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Preacher of Sufi Islam Targeted: Blast Rips through Mosque in Afghan Capital, Killing Many Worshippers and Injuring Dozens of Others

New Age Islam News Bureau

18 August 2022


Blood seen throughout the main prayer hall of Abu Bakr Siddique Mosque in Kabul/ Photo:


• How the Ulama and the Muslims Who Sacrificed Most for Independence Can Be Anti-National: Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind President

• Turkey, Israeli Regime Announce Restoration of Full Diplomatic Relations

• Mali Accuses France of Allegedly Providing Information and Weapons to Terrorists

• US To Withhold Billions of Dollars from Taliban over Al-Zawahiri


South Asia

• ‘They Are Militias, Let Them Be Killed’; Entrapping Security Forces, Another Allegation Against Ex-President Ghani

• Bangladesh PM tells UN that Myanmar must take Rohingya back

• Families of 9/11 Victims Urge Biden to Return $3.5B to Afghan People 

• Taliban kill one of their ex-leaders from minority Hazara community



• Muslim Bodies Condemn Release of Bilkis Bano Case Convicts; Calling It "A Wrong Message for the Society As Well As the Victim"

• Rohingyas: Centre Denies Union Minister’s Claim after Vishwa Hindu Parishad Stinging Criticism

• Delhi Govt Decided Rohingya Shifting At July Meeting: BJP

• Cleric Detained For Alleged Forced Nikah of A 15-Year-Old Hindu Girl In With A Hindu Man in Mosque In UP

• Kasaragod Mosque Committee Accuses Muslim League State Treasurer Of Trying To Usurp Its Land

• Congress Leader Warned That It Was Unnecessary to Put up VD Savarkar’s Pictures In Muslim-Dominated Areas

• Karnataka: Group of men and women on outing targeted over presence of Muslims

• ATS takes three alleged JeM militants on 12-day remand

• Pakistani drones drop ammunition in Jammu and Kashmir



• Resistance to continue until liberation of Palestine: Islamic Jihad official

• Israeli forces kill Palestinian youth in West Bank clashes: Medics

• Tehran Urges Washington to Release Jailed Iranians

• Leader's Aide: Iran Backs 'One China' Policy against US Conspiracies

• Palestinian leader says not intended to deny Holocaust



• Niger's civil society opposes deployment of French troops after departure from Mali

• Morocco sentences 13 migrants to prison, says lawyer

• Syrian refugee alleges killings, rapes in Libya

• Kenyan electoral chair claims 4 commissioners wanted to alter elections results for re-run


North America

• US Defence Department: Over $7B in US Military Equipment Seized By Islamic Emirate

• Rushdie attacker ‘surprised’ author survived multiple stabbing: Reports

• Families of 9/11 victims urge Biden to send frozen assets back to Afghan people



• Militants Won’t Be Allowed To Disturb Peace: Swat Qaumi Jirga

• Protest continues in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over targeted killings by Pak Army

• Pakistan: Punjab’s Ruling Party Wants to Ban Ahmadis from a Whole District

• Pak PM Shehbaz likely to meet Chinese President Xi during SCO summit: Report

• UK Inks Deal to Return ‘Criminals’ To Pakistan

• Pak, Iran need to exploit mutual existing potential: Bilawal

• Ulema, media’s role vital in polio eradication: Patel



• UK Police Detail ‘Remarkable’ Probe into Daesh ‘Beatles’ Cell

• Palestinian general discusses military, intelligence co-operation at talks in Moscow

• Germany and Israel condemn Palestinian president Holocaust statements

• Türkiye holds panel in Paris to push for UN Security Council reform

• Killing of Afghan refugee prompts police reinforcements in French town

• Uproar in Israel, Germany over Palestinian President Abbas’s remarks


Arab World

• Iraqi Crisis Talks Go Ahead without Muqtada al-Sadr

• Turkish forces 'neutralize' 9 YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria

• Syria denies kidnapping or holding US journalist missing for 10 years

• Drivers in Syria’s Damascus feel the pinch of spiralling fuel prices

• First Saudi pro boxer hopes to be most successful athlete in Kingdom’s history

• Syria denies holding American citizens captive, including journalist Austin Tice


Southeast Asia

• Indonesia Celebrates First Independence Day at Future Capital, In the Ancient Rainforests of Eastern Borneo

• Christian lawsuit against Malaysian politician fails

• Indonesia seeks justice for wrongfully imprisoned citizen

• Can Indonesia's Muslim leaders help combat climate change?

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Preacher of Sufi Islam Targeted: Blast Rips through Mosque in Afghan Capital, Killing Many Worshippers and Injuring Dozens of Others


Blood seen throughout the main prayer hall of Abu Bakr Siddique Mosque in Kabul/ Photo:


Bilal Gular  


KABUL, Afghanistan

A huge bomb exploded during evening prayers Wednesday at a mosque in Afghanistan's capital, killing many worshippers and injuring dozens of others, according to local media.

In multiple videos posted on Twitter following the blast, blood was seen throughout the main prayer hall of Abu Bakr Siddique Mosque in Kabul, which is adjacent to an Islamic seminary in the Khairkhana Kotal neighbourhood.

The mosque's prayer leader, Maulvi Amir Mohammad Kabuli, a renowned Afghan scholar and preacher of Sufi Islam, was targeted, and the majority of those killed and wounded were seminary students, according to the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP).

Khalid Zadran, a spokesman for the Kabul Police Department, did not provide casualty counts. He did, however, confirm that a bomb had exploded at the mosque which killed and injured several people.

He said a large number of security and first aid teams were dispatched to the area.

Emergency Hospital, one of the largest health care centers in Kabul, announced on Twitter that 27 patients, including five children, were treated there, while the Al Jazeera news network claimed that around 20 people lost their lives.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman for Afghanistan's interim administration, condemned the explosion but did not provide details on casualties.

He said the perpetrators would be found as soon as possible.

So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the Daesh/ISIS terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the killing of senior Taliban cleric Maulvi Rahimullah Haqqani and his brother in a suicide bombing in Kabul's Sherpur area last week.

The terrorist group has intensified its subversive activities in Afghanistan, which is grappling with many challenges since the Taliban came to power last year after US forces withdrew from the country.

The Taliban have been struggling for recognition of their government, facing financial difficulties as the US has frozen Afghanistan's approximately $9.5 billion in assets, despite warnings from the UN that the population is facing extreme starvation.

However, the terrorism issue appears to be the most pressing one because on Aug. 5 and 6, Daesh/ISIS claimed responsibility for two attacks on the Shia Muslim community in Kabul that left 11 people dead and 25 injured.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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How the Ulama and the Muslims Who Sacrificed Most for Independence Can Be Anti-National: Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind President


Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind President Maulana Arshad Madani


18th August 2022

New Delhi: Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind President Maulana Arshad Madani said that how can the people who “sacrificed the most for the country’s independence” be anti-national.

“The freedom movement of India was started by the Ulama and the Muslims; and the first flag of rebellion against the British in India was raised by the Ulama,” he said during an event.

“The people who first gave the slogan of freedom, today the same people are called traitors. Muslims are being depicted so all over the country today. How can someone whose elders gave the freedom be a traitor,” he asserted.

“Our elders from Hindu and Muslim communities went ahead on the path of unity and liberated the country from the slavery of the British, but unfortunately partition also took place. This partition has become a cause of destruction and ruin, not just for a particular community, but for both Hindus and Muslims,” Madani added.

Speaking on the issue of China, he said, “If the partition would have not happened and these three countries (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) would have been together, then today this would have not been the situation that China was infiltrating inside India and the government is silent on it”

Source: Siasat Daily

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Turkey, Israeli Regime Announce Restoration of Full Diplomatic Relations


Over the last few years, Turkey has set about repairing ties with its neighbours and abandoning the hardline approach. It had made overtures to Egypt, the UAE, Israel and Saudi Arabia


17 August 2022

Turkey and Israel have announced the restoration of full diplomatic relations and to mutually reinstate ambassadors, marking the culmination of hectic efforts by the two sides to repair bilateral ties following years of tensions.

On Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters at a press conference that the move would mark what he called “a milestone” in efforts to normalize ties between his country and the Israeli regime.

“The steps we would take to normalize relations includes mutually reappointing of ambassadors. At the news conference we held with (Israeli Prime Minister Yair) Lapid in this hall, we made a statement that we started the work on the appointment of ambassadors,” he said, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

“As a result of these efforts, such a positive step came from Israel. Of course, we, as Turkey, have decided to appoint an ambassador to Israel, to Tel Aviv,” Cavusoglu said at a news conference with his Kyrgyz counterpart Jeenbek Kulubaev.

The process would begin after both sides presented the names of the ambassadors, he said.

Cavusoglu, however, said Ankara’s decision to restore diplomatic relations with Israel did not mean Turkey would abandon its support for the Palestinians.

“We are not giving up on the Palestinian cause. It is important for our messages to be conveyed directly through the ambassador (on the Palestinian issue).”

Earlier on Wednesday, the Israeli prime minister released a statement, announcing the "upgrading of relations" between the two sides.

“It was decided to once again upgrade the level of the relations between” Israel and Turkey “to that of full diplomatic ties and to return ambassadors and consuls general from” the two sides, he said

Lapid said “renewing relations with Turkey is an important asset for regional stability and very important economic news for” Israelis.

“Upgrading relations will contribute to deepening ties between” the two sides, “expanding economic, trade, and cultural ties, and strengthening regional stability,” the Israeli prime minister said in his statement, issued following a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Back in March, Israeli President Isaac Herzog paid a visit to Turkey and met with Erdogan. The visit purportedly helped soothe the strained relations after more than a decade of tensions. The trip was followed by visits by foreign ministers.

Earlier, Erdogan told a gathering of ambassadors in Ankara that resuming full relations with the Israeli regime would “allow us to help our Palestinian brothers.”

Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador in 2018 over the killing of 60 Palestinians by Israeli forces during protests on the border separating the besieged Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories against the opening of the US Embassy in al-Quds.

Erdogan at the time condemned Israel for carrying out “genocide” and behaving like a “terrorist” regime. While the Turkish government declared three-day national mourning over the carnage, Tel Aviv expelled the Turkish ambassador in a tit-for-tat move.

In late May 2010, diplomatic relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv significantly deteriorated when Israeli commandoes boarded, deploying from helicopters, the humanitarian Mavi-Marmara flotilla, and killed ten Turkish citizens.

The convoy, composed of six civilian ships, carried 663 people from 37 nations, mostly pro-Palestinian activists. The ships, one of whom was flying a Turkish flag, were also carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials. The mission was to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Israel's YNet news website on Tuesday reported that a day earlier, a senior Israeli official had predicted, in an interview with the website, that Israeli airlines would be granted permission to fly into Istanbul in a matter of weeks.

The official said the move would come after the signing of a new mutual aviation agreement between Ankara and Tel Aviv last month. The parties, he said, were now finalizing the details that would allow Israeli airlines to fly to Turkey while meeting Israel’s stringent security requirements.

Earlier in August, Israel also reopened its economic office in Turkey after three years of closure.

Source: Press TV

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Mali Accuses France of Allegedly Providing Information and Weapons to Terrorists


Hassan Isilow



Mali accused France of allegedly providing information and weapons to terrorists, according to local media on Wednesday.

According to a report published in the weekly Jeune Afrique, Bamako said it denounced, in particular, the repeated violations of its airspace by the French forces, whose last troops officially left the country on Tuesday.

Jeune Afrique quoted a letter dated Aug. 16 and signed by the head of Malian diplomacy Abdoulaye Diop that called for an emergency meeting with the UN to take stock of the situation in the country.

On Tuesday, French authorities announced that they had withdrawn their last troops from Mali ending a nine-year operation in the West African country that was its hub to tackle militants in the Sahel region.

On Wednesday, a coalition of 15 civil society organizations in neighboring Niger expressed disappointment against the deployment of French troops in their country. According to local publication La Nouvelle Tribune, civil society organizations called for protests demanding the immediate departure of the French.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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US To Withhold Billions of Dollars from Taliban over Al-Zawahiri


Al-Zawahiri, the successor to Osama bin Laden, was killed last month in a drone strike while standing on the balcony of a house in Kabul. (File/AFP)


August 17, 2022

LONDON: Billions of dollars being held by the US will not be transferred to Afghanistan after Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri was killed in Kabul on July 31.

Al-Zawahiri’s presence in Afghanistan meant Washington does not have “confidence” that the country’s central bank “has the safeguards and monitoring in place to manage assets responsibly,” said Tom West, the US special representative for Afghanistan.

“Needless to say, the Taliban’s sheltering of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri reinforces deep concerns we have regarding diversion of funds to terrorist groups.”

The US has held around $3.5 billion intended for Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover of the country last year.

Afghanistan’s economy has struggled since the withdrawal of coalition forces in August 2021, with officials negotiating with US representatives for ways to alleviate the situation.

But West said the US does not see returning funds to the country as a “near-term option” as the Taliban cannot provide guarantees that the money will not be used to fund terrorism.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price, though, said Washington would find alternative, humanitarian uses for the funds to help ease the suffering of ordinary Afghans.

“The idea that we have decided not to use these funds for the benefit of the Afghan people is simply wrong. It is not true,” he added.

“Right now we’re looking at mechanisms that could be put in place to see to it that these $3.5 billion in preserved assets make their way efficiently and effectively to the people of Afghanistan in a way that doesn’t make them ripe for diversion to terrorist groups or elsewhere.”

US President Joe Biden in February ordered that $7 billion being held by the US for Afghanistan be split between humanitarian aid for the country, and 9/11 victims and their families.

Al-Zawahiri, the successor to Osama bin Laden, who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks, was killed last month in a drone strike while standing on the balcony of a house in which he was living in the center of Kabul.

His presence in Afghanistan was a “gross violation” of an agreement struck with Washington for the Taliban not to permit terrorist organizations to operate in the country, the US said.

A UN Security Council report earlier this year said the Taliban takeover had allowed “greater freedom” for foreign fighters to live and operate in the country.

The UN’s humanitarian coordinator and deputy special representative for Afghanistan, Ramiz Alakbarov, said the country faces “pure catastrophe” due to its precarious economic state, with 6.6 million people threatened with famine this winter and 24 million in need of humanitarian aid.

He added that poverty is forcing Afghans to make desperate decisions such as “the selling of organs, and the selling of children,” and that despite many spending as much as 90 percent of their income on food, he was still seeing evidence of severely malnourished children nationwide.

Erin Sikorsky, director at the US-based Center for Climate and Security, told the Daily Telegraph: “Poor governance by the Taliban will make things worse. It is likely Afghanistan will see more internally displaced people going forward, as disruptions to ... agriculture intersect with other security risks.”

Source: Arab News

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 South Asia

 ‘They are militias, let them be killed’; Entrapping Security Forces, Another Allegation against Ex-President Ghani

By Saqalain Eqbal

17 Aug 2022

Former Afghan House of Representatives member Rahim Ayubi alleged that Ashraf Ghani, the ousted president of Afghanistan, responded calmly, “they are militias, let them be killed,” after Ayubi informed him about the rising number of civilian and military casualties.

People’s Representative in the Afghan Parliament, Rahim Ayubi, claimed in a televised appearance that the then-President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, muttered “they are militias, let them be killed,” in Ayubi’s ear at the end of the meeting when he expressed concern over rising casualties.

Ayubi, a prominent Afghan politician and the president of the Afghan United Nation Political Party, labeled ex-President Ghani a “national traitor” for referring to those who risk their lives and spill their blood for Afghanistan as “militia.”

Ayubi describes a meeting with the president that occurred prior to the collapse of the republic government to the Taliban. The meeting with the president was also attended by Humayun Humayun, Zahir Qadir, Lalai Hamidzai, and other Kandahar province MPs.

Source: Khaama Press

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Bangladesh PM tells UN that Myanmar must take Rohingya back

Aug 17, 2022

Bangladesh's leader told a visiting UN official on Wednesday that hundreds of thousands of ethnic minority Rohingya refugees living in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh must return home to Myanmar, where they had fled waves of violent persecution.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made the comment to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka. Bachelet arrived on Sunday and visited Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar district near the border with Myanmar.

“The Rohingya are nationals of Myanmar and they have to be taken back,” Hasina was quoted as saying by her press secretary, Ihsanul Karim.

Muslim Rohingya face widespread discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where most are denied citizenship and many other rights. More than 700,000 fled to Bangladesh starting in late August 2017 when the Myanmar military launched a “clearance operation” against them following attacks by a rebel group. The safety situation in Myanmar has worsened following a military takeover last year.

Currently, Bangladesh is hosting more than 1 million Rohingya refugees.

The refugees will mark the fifth anniversary of their latest influx in Bangladesh amid botched attempts to send them home. Earlier this month, Bangladesh sought cooperation from China in repatriating Rohingya to Myanmar during a visit by Foreign Minister Wang Yi. China had brokered a November 2017 agreement with Myanmar aimed at sending them back.

Hasina and several Cabinet ministers earlier expressed frustration over what they called Myanmar's inaction in taking them back under the agreement. The U.N. and Bangladesh authorities have tried at least twice to began repatriations, but the refugees refused to go, citing safety concerns in Myanmar.

When Bachelet visited the camps on Wednesday, refugees urged the UN to help improve safety inside Myanmar so they can return.

The UN said in a statement that the refugees described “their grievances, their pains” to Bachelet.

“When our rights are respected, we can have our livelihoods again, and we can have land, and we can feel that we are part of the country,” it quoted refugees as telling her.

Bachelet emphasized the importance of ensuring that safe and sustainable conditions exist and that any returns be conducted in a voluntary and dignified way, it said.

“The UN is doing the best we can to support them. We’ll continue doing that,” she said. “But we also need to deal with the profound roots of the problem. We need to deal with that and ensure that they can go back to Myanmar -– when there are conditions for safety and voluntary return.”

Source: Hindustan Times

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Families of 9/11 Victims Urge Biden to Return $3.5B to Afghan People 

By Arif Ahmadi

18 Aug 2022

KABUL, Afghanistan – At least 77 family members of victims of 9/11 in a letter to United States President Joe Biden wrote “the Afghanistan central bank funds currently being kept in New York belong to the Afghan people,” arguing the pending court’s decision is “morally wrong” if decided otherwise.

Nearly seven billion dollars of Afghan assets are kept in the United States of America, and half of this money is waiting for the court’s decision on whether it will be handed over to the victims of the 9/11 attacks or not.

The letter wrote that any use of the $7 billion to pay off 9/11 family member judgments is “legally suspect” and “morally wrong.” 

“We ask you to use your executive power to modify your recent order and commit to the only legally and morally correct approach – affirming that all $7 billion of the Afghan central bank funds being kept in New York belong to the Afghan people,” the letter reads, as TOLOnews quoted.

The US State Department spokesman Ned Price at a recent press conference said that $3.5 billion in Afghan central bank reserves were preserved for the benefit of the Afghan people, seeking a mechanism that will ensure transparency throughout the process. 

“What we are focused on right now are the ongoing efforts to enable those funds, the $3.5 billion in licensed Afghan central bank reserves, to be used for the benefit of the Afghan people,” Price told the press conference.

“And we’re seeking to find the best mechanism to ensure that those funds can go to the Afghan people in a way that doesn’t risk their diversion from the Taliban or other forces, including to potentially terrorist groups or terrorist actors.”

In February, President Biden signed an executive order to free $7 billion in Afghan assets now frozen in the US, splitting the money between humanitarian aid for poverty-stricken Afghanistan and a fund for families of 9/11 victims still seeking relief for the attacks that killed thousands.

Last week, in a letter to United States President Joe Biden, more than 70 economists and experts, including Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, urged Washington to release Afghanistan’s central bank assets.

The letter, also addressed to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, was signed by 71 economists and academic experts, many based in the United States as well as Germany, India and the United Kingdom.

Among those who organized the letter was Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek Minister for Finance; and Joseph Stiglitz, a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and is on the advisory board to the Washington-based think tank, the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

They urged foreign capitals needed to return the $7 billion in Afghan central bank assets to Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) to allow the economy to function.

“In order to mitigate the humanitarian crisis and set the Afghan economy on a path toward recovery, we urge you to allow DAB to reclaim its international reserves,” Reuters said, quoting the letter.

Economists believe the country is severely hampered by the inability of its central bank to function without access to its reserves, with DAB officials saying it has the ability to manage well if the frozen assets of Afghanistan are released.

“This is Afghans’ money, we are prepared for a third department to oversee it, and we are aware of its uses,” said Lutfulhaq Noor Pesarlai, a senior advisor of the bank, as TOLOnews quoted.

“What more can you say about the central bank’s independence,” he question? “We totally agree with the investigation of money and its use in accordance with the law, the financing of terrorism, and the application of the drug legislation.”

Source: Khaama Press

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Taliban kill one of their ex-leaders from minority Hazara community

August 17, 2022

KABUL: The Taliban killed one of their former leaders who was known as the first commander of the group hailing from the minority Shiite Hazara community, officials confirmed on Wednesday, adding that he had rebelled against the de facto government.

Mawlawi Mahdi was shot dead by Taliban forces near the border with Iran as he attempted to flee the country, the defense ministry said in a statement.

Mahdi’s appointment as a commander some years ago was touted as an example of the Taliban’s changed on stance on minorities. He was in the spotlight after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in the wake of the pullout of western forces last year.

The Taliban are hard-line followers of the Sunni branch of Islam, and were previously almost exclusively associated with the Pashtun ethnicity. More recently, the group had sought to include members of other ethnicities and some Shiites.

The Hazara, native to Afghanistan’s central mountains, are the country’s largest mainly Shiite ethnic group. After the Taliban formed a government last year, Mahdi was given the post of intelligence chief in a central province.

The origins of the breach between Mahdi and the Taliban have not been made public, but as far back as June, the defense ministry had spoken of a clearance operation against rebels in northern Afghanistan.

The defense ministry on Wednesday described Mahdi as a the “leader of the rebels” in a district in the northern province of Sar-e-Pol.

A Taliban source told Reuters that Mahdi had fallen out with the Taliban and had revolted against the group’s leadership.

Source: Arab News

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Muslim Bodies Condemn Release of Bilkis Bano Case Convicts; Calling It "A Wrong Message for the Society As Well As the Victim"

Ziya Us Salam

AUGUST 17, 2022

They term it ‘a wrong message for the society as well as the victim’

Muslim bodies have condemned the release of the 11 men convicted in the Bilkis Bano case, calling it "a wrong message for the society as well as the victim".

"At à time when laws have been framed to punish rape with capital punishment, we have a case of men convicted of both rape and murder being released. It is not just condemnable but jeopardises the security of women," said Niaz Faruqui, a senior functionary of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind. “We have seen cases of capital punishment in some recent cases of rape but here those convicted of both rape and murder have been released. It amounts to double standards for the same crime depending on the identity of the victim,” he said.

In a statement to the media, vice-president of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Salim Engineer, said, "We are dismayed by the role of the Gujarat government in ensuring the release of those convicted and sentenced for life imprisonment in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case and the murder of seven members of her family. Such decisions are aimed at reaping political dividends to appease a particular constituency. We hope the apex court intervenes in the matter to reverse this grave injustice carried out under the guise of official government policy."

‘Mockery of system’

Pointing out that “the remission policy should be applied for those languishing in jails for petty crimes,” he asked, ‘If State governments are allowed to free criminals through a remission policy then this will make a mockery of our justice dispensation system.”

Claiming that it will "embolden the foot soldiers and their masterminds", he said the action exposed the hypocrisy of women empowerment claims. Incidentally, those released in the Bilkis Bano rape case were convicted by a CBI court and the decision was upheld by the Bombay High Court. Of these 11 convicted, only one had approached the Supreme Court for the remission of sentence after which the apex court directed the Gujarat government to look into his appeal for premature release. The State government formed a panel and decided in favour of remission of all the 11 convicted. "The Supreme Court should reverse the decision," Mr. Faruqui said.

In a related response, the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan asked the State government to revoke the remission granted to the convicts. “This act of setting the culprits free is in violation of the Centre’s guidelines on remission. It invokes ethical questions over the State showing compassion for the accused while the woman who suffered unspeakable brutalities is left scarred for a lifetime. This is a setback for several Nirbhayas across the country awaiting justice,” the Andolan stated.

Source: The Hindu

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Rohingyas: Centre Denies Union Minister’s Claim after Vishwa Hindu Parishad Stinging Criticism

Imran Ahmed Siddiqui   |   New Delhi


Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday announced a “landmark” decision to resettle Rohingyas in Delhi, only for the Centre to deny any such plan following stinging criticism from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad that condemned the largely Muslim refugees as “infiltrators”.

While the Union home ministry’s “clarification” was silent on Puri’s announcement, a home ministry official said the Union housing and urban affairs minister had been right about the rehab plan and that the VHP had forced a rollback.

The chronology — a term made famous by Union home minister Amit Shah in the context of the new citizenship matrix, which also has a bearing on refugee policy — was revealing.

It was 7.32am when Puri tweeted the decision to shift nearly 1,100 Rohingyas to economically weaker sections (EWS) flats equipped with basic facilities and round-the-clock security in Delhi. He said this should silence those who malign “India’s refugee policy deliberately linking it to #CAA”.

At 1.10pm, the VHP tweeted a statement saying the Rohingyas were not refugees but “infiltrators” and instead of providing them with housing, the government should “make arrangements to send them back and out of India”.

At 1.45pm, Kapil Mishra, a Delhi BJP leader known for making incendiary speeches, said: “There is no move to rehabilitate Rohingyas as is being talked about. There will be an official clarification soon.”

That “clarification” came at 2.50pm, with the Union home ministry denying “news reports in certain sections of the media regarding Rohingya” and making no mention of Puri’s tweet.

“With respect to news reports in certain sections of the media regarding Rohingya illegal foreigners, it is clarified that Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has not given any directions to provide EWS flats to Rohingya illegal migrants at Bakkarwala in New Delhi,” the ministry said.

“Government of Delhi proposed to shift the Rohingyas to a new location. MHA has directed the Government of Delhi to ensure that the Rohingya illegal foreigners will continue at the present location at Kanchan Kunj, Madanpur Khadar, as MHA has already taken up the matter of deportation of illegal foreigners with the concerned country through the Ministry of External Affairs.”

The Rohingyas live in tents at Kanchan Kunj and Madanpur Khadar. The Union home ministry added: “Illegal foreigners are to be kept in the Detention Centre till their deportation as per law. The Government of Delhi has not declared the present location as a Detention Centre. They have been directed to do the same immediately.”

The home ministry official who spoke to this newspaper said: “This time the Right-wing ecosystem and the troll army had turned on the ruling dispensation and its minister for announcing such a move. As part of a damage-control measure, the ministry had to retreat and issue a statement.”

Puri had tweeted, tagging the PMO, Shah and Delhi police: “India has always welcomed those who have sought refuge in the country. In a landmark decision all #Rohingya #Refugees will be shifted to EWS flats in Bakkarwala area of Delhi. They will be provided basic amenities, UNHCR IDs & round-the-clock Delhi police protection.

“Those who made a career out of spreading canards on India’s refugee policy deliberately linking it to #CAA will be disappointed. India respects & follows @UN Refugee Convention 1951 & provides refuge to all, regardless of their race, religion or creed.”

The CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) speeds up Indian citizenship for persecuted non-Muslim minorities from neighbouring countries. Together with the National Register of Citizens that aimed to weed out resident illegals — and which was to follow the CAA’s implementation in a “chronology” emphasised by Shah — it raised apprehensions among many about a move to disenfranchise and denaturalise Muslims.

At 7.13pm, Puri posted another tweet saying: “Home Ministry’s press release with respect to the issue of Rohingya illegal foreigners gives out the correct position.”

The VHP statement issued by the organisation’s chief, Alok Kumar, said: “We are shocked to see a statement of the Union Minister for Urban Development Hardeep Puri, terming the Rohingyas as refugees and allotting to them the EWS flats in Bakkarwala, Delhi.

“We might remind him that the statement made by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament on 10.12.2020 declaring that Rohingyas will never be accepted in India (Rohingya ko kabhi bhi sweekar nahi kiya jaega).”

Kumar added: “Rohingyas are not refugees but infiltrators had been the consistent stand of the Union of India including in its affidavit filed in the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The fact that the Hindu refugees from Pakistan continue to live in abysmal sub-human conditions in Majnu-ka-Tila area of Delhi makes the bounty proposed to be conferred on the Rohingyas all the more deplorable.

“Instead of providing the Rohingyas with housing, make arrangements to send them back and out of India.”

Government sources said the decision to resettle the Rohingya refugees in the EWS flats had been taken at a high-level meeting in the last week of July. The meeting was chaired by the Delhi chief secretary and was attended by several senior officials from the Union home ministry, Delhi government and Delhi police, they added.

At the meeting, the Delhi police had been instructed to provide security to the premises where the EWS flats are located. The Delhi government’s social welfare department was asked to ensure basic facilities such as fans, three meals a day, landlines, television connections and recreational facilities, the sources said.

Rohingya refugees have been living in Madanpur Khadar and Kalindi Kunj in Delhi for several years. After their dwellings were burnt down twice — in 2018 and 2021 — the Delhi government provided them with tents.

In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court in September 2017, the Union home ministry had described the Rohingya refugees living in India as “illegal immigrants”.

The government had said it had intelligence linking some Rohingyas with Pakistan-based terror groups and other international terror organisations. It argued that such links made the Rohingyas a “serious threat to national security”.

Home ministry sources could not explain the reason for the government’s sudden change of heart on the Rohingyas — as reflected in the late July decision to rehabilitate them — before the latest capitulation to the VHP.

Source: Telegraph India

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Delhi govt decided Rohingya shifting at July meeting: BJP

Aug 18, 2022

NEW DELHI: The BJP on Wednesday accused the Arvind Kejriwal government of being in a hurry to provide homes with facilities to illegal infiltrators. Alleging that Kejriwal was “doing politics of appeasement”, the saffron party claimed Rohingyas are a “threat to national security” and that the Modi government will never compromise on the issue.

Addressing a press conference, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said: “Arvind Kejriwal is doing politics of appeasement, ignoring security and integrity of the country.” He asked why in a meeting held on July 29, chaired by the Delhi chief secretary, “a hasty decision was taken that all these infiltrators would be shifted to the houses being built for people from economically weaker sections”.

Bhatia asked how the Delhi government could take any decision on the Rohingya issue when the matter can be dealt with only by the home ministry. He also asked Kejriwal as to why the place where the Rohingyas are staying has not been declared as a detention centre by his government. He said there were news reports in which the facts that were “meant to mislead the public” had been put out and the home ministry has issued a clarification. “The law of our country says that Rohingyas will be deported and this jurisdiction lies with the ministry of home affairs,” he added. Citing the minutes of the meeting, the BJP spokesperson said: “During this meeting on July 29 (this year), Delhi’s chief secretary, in haste, decided that all these Rohingyas will be shifted in EWS accommodations. They are in such a hurry to shift these Rohingyas that orders have been given to complete construction of the accommodations where they will be shifted.”

Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta alleged that AAP MLAs had tried to stop the bulldozers when the municipal corporation tried to remove the encroachments done by Rohingyas and Bangladeshi living illegally in Delhi. “It is the Kejriwal government which illegally settles Rohingyas-Bangladeshis in Delhi, gives them free ration, water and electricity and even enrols their children in schools,” Gupta alleged.

He claimed that no order had been given by the ministry of home affairs to settle Rohingyas in Bakkarwala. “On June 23, 2021, the Kejriwal government itself had proposed to relocate the Rohingyas to a new place that should be built in Bakkarwala and 240 EWS flats and a community centre given to them,” the Delhi BJP chief alleged.

New Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir and West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma also tweeted a letter written by the home department of the Delhi government and accused AAP of doing politics over it.

Sources said the Kejriwal government had formally requested the NDMC, through a letter dated June 23, 2021, to allot a community centre, along with 240 EWS flats, at Bakkarwala for setting up a restriction centre. The letter from the Delhi government’s home department was addressed to the NDMC chairman, mentioning a communication from the FRRO, which highlighted paucity of space in the existing “restriction centres”.

Source: Times Of India

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Cleric Detained For Alleged Forced Nikah of A 15-Year-Old Hindu Girl In With A Hindu Man in Mosque In UP

18th August 2022

Unnao: A cleric and two others have been taken into custody after right-wing group members entered a mosque and stopped the alleged forced Nikah of a 15-year-old Hindu girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district with a Hindu man.

Police have taken the cleric, the man with whom the marriage was being solemnised and the Muslim woman, who had raised the girl of Nepalese origin, into custody.

Members of the Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) allegedly created a ruckus outside the mosque and the local police station. The girl’s father has lodged an FIR against the three for allegedly selling the girl.

Circle Officer (City) Ashutosh Pandey said the allegation has not been corroborated yet and further investigation is going on. Initial investigation revealed that the girl belonged to Jyotipur village in Nepal’s Rukangarhi district.

Her family, comprising her father and a sister, lived in the Azadnagar slums in Kanpur. The father had given the girl, now 15, to Lal Bano of Ganga Ghat eight years ago, and she raised the child.

According to reports, Phoolan Singh, 25, of Ferozabad allegedly trapped the girl and took her to the mosque on Rajdhani Road for the Nikah.

Phoolan Singh allegedly asked Maulana Shamim Ahmad to perform the Nikah. On finding that both of them were Hindus, the cleric initially refused. But Phoolan allegedly kept pressing the Maulana for the same.

In the meantime, dozens of HJM workers entered the mosque with the girl’s father, alleging that the cleric was forcibly converting the girl and performing the Nikah.

The Ganga Ghat police has taken Maulana Shamim, Lal Bano and Phoolan Singh into custody. They are being questioned. The girl told the police that she was being forced into the marriage with a man she did not know and had never met him.

Lal Bano told the police that she was a Muslim and raised the Hindu girl like her own daughter.

Vimal Tiwari, regional secretary of HJM, said a team was sent after getting information about the “forced Nikah” of an underage girl by a maulvi with a youth of Firozabad.

The youth’s mobile showed that money was being sent to him from various places, Tiwari said.

“It was abundantly clear that the youth wanted to sell the girl in Delhi after nikah,” he added.

Meanwhile, Maulana Shamim said he was approached by one Nafees to offer prayers. When he reached the place, a youth asked him to perform his Nikah with a girl who was with him. On learning about their religion, he flatly refused.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Kasaragod mosque committee accuses Muslim League state treasurer of trying to usurp its land

18th August 2022

KASARAGOD: A mosque committee in Chemnad grama panchayat has accused six-time MLA of Kasaragod CT Ahammed Ali (76), popularly known as CT, of trying to usurp one-acre land it bought to build a school and a madrasa in 1984. He is now the state treasurer of the IUML.

Members of Ansar-ul Islam Juma Masjid at Kombanadukkam say they feel cheated by Ahammed Ali's refusal to return the land, valued at Rs 3 crore, to the mosque.

On Wednesday, the mosque committee held a press conference in Kasaragod saying they were forced to go public with their grievances because they did not get any help from the IUML and Chemnad Jamaath.

In 1984, Ansar-ul Islam Juma Mahal (mosque) committee raised Rs 50,000 from believers and bought one acre at Kombanadukkam.

The mahal committee had registered Mahin Schamnad Memorial School Committee to set up a madrasa and a government-aided school on the land. "But we made the mistake of registering the property in CT's name. We trusted him because he was our MLA, and the president of our mahal committee and also the school committee," said Abdul Khader C H, secretary of Ansar-ul Islam Juma Masjid Mahal Committee.

The mahal committee registered the property in the name of CT Ahammed Ali, "the present president of Mahin Schamnad Memorial School Committee" on January 20, 1984.

The committee set up a madrasa but did not start the planned primary school on the property.

When the Kombanadukkam mosque committee kept pressing Ahammed Ali to transfer the land back to the mosque, the former IUML MLA registered a new committee under the Societies Act with the address at Kolaati in ward no. 2 of Chemnad gram panchayat.

"CT appointed 11 members to the committee and made his younger brother (CT Abdul Khader) its president. He then declared that the new committee is the owner of the land and neither Kombanadukkam mosque committee nor Chemnad Jamaath has any say in the matter," the secretary said.

Of the 11 members, only two are from Kombanadukkam and even they are loyalists of  T Ahammed Ali, said the mosque secretary.

'Mix of politics and faith'

IUML leader C T Ahammed Ali has been the president of Chemnad Jamaath for the past 35 years. Around 99% of the people of Kombanadukkam are voters of IUML, said Abdul Khader. "IUML leaders raise money for the mosque and also the party when they go abroad," he said.

Similarly, the IUML leaders had raised money for the mosque from NRIs in West Asian countries.

When the Kombanadukkam Mahal committee pressed CT Ahammed Ali to return the land, the Chemnad Jamaath had formed an enquiry committee. "It concluded that Kombanadukkam Mahal owed only 33% of the land," Abdul Khader said.

Source: New Indian Express

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Congress Leader Warned That It Was Unnecessary to Put up VD Savarkar’s Pictures In Muslim-Dominated Areas

18th August 2022

By Bansy Kalappa

BENGALURU: Diwali is still months away, but some politicians are already playing with the communal fire. While Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah warned that it was unnecessary to put up VD Savarkar’s pictures in Muslim-dominated areas that would only provoke and aggravate the existing tension, BJP National General Secretary CT Ravi and former minister KS Eshwarappa mocked at him on Wednesday.

Ravi asked, “If we cannot put up posters of Savarkar, should we go with Jinnah’s photographs?’’

Eshwarappa said, “I feel that I’m uttering something unpleasant when I take the name of Siddaramaiah after his statement on putting up Savarkar’s photos in Muslim areas. “Political observers said angry reactions to Siddaramaiah’s statement are an indication that some elements will not back down in communally sensitive Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts.

Internal security experts have warned the government and home authorities that in these four districts, greater vigil needs to be maintained so that fragile peace is not disturbed by incendiary statements, social media posts and other means.

Source: New Indian Express

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Karnataka: Group of men and women on outing targeted over presence of Muslims

August 18, 2022

In an instance of moral policing involving suspected right-wing activists, three young men were allegedly attacked and their two female friends verbally abused on Tuesday while on an outing to Madikeri in Karnataka’s Kodagu district.

The attackers allegedly questioned the presence of two Muslim men in the group from Mangaluru. A case on charges of wrongful restraint, intentional insult, unlawful assembly with arms, rioting, criminal intimidation and voluntarily causing hurt was registered by the Madikeri rural police on the basis of a complaint filed by one of the men.

According to the complaint filed by Nanda Krishnan (26), the group also comprising Mohammed Shamseer (24), Saman Sajeed (23) and two women travelled from Mangaluru to Madikeri on a sightseeing tour in a car early on Tuesday.

Source: Indian Express

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ATS takes three alleged JeM militants on 12-day remand

18 August 2022

Sleuths of the Anti-Terrorists Squad (ATS) on Wednesday took police custody of three arrested terror suspects -- Sabauddin, Nadim and Habibul -- for further questioning.

Special Court Judge Anurodh Mishra, granted permission to Uttar Pradesh ATS to take custody of the three terror suspects Sabauddin, Nadim and Habibul for 12 days beginning from August 17 to 29. The UP ATS had pleaded before the Special Court for the remand of the three accused for questioning.

During the investigation, it has been found that the three suspects have links with proscribed terrorist organisations such as Jaish-e-Mohammed, ISIS and others operating from Pakistan and Afghanistan. These terrorists were working towards achieving the goal of making India an Islamic state, sources said.

Earlier, Nadim was quizzed by the Saharanpur unit of the ATS. During this questioning, it came to light that Nadim was in contact with terrorist outfits operating from Pakistan and Afghanistan through social media. Nadim also procured information about bomb making technique with the help of social media from these terrorist organisations operating from Pakistan and Afghanistan soil.

Thereafter, Nadim was taken into custody on August 12, and on the basis of his confessional statement, his cohort Saifullah was arrested. The UP ATS also prayed before the special court that to ascertain with whom the accused were in contact, the police remand of the suspects would be required. Besides, the arrested persons' mobile phones and transcripts and data needed verification and scanning so as to establish their network of crime, the police sources said.

Meanwhile, sources said that the three arrested militants were preparing a background of `Ghazwa-e-Hind’ in the country and its fabric was being woven in UP.  Habibul, a 19-year-old terrorist arrested from Kanpur, was the group’s strong link and sources said that he was nursing the dream of Ghazwa-e-Hind. On the orders of his masters sitting in Pakistan, he was preparing Muslim youths of the country to wage a war against India. Habibul is a prominent social media expert of terrorist organisations which not only create social media accounts and virtual IDs for terrorists, but also make jihadi videos and videos related to Ghazwa-e-Hind and send them to the youth.  The ATS will try to extract these details from him during the 12-day remand.

Sources said that during questioning so far by the ATS, Habibul said, “Jihad leads to heaven. If there is any religion, it is only Islam. I am a true Muslim. I am doing what Deen has said.”

When the ATS asked him why he was supporting radical groups, Habibul replied that in Islam, everyone's purpose was the same, Ghazwa-e-Hind. Not only this, he was using the word ‘kafir’ for Hindus only.

Sources also said that Habibul was also tasked to use social media as a strong weapon of terrorist organisations. He was working as a social media expert for the terrorists sitting in Pakistan who were dreaming of the rule of Islam in India. Habibul used to create social media accounts of terrorists and post jihadi videos related to Ghazwa-e-Hind.

According to UP ATS sources, Habibul was associated in many such ‘Telegram’ groups from where he was getting orders for jihad to fulfill the dream of Ghazwa-e-Hind.

Among them 'Rah-e-Hidayat' and 'Gurba' groups are prominent and many terrorists associated with Pakistan and Taliban are present in these groups. These groups send literature and documents to incite the youths to take up war against India. Not only this, books printed in Pakistan are also sent to this group. In this literature, the Ghazwa-e-Hind is described in detail. All these books have been received by ATS from Habibul.

Habibul was driven to terrorism due to the jihadi ideology he imbibed in the madrasas of Gujarat and Pratapgarh. After this he came to Fatehpur and started instigating his friends and relatives to wage a war against India. Pakistan used to ask for the help of the people living in Afghanistan, Bangladesh. He used to incite jihad by showing videos of cruelty to Muslims. Seeing his jihadi ideology, Jaish-e-Muhammad had made Habibul the strongest link for the mission of Ghazwa-e-Hind.

Sources also maintained that several WhatsApp groups were found in the mobile phone of Marguv Ahmed Danish alias Tahir, arrested in the NIA (National Investigation Agency) raid in Phulwarisharif, Bihar. There was a chat about Ghazwa-e-Hind and also some videos of jihad. In these videos, there was an appeal to Muslims in India to do jihad. Not only this, the complete action plan for the rule of Islam in India by 2047 was recovered from some other accused.

Source: Daily Pioneer

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Pakistani drones drop ammunition in Jammu and Kashmir


Cops have seized arms and ammunition dropped by a Pakistani drone in Jammu and Kashmir’s Toph village along the international border, according to media reports.

Police added that "a rifle, a pistol along with several magazines and grenades were recovered from the dropped packet opened by the bomb disposal squad in Jammu's Arnia."

A case was registered on February 24, 2022, at Arnia police station.

According to police sources, an accused from Jammu informed them that a Pakistani prisoner, Mohd Ali Hussain alias Qasim, was responsible behind drone droppings and was the main man behind operations of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Al Badr.

He was then produced before the court and sent to police custody.

During questioning, the accused admitted his involvement in the Arnia weapon drop case and also disclosed two locations where the arms and ammunition dropped by drone had been concealed.

In a bid to recover the weapons, a police team and a magistrate visited the spot one after the other.

Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Mukesh Singh said, "Though no recovery was made in the first place, in the second place, in Toph village (along the International Border) in Phallian Mandal area, a packet of arms, ammunition, and explosives was recovered. When the packet was being opened, the accused attacked one of the police officials and snatched his service rifle. He fired at the police party and tried to flee."

Meanwhile, villagers tracked a drone over Jammu’s Kathua. However, nothing constructive was found during search.

According to the villagers, they spotted a drone in the sky, after which the security forces were informed.

Source: Telegraph India

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Resistance to continue until liberation of Palestine: Islamic Jihad official

17 August 2022

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement’s representative to Iran says resistance against the occupying Israeli regime will continue until the entire Palestinian land is liberated.

“The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement will continue to resist,” Nasser Abu-Sharif said on Wednesday, speaking at a joint press conference with Khaled al-Qaddumi, the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement’s representative to Iran, on the achievements of the latest war between Israel and resistance in the Gaza Strip.

“The ultimate goal has not been achieved, and this resistance will continue until the complete liberation of the Palestinian land,” he said.

Abu-Sharif noted that martyrdom is not an obstacle to liberation of the Palestinian land.

He said the way Palestinian resistance and nation respond to the Israeli regime has evolved and progressed over the years.

“It is true that we lost two of our senior commanders, Khaled al-Mansour and Tayseer al-Jabari, and this is a great loss, but the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement is an organized movement that can replace these martyred commanders,” he added.

Abu-Sharif was making a reference to a wave of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip that began on August 5 and lasted for three consecutive days, killing dozens of people, including 17 children and top members of Islamic Jihad. Hundreds more were also injured during the Israeli aggression.

In response to the Israeli onslaught on Gaza, Islamic Jihad fired hundreds of rockets at the Israeli-occupied territories, prompting the regime in Tel Aviv to accept an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.

‘Resistance will avenge Palestinian martyrs’

Qaddumi for his part said resistance will avenge the blood of Palestinian martyrs. He urged journalists to report the Israeli regime’s atrocities.

“In its aggression against the Gaza Strip, the Zionist regime martyred a number of Palestinian citizens, including five children in the Jabalya camp,” he said.

Israel on Tuesday admitted that it was responsible for the killing of the five Gazan children, after initial reports blamed Islamic Jihad’s misfired rockets for the killing.

Immediately after their deaths, citing off-the-record assessments, several Israeli officials claimed that the five were most likely killed by a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket.

“We spoke to our brothers at the beginning of the recent battle to respond to this crime,” Qaddumi said. “We raised two things at the same time. Firstly, that the Zionist regime is responsible for any crime, and secondly, that we have the right to legitimately respond to these crimes and take revenge.”

The Hamas representative said the Israeli regime started a propaganda war against the resistance in the midst of the battle and claimed Palestinian resistance groups were disunited.

Source: Press TV

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Israeli forces kill Palestinian youth in West Bank clashes: Medics

18 August, 2022

Israeli forces killed a Palestinian youth in predawn clashes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Nablus on Thursday, Palestinian medics said.

At least 30 Palestinians were wounded, four of whom were shot with live ammunition and three of whom were in critical condition, the Palestine Red Crescent said.

Palestinian medics identified the man who was killed as Waseem Khalifa, 18, from Balata, the largest refugee camp in the West Bank.

Witnesses said clashes erupted when Israeli forces arrived to protect Jewish worshippers visiting Joseph's Tomb, a site that has been a flashpoint.

The Israeli military told Reuters it was checking on the incident.

According to Israeli media, armed Palestinians exchanged fire with Israeli soldiers around the site. No Israeli casualties were reported.

Last week, three Palestinian gunmen were killed in a shootout with Israeli forces in the northern city of Nablus. It was the deadliest incident in the West Bank since Israel and the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad ended three days of fighting in Gaza, the worst in more than a year.

Israeli jets pounded the Gaza Strip in what the military said was a pre-emptive attack aimed at preventing an imminent threat to Israel.

At least 49 people were killed in Gaza, including civilians and children, and hundreds more were wounded during 56 hours of fighting, which also saw more than 1,000 rockets launched towards Israel by the Islamic Jihad.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Tehran Urges Washington to Release Jailed Iranians


"Iran has repeatedly announced to the United States through different channels that it is ready to address the issue of prisoners independently of the issue of the JCPOA," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kana'ani said, reffering to the 2015 nuclear deal, officialy known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Some Iranians are in US jails just because of ignoring Washington's illegal sanctions on Tehran.

He declared Tehran’s readiness for the immediate implementation of the existing agreement with Washington on releasing prisoners, noting the US must release jailed Iranian citizens without any conditions.

"Tehran is ready to get the innocent Iranians imprisoned in the United States, those who have become victims of injustice by the judicial system of that country on false charges of violating the cruel and illegal Washington's sanctions, released and make their quick freedom and return to the open arms of their families possible," the spokesman added.

"“It is surprising that the US, instead of acting and removing the obstacles in this field, is only performing propaganda shows against Iran.”

US officials have recently called on Iran to release American prisoners held in the country.

Tehran has numerously urged Washington to free Iranian nationals who have been taken hostage for baseless reasons under the pretext that they have bypassed and violated the US sanctions. Iran has also blasted the US for linking a humanitarian exchange of prisoners with the talks over the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Leader's Aide: Iran Backs 'One China' Policy Against US Conspiracies


In a meeting on Tuesday with Beijing’s Ambassador to Tehran Chang Hua, Velayati referred to Washington’s threats against China’s territorial integrity and said “the enemies’ conspiracies, encroachments and threats should be faced with resistance".

He reaffirmed Tehran’s support for the globally-recognized ‘One China’ policy and said Beijing is “considered to be a strategic ally” of Tehran.

The aide stated Russia is also facing similar threats by the US-led NATO military alliance, calling for closer defense cooperation among Tehran, Beijing and Moscow.

“Undoubtedly, Iran-Russia-China cooperation in the region, such as the holding of joint drills, is highly important for the region’s security and fate. Iran stands ready to further expand such cooperation,” he added.

The veteran Iranian politician noted that Iran and China enjoy long-running cultural, historical and friendly relations, which have had positive effects on both states.

Velayati also pointed to China’s Belt and Road Initiative and said Iran possesses great capacities that could contribute to the strategy.

In turn, the Chinese diplomat stressed the need for serious follow-up on the enhancement of Tehran-Beijing relations.

He added ties between the two nations are based on mutual respect and leaders of both countries have exerted great efforts to lay the foundation of such relations.

Chang also thanked Iran for its positions as well as its support for the Belt and Road Initiative, and said the Islamic Republic is viewed in Beijing as a very important state in the project.

Pelosi, the third most senior official in the US government, visited Taipei in early August despite repeated warnings from Beijing against attempting to visit territory that it regards as an integral part of China.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has reaffirmed Tehran's support for the "One-China" policy, and cautioned that the US provocative actions are threatening global peace and stability.

Amir Abdollahian made the remarks after Pelosi wrapped up her controversial two-day visit to Chinese Taipei as a show of support for separatist voices on the self-ruled island.

“Respect for countries’ territorial integrity is among the recognized fundamentals of the international law,” the top diplomat said, adding, “Within this framework, the Islamic Republic’s support for the ‘one-China' principle is indubitable.”

“The US’s provocative measures have turned into a source of threat against the international peace and stability,” he noted.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kana'ani has also condemned Pelosi's controversial visit to Taiwan as Washington's meddling in the internal affairs of Beijing, and reiterated Tehran's firm stance in support of 'One China' policy.

Kan’ani said that the recent “tension-creating behavior” of the US officials in interfering in China’s domestic affairs and violating its territorial integrity was an example of Washington's interventionist policies in different parts of the world.

"This behavior will have no outcome except the increasing of instability and the stirring of hostilities, and it is therefore condemned," he noted.

“Respect for the national sovereignty of countries is one of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter,” the official continued, adding, “Article 2 of the Charter prevents members from any behavior that harms the territorial integrity and political independence of other states.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran considers respect for the territorial integrity of countries to be among the principles of its foreign policy, and support for the One-China policy is unquestionable in line with this tenet,” the spokesman stated.

The Iranian diplomat stressed that unilateralism and violations of international regulations and commitments had become an integral part of the US foreign policy.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Palestinian leader says not intended to deny Holocaust

Qais Abu Samra  


RAMALLAH, Palestine

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday he did not mean to deny the singularity of the Holocaust during his visit to Germany.

Abbas accused Israel of committing “50 holocausts” against Palestinians during a joint press conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday.

"From 1947 until today, Israel committed 50 massacres in 50 villages... 50 slaughters and 50 Holocausts," he said, in response to a question about the upcoming 50th anniversary of the 1972 Munich attack, in which several Israeli athletes were killed.

The Palestinian leader’s statements drew fire from Israeli and German officials, including Scholz who said he was "disgusted by the outrageous remarks" by Abbas.

But Abbas said in a statement on Wednesday that his answer “was not intended to deny the singularity of the Holocaust that occurred in the last century, and condemning it in the strongest terms.”

“What is meant are the crimes and massacres committed against the Palestinian people since the Nakba at the hands of the Israeli forces. These crimes have not stopped to this day,” he added.

The Nakba, or Catastrophe, is a term used by Palestinians to refer to the 1948 forced expulsion of nearly 800,000 Palestinians from their homes in historical Palestine to make room for the creation of Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, for his part, described Abbas’ statements as "a monstrous lie."

In Germany during the Third Reich regime, Nazis systematically murdered millions of people, especially Jews, the disabled, prisoners of war, Poles and other Slavs during the 1939-1945 period.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Niger's civil society opposes deployment of French troops after departure from Mali

Hassan Isilow 



A coalition of 15 civil society organizations in Niger has expressed disappointment against the deployment of French troops in their country.

According to local publication, La Nouvelle Tribune, the civil society organizations operating under the umbrella of M62 have called protests demanding the immediate departure of the French troops.

Reports also claim authorities in Niger on Wednesday banned protests planned by the civil society groups for the day.

On Tuesday, French authorities announced they had withdrawn their last troops from Mali ending a nine-year operation in the West African country that was its hub to tackle militants in the Sahel region.

French officials said in July that Niger would now become their new base in the Sahel with their troops operating in the border regions along Niger and Burkina Faso.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Morocco sentences 13 migrants to prison, says lawyer

18 August, 2022

Morocco sentenced 13 migrants to two-and-a-half years in prison on Wednesday, their lawyer said, following a deadly mass crossing into the Spanish enclave of Melilla in June.

Their representative, Khalid Ameza, could not specify the charges against the 13 when approached by AFP.

They appeared at a court in Nador, a Moroccan city bordering Melilla, and intend to appeal.

The two Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta are the EU’s only land borders with Africa.

According to the official toll, 23 people died when around 2,000 migrants, many of them from Sudan, stormed the fences along the frontier in June.

It was the largest death toll in years of attempted crossings into the enclaves.

Spanish rights group Caminando Fronteras says as many as 37 people lost their lives in the mass crossing attempt.

The United Nations, the African Union and independent rights groups have condemned the use of excessive force by Moroccan and Spanish security personnel.

Morocco earlier this month sentenced 14 migrants to eight months’ jail following their arrest a day before the deadly mass crossing.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Syrian refugee alleges killings, rapes in Libya

17 August, 2022

A Syrian English teacher adrift on a small boat between Malta and Italy waiting to be rescued, told an Associated Press photographer of the atrocities he witnessed against asylum-seekers in Libya.

“Last year I’ve seen people get killed from the Libyan coastguard, maybe eight or seven people from African nationalities,” said Mohamed Noor, an asylum-seeker from Daraa, Syria.

Noor said the Africans were shot in Zuwara, adding that two Syrian women were raped.

Noor fled his home in 2021 to escape mandatory military draft.

Noor and five other men who left from Libya spent 40 hours at sea before they were spotted by Frontex, the EU’s border and coast guard agency, in the Maltese search and rescue zone.

The Open Arms NGO rescue ship approached the small boat and found five men, three Syrians and two Libyans, on board.

One was badly dehydrated, and the Open Arms nurse provided medication, blankets and suggested ways for them to protect themselves from the sun while waiting for the Italian Coast Guard to arrive.

An AP photographer joined the Open Arms rescuers in their dinghy and filmed his conversation with Noor.

He was unable to immediately file the interview from sea.

Seated at the back of his boat, Noor said his foot was badly injured while swimming to escape the Libya Coast guard.

“If you try to reason with them, they just shoot you, in front of everybody. Even if the street is crowded, they just shoot you and no one can say anything. That’s it.”

Hundreds of thousands of migrants hoping to reach Europe have made their way through Libya, where a lucrative trafficking and smuggling business has flourished in a country without a functioning government, fragmented for years between rival administrations in the east and west, each backed by arms groups and foreign governments.

Migrants who have passed through Libyan detention centers often tell of the atrocities inside and of the abuse when captured by the Libyan Coast Guard. But Noor suggested that killings are even carried out in the street.

The AP has been unable to independently verify the accounts but human rights violations and crimes against migrants and refugees have been extensively documented by the UN and other human rights organizations.

Noor and his companions were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard and taken to Lampedusa.

On the following day, the Open Arms rescue ship came across a wooden ship with dozens of migrants also escaping Libya.

As the rescuers approached, the boat capsized and began to sink leaving all the migrants in the water.

Rescuers managed to save the entire group of migrants, including one woman and two children.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Kenyan electoral chair claims 4 commissioners wanted to alter elections results for re-run

Andrew Wasike  



Kenya’s electoral chair broke his silence on Wednesday after four commissioners rejected the outcome of the country’s presidential elections results.

The Independent and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chair Wafula Chebukati said in a statement that during an Aug. 15 meeting, four commissioners who broke ranks regarding the results unsuccessfully pushed for a re-run.

“Before the final declaration of the Presidential Election results, the four commissioners i.e. Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Justus Nyang’aya and Irene Masit demanded that the chairperson moderates the results for purpose of forcing an election Re-run contrary to their oath of office,” he said.

Chebukati said he considered the move unconstitutional and illegal and tantamount to subverting the Constitution and the sovereign will of the Kenyan people.

He said he refused to yield to the demand and proceeded to declare the results as received from polling stations under the law.

Chebukati also said critical staff was intimidated and harassed through profiling and arbitrary arrests, with one murdered.

Four of seven members of the electoral commission disavowed elections results Monday because of errors in the final tally that have the capacity of swinging the vote.

Chebukati dismissed the rationale by the four commissioners, noting it is false and misleading.

IEBC Vice Chair Juliana Cherera said Tuesday that the aggregation of percentages of the results scored by the four presidential candidates who were on the ballot as declared by Chebukati presented a mathematical absurdity that defies logic.

Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga rejected the results, which declared him to have lost.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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North America


US Defence Department: Over $7B In US Military Equipment Seized By Islamic Emirate

August 18, 2022

More than $7 billion in US-provided military equipment was in the hands of the Western-backed Afghan government when it collapsed last year, and much of it ended up in the hands of the Islamic Emirate after the US pull-out, according to a report from the Defence Department's inspector general released on Tuesday.

The majority of the outlay, according to the report, went into tactical ground vehicles like MRAPs and Humvees, which cost about $4.12 billion when the Islamic Emirate took control of Kabul on August 15, 2021.

“The DoD estimated that US-funded equipment valued at $7.12 billion was in the inventory of the former Afghan government when it collapsed, much of which has since been seized by the Taliban. This included military aircraft, ground vehicles, weapons, and other military equipment. The condition of these items was unknown, and the long-term operability of the vehicles was likely to deteriorate without US contractor maintenance. The US military removed or destroyed nearly all major equipment used by US troops in Afghanistan throughout the drawdown period in 2021,” the report reads.

According to the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General report, the ISIS attacks in Afghanistan have increased by ninety percent in the last three months.

"ISIS-K was the most active terrorist group in Afghanistan this quarter, claiming 80 attacks—a 90 percent increase from the previous quarter—including some complex attacks, demonstrating the group’s capability to strike multiple targets in quick succession. Most of these attacks targeted Afghanistan’s Shia Hazara and Sufi religious minorities, civilian infrastructure, and neighboring countries—targeting security forces in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Through these attacks, ISIS-K aims to undermine Taliban rule and attract new recruits,” the report further added.

In an interview with RIA Novosti on August 16, Zamir Kabulov, Russia's special representative for Afghanistan, said that Russia would not like to see about a hundred planes and helicopters get into Ukraine.

“It is important for us that about a hundred of those helicopters and planes, on which Afghan military last August escaped to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, would not get into Ukraine,” Kabulov said, noting that about 60 helicopters and planes were flown to Tajikistan and about 40-50 helicopters and planes were flown to Uzbekistan.

"America should answer the question of why it entered Afghanistan and why it stayed there for 20 years while all of its military secrets were revealed in Asia,” said Mohammad Mateen, a political analyst.

“The military equipment of America, which is in the hands of the Islamic Emirate, should be kept properly, because it is the property of the Afghan people, and it should be used for the security and peace of Afghanistan,” said Yousuf Amin, military expert.

"It is not possible to deliver the helicopters that were transported to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to Ukraine following the fall of the previous administration," stated military analyst Assadullah Nadim.

While visiting Tajikistan two months ago, US Central Command in the Middle East (CENTCOM) commander Michael E. Corella declared that these helicopters would never be sent back to Afghanistan and that they did not belong to the Islamic Emirate. He added that efforts are being made to deliver some or all of these helicopters to Tajikistan.

Source: Tolo News

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Rushdie attacker ‘surprised’ author survived multiple stabbing: Reports

18 August, 2022

The New Jersey man accused of stabbing Salman Rushdie told the New York Post in an interview published Wednesday that he was “surprised” the author had survived the attack.

“When I heard he survived, I was surprised, I guess,” Hadi Matar, 24, told the tabloid, which said they held a video interview with the jailed suspect.

The suspected assailant, who has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder charges, did not say whether he was inspired by the 1989 edict, or fatwa, issued under Iran's former supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, that ordered Muslims to kill the writer for what he deemed the blasphemous nature of the book “The Satanic Verses.”

“I respect the ayatollah. I think he's a great person. That's as far as I will say about that,” said Matar, who according to the Post was advised by his lawyer not to discuss the issue.

Matar told the paper he had “read a couple pages” of Rushdie's novel.

“I don't like the person. I don't think he's a very good person,” he said of the author. “I don't like him. I don't like him very much.”

“He's someone who attacked Islam, he attacked their beliefs, the belief systems.”

Matar said he was not in contact with Iran's Revolutionary Guard. He said he had learned Rushdie would speak at the Chautauqua Institution's literary series via a tweet earlier this year.

He told the Post he had taken a bus to Buffalo one day prior to the attack, before taking a Lyft to Chautauqua.

“I was hanging around pretty much. Not doing anything in particular, just walking around,” he told the paper. “I was just outside the whole time.”

Last Friday as Rushdie was set to deliver a talk as part of a lecture series, a man stormed the stage and stabbed him several times in the neck and abdomen.

Rushdie was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery for life-threatening injuries.

The 75-year-old's condition remains serious, but he was taken off a ventilator, and has shown signs of improvement.

Matar told the Post he had watched YouTube videos of Rushdie speaking and called the author “disingenuous.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Families of 9/11 victims urge Biden to send frozen assets back to Afghan people

18 August 2022

Nearly 80 family members of 9/11 victims have urged US President Joe Biden to send back billions of dollars in Afghan government assets held in the United States to the Afghan people.

In a letter addressed to Biden on Tuesday, 77 family members called on the president to reverse an executive order he signed in February to allocate half of the $7 billion in Afghanistan's assets for distribution to families of the 9/11 victims.

Biden has frozen the assets belonging to the Afghan Central Bank since the withdrawal of its occupation forces from the country in August 2021.

According to Biden's order, $3.5 billion would go to humanitarian aid, and the rest would go to the families of 9/11 victims.

"Any use of the $7 billion to pay off 9/11 family member judgments is legally suspect and morally wrong,” the families wrote in their letter, sent to a senior White House aide.

“Order and affirm that the Afghanistan central bank funds belong to the Afghan people and the Afghan people alone,” they said.

“Victims of terrorism, including 9/11 victims, are entitled to their day in court. But they are not entitled to money that lawfully belongs to the Afghan people,” they wrote. “[N]o 9/11 family member joined these lawsuits to take money away from starving Afghans.”

The Biden administration, however, ruled out releasing billions of dollars worth of frozen assets on Tuesday, saying the goal is to keep the funds out of reach from the Taliban.

Last week, a group of international economists also urged Washington to release the funds, citing the compounding economic and humanitarian catastrophes in Afghanistan.

They said that the plunge in economic activity in Afghanistan and the sharp cuts to foreign aid by previous supporters of the country after the US military withdrawal had sent the Afghan economy into a tailspin.

Back in June, Taliban Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi asked "the world to give the Afghans their most basic right, which is their right to life and that is through lifting the sanctions and unfreezing our assets and also giving assistance."

Source: Press TV

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Militants Won’t Be Allowed To Disturb Peace: Swat Qaumi Jirga

August 18, 2022

SWAT/LOWER DIR: The leaders of different political parties and local elders have said that they will not allow militants to disturb the peace of Swat.

Addressing a conference organised by Swat Qaumi Jirga at Swat Press Club on Wednesday, they said that they rendered great sacrifices for restoration of peace in the district. They said that they would not allow anyone to disturb the peace.

The local leaders of all political parties expect Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf besides elders, traders, transporters, lawyers and youth activists attended the conference.

Mukhtiar Khan Yousafzai, Abdul Khaliq, Khwaja Mohammad Khan, Khurshid Kakaji, Abdul Jabbar Khan, Sher Shah Khan, Zahid Khan, Ahmad Shah Khan, Fazl Ahad, Umar Ali Yousafzai, Sher Bahadar Khan, Sabir Khan, Irfan Chattan, Khalid Mahmood, Amjad Khan, Siraj Khan, Zubair Khan and others addressed the conference.

Threatens protest over registration of FIRs against participants of rally held recently

They said that the people of Swat would never allow militants to disturb peace. They said that the people of Swat were true Muslims and the slogans of so-called Sharia by militants could not befool them.

The speakers said that militants should not try to introduce their version of Islam by killing them. They added that they would not allow anyone to rule them with the help of weapons.

They also condemned police for lodging FIRs against some of the peaceful protesters recently in Khwazakhela. They said that people of Swat would take to the streets said if the FIRs were not withdrawn. “It is strange that police did not lodge FIR against those [militants] who shot injured their DSP but they immediately registered cases against the peace activists in Khwazakhela,” they added.

The jirga members also condemned the proposed route of the second phase of Swat Expressway and termed it the economic murder of the people of Swat. “About 50,000 kanals of agricultural land and orchards will be affected and more than 500,000 trees would be chopped off while 100,000 people will financially be affected due to the present route of Swat Expressway,” they said.

In Lower Dir, hundreds of residents of Maidan staged a rally against the deteriorating law and order situation in the area and threatened to take up arms if government failed to provide protection to them.

They demanded of the government to immediately arrest the people involved in attack on MPA Malik Liaquat Ali Khan. Four persons were killed and three others including the lawmaker were injured in the attack.

People from all parts of Maidan attended the rally. The rally was organised by Maidan Action Committee in Lal Qila the other day. The workers of all political parties and local elders attended the rally.

The participants of the rally, carrying white flags and placards inscribed with slogans for peace, marched on the road in Kumbar and gathered at Lal Qila sports ground.

Source: Dawn

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Protest continues in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over targeted killings by Pak Army

17 August, 2022

North Waziristan [Pakistan], August 17 (ANI): People of North Waziristan have been protesting in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province against the targeted killings, inhuman treatment and lawlessness in the area.

Workers of several political parties and local residents continued a sit-in around the Eidek area near the Mirali town since July 29, according to a Canada-based think tank, International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS).

According to the think tank, people have been demanding from the government to take action against the target killers and maintain law and ordersituation in the district for peaceful living.

A member of parliament, Mohsin Dawar confirmed that residents in the region suspect the role of “state security agencies” in the targeted killings.

“On the other hand, militant groups are trying to create the atmosphere of chaos and fear so that they can stop people from engaging in political activities,” he said, according to the IFFRAS.

“The targeted killings are an attempt to silence dissenting voices,” he added.

The two-week protest sit-in being staged by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl against the killing of religious scholars and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal (JUI-F) activists Qari Samiuddin and Qari Nauman was turned into a grand jirga, which passed several resolutions.

As reported on July 15, Qari Samiuddin and Qari Nauman were shot after armed motorcyclists approached their vehicle in the Mir Ali region of North Waziristan, bordering Afghanistan. Samiuddin was an administrator at a religious seminary in the area and a local leader of the JUI-F.

He was regarded as a strong voice against lawlessness and targeted killings in the area. Nauman was a local councilor who also belonged to JUI-F., IFFRAS reported.

Pakistan has long been accused of supporting terrorist groups inside and outside Pakistan.

Notably, there have been several cases of such killings in North Waziristan over the past months. Earlier, the workers of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and Utmanzai tribes also been protesting in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s North Waziristan against the killing of its local leaders and lawlessness in the district.

The protest movement has been started under the direction of the Uthmanzai tribe’s elders, the main tribe from which the Dawar and Ahmadzai Wazir tribes of North Waziristan descend, Dawn reported.

Source: The Print

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Pakistan: Punjab’s Ruling Party Wants to Ban Ahmadis from a Whole District


by Massimo Introvigne

The solution was simple, and one wonders why nobody suggested it before. To stop the violence against the persecuted Ahmadi minority in the District of Khushab, one of the most conservative in Punjab, Pakistan, a leading politician has proposed to expel all the Ahmadis from the district.

It would be hardly believable if the proposal would come from a minor radical, but Malik Ilyas Awan, who put it in writing in a letter to the District Commissioner dated July 30, is the Vice President of Punjab’s Muslim League-Q, the ruling party in Punjab. The new Chief Minister of Punjab, Pervaiz Elahi, who assumed office on July 27, is also a member of the Muslim League-Q.

Awan took exception to the fact that public security should be deployed to protect Ahmadis from violence by radical Sunni Muslims in the District of Khushab.

He wrote to the District Commissioner that the Ahmadis “cannot offer prayers openly in the Islamic state of Pakistan… Pakistan is an Islamic state that has been established in the name of Allah and His Beloved.” Ahmadis, Awan wrote, “propagate their teachings that is totally against the laws of an Islamic State and the constitution. What will our youngsters who are appointed on their security think? Are they protecting the deniers of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat or expressing devotion to the Holy Prophet (PBUH)? Secondly, it also leaves a bad impression on our children.

It is requested to remove their security immediately and initiate an inquiry. Those who do not believe in Khatm-e-Nabuwwat must be banished from the District.”

Khatm-e-Nabuwwat (Finality of Prophethood) is the doctrine that Muhammad is the last in a series of prophets that started with Adam, and that there can be no prophets after Muhammad. The Ahmadiyya Movement was founded within Islam by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908). Conservative Muslims accuse Ahmad of having considered himself a “prophet” who came after Muhammad, thus denying the Finality of Prophethood, although the Ahmadis regard their founder as “both a prophet and a follower of the Prophet [Muhammad].”

Source: Bitter Winter

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Pak PM Shehbaz likely to meet Chinese President Xi during SCO summit: Report

Aug 17, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is likely to have a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping next month on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan, according to a media report on Wednesday.

President Xi is expected to attend the SCO summit scheduled for September 15 and September 16 in Samarkand, The Express Tribune reported.

Pakistan is part of the SCO which also includes China, Russia, India and the Central Asian states of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

A bilateral meeting between President Xi and Prime Minister Shehbaz is on the cards at the sidelines of the SCO summit, sources were quoted as saying by the Express Tribune.

However, there is no official clarity on whether President Xi will attend the summit in person.

Some reports suggest that he may attend the summit virtually because of the strict COVID-19 protocols, the report said.

The sources also said that Pakistan was exploring options for a possible bilateral meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Shehbaz.

However, nothing is final yet, the sources added.

Source: Times Of India

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UK inks deal to return ‘criminals’ to Pakistan

Atika Rehman

August 18, 2022

LONDON: The UK signed a major deal with Pakistan on Wednesday, under which foreign criminals and immigration offenders from the UK can be returned to Pakistan.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel hailed the development on Twitter, saying that “I’m proud to have signed a new landmark agreement with our Pakistani friends to return foreign criminals and immigration offenders from the UK to Pakistan. This deal shows our #NewPlanForImmigration in action, as we deliver for the British people”.

“I make no apology for removing dangerous foreign criminals and immigration offenders who have no right to remain in the UK. The British public have quite rightly had enough of people abusing our laws and gaming the system so we can’t remove them,” the statement quoted Ms Patel as saying.

“This agreement, which I am proud to have signed with our Pakistani friends, shows the New Plan for Immigration in action and the government delivering.”

Legal expert says agreement will allow Britain to deport ‘unwanted persons’, even those who have no ties, to Pakistan

“Our new Borders Act will go further and help end the cycle of last-minute claims and appeals that can delay removals.”

A statement from the Pakistani High Commission said: “The agreement renews and updates, in a bilateral context an earlier agreement between Pakistan and the European Community regarding readmission of persons residing without authorisation concluded in Oct 2009. The bilateral agreement was necessitated by the exit of the UK from the European Union.”

A photo tweeted with the announcement showed Ms Patel at a signing ceremony with Interior Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar. A statement said the home secretary met with Mr Khokhar and the Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK, Moazzam Ahmad Khan, to sign the reciprocal agreement.

Under the new plan, Pakistani nationals with no legal right to remain in the UK, including criminals, failed asylum seekers and immigration offenders, will reportedly be removed.

The statement said Pakistan nationals make up the seventh largest number of foreign criminals in prisons in England and Wales totalling nearly 3pc of the foreign national offender population.

“The agreement underlines both countries’ ongoing commitment to tackling the issue of illegal migration and the significant threats it poses to both nations. The agreement also includes ongoing work to improve and expand UK-Pakistani law enforcement cooperation,” it said.

Bad news for Pakistan

Though Pakistan has demanded an extradition treaty with the UK for years, this agreement falls short of that. Some lawyers see it as a blow to Pakistan, which may now see an influx of deported criminals from the UK — even those who have never visited Pakistan.

“This is a very negative step for Pakistan,” UK-based immigration law expert Mohammad Amjad told Dawn. “Last year, the Pakistani government was presented with this deal and refused to sign it, because fundamentally it will allow serious criminals to be deported to Pakistan without critical information sharing. This will present huge problems for Pakistan.”

Mr Amjad cited the case of Sohail Ayaz, a convicted pedophile and child abuser who was deported to Pakistan from the UK, but exploited the absence of an information-sharing mechanism and continued his criminal activities in Pakistan. In 2019, he was arrested for the rape and assault of upto 30 minors, despite being convicted of similar offences by a UK court in 2008.

He said: “Such issues will increase. Some criminals may be deported who have no links to Pakistan, and they will pose an even greater threat as they have no family network once they are sent back. The only beneficiary is the UK.”

The deal with Pakistan came after deals were signed with Albania and India last year, as well as Serbia and Nigeria this year. Pakistan’s deal appears similar to the agreements signed with Albania, Serbia and Nigeria where illegal immigrants and criminal offenders will be removed from the UK.

Source: Dawn

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Pak, Iran need to exploit mutual existing potential: Bilawal

August 17, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday highlighted fraternal ties between Pakistan and Iran, rooted in shared history and cultural and linguistic affinities.

Bilawal Bhutto also reaffirmed commitment to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in all areas of mutual interest.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was speaking after receiving Iranian Minister for Roads and Urban Development Rostam Ghasemi, here on Wednesday.

Welcoming the delegation, the Foreign Minister highlighted fraternal ties between the two countries.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari underlined the need for fully utilizing existing potential between the two countries in energy, air links, and connectivity. He expressed the hope that opening of new border crossing-points and establishment of border markets would improve livelihood and facilitate movement of people and goods.

The Foreign Minister expressed gratitude for Iran’s steadfast support on the Kashmir cause, particularly by the Supreme Leader.

Mr. Rostam Ghasemi, while thanking the Foreign Minister for receiving the delegation, remarked that the 21st session of the Pakistan-Iran Joint Economic Commission (JEC) offered new avenues in expanding bilateral ties. He concurred with the Foreign Minister on the need for fully exploring all opportunities and expressed readiness to work together for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Ulema, media’s role vital in polio eradication: Patel

August 17, 2022

Federal Minister for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, Abdul Qadir Patel on Wednesday said ulema, media and civil society should play their role in eradication of polio.

Urging parents to cooperate with polio workers in administering drops to their children, he said the fight against eradication of polio cannot be won without their support.

Patel said, “Children were our future and efforts should be made to save them from permanent disability.”

He lauded the services of polio workers adding they were our real heroes and had been playing vital role in fight against polio. The polio eradication campaign was being continued in flood hit areas despite hurdles, he added.

He acknowledged the determination of the polio workers who were working in

the union council, Mehra of Dera Ismail Khan.

To a question, he said polio campaigns were continuing in South Khyber

Source: Pakistan Today

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UK police detail ‘remarkable’ probe into Daesh ‘Beatles’ cell

August 17, 2022

LONDON: UK police lifted the lid Wednesday on a years-long probe into the notorious Daesh kidnap-and-murder cell dubbed the “Beatles” by their captives.

Counter-terrorism officers said the hostages’ recollections helped “zero in” on three of the British captors.

The Daesh cell members, who tried to keep their identities hidden, held dozens of foreign hostages in Syria between 2012 and 2015 and were known to their captives as the “Beatles” because of their distinctive British accents.

Two of them — 38-year-old Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, 34 — have been brought to justice in the United States for their part in the gruesome beheadings and killings of several Americans.

Another, Mohamed Emwazi — dubbed “Jihadi John” — died in Syria in 2015.

A fourth alleged British member was remanded in UK custody last week on terrorism charges after Turkey deported him following a jail term there.

Ahead of Elsheikh’s sentencing on Friday, British police have now detailed how their nearly decade-long probe unearthed key evidence used by US prosecutors to convict him in April.

“The building of the case is described as like putting together very small pieces of a jigsaw,” Richard Smith, the head of London police’s counter-terrorism unit, told reporters at a briefing Wednesday.

“What we pieced together here is a trail of breadcrumbs, fragments of breadcrumbs really, among a huge amount of other inquiries, which we were then able to present... to a court to assist the prosecution in the US.”

London’s Metropolitan Police first began probing what would become known as the “Beatles” cell in November 2012, when a spate of kidnappings of Western journalists and aid workers began in northern Syria.

Following some hostages’ release, as well as videos of other captives being beheaded by an executioner with a British accent, officers discovered some of the suspected perpetrators were UK citizens.

From the accounts of freed hostages, alongside other information and intelligence, they first identified the executioner as Emwazi.

Born in Kuwait but raised in the UK since aged six, he was killed by a US drone strike in Syria in 2015.

As British police worked to identify others, Smith said a “snippet of conversation” between captors and captives provided the key breakthrough.

Kotey and Elsheikh had revealed they were once arrested in central London at a far-right English Defense League (EDL) protest, which featured a counter-demonstration by an Islamic group.

Officers were able to trawl back through records of arrests at such events and discovered a September 2011 incident in which the pair were held over a stabbing.

Police then unearthed video footage of the duo from the day, data from their seized mobile phones that showed links to Emwazi, and other evidence leads.

“(That) one piece of information emerged from the hostages we spoke to, which was fairly unremarkable on the face of it to the hostage but proved very significant to us,” said Smith.

Officers also used a 2014 firearms conviction of Elsheikh’s brother to find further evidence from his mobile phone seized in that case.

It included images of Elsheikh in Syria in combat gear with a gun, and graphic pictures of severed heads which the 34-year-old had labelled “Syrian casualties.”

Meanwhile, officers discovered a 2009 police interview with him over an unrelated case that featured his voice, which experts were able to conclude was the same as a captor’s heard in Daesh hostage videos.

The “Beatles” cell is accused of abducting at least 27 journalists and relief workers from the United States, Britain, Europe, New Zealand, Russia and Japan.

Kotey and Elsheikh were captured in January 2018 by a Kurdish militia in Syria and turned over to US forces in Iraq before being sent to the US with UK permission.

There they faced charges of hostage-taking, conspiracy to murder US citizens and supporting a foreign terrorist organization.

Source: Arab News

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Palestinian general discusses military, intelligence co-operation at talks in Moscow

17 August, 2022

A senior Russian official met the commander of Palestinian security forces to discuss military and intelligence co-operation, Moscow’s defense ministry said on Wednesday.

Without providing details, it said that Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin held talks with Major General Nidal Abu Dukhan from the Palestinian National Authority on the margins of a security conference held alongside Russia’s Army-2022 forum.

The talks, which took place on Tuesday, came as Moscow, nearly six months into its invasion of Ukraine, seeks allies around the world to counter what President Vladimir Putin described in a speech this week as Western hegemony and neo-colonialism.

Russia has traditionally maintained good relations with the Palestinians and supported their drive for statehood, while stopping short of steps it believes could threaten its status as a neutral intermediary between them and Israel.

Ties between Moscow and Israel have also been historically strong, but have recently become strained due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Israel has condemned.

Russia has been keen to offer support to countries it considers allies in Latin America, Africa and Asia since its invasion, including through selling advanced weapons and military technology.

In a separate statement on Wednesday, the defense ministry said it held talks with the West African nation of Mali on strengthening its defense capabilities.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Germany and Israel condemn Palestinian president Holocaust statements

17 August, 2022

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz voiced disgust on Wednesday at remarks by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the German leader said diminished the importance of the Holocaust, while Israel accused Abbas of telling a “monstrous lie.”

During a visit to Berlin on Tuesday, Abbas accused Israel of committing “50 Holocausts” in response to a question about the upcoming 50th anniversary of the attack on the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics by Palestinian militants.

“For us Germans in particular, any relativization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable,” Scholz tweeted on Wednesday. “I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.”

Scholz’s office summoned the head of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Berlin to protest at Abbas’s remarks, a German government spokesperson said.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid also condemned the comments as a “disgrace.”

“Mahmoud Abbas accusing Israel of having committed ‘50 Holocausts’ while standing on German soil is not only a moral disgrace, but a monstrous lie,” Lapid said on Twitter.

“History will never forgive him.”

In response to a storm of criticism, Abbas issued a statement calling Nazi Germany’s Holocaust, in which six million Jews were killed, “the most heinous crime in modern human history.”

He said his remark was not intended to deny the singularity of the Holocaust but to highlight “the crimes and massacres committed against the Palestinian people since the Nakba at the hands of Israeli forces.”

Nakba, or catastrophe, is the term Palestinians use to describe the mass exodus of Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes in the 1948 war that accompanied the creation of the state of Israel.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany expressed “horror” at Abbas’s comments, which it said trampled over the memory of the six million Jews who died and tarnished that of all Holocaust victims.


Standing alongside Scholz, Abbas referred to a series of historical incidents in which Palestinians were killed by Israelis in the 1948 war and in the years following.

“From 1947 to the present day, Israel has committed 50 massacres in Palestinian villages and cities, in Deir Yassin, Tantura, Kafr Qasim and many others, 50 massacres, 50 Holocausts,” said Abbas.

Abbas’s comment followed months of tension and a brief conflict this month during which 49 people were killed in Gaza after Israel carried out a series of airstrikes in response to what it said was an imminent threat from the militant Islamic Jihad group, which fired over 1,000 rockets in response.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Türkiye holds panel in Paris to push for UN Security Council reform

Esra Taskin and Muhammet Tarhan



Türkiye’s Communications Directorate held a panel in Paris to emphasize the critical need for a UN Security Council reform.

Many officials from Türkiye, including Deputy Director of Communications Cagatay Ozdemir, attended the panel along with diplomats from the Turkish Embassy in Paris.

The panel was moderated by Washington Director of the Ankara-based Political, Economic and Social Research Foundation (SETA) Kilic Bugra Kanat and attended by panelists Presidential Security and Foreign Policy Committee Members Prof. Cagri Erhanand, Prof. Nursin Guney as well as President of the Association of Foreign Journalists (APE) Elias Masboungi and Italian scholar expert Valeria Giannotta.

Kanat said that the reform of the UN Security Council is "not a choice but a necessity".

With the panel series, Türkiye aims to point out how the international community and international organizations faced significant challenges in the face of problems in recent years and how the international system was ineffective in addressing these challenges.

The panel also aims to push for a fairer, more democratic and more representative structure in the Security Council.

After holding panels in Italy, Argentina and France, Kanat said they plan to organize panels in 10 more different countries within the next two weeks.

Erhan, for his part, told the panel that the UN member countries increased from 51 to 193 and the world population was up from 2.5 billion to 8 billion.

“It is clear that we need a change because the UN system was established for a world 4 times smaller than the one we live in today."

Guney, on the occasion, said there have been initiatives for the reform of the UN in the past, adding that the current system allows the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to use the veto "against human welfare" due to different national interests.

Giannotta said the current system at the UN Security Council, has proven to be ineffective in providing security and stability to the international system and in dealing with the crisis.

Russia-Ukraine war has proven once again "our inability as the international community to deal with the crisis", according to Giannotta.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Killing of Afghan refugee prompts police reinforcements in French town

August 17, 2022

LONDON: The death of an Afghan refugee in the eastern French province of Alsace has prompted police to send reinforcements to the area, The Times reported on Wednesday.

Quayyem Abdul Ahmadzai, 27, was allegedly shot in the chest after a fight broke out in the town of Colmar.

He and two other Afghans were having a picnic when the scuffle began, after he told a teenager nearby to make less noise with his motor scooter.

Witnesses said the teenager had been revving the engine of the scooter while standing on the pavement.

After insulting the three Afghans, he left, only to return with a group of friends, at which point the fight broke out and Ahmadzai was shot, said Catherine Sorita-Minard, the state prosecutor.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced in the aftermath of the killing that 60 police officers would be seconded to the town’s standing force of around 150 officers, to “reinforce security” and “reassure the inhabitants” of Colmar. Two teenagers, aged 17 and 18, are being sought by police in connection with the shooting.

Ahmadzai, who fled to France in 2017 and was granted refugee status, lived in the neighboring town of Mulhouse and worked for the car manufacturer Peugeot.

Another Afghan living in Colmar told The Times that Ahmadzai had been forced to leave his wife and children behind in Afghanistan when he fled, and that he “was all on his own here.”

His death has gained broad coverage across France as it came in the wake of a government crackdown on antisocial behavior by youths using motorcycles, which came to a head after four children were severely injured, and a 10-year-old girl in Paris left with severe neurological damage, after a number of accidents due to illegal races and stunts.

Source: Arab News

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Uproar in Israel, Germany over Palestinian President Abbas’s remarks

August 18, 2022

BERLIN: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz voiced disgust on Wednesday at remarks by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the German leader said diminished the importance of the Holocaust, while Israel accused Abbas of telling a “monstrous lie”.

During a visit to Berlin on Tuesday, Abbas accused Israel of committing “50 Holocausts” in response to a question about the coming 50th anniversary of the attack on the Israeli team at the 1972 Munich Olympics by Palestinians.

“For us Germans in particular, any relativisation of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable,” Scholz tweeted on Wednesday. “I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.”

Scholz’s office summoned the head of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Berlin to protest the remarks by Abbas, a German government spokesperson said.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called the comments a “disgrace”. Germany’s ZDF television reported that Scholz would speak to Lapid on Thursday to avoid lasting damage to ties. Since the Holocaust and World War Two, German politicians have stressed their special responsibility towards Israel.

“Mahmoud Abbas accusing Israel of having committed ‘50 Holocausts’ while standing on German soil is not only a moral disgrace, but a monstrous lie,” Lapid said on Twitter.

“History will never forgive him.”

In response to the outcry, Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement calling the killing of Jews in Germany during World War II “the most heinous crime in modern human history”.

Source: Dawn

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Arab World


Iraqi crisis talks go ahead without Muqtada al-Sadr

17 August, 2022

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi met party and other leaders on Wednesday to discuss the country’s political deadlock, but key player Muqtada al-Sadr, a firebrand Shia cleric, did not attend.

Ten months after a general election, war-scarred Iraq still has no government, new prime minister or new president, because of disagreement over forming a coalition.

Tensions have been rising since July between the two main Shia factions, one led by al-Sadr, the other by the pro-Iran Coordination Framework.

Attempts to mediate have so far proved fruitless.

Al-Sadr wants parliament dissolved to pave the way for new elections, but the Coordination Framework wants to set conditions and demands a transitional government before new polls.

A statement from al-Kadhimi’s office said he had called a meeting on Wednesday “to start a serious dialogue; intending to find solutions to the current political crisis.”

The Coordination Framework was represented by two former premiers, Nuri al-Maliki and Haider al-Abadi.

Also present were Hadi al-Ameri and Faleh al-Fayyad, senior officials in the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Hashed al-Shaabi network, now part of the national forces.

Al-Maliki is a longtime foe of al-Sadr, the influential cleric whose bloc emerged from last October’s elections as parliament’s biggest, but still far short of a majority.

Al-Sadr supporters have been staging a sit-in outside parliament in Baghdad’s high security Green Zone for more than two weeks, and the Coordination Framework began a rival Baghdad protest on Friday.

President Barham Saleh and parliamentary speaker Mohammed al-Halbussi also attended Wednesday’s talks, as did officials of the two main Kurdish parties and the UN envoy in Iraq.

A terse press release from the al-Sadr faction said it was not taking part “in the national dialogue.”

Announcing the talks in a statement on Tuesday, al-Kadhimi’s office had said they aimed “to start a profound national dialogue and deliberation; to find solutions to the current political crisis.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkish forces 'neutralize' 9 YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria

Diyar Guldogan  


Turkish forces “neutralized” nine YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria, near the Turkish border, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

The terrorists were planning an attack on Türkiye's Operation Peace Spring zone, the ministry said in a statement.

Turkish authorities use the term “neutralize” to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Syria denies kidnapping or holding US journalist missing for 10 years

7 August, 2022

Syria on Wednesday denied kidnapping or holding a US journalist who disappeared a decade ago a week after President Joe Biden demanded that Damascus let him go home.

Austin Tice, a former US Marine, was kidnapped in August 2012 aged 31 while reporting freelance in Damascus on the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

His family believes he is alive and still being held in Syria. The identity of Tice’s captors is not known, and there has been no claim of responsibility for his abduction.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry described Tice as a US serviceman and denied the government was holding him or any other US citizen.

“These are baseless allegations,” the statement said.

Issuing a statement on the 10th anniversary of Tice’s captivity, Biden said last Wednesday his administration had “repeatedly asked the government of Syria to work with us so that we can bring Austin home.”

Biden said Washington knew “with certainty” that Tice had at times been held by Syria’s government.

Washington suspended its diplomatic presence in Syria in 2012 at the onset the country’s civil war.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Biden’s special envoy for hostage affairs, Roger Carstens, would “continue to engage with the Syrian government” in coordination with the White House.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Drivers in Syria’s Damascus feel the pinch of spiraling fuel prices

17 August, 2022

Damascus minibus driver Khaled al-Hassi remembers a time when he could fill his tank with cheap fuel to drive passengers across the Syrian capital and take home enough money for food, drink and a comfortable life.

Now spiraling fuel costs and a collapsing currency mean he is left at the end of a busy day with just two or three dollars, assuming there is fuel available so he can work.

“Some days the diesel they give us isn’t enough for half a day,” Hassi said, driving passengers along Mazraa street in central Damascus.

He charges passengers 200 pounds, or less than 5 US cents, for each ride and says only 30 percent of that ends up as earnings. “If I make 40,000 in a day I’m left with 12,000 Syrian pounds - What’s that worth? Nothing.”

After a decade of conflict in Syria the struggle for taxi and minibus drivers to make a living has got tougher every year, Hassi says. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the surge in world energy prices have made it even more acute.

Two weeks ago authorities hiked fuel prices, more than doubling the cost of subsidized petrol to 2,500 pounds a liter. Taxis and minibuses are allocated 30 liters of subsidized fuel per day, with diesel for minibuses in the capital now restricted at weekends.

While the drivers struggle to make a living, fewer people can afford the cost of a taxi ride.

Sidra, a 17-year-old high school student, said she walked to school because the 25,000 pound return taxi fare was twice her mother’s daily earnings and no other transport was available.

Exhausted by the long distances in the morning and evening, she failed her class. “One of the main reasons she failed was the transport,” said her mother Umm Mohammed, who makes a meagre living selling charcoal for nargilehs, or shisha pipes.

Umm Mohammed also carries out her errands across the city by foot to save money.

The fuel price rise was the latest measure by authorities who have restructured subsidies on fuel, bread and other goods, and reduced the number of beneficiaries at the same time in an effort to ease the strain on government revenues.

In the 11 years since Syria’s conflict erupted, the local currency has collapsed from 47 against the US dollar to around 4,300 on the informal market - or barely 1 percent of its pre-war value.

Source: Al Arabiya

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First Saudi pro boxer hopes to be most successful athlete in Kingdom’s history

17 August, 2022

The first Saudi to compete in a professional boxing match hopes to become the most accomplished athlete in the history of the Kingdom, he told Al Arabiya English on Wednesday.

“I hope to be the single most accomplished individual athlete to come out of Saudi Arabia,” Ziyad al-Maayouf said on the sidelines of a press conference in Jeddah. “That’s my goal. That's my dream. I think I'm doing it right now.”

Al-Maayouf also praised the “love” that the people of Saudi Arabia have shown him in the runup to Saturday’s fight, when he faces Jose Alatorre at the Rage on the Red Sea event.

“The people of Saudi Arabia have shown me love that I couldn't dream of as a kid,” he said.

“If I went to sleep at night as a kid, I wouldn’t dare dream to be on a stage like that. So it’s really crazy, I’m very humbled. I’m very blessed. I thank God every day, I’m praying every minute of the day.”

The 22-year-old was born to a Saudi father and Egyptian mother in New York, and was raised in Egypt.

He has been training in Los Angeles under Buddy McGirt, the former IBF junior welterweight and WBC welterweight champion.

Al-Maayouf has spent the last eight weeks training in Liverpool, UK, with McGirt and training partner Callum Smith, who faces Mathieu Bauderlique at light heavyweight in Jeddah on Saturday.

He described it as the toughest camp that he has ever been through, partly due to being in unfamiliar surroundings in the UK, and partly because of the hard sparring that took place there.

“The sparring turns into a war. Everybody wants to take your head off, and that's Liverpool for you,” he said. “…it was just a blessing and I feel for a fight of this magnitude, this is what I needed and this is what I got.”

Al-Maayouf also spoke during the press conference about how he hopes to inspire young athletes from the Kingdom.

The super lightweight fighter sees his bout as a “stepping stone” for aspiring Saudi boxers.

Asked about the pressure of being the flagbearer for future Saudi stars, al-Maayouf responded: “Pressure makes diamonds and that’s what’s going to happen on the night.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Syria denies holding American citizens captive, including journalist Austin Tice

17 August 2022

Syria has dismissed allegations of holding American nationals, including freelance journalist and veteran US Marine Corps Austin Tice, who disappeared a decade ago while reporting on the foreign-sponsored conflict in the Arab country.

The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in a statement on Wednesday that Damascus “denies that it has kidnapped or is hiding any American citizens who entered its territory or resided in areas under the sovereignty and authority of the Syrian government.”

“The US administration, represented by President [Joe Biden] and Secretary of State [Antony Blinken], issued last week misleading and illogical statements that included baseless accusations against Syria that it had kidnapped or detained American citizens including former US Marine Austin Tice,” it said.

“The Syrian Arab Republic categorically denies the accusations of his kidnapping, or holding any American citizen,” the ministry stated, reiterating the Damascus government’s full commitment to the principles of the international law and the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

The Syrian foreign ministry also denied any secret contacts with US officials on missing Americans, emphasizing that “any official dialogue with the American government will only be public based on the respect of Syria's sovereignty.”

“The US must immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its military forces that are unlawfully present on the Syrian soil, stop plundering and smuggling Syrian crude oil and wheat crops, end support for separatist groups and terrorist outfits stationed at the illegal US-run military base in al-Tanf region, and remove sanctions imposed by successive US administrations against the Syrian nation,” the ministry statement added.

Biden last week claimed that his administration knew with “certainty” that Tice, who was abducted in the Syrian capital Damascus in August 2012, was being held by Syria’s government.

“On the tenth anniversary of his abduction, I am calling on Syria to end this and help us bring him home,” the US president said in a statement.

The Syrian government has denied on multiple occasions that it is holding Tice, who reported for The Washington Post and McClatchy newspapers, among other news outlets.

Tice's family said Austin was traveling in the Damascus suburb of Darayya to work on one of his final pieces for the summer on August 13, 2012, when he was abducted. He was supposed to leave for Lebanon the following day.

Since then, the only information Tice's family has received from his captors was a 43-second video that surfaced five weeks after his disappearance.

It was titled “Austin Tice is Alive” and showed Tice and a group of militants, but contained no other information.

Source: Press TV

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Southeast Asia


Indonesia Celebrates First Independence Day at Future Capital, In the Ancient Rainforests of Eastern Borneo

August 18, 2022

SEPAKU: Indonesia celebrated its first independence day at its future capital in the ancient rainforests of eastern Borneo on Wednesday as the nation plans a move away from slowly sinking, traffic-clogged Jakarta.

Nusantara, which is 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) from Jakarta, is set to become the new political centre of the world’s fourth-largest country.

It is a legacy project of President Joko Widodo but environmentalists have warned it could accelerate the destruction of tropical jungles home to long-nosed monkeys and orangutans.

The government is preparing to ramp up infrastructure projects to open the doors to the city — which will cover about 56,180 hectares (216 square miles) on Borneo island — by the time Widodo leaves office in 2024.

“The main point (of the ceremony) is to take the spirit of the 77th Independence Day to strengthen our resolve and spirit to build the new capital,” said State Capital Authority head Bambang Susantono, who will govern the new city.

After the national flag was hoisted by officials to mark the occasion, workers at the site cheered in unison that they were “ready to develop Nusantara”, which means archipelago in Indonesian.

Jakarta is home to 30 million people in its greater metro area and it has long been plagued by serious infrastructure problems and flooding exacerbated by climate change.

It is sinking as much as 25 centimetres (10 inches) a year in some areas — double the global average for major coastal cities — with some experts predicting up to a third of the megalopolis could be underwater by 2050.

Source: Dawn

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Christian lawsuit against Malaysian politician fails

August 18, 2022

A court in Malaysia has dismissed an appeal by two Christians seeking to restore a lawsuit against a hardline Islamist politician for defaming Christians about six years ago.

The Court of Appeal on Aug. 16 upheld an earlier ruling by the High Court to drop a charge of sedition against Abdul Hadi Awang, president of the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS)

Maklin Masiau and Lawrence Jomiji Kinsil Maximilhian, from Sabah state, filed a lawsuit in December 2020 against Hadi, accusing him of libeling Christians in an article published in Harakah, a PAS-run newspaper, in 2016.

In the article, Hadi, now 74, accused Christian missionaries of preying on poor and uneducated people in impoverished communities in states like Sabah by paying them off to convert to Christianity.

“Unfortunately, after being rejected in Europe, Christian missionaries [have] taken [their] teachings to the interior areas of our country, such as in Sabah and Sarawak,” the politician wrote, referring to two states in Borneo where many of the country’s Christians live.

“They have spread their religion not by using knowledge and reasoned argument but by baiting their targets with money and other forms of aid. This is transgression in the name of religion. It is a danger that must be fought.”

Maklin and Lawrence argued that such views amounted to sedition under Section 3 of the Sedition Act in the Criminal Code, which disqualified Hadi from holding any public office.

Hadi, an elected parliamentarian, has served as the special envoy of the Prime Minister to the Middle East with ministerial status, since April 2020.

The PAS, a conservative Islamist party, is a component of the governing coalition that rules the Malaysian Federation.

The three-member bench by Justice Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera said the lawsuit against Hadi was “wholly unsustainable and ought to be struck out,” Malaysian national news agency Bernama reported.

The judge said the two complainants failed to prove that Hadi committed sedition.

He added that the appellants admitted they were not compelling the attorney-general to prosecute Hadi or to compel the prime minister to dismiss him from public office.

The court set aside punitive costs of 50,000 ringgit (US$11,189) imposed by the High Court on Maklin and Lawrence, but ordered the two men to pay Hadi 10,000 ringgit in costs for the proceedings in the High Court and Court of Appeal.

The lawsuit filed by Maklin and Lawrence was thrown out by the High Court on May 7, 2021, after the court accepted Hadi’s application to dismiss the suit. The duo later appealed against the verdict.

About 60 percent of Malaysia’s estimated 32 million citizens are Muslim, 20 percent Buddhist, and close to 10 percent Christian, according to 2018 government estimates.

The majority of some 3 million Malaysian Christians live in two states — Sabah and Sarawak — which make up the Malaysian part of Borneo Island.

Some 60 percent of Malaysian Christians live in the two states, and Sarawak remains the only Christian majority state in the country.

Religious minorities have complained in recent years about increasing hate speech by Islamist politicians against minorities including Christians.

Hardline Muslim politicians have accused Christians of engaging in various conspiracies to “weaken Islam” and undermine the Islamic nature of Malaysian society.

Source: UCA News

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Indonesia seeks justice for wrongfully imprisoned citizen

Dineskumar Ragu

August 16, 2022

PETALING JAYA: The Indonesian embassy has appointed a lawyer in an effort to seek justice for Sabri Umar, an Indonesian worker who was wrongfully imprisoned in Sabah and whipped for allegedly not having a valid work pass.

Ambassador Hermono said the lawyer, appointed by the republic’s consul in Tawau, Heni Hamidah, will work alongside the lawyer provided by Engrit Liaw, the general secretary of the Sabah Timber Industries Employees’ Union (STIEU).

“Our lawyer and Engrit’s lawyer will be coordinating on how best to defend Sabri’s interests,” he told FMT.

“The Indonesian embassy and the consulate are handling Sabri’s case. The Tawau (consulate) always consults me and also the foreign affairs ministry in Jakarta to find solutions to seek justice for Sabri.”

Hermono said the consulate is also seeking a special pass for Sabri from the immigration department in Sabah as his work pass expired two days ago.

Last Wednesday, FMT reported that Sabri was seeking a public inquiry after being wrongfully imprisoned and whipped for allegedly not having a valid work pass.

He was arrested in April and sentenced to 11 months in prison and five strokes of the cane by a sessions court under Section 6(1)(c) of the Immigration Act.

While waiting for his appeal to be heard, he was whipped in the Tawau prison on June 23.

The Tawau High Court acquitted him in July after his lawyer managed to prove that he had a valid Indonesian passport and a work pass from his employer, Fu Yee Corp.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Can Indonesia's Muslim leaders help combat climate change?

August 18, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR (THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION) - From packed mosques during Friday prayers to the classrooms of thousands of Islamic boarding schools, Indonesia's Muslim leaders have been urged to use their sermons and influence to boost conservation efforts and win over climate change sceptics.

The country's top Muslim representatives met last month at Southeast Asia's biggest mosque, the Istiqlal in the capital Jakarta, to discuss ways to raise awareness about global warming and develop climate solutions linked to Islamic teachings.

The leaders also established a forum - the Muslim Congress for a Sustainable Indonesia - and called for community donations, including alms, to be used to help fund such efforts.

Green campaigners say Muslim leaders and imams can play a key role in fostering greater understanding and action on climate change - and also work with governments to focus on sustainability, not just economic development, in policy.

"Imams or religious leaders are really respected and highly listened to in Indonesia - they can have a big impact on both government policy and citizen action," said Jeri Asmoro, Indonesia digital campaigner at climate activist group

"Imams could effect a lot of social change ... seeding awareness of environmentally friendly life and propelling the climate movement at the grassroots level," he added.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle global warming, Indonesia - the world's eighth-biggest carbon polluter - has committed to cut its emissions by 29 per cent by 2030 versus business-as-usual levels and hopes to reach net-zero by 2060 or sooner.

Almost 85 per cent of electricity in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation is generated from fossil fuels, and it is the planet's top thermal coal exporter.

Also home to a third of the world's rainforests, Indonesia is the top producer of palm oil and a major source of timber, which green groups blame for forest clearing for plantations.

Cutting down forests has major implications for global goals to curb climate change, as trees absorb about a third of the planet-warming emissions produced worldwide, but release carbon back into the air when they rot or are burned.

Indonesia is already suffering the impacts of global warming, with cities and coastal areas hit by regular flooding and rising sea levels, while rural regions often struggle to cope with forest fires and drought.

Zulfira Warta, a climate project leader at WWF-Indonesia, said there was a need for more leadership from Muslim clerics on environmental change among their congregations and communities.

About 90 per cent of Indonesia's 270 million people are Muslim, while the nation has 800,000 mosques, 37,000 Islamic boarding schools, and more than 170 Islamic-led universities - offering a platform for education and action on a huge scale, he said.

"Imams can contribute a moral and spiritual energy that the climate and environmental movements urgently need," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Climate change deniers

Yet green groups say there is a long way to go on climate change, especially in the country's rural and poorest regions.

A YouGov global poll in 2019 showed Indonesia had the highest proportion of climate change deniers at 18 per cent.

Conservationists say this is largely due to a lack of teaching about climate issues at many schools.

Stigmatisation of climate activists by the government and the fossil fuel industry has also influenced mindsets and pushed the narrative that green advocates are against economic growth, said Eji Anugrah Romadhon, a campaigner at Greenpeace Indonesia.

David Gaveau, an ecologist who has researched deforestation in Indonesia, said that economic development was a top priority for the government while climate change was not.

However, there is growing awareness about climate change among Indonesia's youth and civil society, while the government has made some headway in tackling deforestation in recent years.

It has also banned new conversion permits for old-growth forest and carbon-rich peatlands, temporarily stopped issuing new permits for palm plantations, created an agency to restore damaged peat, and promoted the electric vehicle industry.

Meanwhile, young Indonesians have spearheaded a mass tree-planting drive, established conservation groups, and taken part in weekly climate school strikes.

"Within the youth and the civil society, there is growing awareness and movement on climate," said Asmoro of "Mostly it emerges at the urban and educated levels of society."

Eco-mosques and fatwas

Many Indonesians believe God plays a role in disasters and climate change, according to Romadhon of Greenpeace Indonesia, while Muslim leaders are also still the main source for most people when making decisions about their way of life.

Religious leaders should dig "more into Islamic teachings about the earth and repairing it", he added.

Some progress has been made already.

In a world first, Indonesia's highest Muslim clerical council issued a non-legally binding fatwa against killing endangered animals in 2014, followed by a similar edict to stop the burning of land and forests two years later.

Five years ago, worshippers in Indonesia launched a new initiative that aimed to establish 1,000 eco-mosques.

And in 2018, Islamic organisations partnered with the government in a bid to cut plastic waste.

"Such fatwas can support and bolster government regulations and give more impetus and inspiration for pro-environment behaviours," said WWF's Warta.

Annisa Rahmawati, head of Indonesian conservation group Satya Bumi, urged civil society, religious leaders and citizens to unite to pressure the government and business to declare a climate and nature emergency - and respond accordingly.

Many principles about protecting nature are embedded in Islamic practices, she added, urging religious leaders to help people understand how their behaviour impacts the environment.

Source: Straits Time

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