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Islamic World News ( 23 Sept 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pakistan's Ministry Of Religious Affairs Rejects Age Bar, Appearance Before A Judge, And A 90-Day Waiting Period In The Proposed Islamic Conversion Bill As Anti-Sharia

New Age Islam News Bureau

24 September 2021

 

Mian Mithu (left) at the Council of Islamic Ideology meeting in Islamabad. (Photo courtesy of Naya Daur)

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• Afghan Leading Rights Activist Says Taliban Have No Choice but To Listen To Women To Escape Economic Collapse And Diplomatic Isolation

• Why Islamic State in Afghanistan Harks On the Concept of Khorasan Province or ISKP, and What It Means For India

• Islamist Forces will Eliminate Democracy if Troops Withdrawn, UK Parliamentarian Cites Afghanistan on Kashmir

 

Pakistan

• Pakistan's 50 Year 'Forever War' Policy In Pursuit Of Strategic Depth, Results Proxies In Afghanistan

• Afghans Dying At Border As Tensions Intensify Between Taliban, Pakistan

• Sufi Sajjadanashin Council chairman condemns attack on Hindu family in Pakistan

• Pakistan welcomes Afghan cabinet expansion as ‘positive step’

• Maryam says she wasn’t part of extension legislation

• Anti-terrorist exercise with Chinese troops begins

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South Asia

• Taliban Will Bring Back Executions, Cutting off Hands, Feet as Punishment: Official

• If UN Approves Representative, Will Strengthen Relations with US, EU, Others: Taliban

• It’s general amnesty, don’t defame IEA: Taliban’s acting defence minister to his fighters

• Music Is Haram in Islam, Won't Be Allowed: Controversial Kabul University Chancellor Tells India Today

• Islamic State uses Taliban's own tactics to attack Afghanistan's new rulers

• WHO urges international donors to resume Afghanistan health funding

• UNSC asks for inclusive government in Afghanistan: Guterres

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India

• Indian Muslims' Ancestors Were Lord Ram, Krishna, and Shiva, Muslims Should Bow To 'Land and Culture of India': UP Minister

• Soumya, Killed By Hamas In Israel, Gets Caught Into Kerala 'Love Jihad' Controversy

• UK backbench MPs debate Kashmir motion, India condemns abusive language

• US VP Kamala Harris 'suo moto' refers to Pakistan's role in terrorism during meeting with PM Modi

• Conversion case: Uttar Pradesh ATS gets 10-day remand of Islamic scholar Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui

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Europe

• Moscow in talks with Taliban to discuss visit to Russia: Report

• Turkey urges Greece to cancel circular restricting Muslim students

• Turkey playing constructive role in Balkans: Bosnian top diplomat

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Southeast Asia

• Dispel Notion That Human Rights Is a Western Agenda, SIS Tells NGOs

• Perak Sultan: Islamic finance now capable to lead from the front

• Where’re your principles on gambling, PAS veteran asks party’s ministers

• Home minister: Still no new leads on forced disappearance cases, Indira Gandhi’s ex-husband’s whereabouts

• Govt may ban transgenders from FT mosques

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Mideast

• Catholic Priest from the US, Converts To Islam after Watching Seb-I Arus Ceremony

• Iranian FM Criticizes Britain, EU for Inaction on US Moves against JCPOA

• Iran Blasts US, Britain for Selling Military N. Submarines to Australia

• Iran Raps US Dishonesty in N. Deal Talks

• Leader's Top Military Aide: US to Escape from Syria, Persian Gulf Soon

• Iran's Top Diplomat Continues Meetings with Counterparts, Int'l Figures in New York

• Turkish foreign arrivals surge to nearly four mln in Aug: Ministry

• Israel PM touts US friendship after House backs bill to provide $1 bln for Iron Dome

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North America

• US will not force Taliban to replicate Western culture with frozen funds: Official

• Blinken sees unity on Taliban after talks with Pakistan, China

• Erdogan says relations with Biden off to poor start

• US worried over Iran nuclear deal ‘Plan B’; Tehran has provided no positive signs

• Turkish president says access to sufficient food not privilege, 'but a right for all'

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Arab World

• Iraqi Leader Barham Salih Tells UNGA: ‘Corruption And Terrorism Work In Tandem’

• Syria: Two Children Die Every Week at Camp for Islamic State Families, NGO says

• Kurdistan Islamic Movement calls for boycotting the Parliamentary Elections

• Iran says ‘serious progresses made in talks with Saudi Arabia

• Coalition forces thwart Houthi attempts to disrupt Saudi National Day celebrations with drone attacks

• International community condemns latest Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia

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Africa

• Burhan comes close to admitting Islamists’ involvement in failed coup

• Libyan Fatwa House: Libyans should demonstrate Friday to call for toppling HoR

• Boko Haram: Buhari govt won’t name terrorists sponsors because they’re Muslims – HURIWA alleges

• South Sudan’s political elite plundering public coffers: UN

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/pakistan-religious-conversion-bill/d/125430

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Pakistan's Ministry Of Religious Affairs Rejects Age Bar, Appearance Before A Judge, And A 90-Day Waiting Period In The Proposed Islamic Conversion Bill As Anti-Sharia

  

Mian Mithu (left) at the Council of Islamic Ideology meeting in Islamabad. (Photo courtesy of Naya Daur)

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Kamran Chaudhry

September 24, 2021

Pakistan's Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony has rejected a bill that proposed regulations on conversions to Islam.

“Clauses related to the 18-year age bar on religion conversion, appearance before a judge, and a 90-day waiting period in the proposed bill are anti-Sharia, illegal and in violation of the fundamental constitutional rights,” Religious Affairs Minister Pir Noor ul Haq Qadri said in a Sept. 23 press statement.

“The draft Anti-Forced Conversion Bill has been returned to the federal Ministry for Human Rights. The proposed law in its present form clashes with Islamic Sharia. There is a fear that this bill can be used to stop embracing Islam. It will cause hatred among Muslim and non-Muslim communities. Islam rejects forced conversions and it is after all necessary to stop this. Such cases are very few in Pakistan but they cause notoriety.”  

Muslim clerics in Pakistan had been voicing opposition to the bill that would only allow "mature people" to change their religion. A parliamentary committee to protect minorities from forced conversions recommended in February that only a "mature person" (adult) may be allowed to change religion after appearing before an additional sessions judge.

The committee suggested that the judge set a date for an interview within seven days of receipt of the conversion application. An additional clause empowered the judge with the option to grant the person 90 days to undertake a comparative study of the religions concerned before returning to his office for a final decision. The additional sessions judge may issue the certificate of conversion only after being completely satisfied, the committee recommended.

Earlier this week, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) invited Mian Mithu, a cleric known for his alleged involvement in forced Hindu conversions, to discuss these cases during a session.

Christians in Pakistan and abroad termed this a setback. Nadeem Bhatti, president of Canadian Aid to Persecuted Christians, shared the news on this Facebook page. “It means more rapes and forced conversions in Pakistan. They will fail,” he stated.

According to Anjum James Paul, the Catholic chairman of the Pakistan Minorities Teachers' Association, the CII is supreme over Pakistan's parliament.

“This is condemnable and a denial to protect the religious minorities of Pakistan. They have made up their minds to convert each and every individual from minority religions including members of parliament who have already taken an oath as Muslims under Schedule 3 of the constitution,” he said.

Last month a media release by the global civil society alliance CIVICUS said Pakistan continues to fall far short of its human rights obligations three years after Imran Khan took office as prime minister.

Source: UC News

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

https://www.ucanews.com/news/pakistan-ministry-rejects-age-bar-on-islamic-conversion/94277

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Afghan Leading Rights Activist Says Taliban Have No Choice But To Listen To Women To Escape Economic Collapse And Diplomatic Isolation

Sep 24, 2021

 

Despite the reurn of the Taliban, women can still be seen on the streets of Kabul BULENT KILIC AFP/File

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KABUL: The Taliban will have no choice than to bend to the demands of Afghan women if they want to escape economic collapse and diplomatic isolation, a leading rights activist said.

Seventy-three-year-old Mahbouba Seraj decided not to flee Kabul last month when the Taliban seized back power, two decades after they were ousted.

Instead, from her home in Kabul, she has followed the Taliban's mixed messages, trying to decipher what lies ahead for the women of her country who she has dedicated her life to.

"This is becoming like a nightmare for everybody," she says.

The Taliban have incrementally stripped away freedoms for women -- excluding girls from secondary school, telling working women to stay home and unveiling an all-male government.

They claim it is only temporary, but many are distrustful and recognise a repeat of history unfolding.

"The first time, the Taliban had the same excuse, they said 'wait, we'll fix it for you'," she said from her home in Kabul.

"We waited for six years and it never came. There is no trust (in the Taliban) amongst the women of Afghanistan."

Many women, she says, are confused and under severe pressure, frightened to leave their homes and face Taliban harassment.

Still, she admits to being optimistic, sure that the Taliban will be forced to adjust if they want to remain in power.

There are signs of some changes -- women can still be seen on the streets, many are still wearing headscarves instead of the all encompassing burqa and some forms of university education can continue, though under segregation.

"It's not Afghanistan of the 90s any more, this Afghanistan is different," she said.

"I really believe changes are going to happen. There is no other way, and the Taliban should realise it."

The head of the Afghan Women's Network, Seraj has long advocated for the equal participation of women in deeply patriarchal Afghanistan.

She moved to the United States in 1978, a year before the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, living in exile through the civil war and Taliban years, and returning after an international-backed government had been appointed.

Although still marginalised, Afghan women have fought for and gained basic rights in the past 20 years, becoming lawmakers, judges, pilots and police officers -- though mostly limited to large cities.

Women's jobs "keep the economy going, shops, schools, feed families... That's why we must start moving without delay," Seraj said.

Under the Taliban's last brutal and repressive rule notorious for human rights abuses, women were effectively banned from education and work and only allowed to leave the house with a male chaperone.

In scenes unthinkable during that period, women have been at the forefront of several protests around the country -- some numbering hundreds -- demanding their participation in society.

They have petered out since the Taliban effectively blocked the right to assembly and dispersed crowds with gunfire, but Seraj says resistance is still brewing.

"Don't think that it's over, it's not going to be over, it's just going to come up in a different way," she said.

"And it will become dangerous, including for them (the Taliban)."

A month after seizing power, the Taliban has yet to be formally recognised by any foreign nation.

Aid-dependent Afghanistan has seen its access to the international banking system cut and access to funding almost entirely frozen, while hesitant donor countries and agencies watch to see if the Taliban live up to their initial pledges of softer rule.

The health system is already on the brink of collapse. Staff have not been paid and there is a shortage of medicine, further complicated by a brain drain of skilled doctors.

If the Taliban persist, the international community "might take very drastic action" and stop all funding.

It would be the "worst case scenario for everyone".

She is pushing for the Taliban to meet with her and other women, to "arrive at a kind of midpoint acceptable to both camps".

"We should sit down and have a conversation about us, who we are, what we want," she said, with a loose blue headscarf over her grey hair.

Even as the Taliban increase their chokehold on women, she chooses to stay hopeful.

"I have to believe that something is going to change for the better, otherwise what's the point of living?," she said.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/afghan-activist-says-taliban-have-no-choice-but-to-listen-to-women/articleshow/86473626.cms

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Why Islamic State in Afghanistan Harks On the Concept of Khorasan Province or ISKP, and What It Means For India

By Adrija Roychowdhury

September 24, 2021

In the wake of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the presence of another radical Islamic organisation, the Islamic State – Khorasan Province or ISKP, has become a matter of worry across the world. The ISKP had claimed the attack on the Kabul airport last month. The group, being ideologically opposed to the Taliban, has a vision of the region with much bigger implications for India.

The ISKP envisions the creation of a historical region that went by the name of Khorasan. Historically, the region being referred to as Khorasan had varying borders depending on its political rulers. But scholars do agree that the origins of the term, which means ‘rising sun’, lies in the Sasanian Empire in what is modern day Iran. Khorasan, under the Sassanians, comprised the north eastern part of Iran. At the same time, there was a persistent notion of a Greater Khorasan, comprising large parts south of the Aral Sea.

“Theoretically, then, the eastern frontier of Khurasan went as far as China, but in fact it seldom extended very far past Balkh into the district known as Turkharistan (roughly analogous to ancient Bactria),” writes historian Elton L. Daniel in his book, ‘The political and social history of Khurasan under Abbasid rule, 747-820’ (1979). So, despite its varying notions in the Islamic world, Khorasan seldom crossed beyond the region that is modern day Afghanistan.

In recent years, the first time the term ‘Khorasan’ was adopted by a radical Islamic group was in 1996 by Osama Bin Laden of Al-Qaeda. At this point, Afghanistan was the base of operations for the larger goals of establishing an Islamic Caliphate after driving the United States out of Saudi Arabia and destroying Israel. Bin Laden, operating from Afghanistan, proclaimed that he had found a safe refuge in Khorasan. Later, the same term was adopted by the ISKP, which claimed Khorasan to be the land encompassing Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Central Asian republics, northwestern or sometimes all of India, and Russia.

“Both Al-Qaeda and the ISKP are in fact not based in Khorasan. Historically speaking, Khorasan never went south of the Hindu Kush. But the allies of Al-Qaeda and ISKP are Pakistani Jihadi groups who wish to include Kashmir in their area of operations. They are not interested in the Arab world issues, and are rather looking east,” explains Dr. Amin Tarzi, director of Middle Eastern Studies at Marine Corps University, in an interview with Indianepxress.com. Consequently, these groups hark back to Islamic history to find political currency in the significance of Khorasan. Indeed there was much to appropriate here, as the region of Khorasan is of special significance in the political and cultural history of Islam as well as in Islamic theology.

Why Khorasan is special to Islam

Modern scholars of Islamic history agree on this idea that between the seventh century CE when the Sasanian Empire collapsed with the Muslim conquest and the 13th century CE, Khorasan went from being in the margins of empire to becoming the centre and then again withdrawing to the margins. “Its very name (literally Khurasan means the land of the rising sun) hints at its marginal position vis-a-vis the centre of the Sasanian Empire, which was first in Fars, then in Iraq,” writes historian of medieval Iran David Durand Guedy in his article, ‘Pre-Mongol Khurasan: A historical introduction’ (2015).

The Encyclopaedia Iranica notes that during the Arab Islamic invasion, Khorasan seemed to have corresponded to an ‘abstract geographical entity’. “The Arab armies did not limit their conquest to the boundaries of Sasanian Khorasan, but rapidly passed the Oxus River through the Kara Kum desert and advanced through Sogdiana toward the northeast, to stop later on the Talas River around 750 CE,” it suggests.

In his article, Guedy explains that the biggest impact of the Arab conquest was the unification of the territories that were previously divided under the common umbrella term called ‘Khorasan’. He also writes that unlike other provinces, “Khurasan also saw the massive installation of Arab settlers, perhaps as many as 250,000, which reflects both its strategic importance as well as its potential wealth.” He adds: “Logically the the conversion of the local population to Islam began there earlier.”

Rocco Rante, archaeologist at the department of Islamic Art in the Louvre Museum says that “excavations in the area show cultural and technological similarities, proving that the Greater Khorasan area came to be unified from Herat to Balkh. Sometimes we can find similar objects from the other side of the Oxus River as well.”

Speaking about the strategic importance of the Khorasan region to the Islamic Caliphate, Daniel says, “All the major trade routes went through this area.” “Controlling it was important to control the world economy.” Politically, he says, the area was crucial to the Caliphate because “it was the military frontier for Islamic expansion eastwards.” “Khorasan was also the richest province in terms of the amount of taxes it paid to the Caliphate. Financially, militarily, and commercially, this area was critical for the Caliphate,” says Daniel who is Director at Ehsan Yarshater Center For Iranian Studies in Columbia University.

The importance of this area also stems from the fact that it was the cradle of the Abbasid Revolution, a critical moment in Islamic history. Hitherto the Islamic world was ruled by the Umayyads, an Arab dynasty. Non-Arabs in the region, including those who had converted to Islam, were particularly distressed by the discriminatory treatment meted out to them under the Umayyads. The Abbasid dynasty that stood up in opposition to them claimed descent from al-Abbas, an uncle of the Prophet. Under the leadership of Abu Muslim, a Persian general, the Abbasids toppled the Umayyad dynasty.

“This was an extremely significant event because this is when the idea that in order to be Muslim one also had to be Arab is rejected. The idea of Islam as a multi-national, multi-ethnic religion grew out of these events,” says Daniel.

Thereafter, leaders of the Caliphate were no longer Arabs. They were Iranians and other Easterners drawn in from Central Asia. The centre of the Muslim world shifted from Baghdad to Khorasan region, that now became the linchpin of the Muslim Empire.

Under the Abbasids this region acquired a newfound cultural significance. Rante explains that it would be incorrect to assume that the material cultural productions at Khorasan were superior to that in other parts of the Muslim world. However, after the Abbasid revolution, Khorasan assumed a political role way more important than what it was before.

The Encyclopaedia Iranica suggests that “it was from the province’s association with the Abbasids that hadiths or traditions came into circulation like the one attributed to the Prophet: “Khorasan is God’s quiver; when He becomes angry with a people, he launches at them the Khorasanis.”

Consequently, Khorasan also became a space for intellectual productions, with the city of Nishapur at the centre of it. The multi-ethnic nature of Islam here was one of main reasons behind the region producing exciting new works in philosophy, science, and literature.

“Nishapur’s lively intellectual climate was not solely the product of legal and theological disputes and civil strife. The presence there of articulate Zoroastrians and Christians also played a role, as did, the submerged traditions of Buddhism and the ongoing intellectual contacts with India,” writes S.Frederick Starr, an expert on Russian and Eurasian affairs in his book, ‘Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane’ (2013).

One of the first philosophers to emerge here was a polymath by the name Abul-Abbas Iranshahri who brought to his philosophy a deep knowledge of Christianity and Zoroastrianism. He is known to have produced works on astronomy as well and firmly believed in the rational intellect of humans to approach questions of existence.

One of Iranshahri’s students, Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi, is noted by Starr in his book as being the “greatest medical clinician of all times”. Then there was the ninth century scholar, Jabir Ibn Hayyan who is known to have authored an enormous volume of works dealing with Chemistry, alchemy, magic and religion.

“Khurasan produced more than its share of skeptics and radical freethinkers,” writes Starr. This was no surprise as people of this region were reading, editing and translating religious texts for a while now. Several of these freethinkers focused their attack squarely on Islam.

For instance, there was Abu Hasan Ahmad Ibn Al-Rawandi born around 820 CE in Lesser Merv (what is now northern Afghanistan). As Starr writes, Rawandi used “logic and reason to plumb the nature of religion” and is supposed to have mastered the art of “using the Bible against the Bible and the Quran against the Quran to show ‘The Futility of Divine Wisdom’, the title of one of his diatribes against all revealed religions.” He wrote close to 114 books and treatises on philosophy, politics, music, grammar, but none of them survive today, nor does any of his poetry.

No discussion of intellectual productions in Khorasan is complete without referring to the ‘Shahnameh’, an epic written by the Persian poet Firdawsi in the 10th century CE. The Shahnameh provides a mythical and historical account of the Persian Empire. It is believed to be one of the longest epic poems of the world, and is deemed to be part of global cultural heritage.

“Both Al-Qaeda and the ISKP are in fact not based in Khorasan. Historically speaking, Khorasan never went south of the Hindu Kush. But the allies of Al-Qaeda and ISKP are Pakistani Jihadi groups who wish to include Kashmir in their area of operations. They are not interested in the Arab world issues, and are rather looking east,” explains Dr. Amin Tarzi, director of Middle Eastern Studies at Marine Corps University, in an interview with Indianepxress.com. Consequently, these groups hark back to Islamic history to find political currency in the significance of Khorasan. Indeed there was much to appropriate here, as the region of Khorasan is of special significance in the political and cultural history of Islam as well as in Islamic theology.

Why Khorasan is special to Islam

Modern scholars of Islamic history agree on this idea that between the seventh century CE when the Sasanian Empire collapsed with the Muslim conquest and the 13th century CE, Khorasan went from being in the margins of empire to becoming the centre and then again withdrawing to the margins. “Its very name (literally Khurasan means the land of the rising sun) hints at its marginal position vis-a-vis the centre of the Sasanian Empire, which was first in Fars, then in Iraq,” writes historian of medieval Iran David Durand Guedy in his article, ‘Pre-Mongol Khurasan: A historical introduction’ (2015).

The Encyclopaedia Iranica notes that during the Arab Islamic invasion, Khorasan seemed to have corresponded to an ‘abstract geographical entity’. “The Arab armies did not limit their conquest to the boundaries of Sasanian Khorasan, but rapidly passed the Oxus River through the Kara Kum desert and advanced through Sogdiana toward the northeast, to stop later on the Talas River around 750 CE,” it suggests.

In his article, Guedy explains that the biggest impact of the Arab conquest was the unification of the territories that were previously divided under the common umbrella term called ‘Khorasan’. He also writes that unlike other provinces, “Khurasan also saw the massive installation of Arab settlers, perhaps as many as 250,000, which reflects both its strategic importance as well as its potential wealth.” He adds: “Logically the the conversion of the local population to Islam began there earlier.”

Rocco Rante, archaeologist at the department of Islamic Art in the Louvre Museum says that “excavations in the area show cultural and technological similarities, proving that the Greater Khorasan area came to be unified from Herat to Balkh. Sometimes we can find similar objects from the other side of the Oxus River as well.”

Speaking about the strategic importance of the Khorasan region to the Islamic Caliphate, Daniel says, “All the major trade routes went through this area.” “Controlling it was important to control the world economy.” Politically, he says, the area was crucial to the Caliphate because “it was the military frontier for Islamic expansion eastwards.” “Khorasan was also the richest province in terms of the amount of taxes it paid to the Caliphate. Financially, militarily, and commercially, this area was critical for the Caliphate,” says Daniel who is Director at Ehsan Yarshater Center For Iranian Studies in Columbia University.

The importance of this area also stems from the fact that it was the cradle of the Abbasid Revolution, a critical moment in Islamic history. Hitherto the Islamic world was ruled by the Umayyads, an Arab dynasty. Non-Arabs in the region, including those who had converted to Islam, were particularly distressed by the discriminatory treatment meted out to them under the Umayyads. The Abbasid dynasty that stood up in opposition to them claimed descent from al-Abbas, an uncle of the Prophet. Under the leadership of Abu Muslim, a Persian general, the Abbasids toppled the Umayyad dynasty.

“This was an extremely significant event because this is when the idea that in order to be Muslim one also had to be Arab is rejected. The idea of Islam as a multi-national, multi-ethnic religion grew out of these events,” says Daniel.

Thereafter, leaders of the Caliphate were no longer Arabs. They were Iranians and other Easterners drawn in from Central Asia. The centre of the Muslim world shifted from Baghdad to Khorasan region, that now became the linchpin of the Muslim Empire.

Under the Abbasids this region acquired a newfound cultural significance. Rante explains that it would be incorrect to assume that the material cultural productions at Khorasan were superior to that in other parts of the Muslim world. However, after the Abbasid revolution, Khorasan assumed a political role way more important than what it was before.

The Encyclopaedia Iranica suggests that “it was from the province’s association with the Abbasids that hadiths or traditions came into circulation like the one attributed to the Prophet: “Khorasan is God’s quiver; when He becomes angry with a people, he launches at them the Khorasanis.”

Consequently, Khorasan also became a space for intellectual productions, with the city of Nishapur at the centre of it. The multi-ethnic nature of Islam here was one of main reasons behind the region producing exciting new works in philosophy, science, and literature.

“Nishapur’s lively intellectual climate was not solely the product of legal and theological disputes and civil strife. The presence there of articulate Zoroastrians and Christians also played a role, as did, the submerged traditions of Buddhism and the ongoing intellectual contacts with India,” writes S.Frederick Starr, an expert on Russian and Eurasian affairs in his book, ‘Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane’ (2013).

One of the first philosophers to emerge here was a polymath by the name Abul-Abbas Iranshahri who brought to his philosophy a deep knowledge of Christianity and Zoroastrianism. He is known to have produced works on astronomy as well and firmly believed in the rational intellect of humans to approach questions of existence.

One of Iranshahri’s students, Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi, is noted by Starr in his book as being the “greatest medical clinician of all times”. Then there was the ninth century scholar, Jabir Ibn Hayyan who is known to have authored an enormous volume of works dealing with Chemistry, alchemy, magic and religion.

“Khurasan produced more than its share of skeptics and radical freethinkers,” writes Starr. This was no surprise as people of this region were reading, editing and translating religious texts for a while now. Several of these freethinkers focused their attack squarely on Islam.

For instance, there was Abu Hasan Ahmad Ibn Al-Rawandi born around 820 CE in Lesser Merv (what is now northern Afghanistan). As Starr writes, Rawandi used “logic and reason to plumb the nature of religion” and is supposed to have mastered the art of “using the Bible against the Bible and the Quran against the Quran to show ‘The Futility of Divine Wisdom’, the title of one of his diatribes against all revealed religions.” He wrote close to 114 books and treatises on philosophy, politics, music, grammar, but none of them survive today, nor does any of his poetry.

No discussion of intellectual productions in Khorasan is complete without referring to the ‘Shahnameh’, an epic written by the Persian poet Firdawsi in the 10th century CE. The Shahnameh provides a mythical and historical account of the Persian Empire. It is believed to be one of the longest epic poems of the world, and is deemed to be part of global cultural heritage.

Speaking about the implications of the ISKP’s vision for India, Tarzi explains that firstly one needs to see to what extent their ideology resonates with radical Islamic groups within India. “Secondly, they would need support from a different country to germinate further. This is dependent on international relations among countries in the region. So, if India’s relations with one of its neighbouring countries deteriorates they might find support there,” says Tarzi.

At present the ISKP stands firmly diminished in the wake of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. This is one of the reasons for the Taliban finding favourability among the Chinese and the Russians. While the Taliban’s extremist ideology is definitely seen as worrying, it is recognised as being restricted to Afghanistan, while the ISKP is seen as a much bigger regional threat.

It is indeed interesting that the symbol of Khorasan that the radical Islamic groups employ harks back to a time and space of intellectual enlightenment and cultural productions. “It is true that Islam has made so many positive contributions to the history and development of this region,” says Tarzi. “These extremist organisations do not have that kind of a vision. Their only vision is to create fear and work for whoever pays them.”

Further reading:

Elton L. Daniel, The political and social history of Khurasan under Abbasid rule, 747-820, Bibliotheca Islamica, 1979

Rocco Rante (ed.), Greater Khorasan: History, Geography, archaeology and material culture, De Gruyter, 2015

S. Frederick Starr, Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane’, Princeton University Press, 2015

Amin Tarzi, Khorasan in modern Islamist ideology, in ‘Encyclopaedia Iranica’, Brill Publishers, Fascicle XVI/6, 2020

Source: Indian Express

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/research/why-islamic-state-in-afghanistan-harks-on-the-concept-of-khorasan-and-what-it-means-for-india-7530776/

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Islamist Forces will Eliminate Democracy if Troops Withdrawn, UK Parliamentarian Cites Afghanistan on Kashmir

SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

Islamist forces will eliminate democracy in Kashmir like we saw in Afghanistan, if the Indian troops were to be withdrawn, UK Parliamentarian Bob Blackman said on Thursday in the House of Commons. Blackman was responding in a debate on human rights situation in Kashmir at the House of Commons tabled by UK Parliamentarian Debbie Abrahams and Pakistan origin Parliamentarian Yasmin Qureshi.

“Just imagine, we have seen what has happened in Afghanistan. If the troops were withdrawn, if we had a position whereby the protections were not there, the plight of Jammu & Kashmir would be the same as Afghanistan with Islamist forces coming in and eliminating democracy in the area”, UK Parliamentarian Bob Blackman said in his address at the House of Commons.

“It is only the Indian Army and the sound footing of the Indian military democracy that has stopped the region of Jammu & Kashmir resembling Taliban occupied Afghanistan. It only makes sense for them to do so because the region is legally and rightfully an integral part of Republic of India”, Blackman further said asking his colleagues to recognise reality amidst protests from Pakistan origin UK parliamentarians.

Debbie Abrahams who sparked the debate on human rights in Kashmir in the House of Commons was last year in the thick of controversy after it was revealed that APPG on Kashmir (APPGK) received money from Pakistan Government between £31,501 (Rs 29.7 lakh) and £33,000 (Rs 31.2 lakh) on February 18, 2020 for a visit to Pakistan. Abrahams was also deported from India to Dubai on February 17, 2020 after she was found carrying an invalid visa.

Earlier UK Parliamentarian Barry Gardiner addressing the House of Commons raised similar concerns on Pakistan sponsored terrorism in the region.

“At this critical time in the region with the US and UK withdrawal from Afghanistan, it’s right for people to understand connections between democracy, pluralism and human rights and equally strong connections between fundamentalism, terrorism, insurgency and the loss of human rights”, Gardiner said.

“Over the years, Pakistan has harboured Taliban leaders and the ISI has provided other forms of service to them and other terrorist organisations”, he further informed the British Parliament.

British MPs earlier during the debate also raised concerns on the terror attacks in Kashmir by Pakistan based terror groups including Lashkar e Tayyiba, Jaish e Muhammad and Hizbul Mujahideen.

Source: News18

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

https://www.news18.com/news/world/islamist-forces-will-eliminate-democracy-if-troops-withdrawn-uk-parliamentarian-cites-afghanistan-on-kashmir-4239845.html

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan's 50 Year 'Forever War' Policy In Pursuit Of Strategic Depth, Results Proxies In Afghanistan

Sep 23, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's policy for over half a century in pursuit of strategic depth while planning for the recent invasion of Afghanistan has culminated in several years of diversionary diplomacy resulting in Pakistan's generals managing to re-install their proxies at Kabul, says a recent analysis.

Creating a range of new vulnerabilities even for their own country, Pakistan during this entire period, which included US withdrawal from the region in 1989 and the presence of Western troops from 2001 to 2021, the US has misread Pakistan's strategic intent.

Chris Alexander, a former Cabinet Minister, Member of Parliament, and diplomat from Canada wrote in European Eye on Radicalization that after Pakistan's defeat by India in conventional warfare in 1971 led their military establishment to rely increasingly on a policy of "strategic depth" by which they would seek to dominate their western flank by irregular warfare, support for terrorism and "global jihad."

He added that the strategic focus of this policy has been Afghanistan for fifty years.

In doing so, the US has done its own national interest enormous harm, while undermining the confidence of NATO allies. By failing to see the forest for the trees, and by postponing a reckoning with Pakistan over these threats to international peace and security, Biden and his three predecessors since 9/11 have disoriented the US and key allies on an issue of great strategic importance.

"For one decade of this half century, Pakistan had the US as a strategic ally and source of funding as it engaged in irregular warfare through proxies against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. For two more decades of this half century (from 2001 to 2021), Pakistan controlled the principal ground and air lines of communication and supply for US forces based in Afghanistan, effectively preventing any concerted effort either fully to map or to end Pakistan's support for groups fighting US and Afghan forces," Chris who was the first resident Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan said.

He added that in other words, even while providing comprehensive support to leading terrorist groups, Pakistan's military has considered itself and remained a de facto strategic US ally for most of the period it has been waging its proxy war in Afghanistan.

Even after the effective US withdrawal from the region in 1989, Pakistan relied on the principle of "positive symmetry" laid out by Secretary of State George Schultz in a letter to his Soviet counterpart on 30 March 1988 to justify its continuing military support for the Mujahidin, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other proxies fighting in Afghanistan.

Stating that Pakistan's support for the Taliban and other proxies led to the death of approximately 3,500 US, other NATO, and partner military members over the twenty years after 2001, the author noted that the US failed to see the forest for the trees.

"US policy consistently pursued incremental change with Pakistan without tackling strategic realities. In particular the U.S. approach to Pakistan failed on three levels: (1) it under-estimated the determination of Pakistan's military to orchestrate the Taliban's return to power in Afghanistan; (2) it did not assess the creation of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in late 2007 and the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) in 2014 as means to this end; and (3) it overlooked the influence of a small group of ideologically-committed generals," he said further.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistans-50-year-forever-war-policy-results-proxies-in-afghanistan/articleshow/86452701.cms

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Afghans dying at border as tensions intensify between Taliban, Pakistan

Sep 24, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Amid tensions between the Taliban and Pakistan, Afghans are dying at Spin Boldak after Islamabad restricted entry at the key international intersection only to Pakistani or Kandahar identification cardholders.

Earlier this month, a rush toward the entry checkpoint of the Pakistan border resulted in the death of at least one person. However, those patrolling the boundary on the Afghan side claim that over the past week, several people have perished from dehydration and heatstroke and because they could not access life-saving medical care in the Chaman district.

Citing witnesses, New York Post reported that two more Afghans died near the Mazal gate on Wednesday afternoon, a less frenetic exit to the primary thoroughfare and designated for local families and special cases.

"Three months ago, I went to see a doctor there [Pakistan], and the doctor has asked me to return to carry out an operation," said a woman witness, "But they are not allowing us."

While another said: "It is very difficult; they [Pakistan] are allowing no one in. They don't accept the Afghan National ID [Tazkira]."

In recent weeks, Islamabad restricted entry at the key international intersection only to Pakistani or Kandahar identification cardholders. However, as per the accounts of those stranded on the Afghan side, the gates have been sealed to almost everyone.

According to New York Post, trucks remain backed up for miles, their perishable goods rotting under the brutal September sun. Entire families, starved and afraid as Afghanistan falls into a grave economic crisis, sleep on mounds of earth for multiple nights -- rising in the early morning to make the fruitless trek to the fortified checkpoint, only to be turned away.

The area has become a "military zone" over the past several days, according to the Taliban police officials who now patrol the overstuffed space.

"Pakistan is creating problems. We have an understanding with Pakistan to allow Kandahar people to cross into Pakistan. In return, people from Chaman and Quetta can enter Afghanistan using National IDs," said Mohammad Sadiq Sabery, authority in charge of the border area in Kandahar.

Many public services including those in the health sector have halted operations, New York Post said.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/afghans-dying-at-border-as-tensions-intensify-between-taliban-pakistan/articleshow/86475688.cms

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Sufi Sajjadanashin Council chairman condemns attack on Hindu family in Pakistan

23 September 2021

Jaipur, Sep 23 (PTI) All India Sufi Sajjadanashin Council chairman Syed Nasruddin Chishty Thursday condemned an incident in Pakistan in which a Hindu family was allegedly held hostage and tortured for fetching drinking water from a mosque.

Chishty said such acts are unpardonable and against the very essence of Islam.

"The attack on a Hindu family in Pakistan is highly condemnable and unpardonable. Pakistan calls itself an Islamic country but such cowardly actions of violence in the name of religion is against the very essence of Islam and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad," Chisty said in a statement on Thursday.

He is also the successor of the present spiritual head of Ajmer Dargah.

Chisty''s reaction came days after the Hindu family of poor farmers were allegedly held hostage and tortured for fetching drinking water from a mosque in the Punjab province of Pakistan, according to reports on Monday.

Alam Ram Bheel, a resident of Punjab’s Rahimyar Khan city, was picking raw cotton along with his other family members, including his wife, in a field.

Bheel said when the family went outside a nearby mosque to fetch drinking water from a tap, some local landlords beat them up, The Dawn newspaper had reported.

Source: Outlook India

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https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/sufi-sajjadanashin-council-chairman-condemns-attack-on-hindu-family-in-pakistan/2165449

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Pakistan welcomes Afghan cabinet expansion as ‘positive step’

September 24, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday welcomed the expansion in the Afghan cabinet as a “positive step” and called for more such actions by the Taliban for stability in the war-ravaged country.

“We have taken note of the expansion in the interim cabinet with representation of different ethnic and political groups. This is a positive direction, and we hope they continue to take steps leading to lasting stability in the country,” Foreign Office spokesman Asim Iftikhar said at the weekly media briefing.

The Taliban had earlier in the week expanded the interim cabinet by naming a number of deputy ministers, some of whom belong to ethnic minorities like Hazaras. Most of the newly-inducted deputy ministers are, however, hardliners. Moreover, no woman was included in the cabinet yet again.

The international community has been unrelenting in its demand for an inclusive government in Afghanistan and has linked recognition of the new set-up to the fulfilment of the demand.

Calls for timely mobilisation of humanitarian assistance to avert crisis

International development assistance has been stopped in the absence of recognition for the Taliban government. Afghanistan has traditionally heavily relied on foreign assistance. Therefore, discontinuation of the assistance has raised fears of an economic collapse.

The FO spokesman recalled that Pakistan continued to urge the international community on the imperative of constructive engagement and timely mobilisation of humanitarian assistance to avert a humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan.

“Ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan is a shared responsibility of the international community,” he underscored.

Mr Iftikhar said that Pakistan continued to engage with the interim authorities.

He also recalled that special representatives of China, Russia and Pakistan visited Kabul for meeting the Taliban leadership and other leading Afghan figures. The trip, he said, highlighted the importance of coordination among the regional stakeholders to promote the shared objectives of a peaceful, stable, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan.

He emphasised the need for continued coordination among the regional countries.

“It is all about coordination and consultation. The regional countries have shared concerns and interests vis-a-vis the developments in Afghanistan,” he stressed, adding that Pakistan would continue engagement and consultations with the international community, particularly the regional countries.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1648058/pakistan-welcomes-afghan-cabinet-expansion-as-positive-step

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Maryam says she wasn’t part of extension legislation

Malik Asad

September 24, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Senior leader of the Pakistan Mus­lim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Maryam Nawaz said on Thursday she felt vindicated as she was not part of the legislation that allowed extension in the tenure of Chief of the Army Staff.

Talking to Dawn before appearing for a hearing in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on her appeal against conviction in the Avenfield properties reference, Ms Nawaz termed “unacceptable” the rhetoric of government ministers who have sought to do away with the role of leader of the opposition in the appointment or extension of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman.

“They want to keep out the opposition in NAB’s appointment (in order) to accommodate their brothers at the top posts in NAB,” she said.

She was apparently referring to the recent appointment of a federal minister’s brother to a senior position in the prosecution wing of the anti-corruption watchdog.

She, however, said the PML-N would give its reaction when the government would finally move to extend the tenure of incumbent NAB chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal.

The daughter of PML-N’s supreme leader Nawaz Sharif characterised the electronic voting machines (EVMs) as a “tool that would be used to rig the next general elections”.

“The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has lost public support, which is evident from their continuous defeats in the by-elections,” she said.

The government is trying to paint a rosy picture by equating EVMs with transparent and fair elections even though “this government has nothing to do with transparency and fairness”, she said.

The PTI government, she maintained, had failed miserably to deliver on the energy, economy and diplomatic fronts. “They have failed to control inflation, loadshedding, prices of electricity, edible items and petroleum products and in devising an effective foreign policy,” she said.

“For these reasons, they are again planning to steal the mandate through unfair means and rigging.”

During court proceedings, the PML-N leader informed the IHC’s division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani that she had engaged Advocate Irfan Qadir, who sought time from the court to prepare himself. The court adjourned the hearing till October 6.

Talking to journalists after the hearing, she said the government, in order to hide its failures, was scapegoating various institutions. Some ministers recently attacked the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1648052/maryam-says-she-wasnt-part-of-extension-legislation

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Anti-terrorist exercise with Chinese troops begins

September 24, 2021

RAWALPINDI: The opening ceremony of the Joint Anti-Terrorist Exercise (JATE) 2021 was held at the National Counter Terrorism Centre in Pabbi on Thursday.

According to a press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations, troops from the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) of China and Pakistan Army are participating in the exercise, which is part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) regional anti-terrorism structure.

Maj Gen Javed Dost Chandio was chief guest at the opening ceremony,

The JATE is being conducted to practise and master various drills and procedures involved in counterterrorism operations, including cordon and search, compound clearance, close quarter battle and medical evacuation.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1648056/anti-terrorist-exercise-with-chinese-troops-begins

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South Asia

 

Taliban Will Bring Back Executions, Cutting Off Hands, Feet As Punishment: Official

23 September, 2021

The Taliban will bring back harsh punishments including executions and severing of limbs as punishments for crimes committed by the public, a group official told The Associated Press.

Since seizing control of Afghanistan on August 15, the Taliban have launched a charm offensive to rehabilitate their hardline image from their 1996-2001 era when they performed public executions, men who didn’t pray in mosques where whipped, women’s every day movements were restricted and an extreme interpretation of Islamic law, Sharia, was enforced.

The Taliban’s new government consists of mainly senior group members. The group disbanded the Ministry of Women Affairs and brought back the Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

However, it seems the Taliban are not changing much of their core values as Mullah Nooruddin Turabi stressed in an interview with The Associated Press that the group will carry out punishments as it sees fit and demanded the international community not interfere.

“Everyone criticized us for the punishments in the stadium [public executions], but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments. No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Quran,” Turabi said.

Turbai, who was the head of the Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice during the Taliban’s previous era, said that murder crimes will be punished by a public execution, which the group used to mete out by a single bullet to the head.

However, the option remains for the murdered victim’s family to opt for accepting “blood money” to spare the life of the murder.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2021/09/23/Taliban-will-bring-back-executions-cutting-off-hands-feet-as-punishment-Official

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If UN approves representative, will strengthen relations with US, EU, others: Taliban

Sep 24, 2021

KABUL: Taliban on Friday said that it will focus on strengthening relations with the United States, European Union, and other countries if the United Nations approves its representative.

In an interview to Sputnik, Afghan deputy minister of culture and information Zabihullah Mujahid said: "If my brother Suhail is approved by the UN as our representative, he will obviously make effort to strengthen relations with other states, including the European Union and the US, as well as with Muslim countries for the sake of strong and long-term cooperation. This will be the primary task."

He further said that the Taliban may ask friendly countries like Qatar to help it obtain a seat in the UN.

"Yes, why not. Other countries close to us, such as Qatar and others, those that supported us during a difficult period, could take on the role of mediators or a link and help us get a seat in the UN. This is our right and we welcome any nation capable of assisting this," Mujahid said, reported Sputnik.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/if-un-approves-representative-will-strengthen-relations-with-us-eu-others-taliban/articleshow/86476339.cms

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It’s general amnesty, don’t defame IEA: Taliban’s acting defence minister to his fighters

24 Sep 2021

The acting defense minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob called on foot soldiers that general amnesty has been announced and no one should defame the IEA with their arbitrary actions.

The acting defense minister has asked his foot soldiers to seriously implement general amnesty and does not mistreat people.

A statement released by Yaqoob reads that some Taliban members have been seen in different provinces carrying out reprisal and have killed those who had worked for the previous government, which is not the policy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

“Behave well with people, do not defame IEA with your arbitrary actions, stop taking unnecessary photos and videos, and do not enter to government administrations unless you need to.” The statement addressed Taliban fighters.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/its-general-amnesty-dont-defame-iea-talibans-acting-defense-minister-to-his-fighters-45745747/

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Music is haram in Islam, won't be allowed: Controversial Kabul University chancellor tells India Today

September 23, 2021

The Taliban has appointed Mohammad Ashraf Ghairat as the new chancellor of Kabul University, replacing Muhammad Osman Baburi. This sparked sharp reactions across social media with popular non-Taliban voices of Afghanistan questioning the appointment of a newbie over an experienced PhD holder, who had been at the helm of affairs at the Kabul University.

Those criticising the appointment of Ashraf Ghairat specifically pointed out his views on Twitter last year on the killings of Afghan journalists where he justified deaths saying, “A spy journalist is more dangerous than a hundred Arbaki (Police or Paramilitary members). I doubt faith of those who restrain from killing journalists. Kill Spy Journalists”. Several others also questioned the qualifications of Ashraf Ghairat and as to how he can fill in the shoes of the previous chancellor.

This was soon followed by the resignation of close to 70 teaching members of the Kabul University that included assistant professors and professors who were apparently unhappy with the development, with sources in the Khaama Press News Agency indicating that the University Professors' Union has set a one-week deadline for the Taliban to reconsider appointing Ashraf Ghairat as chancellor of Kabul University.

The Khaama Press Agency also reported that Sheikh Faqirullah Fayek, a senior Taliban member, has strongly criticized the appointment of Mohammad Ashraf Ghairat as the chancellor of Kabul University.

Mohammad Ashraf Ghairat is said to have been a part of Taliban’s previous regime during which he was employed in the Ministry of Education and was a head of the assessment body of universities of the IEA (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) in the southwest part of Afghanistan.

Amidst these controversies, Ashraf Ghairat spoke to India Today for the first time since his appointment. Excerpts

Q. There is a lot of criticism on your appointment. What do you have to say about that?

Ashraf Ghairat: Their criticisms are unfounded. We took over the country by force, you cannot show me anywhere in the world throughout history that when a party takes power, it shares it with others, so why should we do that? I have said about my background and that would be enough to tell them that I'm suitable for this position.

With respect to his credentials, Ashraf Ghairat said that he graduated from Kabul University as a journalism graduate in 2008 and has almost 15 years of experience working in different parts of IEA, including being a key member of the cultural commission of IEA. On questions about having the experience leading an academic institution, Ashraf said that he was the head of the Al-Hijra Institute for three years. Ashraf also added that he can speak all national languages of Afghanistan along with Arabic and English.

Q. How do you plan to lead Kabul University in the future? What changes will you be making?

Ashraf Ghairat: We will move forward as per the plans made by the ministry of higher education. We will have separate classes for men and women and our primary focus will be to provide an Islamic environment to all, especially women.

Q: How does the Taliban view education as a whole? Do you plan to change the way education is served in Afghanistan?

Ashraf Ghairat: We consider education as an important aspect in the development of Afghanistan, but for us, religious studies come first, and modern sciences is second. Our primary focus will be on the Islamisation of the country and our academic institutions.

Q: What is your opinion on women's education? Can they continue studying? And will they be able to work after their studies?

Ashraf Ghairat: Yes, they will be able to continue their education and work; but it will have to be according to the teachings of Islam.

Q: What about extracurricular activities at Kabul University? Will you support arts (music, drama etc) on campus?

Ashraf Ghairat: Music is haram or forbidden in Islam. So, whatever is forbidden in Islam, will not be allowed on the campus.

Q: How will you motivate and create a sense of trust among students?

Ashraf Ghairat: We will try our best to provide them security and to bring everything back to normal. It will take time, but we are dedicated to doing it. People shouldn't panic, everything is going to be OK. As of now, lots of things have become normal, so we will do our best to provide them with the services they need.

Source: India Today

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https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/islamic-studies-to-get-priority-over-sciences-kabul-university-1856199-2021-09-23

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Islamic State uses Taliban's own tactics to attack Afghanistan's new rulers

By Alasdair Pal and Jibran Ahmed

September 23, 2021

Sept 23 (Reuters) - A little more than a month after toppling the Western-backed government in Kabul, Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers are facing internal enemies who have adopted many of the tactics of urban warfare that marked their own successful guerrilla campaign.

A deadly attack on Kabul airport last month and a series of bomb blasts in the eastern city of Jalalabad, all claimed by the local affiliate of Islamic State, have underlined the threat to stability from violent militant groups who remain unreconciled to the Taliban.

While the movement's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has downplayed the threat, saying this week that Islamic State had no effective presence in Afghanistan, commanders on the ground do not dismiss the threat so lightly.

Two members of the movement's intelligence services who investigated some of the recent attacks in Jalalabad said the tactics showed the group remained a danger, even if it did not have enough fighters and resources to seize territory.

Using sticky bombs - magnetic bombs usually stuck to the underside of cars - the attacks targeted Taliban members in exactly the same way the Taliban itself used to hit officials and civil society figures to destabilize the former government.

"We are worried about these sticky bombs that once we used to apply to target our enemies in Kabul. We are concerned about our leadership as they could target them if not controlled them successfully," said one of the Taliban intelligence officials.

Islamic State in Khorasan, the name taken from the ancient name for the region that includes modern Afghanistan, first emerged in late 2014 but has declined from its peak around 2018 following a series of heavy losses inflicted by both the Taliban and U.S. forces.

Taliban security forces in Nangarhar said they had killed three members of the movement on Wednesday night and the intelligence officials said the movement still retains the ability to cause trouble through small-scale attacks.

"Their main structure is broken and they are now divided in small groups to carry out attacks," one of them said.

FUNDING DRIED UP

The Taliban have said repeatedly that they will not allow Afghanistan to be used as a base for attacks on other countries. But some Western analysts believe the return of the Islamist group to power has invigorated groups like ISIS-K and al Qaeda, which had made Afghanistan their base when the Taliban last ruled the country.

"In Afghanistan, the return of Taliban is a huge victory for the Islamists," said Rohan Gunaratna, professor of security studies at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University. "They have celebrated the return of the Taliban, so I think that Afghanistan is the new theatre."

ISIS-K is believed to draw many of its fighters from the ranks of the Taliban or the Pakistani version of the Taliban, known as the TTP, but much of the way it operates remains little understood.

It has fought the Taliban over smuggling routes and other economic interests but it also supports a global Caliphate under Islamic law, in contrast with the Taliban which insists it has no interest in anywhere outside Afghanistan.

Source: Reuters

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https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/islamic-state-uses-talibans-own-tactics-attack-afghanistans-new-rulers-2021-09-23/?rpc=401&

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WHO urges international donors to resume Afghanistan health funding

Sep 23, 2021

The World Health Organisation's representative to Afghanistan called on the international community on Thursday to resume funding of the war-torn country's health program which was suspended when the Taliban took over governing the country, as the healthcare system had plunged into crisis.

The deteriorating situation underscored the dilemma faced by many international donors, many of which are reticent to fund the Taliban-led administration, some of whose members are on international sanctions lists, but fear that the country is veering towards a humanitarian crisis.

"In the recent weeks, access to health care has significantly declined for hundreds of thousands of some of the most vulnerable Afghans," Luo Dapeng, WHO's representative to Afghanistan, said at a press conference in Geneva.

"The country's already-fragile health system is overwhelmed," he said, adding they were coordinating with donors to find alternative funding mechanisms for health facilities.

International governments have pledged millions in urgent humanitarian aid but questions remain over longer term development and other funding to an economy highly dependent on international assistance. Billions of dollars in central bank assets held outside the country have also been frozen.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/who-urges-international-donors-to-resume-afghanistan-health-funding/articleshow/86457267.cms

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UNSC asks for inclusive government in Afghanistan: Guterres

23 Sep 2021

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that the permanent members of the Security Council- the US, China, Russia, France, and the UK- unanimously asked the Taliban to establish an all-inclusive government in Afghanistan.

The secretary-General, on the sideline of the UN annual assembly, told reporters that the permanent members of UNSC pleaded with the Taliban to shape a government set-up that is comprised of various ethnicities.

The call from the five world powers comes as the Afghans themselves have been criticizing the current caretaker cabinet and have been asking the Taliban to shape an all-inclusive government and appoint people based on their intelligence and experience.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/unsc-asks-for-inclusive-government-in-afghanistan-guterres-65858568/

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India

 

Indian Muslims' Ancestors Were Lord Ram, Krishna, and Shiva, Muslims Should Bow To 'Land and Culture of India': UP Minister

24 Sep 2021

Uttar Pradesh minister Anand Swaroop Shukla has said that Lord Ram, Krishna, and Shiva were the ancestors of Indian Muslims and thus the Muslims should bow to the “land and culture of India”.

Shukla, the Minister of State for Parliamentary affairs also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath have defeated the mindset which intended to create an Islamic State in the country by raising the flag of Hindutva and “Indian culture”.

Praising the Yogi government's work during the last four-and-a-half-years before the media on Thursday evening, Shukla said: “The ancestors of the Muslims of India are lord Ram, Krishna and Shankar (Shiva). They don't need to look up to the land of Kaaba. These people should bow to the land and culture of India.”

After Syria and Afghanistan, some people from different countries want to make the world an Islamic State... some have this mindset in India too. But, the Modi and Adityanath governments at the Centre and state have raised the flag of Hindutva and "Indian culture" in the country and defeated this mindset, Shukla said.

Referring to controversial posters put up in Sambhal recently, Shukla said they were the outcome of Samajwadi Party’s support to Islamic terrorists and its MP Shaifur Rehman Barq's statement supporting the Taliban.

Posters calling Sambhal the land of the "ghazis", an apparent reference to Islamic warriors, had come up ahead of AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi's meeting there earlier this week.

The BJP had strongly objected to the posters, after which they were removed by workers of the All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).

Source: Outlook India

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https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-indian-muslims-ancestors-are-lord-ram-krishna-shiva-they-should-bow-to-land-and-culture-of-india-up-minister/395631

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Soumya, Killed By Hamas In Israel, Gets Caught Into Kerala 'Love Jihad' Controversy

By Cithara Paul

September 23, 2021

The ongoing 'love jihad' row in Kerala—which has seen a few Catholic bishops accusing other communities of luring away women from their community—took a new low as Soumya Santhosh, a Keralite who got Killed in Israel in a rocket attack, too got dragged into the controversy.

Soumya was working as a home nurse in Israel when the house she was staying in got hit with a rocket attack by Hamas. She died on May 11.

Soumya's name was dragged into the controversy by SNDP leader Vellapally Natesan as a counter to the allegation by Catholic priest Roy Kannanchira that Ezhava boys are trapping Catholic girls into marriage. The priest had made this statement while handling a virtual class for catechism teachers of a Syro Malabar Church diocese. His statement got recorded and leaked. It had created a huge controversy in the state.

The SNDP leader came out in the open against the priest's remark and alleged that it was Christian men who are trapping Ezhava girls in 'love jihad'. To prove his point, Natesan cited Soumya's name and said the Ezhava woman was lured into marrying a Christian and that she had to get converted into Christianity.

Her husband, Santhosh, on Thursday countered Natesan's allegation. “We were in love from the age of 15. We waited for five years and got married when she turned 20. There was no jihad, only love between us,'' he said.

He also said that her parents were fully supportive of their marriage.

Santhosh said that his sister has married a Hindu. “Is that too a love jihad?,'' he asked.

“My Soumya is no more...Why drag her into this controversy?,'' he asked, adding that he was planning to take legal measures against this.

Source: The Week

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https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2021/09/23/soumya-killed-by-hamas-in-israel-gets-caught-into-kerala-love-jihad-controversy.html

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UK backbench MPs debate Kashmir motion, India condemns abusive language

Sep 24, 2021

LONDON: Members of Parliament from the UK's All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Kashmir have tabled a motion on “Human rights in Kashmir” for a debate in the House of Commons, drawing a strong reaction from India which said any assertion made in any forum on a subject related to an integral part of the country needs to be duly substantiated with authentic verifiable facts.

The Minister for Asia in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Amanda Milling, responded to the debate on Thursday by reiterating the UK government's unchanged stance on Kashmir as a bilateral issue.

“The government takes the situation in Kashmir very seriously but it's for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political solution, taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. It's not for the UK to prescribe a solution or to act as a mediator,” said Milling.

The Indian government expressed its dismay at some of the language used by participating MPs in the Backbench Debate, specifically Pakistani-origin Labour MP Naz Shah.

A minister from the Indian High Commission in London condemned the attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and highlighted Kashmir's status as an integral part of India.

“It is with sadness that the High Commission of India notes that an august institution of a fellow democracy has been misused today to level abuse against the elected leader of the largest practising democracy in the world,” the minister said, referring to Shah's remarks on the 2002 Gujarat riots.

“As on previous occasions, the High Commission of India reiterates that any assertion made in any forum on a subject related to an integral part of India needs to be duly substantiated with authentic verifiable facts,” the minister added.

The debate, which was scheduled to be held in March 2020 but had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, was opened by Opposition Labour Party MP Debbie Abrahams who recounted her visit to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in February 2020.

“The Pakistani government allowed us unfettered access… we used our meetings to ask pointed questions related to human rights issues highlighted in United Nations reports,” said Abrahams.

“Kashmiris must be at the heart of a trilateral peacebuilding process,” she said, reiterating that Thursday's debate was not “pro or anti” any country and only speaking in favour of human rights.

Over 20 cross-party MPs participated on both sides of the debate, with Labour MP Barry Gardiner highlighting the terrorist camps harboured by Pakistan in the region and drawing parallels with neighbouring Afghanistan.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/uk-backbench-mps-debate-kashmir-motion-india-condemns-abusive-language/articleshow/86473421.cms

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US VP Kamala Harris 'suo moto' refers to Pakistan's role in terrorism during meeting with PM Modi

Sep 24, 2021

WASHINGTON: US Vice President Kamala Harris has 'suo moto', referred to Pakistan's role in terrorism and asked the country to stop supporting terror groups during the first-ever meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, informed Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla on Thursday (local time).

Shringla said, "When the issue of terrorism came up, the Vice President suo moto referred to Pakistan's role in that regard."

Harris acknowledged the presence of terror groups in Pakistan, said Shringla when asked whether the issue of Pakistan emboldening Taliban came up during the discussion between PM Modi and the US Vice President.

"In that context when the issue of terrorism came up. The Vice President suo moto referred to Pakistan's role in that regard. She said that there were terror groups working there. She asked Pakistan to take action so that these groups do not impact on US security and that of India," the Foreign Secretary said during a special briefing.

"She agreed with Prime Minister's briefing on the fact of cross-border terrorism and the fact that India has been a victim of terrorism several decades now and the need to rein in and closely monitor Pakistan's support for such terror groups," added Shringla.

PM Modi held the meeting with VP Kamala Harris at the White House. The two leaders exchanged views on recent global developments, including in Afghanistan, and reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/us-vp-kamala-harris-suo-moto-refers-to-pakistans-role-in-terrorism-during-meeting-with-pm-modi/articleshow/86470366.cms

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Conversion case: Uttar Pradesh ATS gets 10-day remand of Islamic scholar Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui

23rd September 2021

LUCKNOW: The Uttar Pradesh ATS on Thursday got a 10-day remand of Islamic scholar Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, who was arrested for running a "conversion syndicate".

The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) had arrested Siddiqui on Tuesday for illegal conversion of people to Islam.

Siddiqui was produced in a court on Wednesday and the ATS had sought a 10-day custody to probe the case, ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said.

The Special Additional District and Session Court (NIA/ATS) awarded the custody after going through evidence presented by the prosecution, the officer said.

The remand period will start at 10 am from September 24.

Maulana Siddiqui will be interrogated to get more information from him about his links, he said.

Siddiqui, a well-known Islamic scholar from Meerut, was arrested three months after Delhi's Jamia Nagar residents Mufti Qazi Jahangir Alam Qasmi and Mohammad Umar Gautam were apprehended by the ATS.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2021/sep/23/conversion-case-uttar-pradesh-ats-gets-10-day-remand-of-islamic-scholar-maulana-kaleem-siddiqui-2362831.html

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Europe

 

Moscow in talks with Taliban to discuss visit to Russia: Report

24 September ,2021

Moscow is discussing a possible visit by a delegation of the Taliban-appointed government to Russia with Kabul, the RIA news agency cited a Russian foreign ministry source as saying on Friday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2021/09/24/Moscow-in-talks-with-Taliban-to-discuss-visit-to-Russia-Report

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Turkey urges Greece to cancel circular restricting Muslim students

Dilan Pamuk  

24.09.2021

Turkey urged Greece early Friday to cancel a circular restricting Muslim students and teachers from performing their religious duties.

In a Twitter post, the Turkish Foreign Ministry invited Greek authorities to “reverse the decision that restricts the students and teachers that go to the elementary schools of Turkish minorities in Western Thrace from performing their religious obligations.”

The recently issued circular is a step towards restricting freedom of religion and conscience, the Western Thrace Turkish Minority Advisory Board said in a statement.

The board said the practice in Rhodope and Evros prefectures is against the law and “is cunning, to say the least, if not a snide attitude.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkey-urges-greece-to-cancel-circular-restricting-muslim-students/2373547

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Turkey playing constructive role in Balkans: Bosnian top diplomat

Lejla Biogradlija 

23.09.2021

Turkey is playing a very constructive and important role in the Balkans, said Bosnia and Herzegovina's foreign minister.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency about the current agenda in the region, Bisera Turkovic said: “Turkey's economic, political and cultural contribution is productive for all countries in the region.”

She said the Sarajevo-Belgrade Highway Project supported by Turkey has international importance.

“We must insist on the completion of the project that will contribute greatly to economic development. We must not sacrifice the project for daily political exigencies and individual interests,” said Turkovic.

One of the most important projects for the Balkans is the Sarajevo-Belgrade Highway financed by Turkey, and its construction on the Serbian side continues despite the pandemic.

Turkey sees the highway as a tool to promote peace in the region.

Turkovic pointed out that her country is always open to cooperation and joint projects.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina is and will continue to be an inevitable factor in the solution of all regional problems. Every country in the region has its own problems, but we do not blame anyone. The sense of dominance moves the region away from the path of stability and European Union (EU) membership,” said Turkovic.

She added they have to be ambitious, patient, and determined in the marathon they have set out on.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina has been maintaining a stable peace for 26 years with the help of its international partners, after a bloody war,” said Turkovic.

Speaking about the "Open Balkan", Turkovic said the agreement moves the region closer to the European Union standards.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkey-playing-constructive-role-in-balkans-bosnian-top-diplomat/2372814

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Southeast Asia

 

Dispel notion that human rights is a Western agenda, SIS tells NGOs

September 23, 2021

GEORGE TOWN: NGOs must come together to “un-demonise” human rights and demystify the notion that it is a Western agenda, a women’s group said.

Sisters In Islam executive director Rozana Isa said NGOs must educate the public on human rights, including on topics such as discrimination and equality.

They also need to make it “meaningful and understandable”.

“Aside from that, our understanding of human rights also needs to be demystified and un-demonised as something which is coming from the West and be seen as a framework to help us see past our biases and prejudices.

“It has been 20 years since Durban,” she said at a webinar, referring to the World Conference against Racism (WCAR) which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

“But we still have a long way to go with all sorts of racism and discrimination in Malaysia.”

Rozana also spoke about the need for the youths to play a bigger role in leading the conversations on anti-racism.

“Young people are our hope.”

She stressed the need to learn from youth-led movements such as Undi18 and Lawan on the ways they address issues related to civil and political rights, as well as race and religious issues on social media platforms.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2021/09/23/disabuse-notion-that-human-rights-is-a-western-agenda-sis-tells-ngos/

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Perak Sultan: Islamic finance now capable to lead from the front

23 Sep 2021

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — The response of the Islamic finance industry to the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that it can lead from the front, as opposed to merely following the consensus, said Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.

The Sultan, who is also the Royal Patron for Malaysia’s Islamic Finance Initiative, said the great potential of Islamic finance to lead in an equitable, global economic recovery is demonstrated by the actions of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) during the pandemic itself.

“Of all the Multilateral Development Banks (MDB), the IDB may have had the greatest positive impact during the pandemic, with a few of its initiatives. After the World Bank, the IDB has the second-largest subscribed capital of any MDB, at US$70 billion (RM293 billion).

“What we must seriously consider (now) is how to inculcate Maqasid values into the very architecture of operational Islamic financial services,” he said in his special keynote address at the 12th SC-OCIS virtual roundtable today.

He believes that the philosophy of Maqasid has yet to be fully embraced across all operations of the sector, in order to bridge the age-old gap between “God and mammon”.

“We now have to be even more proactive, by developing a common set of Social Goals for the sector, based not only on global best practices but also on Maqasid.

“This will enable us to deliver the real social impacts that are so sorely needed,” he said.

The Sultan said the urgency of the challenges confronting humanity cannot be overstated, with the Islamic system of economic and financial intermediation, based on the principles of Maqasid al-Shariah, has become more relevant than ever.

“It is my fervent hope that the industry will embrace this vital challenge and set out a strong and practical agenda for Maqasid-based transformative change,” he said.

Sultan Nazrin said currently, the era is characterised by populist and increasingly polarised politics, by growing inequalities, racial and gender-based discrimination and violence, and inter-generational tensions over climate change.

“There are many such flashpoints of potential conflict, all of which have been exacerbated by the pandemic. What they reflect is an underlying fraying of the existing social contracts, which may no longer be fit for purpose.

“There is a growing sense that our systems are too heavily skewed against the interests of the majority. Too many people feel that they are only scraping by in the harsh new climate, or worse, that they are being left behind. Existing resentments and divides are deepening,” he said.

Luckily, in the Islamic finance sector, the Maqasid philosophy provides the ideal template to address these troubling dynamics, Sultan Nazrin said.

“It gives us a foundation for forging an agenda for transformative change that aims to heal these divisions and bridge these divides. It is now up to us to deliberate, consult, and formalise this common agenda,” he said.

Sultan Nazrin said this agenda must combine the rule of law; shared values; risks and rewards; and equal opportunities, in order to harness the resources and talents of everyone in pursuit of the greater good.

“This agenda should introduce ‘Maqasid Social Goals’ as the norm towards which all our financial institutions should strive.

“These goals, developed in consultation with regulators and industry bodies, should be incorporated into the constitutions of all the companies and institutions involved in the Islamic finance space,” he said.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/09/23/perak-sultan-islamic-finance-now-capable-to-lead-from-the-front/2007824

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Where’re your principles on gambling, PAS veteran asks party’s ministers

Nora Mahpar

September 24, 2021

PETALING JAYA: A PAS veteran questioned the role of PAS leaders in the Cabinet after the number of “special draws” for 4-digit (4D) lottery operators was increased from eight times in 2020 to 22 times this year.

Speaking to FMT, Mahfodz Mohamed insisted that PAS ministers should not abandon the principle of upholding Islamic teachings just because they were now part of the government.

“I am not happy with the government’s decision (to increase 4D draws). Although the current government is Malay-Muslim, these draws should be reduced, not increased.

“Knowing what’s ‘halal’ and ‘haram’, PAS ministers must voice out (their opposition) as they are now part of the government.

“Just because we are a minority in the government, it does not mean we can’t voice out.”

Mahfodz also questioned whether the applications by the various lottery operators were brought to the Cabinet first for evaluation, as it concerned public interest, including that of Muslims, on the issue of gambling.

“With the increase in the number of 4D draws, it will encourage people to commit sins, especially Malay Muslims in rural areas, and this worries the Muslim majority.

“The government must remember that Islamic governments do not want the profits of the world alone but the profits of the hereafter,” he said.

Last Monday, Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar questioned PAS over its stance on the issue of 4D “special draws” being increased from eight times to 22 times a year.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2021/09/24/wherere-your-principles-on-gambling-pas-veteran-asks-partys-ministers/?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=pmd_kuhDHbqQVwE5BDrHilzM_x2Y0Y.XFG4dbmqRgmZVxqs-1632477436-0-gqNtZGzNApCjcnBszQt9

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Home minister: Still no new leads on forced disappearance cases, Indira Gandhi’s ex-husband’s whereabouts

23 Sep 2021

BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — The police still have no fresh leads on their investigations on the forced disappearances of Pastor Raymond Koh, Joshua Helmi and his wife Ruth Sitepu and social activist Amri Che Mat, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said today.

Hamzah also said that the police are clueless on the whereabouts of Muhammad Riduan Abdullah, the Muslim-convert ex-husband of Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi, who absconded after kidnapping their youngest daughter, M. Prasana Diksa.

“The police is still continuing to investigate the disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh on the Kelana Jaya report 1540/2017, dated February 13, 2017, under Section 365 of the Penal Code (kidnapping or abduction of any person with the intent to cause that person to be secretly and wrongfully confined),” he said.

Hamzah added that to date, only one person has been charged in court on January 15, 2018, who would be tried on December 9, 2021.

“Investigations are also ongoing to trace the victim. For the disappearance cases of Joshua Helmy and his wife Ruth Sitepu on the Sg Way report 2249/2017 and the missing case of Amri Che Mat on the Kangar report 008554/2016, these cases have been classified as missing persons.

“The police have not gotten any new leads to trace the victims involved and their family members too did not receive any calls demanding ransom or other communications. The police are still working to trace the victims and the suspects responsible,” he added.

Hamzah responded via a written reply to a question by Batu Kawan MP Kasthuriraani Patto, who had asked to know about the status of investigations into the death of former customs department officer Anisah Ali while on duty in 2016.

She also asked about the updates on the investigations on the forced disappearances and on Riduan.

On Riduan’s case, Hamzah said that the former is believed to no longer be in the country, nor at any one place overseas, and keeps moving from one location to another to avoid being traced.

He said that efforts are ongoing with the authorities abroad to trace Riduan’s location.

On Anisah’s case, Hamzah said that the police are still investigating and efforts are ongoing to track suspects involved in the case.

“Therefore, I do not intend to comment further regarding this case, to not disrupt investigations,” he added.

Anisah, who was 54-years-old at that time, was killed after a four-wheel-drive vehicle driven by a “tonto” rammed into her vehicle in Pasir Mas, Kelantan in 2016, when she was tailing a vehicle allegedly carrying smuggled cigarettes.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/09/23/home-minister-still-no-new-leads-on-forced-disappearance-cases-indira-gandh/2007867

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Govt may ban transgenders from FT mosques

September 24, 2021

KEMAMAN: The government is looking into whether mosques in the federal territories should emulate Perlis, which has banned “mukhannath” or transgenders from entering its mosques.

Deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (religious affairs) Ahmad Marzuk Shaary said the religious authorities in Perlis had taken the appropriate steps to maintain the sanctity of mosques and prevent confusion among the Muslim community.

“I am speaking in the context of the federal territories because that is within our jurisdiction. As for other states, it’s up to their respective religious authorities. If we want to encourage other states to follow what is being done in Perlis, we have to look at the seriousness of the cases that occur (in the states).

“For me, what Perlis is doing is something that states can follow, because it is very inappropriate for a man to enter a mosque wearing a headscarf. If a man enters the women’s section (of the mosque), it will disrupt the women’s privacy.

“But if they go (to the mosque) to repent, then it’s okay,” he told reporters after launching a food bank programme at Stesen Teksi here today.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2021/09/24/govt-may-ban-transgenders-from-ft-mosques/

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Mideast

 

Catholic Priest from the US, Converts To Islam after Watching Seb-I Arus Ceremony

Serhat Cetinkaya   

23.09.2021

A Catholic priest from the US, who was influenced by 13th-century Islamic scholar, poet, and Sufi mystic Mevlana Jalaluddin al-Rumi, converted to Islam and changed his name to Ismail.

Born in 1955 in the US state of North Carolina and raised in Los Angeles, Craig Victor Fenter went to a Catholic school at the request of his family and became a pastor.

Before converting to Islam, Fenter taught religion classes at US universities for a decade.

But in time, he began to have a feeling of spiritual void. In 2004, he crossed paths with Esin Celebi Bayru, Rumi's 22nd generation granddaughter, during a program in the US.

After learning about Rumi and Islam, he visited Konya in 2005 at Bayru's invitation, watched Seb-i Arus -- the “wedding night” when Rumi reaches God -- ceremonies.

Fenter, very impressed by stories, the Sufi dance known as the Sema ceremony, and the spiritual atmosphere during ceremonies, converted to Islam in 2006.

Religion very important to my family

Speaking to Anadolu Agency about his conversion to Islam, Ismail Fenter said he was raised as a Christian since childhood.

"Religion was very important to my family. My grandmother wanted me to be a pastor. I went to the seminary to learn the priesthood," he said, adding that he used to go to church every Sunday.

He said many things did not make sense to him then.

"I believed in God but something wasn't right. The information I was trying to teach my students afterwards didn't make any sense to me. So I spent most of my life searching. I used to teach at the seminary, but I didn't believe in what I was teaching."

"I quit and left the church. I went back to California with my family and became interested in music. There was a lot in music, but my heart was empty. People's applause was great, but something was missing," Fenter noted.

He went on to say that with the advice of a teacher, he met Bayru, who was in San Francisco for a program.

"I told her: 'I feel myself at the bottom of the ocean.' I said: 'I don't know where the treasure is.' She said to me: 'You have already found the treasure because you sought it.' This sentence impressed me a lot. Then, on Bayru's invitation, I came to (Turkey's central province of) Konya in December 2005 and watched the Seb-i Arus ceremonies," Fented added.

Fenter also said he felt something "special" while watching the whirling dervishes, noting that they also went to the Mevlana Museum when he was in Konya.

My heart ripped open

In Konya, Fenter also took lessons on Islam and Sufism from Nadir Karnibuyuk, a Sufi teacher he met at the ceremonies.

"I stopped and watched him (Karnibuyuk) and looked around while he was praying. ... Then he called me to pray (as well). Not knowing what to do, I walked towards the 'Niyaz penceresi' (wishing window)," said Fenter, adding that he started praying.

"Then something happened. I don't know what happened, but I was stunned. I felt like my heart was ripped open and I was crying. ... I felt like Rumi was calling me. I cried for hours."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/life/catholic-priest-converts-to-islam-after-watching-seb-i-arus-ceremony/2373351

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Iranian FM Criticizes Britain, EU for Inaction on US Moves against JCPOA

2021-September-23

The meeting was held on Wednesday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly’s 76th Session in New York.

The European attitude was helping “the US administration keep enforcing its illegal sanctions [against Iran], while at the same time laying claim to seeking a return to the JCPOA”, Amir Abdollahian said.

Iran has been given many words and promises alleging that the West intended to revisit its JCPOA approach, the Iranian top diplomat said. There, however, have been no actions, he added.

“Unfortunately, the UK has been part of this inaction too, and this approach should change,” Amir Abdollahian said.

“This is the obvious inconsistency that is being witnessed by the Iranian nation,” he said, adding, “For the current Iranian Administration, measurable actions on the part of the other parties in the JCPOA form the only yardstick.”

Separately, the Iranian official urged that the UK take action towards repaying its debt towards Iran.

Britain owes as much as £400m to Iran arising from the non-delivery of Chieftain tanks ordered by Iran's former monarchical regime. An international arbitration in 2008 ruled the UK owed the debt.

Rebuilding of the bilateral ties took serious action, Amir Abdollahian asserted, urging London to note that taking such action on its obligations constituted the only means of reconstructing the relations.

Tehran responds proportionately to any positive and constructive step, he, meanwhile, pledged.

Truss, for her part, alleged that the UK was prepared to repay the debt.

Concerning the JCPOA, she claimed that the main focus currently rested on resumption of the talks.

Iran and the other five remaining parties to the nuclear deal signed between Tehran and world powers in 2015, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), that is, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, have held six rounds of talks in Vienna to salvage the faltering agreement by bringing the US, as the violator of the deal, back into compliance.

In quitting the JCPOA in May 2018, the administration of former US President Donald Trump reinstated the sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the accord, while mounting pressure on the country with new bans, as the other parties stood by and failed to protect Iran’s contractual benefits.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000701000305/Iranian-FM-Criicizes-Briain-EU-fr-Inacin-n-US-Mves-agains-JCPOA

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Iran Blasts US, Britain for Selling Military N. Submarines to Australia

2021-September-23

“It is regrettable that the countries that scold Iran for enriching uranium up to 60 percent for humanitarian and peaceful purposes have now decided to sell to Australia military nuclear submarines that run on uranium enriched to a level of more than 90 percent,” Qaribabadi said, addressing the 65th regular session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Wednesday.

He criticized the West for falsely accusing Iran of pursuing non-civilian nuclear technology while inking a deal on the provision of submarines fueled with weapon-grade uranium to another country.

Britain, Australia and the US have agreed a partnership to boost their defenses and share advanced technologies, including the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines.

The trio, now known by the acronym AUKUS, will see Australia cancel a contract to buy diesel-electric French submarines and instead build nuclear-powered submarines for the first time, using technology provided by the US. A transfer of this scale is also the first of its kind.

Qaribabadi pointed to Iran’s conviction that every IAEA member state has the right to pursue its peaceful nuclear program, regardless of the level of enrichment, solely on the basis of its own needs and in accordance with the IAEA safeguards, but underlined the need for necessary safeguards arrangements in place to ensure civilian nature of their nuclear programs.

It is essential that Australia reach an agreement with the IAEA on necessary safeguards arrangements, he said, adding that the IAEA must have access to high-enriched nuclear material in Australia at any agreed and reasonable time, and no excuse is acceptable in this regard. 

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000701000267/Iran-Blass-US-Briain-fr-Selling-Miliary-N-Sbmarines-Asralia

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Iran Raps US Dishonesty in N. Deal Talks

2021-September-23

During the meeting held on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Amir Abdollahian referred to the stable and good ties between the two countries, saying, "We want to expand bilateral relations more than before and see the vast presence of Swiss firms in Iran's economic and development projects. There are many grounds for developing relations between the two countries."

Fortunately, there are good frameworks for strengthening relations between the two countries. In this regard, it is appropriate to hold a joint economic commission soon, the top Iranian diplomat emphasized.

Explaining the Islamic Republic of Iran's position on the Vienna talks and the JCPOA, the Iranian foreign minister said, "Unfortunately, the Americans have not been and are not honest in the nuclear negotiations. Washington has no choice but to completely reconsider its approach and behavior. It is essential that both the Americans and the European parties show the necessary flexibility for the future negotiations to have tangible results."

The top Swiss diplomat, for his part, reviewed the results of his previous visit to Tehran and said, "We attach great importance to relations with Iran. In this regard, important meetings are being organized between our colleagues in different fields in coming months."

At the end of the meeting, Cassis stressed Berne's readiness to fully expand relations with Iran and said: Switzerland is prepared for any kind of cooperation necessary to make better and more use of the Swiss financial channel to supply the goods that Iran wants.

Iran and the other five remaining parties to the nuclear deal signed between Tehran and world powers in 2015, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), that is, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, have held six rounds of talks in Vienna to salvage the faltering agreement by bringing the US, as the violator of the deal, back into compliance.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000701000417/Iran-Raps-US-Dishnesy-in-N-Deal-Talks

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Leader's Top Military Aide: US to Escape from Syria, Persian Gulf Soon

2021-September-23

"Meanwhile, they have to escape from the Persian Gulf and West Asia as they cannot stay in this region," Rahim Safavi said.

He underlined that the Americans have to flee Syria as soon as possible after their humiliating experience in Afghanistan.

"Iran, as the largest power in West Asia region, has joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) based on the shared interests, threats, and enemies, while the Americans are at odds with Russia, China, and North Korea," Rahim Safavi added.

He underlined that Iran as a major power in West Asia has extended and added to the power of SCO as it connects the power in the East to the power of West Asia, and to the Mediterranean Sea.

"Iran, in fact, increased the geopolitical, geoeconomic, and geostrategic weight of the Shanghai Organization," Rahim Safavi pointed out.

He also predicted that the new power bloc in Asia will confront with Western bloc led by the US, adding "The power of the Asian continent will become the world's number one economic power in the next few decades, and it is undoubtedly a fact that American power will be in decline."

In relevant remarks on Tuesday, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami said that Iran is bolstering its power to gain victory against Washington, noting that Israel is no more counted as a power.

"We have built power to defeat the US. When we build power for man's largest military empire, i.e. the US, small powers like the Zionist regime are no longer counted in our equations," General Salami said.

He underlined that the Iranian nation has managed to embrace victory against the US cruel sanctions and economic war as well as the psychological pressures and heavy media operations of Washington and other western powers, and defused enemies’ plots.

In relevant remarks on Sunday, General Salami said that the US has lost its power and is a defeated, fugitive and depressed state which has been forced to withdraw its forces from the region.

“Today we no longer see the dangerous US, but we witness a failed, fleeing, and the depressed US,” General Salami said.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000630000779/Leader's-Tp-Miliary-Aide-US-Escape-frm-Syria-Persian-Glf-Sn

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Iran's Top Diplomat Continues Meetings with Counterparts, Int'l Figures in New York

2021-September-23

In a meeting with President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Peter Maurer on Wednesday, Amir Abdollahian criticized the international community for inaction in the face of oppressive US sanctions against the Iranian people, calling for concerted efforts to counter the inhumane measures.

“The oppressive US sanctions are an inhumane act and a blatant form of terrorism against the Iranian people that must be rejected and countered by all,” he said.

In May 2018, former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a UN-endorsed nuclear deal, which it had signed as a member of the P5+1 group with Tehran in 2015, and unleashed a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.

In response, Iran announced remedial measures, scaling back some of its commitments under the deal, while maintaining that the moves were "reversible" depending on the actions of the other signatories.

The US special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, has admitted that the maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic has “failed miserably” and “hurt US interests”.

Pointing to the ongoing humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, Amir Abdollahian outlined relentless efforts by Iran’s diplomatic missions in the war-ravaged country in recent weeks, and called for international aid to help ease the humanitarian situation there.

“In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and despite all pressures that Iranian society is facing these days, we tried to vaccinate the displaced Afghans as much as possible, but immediate and serious international assistance is needed in this regard,” the top Iranian diplomat said.

The government of Afghanistan collapsed on August 15 and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country in the face of the lightning advances by the Taliban following a hasty and ill-executed withdrawal of foreign forces from the country. Fears of violence and poverty have caused many Afghans to seek refuge in neighboring countries and elsewhere.

The ICRC president hailed Iran’s close cooperation with the committee and its valuable efforts to host the Afghan refugees.

Maurer also stressed the importance of improving health infrastructure in Afghanistan and said humanitarian activities in the war-hit country should not be limited only to the dispatch of commodities.

In a meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Felix Plasencia, the Iranian foreign minister said the two countries would continue joint efforts to counter the US sanctions, emphasizing resistance and a focus on domestic capacities.

Amir Abdollahian hailed Venezuela's resistance and victories against the United States, which he said were a testament to the fact that the will of the people is stronger than that of the hegemonic powers.

He added that the Islamic Republic has set no limit on the expansion of bilateral relations with the Latin American country.

For his part, the Venezuelan foreign minister said Caracas would do its utmost to promote relations with Tehran, adding that mutual ties have shown that geographical distance cannot hinder cooperation among independent states.

In another meeting with Iraqi President Barham Salih, the top Iranian diplomat expressed Tehran’s readiness to improve strategic ties with Baghdad in various fields, urging the two sides to make use of their great capacities in this regard.

The Iraqi president thanked Iran for its efforts to help his country over the past years and said Baghdad is resolute on the promotion of inclusive cooperation with Tehran.

Amir Abdollahian told Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that Iran is ready to host sessions of a joint commission with Turkey, which have been delayed for some time.

During a meeting, the Iranian foreign minister stressed the importance of holding regular consultations between the two neighboring countries especially in light of the new developments in the region.

He said Iran is in contact with all parties in Afghanistan and urged the formation of an inclusive government in the country as the only way to establish endurable peace and stability.

The Iranian foreign minister also extended to Cavusoglu an official invitation by President Ebrahim Raeisi to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pay a visit to Tehran.

Amir Abdollahian and Cavusoglu agreed that a meeting among foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan would be held in Tehran.

The Turkish foreign minister, for his part, said all unilateral and unlawful sanctions against Iran should be lifted.

He added that Iran and Turkey face common regional challenges, including the crisis in Afghanistan, and called on both sides to maintain close consultations.

Cavusoglu expressed his concern over the escalation of violence and extremism in Afghanistan and stressed the importance of the formation of an inclusive government in the country.

Amir Abdollahian also met his Hungarian counterpart on Wednesday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Amir Abdollahian and Péter Szijjártó discussed bilateral and international issues, including economic relations, educational cooperation, and the situation in Afghanistan.

Iranian top diplomat proposed holding a joint commission as early as possible to make a roadmap for Tehran-Budapest ties.

He said that over 4,000 Iranian students were studying in and the same number was graduated from Hungarian universities and this could be a basis for deepening of ties.

Szijjártó referred to his trip to Iran in 2015 and said that his country was ready to hold joint economic commission in Tehran.

He said that the US sanctions have caused problems in Iran-Hungary relations, but Budapest has tried to boost ties again.

Hungarian Foreign Minister proposed to donate 100,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine and Amirabdollahian accepted to receive them to be administered to Afghan refugees in Iran.

Amir Abdollahian also had a meeting with Namibian Foreign Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah during which he underscored the importance relations with Africa for the new administration in Iran, highlighting Iran’s support of Namibia’s fight for independence.

The two discussed the problems occurred in the good trade relationship between Iran and Namibia and the how to solve them. Amir Abdollahian invited Namibian Foreign Minister to pay a visit to Iran.

Nandi-Ndaitwah pointed out that Iran was among the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with Namibia, saying that her country was ready to expand ties with Iran on trade, mining, agriculture, health and medicine.

She also underlined that Namibia has tried to keep ties with Iran despite the obstacles caused by the US sanctions.

Meantime, ministers of foreign affairs of Iran and Belarus in a meeting in New York on Wednesday emphasized the need for expansion of bilateral economic ties.

The meeting of the Iranian and Belarus foreign ministers, Hossein Amir Abdollahian and Vladimir Makei was on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and the two sides in it exchanged viewpoints on bilateral ties and economic cooperation between the two countries.

The Belarus foreign minister in the meeting emphasized on Minsk’s will for implementing the reached agreement in last week meeting between the two countries’ presidents on the sidelines of the last week's Shanghai Cooperation Conference in Dushanbe.

“The oppressive sanctions imposed against both countries can only face defeat based on our joint cooperation,” said Makei.

He emphasized that his country is ready for comprehensive cooperation with Iran and establishment of a balanced economic relation with Iran.

Makei referred to the numerous meetings at technical level between the two countries, noting that implementing the reached agreements is in need of the existence of strong political will.

The Iranian foreign minister, for his part, said in the meeting that the two presidents' meeting was quite fruitful, and the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready for opening and new path for improvement of bilateral ties.

Amir Abdollahian expressed regret that the volume of bilateral trade has decreased despite the reached agreements, reiterating that Iran is ready for serious cooperation with Belorussia in such fields as industrial and heavy machines, agricultural machines, electrical buses, car spare parts, and agricultural items.

The Iranian foreign minister referred to the cancellation of the joint political commission and the joint economic commission during the past four years, asking for the holding of those commissions and telling his Belarus counterpart that Tehran is still waiting for the appointments of the head of the joint commissions by Minsk and holding the political commission in October.

Amir Abdollahian said that it is also possible to use the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) for expansion of bilateral ties.

Iran’s foreign minister said in New York on Wednesday that Tehran’s will is defining balanced relations with Europe, adding that the Iran-EU relations should not be subjected to the unconstructive behavior and approach of the United States.

Hossein Amir Abdollahian made the comment in a meeting with his Spanish counterpart José Manuel Albares, during which the latest conditions in Afghanistan, Iran’s relations with the European Union, bilateral relations, and other issues of mutual interest were discussed.

Amir Abdollahian referred to the 400-year old record of the Iran-Spain relations, emphasizing the need for serious efforts aimed at improving the two countries comprehensive ties.

“The two countries’ relations in the political, economic, and parliamentary fields are on the right path, but new plans need to be devised in the fields of health, industrial, science and technology, cultural, tourism, bartered transactions, private sector companies and such other fields,” said Iran's top diplomat.

He appreciated the two countries’ cooperation in health and medical fields during the coronavirus disease peaks and an “unforgettable point” in the bilateral cooperation.

Amir Abdollahian in this meeting also referred to the banking problems with which the Iranian university students are faced with, expressing hope that the two countries’ cooperation will lead to solving them.

The Iranian foreign minister emphasized that Tehran’s will is establishment of a balanced relation with the EU, reiterating that Iran’s relations with Europe should not be subjected to the unconstructive behaviors of the United States with Iran.

“In the foreign policy of the new Iranian government relations with Europe, including the entire countries in the green continent, is a priority, and that is not restricted to the EU troika countries,” he said.

The Spanish foreign minister, for his part, while agreeing with the points made by his Iranian counterpart emphasized that Spain makes its entire efforts aimed at improving the level of its political and economic ties with Iran, and that is the reason why Spain decided to join the INSTEX.

José Manuel Albares referred to the declining trend of bilateral commercial ties ever since the year 2018, emphasized that these conditions need to be changed relying on the joint efforts of both countries.

The Spanish foreign minister also exchanged viewpoints with his Iranian counterpart on Afghanistan developments, announcing that his country is ready for assisting in vaccination of the Afghan immigrants in Iran.

In a meeting with Amir Abdollahian in New York, Ireland's foreign minister said that his country is ready to take any action necessary to revive and maintain the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

Irish top diplomat Simon Coveney made the comments in a meeting with Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to discuss bilateral relations and cooperation, the Iran nuclear deal, and the situation in Afghanistan.

During the meeting, the Irish foreign minister congratulated Amir Abdollahian on his appointment as foreign minister and said it was a great pleasure for him to visit Iran as the first top Irish diplomat in the last 20 years. Coveney expressed hope that this trip would serve a cornerstone to expand relations between the two countries. Coveney also said the final stages of reopening the Irish embassy in Tehran were under way.

The Irish Foreign Minister expressed his satisfaction with his country's readiness to play a facilitating role in the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 during Trump's presidency in the US.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000701000358/Iran's-Tp-Diplma-Cnines-Meeings-wih-Cnerpars-In'l-Figres-in-New-Yrk

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Turkish foreign arrivals surge to nearly four mln in Aug: Ministry

24 September ,2021

The number of foreign visitors arriving in Turkey jumped to 3.982 million in August, data showed on Friday, surging more than 119 percent from a year earlier when strict COVID-19 measures were still in place but less than two thirds of the number in 2019.

Turkey began closing borders and restricting activity when its first COVID-19 case was recorded in March last year. There were only 1.8 million foreign arrivals in August 2020, compared to 6.3 million in the same month in 2019.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/24/Turkish-foreign-arrivals-surge-to-nearly-four-mln-in-Aug-Ministry

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Israel PM touts US friendship after House backs bill to provide $1 bln for Iron Dome

23 September ,2021

Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hailed his country’s “friendship” with the US on Thursday, after the House of Representatives voted to provide $1 billion to Tel Aviv for its Iron Dome missile defense system.

“Thanks to members of the House of Representatives, Democratic and Republican alike, for the overwhelming support for Israel and the commitment to its security. Whoever tries to challenge this security received a resounding response today,” Bennett said on Twitter.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also thanked the US House members who backed the bill: “I am grateful for the overwhelming bipartisan support for Israel and the solid commitment to our security demonstrated today by the vote on the replenishment of the Iron Dome missile defense system.”

“This support reaffirms the special relations between our two countries, rooted in shared values and strategic interests,” he added.

The US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in support of the Iron Dome bill, backing it by 420 votes to nine, only two days after the funding was removed from a broader spending bill.

Democratic lawmakers had removed the $1 billion in military funding to Israel from legislation on Tuesday after liberals in the House of Representatives raised concerns and objections.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/23/Israel-PM-touts-US-friendship-after-House-backs-bill-to-provide-1-bln-for-Iron-Dome

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North America

 

US will not force Taliban to replicate Western culture with frozen funds: Official

23 September ,2021

The US will not be able to force the Taliban to replicate and adopt Western cultures in Afghanistan through pressuring it using the country’s frozen funds, a member of the Taliban Political Commission told CNN.

“The frozen money is the people’s right. It doesn’t have anything to do with the government and politics. It’s the nation’s right. With frozen money they cannot make us copy and bring their culture here. It is in contradiction to our history, beliefs and traditions,” Anas Haqqani said in an interview with CNN.

After the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan on August 15, the US froze almost $10 billion in Afghan gold, investments and foreign currency reserves.

Washington plans to use the frozen funds as means to pressure the Taliban to respect women’s rights and to govern the public in a lawful manner.

The Taliban have rejected interference into how it decides to govern Afghanistan from the international community, demanded the US release its frozen funds and asked the international community for aid to support the country’s ailing economy.

“We will not give up on our people’s rights… This is not [US President Joe] Biden’s right or the right of the US government for them to freeze [the funds],” Haqqani said.

He added: “If the world thinks they can put a lot of pressure on us through this matter [economic pressure]… it is a very wrong thinking. Sustenance is not in the hands of Biden, Europe, Russia or China. We are not panicking about this hardship.”

Afghanistan’s economy is under immense pressure, with prices of food and fuel rising sharply amid a shortage of cash, triggered by a halt in foreign aid and a drought.

Since seizing control of Afghanistan, the Taliban launched a charm offensive to rehabilitate their hardline image from their 1996-2001 era when they performed public executions, men who didn’t pray in mosques where whipped, women’s every day movements were restricted and an extreme interpretation of Islamic law, Sharia, was enforced.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2021/09/23/US-will-not-force-Taliban-to-replicate-Western-culture-with-frozen-funds-Official

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Blinken sees unity on Taliban after talks with Pakistan, China

September 24, 2021

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday he believed the world was united on pressing the Taliban after speaking with Pakistan, China and Russia, key players with Afghanistan's new rulers.

Blinken on Thursday met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly with his Pakistani counterpart and held talks with ministers of the four other veto-wielding Security Council members including China and Russia on Wednesday evening.

“I think there is very strong unity of approach and unity of purpose,” Blinken told reporters.

“The Taliban says that it seeks legitimacy, that it seeks support from the international community. The relationship that it has with the international community is going to be defined by the actions it takes.”

Blinken reiterated US priorities for the Taliban including allowing Afghans and foreigners to leave, respecting the rights of women, girls and minorities, and not letting Afghanistan be used again by extremists such as Al Qaeda.

The State Department said Blinken highlighted “the importance of coordinating our diplomatic engagement” in talks with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Pakistan has called for engagement with the Taliban and the unfreezing of Afghan assets but Qureshi said earlier in the week that there was no rush to recognise a new Taliban government, a step opposed by Western nations.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1648157/blinken-sees-unity-on-taliban-after-talks-with-pakistan-china

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Erdogan says relations with Biden off to poor start

September 24, 2021

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday he felt that relations with his US counterpart Joe Biden had “not gotten off to a good start” since the latter’s arrival in the White House.

“My wish is to have friendly and not hostile relations” with the United States, the state news agency Anadolu quoted Erdogan as saying on the sidelines of the UN general assembly in New York.

“But the way things are going between two Nato allies is currently not too auspicious,” he said.

He said had “worked well” with previous US presidents, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. “But I cannot say things have gotten off to a good start with Biden”.

The Turkish leader said he had been unhappy with Washington before Biden took office, notably regarding Ankara’s removal from the F-35 fighter project two years ago after Turkey agreed a multi-billion-dollar purchase of the S-400 Russian-made air defence system.

That deal led to US sanctions last year and to Turkey’s suspension from the F-35 programme.

Ankara had been due to as many as 100 of the stealth fighter jets, and several Turkish suppliers were involved in the construction.

“We bought the F-35, paid $1.4 billion and the F-35 were not delivered to us,” Erdogan said. “For us the S-400 affair is done. It is not possible to go back on that.

The United States must understand. We, Turkey, are honest, but unfortunately the United States were not and are not.” Erdogan said that Ankara would go “knocking on other doors” and that “Turkey purchases what it needs for its defence.” Turning to Afghanistan and the instability which followed the recent US withdrawal and the Taliban takeover, Erdogan insisted that “it is the United States which must pay the price” in case there is an massive exodus of Afghan citizens.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1648124/erdogan-says-relations-with-biden-off-to-poor-start

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US worried over Iran nuclear deal ‘Plan B’; Tehran has provided no positive signs

23 September ,2021

Iran has not given any positive indications that it is ready to resume talks on the now-defunct nuclear deal, a senior US official said Thursday, adding that Washington was worried about “Plan B” where Tehran would push ahead with its nuclear program.

Repeating what Biden administration officials have said for nine months that the US was ready to continue waiting for Iran to decide on the fate of the talks, the official warned that a time would come when the US will no longer have an interest in the existing deal.

“Our concern about a Plan B is whether Iran has chosen a Plan B, building out its nuclear program,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters.

Nevertheless, the official refused to set a deadline.

The official added that Iran’s new government has not announced whether they will resume talks where their predecessors and the US delegation left off in June.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/23/US-worried-over-Iran-nuclear-deal-Plan-B-Tehran-has-provided-no-positive-signs

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Turkish president says access to sufficient food not privilege, 'but a right for all'

Servet Gunerigok 

23.09.2021

WASHINGTON

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that access to sufficient food is “not a privilege, but a right for all," and warned that global demand for food is growing.

Erdogan said the world is falling far too short of realizing the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030.

"Access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food is not a privilege but a right for all," he said at the UN Food Systems Summit via video conference on the sidelines of 76th session of the UN General Assembly.

"It is our shared responsibility to bequeath a more just, habitable, and peaceful world to our children," said Erdogan. "We, as Turkey, will resolutely continue to work in this direction."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/turkish-president-says-access-to-sufficient-food-not-privilege-but-a-right-for-all/2373426

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Arab World

 

Iraqi leader Barham Salih tells UNGA: ‘Corruption and terrorism work in tandem’

September 24, 2021

NEW YORK: Cooperation and solidarity is the world’s “only choice” in the fight against global terrorism, Iraqi President Barham Salih said.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Salih told fellow world leaders that his country had been dogged by wars and genocides over the past 40 years.

“We have known mass graves, the use of chemical weapons and terrorism all over our cities.”

The Iraqi leader said that victory over “the evil forces of Daesh” would not have been possible without the joint efforts of Iraqi army and police, the Peshmerga on the one hand, and their regional and international allies, on the other.

Salih reiterated his call for the international community to combat funding for terrorism, provide reparations to victims and help rebuild destroyed regions that have been freed from “the yoke of terrorism.”

This will ensure that such tragedies are not repeated, he said.

“Our obligation today is to rebuild the cities that have been liberated and ensure that the displaced go back home.”

The Iraqi president spoke at length about the link between terrorism and corruption, warning that it threatens not only Iraq’s security but the stability of the whole world.

“Our country is facing corruption because of the heavy burden left behind by wars and conflicts that have squandered a huge part of the resources of the country, depriving Iraqis of the riches of their land,” Salih said.

“For Iraq, fighting corruption is a genuine national battle. The situation will not normalize unless we manage to beat corruption.”

Salih renewed his call for an international alliance against corruption, similar to that against terrorism.

He urged member states to tackle the roots of corruption and help Iraq to restore the funds that had been plundered.

“We cannot eliminate terrorism unless we eliminate corruption, which itself constitutes a political economy of violence and terrorism,” Salih said.

“Corruption and terrorism are linked, mutually reinforcing and work steadfastly in tandem.”

Referring to regional conflicts, Salih told UNGA participants that “the absence of Iraq in its natural role for the past 40 years” has exacerbated instability, which is the result of wars and the breakdown of security and political systems in the area.

The Syrian conflict and the prolonged Yemeni war are “unacceptable,” he said. Ending these wars “should be a priority.”

The Iraqi leader added: “Neither will there be peace without granting Palestinians their legitimate rights to a state,” reiterating Iraq’s call for a global and fair solution to the issue.

Salih said that the success of peace efforts relied on an Iraq that “is safe, stable and fully sovereign.”

He added: “This requires regional and international support as well as (putting) a stop to competitive behavior and the conflicts of others being played out on our land.”

The Iraqi president called for further regional cooperation — in the form of a new organization — over shared issues, including terrorism, extremism, climate change, unstable economic conditions and the “inability to provide work to a greater number of young people.”

He said that the recent Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership underscored that “Iraq, which was a synonym for conflict, is now a meeting point for the interests of people and states in the region.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1934616/middle-east

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Syria: Two children die every week at camp for Islamic State families, NGO says

23 September 2021

An average of two children die every week at a camp in northeast Syria for suspected family members of Islamic State (IS) militants, Save the Children said.

The charity said in a report released on Thursday that tens of thousands of children were "wasting away" at al-Hol and Roj camps, and it was "more urgent than ever" that foreign governments repatriate their citizens.

"The scale of the violence, hardship, deprivation and trauma that children living in these camps experience every day cannot be overstated," the report said.

Save the Children said a total of 40,000 children from 60 different countries were living in dire conditions at al-Hol and Roj camps.

Controlled by Kurdish authorities, they have previously warned that al-Hol camp in particular is emerging as an extremist powder keg.

While the camp was set up to house the families of individuals detained for suspected ties to IS, it also houses refugees who fled fighting and IS occupation.

According to Save the Children, 163 people died at al-Hol camp between January and mid-August this year, with 62 of them children. It added that 73 people had been murdered, including three children who were shot to death - a total average of two children dying every week.

The top US military chief in the Middle East, General Kenneth McKenzie, had previously warned that children "in particular" were being radicalised by IS sympathisers within the camp and warned that "unless we find a way to repatriate them and reintegrate them and deradicalise them, we're giving ourselves the gift of fighters five to seven years down the road".

Save the Children spoke with some of the children trapped inside the camp behind barbed wire.

"I cannot endure this life anymore. We do nothing but wait," said one 11-year-old Lebanese girl who was interviewed in May and was reportedly killed during a failed escape attempt in a water truck.

The charity urged governments, including EU member states, to repatriate their citizens, stating "many of the world's richest countries have failed to bring home the majority of their children".

"What we are seeing here is governments simply abandoning children who are first and foremost victims of conflict," said Sonia Khush, director of Save the Children's Syria response.

Khush said 83 percent of repatriation operations so far had been to Uzbekistan, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, and Russia.

While 1,163 children have been repatriated since 2017, only 14 repatriations had taken place this year, the report said.

Source: Middle East Eye

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

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syria-two-children-die-every-week-al-hol-camp-save-the-children

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Kurdistan Islamic Movement calls for boycotting the Parliamentary Elections

2021-09-23

Shafaq News/ The Shura Council of the Islamic Movement in the Kurdistan Region urged on Thursday the citizens to boycott the parliamentary elections in all the Iraqi governorates except for Kirkuk.

A statement issued by the movement said, "the people of Kurdistan must take a historic position to punish the politicians who, for years, have viewed the elections as a business."

Source: Shafaq News

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

https://shafaq.com/en/Iraq-News/Kurdistan-Islamic-Movement-calls-for-boycotting-the-Parliamentary-Elections

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Iran says ‘serious progresses made in talks with Saudi Arabia

23 September ,2021

Iran and Saudi Arabia achieved “serious progress” on the issue of Gulf security, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Thursday.

“We have had several rounds of talks with Saudi Arabia’s government in [Iraqi capital] Baghdad over the past few months. There have been good talks on bilateral issues. Serious progress has been made on the subject of security in the Gulf,” state news agency IRNA quoted Khatibzadeh as saying.

He added that Tehran believes the solution to resolving the problems of the of the region can be achieved through a “comprehensive mechanism” from within the region itself. Iran has long argued against foreign interference in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz said in his speech to the UN on Wednesday: “Iran is a neighboring country. We hope that our preliminary talks with it will lead to tangible outcomes to build trust, paving the way to achieve aspirations of our peoples in building relations of cooperation.”

The King added that any relationship with Iran must be “based on the compliance with principles and resolutions of the international legitimacy, respect for sovereignty, and avoidance of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, as well as it stopping all types of support for terrorist groups and sectarian militias that have brought only war, destruction, and suffering to the peoples of the world.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/23/Iran-says-serious-progress-made-in-talks-with-Saudi-Arabia

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Coalition forces thwart Houthi attempts to disrupt Saudi National Day celebrations with drone attacks

September 24, 2021

RIYADH: Iran-backed Houthi terrorists launched five armed drones toward Saudi Arabia late on Thursday as the Kingdom celebrated its 91st national day, state media Al-Ekhbariya TV and the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The weaponized drones, which came in waves, were intercepted and destroyed by coalition air defenses before they could do any harm, the Joint Forces Command of the Coalition supporting Yemen's legitimate government was quoted by state media as saying.

"The Joint Forces Command affirmed that all necessary operational measures are taken to protect the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its citizens and residents in order to neutralize and destroy these hostile cross-border attacks," the SPA report said.

In a tweet, Al-Ekhbariyah TV said the 4th and 5th drones came just before midnight as Saudi National Day celebrations continued.

On Wednesday, Houthi terrorists launched three drones toward the southwestern Saudi city of Khamis Mushayt, all of which were shot down. On Monday, Coalition forces destroyed two bomb-laden boats that the Houthis were planning to use in Yemen's northwestern port city of Hodeidah.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1934571/saudi-arabia

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International community condemns latest Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia

September 24, 2021

RIYADH: The UAE, Bahrain, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Thursday joined a chorus of international condemnation of a failed ballistic missile attack by the Iran-backed Houthis on civilians in Saudi Arabia.

OIC Secretary-General Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen praised the efficiency of Saudi-led coalition air defenses in intercepting and destroying the missile before it reached Jazan in the southwest of the Kingdom.

He renewed his call for the international community to take decisive action to stop the ongoing threats from ballistic missile and bomb-laden drone attacks by Houthis operating from Yemen.

Al-Othaimeen pointed out that the OIC considered the militia group’s actions to be war crimes and a challenge to international humanitarian law.

Coalition forces supporting Yemen’s legitimate government on Wednesday thwarted another wave of Houthi drone attacks targeting Saudi Arabia that came two days after an attempted boat-bomb strike was foiled in Hodeidah.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1934566/saudi-arabia

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Africa

 

Burhan comes close to admitting Islamists’ involvement in failed coup

24 SEPTEMBER 2021

September 23, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Abdel Fattah al-Burhan Head of the Transitional Sovereign Council on Thursday pointed to the involvement of civilians in the failed coup attempt but stopped short of admitting they were Islamists.

Earlier this week, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok said the coup was orchestrated by the former regime emphasizing the participation of civilians affiliated with the dissolved National Congress Party participated in the attempt.

However, al-Burhan, the army spokesperson and other senior military officials dismissed the involvement of the Islamists in the attempt.

"The preparations for the coup involved some army officers and civilians that we will disclose their political affiliation at the end of the investigation," al-Burhan said in an interview with AlHadath TV Thursday.

He added that there were "political fingers" behind all the military coups that occurred in Sudan.

The Commander in Chief of the Sudanese army said these civilians will be referred to justice once the investigation concluded while the military will face military courts.

He disclosed they had intelligence about the coup but they did not detain them before because they wanted to arrest the putschists in flagrante delicto to facilitate the role of military justice.

"We wanted to arrest them in the act so that the coup attempt will be easy to prove," he stressed.

Hamdok and the leaders of the Forces for Freedom and Changes (FFC) pointed an accusing finger at al-Burhan saying he delays the reforms of the security sector and refuses to sack the Islamist militaries from the army.

They added that this situation paved the way in the past and continue to enable the Islamists to carry out attempts to seize power.

In return, al-Burhan says if the political forces settle their difference and stopped their quarrels, the Islamists would not have an opportunity to try to take power.

Source: Sudan Tribune

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

https://sudantribune.com/spip.php?article70106

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Libyan Fatwa House: Libyans should demonstrate Friday to call for toppling HoR

September 23, 2021

The Libyan Fatwa House's Council for Research and Sharia Studies called on all Libyans across the country to take to streets on Friday and demand the toppling of the House of Representatives (HoR).

The council said Thursday that the parliament has become similar to a "tumor" and because Islamic Sharia says any harm can be removed, then the Libyan people should take to streets and demand the overthrow of the HoR.

The council said MPs are responsible, Sharia-wise, for the bad deeds done to the country and religion by the HoR Speaker, whom it said was "leading them to the abyss."

"The HoR, headed by Aqila Saleh, is already illegal in terms of Sharia, laws, and morals. It has gone too far in its corruption and is adding a new crime to its record every day. It has supported the bloodshed of Libyans by backing up wars waged by Khalifa Haftar and the arrival of mercenaries and occupiers." The council added.

Source: Libya Observer

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

https://www.libyaobserver.ly/news/libyan-fatwa-house-libyans-should-demonstrate-friday-call-toppling-hor

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Boko Haram: Buhari govt won’t name terrorists sponsors because they’re Muslims – HURIWA alleges

September 23, 2021

By John Owen Nwachukwu

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has accused the President Muhammadu Buhari administration of concealing the identities of sponsors of terrorist group Boko Haram because they are Muslims.

This is contrary to what it (HURIWA) described as tepid explanation recently offered by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Alhaji Abubakar Malami (SAN), that government won’t disclose identity of sponsors of terrorism in Nigeria because that will imperil or undermine investigation.

HURIWA, in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and made available to DAILY POST on Thursday, said the AGF was being economical with the truth because his office had already filed the suit before the competent court of law meaning that investigations are concluded.

HURIWA said the current government is heavily pro-Muslim North and is just protecting the interest of the region from which key players of the government came from.

HURIWA insists that the claims made by the minister do not make sense, carpeting the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for not allowing accredited journalists to have unfettered access to the records of the indicted persons.

As DAILY POST reported earlier, Malami had in New York, United States, said that the Buhari administration will not name sponsors of terrorism at the moment so it won’t jeopardise investigations.

HURIWA further questioned why Malami is being clever by half by dishing out what it described as jaundiced, highly toxic and outrightly despicable “tales by moonlight” in which he thinks he can deceive even the youngest infant with such an illogical and infantile excuse he has offered for not releasing the names of the sponsors of boko haram terrorists.

Source: Daily Post

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

https://dailypost.ng/2021/09/23/boko-haram-buhari-govt-wont-name-terrorists-sponsors-because-theyre-muslims-huriwa-alleges/

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South Sudan’s political elite plundering public coffers: UN

23 September ,2021

Massive plundering of South Sudan’s public coffers is undermining human rights in the world’s youngest nation and threatening its already fragile peace process, a UN report said Thursday.

Since independence a decade ago, South Sudan has struggled to emerge from five years of civil war, and is battling chronic instability, economic chaos, ethnic violence and a hunger crisis.

The UN’s Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan said a “staggering” amount of money and other wealth had been diverted from public coffers and resources – more than $73 million (62 million euros) since 2018, with almost $39 million stolen over a period of less than two months.

It described the figure as only a fraction of the overall amount looted, saying President Salva Kiir had admitted as far back as 2012 that South Sudan’s ruling elites had diverted more than $4 billion.

The report said that through these actions, “South Sudan’s leaders are undermining human rights and endangering security” and called on them to implement the terms of the peace deal to ensure proper economic management.

“This plundering also continues to fuel political competition amongst elites, and is a key driver of the ongoing conflict, violations and serious crimes, jeopardizing the prospects for sustainable peace,” the commission said in a report presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

A 2018 ceasefire to end the civil war and a power-sharing deal was agreed between Kiir and his rival turned deputy Riek Machar but little progress has been made in fulfilling the peace deal’s terms.

The commission said its investigations revealed the involvement of politicians, government officials, international corporations, military personnel, and multinational banks in these “crimes.”

It accused South Sudan’s elites of deliberately adopting a “highly informal” system of oil revenue collection without independent oversight and transparency that is enabling the misappropriation of public funds.

The country, which ranks last on Transparency International’s corruption index along with Somalia, is almost entirely dependent on earnings from oil.

“The commission’s documentation of the corruption, embezzlement, bribery, and misappropriation of state funds by political elites is merely the tip of the iceberg,” commission chair Yasmin Sooka said in a statement.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/23/South-Sudan-s-political-elite-plundering-public-coffers-UN

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