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Islamic World News ( 10 Feb 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pathology of Islamophobia’ Taking Its Most Lethal Form in India, Says Celebrated Thinker Noam Chomsky

New Age Islam News Bureau

11 February 2022

 

Noam Chomsky. File photo

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• After Debate in UK on Gujarat Riots, India Mission Says Indians Can Solve Problems within Its Institutions

• Pakistan Ulema Council Declares Friday ‘Solidarity Day with Daughters of India’

• Bangladeshi Students Show Support for Indian Muslim Counterparts in Hijab Row

• Malaysia Arrests Ex-Dhaka Envoy Previously Implicated in 1975 Killings of Bangladesh Leaders

 

India

• Karnataka Hijab Row: 2,000 Intellectuals Write Open Letter in Solidarity with Muslim Students

• Clerics at the Islamic Centre of India to Hold Inter-Faith Meet On Hijab Row

• Several Muslim Bodies Vow Not To Let Hijab Row Affect Harmony In Maharashtra

• My Govt Stands with Distressed Muslim Women: Narendra Modi

• Hijab Row: No Legal Provision Of Penalty For Violation Of Uniform, Argue Muslim Students

• Muslim wing of RSS says girl who screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ was always seen in jeans

• Manchester United star Paul Pogba shares video of 'Hindutva mob harassing Muslim girls wearing Hijab' on Instagram

• What's Paramount, Country or Religion: Madras HC amid Hijab Row

• Complaint against Muslim outfit for rewarding student chanting ‘Allah hu Akbar’

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Europe

• French Politician Zemmour Targets Mosques in another Anti-Muslim Comment

• Belgian court rules 'Stop Islamisation' slogan is not racist

• Four civilians killed as French troops clash with Islamist militants in Burkina Faso

• Trojan Horse Affair: Muslim Council of Britain Calls For Independent Inquiry

• UN aims to launch new Afghanistan cash route in February: UN note

• Greece launches judicial probe of Turkish minority's march for rights

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Pakistan

• Activists and Educationists Accuse Pakistan of Ignoring Warnings on Biased Textbooks Loaded With Islamic Religious Content

• Imran Khan admits failure in bringing about change in Pakistan

• Imran Khan's visit to Beijing was to secure his waning political fortunes: Report

• Pak PM dismisses India and West's CPEC criticism

• Pakistan agency seeks ‘property details' of Mumbai terror attack proclaimed offenders and their families

• UK, Pakistan urge world to help avert humanitarian crisis, economic collapse in Afghanistan

• Punjab to conduct trial in Lankan man killing inside Lahore prison

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South Asia

• US may give $10 M to Taliban over ISIS-K bomber

• Taliban can take part in reward for catching IS leader, says US

• IEA adopts humanitarian declaration in Geneva: Geneva Call

• Negotiations with Taliban planned in Norway, Turkey soon: Reports

• Taliban Foreign Minister pledged to resolve issue of missing female activists in Afghanistan: United Nations

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Southeast Asia

• Indonesian Muslim groups demand closure of country’s first-ever Holocaust exhibition

• United States approves major $14 billion arms sale to Indonesia

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Africa

• Nigeria: Scholars Harps On Islamic Perspective on Unity; Urge To Shun Ethnicity and Tribalism, As Islam Frowns Against Conflicts and Clashes

• CAN faults Taraba Muslims, says alleged marginalisation baseless, politically-motivated

• Niger lawmakers confirm Kigera as substantive Grand Khadi, Sharia Court of Appeal

• Tunisia president says he will name new Supreme Judiciary Council

• Libyan parliament spokesman declares Bashagha new PM after rival withdraws

• UN still recognizes Libya’s Dbeibah as PM despite challenge: Spokesman

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Arab World

• Arab Coalition Asks Residents of Sanaa to Evacuate ‘Civilian Sites,’ Warns Of Strikes

• Iraq says 20 terrorists escaped from prison in Syria

• Egypt seeks to advance cooperation with Algeria: El-Sisi

• Syria’s main Druze city sees more unrest, calls for Friday protests

• Lebanon bars Bahrain opposition from holding Beirut events

• Lebanese PM signals difficulty in agreeing financial plan

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Mideast

• Iran: Vienna Talks Continue Until West Shows Will to Remove All Sanctions

• Minister: Iran Seeking Preferential Trade Agreement with Oman

• Iran's Top Negotiator Meets EU's Mora, G4+1 Representatives in Vienna

• As nuclear talks resume, Iran's oil exports increase

• Iran marks 1979 revolution anniversary with nationwide motorcade rallies

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North America

• Chapel Hill Shooting Anniversary: Muslim Community Continues Healing Process

• US Raid Raises Questions on Turkey’s Commitment vs. Islamic State

• Fort McMurray Muslims give out more than 500 winter and hygiene kits to community

• US to help UAE replenish missile defence interceptors after Houthi attacks

• US condemns Iran-backed Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport

• Amid sanctions row, Blinken invites Bangladeshi foreign minister to US

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/pathology-islamophobia-thinker-noam-chomsky/d/126350

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‘Pathology of Islamophobia’ Taking Its Most Lethal Form in India, Says Celebrated Thinker Noam Chomsky

 

Noam Chomsky. File photo

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Anita Joshua  

11.02.22

Celebrated thinker Noam Chomsky on Wednesday said the “pathology of Islamophobia”, now growing throughout the West, was “taking its most lethal form in India where the Modi government is systematically dismantling Indian secular democracy and turning the country into a Hindu ethnocracy”.

Chomsky’s comments came in a recorded message to a congressional briefing — the third in a month organised by US-based diaspora organisations on communalism in India.

This time the focus was on “worsening hate speech and violence in India”. Chomsky was to be one of the speakers but sent a recorded message as did activist Harsh Mander of Karwan-e-Mohabbat.

In his short message, Chomsky spoke also on the attacks on independent thought and the education system besides the situation in Kashmir, which he said “is now occupied territory… similar in some ways to occupied Palestine”. He also referred to the situation in Pakistan and the rest of the region.

Mander said: “India finds itself today in a frighteningly dark and violent space of fear and hate.”

He spoke about how modern India’s founding fathers had made the conscious choice not to go the Pakistan way of letting a religion define the country.

On the “Hindutva project”, he said it “requires a radical, violent rupture between India’s Hindus and those of the hated ‘others’ that it constructs: India’s Muslims and India’s Christians”.

“India’s immense tragedy today is that people steeped deeply in the Hindu supremacist ideology that spurred Gandhi’s killing are in fact ruling India today,” Mander said.

“It is tempting for supporters of the ruling establishment to dismiss claims of possible genocide as alarmist, mischievous and motivated so-called foreign interference and not as they are — efforts to alert the national conscience. But the Holocaust Memorial Museum Report warns of the dangers of such denial.”

Unlike the last congressional briefing, there was no participation from lawmakers. The external affairs ministry, asked for a comment on the latest briefing, did not respond.

In London, British lawmakers participated in a Westminster Hall debate to mark the 20th anniversary of the Gujarat riots. Labour MP Kim Leadbeater had raised the issue in keeping with the wishes of three of her diaspora constituents who had lost relatives in the violence and were still seeking justice.

The discussion drew a response from the Indian high commission in London. It said it had not till date been approached by the MP who sponsored the motion or any of the other participants in the discussion to engage on the subject, including the specific request from the families of three British victims.

Leadbeater asked the British government to explore with Indian authorities the possibility of repatriating the remains of the three men from her constituency of Batley and Spen in West Yorkshire who were killed in the riots.

Fellow Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, who participated in the discussion, tweeted: “The mass murder, death and destruction of 2002 #Gujarat riots displayed to the world the worst of humanity. Marking 20th anniversary, crucial that victims’ families receive justice, and we appreciate the importance of respect for all religions and living peacefully side by side.”

The mass murder, death and destruction of 2002 #Gujarat riots displayed to the world the worst of humanity.

Marking 20th anniversary, crucial that victims’ families receive justice, and we appreciate the importance of respect for all religions and living peacefully side by side. pic.twitter.com/gWuHcbri9i

— Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP (@TanDhesi) February 9, 2022

Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/pathology-of-islamophobia-taking-most-lethal-form-in-india-noam-chomsky/cid/1851456

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After Debate in UK on Gujarat Riots, India Mission Says Indians Can Solve Problems within Its Institutions

 

Kim Leadbeater

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Naomi Canton

Feb 11, 2022

LONDON: Taking "note of a discussion” in a House of Commons debating chamber on Wednesday on the 2002 Gujarat riots, the Indian high commission in London has said that Indians can address their own problems within India’s own institutions.

Vishwesh Negi, minister (press) at the Indian mission, said: “Our internal laws and foreign policy are guided by the principles enshrined in the Constitution of India and this enables our people to address their problems democratically and within our own democratic institutions.”

The parliamentary debate at Westminster Hall was sponsored by Labour MP Kim Leadbeater to mark the 20th anniversary of the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The 45-year-old won the seat of Batley and Spen in July 2021 in a by-election using a controversial flyer depicting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UK PM Boris Johnson in a negative light. Her constituency has a significant number of people of Pakistani and Gujarati Muslim ethnicity.

Only a few MPs turned up to the 20-minute debate and six spoke. The families of three British Muslim men killed in the 2002 riots sat in the public gallery. Westminster Hall debates give MPs an opportunity to raise an issue and receive a response from a government minister.

Negi said the HCI had not been approached by any of the participants to engage on the topic, including on the specific request of the families of three British victims. “Under successive Indian governments, there has been continuous parliamentary oversight and judicial supervision of the investigations into the incidents and free debate and discussions have taken place in the Parliament of India. As in a mature democracy, the report of the SIT constituted by the Supreme Court of India has been placed in the public domain in its entirety,” he said.

But Leadbeater told MPs that the families present — her constituents — felt “justice is yet to be done for what happened”. She explained how on February 28, 2002 Sakil and Saeed Dawood, their childhood friend Mohammed Aswat, and their driver, were murdered by a mob in Gujarat. Their nephew Imran was left for dead but survived; he was seated in the gallery.

“I ask the minister to investigate with the Indian authorities whether the repatriation of the remains is possible,” she said. She also called on the UK to hold an inquest into their deaths and for any “unpublished report” carried out by the UK at the time to be made public.

Amanda Milling, minister for Asia, responding on behalf of the UK government, said she was not aware of any such report and that the family has made an application to a court in India for the remains to be returned. “We stand ready to support that application,” she said.

On Twitter some reacted with anger that the topic was being debated. One said: “Let’s investigate Jallianwala Bagh.” Another proposed India publish a report on the Bengal famine. Another said it was time to tell Britain the days of the Raj are over. Another said: “Why doesn’t the Labour Party run for election in India and then discuss Indian issues inside the Indian Parliament?”

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/after-debate-in-uk-on-gujarat-riots-india-mission-says-indians-can-solve-problems-within-indias-institutions/articleshow/89490911.cms

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Pakistan Ulema Council Declares Friday ‘Solidarity Day with Daughters of India’

 

Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC)

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February 10, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC), Special Representative to Prime Minister on Religious Harmony and the Middle East Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi announced that on the call of Pakistan Ulema Council and the International Islamic Council, ‘Solidarity Day with Daughters of India’ will be observed on Friday (tomorrow). “The Muslim world will protest against the persecution of minorities in India, maltreatment of the Muslims and the desecration of Muslim women regarding ban on Hijab.”

India's atrocities will be strongly condemned in the entire Islamic world, including Pakistan and solidarity will be shown with minorities and oppressed Muslims and daughters in India,”

he said while addressing a press conference on Wednesday.

PUC Secretary-General Dr Prof Abu Bakar Siddique, Maulana Qasim Qasmi, Maulana Noman Hashir, Maulana Tahir Aqeel Awan, Maulana Shahbaz Ahmed, Maulana Muhammad Ashfaq Patafi, Maulana Muhammad Shafi Qasmi, Maulana Atif Tanveer, Sahibzada Hafiz Saqib Munir and other religious leaders were also present on the occasion.

Ashrafi said that letters are being sent to important leaders of the Islamic world including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), condemning the atrocities of India at oppressed Muslims. “The leadership of the Muslim world must raise their voices to contain Indian atrocities committed against oppressed and minority classes residing in India. The entire Muslim Ummah salutes the ‘Muslim Daughter' in the manner she has protected her Hijab and values of Islam in the face of terror.“

He also announced that 'Foundation Day of Pakistan Ulema Council' and Ulemas-Mashaykh Paigham-e-Pakistan conventions will be held across the country from 22nd February to 3rd March 2022.

In this regard, he said the Paigham-e-Pakistan Ulemas-Mashaykh conference will be held on 27th February in Lahore, in Faisalabad on 3rd March, 5th Match in Sahiwal and Islamabad on 7th March, to be attended by all religious schools of thought and ambassadors of the Muslim countries.

Source: The News Pakistan

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

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/932307-puc-declares-friday-solidarity-day-with-daughters-of-india

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Bangladeshi Students Show Support for Indian Muslim Counterparts in Hijab Row

 

File photo

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February 10, 2022

Around 50 students at Dhaka University in Bangladesh formed a human chain on campus Wednesday, expressing solidarity with Muslim students in India in a row over the wearing of the hijab, or headscarf.

The students said the wearing of the hijab is a personal choice and religious practice of Muslim women across the world as well as an issue of freedom of choice and no state has the right to interfere with one's personal and religious freedoms.

Highlighting the escalating situation in India due to the oppressive attitude against hijab-wearing Muslim female students, Saleh Uddin Sifat, a student of law at Dhaka University, said some female students at a college in India’s Karnataka state “were cornered in a particular room during class hours and forced not to participate in classes with others” on Jan. 7.

“It is very discriminatory policy and naked interference in one’s religious freedom that has been protected in the Indian constitution," Sifat said, adding such injustice could not exist in a civilized world.

The Bangladeshi students also expressed solidarity with Muskan Khan, a student in Karnataka who was heckled by a Hindu right-wing mob at her college.

While dozens of the Hindu youths wearing saffron scarves surrounded her and loudly chanted the slogan “Jai Shri Ram” (Hail Lord Ram), the lone, Burqa-wearing woman reacted by shouting “Allahu Akbar! (God is the greatest)” A video clip of the incident rapidly went viral on social media across the world.

“No one has the right to force anyone to wear the hijab or to abandon the hijab. No one should be bullied or harassed for wearing the hijab. It is not only a sign of religion but also an issue involving freedom of choice,” said Ashrefa Tasnim, another student.

Tasnim said that fascist and extremist groups in India want to downtrod women’s emancipation.

“The peace-loving student communities in South Asia and beyond will resist any conspiracy to destroy communal harmony in the region by banning the hijab,” she added.

- Massive volume of comments on social media

Meanwhile, a huge number of Bangladeshi nationals have hailed the video of Muskan Khan on social media, labeling her as a symbol of boldness and faith.

Many have used her photo as their social media profile picture.

Muktadir Rashid Romeo tweeted that the incident may trigger “religious tensions” in South Asia, “but history witnesses (that) humanity always wins.”

Referring to the courageous turnaround of Muskan Khan as time-befitting, many called on world leaders to stand against the oppressive state policy of the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi against Muslims.

“In the last decade, I have seen many videos on social media. But I have never watched a video so many times. I have uttered ‘Allahu Akbar’ instinctively as many times as I have seen Muskan’s video,” senior journalist Muhammad Abdullah wrote on his Facebook page.

In a more emotional note, another Bangladeshi national, Monjur e Alahi, said he would name his brother’s forthcoming child “Muskan Khan” and would tell her later about the story of the brave Indian Muslim girl.

Popular television journalist Mustafa Mollick on his Facebook page has termed Khan’s bold struggle to defend the right to wear the hijab a symbol of “Iman (faith).”

Source: Yeni Safak

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

https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/bangladeshi-students-show-support-for-indian-muslim-counterparts-in-hijab-row-3589201

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Malaysia Arrests Ex-Dhaka Envoy Previously Implicated in 1975 Killings of Bangladesh Leaders

 

File Photo

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2022-02-10

Malaysia on Thursday announced the arrest and pending extradition of a former Bangladeshi ambassador to Kuala Lumpur, who previously had been implicated back home for his alleged involvement in the 1975 jailhouse killings of four officials from a deposed government.

M. Khairuzzaman, the former Bangladeshi high commissioner to Malaysia, is a retired military officer who has been living in the Kuala Lumpur area for more than a decade.

“We hope to bring him back soon,” M. Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh’s state minister for foreign affairs, told reporters at the foreign ministry in Dhaka on Thursday. “The Home and Law ministries will jointly look into whether there is an opportunity to revive the [jail killings] case against him or what steps can be taken afterward.”

Shahriar said the Malaysian home ministry had issued a written notice to the Bangladesh government of Khairuzzaman’s arrest for “violating immigration laws.”

“Those who are arrested on Malaysian immigration issues are kept at deportation centers to be deported to their home countries. He is also held there,” Shahriar said.

“As far as I know or understand, there is an opportunity to physically interrogate him again in relation to the jail killing case,” he said. “The Law Ministry would be better able to say.”

Khairuzzaman had previously been implicated in turmoil that followed a military coup in August 1975, when Bangladesh’s founding leader, the father of the current prime minister, was assassinated. Twenty-nine years later, when Bangladesh was led by the party that is the main opposition party today, a court acquitted Khairuzzaman of those charges.

Shahriar was asked if Khairuzzaman was being returned because of the case tied to the jailhouse killings back in 1975.

“If any expatriate commits a crime, if someone overstays in a country or falls into irregularities, we bring him back. That process will be followed in his case,” he replied. “Immigration law has been violated, the Malaysian government has told us, we are bringing back a citizen of Bangladesh, that’s all.”

In Malaysia on Thursday, an official confirmed that local authorities had picked up Khairuzzaman, who holds a U.N. refugee card, from his home in Ampang, near Kuala Lumpur.

“Yes, he was arrested yesterday morning, and will be deported to Bangladesh. The immigration department assisted the Bangladeshi police in this arrest,” the senior government source who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, told BenarNews.

In Putrajaya, Malaysian Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin told reporters that Khairuzzaman’s arrest was lawful.

“Based on the rule of law, if there is an offense, we arrest, or if there is a request from the country of origin and if we found there is truth to it,” Hamzah told reporters.

“All that was done, we did it according to procedure,” he said without elaborating.

Khairuzzaman and other military personnel were accused of killing four founding leaders of Bangladesh – Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, M. Mansur Ali and A.H.M. Quamruzzaman – inside the Dhaka Central Jail in November 1975.

The killings followed the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the country’s founding father and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s father.

Three other defendants were convicted and sentenced to death in 2004 – nearly three decades after the killings. Two years later, the High Court acquitted two of the defendants and upheld the death sentence for the third. Prosecutors appealed and in 2013 all three, who had absconded, were sentenced to death by the Appellate Division.

Khairuzzaman, meanwhile, was acquitted of similar charges in 2004. He had been appointed director general of the Foreign Affairs Ministry one year earlier in a coalition government led by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, Hasina’s nemesis.

Khairuzzaman had been serving as a diplomat in Kuala Lumpur when Hasina returned to power in 2009. Ordered back to Dhaka, he chose to stay in Malaysia and received a refugee card from UNHCR.

“No law or regulation should be enacted by the U.N. where a member-state’s interests are harmed or a legal process is hampered,” Shahriar said when asked about the card. “It’s not supposed to happen. We will look into the matter.”

Malaysian human rights lawyer Sumitha Shaanthinni noted the country is not a signatory to the refugee convention so it has no obligation to provide any protection to refugees, adding UNHCR’s presence in Malaysia is on humanitarian grounds.

“However, legal scholars argue that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its entirety – including the right to seek asylum – has become a part of customary international law. As such, no state should violate the customary international law principle of non-refoulment,” she said.

Pointing to Rohingya, she said Malaysia has violated the custom many times by deporting UNHCR card holders.

UNHCR officials in Kuala Lumpur did not immediately respond to queries from BenarNews about Khairuzzaman’s case and his pending deportation.

Meanwhile, the Bangladesh High Commission in the Malaysian capital declined to comment when contacted by BenarNews. The Malaysian immigration and police departments also did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

Source: Benar News

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

https://www.benarnews.org/english/news/malaysian/former-envoy-02102022163321.html

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India

 

Karnataka hijab row: 2,000 intellectuals write open letter in solidarity with Muslim students

10th February 2022

By Rajesh Kumar ThakurExpress News Service

NEW DELHI: “The ban on hijab in classrooms and campuses in coastal Karnataka, which is now spreading to other states, is a hate crime”, said over 2000 intellectuals through an open letter on Thursday.

The intellectuals, who are working as lawyers, journalists, academicians, and woman-right activists, said they are in solidarity with the Muslim women who are protesting the ban on hijab. They further said the restrictions on wearing hijab in classrooms and campuses are only the latest pretext to impose ‘apartheid’ on Muslim women.

The signatories in the open letter, endorsed by over 130 groups across 15 states, have stated that the Indian Constitution mandates schools and colleges to nurture plurality. “Uniform in such institutions is meant to minimize the differences between students. They are not intended to impose cultural uniformity on a plural country,” the signatories of the open letter stated.

Kavita Krishnan of AIPWA, who is leading the solidarity movement, said making hijabi women sit in separate classrooms or moving them from the colleges of their choice to Muslim-run colleges is nothing but “apartheid”.

She along with other signatories of the letter alleged that the "Hindu supremacist" groups in coastal Karnataka have since 2008 been unleashing violence to ensure such "apartheid".

“We are appalled that the Karnataka Home Minister has ordered an investigation into the phone records of hijab-wearing Muslim women to ‘probe their link’ with ‘terror groups, the open letter further stated adding that Muslim women wearing hijab are now being treated as conspirators.

The signatories declared: “Educational institutions should pay attention to what is inside students' heads and not what’s on them. We stand with every woman who is told that she can not enter college because she is wearing jeans or shorts or hijab”.

All the signatories demanded stern action against the organisation and individuals who led and were part of the mob that heckled a Muslim girl in Mandya. They also appealed to the students and citizens all over the country to resist any attempt to impose misogynistic and Islamophobic dress codes on students.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/feb/10/karnataka-hijab-row-2000-intellectuals-write-open-letter-in-solidarity-with-muslim-students-2417861.html

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Clerics At The Islamic Centre Of India To Hold Inter-Faith Meet On Hijab Row

11th February 2022

Lucknow: The clerics at the Islamic Centre of India (ICI) will hold an interfaith conference with various religious heads to find a solution against hate being spread in the country, in the backdrop of the Hijab row in Karnataka.

In a meeting at ICI, the clerics elaborated on the importance of hijab for women, as laid down in the Quran and Prophet Mohammad’s Hadiths.

ICI head, Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali, said, “Hijab is the religious duty of a Muslim woman, and the Indian Constitution in Article 25 allows every citizen to practice their religion as per choice. Stopping students from attending educational institutions in their hijab is a direct attack on their religious freedom.”

He said, “We have decided to soon hold an interfaith conference against such propagated hate with heads of different religions to come up with a common solution towards peace, prosperity and the future of our nation.”

He further added: “The Constitution also guarantees every citizen the right to education. From this point of view too, the Karnataka government is eroding the constitutional rights.”

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/islamic-centre-to-hold-inter-faith-meet-on-hijab-row-2273630/

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Several Muslim Bodies Vow Not To Let Hijab Row Affect Harmony In Maharashtra

By Pallavi Smart

February 11, 202

A meeting of various Muslim cultural and social organisations was held in Mumbai on Thursday to ensure that the hijab row that has affected Karnataka does not take a communal turn in Maharashtra.

Several organisations such as Mumbai Aman Committee, Ulema Council, Movement for Human Welfare, Jamiat-e-Ahle Sunnat, Jamaat e Islami Hind, All India Khilafat House Committee, Lokanchi Shakti Mumbai, Jamiat Ahle Hadees, Raza Foundation, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, Student Islamic Organization of India, Sadbhawna Manch Mumbai, Anjuman-e-Khadim -e- Hussain Trust among others participated in the meeting.

“The idea is to ensure communal harmony that defines the real Indian culture,” shared Farid Shaikh, President of the Mumbai Aman Committee, in whose office the meeting was held on Thursday evening.

Source: Indian Express

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/muslim-bodies-vow-not-to-let-hijab-row-affect-harmony-in-maharashtra-7766964/

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My govt stands with distressed Muslim women: Narendra Modi

Piyush Srivastava  

11.02.22

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday portrayed himself as a deliverer of distressed Muslim women whom his political opponents were trying to mislead to prevent them voting for the BJP.

“The law we enacted against the triple talaq has given a sense of security to Muslim sisters. But friends, the contractors of votes were sleepless and restless when their own daughters started chanting ‘Modi, Modi’,” the Prime Minister told a rally in Saharanpur, which has a large Muslim population.

“They are looking for new tricks to prevent the Muslim sisters and daughters from exercising their rights, to halt their development. They are misleading Muslim sisters so they always lag behind. Friends, my government stands with every distressed and victimised Muslim woman. The government of Yogiji is necessary… so that nobody is allowed to harass Muslim women.”

Hours earlier, several Muslim leaders in Saharanpur district had referred to the way some government colleges in BJP-ruled Karnataka had banned the hijab and youths chanting “Jai Shri Ram” heckled Muslim women students who wore the veil or a burqa.

“We have decided to award Rs 5 lakh to Bibi Muskan Khan, daughter of Mohammad Hussain Khan, the brave girl of Karnataka. We congratulate her and wish her a bright future,” Mahmood Madani, president of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, had told reporters in Deoband town on Wednesday evening.

As second-year BCom student Bibi Muskan was trying to enter the PES College of Science, Arts and Commerce this week in Mandya town, 100km from Bangalore, young men sporting saffron scarves heckled her with slogans, the most audible being “Jai Shri Ram.”

Muskan shouted back “Allah hu Akbar” and “Hijab is my right” and walked on.

“The present government is trying to destroy our Constitution, which allows every community to live according to their religious beliefs,” said Maulana Tariq Kasmi, a teacher at the Darul Uloom Hussainia madrasa in Deoband, home to the 155-year-old Sunni seminary Darul Uloom.

Kasmi said BJP leaders were alluding to the hijab ban in various ways during the Uttar Pradesh campaign to win votes from Hindutva supporters.

Modi repeatedly referred to his government’s ban on the instant triple talaq but not to the National Register of Citizens or the Constitution (Amendment) Act that had triggered countrywide protests led by Muslim women.

“Muslim sisters and daughters understand our clear intentions. We have set Muslim sisters and daughters free from the atrocity of the triple talaq,” Modi said.

“The BJP began receiving open support from Muslim sisters and daughters. Muslim daughters started uploading one or two-minute videos praising the BJP government because they had got such respect after centuries. The contractors (of votes) thought to stop these Muslim sisters… they feared his (Modi’s) rule would come inside the house.”

Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/prime-minister-narendra-modi-portrays-himself-as-deliverer-of-distressed-muslim-women/cid/1851405

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Hijab row: No legal provision of penalty for violation of uniform, argue Muslim students

10th February 2022

BENGALURU: The student-petitioners who challenged the ban on wearing Hijab in educational institutions on Thursday told the Karnataka High Court that the Karnataka Education Act-1983 does not have any provision of penalty for infraction of uniform.

Advocate Sanjay Hegde, who appeared on behalf of students from Kundapura before the full bench of the Karnataka High Court, said the penalty clause prescribed in the KEA-1983 largely restricted to college management.

He said the Act has provision to impose fine for copying, malpractices and loitering.

"There is, however, no penalty for infraction of uniform," Hegde contended before the full-bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice J M Khazi.

The bench was constituted on Wednesday night to hear the Hijab case after the single bench of Justice Dixit referred it to the CJ saying a larger bench may hear it.

According to Hegde, the petitioners have been wearing their regular head scarves along with their uniform but the college management insisted that they should remove it to attend classes.

Since December the petitioners have faced discrimination and they were made to stand out of the class though his clients said head scarves were their religious and cultural practice, Hegde argued.

Intervening in the argument, Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi pointed out that after the girls started coming to the colleges wearing Hijab, some other students started coming wearing saffron shawls leading to chaos.

As a result, the state declared holidays for three days in the schools and colleges till Friday.

AG Navadgi also said the educational institutions decided the school uniform based on the state government's directive.

Noting that the state government was keen to resume the classes, he said it was difficult for children as some want to wear head scarves, while other want saffron scarves.

Advocate Devadatt Kamat, who appeared for students from Udupi, said the issue was not related to uniform as the students have been following it.

According to him, the students only wanted to wear the head scarves of the same colour.

The state government has issued an order saying head scarf cannot be worn -- a religious culture of the girls, which cannot be curtailed, Kamat said and pleaded that the girls should be allowed continue to wear head scarves and go to the college.

"Our fundamental right is held hostage to the college development committee. The government order says prohibition of head scarves is not a violation of Article 25. The GO is not as innocuous as the state government says," Kamat argued.

The lawyer for Udupi students also cited verses from Quran which said it was incumbent upon women to cover their heads before anyone other than close family members.

However, Sanjay Hegde underlined that the case was not just restricted to religious practice but "a case of essential education for the girl child".

"We had Dr Ambedkar who was made to sit apart in the school. After so many years of independence, I do not want any kind of separation," the senior advocate said.

The Hijab row started in December end when a few students started coming to the government pre-university college in Udupi wearing Hijab.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2022/feb/10/hijab-row-no-legal-provision-of-penalty-for-violation-of-uniform-argue-muslim-students-2417887.html

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Muslim wing of RSS says girl who screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ was always seen in jeans

February 10, 2022

Hours after its local functionary in Uttar Pradesh backed a burqa-clad student who was heckled by youth shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans at a Karnataka college, the RSS' Muslim wing on Thursday distanced itself from his statement and said some fanatics are misusing her to amplify the row over 'hijab' to vitiate the country's atmosphere.

In a statement, the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) categorically said that it does not support such "fanaticism and religious frenzy" and favoured the move to enforce dress code for students in educational institutions Karnataka.

In a video message, the MRM's founder and a senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar said the ongoing row over 'hijab' is "a cruel and disgusting" face of the nefarious design of "some fanatics" to disturb harmony and peace in the country.

"Some fanatics are misusing Muslim daughter Muskan Khan, who is always seen in jeans, to defame India and malign Islam," he said.

He also demanded that a "through investigation" be conducted into the entire episode to expose those involved in creating a row over hijab and fanning "communal passion" to vitiate the country's atmosphere.

Earlier in the day, Prant Sanchalak (Awadh) of the MRM Arun Singh had backed the burqa-clad student, Bibi Muskan Khan, who was recently seen being heckled by a group of youth shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans at a Karnataka college in a viral video, saying ‘purdah’ is part of the Indian culture.

"She is the daughter and sister of our community, we stand with her at this time of crisis," he told PTI.

The MRM is an affiliate of the RSS with stated objective to bring Hindus closer to Muslims.

"I want to clarify that neither Muslim Rashtriya Manch nor its chief patron Indresh Kumar supports any such thing. Some fanatics are misusing girls to amplify the row (over hijab) to vitiate the atmosphere of social harmony and peace in the country. We do not support any such fanaticism and religious frenzy," the MRM's national convenor and media in-charge Shahid Sayeed said in a statement.

The MRM vehemently condemns and opposes such "a fanatic move", he added

Sayeed said practice of 'hijab' and 'purdah' systems have their importance "in every religion and society" but it has no relationship with the schools, colleges, educational institutions, industrial or business sectors.

Source: The Week

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

https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2022/02/10/rss-muslim-wing-says-girl-who-screamed-allahu-akbar-was-always-seen-in-jeans.html

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Manchester United star Paul Pogba shares video of 'Hindutva mob harassing Muslim girls wearing Hijab' on Instagram

10th February 2022

One of the most influential footballers of the era, Paul Pogba shared a video alleging the 'Hindutva mob of harassing Muslim girls wearing Hijab to college in India' on Instagram stories.

The Manchester United playmaker, who has over 51 million followers on Instagram, shared a video of the ongoing Hijab issue that's created a tense situation across many schools in Karnataka.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka High Court on Thursday orally said it will restrain students and all stakeholders from insisting on wearing any religious garment, either the headscarf or saffron shawl, till the final verdict is reached.

A full bench comprising of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice JM Khazi indicated this before concluding the hearing on Thursday of the batch of petitions filed by students from Udupi questioning the state government's order prescribing uniform in school and college.

On Tuesday, the Karnataka government has declared a holiday for all high schools and colleges across the state for the next three days in order to avoid any further unrest among students over the hijab row.

The hijab row that started at a college in Udupi district has quickly spread to most parts of the state, including Bagalkot, Vijayapura, Hubballi, Hassan, Kolar, Kodagu and Kalaburgi.

Students wearing hijabs and saffron shawls and groups supporting them resorted to protests. As the situation was getting out of control, many colleges declared holidays even before the government made the announcement.

Violence erupted across the state with incidents of stone-throwing, heckling of a girl wearing hijab, hoisting of a saffron flag on college premises, and a large number of students wearing hijabs and saffron shawls taking to streets being reported from many places.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2022/feb/10/manchester-united-star-paul-pogba-shares-video-of-hindutva-mob-harassing-muslim-girls-wearing-hijab-2417860.html

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What's paramount, country or religion: Madras HC amid hijab row

Feb 11, 2022

CHENNAI: "What is paramount? The country or the religion? It is shocking that somebody is going behind a hijab and somebody is going behind a dhoti. Is this one country or is it divided by religion," the Madras high court wondered while hearing a PIL seeking restricted entry into Hindu temples.

Pointing out the fact that India is a secular country, Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari said: "What is found from the current affairs is nothing but an effort to divide the country in the name of religion."

The first bench comprising the chief justice and Justice D Bharatha

Chakravarthy made the observation on a batch of PILs filed to permit only believers of 'Sanatana Dharma' into Hindu temples and to bar atheists from temples.

The petitioner also wanted the court to direct the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department to ensure that appropriate dress code is followed by the devotees who enter the temples.

The HC adjourned the hearing pertaining to the dress code for 10 days to allow the petitioner to list incidents where such a breach was noticed.

This apart, the bench dismissed another plea moved by the petitioner, Rangarajan Narasimhan of Srirangam in Tiruchirapalli district, claiming that the live telecast of PM Modi's event rededicating Adi Sankara's samadhi, on the premises of 16 HR&CE temples last month was illegal as it violated HR&CE rules.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/whats-paramount-country-or-religion-madras-hc-amid-hijab-row/articleshow/89488332.cms

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Complaint against Muslim outfit for rewarding student chanting ‘Allah hu Akbar’

10th February 2022

Mandya: Narendra Modi Vichar Manch has lodged a complaint with Mandya Police against Muslim organisation Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind for announcing Rs 5 lakh cash reward to the student who raised ‘Allah hu Akbar’ slogan during protests in connection with hijab row in the district of Karnataka.

Muskaan Khan, the student of PES College of Arts, Science and Commerce in Mandya district was heckled by the crowd in the college premises for wearing burka. Single handedly she confronted the crowd, raised the counter slogan of ‘Allah hu Akbar’ even as tens of students chased her and raised counter slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’. The video is now viral on social media.

Appreciating the courage of the student, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind has announced Rs 5 lakh cash reward to the student for standing up for her rights.

“It is a concern that students of Karnataka have sown poisonous seeds of religious intolerance creating unrest in the society. Few fundamental organisations and separatist institutions announcing cash reward for the student is a worrying development,” complainant C.T. Manjunath, State Secretary of the Manch stated on Wednesday evening.

“I strongly believe that the organisation is behind the hijab crisis in the state. The financial transactions of this organisation have to be scrutinized and legal action must be initiated. This act of announcing cash reward encourages fundamentalism and religious fanaticism,” he said.

The burka clad young student Muskaan Khan has said that she will abide by the court order.

Speaking to reporters, Muskaan explained that she had been to the college to submit an assignment to the department. “I was stopped at the gate by a group of students. They asked me to enter the college without burka or else go back home. I resisted,” she said.

“The group was doing the same thing to my other friends also. I questioned them why I should go back and entered the college premises. Some of them came near my ears and shouted ‘Jai Sri Ram’ slogans. They followed me and said that I must take out the burka but I stood my ground,” she explained.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/complaint-against-muslim-outfit-for-rewarding-student-chanting-allah-hu-akbar-2273179/

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Europe

 

French politician Zemmour targets mosques in another anti-Muslim comment

February 10, 2022

French politician and French Presidential candidate Eric Zemmour has made a new scandalous statement targeting mosques and the call to prayer.

"I don't want to hear the muezzin's voice in France, and if I become president, I won't.", Zemmour, who will run for president in April election, said on BFMTV channel.

According to TRT Haber, Zemmour is trying to gather supporters with his far-right rhetoric.

He said that France should remain "the landscape of churches. "I reject huge mosques," he added.

Asked about the idea of a wall on European borders, proposed by certain leaders of the European Union, Zemmour said he was in favour.

Zemmour told the CNews channel in September last year that child migrants were "thieves, killers, they're rapists. That's all they are. We should send them back."

Headscarf ban

The regulation of the headscarf ban in sports competitions in France is another topic of discussion recently.

The bill, which was accepted in the French Senate on January 18, will be decided in the National Assembly.

Opponents of the proposal are protesting the law.

Preventing protest

Earlier, Paris police canceled a planned demonstration against the headscarves ban, claiming it "could endanger public order".

The Headscarves Collective, which organised the demonstration, lodged a complaint to the court.

Source: Trt World

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

https://www.trtworld.com/europe/french-politician-zemmour-targets-mosques-in-another-anti-muslim-comment-54618

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Belgian court rules 'Stop Islamisation' slogan is not racist

Agnes Szucs 

10.02.2022

BRUSSELS

A Belgian court found that the “Stop Islamization” slogan printed on banners and leaflets is not racist and that it only “expresses an opinion,” local media reported on Thursday.

The court of appeal in the Belgian city of Antwerp ruled that the slogan “Stop Islamization” used by Voorpost, a satellite organization of the extreme right party Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) is not racist because the motivation of racism and xenophobia cannot be clearly established, according to the online news portal Brussels Times.

The decision overruled a lower court judgment from last May that imposed six-month prison and fine on the activists for depicting a “fearful image” and “inciting hatred and discrimination” against the Muslim community by carrying the banner and handing over leaflets to people in the town on Mechelen.

Tom Van Grieken, the leader of Vlaams Belang, welcomed the new ruling as a “victory of free speech.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/belgian-court-rules-stop-islamization-slogan-is-not-racist/2499259

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Four civilians killed as French troops clash with Islamist militants in Burkina Faso

Feb 10, 2022

PARIS (Reuters) -Four civilians were caught in cross fire after French troops supported with an attack helicopter killed 10 Islamist militants in Burkina Faso, the French military said in a statement on Thursday.

France has thousands of troops operating across the Sahel region as part of a mission to combat violence by Islamist militant groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

But it is considering withdrawing troops from Mali, where relations between Paris and the junta in Bamako have deteriorated.

The death of four civilians in Burkina comes at a bad time with anti-French sentiment especially strong in Mali and it beginning to spillover into Burkina after a coup in January.

“Unfortunately, despite all the measures taken by the Barkhane (French) force and by the unit engaged on the ground, four civilians, present in the terrorist camp, lost their lives during the exchange of fire,” the French army said in a statement.

Source: Fxempire

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

https://www.fxempire.com/news/article/france-kills-10-islamist-militants-in-burkina-faso-895122

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Trojan Horse affair: Muslim Council of Britain calls for independent inquiry

10 February 2022

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) called for an independent public inquiry into the Birmingham Trojan Horse affair on Thursday, following fresh revelations about the case in a recent New York Times podcast.

The Trojan Horse scandal centred on an anonymous letter leaked to the media in 2014 that allegedly detailed a step-by-step "Muslim plot” to take over schools in the UK and impose an extreme version of Islam.

British media was sent into a frenzy and perpetuated the idea that the letter was legitimate.

The podcast series, The Trojan Horse Affair, which was launched in February by Serial Productions and the New York Times, follows journalists Brian Reed and Hamza Syed as they set out to identify the author of the anonymous letter that shaped the government’s counter-extremism policy.

The MCB warned authorities at the time to not be “sidetracked by culture wars initiated by divisive commentators”. It rejected the findings of a government report on the issue.

“This podcast reveals the deep-rooted nature of institutional Islamophobia in the UK. Each episode is a damning indictment of how narratives and tropes were perpetuated to feed a story of moral panic, in which Muslims are centre stage,” Zara Mohammed, secretary general of the MCB, said on Thursday.

“We call for an independent public inquiry into the Trojan Horse case, and a public apology from those who ignored the truths presented to them,” added Mohammed.

Commenting on new details uncovered by the series, John Holmwood, an expert witness in professional misconduct hearings brought against teachers caught up in the affair and the co-author of a seminal book examining the Trojan Horse hoax, also called for a new inquiry into how officials in Birmingham and London had handled the case.

"In the interest of teachers falsely accused of misconduct and of a community falsely accused of 'un-British' values, there must be an urgent inquiry into the handling of the matter by the Department for Education and Birmingham City Council," Holmwood told Middle East Eye.

Shaping government counter-terrorism policy

The Trojan Horse letter was sent anonymously to the head of Birmingham City Council in November 2013 and made national headlines for months after being leaked to journalists in early 2014.

The four-page document appeared to outline plans, dubbed “Operation Trojan Horse”, for the takeover and running of schools according to conservative Islamic principles in predominantly Muslim areas of Birmingham.

The opening and closing pages, along with the names of the people writing and receiving the letter, are missing. Neither the author of the letter, nor the person who sent the letter to Birmingham City Council, have ever been identified.

The letter describes tactics such as exerting influence through school governing bodies and stirring up complaints by “Salafi parents” and staff in order to undermine and force out headteachers, and names schools as examples where these tactics are purported to have been successful.

After details of the letter were leaked to the media, both Birmingham City Council and the Department for Education launched investigations into the alleged plot.

Neither investigation was tasked with identifying the author of the letter or establishing whether it was genuine.

Sir Ian Kershaw from Birmingham City Council said in his report that he found “no evidence of a conspiracy to promote an anti-British agenda, violent extremism or radicalisation in schools”.

According to the podcast, officials and police had by then determined that the letter was a hoax. It cites notes obtained by the reporters, which were taken by a Birmingham City Council official at a meeting in February 2014 with then-Secretary of Education Michael Gove.

“The police recommendation including the counterterrorism unit is that the letter was bogus,” the notes said.

“There is a serious credibility gap. The document contains serious factual inaccuracies and, in a number of areas, contradictions.”

The Trojan Horse affair had a significant impact on government counter-terrorism policy. It was cited as evidence of “extremism in our institutions” when the Home Office rolled out an updated counter-extremism strategy in 2015.

Source: Middle East Eye

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

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/uk-trojan-horse-muslim-council-britain-calls-independent-inquiry

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UN aims to launch new Afghanistan cash route in February: UN note

10 February ,2022

The United Nations aims to kickstart this month a system to swap millions of aid dollars for Afghan currency in a plan to stem humanitarian and economic crises and bypass blacklisted Taliban leaders, according to an internal UN note seen by Reuters.

Since the Taliban takeover in August, foreign financial assistance has stopped and international banks are wary of testing UN and US sanctions on the hardline Islamist group, leaving the United Nations and aid groups struggling to obtain cash even as they continue to receive humanitarian donations.

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The UN explanatory note, written last month, outlines an “urgently needed” Humanitarian Exchange Facility (HEF). The United Nations has warned that more than half of Afghanistan’s 39 million people are suffering extreme hunger and the economy, education and social services are collapsing.

“The overall objective is to have the HEF up and running in February,” the note said. “Prior to the full establishment of the facility, we seek to facilitate several trial swaps, to demonstrate exactly how the mechanism will work.”

UN and humanitarian officials warn that the facility can be only a temporary measure until Afghanistan’s central bank begins operating independently and some $9 billion in foreign reserves frozen abroad are released.

But when that could happen is uncertain. The reserves held by the United States are tied up in legal action and Western governments are reluctant to release funds unless they see the Taliban show greater respect for human rights, especially those of women and girls.

The HEF would allow the United Nations - which is seeking $4.4 billion for humanitarian assistance this year - and aid groups access to large amounts of the national currency, the afghani, held in the country by private businesses.

In exchange, the United Nations would use aid dollars - potentially tens of millions - to pay the businesses’ foreign creditors, thereby bolstering the flagging private sector and critical imports.

“The facility’s flow of funds would not require the movement of funds across the Afghan border,” the UN note said.

While the money bypasses the Taliban, the note says the HEF will need the approval of the Taliban-run central bank for “the flow of funds and the exchange rate used and the withdrawal of AFN cash deposited into AIB (Afghanistan International Bank) without any restriction.”

‘Starvation crisis’

The United Nations does not comment on leaked documents, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said of the note. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said Afghanistan is “hanging by a thread” and long pushed for international action to combat the economic crisis hampering aid efforts.

Afghanistan’s economy has continued to deteriorate, with inflation for basic household goods reaching nearly 42 percent in January, compared to the year-earlier period, the World Bank said on Wednesday. Wages and demand for labor continued to decline, as did imports, which were down 66 percent compared to a year earlier, it said.

Aid groups and UN officials have been advocating for a cash swap mechanism, but the UN note seen by Reuters provides new details on how it will work.

Graeme Smith, a senior consultant for the International Crisis Group think tank, told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that an exchange facility is needed quickly, but only as a stopgap measure.

“It is not sufficient,” he said. “Nobody should be under any illusions that this substitutes for the normal functioning of a central bank.”

Complicating the response, Taliban leaders have banned the use of foreign currency in a country where US dollars were common.

The United Nations has flown in shipments of $100 bills, but the central bank has not converted them, leaving the world body sitting on about $135 million in cash that it cannot use, a UN official said last week.

Those funds are held in Kabul in the vaults of AIB, the official said, the private bank that would play a role in the new cash swap system.

The security of the cash flights and limits on how much can be delivered are key reasons for starting the new exchange facility, the note said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/02/10/UN-aims-to-launch-new-Afghanistan-cash-route-in-February-UN-note

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Greece launches judicial probe of Turkish minority's march for rights

Ahmet Gençtürk

11.02.2022

Greece has launched a judicial investigation into a march for rights by members of the country’s Turkish minority that took place in July 2021.

The march, which was organized by the Xhanti Turkish Union (ITB), one of the oldest and most influential associations of Greece’s Turkish minority, was attended by thousands of people and prominent figures from the minority and protested against Greece’s not applying decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which favored the minority.

The investigation by the public prosecutor in northeastern Xanthi province claims that “provocative speeches and lies” against the Greek state and its judicial authorities were delivered at the march, during which COVID-19 measures were also violated, said the pro-minority Millet Gazetesi daily.

The president of the ITB, Ozan Ahmetoglu, drew attention to the fact that the investigation was initiated seven months after the march.

“We, as ITB, resolutely will continue to struggle for our rights, as we have been doing for the last 39 years,” he said on Twitter.

The Friendship, Equality and Peace Party (DEB) – a party popular among Greece’s Turkish minority, rejected the claims by the public prosecutor and reiterated that the march had urged Greece to comply with the ECHR rulings.

“Our country, Greece, should abandon intimidation policies towards its Muslim Turkish minority and cease to perceive them as a threat,” the party said in a statement.

Other preeminent minority associations in northeastern Greece including the Western Thrace Turkish Teachers Union (BTTOB), Komotini Turkish Youth Union (GTGB) and the Western Thrace Turkish Minority Consultation Council (BTTADK) also expressed support for ITB and condemned the investigation and state policies towards the Turkish minority in general.

A prominent diaspora organization of Greece’s Turkish minority, the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF), also released a statement slamming the move.

“The launch of an investigation after 7 months of the democratic march organized by the Xanthi Turkish Union, which has been struggling for 39 years, is a clear continuation of our country’s policies of intimidation and suppression of the Turkish community in Western Thrace,” said the statement.

Decades-long struggle for rights

Under the 2008 ECHR ruling, the right of Turks in Western Thrace to use the word "Turkish" in the name of associations was guaranteed, but Athens has failed to carry out the ruling, effectively banning the Turkish group’s identity.

Greece’s Western Thrace region is home to a Muslim Turkish community of around 150,000.

In 1983, the nameplate of the Xanthi Turkish Union (Iskece Turk Birligi) was taken down, and the group was completely banned in 1986, on the pretext that the word “Turkish” was in its name.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/greece-launches-judicial-probe-of-turkish-minoritys-march-for-rights/2499550

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Pakistan

 

Activists and Educationists Accuse Pakistan of Ignoring Warnings on Biased Textbooks Loaded With Islamic Religious Content

February 11, 2022

Activists and educationists including Catholics have criticized the revised Single National Curriculum (SNC) of Pakistan for its loaded Islamic religious content.

Speakers at a Feb. 9 seminar on “how the school curriculum is evolving” said the government ignored most changes experts suggested for the textbooks.

“The curriculum for the subject of History does not acknowledge the religious and cultural diversity of Pakistan, which leaves the impression that cultural, religious and ethnic minorities are disassociated and disengaged,” said researcher Zeeba Hashmi.

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She and other experts such as Peter Jacob expressed similar concerns at the seminar organized by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) and Working Group for Inclusive Education in Lahore.

The National Curriculum Council two months ago sought recommendations from civil society to revise the Education Policy Framework 2018 while preparing the second phase of the curriculum for grades 6-8.

The revised curricula were issued last week online.

Hashmi and others expressed concern that their Muslim-majority nation was moving away from the multi-religious character stressed by the founding leader of Pakistan (Quaid-i-Azam) Muhammad Ali Jinnah when the nation was formed seven decades ago.

“Insensitive handling of topics such as the partition of India might cause alienation among the Muslim students and hatred against religious minorities,” Hashmi told UCA News.

Pakistan and India were formed in 1947 by portioning British India. Muslim-majority areas became Pakistan and Hindu majority area remained India but it caused unprecedented Hindu-Muslim riots killing at least 200,000 people, according to some accounts.

The minority Hindus, who decided to stay put in Pakistan continue to face hatred and violence from the Muslim majority there, while Muslims in Hindu-majority India face the same fate.

Hashmi said the theme on role models of Pakistan “does not leave any room for mentioning minority heroes. Transgender persons have no representation. No information is provided on the diversity of religions and cultures in a global context in the subject of Geography." 

“The subject of English, embedded with Islamic content under different themes such as tolerance and fairness, may result in repetition for Muslim students and alienation of the minority students,” Hashmi said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan introduced a uniform education system — the Single National Curriculum (SNC) — which was criticized for the overtly Islamic content in compulsory subjects.

Educationists fear that Khan’s inclination towards madrasas (schools for Islamic instruction) might lead to the loss of students’ ability to reason independently from the dictates of Islamic thought.

The Federal Ministry for Education and Professional Training has already completed the first phase of the SNC for grades 1-5 in Punjab province.

“The government of Punjab continues to ignore the learning losses incurred due to the pandemic and other factors, it is turning schools into Islamic seminaries reducing the scope of education in science, maths and social science,” said Peter Jacob, the Catholic director of CSJ.

He wanted the government to form curricula based on constitutional provisions such as freedom of religion, equality of protection before the law, and other guarantees given to educational institutions regarding the practice of religion.

“Minority students must not be forced to study Islamiat (Islamic religious studies) under any excuse, and teachers must be hired to teach minority students their own religion as an alternative as promised in the Single National Curriculum,” said Jacob.

Education activists say religion-centric practices in public education are loaded with religious content, changing the very character of school education.

Source: UCA News

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

https://www.ucanews.com/news/experts-accuse-pakistan-of-ignoring-warnings-on-biased-textbooks/96064

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Imran Khan admits failure in bringing about change in Pakistan

Feb 11, 2022,

NEW DELHI: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has admitted that he could not bring "change" in the country he had promised at the time he came to power, due to "faults" in the system, Dawn news reported.

"In the beginning we wanted to bring change immediately through revolutionary steps, but later realised that our system was incapable of absorbing shock," he said while addressing a ceremony held to award certificates to the top 10 best performing ministries and divisions.

The Prime Minister further said the government and ministries had not given the desired results.

"The biggest problem is that there has been no connection between the government and the interest of the country," he added.

"Are our ministries performing how to stabilise the country through increasing exports and how the condition of the people can be improved, how poverty can be eliminated?" he asked.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/imran-khan-admits-failure-in-bringing-about-change-in-pakistan/articleshow/89496425.cms

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Imran Khan's visit to Beijing was to secure his waning political fortunes: Report

Feb 11, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan's recent visit to Beijing Winter Olympics was seen as a search for some solace amid several challenges at home and abroad. And China visit gave him the opportunity.

Pakistan prime minister's visit to Beijing came in a context, where he not only sought to extract more money from the principal benefactor but also secure his waning political fortunes, said Policy Research group (POREG).

According to think tank, Khan is wrestling to hold on to power after his confrontation with the Pakistani army over the appointment of the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The group further said that there are also visible signs of growing cracks within his cabinet.

Moreover, Islamabad faces diplomatic challenges with unrelenting US hostilities, even as Rawalpindi's proxy regime in Afghanistan seeks to pile on Pakistan over the Durand border issue.

Aside from diplomatic and political problems, the worsening economic situation is another front that Imran Khan is struggling to deal with.

"Rising external debt, inflation and unemployment, and sliding forex reserves have accentuated his problems. Moreover, the recent flaring protests in Gwadar and the insurgent violence in Balochistan threaten to harm Pakistan's core interests," POREG said.

On Thursday, Imran Khan even admitted that he could not bring "change" in the country he had promised at the time he came to power, due to "faults" in the system.

"In the beginning, we wanted to bring change immediately through revolutionary steps, but later realised that our system was incapable of absorbing shock," Khan said while addressing a public ceremony.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/imran-khans-visit-to-beijing-was-to-secure-his-waning-political-fortunes-report/articleshow/89495769.cms

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Pak PM dismisses India and West's CPEC criticism

Omer Farooq Khan

Feb 11, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan PM Imran Khan has dismissed the suspicion of some countries over the CPEC and the Gwadar port, saying that these projects were "a great opportunity for geo-economics". "I do not understand why there is suspicion about CPEC and the Gwadar port. It makes no sense because, as far as Pakistan is concerned, my number one priority is the country's 220 million people," Imran said in an interview with the director of the advisory committee of China Institute at Fudan University and published by a Chinese website.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pak-pm-dismisses-india-and-wests-cpec-criticism/articleshow/89492517.cms

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Pakistan agency seeks ‘property details' of Mumbai terror attack proclaimed offenders and their families

Feb 10, 2022

LAHORE: Pakistan's top investigative agency has sought ‘property details' of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack proclaimed offenders and their families from the Revenue Department of Punjab province, a senior official said on Thursday.

The Mumbai attack case has entered into the 14th year but none of its suspects in Pakistan has been punished yet, showing that the case had never been in the priority list of the country that appears to be keen to put it under the carpet.

"In a letter to the senior member of the board of revenue Punjab, the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) counter-terrorism wing has sought property details of the proclaimed offenders of the Mumbai attack and their family members,” a senior FIA official told PTI.

The proclaimed offenders include banned Lashkar-e-Taiba's Amjad Khan of Multan, Iftikhar Ali of Booraywala, Shahid Ghafoor of Bahawalpur, Muhammad Usman of Sahiwal, Ateequr Rehman of Lahore, Riaz Ahmed of Hafizabad, Muhammad Mushtaq of Gujranwala, Muhammad Naeem of DG Khan, Abdul Shakoor of Karachi, Muhammad Sabir of Multan, Shakil Ahmed of Rahim Yar Khan and Abdul Rehman of Bawalnagar.

Most of them were members of the boat Al Hussaini & Al Fouz used by the terrorists in Mumbai terrorist attack and other provided funds and obtained Voice-over Internet Protocol (VOIP) connection for terrorists.

In November 2008, 10 LeT terrorists had sailed into Mumbai from Karachi and carried out coordinated attacks, killing 166 people and injuring over 300. Nine of the attackers were killed by police while lone survivor Ajmal Kasab was caught and hanged after a trial.

The 26/11 case has been pending in the anti-terrorism courts Rawalpindi/Islamabad since 2009. Six arrested suspects- Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum- are facing charges of abetment to murder, attempted murder, planning and executing the Mumbai attacks and they are detained at the Adiala Jail Rawalpindi.

The case proceedings have virtually come to halt for the last few years. The FIA is of the view that since India has refused to send its 24 witnesses to Pakistan for recording of their statements and other evidence, the case cannot proceed further.

Mumbai attack mastermind and chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Hafiz Saeed and LeT operation commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi are detained at Kot Lapkhapt jail in Lahore serving a term for several years in terror financing cases.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-agency-seeks-property-details-of-mumbai-terror-attack-proclaimed-offenders-and-their-families/articleshow/89480647.cms

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UK, Pakistan urge world to help avert humanitarian crisis, economic collapse in Afghanistan

February 10, 2022

ISLAMABAD: British High commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner called on National Security Advisor Dr. Moeed Yusuf in his office here on Thursday.

Both sides agreed to strengthening bilateral ties in multiple spheres, including trade and investment. British High Commissioner and National Security Advisor stressed the need for further strengthening the diplomatic ties.

In view of prevailing situation in Afghanistan, the officials agreed that the international community needs to stay engaged while averting a humanitarian crisis and economic collapse in the war-torn country.

The possibility of support for basic needs in addition to humanitarian assistance was discussed, especially with regard to the health and education sectors, they added.

Dr. Moeed Yusuf stressed the need for the regional and international partners to constructively engage with Afghanistan including by supporting the country’s economy, reconstruction, rehabilitation and humanitarian needs.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/02/10/uk-pakistan-urges-world-to-help-avert-humanitarian-crisis-economic-collapse-in-afghanistan/

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Punjab to conduct trial in Lankan man killing inside Lahore prison

February 10, 2022

LAHORE: Punjab government has notified to shift the trial in the killing of Priyantha Kumara, a Sri Lanka national employed by a Sialkot business, to the Kot Lakhpat prison in Lahore with a special prosecution team (SPT) designated to plead the case against the suspects from a Sialkot factory.

According to a notification, the trial will now be held inside the prison owing to its sensitive nature.

A three-member prosecution team will proceed with the case and has been directed to submit a progress report on a regular basis to Prosecutor General Punjab.

The prosecution department said the development came after the case entered into final phases.

It merits a mention here the first conviction in the case came from the anti-terrorism court (ATC) where a suspect was awarded one-year imprisonment.

The suspect justified the killing at the factory on social media and later confessed to his crime before the court.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/02/10/punjab-to-conduct-trial-in-lankan-man-killing-inside-lahore-prison/

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South Asia

 

US may give $10 M to Taliban over ISIS-K bomber

11 Feb 2022

Days after the United States announced two $10 million prizes on the ISIS-Khorasan bomber and his associates that carried out the Kabul Airport attack in August last year, the country’s officials have said that even the Taliban can benefit from the prize.

During a news briefing on Washington on Thursday, US officials said that they are in constant negotiations with the Taliban since the Doha agreement to ensure the country does not become a safe haven for terrorists again.

An official of the briefing team said that the Taliban understands their commitments when it comes to fighting the ISIS-K or Daesh in Afghanistan and that the Taliban have the ability to counter the terror group.

“We encourage anyone who provides information about the whereabouts of Sanaullah Ghafar-the main culprit- or other associates in the August 26 bombing of Kabul airport.” Said the official responding a question about whether the prize will also be given to the Taliban.

It is worth mentioning that the US still believes the number of ISIS-K fighters to be 5,000 in Afghanistan and the number increased especially after the mass release of prisoners by the Taliban prior to the collapse of the previous Afghan government.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/us-may-give-10-m-to-taliban-over-isis-k-bomber-765785456/

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Taliban can take part in reward for catching IS leader, says US

Anwar Iqbal

February 11, 2022

WASHINGTON: The US government has had “a number of conversations” with Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers on plans to counter the Khorasan faction of the militant Islamic State (IS) group, according to officials.

At a news briefing in Washington on Thursday, they said the Taliban could also benefit from the two $10 million reward offers, announced on Wednesday, for catching the Khorasan chief and his associates.

“We are in communication with the Taliban, and we have been since the Doha agreement (2020) and certainly negotiations leading up to that,” one of the two US officials who briefed the media said. “And we’ve been very clear that we expect the Taliban to make sure that Afghanistan is never again used as a base for external operations against the United States or our allies.”

The officials said the Taliban “understand exactly what commitment they have undertaken” and they “have been working to counter IS”. On this issue, “we have had a number of interactions with them” and those “conversations (were) about ISIS-K and the Taliban’s ability to counter them,” another official said.

Asked if the US would also reward Taliban if they provide information about wanted Khorasan leaders, the official said: “We encourage anyone with any information about the two situations that were stated – the location for identifying Ghafari or any information regarding the Aug 26 attacks.”

Earlier in the briefing, US officials said they believed ISIS-Khorasan still has up to 5,000 militants in Afghanistan, with the capability to conduct attacks throughout the country. “They have capability to conduct attacks throughout the country, including in population centres.”

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1674468/taliban-can-take-part-in-reward-for-catching-is-leader-says-us

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IEA adopts humanitarian declaration in Geneva: Geneva Call

11 Feb 2022

Switzerland non-governmental organization, Geneva Call in a series of Twitter posts announced that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan adopted humanitarian declaration after high-level discussions with the NGO’s team.

“Geneva Call is pleased to announce that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has adopted a humanitarian declaration after high-level discussions in Geneva with our team.” Reads a Tweet.

As per the Twitter posts, the declaration covers crucial issues including the protection and provision of healthcare and education for all Afghans, the respect of humanitarian, and safeguard of the environment and cultural heritage.

The Taliban delegation that was on an official visit to Swiss included representatives from the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior Affairs, Public Health, Defense, and Justice.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/iea-adopts-humanitarian-declaration-in-geneva-geneva-call-6876868/

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Negotiations with Taliban planned in Norway, Turkey soon: Reports

February 11, 2022

Norway and Turkey are expected to hold talks on Afghanistan with the Taliban in the near future, Sputnik News Agency reported citing Afghan media reported.

Citing sources in the Taliban, the media reported that the meeting in Turkey will be held in Istanbul.

From January 23 to January 25, this year the Taliban delegation headed by the Foreign Minister of the Taliban, Amir Khan Muttaqi, paid an official visit to the Norwegian capital at the invitation of the kingdom, Sputnik reported.

The delegation met with special representatives and envoys from the US, the EU, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, and the UK.

Muttaqi described the visit as successful, and the delegation thanked the Norwegian government for its hospitality and contribution to the strengthening of trust.

Source: Business Standard

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

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/negotiations-with-taliban-planned-in-norway-turkey-soon-reports-122021100117_1.html

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Taliban Foreign Minister pledged to resolve issue of missing female activists in Afghanistan: United Nations

Feb 11, 2022

Kabul: During a meeting with Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General`s special envoy to Afghanistan, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi assured to resolve the issue of the missing female activists, it was announced.

According to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Lyons and Muttaqi held the meeting on Wednesday during which the Taliban Minister "assured of efforts to resolve issue. His constructive approach welcomed. UN continues to engage Taliban to support welfare and rights of all Afghans".

While Tamana Paryani and Parwana Ibrahimkhil went missing in January, Zahra Mohammadi and Mursal Ayar disappeared last week, On Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also expressed concerns over the well-being of the activists.

"I am increasingly concerned about the well-being of missing women activists in Afghanistan. Several have `disappeared`, some not heard from in weeks," he said in a tweet.

"I strongly urge the Taliban to ensure their safety so that they can return home."

Echoing the UN chief`s concern, Australia`s interim mission to Afghanistan said on Thursday: "Australia shares the international community`s concerns about the well-being of women activists in Afghanistan. We urge the Taliban to resolve this issue and ensure the rights of all Afghans."

Meanwhile, Afghan women`s rights activists have called for clarification over the fate of the missing.

Source: Zee News India

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

https://zeenews.india.com/world/taliban-foreign-minister-pledged-to-resolve-issue-of-missing-female-activists-in-afghanistan-united-nations-2435439.html

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesian Muslim groups demand closure of country’s first-ever Holocaust exhibition

Jordyn Haime

10.02.22

Some Muslim groups in Indonesia are demanding the closure of the country’s first permanent Holocaust exhibition, charging that it is part of an effort to normalize Indonesia’s relations with Israel.

The exhibit launched timed to International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27 and is located at Indonesia’s only synagogue, Shaar HaShamayim, located in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province. “Shoah: How is it Humanly Possible?” was created by the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center, which is based in Israel.

Yaakov Baruch, Shaar Hashamayim’s rabbi, said his motivation to open the exhibition was personal.

“When I had this idea to build a Holocaust museum, the reason was to remember my family who died in the Holocaust on my grandmother’s side,” Baruch said. “And I also want to educate Indonesians on the danger of antisemitism, especially the danger of hate crimes.”

But groups protesting the exhibition say they see it as part of Israel’s attempts to normalize relations with Indonesia, according to BenarNews, an online news service affiliated with Radio Free Asia.

“We demand any exhibition be stopped and the museum be canceled [and] discontinued,” said Sudarnoto Abdul Hakim, the head of foreign relations and international cooperation of the country’s Indonesian Ulema Council, a top Islamic clerical body known as MUI.

“Jewish communities and the descendants of Jewish people everywhere, including in Indonesia and North Sulawesi, should also see fairly clearly the brutal acts that have been perpetrated by Israeli Zionists against the Palestinian people since 1948,” he added.

MUI — which was once chaired by Indonesia’s vice president, Ma’run Amin — is known in Indonesia as holding conservative and sometimes controversial religious opinions.

But representatives of other groups have expressed similar sentiments. Hidayat Nur Wahid, deputy speaker of Indonesia’s legislative branch, the People’s Consultative Assembly, and a lawmaker with the faith-based Prosperous Justice Party, told BenarNews that he objected to the exhibit’s ties to Yad Vashem because of the museum director’s ties to Israel’s settlements in the West Bank.

Dani Dayan, who is the former chair of the Yesha Council, an umbrella organization for Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria, was appointed to lead Yad Vashem last summer.

Meanwhile, representatives from Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization — and the largest Islamic organization in the world — have spoken out in support of the exhibition. The local government was also supportive, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The demand to shutter the exhibit arises amid circulating rumors of increased diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Israel, which do not currently have formal ties. Last month, Israeli officials said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised the possibility of normalized relations, suggesting that Indonesia might join several other Muslim nations in opening ties with Israel. The claim was later confirmed by the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but officials have played down the reports of increased discussion.

Barriers to normalized relations remain high, including fears from Indonesia’s current leaders that they would lose the support of the majority-Muslim public, who seek the formation of an independent Palestinian state. The country’s constitution states that “independence is the right of all peoples,” meaning the nation of islands supports Palestinian independence. Indonesia has long supported a two-state solution.

“There are many reports now in mass media that cannot be confirmed,” said Teuku Faizasyah, Indonesia’s foreign ministry spokesperson, at a news briefing in January. “Indonesia’s principle on Palestinian issues remains unchanged. We support the Palestinians and we will continue to work on the two-state solution for the freedom of Palestine.”

That policy agenda can easily translate into antisemitism, according to Mun’im Sirry, a professor of world religions and world church at the University of Notre Dame.

“Indonesians do not always distinguish between Jews and Israelis,” Sirry said. “They also do not distinguish between the foreign policy of the state and the people of Israel. And that is a problem.”

According to Sirry, antisemitic discourse existed in Indonesia before the founding of the state of Israel. But it became more prominent in public life as more religious groups and parties emerged following the fall of the authoritarian Suharto regime in 1998.

He refers to Indonesia’s situation as “antisemitism without Jews” — antisemitism is on the rise, but the country is home to virtually no Jews.

It is not illegal to practice Judaism in Indonesia, but many Jews try to keep a low profile and practice in private. There are only five legally-recognized religions — Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism — meaning Jews have to identify with one.

Baruch’s ID card says he is Christian, but he says Jews in majority-Muslim areas identify as Muslim.

Baruch estimates that there are only 20 to 30 practicing traditional Sephardic Jews at his synagogue and another 20 to 30 Jews in Jakarta who practice at home.

Most, like Baruch himself, are descendants of Dutch Jews who first came to Indonesia in the 17th century with the Dutch East India Company. The community built a synagogue in Surabaya in 1939, which was destroyed in 2013.

“Once I was attacked with my pregnant wife in Jakarta because I was wearing a kippah,” he said. “But now, my hometown [Tondano, North Sulawesi] is much more safe because there are a lot of Christian people here.”

Baruch added that the local government has provided support and security to the small Jewish community since the synagogue was constructed there in 2004.

Richelle Budd Caplan, director of international relations and projects for Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies, said the exhibit at Shaar HaShamayim is part of an effort to release Holocaust documentary content in 20 languages.

Source: Israel National News

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

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/322081?846E9677-7FF1-414A-9469-CF44851BF3E0_kis_cup_C6FA3ED5_6D17_47D1_B6E2_F4B02CC905E0_

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United States approves major $14 billion arms sale to Indonesia

February 11, 2022

The Biden administration on Thursday approved a nearly USD14 billion arms sale to Indonesia, as the U.S. presses ahead with steps it believes will help counter China's increasing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific.

The State Department announced the USD13.9 billion sale of advanced fighter jets while Secretary of State Antony Blinken was visiting Australia on a visit also intended to underscore the U.S. determination not to allow China free rein in the Pacific, even as developments between Russia and Ukraine demand attention.

The sale to Indonesia of up to 36 F-15 fighter jets, engines and related equipment, including munitions and communications systems, follows a mid-December trip to Jakarta by Blinken, who at the time lauded close U.S.-Indonesia ties despite human rights concerns that have delayed previous arms sales to the country.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of an important regional partner that is a force for political stability, and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region, the department said in a statement.

It is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Indonesia in developing and maintaining a strong and effective self-defense capability," it said.

The statement made no mention of China but successive U.S. administrations have sought to enlist Indonesia, the world's largest predominantly Muslim democracy, in its campaign to ward off Chinese attempts to boost its influence in the South China Sea and elsewhere in the Pacific.

Source: Business Standard

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

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/united-states-approves-major-14-billion-arms-sale-to-indonesia-122021100136_1.html

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Africa

 

Nigeria: Scholars Harps On Islamic Perspective on Unity; Urge To Shun Ethnicity And Tribalism, As Islam Frowns Against Conflicts And Clashes

By Shakirah Adunola

11 February 2022

In an attempt to build a more rewarding future for the Ummah. Muslims have been urged to shun ethnicity and tribalism, as Islam frowns against conflicts and clashes, which affect unity.

At the inaugural launch of Magodo Phase Two Muslims Association, themed, ‘Unity of Muslim Ummah in a Community, Its Need, Importance and relevance ‘speakers at the event said it is imperative on Muslim organisations to unite, as the strength of the Ummah lies in its unity.

The guest speaker, Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, while delivering lecture on ‘Romanticising or Surpassing the Past: The Dilemma of Contemporary Yoruba Muslims’, said the first major issue or challenge that confront Yoruba Muslims is the deliberate policy of systematic roll back of Islamic legal culture by the British colonial powers, noting that the introduction of English Legal System and the incorporation of repugnancy doctrine is another policy, which is contemptuous of Islamic culture and jurisprudence.

“ The Islamic legal culture, it would be recalled, had started to blossom in places such as Ede, Ikirun, Iwo, Epe and other surrounding areas long before the British came into West Africa.

“The doctrine stipulates that courts shall not enforce any provision of the customary law that is repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience or if it is contrary to public policy. This clause was regularly invoked to strike down rules of Islamic jurisprudence that were deemed incompatible with English law or notion of justice. This state of affairs made the Muslim elite of Lagos, led by Mohammed Shitta Bey, to present a petition to the Governor. They requested for a Sharia Court to administer Islamic personal law, just as was approved for Indian Muslims by the British Colonial Government. The petition concluded with a prayer to the Governor.”

He added that the present generation of Yoruba Muslims has a rich and proud history behind them. “ Our forebears proudly surmounted the challenges they faced to bequeath to us what we refer to today as Islam. They faced harassment. They were intimidated and ridiculed. Yet, they remained firm and constant in defense of the truth.”

Oloyede said the period following the Independence brought to the fore, effects of disparity in access to Western education between Muslims and Christians and this led to various societies in establishing Muslim Primary and Secondary Schools in our region

“Increasingly, Yoruba Muslims began to experience lack of equal access to political and economic opportunities in the Southwestern region. Notwithstanding the efforts made by notable Muslim societies to establish schools, many western educated Muslims still experienced coercive secularisation and indoctrination in the course of their academic and professional journeys. This has greatly diminished their allegiance and commitment to Islam. A good number of them have been involved in interfaith marriages and could not, unfortunately, pass Islam on to their children. These are children who have come under a second wave of secularisation and de-Islamisation championed by westernised institutions, including print and electronic media.

“The number of Muslim teachers in our schools and colleges is still low. This is equally the case with reference to number of Muslim Lecturers in our Universities and other tertiary institutions. The question that constantly bothers my mind is this – where are our graduates? Is it a case of misplaced priority by the Ummah or a case of institutionalised discrimination against them? Are Yoruba Muslims victims of cultural and political hegemony?

He also stated that some self-inflicted, self-marginalisation practices affecting the growth and development of some Muslim youth associations, particularly, in many tertiary institutions.

“Some of our promising young ladies have had to abandon their studies in the field of medicine and nursing, especially over attitudes of some institutions to Niqab. Some Muslim leaders have suggested a pragmatic approach in dealing with the situation as it is considered more important. As far as they are concerned, it is now more urgent than ever before for us to produce female medical personnel. This, in their opinion, would put a stop to the current situation, where Muslim women are being subjected to the indignity of exposing their anatomy to male medical personnel, particularly, in gynecology. The challenge for us relates not only to how prepared we are to correct this anomaly based on Islamic jurisprudence, but equally that of how we can convince some groups within the Ummah who would not allow their women to venture into the public sphere no matter the necessity.”

Oloyede said that another related Fitna confronting the Yoruba Muslims today is the seemingly intractable rivalries and controversies among Muslim clerics in yorubaland. “The time honoured principle of Adab-l-Ikhitilaaf appears to have been forgotten or out rightly jettisoned. Ideological differences have torn them far apart to the extent that Muslims now engage in declaring one another Kaafir, apart from other contemptible derogations.

“ Scholars and pseudo-scholars from across all divides (Sufis, Ahlus sunnah, Salafi,Tabligh, Mekondoro, Shia) are locked in unnecessary doctrinal debates. Some of them engage in the practice of syncretism, sorcery and magic thereby misrepresenting Islam to their gullible clients who patronise them for quick solution to their problems.

“This ugly trend is understandable. In other words, existing socio-economic systems, as well as the impacts of modernity, have led the products of our Madrassahs in the cold. The organisation of schools for Islamic education has remained largely in private hands with its attendant incoherence and chaos. The curricula in the traditional Islamiyah schools are, in some parts, outdated and unsuitable. The products of these schools are generally not recognised by the system and are not employable. Some of them engage in the practice of syncretism, sorcery, and magic to earn their livelihood. They resort to these unwholesome and abhorrent social practices partly as a result of a lack of legitimate opportunities for a decent and sustainable economic lifestyle. Rather than being ambassadors of Islam, they have become a burden to the Deen. Traditional Muslim scholars are currently embroiled in undue rivalry and supremacy struggles. They have distracted the Ummah from the pursuit of noble and lofty goals. We really have to address the embarrassing verbal exchanges between some Muslim scholars and preachers and also their resort to social media for ignoble purposes.”

The National Missioner and Chief Imam of Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Sheikh Abdulrahman Ahmad, while delivering lecture on the theme of the event, said ethnic or tribe is a subset of identity that pronounce Allah’s creativity. “The fact that I am a Yoruba, Hausa, Fulani or Nupe does not really define who I am, it is just a means by which at some level I could be sorted. Not a means by which I can be evaluated in the affairs of this world or hereafter.

“ Allah (SWT) is a creator, he is a fashioner and He is not a mass producer. He paid attention to individuals in their makeup, in their psychology, emotions, physique, appearance. No two individuals are the same, you can only find that in the creation of Almighty Allah. No matter how masterful a craft man can be, if you pay individual attention to a craft man’s products, you will still find his imprint in it because there is a thread.”

He said the purpose of Allah making us into nations and tribes is not to create a discrimination of profiling, it is just a means by which human should appreciate the sign of Allah. “Part of the signs of Allah is that he has created you and given you different complexions, skin pigments and different languages. This are signs of the greatness of Allah’s creation ingenuity. Allah (SWT) is the best of those who are endowed, best of those who fashion.

Ahmad urged the Ummah to unite as one as decreed by Allah (SWT), as going against the wills of Allah has numerous consequences.

“ If we look at the universe Allah as created, you will see unity of purpose. He created synergy between the heaven and the earth. The planetary bodies are well coordinated, they work in unison. The sky the moon, the galaxy, sun, air even the vegetation that grow from the earth, in them you will see synergy, cooperation. Every single thing feels a particular purpose in the whole chain. If you take one thing away the chain will break.”

He averred that ethnicity and tribalism could not be the basis of bringing people together as history debunks common ancestry.

“ The Yoruba’s fought one of the longest inter ethic wars known to history, the kiriji war. In fact it is still enshrine in the Yoruba language. There are some Yoruba adages that use to remind us who we are as Yoruba’s. Allah tells us that he has united our heart on the basis of Islam.

Source: Guardian Nigeria

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

https://guardian.ng/features/friday-worship/scholars-harps-on-islamic-perspective-on-unity/

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CAN faults Taraba Muslims, says alleged marginalisation baseless, politically-motivated

Tyopuusu Justin

11 February 2022

THE Christian Association of Nigeria in Taraba State on Thursday said it would again determine who becomes the next governor of the state through its members’ majority votes.

The association, which decried the recent press briefing by the Muslim Council of Taraba State and Muslim Rights Concern alleging marginalisation amid claims of being the majority in the state, explained that the Muslims remained a minority in Taraba and cannot win elections with their numbers.

Addressing a press conference in Jalingo, the state chairman of CAN, Rev. Isaiah Magaji, said the allegations by the Taraba State Muslim Council and MURIC were baseless and politically-motivated with intent to intimidate the Christian majority in the state.

Magaji said, “We are a peace-loving religious group and will not want to join issues with our Muslim brothers but this cheap propaganda against the governor must stop in the overall interest of peace and progress.

“If Governor Ishaku was adjudged a good leader who has performed creditably by a Muslim monarch, the Emir of Muri, Alhaji Abbas Njida Tafida recently in Takum, why is the Muslim Council and MURIC speaking differently?

“We have the number and where the Christians vote that is where the winner will emerge in Taraba. We could have chosen to replicate what President Muhammadu Buhari is doing at the federal level and (Gov) El-Rufai in Kaduna, but we have being accommodating our Muslim brothers and our simplicity should not be taken for cowardice.”

“There is growing persecution of Christians in predominantly Christian states in northern Nigeria and MURIC has been silent over such acts against Christians in states like Kaduna, Niger, Adamawa, Gombo, Nasarawa, Borno, Yobe and others.

Source: Punchng

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

https://punchng.com/can-faults-taraba-muslims-says-alleged-marginalisation-baseless-politically-motivated/

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Niger lawmakers confirm Kigera as substantive Grand Khadi, Sharia Court of Appeal

February 10, 2022

By Priscilla Dennis

Niger State lawmakers have confirmed the appointment of Abubakar Musa Mohammed Kigera, as the substantive Grand Khadi of Shari’a Court of Appeal of the State.

The confirmation of the Grand Khadi would have been done a week earlier but an objection and a motion moved by Bello Ahmed, a member representing Agwara constituency staled it.

When the Speaker, Bawa Wuse read the letter from the State Governor, Abubakar Sani Abubakar to the House seeking their approval for the appointment of the new Grand Khadi, Ahmed raised an objection and requested that the nominee be asked to appear before the Assembly in case members had questions to ask.

However, the nominee appeared before the House and scaled through the screening and was confirmed the substantive Grand Khadi by the House.

The motion for Kigera’s confirmation was moved by Mohammed Abba Bala, member representing Borgu Constituency and seconded by Malik Madaki Bosso, lawmaker representing Bosso Constituency to confirm the nominee as the new Grand Khadi.

The new Grand Khadi was born on 3 September 1971 and hails from Borgu Local Government Area.

Source: Daily Post

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

https://dailypost.ng/2022/02/10/niger-lawmakers-confirm-kigera-as-substantive-grand-khadi-sharia-court-of-appeal/

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Tunisia president says he will name new Supreme Judiciary Council

10 February ,2022

Tunisia’s president said on Thursday he would issue a decree effectively dissolving the Supreme Judiciary Council, one of the last remaining institutions in the country able to work independently of him, adding he would name a new council.

The president, Kais Saied, on Sunday had announced plans to dissolve the council in the latest in a series of moves his opponents have called a coup.

A few minutes after the president’s comments on Thursday, the council announced it rejected his decision, saying the “current structure is the only representative of the judiciary.”

Dozens of judges in uniform protested in front of Tunis court, shouting slogans calling for Saied to respect the independence of the judiciary.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2022/02/10/Tunisia-president-says-he-will-name-new-Supreme-Judiciary-Council

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Libyan parliament spokesman declares Bashagha new PM after rival withdraws

10 February ,2022

The parliament of war-torn Libya on Thursday appointed a former interior minister as prime minister, a challenge to interim premier Abdulhamid Dbeibah’s administration.

“The House of Representatives unanimously approved Fathi Bashagha to head the government,” the parliament’s spokesman Abdullah Bliheg said in a tweet.

The move threatens to spark a new power struggle between the eastern-based assembly and Dbeibah’s administration based in Tripoli, in western Libya.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

The tycoon, appointed a year ago as part of United Nations-led peace efforts, has vowed only to hand power to a government produced by the ballot box.

His administration had a mandate to lead the country to elections on December 24, but they were cancelled amid bitter divisions over their legal basis and the candidacies of several controversial figures.

Parliament speaker Aguila Saleh, who like Dbeibah and Bashagha had been a presidential candidate, has since spearheaded efforts to replace the unity government.

The assembly had considered seven candidates to lead the administration, but shortly before Thursday’s confirmation vote, Saleh had announced that Bashagha’s only remaining contender, former interior ministry official Khaled al-Bibass, had withdrawn from the race.

The live television feed cut just before the vote took place.

In a televised address on Tuesday, Dbeibah had vowed he would “accept no new transitional phase or parallel authority” and declared he would only hand over power to an elected government.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2022/02/10/Libyan-parliament-spokesman-declares-Bashagha-new-PM-after-rival-withdraws

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UN still recognizes Libya’s Dbeibah as PM despite challenge: Spokesman

10 February ,2022

The United Nations will continue to support Libya’s unity government chief Abdulhamid Dbeibah, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday, after an alternative prime minister was named in a controversial vote by the country’s parliament.

Asked during a daily press briefing whether the UN continued to recognize Dbeibah as interim prime minister, the spokesman said “the short answer is yes.”

“It’s very important for all Libyan leaders and stakeholders to keep in mind the Libyan people,” Dujarric said, adding that the UN’s aim was to “help the Libyan people.”

“We have seen the reports of the appointment of another prime minister,” he said. “Our position remained unchanged.”

The war-torn country'’s parliament, based in eastern Libya hundreds of miles from the capital, voted to replace Dbeibah with former interior minister Fathi Bashagha, raising the specter of a power struggle in the capital after a year and a half of relative calm.

Dbeibah, a construction tycoon appointed a year ago as part of UN-led peace efforts, has vowed only to hand power to a government that emerges from a democratic vote.

His unity government took office in early 2021.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2022/02/10/UN-still-recognizes-Libya-s-Dbeibah-as-PM-despite-challenge-Spokesman

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Arab World

 

Arab Coalition asks residents of Sanaa to evacuate ‘civilian sites,’ warns of strikes

10 February ,2022

The Arab Coalition asked residents of Sanaa to evacuate some “civilian sites” in the next 72 hours and warned of strikes on the Houthi militia in the area, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

“Crucial points will be bombed in Sanaa that the Houthis use to launch marches,” the Arab Coalition in a statement carried by SPA.

It comes after the Iran-backed Houthi militia conducted a drone strike against Saudi Arabia’s Abha International Airport on Thursday, injuring 12 people.

The Kingdom’s defenses intercepted the drone, but debris reportedly fell within the vicinity of the airport.

Abha, near Saudi Arabia’s southern border with Yemen, is a regular target of drone and missile strikes launched by the Iran-backed Houthi militia fighting coalition forces in Yemen.

“The Houthis have chosen to escalate blatantly by targeting civilian airports and civilians,” said the Arab Coalition in the SPA report.

“Minor physical damages,” including glass panels in some of the airport’s facades was shattered, according to SPA.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/02/10/Arab-Coalition-asks-residents-of-Sanaa-to-evacuate-civilian-sites-warns-of-strikes

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Iraq says 20 terrorists escaped from prison in Syria

Ibrahim Saleh   

10.02.2022

BAGHDAD

Iraq’s top security official said Thursday that 20 “dangerous terrorists” had escaped from a prison in Syria’s northeastern city of Al-Hasakah last month.

National Security Adviser Qassem al-Araji made the remarks during his meeting with the European Union Ambassador to Iraq, Ville Varjola, according to a statement by his office.

Al-Araji called on the EU to urge its members to withdraw their nationals from al-Hol camp, which houses the families of Daesh/ISIS members in eastern Syria.

"The presence of this large number of terrorists in the prisons of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), with weak capabilities, constitutes a constant and permanent threat if the international community fails to fulfill its duties,” he said.

In January, an unknown number of Daesh/ISIS members escaped from the Ghwayran detention camp in Al-Hasakah, which is run by the US-backed SDF forces, a rebranded version of the YPG/PKK terror group.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/iraq-says-20-terrorists-escaped-from-prison-in-syria/2499252

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Egypt seeks to advance cooperation with Algeria: El-Sisi

February 10, 2022

CAIRO: Egypt’s president has reaffirmed the fraternal relations between his country and Algeria, as well as Cairo’s aspiration to advance bilateral cooperation at various levels.

During a phone call he received from his Algerian counterpart Abdelmedjid Tebboune, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi expressed his “pride in the visit of his brother” to Egypt on Jan. 24.

It was Tebboune’s third foreign trip since taking office in December 2019. The visit included discussions on economic, political and strategic files.

El-Sisi said Egypt seeks to increase trade and investment with Algeria, and to strengthen security and military ties.

They discussed regional issues of common interest, especially the situation in Libya. They agreed that Libyan state institutions should be supported, as should efforts to achieve security and stability, and to preserve the country’s unity and sovereignty.

Bassam Rady, spokesman for the Egyptian presidency, said Tebboune expressed his appreciation for the warm reception and hospitality he received during his visit, which witnessed fruitful discussions.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2022386/middle-east

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Syria’s main Druze city sees more unrest, calls for Friday protests

10 February, 2022

Tens of Syrian protesters gathered on Thursday in the mainly Druze city of Sweida to protest against worsening economic conditions and subsidy cuts that came into force last week, residents, activists and local officials said on Thursday.

Sporadic rallies have taken place this week in villages around the southwestern city, where protesters blocked roads and dozens rallied in the main square of the city to demand a halt to the cuts in subsidies that followed gasoline price hikes in recent months.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

“We have been moved by the pain of our people and will continue our peaceful protest until our demands are met,” said Hamed Marouf, a protester who had joined the protests since they first began last Thursday.

The government says cuts in a once lavish subsidy program to ease the burden on the sanctions-hit country’s state finances only affected the wealthiest.

But many protesters say the move worsened the plight of ordinary Syrian who survived a decade of devastating war and are now struggling to afford food and basic supplies amid rampant inflation and eroding incomes.

Residents blame growing discontent within the ranks of those who stood with President Bashar al Assad during the conflict on rampant corruption and worsening inequalities.

Sweida city remained in government hands during the conflict, that has cost tens of thousands of lives and displaced and uprooted millions.

Witnesses said hundreds of security forces were seen arriving in buses from Damascus as activists urged people to take to the streets on Friday.

“We want to live with dignity,” chanted protesters with some carrying banners saying, “There is nothing left for the poor” and waving the Druze community flag.

State media made no mention of the protests. A senior presidential advisor, Bouthiana Shaaban, wrote in a leading state-owned newspaper on Monday the pro-democracy protests in 2011 that were violently crushed by security forces and spiraled into the over decade- old conflict were foreign-inspired to wreck the country.

Religious elders of the Druze community have said peaceful protests against unfair government measures were justified.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/10/Syria-s-main-Druze-city-sees-more-unrest-calls-for-Friday-protests

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Lebanon bars Bahrain opposition from holding Beirut events

10 February ,2022

Lebanon on Thursday banned Bahraini opposition forces from holding two events in the country, amid strained ties between Beirut and Arab nations of the Gulf.

The decision comes weeks after Lebanon ordered the expulsion of members of Bahrain’s leading opposition party, Al-Wefaq, after they held a news conference in Beirut that had irked authorities in the Gulf kingdom, where it is banned.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

On Thursday, Lebanese Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said he was banning “two events” organized by Bahraini opposition figures which were due to take place on Friday and next Monday.

“If these two events were to take place, they would undermine official Bahraini authorities and Gulf Arab states, thus blocking efforts by Lebanon to boost ties with these countries,” Mawlawi said in a statement.

In October last year, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Bahrain, suspended diplomatic ties with Lebanon after the airing of comments by then information minister George Kordahi criticizing Riyadh’s military intervention in Yemen.

Kordahi resigned in December in a bid to ease the stand-off, as part of diplomatic efforts to restore trust between Beirut, which is grappling with an unprecedented financial crisis, with the wealthy Gulf states.

According to Mawlawi, the events had been scheduled to take place in a hotel near Beirut airport, in the capital’s southern suburbs -- a stronghold of the Iran-backed Shia Hezbollah.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/10/Lebanon-bars-Bahrain-opposition-from-holding-Beirut-events

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Lebanese PM signals difficulty in agreeing financial plan

10 February ,2022

Prime Minister Najib Mikati indicated on Thursday difficulties in agreeing a financial recovery plan critical to steering Lebanon out of its devastating economic collapse, calling it a “Kamikaze operation.”

A plan for addressing a $70 billion hole in the financial system is seen as the starting point for talks with the International Monetary Fund and vital to reviving the paralyzed banking system.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

An IMF spokesperson said talks with Lebanon that began last month would end this week.

“Those discussions I would characterize them as progressing well, but extensive work still required in the period ahead,” Gerry Rice told a news briefing.

“The economic recovery plan is not easy...We think it is a difficult process, a Kamikaze operation,” Mikati said in a televised news conference after the cabinet approved the 2022 state budget.

Lebanon has been in crisis since late 2019 when the financial system unraveled under the weight of huge public debts, sinking the currency by more than 90 percent and plunging a majority of the population into poverty.

“The recovery plan is not easy, not easy, not easy and is taking all this time,” Mikati added.

He said that what had been reported in the media about the plan was untrue.

“We have a number of options and we are discussing them with the IMF,” Mikati said.

A draft recovery plan seen by Reuters last month proposed converting the bulk of $104 billion of hard currency deposits in the banking system to Lebanese pounds, with only $25 billion being returned to savers in US dollars.

A previous recovery plan drawn up by a government in 2020 was shot down by commercial banks, the Central Bank and powerful political parties who disagreed over the size and distribution of losses, torpedoing IMF talks at the time.

Though the government has yet to formally cancel the old pegged exchange rate of 1,500 pounds to the dollar, the new budget for the first time applies a rate much closer to the market value for customs transactions of around 20,000.

“The main problem with this budget is that it’s not anchored against a holistic economic recovery program,” said Mohamad Faour, Assistant Professor of Finance at the American University of Beirut. He added that the inclusion of multiple exchange rates would continue to “distort economic activity.”

The IMF has recommended unifying exchange rates.

The budget projects spending at 47 trillion pounds with a deficit of around 7 trillion pounds, Mikati added, equal to around $330 million at the parallel market rate on Thursday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/10/Lebanese-PM-signals-difficulty-in-agreeing-financial-plan

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Mideast

 

Iran: Vienna Talks Continue Until West Shows Will to Remove All Sanctions

2022-February-10

"Throughout the history Iranians have proven that they respond to the threats with resistance, and perseverance," Amir Abdollahian said on Thursday addressing the commemoration ceremony of the 43rd anniversary of the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution on Thursday.

He pointed out that the Iranian negotiators are serious and determined to reach a good agreement, and said, "The conclusion of negotiations depends on the will of the western parties for removing sanctions and reviving all their undertakings."

"Today, on the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iranian diplomats in Vienna are negotiating the removal of oppressive sanctions," Amir Abdollahian said while referring to the ongoing talks between Iran and the five world powers on removal of unlawful sanctions imposed against Iran.

Envoys from Iran and the G4+1 group of countries — Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany — have been holding negotiations in the Austrian capital for 10 months in a bid to resurrect the JCPOA.

The eighth round of the talks resumed on Tuesday after a brief pause during which the negotiators returned to their capitals for consultations.

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani warned on Monday that the Vienna talks between Iran and the world powers may not end up in a deal if the US remains adamant to removing all cruel sanctions imposed on Tehran under the maximum pressure campaign.

"The agenda for the Iranian negotiators to continue the eighth round of Vienna Talks has been carefully defined. An agreement in which the sanctions that form the maximum pressure are not lifted will condition the country's economy and cannot be the basis of a good deal," Shamkhani wrote on his twitter page.

Reports said earlier this month that the Biden administration has restored a nuclear cooperation sanctions waiver to Iran, a senior State Department official said.

The waiver, which was rescinded by the Trump administration in May 2020, had allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to carry out non-proliferation work at Iranian nuclear sites.

The move came as Iran has been requesting removal of economic sanctions.

Shamkhani reacted to the news by saying that Iran has the right to a peaceful nuclear program.

“Iran’s legal right to continue research and development and to maintain its peaceful nuclear capabilities and achievements, along with its security against supported evils, cannot be restricted by any agreement,” he tweeted.

Iranian senior analyst Seyed Mostafa Khoshcheshm also discredited the US move, describing it as a deceitful measure aimed at prioritizing nuclear debates over economic sanctions in the Vienna talks.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001121000514/Iran-Vienna-Talks-Cnine-Unil-Wes-Shws-Will-Remve-All-Sancins

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Minister: Iran Seeking Preferential Trade Agreement with Oman

2022-February-10

The Iranian minister made the remarks in a meeting with Oman's Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Qais Al Yousef in Muscat.

He insisted that a preferential trade agreement (PTA) between Iran and Oman would significantly boost economic and trade relations between the two friendly nations.

Under a PTA, countries allow certain products to enjoy preferential trade access such as by reducing or removing tariffs.

Iran is currently in PTA arrangements with six countries, as well as with members of the Russia-led EAEU bloc of Eurasian economies.

Iran has intensified its efforts to reach preferential or free trade deals with other countries as part of efforts to offset the impacts of American sanctions that were imposed on the country more than three years ago.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001121000575/Miniser-Iran-Seeking-Preferenial-Trade-Agreemen-wih-Oman

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Iran's Top Negotiator Meets EU's Mora, G4+1 Representatives in Vienna

2022-February-10

Baqeri Kani arrived at the Coburg Hotel on Thursday to continue talks with EU and G4+1 representatives on removal of sanctions.

The top Iranian negotiator left Tehran for the Austrian capital Vienna on Tuesday to resume the unfinished eighth round of Vienna talks on the removal of the US sanctions.

In relevant remarks earlier on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian underlined that the negotiations in Vienna may not conclude until the Western parties show resolve to revive undertakings and remove sanctions in action.

"Throughout the history Iranians have proven that they respond to the threats with resistance, and perseverance," Amir Abdollahian said addressing the commemoration ceremony of the 43rd anniversary of the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution on Thursday.

He pointed out that the Iranian negotiators are serious and determined to reach a good agreement, and said, "The conclusion of negotiations depends on the will of the western parties for removing sanctions and reviving all their undertakings."

"Today, on the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iranian diplomats in Vienna are negotiating the removal of oppressive sanctions," Amir Abdollahian said while referring to the ongoing talks between Iran and the five world powers on removal of unlawful sanctions imposed against Iran.

Envoys from Iran and the G4+1 group of countries — Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany — have been holding negotiations in the Austrian capital for 10 months in a bid to resurrect the JCPOA.

The eighth round of the talks resumed on Tuesday after a brief pause during which the negotiators returned to their capitals for consultations.

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani warned on Monday that the Vienna talks between Iran and the world powers may not end up in a deal if the US remains adamant to removing all cruel sanctions imposed on Tehran under the maximum pressure campaign.

"The agenda for the Iranian negotiators to continue the eighth round of Vienna Talks has been carefully defined. An agreement in which the sanctions that form the maximum pressure are not lifted will condition the country's economy and cannot be the basis of a good deal," Shamkhani wrote on his twitter page.

Reports said earlier this month that the Biden administration has restored a nuclear cooperation sanctions waiver to Iran, a senior State Department official said.

The waiver, which was rescinded by the Trump administration in May 2020, had allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to carry out non-proliferation work at Iranian nuclear sites.

The move came as Iran has been requesting removal of economic sanctions.

Shamkhani reacted to the news by saying that Iran has the right to a peaceful nuclear program.

“Iran’s legal right to continue research and development and to maintain its peaceful nuclear capabilities and achievements, along with its security against supported evils, cannot be restricted by any agreement,” he tweeted.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001121000625/Iran's-Tp-Negiar-Mees-EU's-Mra-G4-Represenaives-in-Vienna

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As nuclear talks resume, Iran's oil exports increase

10 February ,2022

Iranian oil exports have risen to more than 1 million barrels per day for the first time in almost three years, based on estimates from companies that track the flows, reflecting increased shipments to China.

Tehran's oil exports have been limited since former US President Donald Trump in 2018 exited a 2015 nuclear accord and reimposed sanctions aimed at curbing oil exports and the associated revenue to Iran's government.

Iran has kept some exports flowing despite sanctions as intermediaries find ways to disguise the origin of the imports. Tanker tracking companies say China is the destination of most of those shipments.

President Joe Biden's administration has discussed the imports with China but has not imposed sanctions on Chinese individuals and companies. Beijing has urged the US to lift the sanctions on Iran, which China opposes.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Indirect talks between Iran and the US on reviving the nuclear deal resumed on Tuesday. If the talks are successful, Iran could restart open oil sales.

Iran managed to increase exports in 2021 despite the sanctions, according to estimates from oil industry consultants and analysts. Those exports remain well below the 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) shipped before the reimposition of sanctions.

Consulting firm Petro-Logistics, which tracks oil flows, said Iran's crude exports surged in December to more than 1 million bpd, the highest level in almost three years, although they fell back to about 700,000 bpd in January.

“We wouldn't expect to see 1 million bpd consistently until there is a change in the political landscape,” said Petro-Logistics Chief Executive Daniel Gerber.

A senior trade source said January volumes dropped by about 300,000 bpd from December and added that the volumes fluctuate because there is a shortage of ships.

The increase in Iranian exports comes as tight global supply has helped to push oil prices to a seven-year high of $94 a barrel. A lifting of US sanctions would in theory allow Iran to start bringing crude exports back toward 2.5 million bpd, a rate last seen in 2018.

Iran's oil and foreign ministries did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on the oil export levels.

China's foreign ministry, in response to a question on China's Iranian oil imports, said: "the international community, including China, has been conducting normal cooperation with Iran under the global legal framework, which are both reasonable and legitimate. They deserve respect and safeguard,” the spokesperson's office of China's Foreign Ministry revealed.

Higher in January

SVB International, another consulting firm that tracks Iranian oil supply, also noted an increase in Iranian crude exports to more than 1 million bpd, although it registered the increase in January rather than December.

Crude exports reached 1.085 million bpd in January, based on SVB estimates, up from 826,000 bpd in December. SVB has not seen a big difference from January exports to date in February.

“I don't think it can go much higher without a waiver,” said Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB.

January's exports are the highest since waivers were stopped by the Trump administration, she said. The waivers had granted exemptions for certain buyers of Iranian oil and these were stopped in 2019.

There is no definitive figure for Iranian exports and estimates often fall into a wide range. Iran generally does not release oil export figures.

Last year, China brought in an average of 600,000 bpd of Iranian oil, mostly sold as crudes from other sources, such as Oman, the UAE and Malaysia, oil and gas data analysts Vortexa Analytics said. That compared with the pre-Trump peak recorded by Chinese customs in 2017 at some 623,000 bpd.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/10/As-nuclear-talks-resume-Iran-s-oil-exports-increase

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Iran marks 1979 revolution anniversary with nationwide motorcade rallies

Syed Zafar Mehdi  

11.02.2022

Thousands of people, riding cars and motorcycles, have taken to the streets in major cities across Iran on Friday to mark the 43rd anniversary of the 1979 revolution.

For the second straight year, the annual celebrations have been confined to motorcade rallies, with health authorities imposing fresh curbs on foot processions in the wake of a spike in coronavirus cases.

The motorcade rallies in Tehran began in the wee hours of Friday as cars and motorcycles from different parts of the city paraded toward Azadi Square – an important landmark in the Iranian capital.

The participants waved the tricolored flag of Iran from their car windows as patriotic songs filled the air.

Similar processions were also taken out in other major cities including Isfahan, Hamadan, Tabriz, Mashhad, and Qom.

On Thursday night, light and firework displays were put up across the country to commemorate the day in 1979 when the leader of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, declared the end of West-backed Pahlavi rule in the Middle East country.

Bahman 22 (Feb. 11) marks the anniversary of the culmination of the 54-year rule of the country’s Pahlavi dynasty and the establishment of a theocratic form of government.

Ayatollah Khomeini, who led the anti-Pahlavi uprising, had returned to the country on Feb. 1, after spending 14 years in exile.

The events that led to the ouster of the last Pahlavi dynasty ruler – Mohammad Reza Pahlavi – and the return of Khomeini led to Iran’s deterioration of relations with the US.

In November the same year, the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran and the subsequent hostage crisis led to a diplomatic standoff between the two countries that continues to date.

President Ebrahim Raisi is expected to deliver a traditional address to mark the occasion later in the day.

In a statement, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the “values of the revolution will continue to lead Iran's foreign policy.”

In a separate statement, ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the “resolve to stand and strive for Iran's rights and interests remains unwavering.”

On Thursday, Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian hosted foreign diplomats stationed in Tehran in a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the 1979 revolution.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/iran-marks-1979-revolution-anniversary-with-nationwide-motorcade-rallies/2499751

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North America

 

Chapel Hill shooting anniversary: Muslim community continues healing process

By Umar A Farooq

10 February 2022

Lela Ali remembers the tragedy like it was yesterday.

She was studying inside the library at North Carolina State University with fellow Muslim students when the news emerged that Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were murdered at their home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

"It really shattered our community in many different ways. And it really impacted and touched every single person from the youngest of us to the oldest of us in very different ways."

"That entire week following the killing of Deah, Yusor, and Razan, I slept home every night that week. And I was someone who lived on campus, but I was terrified. I couldn't sleep alone," Ali told Middle East Eye.

On the seventh anniversary of their deaths, the Muslim community of North Carolina is still picking up the pieces and working to deal with the pain. But no matter how much time passes, the wounds never seem to fully heal.

"It took a long time for people to really cope with what was going on and I think till now, people are still healing from it. I don't really think that it gets better with time," Ali said.

On 10 February 2015, Barakat and the Abu-Salha sisters were fatally shot by 46-year-old Craig Hicks, in what police had labelled a parking dispute. But for many in the Muslim community, it was viewed as a hate crime.

Deah and Yusor had been married for a year and were dental students at the University of North Carolina, while Yusor's younger sister Razan was studying architecture at North Carolina State University.

Hicks was found guilty and given a life sentence in prison. But to this day, police have ruled out the killings as hate crimes, though many in the community say the three were attacked because they identified as Muslims.

Many continue to have lingering fears a similar attack could take place, in part because of the lack of recognition that the murders were due to anti-Muslim sentiment.

"I think that a lot of us very well believe that this could happen again," Ali said.

"That fear never really goes away. But I think what makes it a little bit easier to navigate is this aspect of building community and envisioning together collectively what safety looks like."

'Share the light they spread'

Every year, as the anniversary approaches, a sombre mood is palpable in the community. While the tragic incident has been out of the headlines for years and the rest of the country has moved on, each February brings back the distressful emotions felt by everyone on that night.

Joshua Salaam, a Muslim chaplain at nearby Duke University, said the anniversary is a good time to reflect on the remaining wounds, as they can often be difficult to process alongside all of the other tragedies and killings that have happened across the country.

"There's so much happening in the world that it's hard to remember tragedy. We have mass shootings so often in America. We have murders so often in America, kidnappings, rapes, torture, so often in America."

"When it comes to the news, it captures the society for a little bit. And then something else happens, you have Ahmaud Arbery or you have George Floyd. It's hard to remember all of the pain and all of the suffering. And so when do you bring these things back up? Salaam said.

"I think we all kind of need some guidance so that we don't forget the past because it informs the future. At the same time, it's important to be mindful of the pain that is experienced from reliving and being reminded of traumatic events."

For Ali and others, rather than dwelling on the tragedy, the anniversary serves as an occasion to celebrate the victims' lives and how they lived.

"The main thing that the family and the community wants everyone to remember is how they lived their lives, rather than the fact that they're gone. They want to share the light that they spread, the service that they did, and to continue their legacy," said Nadia Khan, executive director of the Light House Project, a community service organisation founded in honour of the three victims.

During the month of February, they host food drives and social media campaigns in their honour, while the Light House Project, which has found its base in Deah's former home, is now fulfilling his lifelong wish: it has become a space where young members can have the resources to pursue their passions in life.

"In his last tweet, Deah shared his vision for a space for young Muslims and to support them in their projects and to give them a voice. And that's the mission of the Light House Project, to empower Muslim youth," Khan said.

'Only partial justice'

Grief is a complex experience and it is filled with many emotions, including anger and frustration. And for many of those close to Deah, Yusor and Razan, there was always a feeling that justice was never fully achieved.

Muad Hrezi and Nida Allam, friends of the victims, decided to turn to politics for this pursuit of justice and desire to protect their communities.

Allam went on to become the first Muslim woman to be elected to public office in North Carolina and became Durham County Commissioner in 2020. After launching a successful political career, she is now running for Congress in North Carolina.

Hrezi headed to the halls of Congress to become a senate staffer and is now also running for a seat in Congress in Connecticut.

“The murder of Deah Barakat and Yusor and Razan Abu-Salha was life-shattering. Deah was a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Yusor, his newlywed wife, once," Hrezi told MEE.

Source: Middle East Eye

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

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/chapel-hill-shooting-murders-muslim-community-healing-process

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US Raid Raises Questions on Turkey’s Commitment vs. Islamic State

Fehim Tastekin

February 10, 2022 —

The leader of the Islamic State, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, was killed in a Syrian hideout close to the Turkish border, just like his predecessor Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, casting question marks over Ankara’s assertions of its decisive struggle against the radical group.

Like his predecessor, al-Qurayshi was hiding in a house near the northern Syrian town of Atmeh, a stone’s throw from the border across the Turkish province of Hatay and only a few hundred meters from Turkey’s Bukulmez military outpost which overlooks the region. Washington’s underscoring of the Syrian Democratic Force’s role in the raid came atop, dealing another blow to Ankara.

Al-Qurayshi, whose real name was Abdullah Amir Mohammed Saeed al-Mawla and who went by several other aliases, was killed near northwestern Syrian village Barisha some 25 kilometers (15 miles) away from the Turkish border. Similarly, his predecessor Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had also been killed in Barisha in 2019.

The three-story house where al-Qurayshi was hiding is located one kilometer from a checkpoint of Failaq al-Sham, a Turkish-backed Syrian opposition group, and some 500 meters from a Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) checkpoint. HTS is the dominant group that controls Idlib and surrounding regions including Atmeh.

Atmeh, which is home to a large refugee camp for displaced Syrians, has become a place where jihadis from groups such as al-Qaeda and IS can easily hide. Although the region remains out of the Turkish-backed groups' control, Atme and nearby villages can be easily monitored from the military watchtower at Bukulmez outpost.

Given the intelligence leaks that suggest al-Qurayshi was also relying on a web of couriers to lead the group like his predecessor, Turkey’s failure to identify the suspicious mobility in the region is raising further question marks.

The US strike came after the IS raid on a prison in Hasakah. Increasing Turkish strikes on SDF checkpoints at the time of the raid likely smoothed the path for the attackers. Turkey has been keeping Tell Tamr, Ain Isa, Kobani east of Euphrates and Manbij and Tel Rifat west of Euphrates under constant fire through howitzers and combat drones. This, in turn, provides ammunition to those who claim that Turkey is opening a path for the IS.

In addition to the location of the al-Qurayshi's hideout, the SDF’s involvement in the latest raid puts Ankara into an even more untenable position. In a briefing after the strike, US President Joe Biden said the raid was “aided by the essential partnership of the Syrian Democratic Forces.”

Riding the momentum, the SDF didn’t miss the opportunity to taunt Turkey. “Is there any doubt that Turkey [has] turned areas [of northern] Syria into a safe haven for Daesh leaders?” Farhad Shami, a SDF press person, wrote on Twitter, using the Arabic acronym of the Islamic State. Shami also reminded readers that Baghdadi had been killed in the same area. Mazlum Kobane, the commander in chief of SDF, said al-Qurayshi was killed thanks to the “strong partnership” between the US and SDF.

In short, instead of its NATO ally Turkey, the US joined forces with the SDF to hunt down a prominent IS target near the Turkish border. The location of al-Qurayshi’s hideout shows once again that IS leaders hide in places from where they can easily make use of the Turkish borders. Al-Qurayshi’s ethnic origins remain unknown, but some say he was an ethnic Turkmen who had little difficulty establishing ties within Turkey.

It's no secret that the IS considered Turkey a place where its militants could take shelter in relative ease during its withdrawal from Iraq and Syria. According to Kasim Guler, the alleged IS leader for Turkey, whose confessions to the Turkish authorities were leaked to the media last week, back then Baghdadi had made a decision to use Turkey as a major base.

Guler, who was caught in June 2021 near the Syrian border, told the authorities that under that plan, dubbed “the mountain project,” the militant group was going to base in the outskirts of four different Turkish provinces including Hatay along the border, according to an exclusive report by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. The bases would train new militants joining the Islamic State from Europe. Guler said that they had smuggled AK-47s, RPG launchers, and other weapons from the Syrian town of al-Bab to Turkey and buried them in six Turkish cities, including Istanbul and Izmir, according to the DW report.

IS recruiter Mustafa Dokumaci’s attempts to realize the project were foiled after the arrest of the ranking IS militants responsible for the plan. The group relied on senior IS figure Mahmut Ozden for communications between the Turkey-based IS cells, the DW reported, citing Guler’s testimony. Guler said the group had cells in more than a dozen Turkish cities including Istanbul and Ankara. Guler also recounted some plots to assassinate prominent politicians including Turkey’s main opposition leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, and Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu.

The major reason why IS militants prefer to take shelter in Turkey is that the Turkish government has considered Islamic State a useful tool in its fight against the Syrian Kurdish groups. Accordingly, Ankara’s policies against the radical group have become riddled with inconsistencies.

IS militants can easily wire funds using exchange offices and jewelry shops in Turkey. The Turkish judiciary’s weakness in dealing with Islamic State suspects is another reason. Islamic State suspects caught in Turkey cannot be tried on crimes they committed abroad. Some IS suspects have been released on probation or on grounds of lack of evidence.

Source: Al Monitor

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https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/02/us-raid-raises-questions-turkeys-commitment-vs-islamic-state?32B323CC-7D71-6945-93DE-E71EE6E1CA69_kis_cup_C6FA3ED5_6D17_47D1_B6E2_F4B02CC905E0_

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Fort McMurray Muslims give out more than 500 winter and hygiene kits to community

By Jenna Hamilton

Feb. 10, 2022

Volunteers with Fort McMurray’s Islamic community handed out more than 500 winter and hygiene kits to people and non-profits on Feb. 5, as demand for shelters and emergency housing services increase.

The supplies were handed out as a drive-thru event outside the Fort McMurray Islamic Centre at Abraham’s Landing. Anyone, regardless of their faith, could get a hamper with hats, gloves, scarves, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and lotions. Volunteers also delivered kits to seniors, the sick, those in quarantine because of a COVID-19 diagnosis and people without a vehicle. The Salvation Army was given 150 kits and Waypoints was given 100 kits.

“Help is always needed, especially nowadays,” said Mohammed Al Dhaby, the mosque’s vice president of community affairs. “Please look at your neighbours. Sometimes they look good but from the inside they are really hurt.”

The annual event began as a response to the April 2020 flood. The mosque’s leadership and volunteers focused on winter and hygiene items because of demands from community groups.

Waypoints, which operates a crisis line for domestic violence and a women’s shelter, has reported sharp rising demand for their services in the past six months. The organization’s executive director, Michele Taylor, said their emergency shelter is sometimes at full capacity. At the time of the interview on Feb. 3, the shelter had 14 women and three children staying overnight.

COVID-19 restrictions have made domestic violence more common, said Taylor. Waypoints staff are bracing for a long-term increase for their services.

“We saw it after the Horse River wildfire, we saw a big increase in family and sexual violence, but it took a while to hit,“ said Taylor. ”It was about a year-and-a-half to two years after the wildfire that we started to see that increase.“

The Salvation Army of Fort McMurray has also reported steady increases for all their services since the start of the pandemic. The organization’s Family Services program, for instance, provides rent support for people at risk of being evicted. The organization spent $45,813 in Dec. 2020 on rent and $78,741 in Dec. 2021.

“We know from talking to families that they just can’t stretch their dime any further. They just can’t do it anymore and they’re asking for help,” said Edna Olsen-Moman, executive director for the Salvation Army of Fort McMurray.

Source: The Star

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https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2022/02/10/fort-mcmurray-muslims-give-out-more-than-500-winter-and-hygiene-kits-to-community.html

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US to help UAE replenish missile defense interceptors after Houthi attacks

11 February ,2022

The US will help the United Arab Emirates replenish interceptors it uses to knock down incoming missiles following a spate of unprecedented attacks by Houthi fighters in Yemen, the US general overseeing Middle East operations told Reuters.

In recent weeks, the Iran-aligned Houthis have waged a string of largely failed strikes on UAE targets that have triggered Emirati and US air defenses and have even seen American troops based there briefly taking shelter.

“We will help with replenishment of interceptors. And we'll do everything we can to assist UAE in defending themselves,” General Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, said in an interview after a trip to Abu Dhabi earlier this week.

McKenzie did not offer further specifics. The UAE has privately requested US replenishment of missile defense interceptors, including for its THAAD and Patriot system, a source familiar with the matter said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The latest US move would be in addition to the Pentagon's announcement last week of a deployment of a guided missile destroyer and advanced US F-22 fighter jets to the UAE. It would also stick closely to defensive support, amid stiff opposition to the war in Yemen among many lawmakers in Congress due to civilian deaths.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and caused a humanitarian crisis.

The Houthi attacks have thrown a spotlight on so-far unsuccessful UN-led efforts to broker an end to the war in Yemen, which since 2015 has pitted the Houthis against a Saudi Arabian-led military coalition that includes the UAE.

McKenzie, who has also expressed concern about Houthi attacks against ally Saudi Arabia, acknowledged that the US has been grappling with significant limits on US surveillance capability over Yemen, noting its size.

“We're very limited in ISR over Yemen. It's hard to see into Yemen,” McKenzie said, using an acronym for military intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, which include drones.

“It's a large country, and you have to make decisions on priorities.”

Experts say it can be difficult to help allies detect and destroy Houthi launch sites without adequate ISR, particularly when dealing with mobile missile launchers.

Aware of their value, Houthis target US drones. The Houthis have shot down two US-operated drones since McKenzie took command in March 2019 and far more drones operated by regional allies.

With tensions simmering around the world, from North Korea to Ukraine, the Pentagon has to deal with competing priorities for ISR resources, which also include satellite imagery.

“I communicate with partners where we are with Yemen. I communicate with our (US defense) secretary all the time about the resources that we need,” McKenzie said, without identifying any specific request.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/02/11/US-to-help-UAE-replenish-missile-defense-interceptors-after-Houthi-attacks-

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US condemns Iran-backed Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport

10 February ,2022

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan hit out at the Iran-backed Houthis Thursday after they claimed an attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport.

“The United States strongly condemns today’s terrorist attack against Abha in Saudi Arabia, which injured at least a dozen innocent civilians,” a statement from the White House read.

Sullivan said the US would stand with Saudi Arabia and its international allies to hold the Houthis “accountable.”

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden called King Salman to voice Washington’s commitment to support Saudi Arabia in the defense of its people and territory from such attacks.

“America will have the backs of our friends in the region,” Sullivan said on Thursday.

Debris from an intercepted Houthi drone reportedly fell within the vicinity of Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport, bringing air traffic to temporary halt.

Abha, near Saudi Arabia’s southern border with Yemen, is a regular target of drone and missile strikes launched by the Houthis fighting coalition forces in Yemen.

During their call Wednesday, Biden and King Salman discussed regional developments and issues of mutual concern, “including Iranian-enabled attacks by the Houthis against civilian targets in Saudi Arabia.”

A statement from the White House said Biden underscored Washington’s commitment to supporting Saudi Arabia in the defense of Houthi attacks and “full support for UN-led efforts to end the war in Yemen.”

Biden said last month that the US was considering re-designating the Houthis as a terror organization, as the UAE and other countries ramped up pressure to make the move.

One of the US president’s first foreign policy moves after taking office saw the Houthis removed from the terror blacklist.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/02/10/US-condemns-Iran-backed-Houthi-attack-on-Saudi-Arabia-s-Abha-airport

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Amid sanctions row, Blinken invites Bangladeshi foreign minister to US

SM Najmus Sakib  

10.02.2022

DHAKA, Bangladesh

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has invited Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen to Washington as the countries mark 50 years of diplomatic relations this year.

The US State Department extended the invite to the Bangladeshi mission in Washington, Momen told the state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) on Wednesday.

The invitation comes at a time of heightened tensions between Washington and Dhaka, after the US sanctioned some incumbent and former officials of Bangladesh’s elite security force, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), for “human rights violations.”

Momen said Blinken had also expressed willingness for a meeting during their phone conversation last December.

“At that time he said he would like to meet me in-person in Washington DC in spring of this year,” the Bangladeshi minister said.

The US formally recognized Bangladesh on April 4, 1972 after it gained independence from Pakistan.

On the sanctions issue, Momen reiterated that “engagements were underway through bilateral diplomatic channels,” according to the BSS report.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/amid-sanctions-row-blinken-invites-bangladeshi-foreign-minister-to-us/2498723

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