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Islamic World News ( 3 Dec 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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PM Modi Flaunts "Awards Conferred On Me By Islamic Nations" Like The UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain

New Age Islam News Bureau

03 December 2022


 Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi


• Destroyed Quran Left Near Entrance To Mosque In Stockholm In An Islamophobic Attack

• US Designates Pakistan, China, Myanmar And Nine Others As Countries Of Particular Concerns For Religious Freedom Violation

• Afghans Marrying Off Young Daughters To Avoid Forced Marriages With Taliban

• Hollywood Stars Help Kick Off Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival Making Dazzling Appearances On The Red Carpet


• Hindus Should Adopt Muslim Formula, Marry Girls At 18-20 Years: AIDUF Chief Badruddin Ajmal

• VHP Releases Over 400 Alleged 'Love Jihad' Cases; To Launch Awareness Against Religious Conversion

• Probe Against 6 Teachers In Madhya Pradesh Facing Charges Of Promoting Religious Fundamentalism

• In Nitish Kumar’s Blatant Minority Appeasement, Local Muslims Permitted To Offer Prayers At Buddhist Shrine



• Husband Of Daesh Bride Shamima Begum Disputes ‘Grooming’ Claims

• Sweden extradites PKK/KCK terror group member to Türkiye

• Switzerland pledges over $42M to UN's Palestinian refugee agency

• Türkiye rescues 82 irregular migrants after illegal Greek pushbacks

• Indonesian farm workers left stranded in debt in UK, embassy warns


North America

• US and SDF stop all joint operations against Islamic State amid Turkish bombing

• Confusion and outrage after 'anti-Muslim truck' circles mosques in New Jersey

• Canada imposes additional sanctions on Iranians, including former Tehran police chief

• US adds Wagner to religious freedom blacklist, downgrades Cuba, Nicaragua

• US pursuing a regime-change policy in Iran: Analyst


South Asia

• Head of Afghan Journalists Safety Committee returns to Kabul

• Mujahid: War Has Ended But Islamic Emirate Still Not Recognized

• Pakistani embassy in Kabul attacked, one injured

• India will resume work in at least 20 stalled projects in Afghanistan: Taliban

• 25 years later, Bangladesh finally gets closer to peace in border region

• Attack on Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s office leaves 2 dead

• Afghan economic stability ‘critically dependent’ on humanitarian aid: Report


Arab World

• Syria’s Army Takes Credit For Killing ISIS Leader In October: State Media

• Space may be ‘home’ sooner than we think, Riyadh forum told

• British filmmaker Guy Ritchie envisions bright future for Saudi film industry

• Hezbollah won’t accept new Lebanese president subservient to US, Israeli regime

• Saudi Arabia extends $3 billion deposit term to cash-strapped Pakistan


Southeast Asia

• Kuala Lumpur Forum to Discuss Quranic Solutions for Contemporary Challenges

• Why Indonesia's Announcement To Penalise Premarital Sex Is Not Unprecedented

• Terengganu Shariah amendments have harmful impact, say groups

• Judge blocks Indiana abortion ban on religious grounds

• Former e-hailing driver nabbed with drugs worth RM6.14mil



• Errors Made in Some Quran Translations, Pakistan’s Jamiat Ulama e Islam Says  

• Pakistan pins hope on Afghan govt for action against TTP

• Parliament never allowed military to hold talks with TTP: senators

• Afghanistan reassures not to allow anyone to use soil against Pakistan: FO

• Imran Khan directs party leaders to ensure no criticism of Pakistan Army: Report

• Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif approves early retirement of Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid, who was shortlisted for the post of army chief: Report

• NA members quibble over Fazl’s ‘derogatory’ remarks, again

• NA deputy speaker bans AIOU’s 11th class book ‘Imraniyat’

• Pakistan set to launch first ever animal rights curriculum

• Pakistan, US reshaping partnerships in diverse fields: Envoy

• Pakistan’s diplomatic officials come under attack in Kabul



• Top Iranian Sunni Cleric, Molavi Abdolhamid, Says Protesters Should Not Face Death Sentences

• Iran: Human rights a plaything for some criminal regimes

• Terrorists opened fire on civilians to implicate government in killings: Iran MP

• UN nuclear chief says Iran ties need to get back on track

• Israeli officer kills assailant in West Bank; Palestinians denounce as execution work

• Israeli peace activists show presence in West Bank hot spot

• Israeli police shoot dead Palestinian in West Bank



• Northern Christian, Muslim Leaders Adopt Atiku As Consensus Candidate For 2023 Presidential Election

• Kenyan president suspends 4 election commissioners who disputed his win

• 11 worshippers injured in mosque attack in south Nigeria

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



PM Modi Flaunts "Awards Conferred On Me By Islamic Nations" Like The UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain


Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi


December 02, 2022

Ahmedabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India developed strong relations with Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia after he assumed office in 2014.

Addressing an election rally after leading a road show here on the penultimate day of campaigning for the second phase voting on December 5, he also slammed the Congress and claimed the opposition party and its governments splurged taxpayers' money on "family, relatives, and for their personal use".

"After 2014, India has developed strong relations with Islamic nations. It is a matter of pride for me as well as for every Gujarati that nations like the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have conferred their top awards to me. Yoga is now part of the official syllabus in Saudi Arabia," said PM Modi.

Hindu temples are also coming up in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, the prime minister told the gathering.

Unlike the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which puts nation first, the Congress has always given priority to just one family, said the PM.

According to the PM, the Indian economy ranked 6th in the world when the country got Independence in 1947 and went down to the 10th position by 2014, when the Congress was last in power at the Centre.

"After I assumed office and the BJP came to power in 2014, the economy rose from the 10th spot to the 5th position (in 2022) in eight years. The Congress could not do it because of dynastic politics, scams and appeasement politics," he said.

The second phase of voting covering the remaining 93 Gujarat Assembly seats will take place on December 5. Polling for 89 seats in the first phase took place on December 1. The votes polled in all the 182 seats will be counted on December 8.
Source: ND TV
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Destroyed Quran Left Near Entrance To Mosque In Stockholm In An Islamophobic Attack




Atila Altuntaş 



A destroyed Quran was left Friday near the entrance to a mosque in Stockholm in an Islamophobic attack.

Images shared by the Stockholm Mosque show the damaged holy book of the Muslims chained up and hanging from an iron railing outside the mosque.

The mosque said in a statement that it and its congregation frequently receive threats.

The mosque has been subjected to Islamophobic attacks before such as anti-Islamic graffiti and writings painted on its door.

It said that it shared the photographs and information about the incident to draw the attention of the public and to prevent hate crimes from being normalized.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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US Designates Pakistan, China, Myanmar And Nine Others As Countries Of Particular Concerns For Religious Freedom Violation


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken,


3 December, 2022

Washington, Dec 2 (PTI) The United States on Friday designated 12 countries, including China, Pakistan and Myanmar, as “countries of particular concern” for the current status of religious freedom in these nations.

Ahead of the announcement of such an annual designation by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, there were massive lobbying efforts by groups like Indian American Muslim Council and pressures from organisations like US Commission for International Religious Freedom to designate India as a country of concerns.

“Today, I am announcing designations against Burma (Myanmar), the People’s Republic of China, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua, the DPRK, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as Countries of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom,” Blinken said in a statement on Friday.

Simultaneously, Blinken also placed Algeria, the Central African Republic, Comoros and Vietnam on the Special Watch List for engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom.

The US also designated al-Shabab, Boko Haram, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS-Greater Sahara, ISIS-West Africa, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin, the Taliban, and the Wagner Group based on its actions in the Central African Republic as “Entities of Particular Concern”.

“Our announcement of these designations is in keeping with our values and interests to protect national security and to advance human rights around the globe. Countries that effectively safeguard this and other human rights are more peaceful, stable, prosperous and more reliable partners of the United States than those that do not,” Blinken said.

Blinken said the US will continue to carefully monitor the status of freedom of religion or belief in every country around the world and advocate for those facing religious persecution or discrimination.

“We will also regularly engage countries about our concerns regarding limitations on freedom of religion or belief, regardless of whether those countries have been designated,” he said.

The United States, he said, welcomes the opportunity to meet with all governments to address laws and practices that do not meet international standards and commitments, and to outline concrete steps in a pathway to removal from these lists. PTI LKJ PMS PMS

Source: The Print

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Afghans Marrying Off Young Daughters To Avoid Forced Marriages With Taliban


A young Afghan lady


Dec 2, 2022

KABUL: Since Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2021, there has been a dramatic increase in early marriages of Afghan girls -- a trend activists and human rights campaigners attribute to parents' belief that securing a spouse for their girls is better than seeing them forced to marry members of the Taliban, a media report said.

Marrying their girls off also provides some sense of security: fewer mouths to feed at a time when Afghan girls have been banned from attending school and face harassment as the country deals with a humanitarian crisis and economic ruin, said the RFE/RL report.

Shukria Sherzai, a women's rights activist in Ghor province, says the cases of forced and underage marriages have increased exponentially since the Taliban seized power.

She says that many families agree to early unions in the hope of sparing them from being forced to marry Taliban members. But even if the reasoning is based on securing a better life, the effect has been devastating to the family structure, RFE/RL reported.

"Forced and underage marriages have resulted in violence and turmoil within families," she said.International rights watchdogs have documented similar trends. "The rates of child, early, and forced marriage in Afghanistan are surging under Taliban rule," noted a July report by Amnesty International.

Nicolette Waldman, a researcher for Amnesty International, says that the most common drivers of child, early, and forced marriage since the Taliban's takeover include the economic and humanitarian crisis and lack of educational and professional prospects for women.

Many are not able to find alternatives to the Taliban. "Families are forcing women and girls to marry Taliban members, and Taliban members are forcing women and girls to marry them," Waldman said.

Afghanistan is rife with speculation that the Taliban is contemplating a complete ban on women's education, work, and mobility in a return to the policies imposed during the extremist group's infamous first stint in power from 1996 to 2001, RFE/RL reported.

A December 2021 decree by the Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, about women's rights was silent on women's education and work. But it outlawed forced marriages by requiring women's consent for marriage.

That requirement is apparently not being enforced. Marziah Nurzai, a women's rights activist in the western province of Farah, attributes the rise in forced and underage marriages to the Taliban's decision to close girls' schools.

She witnessed one father marrying his daughter to a drug addict in exchange for a dowry worth some $2,500. Another one sold off his 10-year-old for more than $4,000 in cash, RFE/RL reported.

"Think about what will happen to such girls in the future," Nurzai said. "Since there is no hope for reopening schools, girls are losing hope and self-confidence."

Source: Times Of India

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Hollywood Stars Help Kick Off Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival Making Dazzling Appearances On The Red Carpet


Hollywood actress Sharon Stone poses on the red carpet at the Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on December 1, 2022. (Twitter)


02 December ,2022

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival kicked off its second edition in Jeddah on Friday with a host of Hollywood stars and celebrities from across the world making dazzling appearances on the red carpet.

The festival - which will feature 131 films and short films from 61 countries in 41 languages, including both established and emerging talent - will run until December 10.

Celebrities who walked the red carpet on Friday to mark the official launch of the festival included Saudi actress Mila Alzahrani, Egyptian actors Hussein Fahmy, Yousra and Nelly Karim, Hollywood actors Michelle Rodriguez and Lucy Hale, Lebanese actors Nicolas Mouawad and Nadine Nassib Njeim, Australian director Andrew Dominik, South Korean actor Park Hae Soo and Indian actors Shah Rukh Khan and Bollywood sensation Priyanka Chopra.

Held in partnership with VOX Cinemas and MBC Group, the festival, opened with ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It?,’ a romantic comedy directed by Shekhar Kapur whose movies Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) earned him wide acclaim.

Several new Saudi films will be shown alongside the best of new international cinema, featuring 25 new films from Saudi filmmakers, the festival said in a statement.

In addition to showing movies, the festival includes conversations that will allow attendees to hear filmmakers and actors talk about their career.

Those in the line-up include Hollywood actors Sharon Stone and Andy Garcia, Lebanese director and actress Nadine Labaki and Indian actor Ranbir Kapoor.

Commenting on the festival, CEO Mohammed al-Turki said the event does not only serve as a clear indictor of change, but it also plays a significant role “in transforming and reshaping the future for our next generation of creatives.”

“We have a unique opportunity to make new films accessible to wider audiences, showcase the work of exciting new voices and make a meaningful contribution to the Saudi culture and wider region,” al-Turki said.

“We are excited to welcome film lovers, storytellers, talent and industry professionals from around the world to Jeddah for our second edition, which I hope will exceed expectations,” he added.

Also attending Friday’s red carpet event was legendary filmmaker Oliver Stone, who leads the judging panel during this year’s festival.

Stone attended along with the other members of the jury which includes Georgian director Levan Koguashvili and Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania.

The festival also includes the Red Sea Souk which will host events to foster co-production, international distribution, and encourage new business opportunities.

Representatives from 46 countries will attend the Souk which runs from December 3 until December 6.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Hindus Should Adopt Muslim Formula, Marry Girls At 18-20 Years: AIDUF Chief Badruddin Ajmal

Dec 02, 2022

All India United Democratic Front (AIDUF) chief Badruddin Ajmal on Friday said that Hindus should adopt the Muslim formula and get their children married at a young age.

"Muslim men marry at the age of 20-22, and Muslim women also marry at 18 after the permissible age by the government. On the other hand, (Hindus) keep one two or three illegal wives before marriage, they don't give birth to babies, enjoy themselves and save money...," the AIDUF chief said.

When asked about claims that the Muslim population was increasing the AIDUF chief said, "After the age of 40 they get married under parental pressure... So, how can one expect that they will bear children after 40? If you sow in fertile land then only you can bear good crops. There will then be growth."

Ajmal said, "They (Hindus) should also follow adopt the formula of Muslims and get their children married at a young age, get them married at the age of 20-22, get the girls married at 18-20 years and then see how many children are born... "

AIUDF chief Ajmal also responded to recent Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma's comments on "Love Jihad" with reference to the Shraddha Walker murder case that had gripped the national capital recently.

"Chief Minister is one of the top leaders of the country today. So, who is stopping him, you also carry out four to five 'Love Jihad' and take away our Muslim girls. We will welcome it and won't even fight. It will also be seen how much power you have," Ajmal said.

Assam CM had recently said that there was an element of 'love jihad' in the Shraddha Walkar case. Sarma had last month said that India needs a Uniform Civil Code and a law against 'love jihad'. During the roadshow in Delhi ahead of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections, the Assam Chief Minister said "India does not need a person like Aaftab (Shraddha murder case accused) but a person like Lord Ram, a leader like Prime Minister Narendra Modi."

Meanwhile, the AIUDF chief Ajmal today said also urged the Waqf board to allow Hindu girls to study in colleges being opened solely for Muslim girls.

Source: Hindustan Times

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VHP releases over 400 alleged 'Love Jihad' cases; to launch awareness against religious conversion

By Rajesh Kumar Thakur

NEW DELHI: In the past few years, more than 420 alleged cases of 'Love Jihad' were reported by Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), alleged Dr Surendra Jain-joint national secretary of VHP.

He said that the VHP will launch a nationwide public awareness "Dharma Raksha Abhiyan" from December 21 to 31 against religious conversion and the growing activities of Love Jihad.

Speaking to the media persons on Thursday here, Dr Jain said that Bajrang Dal has also started taking out "Shaurya Yatras" across the country in every block from December 1 to 19.

Releasing a list of 420 incidents of alleged 'love Jihad', he said that love Jihad is the most heinous and inhuman forms of Jihad".

To prevent such activity through 'Durga Vahini', a deterrent force will be created by spreading awareness among the girls in the country", he said. After releasing the list of more than 400 incidents of Love- Jihad, Dr Jain said that there is a strong need for a strong central law to prevent love jihad and illegal conversions, which create social discontent and threats to national security.

Quoting the Kerala High Court's remark, given in 2010, he described love-jihad as the most gruesome form of religious conversion. "This cannot be avoided by calling it cruelty by some Jihadi youths with perverted mentality. Behind this is the inspiration of Mullah-Maulvi and fundamentalist Muslim leaders and the protection of the Tukde Tukde gang", he alleged.

"In the case of Kerala's Hadiya, it became clear that terrorist organizations like PFI make eminent lawyers stand on the side of Jihadis by paying fees of crores of rupees. For this, they get a huge amount of money from abroad", he said. He quoted the Churches of Kerala and Karnataka describing 10,000 Christian girls as victims of love jihad and 2000 girls missing from Hyderabad.

"For this, the High Court is seeking an explanation from the state government. Peace-loving states like Himachal and Ladakh are also moving towards anger after being troubled by love jihad. In Kerala, the Church has also alleged that their girls are being trapped and sent to Syria and Afghanistan", he said.

He said that the recent 'Sir Tan Se Juda' gang has also become very active. "Against which the helpline numbers issued by Bajrang Dal have received more than 13000 calls. Out of these, 6285 were only for information, about 5605 were resolved and 9783 calls were meant to join Bajrang Dal", he said.

He also warned Mullah Maulvi and radical Muslim leaders to keep both "their tongues and their youths" in control. "Muslim society in India has more rights than Hindus for development, but trying to provoke every issue will push Muslim society on the suicidal path of destruction, not development", he said. According to the list of alleged Love-Jihad incidents, UP has reported more incidents than other states.

Source: New Indian Express

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Probe against 6 teachers in Madhya Pradesh facing charges of promoting religious fundamentalism

Dec 03, 2022

By Shruti Tomar

Six teachers of a government-run college in Indore, including four Muslims, have been taken off duty for five days following complaints by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidya Parishad (ABVP) that they were teaching “anti-Hindu” content and spreading hatred, the college principal said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters, the principal of the Government New Law College, Inamur Rehman, said the six teachers were also accused of promoting “religious fundamentalism”.

After a delegation of the ABVP handed over the complaint to Rehman on Thursday, he ordered an independent inquiry into the matter on Friday.

“They (the six teachers) have been sent on leave of five days so that independent inquiry could be taken place in the matter,” states the order.

ABVP’s Malwa region chief, Ghanshyam Singh, said the six teachers were speaking negatively about the Indian Army and the government.

“Many female students also informed that the professors forced them to go to a pub with them. We have given a book written by some Muslim author titled ‘Samuhik Hinsa and Dandika Nyaya Paddhati’ in which, at many places, it was written that Hindu sectrianism is coming into light in a subversive manner and that VHP [Vishwa Hindu Parishad] and other organisations wanted to make others their slave.”

“The book has so many things that have nothing to do with the law and its knowledge. The professors are discussing against army and government too. We earlier informed the principal in a verbal complaint, but he didn’t pay any attention. So, we handed over a memorandum on Thursday,” said Singh.

A student at the college said on condition of anonymity, “Many wrong things are going on in the college. A professor also forced us to attend Bharat Jodo Yatra. They are inclined towards an ideology and creating trouble for others by mocking in the classroom.”

Any reactions/comments from accused teachers?

Rehman said the inquiry report will be sent to the state government for action because he is not authorised to take any tough action against them.

Source: Hindustan Times

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In Nitish Kumar’s Blatant Minority Appeasement, Local Muslims Permitted To Offer Prayers At Buddhist Shrine

December 02, 2022

New Delhi: A cavern in Kaimur Hills, nearly 3 km south of Sasaram in Bihar’s Rohtas district, where Lord Buddha is believed to have spent a night after attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, has turned into a symbol of the Nitish Kumar-led government’s blatant appeasement of minorities.

Barely a few days earlier, on 29 November, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), tweeted that it had wrested control of a 2300-year-old Buddhist shrine in Sasaram from Muslim encroachers, who used it to offer prayers.

But in reality, Muslims have been allowed to worship at the shrine that they had initially captured in 2005.

Legend has it that Emperor Ashoka inscribed an edict in Brahmi script in one of the walls of this very cavern. Since then, it is known as one of Ashoka’s 13 minor rock edicts. The cavern was discovered during the British rule and was acquired and declared a ‘protected monument’ by the ASI on 1 December, 1917.

But the central archaeological agency did not maintain the cavern nor did it take any measures to protect it. In its neglected state, in 2005, local Muslims of the area ‘captured’ the cavern and installed a gate at its entrance. They then declared that the cavern was the mausoleum of an obscure Sufi saint and began offering prayers there. They also managed to damage some of the rock edicts of Emperor Ashoka and later covered them with a green cloth inscribed with Islamic prayers.

With the passage of time, a large Dargah was built next to the cavern and a part of the Dargah even encroached on the roof of the cavern. Nearly three years later, in 2008, on being informed about the encroachment, the ASI swung into action and sent a letter to the Rohtas district authorities asking it to remove the encroachments.

The ASI also put up a signboard declaring it to be a protected monument. The signboard detailed the historicity of the cavern and stated that it contained Ashokan rock edicts and was a Buddhist shrine.

Ignoring the cavern’s Buddhist history, the local Muslims promptly removed the signboard and allegedly put out a false story that a Sufi saint had spent months in the cavern and was buried there.

In a fix, the district administration asked the Bihar government for directives. According to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, CM Nitish Kumar who also had the home portfolio asked the Rohtas district authorities to ignore the ASI’s request to look into the matter.

During the decade spanning 2008 to 2018, the ASI wrote as many as 20 letters to the Rohtas district administration asking the latter to remove the encroachments from around the cavern. But the district authorities, acting on the directives of the Bihar CM feigned ignorance of the matter.

In September this year, the Bihar unit of the BJP launched an agitation in protest against the encroachment. Apprehending that the issue may blow out of proportion, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar reportedly told the Rohtas district authorities to ask the Muslims to surrender their claim over the cavern. The Sasaram Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) then asked the ‘Markazi Muharram Committee’ (custodians of the Dargah) to hand over the keys of the gate to the cavern to the ASI.

The Committee refused and reiterated that the cavern was not a Buddhist shrine but a Mazar of a Sufi saint.

Bihar BJP leader and leader of opposition Samrat Chaudhury, threatened to intensify the agitation against the encroachment of the Buddhist shrine. Other activists threatened to take the matter to court.

Kumar then stepped in and directed the district administration to hold negotiations with the Muslims and find a way out of the dispute. With help from the local Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leaders, the Muslims ultimately agreed to hand over one key of the gate to the cavern to the ASI.

The ASI promptly posted photos of the Muslims handing over the key to its representative. But the issue continues to remain unsolved because the Muslims retained a duplicate key of the gate and continue to offer prayers at the cavern.

The Bihar government’s attitude regarding the controversial cavern can be attributed to the fact Muslims comprise over 25.5 per cent of the population of Sasaram, and wield disproportionate influence because they are a powerful vote bank there.

Source: Firstpost

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Husband of Daesh bride Shamima Begum disputes ‘grooming’ claims

December 02, 2022

LONDON: The husband of Daesh bride Shamima Begum has insisted his marriage to the British schoolgirl was a happy one, the Daily Mail reported.

Yago Riedijk, who was 23 when he married Begum, then 15, said the couple enjoyed a good marriage in Syria, despite claims from Begum she was groomed and trafficked.

Begum left her east London home in February 2015 and married Dutch convert and Daesh soldier Riedijk days after arriving in Syria.

The couple had three children, all of whom died of disease or malnutrition.

Lawyers for Begum, who is appealing a British government decision to strip her of her citizenship, told the special immigration court there was “overwhelming” evidence she was groomed and trafficked by Daesh for the purpose of “sexual exploitation and marriage to an adult male.”

Nick Squires KC, a member of Begum’s legal team, told the Special Immigration Appeals Commission: “In doing so, she was following a well-known pattern by which ISIS (another term for the terror group) cynically recruited and groomed female children as young as 14 so that they could be offered as wives to adult men.”

However, Riedijk, who was speaking in an interview from prison in northern Syria, said the marriage was consensual and, initially at least, a happy one.

“Basically, I was looking for marriage and a friend of mine came to me and said ‘there’s a sister looking for marriage, are you interested?’ I took him up on his offer.

“We had a talk, we agreed on the conditions of marriage,” he said.

It was “not really something big or anything important, it was small things like going out shopping, things like this,” he added.

“Basically she asked for some freedoms, which I agreed to give her — going shopping, seeing her friends, very, very basic stuff. We agreed on a dowry — all she asked for was an English translation of the Quran, which I agreed to.”

Following Daesh’s ousting from the last of the territory it had seized across Syria and Iraq in March 2019, the British government said Begum was a risk and rescinded her citizenship.

MI5, the UK’s security service, concluded that Begum’s travel to Syria was voluntary and she had “demonstrated determination and commitment” to joining the terror group.

Female recruits to Daesh were likely to have been radicalized and were probably given military training to fight in defense of the group, it said in a statement.

“They were exposed to routine acts of extreme violence, which would be likely to have had the effect of desensitizing individuals, and encouraging them to view violent terrorist activity as an acceptable and legitimate course of action.

Source: Arab News

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Sweden extradites PKK/KCK terror group member to Türkiye

Kenan Irtak, Emrah Gökmen


Sweden extradited a PKK/KCK terror group member to Türkiye on Friday.

Mahmut Tat was sentenced to six years and 10 months in prison in Sweden after he was arrested on charges of being a member of the PKK/KCK terror organization.

He applied for asylum in Sweden in 2015 because of his sentence but was denied.

Tat was taken to a detention center in Molndal. After completing procedures he was sent to Türkiye by plane.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO in May, abandoning decades of military non-alignment, a decision spurred by Russia's war against Ukraine.

But Türkiye -- a NATO member for more than 70 years -- voiced objections to their membership bids, accusing the two countries of tolerating and even supporting terror groups.

Türkiye and the two Nordic countries signed a memorandum in June at a NATO summit to address Ankara's legitimate security concerns, paving the way for their eventual membership in the alliance.

Under the memorandum, Finland and Sweden extend their full support to Türkiye countering threats to its national security. To that effect, Helsinki and Stockholm are not to provide support to the YPG/PYD terror group or the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) -- the group behind the defeated 2016 coup in Türkiye.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is its Syrian offshoot.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Switzerland pledges over $42M to UN's Palestinian refugee agency

Beyza Binnur Donmez 


Switzerland on Friday pledged 40 million Swiss francs ($42.5 million) to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

In a statement, the country’s Federal Council said that UNRWA will receive 20 million Swiss francs annually for the years 2023 and 2024.

"With these funds, Switzerland is reaffirming its commitment to human development, humanitarian action and regional stability," it said.

According to the government, 96% of the Palestinian refugees who are still living in Syria depend on humanitarian aid provided by UNRWA for their survival, while in Lebanon, 73% of Palestinian refugees live below the poverty line.

The government also said that the agency plays “a key role as a stabilizing factor in the region.”

The situation of Palestinian refugees in the region, particularly in Lebanon and Syria, has been exacerbated by conflicts over the past decade, it said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Türkiye rescues 82 irregular migrants after illegal Greek pushbacks

Sabri Kesen  


The Turkish Coast Guard said it rescued 82 irregular migrants Thursday after Greek authorities pushed them into Turkish territorial waters.

Teams were dispatched off the coast of Datca district in western Mugla province after the agency received information that there were irregular migrants in rubber boats. A total of 27 people were rescued, it said.

In a separate operation, Coast Guard units rescued 12 irregular migrants off the coast of Ayvacik in northwestern Canakkale province after they were pushed back by Greek forces into Turkish territorial waters.

And Coast Guard teams rescued 43 irregular migrants in two rubber boats off the coast of the Seferihisar district of Izmir province.

All of the migrants were transported to provincial migration offices.

Türkiye has been a key transit point for irregular migrants wanting to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

Human rights groups and media outlets have frequently reported on illegal pushbacks and other human rights breaches by Greek authorities.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Indonesian farm workers left stranded in debt in UK, embassy warns

December 02, 2022

LONDON: More than 200 Indonesian fruit pickers have since July sought help from their nation’s embassy in London after wracking up huge debts traveling to the UK for work, only to find their jobs being cut short, the mission said on Friday.

The true number of Indonesians struggling in the industry was likely to be much higher, it added, with more than 1,450 of them sent this year by a company called AG Recruitment to work on six-month seasonal worker visas.

An embassy official told The Guardian newspaper that initially people “started coming to us with problems about the targets on farms.”

But the official added: “Currently, most people are contacting us because there’s no more work at the farms. They try to transfer, but AG tells them there’s no other work.”

One worker told The Guardian he had borrowed £4,650 ($5,700) in Java to pay an agent to take him to the UK, but that his job at Castleton Farm in Scotland paid only about £200 per week. When he was dismissed after just two months he still owed £1,700.

Ross Mitchell, managing director of Castleton Fruit Ltd., said the farm had employed 106 Indonesian workers this year, 70 of whom were still on site, working an average of just under 42 hours per week, with an average weekly gross pay of about £450, excluding costs such as accommodation.

He added he was “very concerned” about “payment demanded by third-party agents” and that the company relied on “approved agents to have carried out due diligence to ensure that the workers are not paying excessive fees.”

“We had hoped the relevant bodies would have dealt with this issue,” he told The Guardian.

An investigation by the paper in August revealed Indonesian workers were regularly taking on debts of up to £5,000 to work in the UK for a single fruit picking season.

AG Recruitment, which has no presence in Indonesia, used Jakarta-based Al Zubara Manpower to source workers, which in turn used third-party brokers who charged the high fees to prospective workers, The Guardian said.

AG Recruitment denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of the practice, but has since been investigated by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, a UK government agency.

A GLAA spokesperson told The Guardian: “Where there are allegations of labor exploitation we will investigate and take appropriate action if our licensing standards are not being fully adhered to … Scheme operators are fully aware of their responsibilities to workers.”

AG director Douglas Amesz said: “Workers should never pay fees to anyone to receive a job in the UK; this is UK law. However, unfortunately this is not law in all the countries we have historically recruited from so we are actively working to educate citizens abroad that they should never pay anyone fees to receive a job in the UK or anywhere else.”

Yulia Guyeni, director of Al Zubara, said: “We send workers based on the request from AG. We only charge based on the placement agreement the workers signed.

She added: “It is not our responsibility (to check the debts of workers) as we do not encourage them to have debt. They are old enough and should be responsible to realize the consequences of debt.”

Source: Arab News

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North America


US and SDF stop all joint operations against Islamic State amid Turkish bombing

2 December 2022

The Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed militia made up primarily of Kurds, announced on Friday that they had stopped all joint counter-terrorism operations with the United States against the Islamic State group as a result of Turkish attacks on its territory.

The move was confirmed by the US military, which said in a statement that US forces in the region had "paused all partnered operations" against the Islamic State group in Syria.

Turkey already controls vast swathes of northern Syria, which it invaded with the aim of stamping out Kurdish militants on its border. Ankara has been conducting an artillery and air campaign in the region for weeks, and Turkish officials have warned a ground invasion could be imminent.

On Wednesday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told his Turkish counterpart that Washington was in "strong opposition to a new Turkish military operation in Syria".

White House spokesman John Kirby reaffirmed the US position on Friday, stating: "We also don't want to see anything that would affect our ability to continue to put the pressure on ISIS and to affect our partnership with the SDF," adding that previous Turkish military actions had made the SDF "less willing to continue to contribute to counter-ISIS" operations.

The US has backed the SDF with military assistance and conducts joint operations with the group, which it sees as the most effective fighting force against IS.

Turkey, however, views the SDF as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which has waged a decades-long war for independence against Turkey. The US considers the group, known as the PKK, a terrorist organisation, but differentiates it from the SDF.

With the threat of a new Turkish invasion looming, the SDF has gone public, pleading with its US ally to rein in Ankara. However, analysts and former senior US officials tell Middle East Eye that Washington's overtures to Turkey may fall on deaf ears.

Source: Middle East Eye

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Confusion and outrage after 'anti-Muslim truck' circles mosques in New Jersey

By Azad Essa

2 December 2022

A mobile billboard truck emblazoned with anti-Muslim images that drove around the state of New Jersey and parked outside at least three Islamic centres last weekend was a deliberate attempt to intimidate and demonise the community, Muslim activists and community leaders have said.

According to the Council for American Islamic Relations, New Jersey (Cair-NJ), a mobile billboard truck entered the parking lot of the Muslim Center of Middlesex County in Piscataway and the New Brunswick Islamic Center last Saturday, broadcasting video and photos from the horrific Mumbai attacks in India that killed at least 175 people in late November 2008.

According to footage reviewed by MEE, the truck also stopped outside the Muslim Community of New Jersey Masjid in Fords, where it parked outside the entrance of the mosque and flashed scenes of explosions, names and faces of suspects responsible for the attacks and other messages of hate for 45 minutes, activists say.

One of the signs on the rotating billboard read: "Mumbai 26/11: We won't forgive. We won't forget." Another read: "Men, women and children or elderly, no one was spared by LeT terrorists who entered India via sea on a boat."

The Mumbai attacks took place over four days in late November 2008. Saturday marked the first day of the attack, 14 years ago, which India blamed on the Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Dina Sayedahmed, Cair-NJ's communication manager, condemned the incidents, describing them as "deliberate and well coordinated" and "with intent".

"The perpetrator of this designed several anti-Muslim posters, rented a truck with an electronic billboard to display them, and then drove to at least two Islamic centres, displaying these vile and anti-Muslim messages both at the Islamic centere as well as on the road," she told Middle East Eye.

Disgusted by 'act of bigotry'

This week, several politicians, including a US senator and two assemblywomen, issued statements of condemnation and called for an investigation.

On Tuesday, US Senator Bob Menendez said he was "disgusted by this act of bigotry".

"Let me be clear: New Jersey stands with our Muslim community and will always defend your right to worship freely and without fear of harassment and intimidation," Menendez said in a tweet.

Likewise, Assemblywomen Shama Haider and Sadaf Jaffer called the incident "a stunt" and said "this sort of hate had no place in New Jersey".

The incidents in New Jersey on Saturday were followed by a similar act of intimidation directed at the Sikh community in the neighbouring state of New Hampshire.

On Monday, another mobile billboard truck was spotted in the town of Norwich, Connecticut, in which the images on the truck accused Pakistan of fueling a Sikh rebellion in the Indian state of Punjab.

According to a Fox61 report, one of the rotating images showed a man in a turban carrying what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon along with an oversized ammunition belt. According to the report, both the Department of Justice and the FBI have opened an investigation into the matter.

“I think these kinds of things could lead to serious violence,” Gurpreet Singh, a resident of Norwich, told Fox61.

That incident comes three months after a bulldozer, bearing the images of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, rolled through the streets of Edison and Woodridge during the India Day parade in August.

Like the truck, the bulldozer stopped outside Muslim-owned businesses and left the Muslim community in the vicinity feeling intimidated and concerned for their safety.

Bulldozers are synonymous with the destruction of activists and political dissidents' homes, particularly Muslim-owned homes in India.

Adityanath's reputation for the tactic has earned him the moniker of Bulldozer Baba ("Daddy Bulldozer").

"It appears the imagery on the truck was trying to link Muslims with the attacks in Mumbai and we had nothing to do with it," Minhaj Khan, an activist with the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), told MEE.

"Instead of trying to build bridges on independence day, they brought a bulldozer and they tried to intimidate us, and now they brought this truck during a national day of mourning at a place of worship... It was appalling."

In Edison, organisers were forced to apologise for the bulldozer following an outcry and national coverage but those closely following the events in the state say that Hindutva, or Hindu nationalism, is deeply embedded in states such as New Jersey, Texas and California.

Earlier this week, Cair-NJ and members of the Muslim Center of Middlesex County held a joint press conference in Piscataway to demand a response to the incident.

"While everyone - even bigots - has the right to free speech, no-one has the right to target religious minorities, especially at their houses of worship, with acts of perceived intimidation and harassment," Cair-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said in a statement.

Source: Middle East Eye

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Canada imposes additional sanctions on Iranians, including former Tehran police chief

Barry Ellsworth  



Canada slapped more sanctions on Iranian companies and individuals Friday, including on a former Tehran police chief who was seen in a Toronto gym in 2021.

"Moretza Talaei (is) a Second Brigadier General of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and former commander of Tehran's Law Enforcement Forces," the Canadian government said in a statement.

He was Tehran's police chief in 2003 when Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was beaten to death after taking pictures of Tehran's Evin prison, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Under the sanctions, Canada can ban those from entering the country and freeze assets they have in Canada.

"We're looking and continuing to look at all ways to ensure that the Iranian regime knows its continued reprehensible behaviour is absolutely unacceptable," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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US adds Wagner to religious freedom blacklist, downgrades Cuba, Nicaragua

Michael Hernandez 



The US on Friday added Russia's mercenary Wagner Group to its religious freedoms blacklist, and downgraded the status of Latin American nations Cuba and Nicaragua.

"Around the world, governments and non-state actors harass, threaten, jail, and even kill individuals on account of their beliefs. In some instances, they stifle individuals’ freedom of religion or belief to exploit opportunities for political gain," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement announcing the designations.

"These actions sow division, undermine economic security, and threaten political stability and peace. The United States will not stand by in the face of these abuses," he added.

The Wagner Group's addition as an entity of particular concern is being made for its actions in the Central African Republic, according to the top diplomat. He did not elaborate, but Human Rights Watch said in May that the Russian government-affiliated mercenary group has "summarily executed, tortured, and beaten civilians since 2019."

Hostilities in the country have been going on for a decade, and have largely pitted religious communities against one another.

Other entities of concern include al-Shabab, Boko Haram, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS-Greater Sahara, ISIS-West Africa, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin, the Taliban, the State Department said.

The decision to add Wagner to the religious freedoms blacklist comes amid speculation that the US could designate it as a foreign terrorist organization, in part, because of brutalities in which it has been implicated in the Ukraine war. No official decision has been announced.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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US pursuing a regime-change policy in Iran: Analyst

02 December 2022

The United States is pursuing a regime-change policy in Iran and has "given up the charade of diplomacy," according to an American political commentator in Oregon.

Charles Dunaway made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Friday after US President Joe Biden was reported to threaten Iran with military action in case Tehran does not reach a nuclear agreement with Washington on its terms.

The Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was an agreement signed in 2015 by Tehran with the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China, during the presidency of Barack Obama. However, Obama’s successor Donald Trump abandoned the JCPOA in May 2018 and slapped cruel sanctions on Iran.

Biden had vowed to resume talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal and remove the harsh US sanctions. Two years into the presidency, Biden has failed to keep his promise and is now threatening to take military action.   

In an interview with Foreign Policy’s podcast Playlist broadcasted on Wednesday, US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said Biden is prepared for a military option if nuclear talks between Washington and Tehran and others fail to reach an agreement. 

Malley said that Washington was exerting unprecedented pressure on Iran to accept the terms of the nuclear deal.

“The JCPOA negotiations should have been easy.  The US Trump administration pulled out of the agreement and all that was necessary was for the Biden administration to reaffirm the original commitments and begin fulfilling its obligations.  But that was never politically feasible for the United States,” said Dunaway.

“The Zionist lobby and the intense partisan divide make it highly unlikely that any sanctions relief could be implemented and impossible to assure Iran that a renewed agreement would not be abrogated by the next administration.  Additionally, the Biden team insisted on imposing new conditions requiring Iran to cease its support for those fighting occupation and state terrorism in the region, conform to Western human rights standards, and end their ballistic missile program.  The United States wanted Iran to give up its sovereignty and render itself vulnerable to attack,” he stated.

The analyst added, “Mr. Malley also misrepresents the negotiations he participated in.  Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, announced a tentative agreement in August, but the US State Department almost immediately rejected it.  According to the New York Times, ‘At the White House, national security meetings on Iran are devoted less to negotiation's strategy and more to how to undermine Iran’s nuclear plans, [and] provide communications gear to protesters…’  In other words, they have given up their charade of diplomacy and are revealing their true intentions- regime change.”

“Have the policymakers in Washington become so addled by the narcissistic doctrine of US exceptionalism that they actually believe they can credibly threaten war against Russia, China and Iran all at once?  Will they unleash the Zionist regime in Tel Aviv and then try to sell the war as a defense of Israel?  A dying Empire is a wounded animal and must be treated as such,” Dunaway concluded.

The talks to salvage the JCPOA kicked off in Vienna in April last year, months after Biden succeeded Trump, with the intention of examining Washington’s seriousness in rejoining the deal and removing anti-Iran sanctions.

Despite notable progress, the US indecisiveness and procrastination caused multiple interruptions in the marathon talks.

‘Biden is going way past anything Trump even contemplated’

New York-based journalist Don DeBar said Biden is the real warmonger and he is "going way past anything Trump even contemplated."

“And yet, the bulk of the western media, and consequently a sizeable part of the population in the US and Europe, believe that Trump is the warmonger, not Biden,” he said.

“Biden is going way past anything Trump even contemplated and he's going there with the support of the Western media and a sizable portion of the Western public, many of whom believe themselves to actually be anti-war,” DeBar told Press TV on Friday.

“And Trump did walk from the JCPOA. But it should be noted that the sanctions had not been removed by Obama although he had ample time to do so and that the US Congress on its own passed a veto-proof (517 to 5!) additional sanctions bill against Iran (and Russia and DPRK). So, in essence, Trump's withdrawal during his presidency was merely symbolic since there was no way the Congress was going to allow the lifting of sanctions as it imposed additional ones,” he noted.

In the mid-sixties, the United State entered the war in Vietnam under the pretext of the false flag Gulf of Tonkin incident.

In 1964, then-US President Lyndon B. Johnson claimed that North Vietnamese forces had twice attacked American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.

The false flag operation led to clashes between US forces and North Vietnamese troops

Source: Press TV

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South Asia


Head of Afghan Journalists Safety Committee returns to Kabul

December 1, 2022

The head of Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) who used to live abroad following the collapse of Afghan republic administration in 2021, has reportedly returned back to Afghanistan.

Afghan government’s Bakhtar news agency has claimed that Najibullah Sharifi, the head of Afghan Journalists Safety Committee has returned back to Afghanistan as a result of the efforts made by the ‘contact committee’ by IEA.

AJSC is one of the journalists support organization that has remained operational since the fall of Afghanistan’s republic government.

This comes as that freedom of press and journalism activities in Afghanistan have been going through hard and challenging time due to exceeding limitations and censorships imposed by the government.

Dozens of media agencies including television networks, radio stations, daily newspapers and news agencies have been shut down either due to financial crisis or political reasons since August 2021.

Source: Khaama Press

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Mujahid: War Has Ended But Islamic Emirate Still Not Recognized

December 2, 2022

The Islamic Emirate's spokesman said that although the war in the country has come to an end, the Islamic Emirate has not been recognized by the international community.

Zabiullah Mujahid, the spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, said that so far world powers have not reached a "basic understanding" with the Islamic Emirate regarding recognition, and this is creating problems.

"A year and a half has passed since the war ended in the country. Security and peace have returned to the nation, but the Islamic Emirate has not yet been recognized. The previous government had nothing, was completely alien, and was rife with theft, usurpation, and bribery; however, that was official, and the international community recognized it. But now that a system has come without any corruption or bribery, they do not recognize it," said Mujahid.

According to some experts in international relations, the lack of the Islamic Emirate to fulfill the conditions of the international community is the reason for the Islamic Emirate's lack of recognition by the rest of the world.

"If the Taliban takes positive actions in accordance with the principles of good governance, I think some of the world's powerful countries will not have an excuse to use it against the Taliban or the future government of Afghanistan,” said Javid Sangdil, international relations expert.

"The Islamic Emirate has fulfilled all requirements for recognition. The Islamic Emirate has interacted with the international community using every diplomatic and communication tool available, however, up to this point, foreign powers have prevented the Islamic Emirate from being recognized. Official interaction on one side cannot begin as long there is no bilateral interaction. The main obstacle to this is that America and the other great countries refuse to recognize Afghanistan,” said Mohammad Bashar, a political expert.

Source: Tolo News

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Pakistani embassy in Kabul attacked, one injured

Dec 3, 2022

KABUL: Pakistan's embassy in Kabul came under attack on Friday with gunfire wounding a Pakistani security guard, officials said, in what Islamabad called an attempt to assassinate its head of mission, who was unhurt.

In a separate attack in the Afghan capital on Friday, one person was killed in a suicide bombing near the office of the Hezb-e-Islami party of ex-prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the embassy attack, which came just days after Pakistan's minister of state for foreign affairs led a team to Kabul to meet Taliban authorities to ease tensions along the border between the two countries.

A spokesperson for Kabul police said the embassy compound was targeted by gunfire from a nearby building. Police had arrested one suspect and recovered two firearms, the statement said.

Pakistan's Foreign Office said the attack had been aimed at the head of mission, Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani. It said Nizamani was safe, but a Pakistani security guard, Sepoy Israr Mohammad, was critically wounded in the attack while protecting the ambassador.

Nizamani arrived in Kabul last month to take up the role at one of the few embassies that has remained operational throughout the period since the hardline Islamist Taliban seized power in August 2021 after foreign forces withdrew.

A spokesperson for Pakistan's foreign office said they had no plans to evacuate the embassy after the incident.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in a Twitter post, called the attack an "assassination attempt" while seeking an investigation and action against the perpetrators.

Pakistan's foreign office also said the Afghan charge d'affaires in Islambad had been called in over the "extremely serious lapse in security" and that he told them security had been "beefed up" at Pakistan's mission.

A spokesperson for the Taliban foreign ministry condemned the attack.

"(The) Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan strongly condemns the attempted shooting and failed attack on the Pakistani embassy in Kabul," spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi said on Twitter, adding that Taliban security agencies would investigate.

The attack occurred at a time of heightened security concerns in areas bordering Afghanistan after the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) said on Monday it would no longer abide by a months-long ceasefire with the Pakistani government.

Source: Times Of India

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India will resume work in at least 20 stalled projects in Afghanistan: Taliban

Dec 1, 2022

The Taliban dispensation in Afghanistan has said that India will resume work in at least 20 stalled projects in several provinces across the war-torn country.

In June, India re-established its diplomatic presence in Kabul by deploying a "technical team" in its embassy in the Afghan capital.

India withdrew its officials from the embassy after the Taliban seized power in August 2021, following concerns over their security.

In August, Afghanistan's foreign ministry said India's diplomatic presence in the country would result in the completion of "unfinished projects" that New Delhi had initiated and the commencement of new ones.

On Tuesday, Afghanistan's Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MUDH) said the Indian chargés d'affaires, Bharat Kumar, expressed interest in the improvement of relations and the resumption of stalled projects in the country, according to news portal Tolo News.

Kumar made the remarks during a meeting with the Minister of Urban Development and Housing, Hamdullah Nomani, it said.

According to the MUDH, it is expected that India will resume work on at least 20 projects in several provinces of the country.

“Projects they were implementing during the former government but were delayed due political changes or other issues --- they are now interested in resuming these projects," Tolo News quoted Mohammad Kamal Afghan, a spokesman for the MUDH as saying.

Economists said the move will facilitate job opportunities and boost development in the country.

“The resumption of these projects can also create job opportunities for the people and it can promote people's income and drive Afghanistan out of political isolation,'' Darya Khan Baheer, an economist was quoted as saying in the report.

“The restart of these projects will decrease the level of poverty and unemployment,” said Nazkamir Ziarmal, another economist.

India has not recognised the new regime in Afghanistan and has been pitching for the formation of a truly inclusive government in Kabul, besides insisting that Afghan soil must not be used for any terrorist activities against any country.

New Delhi has been pitching for providing unimpeded humanitarian aid to Afghanistan to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the country.

India extended humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people and it has already dispatched several shipments of humanitarian assistance consisting of 20,000 metric tonnes of wheat, 13 tonnes of medicines, 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine and winter clothing, according to the MEA.

Source: Times Of India

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25 years later, Bangladesh finally gets closer to peace in border region

December 2, 2022

A quarter century ago, Modhumala Chakma says it was impossible to leave her house in the evening and walk around the nearby hills because they were controlled by a tribal insurgent group seeking autonomy in southeastern Bangladesh.

It was a difficult time, says the 60-year-old farm worker from an ethnic minority in the Shuvolong area of Rangamati, one of three districts bordering India and Myanmar collectively called Chittagong Hill Tracts.

We lived in constant fear of being raped or killed.

Those bad days are gone, she says.

Eleven ethnic groups live in the three districts, Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachhari.

About half the population is tribal people who mainly follow Theravada Buddhism and half is Bengali who are mostly Muslim.

Twenty-five years ago, the government and a tribal organisation signed the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord officially ending the insurgency.

While Modhumala is enthusiastic about progress since then, she's uncertain whether the region has actually established peace.

The government insists it has met most of the terms of the Dec. 2, 1997, treaty, but tribal groups and their supporters say it still needs to resolve critical issues including land disputes.

The region covers one-tenth of Bangladesh's total territory and has a population of 1.6 million.

The armed insurgency, led by a group called the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti, demanded autonomy and land rights for its people.

The insurgency began in 1977, six years after Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan.

This part of Bangladesh was in a state of war, in a state of armed conflict for long. Since 1997 the region has changed in many ways, said Delwar Hossain, a professor of international relations at Dhaka University.

It is relatively stable, and it has brought about quality changes in many aspects.

He says things are moving in the right direction, but it takes time to heal.

Experts say land disputes remain a concern, and tribal groups allege that several past governments have violated the treaty by allowing non-indigenous Bengali people to move into the area, changing its character and taking away land from tribal groups.

Violence and crime still mar the Chittagong Hill Tracts as authorities struggle to reach the remotest areas where they say gangs are pushing for control and extorting money.

Dipankar Talukdar, a four-time ruling Awami League party member of Parliament in Rangamati, said some groups are using the disputes as a distraction. They need a cover to do the extortion," he said.

They talk about independence and ensuring rights and other things. But the original reason is to extort.

He said security agencies have arrested members of a new group called the Kuki Chin National Front that has sheltered fundamentalist terrorists in remote jungles for training purposes.

The civil and military administration is working together to establish peace as a response to those people or groups that want to destabilise the region, said the top government official in Rangamati, Mohammad Mizanur Rahman.

It's a continuous process. Since the accord was signed, the government has worked to develop infrastructure in the region.

In 1997, the Chittagong Hill Tracts had 2,800 kilometers of roads, which has increased to about 8,000 kilometers.

The number of hospitals and clinics has grown from 24 to 270, and the number of temples and churches from 1,663 to 2,820, the government says.

Source: Business Standard

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Attack on Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s office leaves 2 dead

December 2, 2022

Afghanistan Islamic Political Party led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has confirmed an attack on its HQ Kabul office during a Friday prayer.

According to a statement published by Hezb-e-Islami (Islamic Political Party) on Friday, 3 gunmen stormed the group’s HQ building in Kabul trying to reach the mosque inside the compound where the Friday prayer was in progress.

Two militants have been killed and the third one has managed to escape the area, the statement said.

The statement also confirmed casualties to the armed security personnel of the party’s compound.

Hezb-e-Islami’s main compound is Kabul is located on Dar-Al-Aman road, close the well-known palace of Dar-Al-Aman in district 6 of Kabul city.

No individual or groups have yet claimed the responsibility of this attack.

Source: Khaama Press

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Afghan economic stability ‘critically dependent’ on humanitarian aid: Report

2 December, 2022

Kabul [Afghanistan], December 2 (ANI): The economic stability in Afghanistan is extensively dependent on humanitarian aid flows as the country faces hunger and deprivation for a second winter in a row, the US Institute for Peace (USIP) report said.

According to the report, the biggest factor contributing to the worsening of food insecurity has been lost revenue as a result of the economic collapse that followed the Taliban taking control in August 2021, Khaama Press reported.

“Loss of income due to the economic collapse following the Taliban takeover in August 2021 has been the main culprit in worsening food insecurity, exacerbated by a succession of drought-induced poor harvests,” the report read.

According to the report, “there was also an increase in female unemployment (i.e., women and girls reported to be looking for work but not being successful), but this was equivalent to only one-third of the increase in labour force participation (which includes salaried employment, self-employment, and home-based gainful economic activity, as well as people who are looking for work but are unsuccessful).”

Some women claimed that having more women in the workforce benefits their families’ financial status.

Rahima, a teacher, stated that “women are half of society and may be successful in economic progress if they are given the opportunity to apply their talents and skills,” Khaama Press reported.

Afghanistan is currently grappling with a serious humanitarian crisis as according to international assessments, the country now has the highest number of people in emergency food insecurity in the world, with more than 23 million in need of assistance and approximately, 95 per cent of the population having insufficient food consumption.

Moreover, the situation of human rights in Afghanistan has worsened since the collapse of the Afghan government and the Taliban’s return to power in August last year.

Additionally, the Ukraine crisis has had a massive impact on the rise in food costs and how it was out of reach for many Afghans.

Source: The Print

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Arab World


Syria’s army takes credit for killing ISIS leader in October: State media

02 December ,2022

Syria’s army has taken credit for killing the head of the ISIS extremist group in an operation in the country’s south in October, state media reported on Friday.

Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi was killed in an operation carried out in Daraa, the southern province where Syria’s uprising first kicked off in 2011, according to those involved in the fighting as well as the US military.

It was both the first time the US-led coalition was not involved in killing the top ISIS leader and the first time an ISIS leader was killed in Syria’s south rather than the north, where a range of factions, some of them US-backed, hold sway.

Deraa returned to Syrian army control in 2018 following Russian-brokered reconciliation deals that saw the opposition hand over heavy weapons and be incorporated into pro-government units.

In October, some of those fighters surrounded the house Quraishi was using as a hideout in the town of Jasem, according to former fighters involved in the clash, relatives of others who died in the fighting, and residents.

But on Friday, a security source in Daraa province told the state news agency SANA that the operation directly involved Syrian army troops as well as “local and civil groups” and resulted in his killing on October 15.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Space may be ‘home’ sooner than we think, Riyadh forum told

December 02, 2022

RIYADH: The second edition of the Riyadh Philosophy Conference launched on Thursday as international and local specialists gathered to discuss topics under the theme “Knowledge and Exploration: Space, Time and Humanity.”

Organized by Saudi Arabia’s Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission, the three-day event kicked off with welcome remarks by Saudi critic, thinker and translator Saad bin Abdulrahman Albazie, who was introduced by the CEO of the commission, Mohammed Alwan.

With participation from over 19 countries, the global platform targets a wide audience from various academic and professional backgrounds.

“We are heading toward endless informational and explorational horizons, toward space, time and humanity, and settling into our human fate, moral values and scientific criteria of the universe,” Albazie said.

“We will create a philosophical space out of our physical space, and propose new concepts in an undiscovered field in the spirit of entrepreneurial research that has been touched upon by this conference’s esteemed guests.”

While taking a trip to space is, undoubtedly, a dream for many, it may well be a place we call “home” much sooner than we think.

A keynote speech by Mishaal Ashemimry, moderated by Prof. Nicolas de Warren of Penn State University, examined the futuristic concept of humanity becoming an interplanetary species.

Discussing humanity’s options if Earth is no longer accommodating or habitable, Ashemimry, special adviser to the CEO at the Saudi Space Commission, said: “We must prepare for our future because no one knows. Yes, we can monitor all these items that are orbiting Earth, but there are so many that we don’t know about.

“I’m not suggesting that this is the only way. I am suggesting that we need to hedge our bets, invest in all the technologies necessary and all the possible solutions to prevent this existential problem — whether it’s going to Mars or preparing to go to Mars, or whether it’s intercepting that asteroid, and having mechanisms to detect it sooner and enable us to have enough time.”

The conversation around space continued with Abdullah Al-Ghathami, professor of criticism and theory at King Saud University, delivering a keynote speech under the title “Humanity in Space: Glory or Power.”

Leading thinkers took part in panel discussions, including “Inquiry Techniques in the Classroom” by General Manager of the Baseera Institute Dalia Toonsi, and “Chaos and Logos” with physicist Reem Taibah and Saudi Space Commission adviser Haithem Al-Twaijry.

This year’s conference is building off the success of last year’s event, which discussed unpredictability.

The forum aims to open up the once-taboo study of philosophy in the region by involving contemporary philosophers, scientists, writers and intellectuals from all over the world.

Source: Arab News

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British filmmaker Guy Ritchie envisions bright future for Saudi film industry

December 02, 2022

RIYADH: British filmmaker Guy Ritchie, most famous for his hit gangster films, the "Sherlock Holmes" franchise and his live-action "Aladdin" adaptation, said that Saudi Arabia is ripe for building a successful film industry, at the Red Sea International Film Festival.

The director was speaking to Arab News on day two of the film festival in Jeddah.

"What's interesting about (Saudi Arabia) is that there's such an explosion of enthusiasm. It's young and it's creative. And there's a high desire to express creativity. That makes it very interesting. So it's trying to couple the inexperience with the enthusiasm, because you have the enthusiasm and the means. And now you've just got to develop some form of experience and sub-structure," said Ritchie about the developing and nascent film industry in Saudi Arabia.

"I don't like making movies in the UK anyway. So I'd rather make movies outside of the UK. We worked in Jordan for 'Aladdin.' And that worked very well for us. We were in Spain for the last film and in Turkey for the film before that. There's no need to get out of the UK but I'd much rather work in in new and exciting environments. And for that really you just need a sub-structure in order to facilitate the ability of making movies. And I'm sure that will happen," added the filmmaker, who is attending the film festival along with his actress-wife Jacqui Ainsley.

In a separate 'In Conversation' segment on Friday, Ritchie address this topic again and said, "I think I'm very interested in this part of the world. And I think creativity should find its way into this part of the world. That's why I'm here. Really, what we're after is a fusion and the integration of cultural collaboration."

Ritchie went on to explain that for a healthy film industry to be built, incentives and subsidies for film productions are the way to go. "I can't shoot in the UK anymore because it's too busy to shoot there. That's how busy it is. And they've been able to do that because of incentives. So once you have incentives, then the other thing you need is to make a few movies here in Saudi Arabia. So other filmmakers look at the filmmakers that have gone before and then they just trust that," said Ritchie.

Ritchie first made headlines and found international acclaim with the 1998 British black comedy crime film "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," which he wrote and directed. In an In Conversation panel at the Red Sea International Film Festival on Friday, Ritchie talked about how the film almost didn't get made.

Source: Arab News

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Hezbollah won’t accept new Lebanese president subservient to US, Israeli regime

02 December 2022

A high-ranking Hezbollah official says the Lebanese resistance movement will not accept a new president who would capitulate to the US and the Israeli regime, emphasizing that the new head of state must have the capability to rescue the Arab country from the protracted financial crisis.

“We have repeatedly stated that we want to elect a president as soon as possible, but the processes require a two-thirds quorum in the parliament," Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said at a ceremony in the Lebanese capital city of Beirut.

"Neither can we solely garner the two-thirds majority nor does any party have such a capacity by itself."

He pointed out that none of the parliamentary blocs can elect a president without a national consensus, adding that some parties accuse Hezbollah of obstructing the presidential election in order to hide their own failures to elect a new head of state.

Sheikh Qassem stressed that the new Lebanese president must be able to save the nation from the severe economic crisis facing the country and initiate a dialogue among all segments of the society.

The senior Hezbollah official also underlined that his group will never accept a president who would stir sedition among the Lebanese people, and be subservient to the plans imposed by Washington and Tel Aviv.

The remarks came after the Lebanese parliament convened on Thursday to elect the new president who will succeed former president Michel Aoun. But the eighth attempt also proved futile.

The legislative body held the ballot with the voting session attended by only 110 lawmakers out of 128 as some legislators did not show up for the event.

It resulted in 37 votes for Michel Mouawad -- a senior lawmaker whose father Rene Moawad was a former president -- four votes for prominent academic Issam Khalifeh, two votes for former minister of interior and municipalities Ziyad Baroud, 52 blank votes and some votes with mock choices on.

In order for a candidate to secure the presidency, he needs to be backed by 86 or two-thirds of the parliamentarians.

Lebanon’s presidency has seen stalemate several times since the 1975-1990 civil war. The country has also had only a caretaker government since May.

The Arab country has been mired in an economic crisis that the World Bank has dubbed one of the worst in recent history, which comes amid crippling sanctions imposed by the US and its allies.

The Lebanese pound has lost more than 95 percent of its value on the black market since 2019.

According to the United Nations, the ongoing financial crisis in Lebanon has caused poverty rates to reach more than 80 percent of the population, and food prices have risen by an astonishing 2,000 percent.

Source: Press TV

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Saudi Arabia extends $3 billion deposit term to cash-strapped Pakistan

Dec 2, 2022

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia on Friday extended the term of a $3 billion deposit it made to Pakistan's foreign reserves, state news agency SPA and Pakistan's central bank said.

Saudi Arabia deposited the money in Pakistan's central bank late last year as a loan to shore up the cash-strapped country's reserves.

The central bank reserves stood at $7.5 billion as of Nov 25 this year.

Too low to cover more than a month of imports, the reserves together with a widening current account deficit have threatened a balance of payment crises for the South Asian economy, which has to make another $1 billion bond payment next week.

"Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) extended the term for the deposit provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the amount of 3 billion dollars to the State Bank of Pakistan," the bank said in a statement.

By shoring up the reserves, it added, the money has contributed to meeting external sector challenges and achieve sustainable economic growth for the country.

Pakistan has been in dire need of external financing as it waits for the 9th review of a $7 billion bailout package by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Source: Times Of India

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Southeast Asia


Kuala Lumpur Forum to Discuss Quranic Solutions for Contemporary Challenges

December 02, 2022

The Warisan Ummah Ikhlas Foundation (WUIF) is organizing the event with the participation of experts from several countries.

The speakers will be from Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt, the United States and Palestine.

The Perdana Hall MTI in Kuala Lumpur will host the convention from 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM tomorrow.

The messages of Surah As-Sajdah (32) and the solutions it provides in facing various challenges of life will be the main theme of the gathering.

According to the foundation’s CEO, Marhaini Yusoff, people are facing four challenges today, namely financial, career, family and social or spiritual (development) and they need to be overcome with the help of God.

She added that the foundation is holding the international event to try to find ways to tackle challenges of life based on the teachings of the Holy Quran.

Source: IQNA

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Why Indonesia's Announcement To Penalise Premarital Sex Is Not Unprecedented

02 DEC 2022

Indonesian Parliament is set to pass a Draft Criminal Code (RKUHP) within a few days that will penalise premarital sex, with up to one year punishment in jail.

“Anyone who has intercourse with someone who is not their husband or wife shall be punished for adultery with a maximum imprisonment of 1 (one) year or a maximum fine of Category II," reads Article 413, Paragraph 1. The regulation will come into effect in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation if a complaint is registered by the husband or wife of the perpetrator of adultery or parents of children not bound by marriage. However, complaints can be withdrawn before the matter reaches trial court.  

The development came after a meeting between the Deputy Minister of Law and Human Rights and Commission III of the Indonesian Parliament in November.

When the code was announced three years back, tens of thousands across Indonesia protested in the streets for this curb on their freedom of speech. If the new criminal code is passed, then it would be applicable to Indonesian citizens and foreigners alike. Business groups have raised their concerns that the new rules might impact Indonesia's image as a tourist and investment destination.

Other bans in Indonesia include insulting the president or state institutions, expressing dissent/having opposing views to Indonesia's state ideology, love-in relationships, which discriminate against women, religious minorities, and LGBTQ community.

Indonesia, not a stray case

Indonesia's declaration that consummation of a relationship before marriage as illegal, is not unprecedented, and apart from a list of Muslim countries that criminalised this situation long back, there are a few surprises.

Among India's neighbours, Pakistan has blacklisted premarital sex and adultery as crimes under the Hudood Ordinance. Premarital sex can also be punished by up to five years in prison. In Afghanistan, the Taliban punishes 'offenders' of premarital sex and adultery are stoned to death. In August 2010, a young couple was stoned to death by hundreds of villagers in Kunduz Province of northern Afghanistan for pre-marital sex.

Qatar, currently hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, follows Zina laws that ignify voluntary sexual intercourse between a man and a woman not married to one another. This form of Islamic legal tradition considers sex outside of marriage, pregnancy out of wedlock, and adultery as crimes and 'perpetrators' could face upto one year imprisonment. Muslim offenders are given an additional penalty of flogging, while married Muslims may be stoned to death. Reports state that even foreign fans who have come to catch the football tournament, could face up to seven years in prison if caught violating the ban. Saudi Arabia also follows Zina laws and bans pre-marital sex. However, the pre-requisite here requires four respectable people who were witnesses to the actual penetration.

In Iran, the Penal Code “stipulates that the penalty for fornication is flogging, that is 100 strokes of the lash, for unmarried male and female offenders”. Article 83 states that adultery in the following cases shall be punishable by stoning.

Somalia, being an African country that follows Islamic law, considers sex outside marriage a criminal offence, and those convicted by Sharia courts face brutal punishments. In 2008, a young woman was killed after being pelted with stones in the wake of a conviction by a Sharia court for adultery.

Sudan, which has a Muslim majority, operates under the Sharia law, punishes the accused of premarital sex and adultery by stoning them accused to death. In 2012, Intisar Sharif Abdallah a young mother of one was found guilty of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning. Malaysia also follows the Sharia law, and it is illegal for unmarried Muslims to even meet behind closed doors. If they engage in close proximity or khalwat, the couple can be fined Rs 1,000 ringgit (€216) and up to six months in prison.

Source: Outlook India

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Terengganu Shariah amendments have harmful impact, say groups

December 3, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Human rights groups have called on the Malaysian human rights commission (Suhakam) to undertake a human rights impact assessment of the latest version of the Terengganu Shariah Criminal Offences Enactment 2022.

Two of the 10 signatories, Sisters in Islam (SIS) and Justice for Sisters (JFS), said they were concerned over the amendments that were passed yesterday by the Terengganu state assembly.

“The amendments to the enactment further exacerbate existing harmful impacts on women, young people and LGBTQ persons, among others,” they said in a statement.

They were responding to media reports of the proceedings on Nov 28 which provided some details of the amendments. They included the criminalisation of out-of-wedlock pregnancies (Section 29A).

“The criminalisation of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, for instance, not only places unnecessary trauma but burden and shame on survivors of sexual assault,” they said.

Citing a 2018 report by SIS and Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre on child marriages, they added that criminalisation contributed to an increase in child marriages, perpetuating the cycle of poverty and illiteracy among girls.

SIS and JFS said Malaysia, as a party to the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) and the Convention on Rights of the Child (CRC), was obligated to eliminate all forms of discrimination against all women and children.

Other amendments made to the enactment include the criminalisation of witchcraft and black magic (Section 3A), females posing as men (Section 33A) and sodomy (Section 36A).

On Thursday, Terengganu syariah implementation, education and higher education committee chairman Satiful Bahri Mamat said the issue of females posing as men was becoming more widespread.

Individuals found guilty can be punished under Section 356 for up to three years in prison, a fine of RM5,000 and six lashes.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Judge blocks Indiana abortion ban on religious grounds

December 3, 2022

CARLSBAD: A second Indiana judge yesterday blocked the state from enforcing its law banning most abortions after Jewish, Muslim and other non-Christian women challenged it in a lawsuit.

Marion county superior court judge Heather Welch issued a preliminary injunction against the Republican-backed law, which prohibits abortions with limited exceptions for rape, incest, lethal foetal abnormalities or a serious health risk to the mother.

The plaintiffs have argued that the measure infringes on religious freedom protected by another state law.

The law had already been on hold, as another judge in September blocked Indiana from enforcing it while Planned Parenthood and other healthcare providers challenge it in court.

Indiana became the first state to pass a new law banning abortion after the US Supreme Court in June overturned its landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling that had legalised the procedure nationwide.

Other Republican-led states quickly began enforcing older bans.

Welch issued her injunction after a group called Hoosier Jews for Choice and five individual women challenged the abortion law under Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The ACLU said the plaintiffs represented religions including Judaism and Islam as well as “independent spiritual belief systems”.

“The court finds that SEA 1 substantially burdens the religious exercise of the plaintiffs,” Welch wrote, using the formal name of the law, in granting the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction while the challenge to its legality proceeds.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Former e-hailing driver nabbed with drugs worth RM6.14mil

December 2, 2022

SHAH ALAM: Police arrested a former e-hailing driver and confiscated 170.58kg of drugs worth RM6.14 million following a raid at a house in Subang Jaya on Wednesday.

Selangor deputy police chief S Sasikala Devi said the 49-year-old suspect was nabbed at 3pm in a rented house which was believed to be used to store the drugs.

She said the arrest and drug haul followed a week-long intelligence work.

“Our investigation revealed that the suspect has a previous record related to a gambling den, and he is believed to have been active in drug trafficking activities around the Klang Valley for the past two months,” she said at a press conference here.

Sasikala added that the drugs, believed to have been obtained overseas, comprised 166 plastic packages, each of which contained 111 smaller packets labelled as Chinese tea, and another 55 transparent plastic packages containing suspected methamphetamine.

Police also seized a car during the raid.

The suspect has been remanded for seven days until Dec 7 under Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and the case is being investigated under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

Police were conducting further investigations to find out if the suspect, who tested negative for drugs, was involved with other drug syndicates, she said.

Meanwhile, Sasikala reminded the public to be wary of job vacancy advertisements on social media which offer lucrative income but where the recruitment process and work are done without having to meet the employer.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Errors Made in Some Quran Translations, Pakistan’s Jamiat Ulama e Islam Says  

December 02, 2022

This came after the Jamiat Ulama e Islam (JUI) on Friday claimed that an incorrect translation had been made in some copies of the Holy Quran.

During a specially summoned meeting of the National Assembly today, chaired by Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani, the matter of inaccurate translations of the Holy Quran was raised.

Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi said that incorrect translations were made in some copies of the Holy Quran while controversial sentences related to Shariah and Usury were also used in the book of Aina Imranyat at the Allama Iqbal Open University.

He demanded the Punjab government to take action on the issue.

JUI member Maulana Akbar Chitrali said that sentences included in the textbook claimed that the prohibition of interest and maintaining the veil were an obstacle in the path of national development.

JUI member Shahida Akhtar Ali blamed the former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for the issue.

Source: IQNA

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Pakistan pins hope on Afghan govt for action against TTP

December 3, 2022

KARACHI: After the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) vowed to carry out attacks all over the country, Pakistan on Friday said it was hopeful that Afghanistan would live up to the promise of not allowing its territory to be used for terrorist activities in other countries.

Addressing the weekly press briefing, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said Pakistan has serious concerns over terrorist activities and the issue was raised with the Afghan government.

“[W]e have received assurances of sustained counter-terrorism action against TTP and other terrorist organisations and we hope that the promises that have been made will be respected,” she added.

Briefing about the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar’s visit to Kabul, Ms Baloch said the minister raised “key concerns and preferences” of Pakistan and the two sides agreed to develop mechanisms for follow-up on various issues.

Source: Dawn

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Parliament never allowed military to hold talks with TTP: senators

Iftikhar A. Khan

December 3, 2022

ISLAMABAD: A day after Interior Minister Rana Sana­ullah claimed the parliament had authorised military leadership to hold talks with outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), lawmakers from within the ruling coalition made it clear that this was not the case.

They said the parliamentary committee on national security was simply informed by the military about talks that were already under way.

“No permission was sought by the military from parliament for holding parleys with the TTP,” former Senate chairman and PPP leader Mian Raza Rabbani told Dawn.

He said the parliamentary committee on national security had been informed by the military that negotiations were taking place with the banned outfit.

He said a very skeptical picture of ongoing negotiations had been given and even at that time nobody knew when these talks had actually started.

He also said the statement of the federal government on the issue of the cessation of ceasefire with the TTP and the increase in terror attacks through a press conference should have been made in a joint sitting of parliament or at least on the floor of the National Assembly which was in session.

“One fails to understand why the government is shy of the parliament,” he said.

The PPP leader said the dialogue and the operation against the TTP was rightly in the hands of the army and, therefore, it would have been appropriate if the defence ministry was also involved in the said briefing.

Mr Rabbani said the recent suicide attack claimed by the TTP in Quetta and the attack on a girls’ school in South Wazir­is­tan was just the tip of the iceberg.

He said it appeared from the press conference of the federal government that it still intended to pursue the policy of “force and appeasement”. This policy, he observed, had been tried and failed in the past.

He said what made the situation all the more complicated was the fragmentation of the TTP and, therefore, mere appeasement would not work.

“It is once again demanded that a joint sitting of parliament be summoned immediately in which all stakeholders be invited to brief parliament on the present situation and to collectively find a way forward,” the PPP leader said.

PML-N Senator Irfan Siddiqui also said the parliament never authorised the military to negotiate with the TTP.

He told Dawn that following a disclosure during the PTI’s days in power, he had asked on the floor of the Senate as to who was in talks with whom, on what conditions and on whose behest and who was the facilitator.

He recalled that when the then PML-N government held talks with the TTP in 2014, it had convened a multi-party conference to take all parties on board on the issue.

He said besides other party leaders, the conference was also attended by PTI Chairman Imran Khan, and the forum had endorsed the idea of the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif to resolve the issue by holding talks.

He said that the PM at the time had also taken parliament into confidence over the issue, and the names of the negotiating team members had also been announced on the floor of the National Assembly.

Mr Siddiqui, who was one of the three members of the team besides Rahimullah Yousufzai and retired Major Amir, said the TTP also formed a team, led by Maulana Samiul Haq.

He said the TTP had also named Imran Khan as the member of the team, but Mr Khan excused himself from the task. He said Mr Khan was represe­nted by former ambassador Rustam Shah Mohmand, while Professor Ibrahim of Jamaat-i-Islami was also a member of the team.

He said the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the then interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and he (Irfan Siddiqui) had gone to Banigala to brief Mr Khan about the progress of talks with the TTP. The then interior minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, had in October last year expressed ignorance about the talks with TTP.

In November last year a short lived ceasefire had been reached between the two sides, which ended in December with the TTP accusing Pakistan of breaching the terms including release of prisoners and formation of negotiating committees.

Source: Dawn

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Afghanistan reassures not to allow anyone to use soil against Pakistan: FO

December 2, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan says Afghanistan has reassured that it will not allow anyone to use its soil against Pakistan.

This was stated by Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch while addressing the weekly media briefing here in Islamabad on Friday. She said the assurance was given by Afghan authorities during Minister for State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar’s visit to Afghanistan recently.

The Spokesperson said TTP is a threat to Pakistan and we hope that Afghanistan will fulfill its promises. She reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to work with Afghanistan to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation across the entire spectrum of our bilateral relations.

Condemning recent statements by former Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shankersinh Vaghela and India’s Home Minister Amit Shah, she said such statement confirms BJP leadership’s direct involvement in anti-Muslim violence during the horrific Gujarat riots of 2002 that led to the massacre of over two thousand Muslims.

She said it is an internationally acknowledged fact that Narendra Modi who was then the Chief Minister of Gujarat was directly responsible for fomenting anti-Muslim riots and the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said 6th of December this year marks the 30 years of the demolition of Babri Mosque by BJP-RSS zealots. It serves as a reminder that space has become restricted for minorities in India.

She said Pakistan is also seriously concerned over the decision this week by Indian National Investigation Agency’s Delhi court to award life imprisonment to five innocent Kashmiri youth in a fabricated case.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Imran Khan directs party leaders to ensure no criticism of Pakistan Army: Report

Dec 2, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan prime minister and chief of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Imran Khan has directed party leaders and social media team to ensure that there is no criticism of the Army and its new chief General Asim Munir, a media report said on Friday.

General Munir on November 24 replaced General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who retired after serving two consecutive three-year terms as the Army chief in the coup-prone country, where the military wields considerable power in matters of security and foreign policy.

Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza was also picked as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).

In a Whatsapp message to the group of party leaders and PTI social media managers, Khan directed: “Please ensure there is no criticism of the new Chief of Army Staff”, The News International newspaper reported.

The paper said that the direction by Khan is a clear sign of the party's effort to rebuild troubled relationships with the military establishment.

The party source said that following the appointment of General Munir, Khan also does not want any reflection of what had happened between him and the new Army chief during his tenure as prime minister.

When approached, PTI senior leader Fawad Chaudhry did not confirm or deny Khan's latest direction to his leaders and social media team but said that the party's policy was not to have a confrontation with the institution.

Chaudhry explained that in the past, the PTI had issues with certain individuals and their policies.

"We never had any problem with the Army as an institution which, he said, was vital for the security and defence of Pakistan," he said.

Earlier, Khan in a tweet congratulated General Mirza as the new CJCSC and General Munir as the new Chief of Army Staff.

Khan hoped: “The new military leadership will work to end the prevailing trust deficit that has built up in the last 8 months between the nation and the state. Strength of the State is deprived of its people”.

In the same tweet, he shared Muhammad Ali Jinnah's quote: “Do not forget that the armed forces are the servants of the people and you do not make national policy; it is we, the civilians, who decide these issues and it is your duty to carry out these tasks with which you are entrusted.”

The paper further reported that following the appointment of the new Army Chief, Khan and the PTI made a major policy shift from what the former prime minister and his party leaders as well as the social media team have been propagating for the last eight months.

Ever since his ouster as the prime minister in April, Khan severely attacked the military establishment and held it responsible for the removal of his government.

He also attacked the neutrality of the institution and repeatedly urged the military establishment under former Army Chief Gen (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa to remove the present government and pave the way for general elections.

During all these months, the social media of the PTI ran innumerable campaigns targeting the military establishment, Army's top command.

Abusive language has also been used in these campaigns. Some PTI leaders also used indecent language against the military establishment and its key players.

According to sources, Khan initially had reservations about the appointment of General Munir as Army chief but later he changed his policy and said that he would have no objection no matter who was appointed as the COAS.

Source: Times Of India

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Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif approves early retirement of Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid, who was shortlisted for the post of army chief: Report

Dec 2, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has approved the early retirement application of Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid, a former ISI chief and one of the six names apparently shortlisted for the post of the Army chief, according to a media report on Friday.

The report comes days after the Chief of General Staff (CGS) Lt General Azhar Abbas also sought early retirement following General Asim Munir's appointment as the chief of army staff (COAS).

Former ISI chief General Munir has replaced General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who retired on November 29 after serving two consecutive three-year terms as Pakistan's Army chief in the coup-prone country, where the military wields considerable power in matters of security and foreign policy.Lt General Hamid sent his application to the Army General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi a few days ago, which forwarded it to the Prime Minister's office for approval, according to Geo TV.

Lt General Hamid served as DG ISI and corps commander Peshawar under former Prime Minister Imran Khan. He was later posted as Bahawalpur corps commander, the report said.

Lt General Hamid and Lt General Abbas were among the six candidates recommended for the office of the chief of the army staff to succeed General Bajwa.

Other names in the list apart from General Munir, included Lt General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Lt General Nauman Mehmood and Lt General Mohammad Amir.

General Munir is the first Army chief who heads both powerful intelligence agencies - the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Military Intelligence (MI).

Pakistan Army General Shahir Shamshad Mirza on Sunday took charge as the chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) after his predecessor, General (retd) Nadeem Raza, hung up his boots a day earlier.

The post of army chief is the most powerful position in coup-prone Pakistan where the military wields considerable power in matters of security and foreign policy.

Source: Times Of India

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NA members quibble over Fazl’s ‘derogatory’ remarks, again

Amir Wasim

December 3, 2022

ISLAMABAD: At a time when the country is facing serious challenges — rise in terror attacks and a worsening economic crisis — lawmakers on Friday once again deliberated upon Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s ‘controversial’ remarks about women.

During an hour-long sitting, the National Assembly members also raised the issue of an alleged ‘anti-Islam campaign’ by a minority group and the publication of a book containing ‘objectionable material’ contrary to Islamic teachings.

The house witnessed lacklustre proceedings as members spoke on points of order without giving any importance to the 23-point agenda issued for the day.

At the outset, Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani, who belongs to the JUI-F, gave the floor to his party’s Shahida Akhtar Ali, providing her with a full opportunity to defend the party chief who has been under fire over his controversial remarks about women during the public meetings.

JI lawmaker seeks ban on grade 11 book

Ms Ali alleged the PTI has launched a social media campaign against Mr Rehman by uploading ‘doctored’ videos of his speech.

She said her party’s chief has “great respect for women” and accused PTI’s social media activists of “twisting” his statement.

“We condemn those women who are accusing the Maulana of using objectionable language,” she said in an apparent reference to Ms Bano’s speech a day ago.

“It is said that we use religion. Obviously, we do it as we are a religious party, but people are wary of the way you [Imran Khan] are giving religious touch to your politics,” she added.

This was the second day in a row when the JUI-F chief’s remarks dominated the debate and hampered the routing proceedings.

Thursday’s session was also adjourned abruptly after an opposition member from the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) pointed out the lack of quorum after being denied a chance to speak.

A day ago, rumpus broke into the house when GDA’s Saira Bano drew attention to viral video clips of the JUI-F chief uttering ‘derogatory remarks’ about women and targeting the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

During Friday’s session, a PTI dissident, Nuzhat Pathan, also lashed out at former prime minister Imran Khan for targeting her and two other women members when they did not support him during the vote on the no-confidence in April.

Taking the floor, Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali of Jamaat-i-Islami drew the attention of the house towards a grade 11 sociology book taught by Allama Iqbal Open University which, according to him, was allegedly teaching “anti-Islamic values” to the youth.”

Deputy Speaker Durrani immediately passed a ruling and called for a ban on the book and demanded legal action against the author and the publisher.

He also referred the matter to the house committee concerned.

Later, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi accused Ahmadis of damaging Islam and claimed that the Punjab government was not taking any action in this regard.

He said that the activities of the minority group were a threat to the religion.

Source: Dawn

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NA deputy speaker bans AIOU’s 11th class book ‘Imraniyat’

December 2, 2022

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly (NA) Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani on Friday banned the Allama Iqbal Open University’s (AIOU) eleventh class book ‘Imraniyat’ as it was projecting allegedly “anti-Islamic values in the youth”.

Giving his ruling for banning the book, he asked the quarters concerned to take legal action against the alleged responsible who had drafted it and permitted it to be published, and above all allowed it to be taught to the students.

Talking on a point of order, Jaamat-e-Islami’s Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali raised the issue that in the said book, the ‘veil of woman’ was allegedly portrayed as one of the main hindrances in the advancement of society.

He further said the book allegedly promoted Riba (usury) trying to build a positive perception[…] by giving examples it had played in the economic development of the countries.

Giving reference to the book, it was allegedly stated that by banning the usury it would deprive the country’s economy of flourishing and grooming further.

Demanding the ban on the book, Maulana Chitrali proposed that the government should take stern action against all those people allegedly involved in the compilation of this book which was “propagating anti-Islamic values in our young generation”.

He also highlighted that in Sindh, the provincial government was also appointing “non-Muslims” for teaching the subject of Islamiyat, accommodating them in the allocated two percent quota of minorities in jobs.

He said “how a non-believer could teach the true spirit of Islam to the students as he himself did not believe in the Islamic teachings and values”.

He asked the deputy speaker to give his ruling on this important issue and direct the Sindh government to appoint Muslims for teaching the subject of Islamiyat in schools and colleges.

Responding to incorrect translation of Holy Quran by a particular segment of the society, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi said the Punjab government instead of taking up the issue allegedly ignored it.

He also urged the deputy speaker to give his ruling on this serious matter of public interest.

NA Deputy Speaker Durrani while giving his ruling asked the provincial governments to take adequate actions to resolve the following issues on priority.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Pakistan set to launch first ever animal rights curriculum

2 Dec, 2022

PM Shehbaz Sharif’s Strategic Reforms Unit has just announced that a special curriculum designed to educate children on animal rights will be launched on December 9, prior to International Animal Rights Day.

It will be focused teach kids about the responsibility of keeping pets and treating stray animals with compassion.

Head of PM’s Strategic Reforms Salman Sufi shared an update on Twitter: “It’s almost time. On directions of PM Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan’s first curriculum on animal rights will be launched on International Animal Rights Day. Will be sharing event details for online participation few days before the event,” he added.

Apart from pets, Sufi continued, students will also be taught about stray animals. “They need to understand that they cannot throw stones at stray dogs… even Islam teaches us to respect every living being and emphasises how animals should be protected.”

Source: Daily Pakistan

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Pakistan, US reshaping partnerships in diverse fields: Envoy

December 2, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan has said Pakistan and US are reshaping their partnerships in critical areas of trade, investment, green energy, infrastructure, health and education.

He was addressing a two-day conference titled “Pakistan at 75”, in Harvard University at Boston, says a press release received here on Friday from Boston, US. He said Pakistan emphasis on promoting people to people exchanges between the two countries.

He said after recalibrating our relations beyond Afghanistan and the wars we have fought together, we would continue to counter terrorism and foster regional stability.

The Ambassador said the core foreign policy principles of the country were: peace, regional equilibrium, strategic balance, shared prosperity, and connectivity and win-win partnerships.

Underscoring the highest importance that Pakistan attaches to its partnership with the United States, Masood Khan said the US has always been a preferred source for technical knowhow and military equipment and a top destination for Pak exports, which jumped from 7 to 9 billion dollars last year.

He said nearly one million Pakistani Americans are a strong bridge between our two nations. He said the two countries are making efforts to build solid foundations for their economic collaboration that would not only serve the people of two countries but also contribute to regional stability and prosperity.

The envoy said the outlook is bright, as the US has de-hyphenated its relationship with Pakistan from Afghanistan, India and even China. On Sino-Pak relations, Masood Khan reiterated that the United States had not asked Pakistan to make a binary choice between Washington and Beijing.

Masood Khan said that Pakistan wanted peaceful relations with India and we realize that a cohesive, economically integrated South Asia will benefit its people and the entire globe.

Underscoring the need for resolution of all issues including the longstanding issue of Kashmir, Ambassador Khan said that let’s not try to sweep the issues that divide us under the carpet.

This has not worked in the past; it will not work in future. He said peace would remain elusive if there is no dialogue for confidence building, effective communication and responsible stewardship.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Pakistan’s diplomatic officials come under attack in Kabul

December 2, 2022

KABUL: A gun attack was carried out against Pakistan’s diplomatic officials in Kabul, leaving a security guard seriously wounded.

The gun attack was carried out at a time when Chargé d’Affaires to Afghanistan Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani was walking in the garden of Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul, sources said.

According to sources, multiple gunshots were fired on Pakistan’s embassy, however, Chargé d’Affaires Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani escaped unhurt.

A security guard received three bullets in his chest and was immediately shifted to the hospital for medical assistance.

Pakistan Embassy spokesperson Tahir Noorani told media that gunshots were fired by unidentified assailants from outside the building. He said that all diplomatic officials of the Pakistan Embassy were safe.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif demanded an investigation into the attack and action against the attackers.

“I strongly condemn dastardly assassination attempt on Pakistan’s Head of Mission, Kabul,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.

He saluted the brave security guard, who took a bullet to save Nizamani’s life.

“Prayers for the swift recovery of security guard. I demand immediate investigation & action against perpetrators of this heinous act,” he further said.

In a subsequent tweet, PM Shehbaz said that he has spoken to Nizamani and was relieved to hear that he is safe.

“I expressed solidarity of gov[ernmen]t & people with him, while assuring full support & assistance to him & mission on all counts. I also conveyed prayers for swift recovery of brave security guard,” he also said.

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi condemned the “failed” firing attack and prayed for the speedy recovery of the security guard.

“IEA will not allow any malicious actors to pose a threat to the security of diplomatic missions in Kabul,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Our security will conduct a serious investigation, identify perpetrators & bring them to justice,” he further said.

Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq took to Twitter to make the announcement.

“The compound of the Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul came under attack today targeting Head of Mission, Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani. By the grace of Allah Almighty, the Head of Mission is safe. However, a Pakistani security guard Sepoy Israr Mohammad has been critically injured in the attack while protecting the Head of Mission. The Government of Pakistan strongly condemns the assassination attempt against the Head of Mission and the attack against the embassy compound in Kabul,” said the envoy.

“The Interim Government of Afghanistan must immediately hold thorough investigations in this attack, apprehend the culprits, hold them to account, and take urgent measures to ensure the safety and security of Pakistani diplomatic personnel and citizens in Afghanistan,” he added.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Top Iranian Sunni Cleric, Molavi Abdolhamid, Says Protesters Should Not Face Death Sentences

02 December ,2022

A prominent Sunni cleric said on Friday it was wrong to charge protesters with capital offences as renewed demonstrations shook Iran’s restive southeast in the third month of protests despite a violent state clampdown.

Videos posted by the Iran Human Rights group showed minority ethnic Baluch women chanting “I will kill whoever killed my brother”, and police shooting what it said was birdshot and teargas at demonstrators. Another unverified video showed injured protesters treated at a makeshift clinic in a mosque.

Molavi Abdolhamid, a powerful dissenting Sunni voice in the Shi’ite-ruled Islamic Republic, said it was wrong for the hardline judiciary to charge protesters with “moharebeh” – an Islamic term meaning warring against God – which carries the death penalty.

“A person who has protested with stones and sticks or just by shouting should not be accused of moharebeh. What the Koran calls moharebeh is when a group uses arms and engages (in fighting),” Molavi Abdolhamid said in a Friday prayers sermon, according to his website.

Besides Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchistan province where Molavi Abdolhamid spoke, protests were held in Chabahar, Taftan and other parts of the impoverished province, according to videos posted on social media. Reuters could not verify the footage.

On Tuesday, Javaid Rehman, a U.N.-appointed independent expert on Iran, voiced concern that the repression of protesters was intensifying, with authorities launching a “campaign” of sentencing them to death.

Already, 21 people arrested in the context of the protests face the death penalty, including a woman indicted on “vague and broadly formulated criminal offences”, and six have been sentenced this month, Rehman said.

Source: The Globe And Mail

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Iran: Human rights a plaything for some criminal regimes

03 December 2022

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has denounced the fatal shooting of a young Palestinian man by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, saying human rights have turned into a plaything in the hands of some criminal governments.

Nasser Kan’ani made the remarks in a post published on his Twitter page after video footage widely circulated on social media showed an Israeli soldier putting the Palestinian man, identified as 22-year-old Ammar Mefleh, in a headlock on the street in the town of Huwara, south of Nablus, as two other men try to wrestle him away.

The man then appears to strike the Israeli soldier, before the trooper pulls out a handgun and shoots him several times at point-blank.

“The assassination of young Palestinian Ammar Hamdi Mefleh by the Zionist regime's military fire at point-blank and before many eyes deserves an international reaction. Nevertheless, the daily crimes of the criminal Zionist regime are neither condemned by the so-called advocates of human rights, nor a fact-finding commission is formed to probe such crimes,” Kan’ani tweeted.

He added, “Human rights have become a plaything in the hands of some criminal governments.”

Israeli forces present at the scene prevented residents and ambulances from providing aid to the injured Palestinian youth, provoking clashes with locals.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said Mefleh died of his critical wounds.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Middle East envoy, Tor Wennesland, said on Twitter that he was horrified by the latest killing.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said the criminal execution in the town of Huwara reflects the extent of organized racism being practiced by Israeli military forces.

Shtayyeh expressed his utter shock and anger over the heartbreaking video footage of Mefleh being fatally shot at point-blank by an Israeli soldier.

He said Israeli soldiers feel assured that they will not be held accountable for their crimes, and the approach emboldens them to repeat such offenses.

Shtayyeh warned of the dangerous repercussions of such horrific crimes, calling on the international community to immediately intervene to stop the crimes committed by the occupying Israeli regime against the Palestinian nation.

He also urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to quickly hold the perpetrators to account.

Moreover, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates condemned the heinous crime committed by an Israeli soldier against 22-year-old Palestinian youth Ammar Mefleh.

The ministry held Israel directly responsible for the assassination, stating that the crime proves once again the regime’s predetermined plans to exacerbate the situation and expand the scope of targeting killings of Palestinians.

Israeli forces have recently been conducting overnight raids and killings in the northern occupied West Bank, mainly in the cities of Jenin and Nablus, where new groups of Palestinian resistance fighters have been formed.

Since the start of 2022, Israeli troops have killed more than 200 Palestinians, including more than 50 children, in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds as well as the besieged Gaza Strip.

According to the United Nations, the number of Palestinians killed by Israel in the occupied West Bank this year is the highest in 16 years.

Source: Press TV

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Terrorists opened fire on civilians to implicate government in killings: Iran MP

02 December 2022

The head of the Iranian Parliament's foreign relations subcommittee says Western-backed terrorists used firearms to shoot at security forces and civilians to implicate the Iranian government in the killings.

Abbas Golroo made the remarks on Friday while speaking to Iran’s official news agency IRNA about the adoption of a resolution by the UN Human Rights Council, engineered by Germany, to probe claims of human rights abuses during the recent riots.

Martyrdom of security forces in recent riots shows that they entered the field, without being armed, to defend citizens, Golroo said. But the terrorists “opened fire on people and military and police forces to implicate the government in killing people.”

International institutions are established to address issues facing countries according to international law and without any political bias, he said, adding, “however, the resolutions which were recently discussed in the UN Human Rights Council and the IAEA Board of Governors were totally political and were ratified against the Islamic Republic of Iran according to plans devised by the US and the West and supported by their allies.”

The UN body has voted to establish an independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the purported abuses; however, Iran has strongly condemned and rejected the resolution as an interference in its internal affairs.

‘West behind false-flag killings’

Golroo noted that the hostile stances of those countries who voted in favor of the resolution at the UN Human Rights Council are crystal clear.

“We consider this to be a hostile approach far from reality, and we will have no cooperation with such a committee because recent riots occurred due to the involvement of terrorist movements to implement false-flag killings and level accusations against Iran,” the lawmaker said.

He said all such plots are “hatched by Western states, the US, and the Zionist regime.”

The resolution points to alleged violence against civilians and the killing of protestors, especially children and women, while such false-flag killings have been conducted by terrorist groups who are backed by Western countries, he added.

If the fact-finding committee is truly independent and seeks truth, it should investigate terrorist attacks in Shah Cheragh and Izeh, said the MP, referring to two recent terrorist attacks in Iran.

On October 26, a Daesh-affiliated terrorist attacked the Shah Cheragh shrine in the southern province of Fars before the evening prayers, killing at least 15 pilgrims — including a woman and two children — and injuring 40 others.

At least seven people were also killed after terrorists opened fire at people and security forces at a crowded market in Khuzestan province’s Izeh around sunset on November 17.

The bulk of the victims of these attacks were women and children, Golroo said, adding, “All clues of these terrorist attacks can be traced back to countries who called for the establishment of a fact-finding committee.”

Double standards

Elsewhere in his comments, Golroo said the countries who have demanded the formation of the fact-finding committee are themselves perpetrators of such crimes.

“Why didn’t they establish such a committee on crimes of the US, the UK, Germany, and other supporters of such resolutions that have carried out crimes in Syria, Yemen, Iran-Iraq war and other countries? ... [or] on the killing of half a million women and children in Syria and Iraq by Daesh who acted as agents of Europe, America, and the Zionist regime?” he asked.

The anti-Iran resolution comes as foreign-backed riots have hit some Iranian provinces since 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini died at the hospital on September 16, three days after she collapsed at a police station.

An investigation has attributed Amini’s death to her medical condition, rather than alleged beatings by the police.

Source: Press TV

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UN nuclear chief says Iran ties need to get back on track

02 December ,2022

Iran appears to be at odds with the UN nuclear watchdog over information it should be providing regarding its atomic program, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Friday.

“We don’t seem to be seeing eye-to-eye with Iran over their obligations to the IAEA,” Rafael Grossi told a conference in Rome, adding that he was concerned over a recent announcement by Tehran that it was boosting its enrichment capacity.

“We need to put our relationship back on track,” he said.

Grossi said he was “still hopeful” Teheran would give an explanation for the unexpected discovery a few years back of traces of uranium traces at three undeclared sites.

A recent IAEA report said Iran had agreed to a visit by the UN watchdog in November to start giving long-waited answers. However, the meeting has not yet happened.

The issue of the unexplained uranium particles has become an obstacle in wider talks to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers since Tehran is now seeking a closure of the IAEA’s investigation as part of those negotiations, Western powers say.

Grossi said the talks appeared to have stalled. “At the moment it does not seem to have the momentum it needs to (get) back to life,” he said.

He added that he was concerned by Iran’s announcement last month that it had begun enriching uranium to 60 percent purity at its Fordow nuclear plant.

“Iran informed us they were tripling, not doubling, tripling their capacity to enrich uranium at 60 percent, which is very close to military level, which is 90 percent” he said.

“This is not banal. This is something that has consequences.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Israeli officer kills assailant in West Bank; Palestinians denounce as execution work

02 December ,2022

An Israeli officer shot dead a Palestinian assailant in the occupied West Bank on Friday, border police said, an incident which the Palestinians denounced as an execution.

The man had stabbed and lightly wounded a border policeman after which another officer overpowered him. The man then fought with the officer and tried to snatch his rifle before the officer shot him dead, border police said in a statement.

The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed his death. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said it was tantamount to an execution meant to escalate already spiraling violence in the territory, which Palestinians seek for a state.

Border police distributed a photo of a knife on the ground and another of a border policeman with what appears to be a stabbing wound to his head.

A video circulating on social media showed an officer holding a man in a head-lock by a road as two other men try to wrestle him away. The man then appears to strike the officer and attempt to take hold of his rifle before the officer pulls out a handgun and shoots him several times as he falls to the ground.

The video, taken from a distance as vehicles cross the frame, could not be independently verified by Reuters. It does not show what had transpired prior and whether the man had been holding a knife or any other weapon before it was filmed.

A border police spokesman did not respond to Reuters requests for comment on the incident, which took place close to the city of Nablus.

The city, along with nearby Jenin, has seen intensified and often fatal Israeli military operations, since a spate of deadly Palestinian street attacks in Israeli cities in March.

The worst violence in the West Bank in years has deepened diplomatic stagnation since US-brokered peace talks aimed at establishing a Palestinian state there, in Gaza and in East Jerusalem, collapsed in 2014.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Israeli peace activists show presence in West Bank hot spot

December 03, 2022

HEBRON: Dozens of Israeli peace activists toured the occupied West Bank’s largest city on Friday in a show of solidarity with Palestinians, amid chants of “shame, shame” from ultra-nationalist hecklers.

The encounter in the center of Hebron signaled the widening rift among Israelis over the nature of their society and Israel’s open-ended military rule over the Palestinians, now in its 56th year.

After parliamentary elections last month, the most right-wing and religious government in Israel’s history is poised to be installed in coming days or weeks, with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returning to power.

In coalition agreements, Netanyahu has already handed key authorities in the West Bank to ultra-nationalist faction leaders, including former fringe figure Itamar Ben-Gvir, known for his anti-Arab rhetoric.

The new roles include oversight of Israeli settlement construction and the paramilitary border police, often deployed in Palestinian population centers.

At the same time, peace activists and pro-Palestinian rights groups have come under attack in recent years from right-wing politicians branding them traitors.

The immediate trigger for Friday’s tour was an incident in volatile Hebron that was caught on video last week.

The video shows a soldier pushing a man to the ground and punching him in the face after a tense standoff with a small group of peace activists.

Another soldier is heard telling the activists: “Ben-Gvir is going to sort things out in this place. That’s it, you guys have lost.”

The soldier uttering the taunts was initially sentenced to 10 days in military jail, but the army then reduced the sentence to six days.

As incoming national security minister, Ben-Gvir will have control over the border police whose troops are often deployed alongside regular soldiers in the West Bank.

As about 200 peace activists arrived in the center of Hebron on Friday, they were greeted by a group of protesters holding a banner reading: “The people of Israel demand: expel the anarchists from Hebron.” One man shouting through a bullhorn yelled, “shame, shame,” as the visitors listened to tour guides in a parking lot, separated from the right-wing protesters by security forces.

Friday’s visit was part of the regular offerings of anti-occupation groups, but turnout was larger than usual because of the election results and last week’s incident in Hebron, said Ori Givati, a spokesman for Breaking the Silence, one of the groups organizing the trip.

He said activists were worried — but also determined to continue their work, including tours to West Bank hot spots like Hebron, where dozens of heavily guarded settlers live in a city of tens of thousands of Palestinians.

“There is definitely fear for the safety, first and foremost for Palestinians under this occupation that are now going to be under a government that promotes hate and racism more than ever toward them, and toward our organization and other organizations and activists that are now in a reality where their activity here is delegitimized, also more than ever,” Givati said.

Those chanting slogans against the peace activists portrayed themselves as defenders of Israeli settlements and soldiers.

Matan Gerafi of the right-wing Im Tirtzu group alleged the activists aimed to discredit soldiers and branded them “anarchists.”

Palestinians were largely out of sight as the Israeli groups faced off.

Issa Amro, a Palestinian activist in Hebron, said he believes the hard-line ideology of Ben-Gvir and others will spread further in Israeli society.

Source: Arab News

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Israeli police shoot dead Palestinian in West Bank

December 03, 2022

HUWARA: Israeli police shot dead a Palestinian on Friday in the occupied West Bank, in an incident described by the force as a stabbing and by a Palestinian official as a quarrel.

Israeli police said its border guards were approached by several suspects in the town of Huwara when one “pulled out a knife and stabbed one of them.”

The guards “responded by shooting one suspect and neutralizing him,” police said in a statement, before confirming to AFP the Palestinian was killed.

There are regular patrols by Israeli forces through the town of Huwara, which straddles the main road south of Nablus in the northern West Bank.

A member of the Huwara municipality, Wajeh Odeh, told AFP the shooting followed “a quarrel.”

“An Israeli soldier pushed the Palestinian to the floor and shot him from zero distance,” Odeh said.

Heavily armed border guards were deployed along the street following the incident, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

The Palestinian Red Crescent told AFP its medics “were prevented from dealing with a wounded person who was later declared dead.”

Israeli police said one of its officers suffered minor injuries.

The shooting marks the ninth Palestinian killed since Tuesday in the West Bank, mostly in clashes with or raids by Israeli forces.

In one incident, a man was shot dead after running over a soldier in an alleged car ramming.

The recent surge in violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has alarmed the international community.

On Monday, the UN envoy for Middle East peace, Tor Wennesland, warned the situation in the West Bank was “reaching a boiling point.”

At least 145 Palestinians and 26 Israelis have been killed so far this year across the West Bank, Israel and the contested city of Jerusalem.

Israel has occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem since the 1967 Six-Day War.

The US representative for Palestinian affairs, Hady Amr, on Wednesday said Washington is “deeply aware of the tragic loss of life” in the Palestinian territories.

Those killed in recent months include Israeli soldiers, Palestinian militants and scores of civilians.

Source: Arab News

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Northern Christian, Muslim leaders adopt Atiku as consensus candidate for 2023 presidential election

December 2, 2022

Forum of Christian and Muslim Political Leaders from the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, have adopted the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, as the consensus candidate for the 2023 election.

Arising from meeting of leaders and delegates from all over the north comprising of religions leaders, women and youth organisations took the decision in Abuja on Friday at the Atiku Abubakar Hall of Shehu Musa Yaradua centre.

The forum adopted the report of IRS technical committee led by a former minority leader of the House of Representatives Mohammed Kumalia and Nunge Mele, SAN.

It will be recalled that the forum of Northern Christian and Muslim Leaders had on October 8 set up the committee to recommend a pan-Nigerian platform to adopt in the 2023 presidential election.

Source: Daily Nigerian

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Kenyan president suspends 4 election commissioners who disputed his win

Andrew Wasike  



Kenya’s president on Friday suspended four of the nation’s election commissioners who had disputed his win this August.

In a notice, William Ruto said he carried out the suspension “having received and considered the petition of the National Assembly and in exercise of the prerogative vested in the Head of State and Government by Article 251 of the Constitution.”

The four commissioners from Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commissioners include Juliana Cherera, its vice chair, and three other top members.

Ruto has also formed a tribunal chaired by High Court Judge Aggrey Muchelule to investigate the commissioners and report any constitutional violations or “gross misconduct” they may have committed.

This summer the quartet had disputed Ruto’s Aug. 9 election as defying math and logic.

Late Thursday, the National Assembly decided to create a committee report that suggested dismissing the four commissioners.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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11 worshippers injured in mosque attack in south Nigeria

02 December, 2022

Gunmen stormed a mosque in southern Nigeria's Delta state on Friday, wounding 11 worshippers after attempting to kidnap the imam, police said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the violence, but Nigeria is facing a myriad of security challenges, including a jihadist insurgency in the northeast, kidnappings in central and northwestern states and separatist tensions in the south.

The early morning assault occurred at the mosque in Ughelli, near the oil city of Warri.

"Eleven (people) were injured," police spokesman Bright Edafe told AFP confirming the incident.

He said an investigation was underway to find the suspects.

Local media quoting a community leader and a victim reported that an imam was kidnapped during the attack.

Police rejected the claim, saying "it was the intention to take him (the imam) but they (the gunmen) did not succeed."

Kidnappings are common in Nigeria and are largely committed for financial gain by criminals known as bandits who have no known ideological motivation.

Security in Delta state had improved compared to the early 2000s when militant groups frequently attacked oil facilities or kidnapped oil workers.

But in neighbouring southeastern states, scores of recent assaults have been blamed on the outlawed separatists, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network.

IPOB, which seeks a separate state for ethnic Igbo people has repeatedly denied responsibility for the violence.

Source: The New Arab

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