true in Darfur, in the west of the country, bordering Chad.

Before the war, one in three Sudanese suffered from hunger. If the war continues, up to 2.5 million more people will go hungry every day, according to the UN.

As for the "pre-discussions" on a temporary cease-fire to be held by both sides in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, there seems to be no progress.

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths, who arrived in Jeddah on Sunday and has already left, has offered both sides a commitment to "ensure the passage of humanitarian aid" via a declaration of principle, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said Tuesday.

- Impact on neighboring countries -

For Kholood Khair, an expert on Sudan, "these talks are more of a decoy than a real platform for finding solutions.

Alongside the Americans and the Saudis, the African Union, which suspended Sudan in 2021, and the Igad, the East African regional bloc to which the country belongs, are trying to organize discussions under the aegis of the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir.

The latter received an emissary from General Burhane in Juba on Monday.

The conflict "threatens the supply of food and basic goods to South Sudan as well as its oil exports which pass through Port Sudan", a vital outlet on the Red Sea for this landlocked country, said Tuesday Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, the UN special envoy for the Horn of Africa.

The UN has warned that of the 800,000 South Sudanese refugees settled in Sudan, 200,000 could make their way back.

"A challenge," Tetteh warned, for South Sudan, where "two-thirds of the population is already in need of humanitarian assistance."

On Tuesday, Egyptian diplomatic chief Sameh Shukri visited Mr. Kiir, after denouncing the previous day "the human tragedy" of the conflict and its "direct impact on neighboring countries."

Source: africanews.com

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https://www.africanews.com/2023/05/10/protesters-rally-in-support-of-the-army-in-port-sudan-as-conflict-displaces-over-700-000/

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Tuan Guru Quran handover- a preservation of Islamic heritage

10-05-23

The historic Tuan Guru Quran, transcribed by Imam Abdullah ibn Kadi (RA), was ceremoniously handed over to the Al Alqsa Library in a special event held at Masjid Al Aqsa. This Quran holds the distinction of being the first handwritten Quran in South Africa and has been cherished and preserved at the Awwal Masjid for generations.

The handover ceremony was presided over by Sheikh Azzam Al-Khatib, director general of the Jerusalem Endowments, who expressed his gratitude and appreciation for this generous gesture from the people of South Africa.

He stated, “This mushaf will stay in our hearts and will be protected and will form part of a rich collection of manuscripts held in Al Alqsa Library.”

Prof Mustafa Abu Sway, integral chair Al Ghazli’s Works at Masjid Al Aqsa, also graced the event with his presence. Representatives from Awwul Masjid in Cape Town, who are the guardianship of the Noble Qur’an, were also present at the ceremony. The event was attended by congregants at Masjid Al Aqsa as well as online viewers.

The handover of the Tuan Guru Quran to the Al Alqsa Library was facilitated by Ashraful Aid International Humanitarian Organisation in collaboration with Dr Azzam Abu Rayash, visiting imam of Masjid Al Alqsa.

This historic event symbolises the deep reverence and solidarity that the people of South Africa hold for Masjid Al Aqsa, and highlights the enduring connection between communities across continents through the preservation of Islamic heritage.

The Tuan Guru Quran will now join the esteemed collection of manuscripts at the Al Alqsa Library, further enriching its cultural and religious significance.

This momentous occasion is a testament to the shared values of respect, brotherhood, and preservation of Islamic heritage that transcends borders and unites communities around the world.

Source: risingsunoverport.co.za

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https://risingsunoverport.co.za/129166/tuan-guru-quran-handover-a-preservation-of-islamic-heritage/

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Southeast Asia

 

Perak MB: Mosques in the state urged to set up co-ops to generate income

10 May 2023

IPOH, May 10 ? The Perak government is encouraging mosques in the state to establish their own cooperatives to generate income through business activities.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad said the setting up of cooperatives could benefit congregants, such as through the payment of dividends from profits they have made.

“For example, Masjid Nurussalam Batu 4 in Gerik has opened up a mini market selling daily necessities and made profits which enables them to distribute dividends to cooperative members,” he told reporters after officiating at the Perak Cooperative Movement Appreciation Night 2023 here last night.

Also present were Deputy Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives K. Saraswathy and State Women, Family, Social Welfare, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives committee chairman Salbiah Mohamed.

Earlier in his speech, Saarani announced an incentive amounting to RM33,000 to 11 cooperatives listed in the 2022 Profile of Top 100 Malaysian Cooperatives as an appreciation for their contribution to the socio-economic improvement of cooperative members in the state.

Meanwhile, Saarani said cooperatives’ participation in agricultural activities and agro-based industry is highly encouraged to help the state government ensure the country’s food supply remains stable and available in the long run.

He said the listing of food security as the main agenda in the Perak Sejahtera 2030 plan is to ensure that the people are supplied with sufficient food sold at a reasonable price.

“That is why I invited cooperatives to take up this challenge. Cooperatives also need to be proactive in helping the government address current issues surrounding the people’s lives, especially cost of living, food supply and price manipulation by a third party or middlemen,” he said. ? Bernama

Source: malaymail.com

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/05/10/perak-mb-mosques-in-the-state-urged-to-set-up-co-ops-to-generate-income/68455

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Federal Territories Islamic council donates RM150,000 to patients in HKL, Tunku Azizah Hospital

10 May 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 — The Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) presented the Rahmah Madani Aidilfitri donations worth RM150,000 to needy patients at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) and Tunku Azizah Hospital (HTA) today.

MAIWP member Zainal Abidin Shaik Zakaria said 500 patients in adult wards at HKL received cash aid of RM200 each, while 500 paediatric patients at HTA each received a hamper.

“This donation is not only given to Muslim patients but also non-Muslims as a sign of our concern for the welfare of the multi-racial community,” he told a press conference at the HKL Auditorium here today.

Also present were HKL director Datin Paduka Dr Rohana Johan, MAIWP chief executive officer (CEO) Mohd Nizam Yahya and MAIWP deputy CEO (management) Mohd Fauzi Abidin.

Meanwhile, Zainal Abidin said that MAIWP Zakat Collection Centre (PPZ-MAIWP) has collected RM300 million in tithe so far.

“A total of RM76.9 million has been channelled to those in need through various programmes held throughout Ramadan and Syawal,” he said. — Bernama

Source: malaymail.com

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/05/10/federal-territories-islamic-council-donates-rm150000-to-patients-in-hkl-tunku-azizah-hospital/68523

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Azam Baki’s tenure as MACC chief extended for one year

10 May 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 — Tan Sri Azam Baki’s tenure as the chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been extended by one year.

In a statement today, Chief Secretary to the Government Mohd Zuki Ali said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had consented to the extension, which is effective May 12.

Azam was appointed as MACC chief in 2020.

Source: malaymail.com

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/05/10/azam-bakis-tenure-as-macc-chief-extended-for-one-year/68512

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Law minister Azalina says more comfortable with Pakatan instead as partner in reform

09 May 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said today said that she believes Pakatan Harapan (PH) is a more suitable partner for the reform agenda.

Drawing from her experience working with PH on the anti-party hopping law, she said that there are some shared agendas between her party Umno and the pact which she said has a better understanding of the concept of reform.

"I felt that personally, in my view, as the legal adviser for the party then, when we were communicating and talking about the coalition government, I personally felt that PH would be much better for reform," she said during a roundtable session held by electoral watchdog Bersih titled "Deepening Democracy in Malaysia: Making Coalition Government and Hung Parliament Work."

She did not divulge which party or coalition she was comparing PH to, simply mentioning "you know who lah” in reference to the entity which she described as "more conservative" than her Malay nationalist party Umno.

The coalition government included all parties in Malaysia except PAS, Bersatu, and Gerakan from Perikatan Nasional.

“As an MP for five terms, I felt more comfortable with PH when it comes to reform agenda,” the Pengerang MP said, adding that she had never thought she would be partners with DAP and PKR.

She also acknowledged that the public has high expectations for the coalition government to fulfil its promises of reforms and change, and hoped the current political alliance would last so that Malaysians would not be disappointed.

Source: malaymail.com

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/05/09/law-minister-azalina-says-more-comfortable-with-pakatan-instead-as-partner-in-reform/68375

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Malaysia, UK sign MoU on strengthening ties in education

10 May 2023

LONDON: Malaysia and the UK have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen cooperation in the higher education sector of both countries, through their respective ministries and education departments.

Among others, the MoU will see strategic cooperation in scientific research and talent training between universities in the two countries; the exchange of academic staff, educators, experts and students on programmes that will benefit both parties; and the provision of training platforms for administrators and educators, including those involved in in-service training.

Students will be offered scholarships to pursue their tertiary education at any recognised institution in the two countries.

The MoU also covers the implementation of bilateral programmes among higher education institutions, and collaboration in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), information and communications technology (ICT), technical and vocational education and training (TVET), innovation, online education, life-long learning and entrepreneurship.

It was signed by higher education ministry secretary-general Abdul Razak Jaafar and the UK education department’s permanent secretary, Susan Acland-Hood.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by Malaysian High Commissioner Zakri Jaafar, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris vice-chancellor Amin Taff and Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin vice-chancellor Fadzli Adam.

Source: freemalaysiatoday.com

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https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/05/10/malaysia-uk-sign-mou-on-strengthening-ties-in-education/

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South Asia

 

Over 700 Afghan Refugees Return Back from Pakistan

May 9, 2023

According to the statement, 703 immigrants living in Pakistan returned to the country through the Spin Boldak crossing in Kandahar province last week.

Ninety-four returnee families, consisting of 625 voluntary and 51 forced returnees, were reported by the Spin Boldak Border Directorate of the Kandahar province as having returned home after registering with the Immigration Department.

The Afghan migrants came via the Spin Boldak Crossing in Southern Kandahar province. They were referred to the International Organization for Migration (OIM).

Each returnee also received a food package from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) office.

Additionally, it has been reported that thousands of Afghan migrants have recently returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan and Iran. Some refugees returned home voluntarily, while others were compelled to leave their host country.

Most migrants have left the country since the Taliban retook control due to persecution, lack of employment, and security concerns.

In addition, most people in the country struggle with several issues, including extreme poverty, hunger, unemployment, and security issues.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/over-700-afghan-refugees-return-back-from-pakistan/

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Mine Blast Kills 3 Children in Afghanistan’s Kandahar

May 9, 2023

According to provincial police spokesman Hafiz Saber, three children, all from the same family, were killed when a mine exploded in the southern province of Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The incident occurred in Haji Aziz area of Kandahar City on Monday when the children found the mortal mine which had been left from the past wars.

The official said the siblings were playing with the mine, which suddenly detonated, and all three were killed on the spot.

A similar incident occurred in the province, one child was killed, and another was injured.

On the other hand, another incident occurred in the eastern province of Afghanistan, Ghazni, Nahoor district, killing two children.

Unexploded bombs from prior conflicts have recently become more common in various parts of the country, killing and hurting men, women, and even children.

Since last November, contributions have been made to support demining in the nation by international organizations, including Australia, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Sweden, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

Due to the detonation of unexploded bombs left over from the forty-year civil war, Afghanistan is allegedly still one of the countries with the highest concentration of mines, killing dozens of people each month, including children.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/mine-blast-kills-3-children-in-afghanistans-kandahar/

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Renowned Actor Monowar Hossain Dipjol Slams ‘Pathaan’ Ahead of the Shah Rukh Khan Film’s Release In Bangladesh

May 10, 2023

Bangladeshi actor and producer Monowar Hossain Dipjol has always been against the Bangladesh government’s decision to release ‘Pathaan’ in the country. He has always protested against the screening of Indian films in Bangladesh. Earlier in February he had slammed the Bangladesh government for their plans to import films from India. According to the actor, the screening of Indian films in Bangladeshi theatres would ultimately damage Bangladeshi film industry.

Now, as Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Pathaan’ is finally releasing in Bangladeshi theatres on May 12, the popular actor wants to give the Bollywood film a run for its money. Meanwhile, as per reports, 41 cinema halls will be screening 'Pathaan' in the neighbouring country, running 198 shows every day.

Dipjol

According to reports, a film, produced and starred by Dipjol himself will also release around the same timeframe ‘Pathaan’ is releasing. He has now claimed that the Bangladeshi audience will prefer watching his film over the Shah Rukh Khan film. However, his latest comment received massive trolling on social media.

Dipjol added that during Eid, 8 local films were released and each exceeded their expectations as the audience showed their love for Bangladeshi cinema. He believes that if they can make films in catering to the audience's taste people will prefer to watch the local films.

‘Pathaan’ which was released on June 25 minted over Rs 1050 crore in the worldwide box office. The Sidharth Anand directorial, also starring Deepika Padukone and John Abraham in the lead is the first Hindi film to be released in Bangladesh post-1971.

Interestingly, the popular actor had earlier claimed that some of the Bangladeshi movies have done quite well in the theatres and this has helped in increasing the footfall in cinema halls. He said the audience in Bangladesh prefers to see movies with their family which represents their tradition. But he believes that Hindi cinema's ideologies and Bangladeshi film's ethos don't match because Hindi movies have many vulgar songs and scenes which don’t go with the social culture in the country. According to him, films in Bangladesh deliver a cleaner and family-oriented source to the audience with moral lessons in the form of entertainment.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/bengali/movies/news/renowned-actor-slams-pathaan-ahead-of-the-shah-rukh-khan-films-release-in-bangladesh/articleshow/100126152.cms

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UAE’s GAAC Signs Contrat to Operate Afghanistan’s Airports

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

May 10, 2023

UAE-based Holding inked the third and final contract with the Taliban administration to operate the three major airports in Afghanistan, Reuters reported.

Ghulam Jelani Popal, the deputy head of Afghanistan transport and civil aviation ministry has said the contract is valid for ten years to reporters in Kabul.

UAE state-linked GAAC already secured contracts from the group to manage ground services and security of the airports in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s civil aviation sector has been plagued with significant challenges in recent years. The airports, particularly after the withdrawal of the international forces faced critical issues, and many international airlines suspended flights to Afghanistan.

After almost two years, GAAC has announced that Afghanistan’s airports are ready for international flights in terms of performance and safety – adding the UAE-based company has invested $641,000 on facility management, ground support equipment, and technologies to improve airport performance.

The contracts are anticipated to help the Taliban emerge out of isolation as it struggles to gain recognition from the international community.

GAAC Holding signed the first contract with the then-Afghan government in November 2020, according to which the company was assigned to deliver ground transportation services and superior services at three international airports Kabul, Kandahar and Herat.

Despite major threats during the evacuation period from August 15-31, 2021, in Kabul airport, the company says to have provided food, water, first aid equipment, and stay facilities to some people who had rushed to the airport to escape. 

In May 2022, GAAC signed a second contract with the Afghanistan transport and civil aviation ministry under the Taliban administration (MoTCA) to operate and manage air navigation services in Afghanistan.

The achievements of the UAE-based company are outstanding in Afghanistan. Since the commencement of its operation, the GAAC has provided quality services to some 1.5 million passengers and has moved more than 40,000 tons of cargo. The company has employed more than 1000 local staff and has trained them in accordance with international standards.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/uaes-gaac-signs-contrat-to-operate-afghanistans-airports/

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Iran’s First Direct Freight Train Arrives In Afghanistan

May 9, 2023

According to Afghanistan Railway Authority, a freight train arrives in Western Herat Province on Monday through the Khaf-Herat Railway line for the first time.

The consignment, which weighs more than 600 tons, contains supplies and equipment for the company that built the Khaf-Herat Railway Line, an official of Afghanistan’s Herat Province said Tuesday.

Officials said a delegation from Iran also arrived in Herat on Monday by rail to discuss sustainable rail transit.

The railway’s construction, which cost $75 million and was supported by Iran, started in April 2007 and was intended to be finished in 2009 but was delayed due to several issues.

The railway links Iran’s train network to the western city of Herat, while it will link Afghanistan to regions in Asia and Europe via Iran.

The Rail route is strategically significant, with a 130 km long Khaf-Herat Railway that could provide Afghanistan easy access to the Iranian ports at Chabahar and Bandar Abbas.

The Khaf-Herat railway line is currently in Herat for testing purposes. However, officials said that commercial cargo transportation would soon begin through this line.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/irans-first-direct-freight-train-arrives-in-afghanistan/

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Kabul Traffic Announces New Taxi Color in Afghanistan

By Fidel Rahmati

May 9, 2023

On Tuesday, the General Directorate of Kabul Traffic introduced a new colour for urban and rural taxis in Afghanistan.

The Taliban traffic police chief, Hasibullah Mukhtar, announced the Taxi color change during Tuesday’s press conference held at the Government Media and Information Center (GMIC).

Mukhtar said that Kabul Traffic is making this change as part of its attempts to develop a safer and more uniform transportation system for the country.

The General Directorate of Kabul Traffic developed a three-month procedure for taxi owners, and it will be implemented across all of Afghanistan’s provinces.

The colour of urban and rural cabs was changed to blue and white in accordance with the International Convention on Road Traffic, according to Kabul Traffic officials.

Taxi owners are also likely to be biometrically registered in addition to the colour change. This plan aims to reduce the criminal activity that has plagued Afghanistan’s taxi industry, including kidnappings and theft.

“The taxis shall be segregated from other vehicles that transfer the goods and shipments,” Mukhtar added.

Private cars also carry people in the city with taxis, and these cars have increased in Kabul during the previous two years.

However, it is still being determined how the Taliban’s initiative would be practical and effective for the country.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/kabul-traffic-plans-to-change-taxi-colors-in-afghanistan/

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