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Islamic World News ( 21 Sept 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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"President Covers Her Head with Pallu" Is That A PFI Conspiracy?” Karnataka Leader's Hijab Argument

New Age Islam News Bureau

21 September 2022


Janata Dal (Secular)'s Karnataka chief CM Ibrahim rubbished allegations that Islamic outfit PFI was behind the Hijab ban protests.


• Shariat Court to Take Up Petitions Challenging Transgender Law in Pakistan

• Saudi Arabia, EU, Arab League to Convene To Revive Arab Peace Initiative, In Support Of the Palestinian Cause

• Don’t Let Afghan Girls Become Victims of Global Politics: Afghan Girls Robotics Team at UNGA

• Leicester Riots: Muslim Council of Britain Calls For Action against 'Hindutva Extremism'


• RSS Chief, Muslim Intellectuals Discuss Religious Harmony in Country

• Women in Islamic Countries Protesting against Hijab, It’s Not Essential: Karnataka Govt to SC

• An Ardent Muslim Devotee Donates Rs 1.2 Crore to Tirumala Temple

• Bhajan singing in Kashmir Schools: MMU objects says, Protection of Islamic identity our fundamental responsibility

• Arif Mohammed Khan ends up showcasing reach of RSS



• Pak PM Shehbaz Sharif Faces Treason Charges For Consulting 'Fugitive' Brother Nawaz On Appointment Of Next Army Chief

• Peshawar police book two federal ministers for terrorism

• Gain in stature before criticizing Imran, Gandapur hits back at JUI chief

• Peaceful Afghanistan, ‘Priority’ for Pakistan, Says Pakistani Foreign Minister

• Pakistan flood-borne diseases could get 'out of control' as deaths rise

• Imran no longer relevant in politics, claims Fazl

• Soldier martyred repulsing terror attack from Afghanistan


Arab World

• Shia pilgrimage shows Iran’s clout in Iraq

• Climate change, conflict ruining Syria’s grain crop: UN

• Europe’s energy crisis plans are only a short-term solution: Aramco CEO

• US military tankers continue to smuggle Syrian crude oil from Hasakah to bases in northern Iraq


South Asia

• White House Confirms Release of Taliban Member and American Navy Veteran in Swap

• On Taliban vs Pak over Masood Azhar, some officials advocate cautious approach

• US Seeks to Exchange Afghan Aircraft for Assistance in Countering Terrorism



• Ukraine glorified, Palestine vilified at UK schools

• Israel must end its occupation of Palestine, Qatari emir tells UN General Assembly

• Leicester Hindus, Muslim leaders release joint statement: 'No place for ideology of division'

• Islamic preacher Khandaker Rahman discharged from mosque rape trial

• French and Iranian presidents meet amid nuclear talks stalemate

• Türkiye saves 283 migrants after Mediterranean mayday call

• Lawsuit filed against member of PKK terror group in Germany


Southeast Asia

• Philippine Activists Vow To ‘Never Forget’ Former Dictator Marcos-Era Human Rights Abuses

• Ignorant to say Dr M resigned as govt ‘not Malay enough’, says lawyer

• Malaysia must move towards renewable resources, says Perak sultan

• Better to push for other safeguards, analyst tells Sabah, Sarawak



• Iran MP Criticizes ‘Morality Police’ After Protests Over Death of Mahsa Amini

• British-Palestinian investigation concludes Abu Akleh's killing 'deliberate'

• Iran says investigating woman’s death, rebuffs US calls for accountability

• Nuclear Chief: IAEA Intending to Close Anti-Iran Cases

• Four Iranian police officers wounded, one assistant killed after protests: Report

• Israel to seal off occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip for Jewish holidays

• Iran says it arrested foreign nationals during Tehran protests

• Palestinian Authority operation to arrest Hamas member sparks clashes in West Bank



• Voting Across Ethno-Religious Lines Will Further Divide Nigeria – Miyetti Allah

• Dogara warns Christians against ‘wasting votes’ on Muslim-Muslim ticket

• Ethiopia says nearly 3,600 people killed by Tigray rebels in Amhara, Afar

• Why Somalia’s drought and looming food crisis require an innovative response


North America

• American Muslims As Likely As General Population to Serve In US Military, Poll Finds

• US Treasury says some satellite internet equipment can be exported to Iran

• Iran, West at odds, US sees no breakthrough on nuclear deal at UN

• Turkish President Erdogan holds talks with leaders in New York

• President Erdogan of Türkiye meets UN chief in New York

• US court overturns Adnan Syed's prison sentence after 2 decades

• Turkish president receives members of American Jewish community in New York

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



"President Covers Her Head with Pallu" Is That A PFI Conspiracy?” Karnataka Leader's Hijab Argument


Janata Dal (Secular)'s Karnataka chief CM Ibrahim rubbished allegations that Islamic outfit PFI was behind the Hijab ban protests.


September 20, 2022

New Delhi: Even as the hearing in the Karnataka hijab ban case continues in the Supreme Court, Janata Dal (Secular)'s Karnataka chief CM Ibrahim today compared the Islamic headscarves to the Pallu -- a piece of loose Saree covering the head and shoulders.

"President Droupadi Murmu also covers her head with a Pallu, is that a PFI conspiracy?" he said, responding to allegations that Islamic outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) was behind the huge protests against the hijab ban in the state.

"Indira Gandhi covered her head with a Pallu. President covers her head with a Pallu, so those who cover their faces with Ghoonghat are they all backed by PFI? Covering the head with a Pallu is a history of India. It's a Sanskar (virtue) of India," he added.

The Karnataka government today told the court that PFI was behind the Hijab protests. No hijab was being worn in schools till 2021, it claimed.

A Karnataka government order of February 5, 2022, had banned wearing "clothes that disturb equality, integrity, and public order" in schools and colleges.

Mr Ibrahim pointed to traditional attire in Rajasthan, saying women there cover their heads and faces with a Pallu. "No Rajput woman in Rajasthan bares her face, they have a long Ghoonghat. Can you ban it, saying it's a Muslim practice?" the JD(S) leader said, adding that the difference between a hijab and a Pallu is just a difference of language, but the function remains the same.

In the Supreme Court, the petitioners, who have challenged the hijab ban, have argued that the hijab is the "identity" of Muslims. Senior advocate Dushyant Dave told the court on Monday that various acts of omission and commission of the Karnataka state authorities showed a "pattern to marginalise the minority community".

Mr Dave said religious practice is what the community practises as part of its religious belief.

The bench observed that traditionally, whenever a person used to go to a respected place, he or she would cover their heads.

"In my respectful submission, school is the most respected place. It is a place of worship," Mr Dave responded, adding even the Prime Minister wears a headgear on August 15.

The row over hijab in educational institutions began in January when Government PU College in Udupi barred six female students wearing the hijab from entering the campus. It cited a uniform code. The young women held a sit-in at the college gate.

Source: ND TV

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Shariat Court to Take Up Petitions Challenging Transgender Law in Pakistan


Photo: Reuters


Nasir Iqbal

September 21, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The fate of the transgender law, enacted in 2018, has become uncertain after the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) allowed a number of individuals to become party in a set of petitions that challenged the legislation on grounds that it was “repugnant to Islamic injunctions”.

Farhatullah Babar, a former PPP senator, Senator Mushtaq Ahmed of the Jamaat-i-Islami, and Almaas Boby, a transgender, had appealed to the court to let them offer their arguments during hearings on the petitions.

The court also allowed TV anchor Orya Maqbool Jan, Ayesha Mughal and Bubbly Malik to become a party to these petitions.

A two-judge bench, headed by Acting Shariat Court Chief Justice Dr Syed Mohammad Anwer, accepted their appeals.

The National Assembly had enacted the Transgender Persons (Protection of Right) Act to provide legal recognition to transgender persons and ensure that discrimination against transgender persons in various walks of life shall be punishable.

The law was made after the Supreme Court held on Sept 25, 2012 that eunuchs were entitled to all the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and enjoyed by other members of society.

The verdict came after a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain disposed of a petition moved by an Islamic jurist, Dr Mohammad Aslam Khaki, seeking emancipation of “hermaphrodite children” so that they could earn a living by “honourable means” instead of begging, dancing and prostitution.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the ACJ observed that the real purpose of the case was to provide “real protection and rights” to the transgender community, adding that rights should be given to those who deserve it.

Orya Maqbool Jan contended that the transgender law was flawed since in the “garb of the transgender rights, an attempt was being made to encourage advocates of LGBT (lesbian, gays, bisexual and transgender)”.

Bubbli Malik, a transgender person, tried to explain before the court the difference between a transgender and an LGBT, suggesting the court seek expert opinion before arriving at a conclusion.

Nayab Ali, another transgender person, requested the court to restrain social media from debating the issue since three transgender persons had lost their lives in Peshawar recently in consequence of a heated discussion.

Aisha Mughal, a transgender representative and lecturer, pleaded before the FSC that the law violated neither the injunctions of Islam nor did it encourage gay or lesbian activities.

Source: Dawn

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Saudi Arabia, EU, Arab League to Convene To Revive Arab Peace Initiative, In Support Of the Palestinian Cause


Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan will speak at the closed ministerial meeting. (Supplied)


20 September, 2022

Saudi Arabia, the EU, and the Arab League will hold a closed ministerial meeting on Tuesday night to discuss the Arab Peace Initiative, according to diplomatic sources and a document obtained by Al Arabiya English.

“The absence of the prospects for a political resolution of ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the alarming deterioration of the humanitarian situation, the growing threats on the two-state solution, with the rapid growth of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories point to an explosive situation that may erupt at any time and spiral into a new wave of violence or even war threatening the people of Palestine and the wider region,” the document read.

The Arab Peace Initiative, which Saudi Arabia drew up in 2002, is a proposal to end the Arab–Israeli conflict. The Arab League endorsed the peace plan at the Beirut Summit that same year, and Arab nations said they would normalize ties with Israel in return for complete Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian lands captured in 1967 and creating a Palestinian state.

“Twenty years later, it is apparent that relaunching the Arab Peace Initiative, in support of the Palestinian cause and regional security, is an important step towards paving the way to overcome the hurdles standing in the way of realizing a fair and lasting peace,” the document read.

The objective of the meeting will be to look at the prospects of concrete action plans to revive the peace process based on the Arab Peace Initiative and UN Resolutions.

The gathering was initiated and led by Saudi Arabia, while it was co-sponsored by the Arab League and hosted by the European Union, Al Arabiya English understands.

It will bring together officials from over 25 countries and organizations, including the UN, Arab League, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Representatives from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, France, the GCC, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Norway, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Spain, Sweden, Sudan, Tunisia, UAE, UK, US, and Yemen will also be present.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borell is set to provide opening remarks before Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, and Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit speak.

Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf will represent the US.

The US unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as its capital under the Trump administration in 2017.

In recent years, a handful of Arab and North African states struck peace deals with Israel recognizing the Jewish state. But those countries have voiced their support for a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital.

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Israel signed what have become known as the Abraham Accords in 2020 in a deal brokered by the Trump administration.

Egypt and Jordan had previously made peace with Israel

Source: Al Arabiya

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Don’t Let Afghan Girls Become Victims of Global Politics: Afghan Girls Robotics Team at UNGA


Photo: Pak Observer


By Saqalain Eqbal

20 Sep 2022

At the UN General Assembly, Somaya Farouqi, the captain of the Afghan girls’ robotics team, pleaded with the authorities and global leaders to not allow Afghan girls to become the “casualties of global politics.”

Addressing the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters on Monday night, September 19, Farouqi called on the world leaders to not allow Afghanistan to become a “cemetery of our dreams and goals.”

According to the captain of the Afghan girls’ robotics team, the Taliban closed schools to millions of girls in Afghanistan after assuming control, and there are currently no signs that the group will reopen, allowing access to education to Afghan girls.

Somaya Farouqi told the UN General Assembly that while Afghan boys sit in class, millions of Afghan girls are forced to stay at home, living in uncertainty, and feeling abandoned.

Due to the Taliban’s absence of international recognition, they were not invited to the UN General Assembly’s annual meeting. Naseer Ahmad Faiq, Chargé d’Affaires of Afghanistan’s Permanent Mission in the UN, will speak on behalf of Afghanistan.

In addition to the Taliban’s draconian measures against women, it has been over a year that girls have been denied education as school doors have remained closed for girls, which has sparked public outrage.

Source: Khaama Press

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Leicester Riots: Muslim Council of Britain Calls For Action against 'Hindutva Extremism'


Representational Photo


20 September 2022

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) on Monday condemned what it described as "the targeting of Muslim communities in Leicester by far-right Hindutva groups".

Hindutva refers to the Hindu nationalist ideology promoted by India's ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been accused of stoking violence and hate crimes against Muslims and other minorities.

The statement comes after police were deployed onto the streets of the English city following weekend confrontations between crowds of young men primarily from Hindu and Muslim communities.

Witnesses, supported by videos circulating on social media, have said they saw hundreds of men wearing masks and balaclavas chanting “Jai Shri Ram”, which translates from Hindi to “hail Lord Ram” or “victory to Lord Ram”, words that have increasingly been appropriated by perpetrators of anti-Muslim violence in India.

"This follows a series of provocations, including: chanting outside mosques, targeted mob attacks on Muslims, and vandalism to homes and businesses over recent months," the MCB said.

"Groups of young people from both communities have subsequently come out on the streets to protest, resulting in physical altercations and running battles."

Various Sikh groups and community figures in the UK have also raised concerns about growing Hindutva violence in the country.

Scores of arrests

On Monday, Leicester police said that so far a total of 47 arrests had been made in relation to the unrest.

"Some of those arrested were from outside of the city, including some people from Birmingham," it said.

The weekend's unrest was the latest in a series of street disturbances in the area.

Leicester is one of the most diverse cities in the UK, with people who identify as British Indians, both Hindu and Muslim, making up more than a quarter of the total population of 329,000, according to figures from the 2011 UK census.

"There is now a concern of this toxic brand of extremism, imported from India, spreading to other cities," the MCB said, citing what it said was "criticism locally of the perceived inaction of law enforcement officers, who failed to disperse the mobs, despite long-standing concerns being raised."

On Tuesday, the Pakistan High Commission in London also voiced concerns over the violence, saying it "strongly condemned the systematic campaign of violence and intimidation that has been unleashed against the Muslims of the area".

In a statement on Monday, the High Commission of India in London said: "We strongly condemn the violence perpetrated against the Indian community in Leicester and vandalisation of premises and symbols of Hindu religion.

"We have strongly taken up the matter with the UK authorities and have sought immediate action against those involved in the attacks."

MCB Secretary-General Zara Mohammed said: "Communities have expressed their deep concerns to me around the propaganda perpetuated by far-right groups in India and their Hindutva agenda, which we are now seeing expressed on British streets.

"We do not believe these people represent the views of wider Hindu communities, with whom Muslims and Sikhs, among others, enjoy good relations in the UK, of which Leicester, historically, is a prime example.

"We condemn attacks against any place of worship or symbols of religion - hatred of any kind has no place in our society."

Source: Middle East Eye

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RSS Chief, Muslim Intellectuals Discuss Religious Harmony in Country

September 21, 2022

New Delhi: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Chief Mohan Bhagwat met with many Muslim intellectuals and discussed recent controversies and ways to strengthen religious inclusivity in the country.

As per the sources close to RSS, the meeting was held for propagating the ideas of Sangh and for promoting the theme of religious inclusivity. Recent incidents like the Gyanvapi controversy, the Hijab controversy, and population control were discussed in the meeting.

The meeting was attended by many intellectuals like Former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) S Y Qureshi, Former Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung, Former Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Lieutenant General Zameer Uddin Shah, Former MP Shahid Siddiqui and businessman Saeed Shervani.

Former MP Shahid Siddiqui while talking to ANI, said that discussions were held to strengthen peace and brotherhood among people in the country.

"We are concerned that whatever is happening in the country is weakening the religious unity in the country. So, we all had discussions on how to sustain and strengthen peace and brotherhood in the country," Mr Siddiqui said.

The former MP also said that Mohan Bhagwat belongs to an institution which is followed by many.

Source: ND TV

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Women in Islamic Countries Protesting Against Hijab, It’s Not Essential: Karnataka Govt to SC

SEPTEMBER 20, 2022

Hijab is not an essential practice and women in Constitutionally Islamic counties protesting against it, Karnataka government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court while defending the judgment passed by the Karnataka High Court banning religious attires inside educational institutions.

“There are countries which are Constitutionally Islamic in nature, even there, women are protesting against Hijab," said Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Karnataka government.

The court then questioned which country is he referring to. Mehta Responded, “Iran. So it is not an essential religious practice. A mere mention in Quran will not make it essential, it may be a permissible or ideal practice."

The Solicitor General also cited international judgment from European courts to support his arguments. He also stated that the Government Order (GO) passed by the state government was for the institutions and was “religion neutral".

“The order does not direct the students; it directs the institutions. The goverment never said that the girls shall not wear this… The government’s order is completely gender neutral. It is not that one community will be refrained from wearing one particular apparel… All students must wear the uniform prescribed,” he added.

He also highlighted the role of the Popular Front of India (PFI) behind the Hijab agitations in Karnataka.

Mehta said, “Since 2004 no one was wearing Hijab and suddenly in December 2021 it started. In 2022, a movement was started by Popular Front of India (PFI) on social media to start wearing Hijab. It’s not a spontaneous act of some students, the students were a part of a larger conspiracy, the students were acting on instructions."

Source: News18

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An Ardent Muslim Devotee Donates Rs 1.2 Crore To Tirumala Temple

21st September 2022

TIRUMALA: A Muslim man from Chennai, an ardent devotee of Lord Venkateswara, donated Rs 1.2 Crore to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) on Tuesday. Abdul Ghani and his wife Subeena Bhanu handed over the donation to the Executive Officer AV Dharma Reddy in Ranganayakula mandapam. The couple along with his children later visited the hill shrine.

He had donated 108 golden flowers to the temple decades back and the TTD introduced the golden flowers in ‘Astadala Pada Padma Radhana’ seva. The seva performs in Tirumala temple every Tuesday.  He had conducted pooja to a ‘lakshmi tree’ in SMC area in Tirumala in a traditional way when he was in debts, TTD sources said.

Source: New Indian Express

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Bhajan singing in Kashmir Schools: MMU objects says, Protection of Islamic identity our fundamental responsibility

Sep 21, 2022

Srinagar: After a viral video of south Kashmir’s Kulgam came to the fore wherein kids were seen singing a bhajan in a school, a prominent amalgam of religious organisations in Kashmir Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU) on Tuesday objected to it alleging that it was aimed at speeding up ‘the so-called integration of younger generation with the Hindutva idea of India’.

MMU, a representative body of some 30 Islamic religious and educational organisations in Kashmir headed by the chief cleric of Jamia Masjid and Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said that the enforcement of singing Hindu hymns in schools in Kashmir is a cause of concern and an attempt to “undermine our religious identity.”

The body said that protection of “our religion and Islamic identity is, as Muslims, our fundamental religious responsibility”.

“Deliberate interference in this by the government, education department or any other agency will neither be accepted nor tolerated,” it said in a statement.

“It is becoming clear that there seems to be a deliberate plan to push our young generation through state-run educational institutions towards apostasy, to wean them away from Islamic beliefs and identity, to speed their so-called ‘integration’, with the Hindutva idea of India. This is a very serious matter,” the MMU said.

Yesterday, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti launched a scathing attack on the administration and Central government accusing the BJP of pushing its “Hindutva agenda in J&K”.

National Conference spokesman Imran Nabi Dar also shared a part of the video questioning whether “our educational institutions have been turned into a political tool?

The MMU also said that efforts to ‘browbeat Muslim Ulemas and scholars and weaken their influence’ in J&K were being carried out as the recent spate of arrests of respected scholars and religious heads and invoking of the public safety act (PSA).

Source: Hindustan Times

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Arif Mohammed Khan ends up showcasing reach of RSS

K.M. Rakesh   |   Bangalore  


A much-hyped news conference by Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan where he was to present “evidence” of an alleged attempt on his life by eminent historian Irfan Habib and others in 2019 ended up as a damp squib on Monday.

However, in the process, the governor unwittingly or otherwise confirmed the spread of the Sangh’s influence in the higher echelons of the republic.

When reporters asked about Khan’s meeting with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in Thrissur in Kerala on Saturday evening, the governor retorted: “Will a newspaper question it if I come to have tea at your place?”

Khan, who had called on the Sarsanghachalak, asked: “Is RSS a banned organisation?”

Khan said there were people in various Raj Bhavans in the country who were openly and officially associated with the RSS. He said former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had declared that he was first a Swayamsevak, and that Jawaharlal Nehru had invited the organisation to the Republic Day parade.

The governor added that he had addressed “at least” six RSS events and maintained a close relationship with the organisation since 1986 when it had supported him over the Shah Bano controversy.

Asked if he was speaking for the RSS, he said: “You can have that opinion. But remember, my association (with the RSS) started in 1986. They supported me on Shah Bano.”

Khan had resigned as minister of state from the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1986 after it enacted a law to reverse a Supreme Court judgment that upheld the divorced Shah Bano’s right to alimony.

Khan claimed that along with the RSS, the late CPM ideologue E.M.S. Namboodiripad too had supported him.

Khan said: “But after Namboodiripad, the Left changed its stance. They became supporters of the (Muslim) personal law board.”

“The RSS, however, consistently supported me. The Left supported me only till 1991. So, if they (the Left) change, I cannot be held responsible for that.”

On the purpose of the meeting with Bhagwat, which had triggered speculation about the RSS using the governor to undermine the state government, Khan said: “To wish him well. He had come to an area, which is part of the state which I head. I was in that area. I did not travel from Thiruvananthapuram.”

He added: "If he is there again, I will go and meet him."

CPM state secretary M.V. Govindan later said: "We respect the governor when he functions according to constitutional and legal provisions. But we don't have anything to comment when he says he has always been an RSS supporter and has been speaking for the RSS," he said.

CPI Rajya Sabha member Binoy Viswam tweeted: "Governor Arif Khan has entered in to a pact to mortgage the Raj Bhavan to work as the camp office of the RSS. The meeting with the sarsanghachalak gave him the courage to become 'holier than thou'. For him best option would be to resign the constitutional post and work as a swayamsevak."

The visuals Khan played before the media at the Thiruvananthapuram Raj Bhavan contained nothing to implicate either the nonagenarian Habib or anyone else.

Khan, who has crossed swords with the Left Democratic Front government on a range of issues including alleged nepotism in university appointments, has repeatedly claimed that an attempt on his life was made at the Indian History Congress at Kannur University in December 2019.

He had called the news conference to present "evidence" to buttress his allegation, directed principally at the 91-year-old Habib, then aged 88.

Khan had in the past called the eminent historian a "goonda" and Kannur University vice-chancellor Gopinath Ravindran a "criminal" over the alleged attempt on his life.

The governor had also accused chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan's personal secretary and former Rajya Sabha member K.K. Ragesh of preventing the police from stopping the protesters at the venue.

But the visuals, which Khan says were sourced from the Kerala public relations department and independent news channels, did not establish his allegations.

They only showed Habib and Ravindran standing up and moving behind Khan while the governor was trying to counter protests by teachers and students against his pro-CAA stand, and Ragesh rushing to the audience in an apparent attempt to calm them.

Hundreds of delegates had risen in protest and waved anti-CAA placards made from sheets of white paper when Khan alluded to Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar's statement that spinner Danish Kaneria had faced harassment at the hands of a few teammates because he is a Hindu.

An unidentified delegate was heard shouting, "This is not Pakistan, but India," while Habib said: "If this is the kind of talk you are giving, please quote Godse and not Gandhiji."

The governor appeared to have changed his stand on the vice-chancellor, whom he had called a "criminal". On Monday, Khan said that Ravindran had stood between him and Habib when the historian tried to approach him.

"The vice-chancellor himself was there, standing between him (Habib) and me," he said.

When reporters asked a barrage of questions about the lack of evidence to prove his allegations, Khan merely said: "You are not right, because in (the) video you cannot see the whole thing."

Asked what had led him to accuse Ragesh of preventing the police from stopping the protesters, Khan shot back: "Where was the need for him (to step down from the dais and approach the audience)? Who is he?"

Source: Telegraph India

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Pak PM Shehbaz Sharif faces treason charges for consulting 'fugitive' brother Nawaz on appointment of next Army chief

Sep 20, 2022

LAHORE: Pakistan's Punjab Assembly has passed a resolution with a majority vote against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, seeking his trial under treason charges for consulting his 'fugitive' elder brother Nawaz Sharif in London on the appointment of the new army chief.

Punjab Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Basharat Raja presented the resolution in the House seeking action against Prime Minister Shehbaz under Article 6 (treason) of the Constitution. Punjab is ruled by ousted prime minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and its ally party PMLQ.

The resolution says the premier consulted a fugitive -- Nawaz Sharif, a three-time prime minister of Pakistan -- in London a couple of days ago on the appointment of the new army chief, which not only amounts to the prime minister's oath preventing him from sharing sensitive matters with unrelated persons but also an insult to the institution of the Army.

Prime Minister Shehbaz was in London to attend the state funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II, who also met Nawaz Sharif during his stay in the city and discussed the appointment of the next Army chief with him.

Nawaz has been living in London since November 2019 after Lahore High Court granted him bail for eight weeks on medical grounds.

Before leaving for London Nawaz was serving a seven-year sentence in Al-Azizia corruption case at the Lot Lakhpat Jail here.

Incumbent Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is due to retire in late November this year. The coalition government led by Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (N) has said it would consult its allied parties and the army top brass to appoint the new army chief.

The PTI which is in opposition in the centre has also demanded action under treason against Prime Minister Shehbaz after federal Minister Khurram said that the premier had met self-exiled PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif in London to consult the appointment of the new army chief and other matters.

Source: Times Of India

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Peshawar police book two federal ministers for terrorism

September 21, 2022

PESHAWAR: A local police station has registered an FIR against federal ministers Marriyum Aurangzeb and Mian Javed Latif and two others on a complaint of a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf worker, who has accused them of terrorism and other offences.

The case was registered with the Rehman Baba police station on Sept 19 (Monday) on the complaint of Rehmanullah, a resident of Achar village, against federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, Mian Javed Latif, also a federal minister, chairperson of Pakistan Television Corporation Ms Shahera Shahid and acting managing director Sohail Ali.

The complainant alleged that a press conference addressed by Javed Latif was telecast on PTV on Sept 14 at the behest of Marriyum Aurangzeb with the connivance of the PTV management.

At the presser, he alleged that Javed Latif misquoted the speeches of Imran Khan, which were edited and blown out of context, to try to malign the PTI chief and distort his religious beliefs, which he said was an offence under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

The complainant stated that former prime minister Imran Khan had been engaged in political activities across the country and people in large numbers were supporting him in his political struggle.

He stated that one of the major reasons of supporting Imran Khan was his ‘commitment’ to establishing a state on the pattern of Madina and his ‘true’ love for Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).

Source: Dawn

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Gain in stature before criticizing Imran, Gandapur hits back at JUI chief

September 20, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) senior leader Ali Amin Gandapur on Tuesday fired a broadside at JUI-F chief over criticism of the PTI chairman, saying “fake and discarded Molvi” should mind before talking negativity against leaders of caliber like Imran Khan.

In a statement issued from PTI Central Media Department (CMD) on Tuesday, Mr Gandapur mocked at Fazlur Rehman, saying he could not become councilor, because people of Pakistan in general and people of Dera Ismail Khan in particular disliked him to the core for using religion for his vested political motives.

He alleged that the self-centered Molvi missed no opportunity to create chaotic situation in the country for political mileage.

Gandapur stated that Imran Khan stressed the need for ensure meritocracy in the appointment of new Army Chief, as Fazal Rehman and others rejected self-proclaimed leaders like him had no right to make such important decision.

“A person, who sold his conscious for diesel permits, ridiculed the forces and other institutions in the past, is now criticizing the PTI chairman”, he regretted.

Gandapur claimed that Fazl’s anti-nationalism was evident from the fact that he became an instrument of foreign conspiracy, adding that he cannot face the public because he became the most detested political figure of the country.

He went on to say that Imran Khan made Pakistan proud around the world and increased the honour of national flags globally while the imported rulers imposed through foreign conspiracy became a constant source of embarrassment for Pakistan and Pakistanis across the globe.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Peaceful Afghanistan, ‘Priority’ for Pakistan, Says Pakistani Foreign Minister

By Saqalain Eqbal

20 Sep 2022

Pakistani Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, said that a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Afghanistan is a “priority” for Pakistan while meeting the US special representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, in New York.

Zardari reportedly stressed the importance of sustaining international engagement with the caretaker Taliban government for long-term stability and peace in Afghanistan in his conversation with Thomas West, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan, who visited him in New York.

The Pakistani Foreign Minister outlined a variety of measures Pakistan had taken to enhance bilateral relations with Afghanistan as well as substantial facilitation of international humanitarian aid.

The potential for a large-scale refugee exodus and the opportunity for terrorists and extremists to benefit from it, according to Bilawal, has both regional and global repercussions.

The US Special Representative applauded Pakistan for its efforts to promote security and peace in Afghanistan and to facilitate evacuations.

The two sides agreed that their shared goals of ongoing international involvement and efforts to lessen Afghan people’s suffering and advance regional peace and stability required continued cooperation.

Source: Khaama Press

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Pakistan flood-borne diseases could get 'out of control' as deaths rise

Sep 21, 2022

KARACHI: At least nine more people have died from water-borne diseases in flood-hit areas of Pakistan, officials said on Tuesday, as actress Angelina Jolie made a surprise visit to the South Asian nation to meet people affected by the crisis.

An intense and long monsoon dumped around three times as much rain on Pakistan than on average in recent weeks, causing major flooding that killed 1,559 people, including 551 children and 318 women, according to the disaster management agency.

Officials are warning they now risk losing control of the spread of infections in a dire situation that UNICEF described as "beyond bleak".

Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods are living in the open and as flood waters spread over hundreds of kilometres (miles) start to recede - which officials say may take two to six months - stagnant waters have led to diseases like malaria, dengue fever, skin and eye infections and acute diarrhoea.

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, arrived in Pakistan and visited communities affected by flooding in Dadu district, one of the worst-hit areas in southern Pakistan.

She met with several women who were now living in tents, according to international aid organization IRC, which is facilitating the visit. They described their struggles and told her they needed food, water and medical attention.

Jolie, who has dedicated herself to international humanitarian causes for more than a decade, also visited Pakistan after deadly flooding in 2010.


The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the surge in diseases has the potential for a "second disaster".

"There is already the diseases outbreak," said Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan's planning minister, who is also the head of a national flood response centre jointly run by the government and the military.

"We fear it may get out of control," he told a news conference in Islamabad.

In Sindh, the region worst hit by the floods, the provincial government said nine people had died of gastroenteritis, acute diarrhoea and suspected malaria on Monday, bringing the total number of deaths from diseases to 318 since July 1.

Over 2.7 million people have been treated for water-borne diseases at makeshift or mobile hospitals set up in flood-hit regions since July 1, it said, with 72,000 people treated at these facilities on Monday alone.

Three other provinces have also reported thousands of disease cases.

The influx has overwhelmed Pakistan's already weak health system. Sindh provincial government has said that over 1,200 medical facilities were still marooned in flood water.

Malaria and diarrhoea are spreading fast, said Moinuddin Siddique, director at the Abdullah Shah Institute of Health Sciences at Sehwan city, which is surrounded by the flood waters. "We're overwhelmed," he told Reuters.

At the news conference, planning minister Iqbal appealed to the affluent members of society to come forward to help the flood relief efforts, and asked medical volunteers to join hands with the government.

He appealed for two million nutrition packs for mothers who are expecting and new born babies, saying the government was setting up more mobile hospitals and clinics in affected areas.

Record monsoon rains and glacial melt in northern Pakistan triggered the flooding that has impacted nearly 33 million people in the South Asian nation of 220 million, sweeping away homes, crops, bridges, roads and livestock in damages estimated at $30 billion. Scientists say the disaster was exacerbated by climate change.

The government says GDP growth will likely drop to 3% from a previous estimate of 5% for the 2022-23 financial year.

In what UNICEF described as a situation "beyond bleak," it said an estimated 16 million children have been impacted by the floods, and at least 3.4 million girls and boys remain in need of immediate, lifesaving support.

Gerida Birukila, the UNICEF Pakistan Chief Field Officer in southwestern Balochistan province, described the situation "utterly heartbreaking."

The children are surrounded by pools of stagnant water poisoned with fertilizers and faeces and swarming with diseases and viruses, sometimes meters (feet) away from where they sleep, she told a news briefing in Geneva on Tuesday, according to a statement.

Source: Times Of India

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Imran no longer relevant in politics, claims Fazl

September 21, 2022

LARKANA: Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, asserted on Tuesday that former prime minister Imran Khan’s politics had hit the dead end and he was no longer part of Pakistani politics.

The Maulana, who is also the chairman of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), said at a press conference in Madressah Ishaatul Quran here that Imran Khan was making the appointment of chief of army staff controversial despite the fact that it was clearly laid down in the Constitution that who would appoint the COAS.

He wondered why the federal government was soft on Imran who had attacked all state institutions including army, judiciary, parliament and Election Commission of Pakistan. He was pleased only if they favoured him, otherwise, he branded them as traitors, the Maulana said.

He said that Imran Khan had developed a habit of calling everyone thief though it had been proved that he himself was an ‘international’ and ‘imported’ thief.

He had raised a new slogan of ‘true independence’ and was trying to influence people with his deceptive narrative, said the Maulana and reiterated that Imran was an agent. The man who did not tire of talking about independence went to IMF and mortgaged the state bank, he said, adding that Punjab government was ‘weak’ and vulnerable to upsets.

The Maulana said that Sindh had been the worst-hit by unprecedented rains and flood. There was water all around and no one knew when the calamity-hit people would return to their homes. “It is a national tragedy and national disaster which demands national level of assistance,” he said.

He called the situation challenging and said that he would talk to the government after completing his tour of Sindh on how best to tackle the situation.

About the transgender bill, he said categorically that it was against Islamic injunctions. His party’s team and experts had studied the bill’s contents and found the amendments incomplete. “Our team is busy preparing a draft which will be tabled in the assembly soon. No law that is against the spirit of Quran and Sunnah will be allowed to be passed as the parliament has no right to pass any bill that runs counter to the Quran and Sunnah,” he said.

He said in his answer to a question about his party’s negotiations with Balochistan Awami Party leadership over the possibility of joining Balochistan government that the talks were in progress but it was premature to comment on their result.

Asked if his party would agree to be the part of the government minus Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf he replied in the affirmative.

Earlier, the Maulana distributed relief goods and cash among rain and flood victims and assured them of more assistance in the days ahead.

Later, the Maulana took an aerial view of the rain-hit areas in Larkana, Dadu, Mehar, Nasirabad, Qambar-Shahdadkot, Qubo Saeed Khan, Garhi Khairo, Jacobabad, Thull, Shikarpur and Sukkur. He was accompanied by Sindh Minister Jam Ikramullah Dharejo, Maulana Rashid Mehmood Soomro, Tarique Khan Baloch and Maulana Nasir Mehmood Soomro.

‘Even IMF supports Imran’

The Maulana said that international agencies like International Monetary Fund (IMF) were also supporting Imran Khan whose government had weakened national economy beyond repair, our Sukkur correspondent adds.

He told media persons at Madani Madressah in Shikarpur a day before that IMF had squeezed Pakistan with tough conditions and dictated the government on the issues of madressahs, education, governance, bureaucracy and establishment.

He said that at a time when flood had devastated most part of the country a party was busy holding processions almost daily and slinging mud at others. Its leader was promising his listeners of ‘true independence’, nobody comprehended what he wanted to say and the people those who danced and jumped before him were foolish, he said.

The ground in Islamabad had become hot and ‘Youthias’ would come to their senses when their feet touched it, he warned.

He said that when the present government was in the process of strengthening the economy, the calamity of rain and flood hit the country.

Source: Dawn

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Soldier martyred repulsing terror attack from Afghanistan

September 20, 2022

RAWALPINDI: A Pakistan Army soldier embraced martyrdom while thwarting a terrorist attack from Afghanistan in bordering Dwatoi area of North Waziristan district.

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the terrorists from inside Afghanistan opened fire on the Pakistani troops in general area Dwatoi, which was responded in a befitting manner.

As per credible intelligence reports, the terrorists suffered heavy casualties.

Sepoy Nazar Muhammad (34), a resident of Jaffarabad, fought gallantly and embraced Shahadat during the exchange of fire.

“Pakistan strongly condemns the use of Afghan soil by terrorists for activities against it and expects that the Interim Afghan Government will not allow conduct of such activities, in future,” the ISPR said.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Arab World


Shia pilgrimage shows Iran’s clout in Iraq

Salah Nasrawi

20 Sep 2022

Spiritually and politically, the Arbaeen festival in Iraq is one of the world’s largest annual gatherings of Shia Muslims.

During the festival held in the Iraqi city of Karbala, millions of pilgrims travel to the holy city to commemorate the killing of the Prophet Mohamed’s grandson during a 7th-century battle with rival Muslims.

The ceremony, which concluded on Saturday, marks the end of the 40-day mourning period following Ashura, the religious ritual for the commemoration of Imam Hussein, one of the most revered saints in Shiism.

The sacred time is a combination of religious rituals, worship, prayer, processions, politics, identity manifestations, and celebrations. It attracts millions of pilgrims, many of them walking from Shia-dominated areas in Iraq as they head to Karbala.

Many Shia pilgrims also drive or fly in from neighbouring countries and places as far afield as Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Iraqi government said on Sunday that at least 21 million devotees had participated in the grand religious events despite political tensions over a deadlock in forming a new government and fears of another wave of Covid-19.

Since the fall of the Sunni-led regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraq’s Shias have expanded this massive ritual, flocking to Karbala in the tens of thousands, crowding the highways on foot, and walking from the country’s Shia-populated cities.

The US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 that ended Saddam’s three-decade rule accelerated the empowerment of the country’s Shia community and encouraged them to resume mass rituals banned or restricted under Saddam.

The Imam Hussein, who rebelled against the then Umayyad Caliphate, was killed in the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE along with his family members and close aides. Those who survived were taken to Damascus in Syria and held captive.

Muslim Shias consider Hussein’s martyrdom as a defining moment for their faith, and for centuries they have continued to observe the traditional mourning of his death, though mostly discreetly.

Today, along the way to Karbala, the pilgrims, men, women, and children all dressed in black and united in grief, march in procession and carry large flags of mourning. Some stop to sing in praise of Hussein’s heroic martyrdom and to pray.

On the road to the city that sits on the verge of Iraq’s western desert, the pilgrims stop to rest on the highway or to sip water and eat snacks at makeshift stands set up along the route.

Upon their arrival in Karbala, they go straight to the gold-domed shrine of Imam Hussein to kiss the gilding while neighbourhood committees set up kitchens to dispense free food, fruit, sweets, and soft drinks to the pilgrims.

Pilgrims who cannot find places in local mosques or schools mostly sleep shoulder to shoulder on the pavements and in the large squares around Hussein’s shrine and the adjacent tomb of his half-brother Abbas.

Some are allowed by locals into their houses out of hospitality, allowing them to take a shower or even a nap.

Despite its religious meaning, the ceremony has started to become a political platform charged with symbolism and defiance. What makes the event more significant is that the crowds also represent the concrete embodiment of the Shia community’s identity.

But while Iraqi Shias view the Arbaeen as a canvas on which they can project the intensity of their religious emotion and identity, their Iranian co-religionists have a high level of investment in the rituals, including geopolitical interests.

In the eyes of the Islamic Republic, which champions its claim over Shiism, it is not just the outpouring of energy and the commemoration of the past that is important in the Arbaeen, but also the crowds who are unified in present fealty.

To a regime that believes in exporting the teachings of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, its strategy remains bringing about similar examples in other Islamic countries, in particular those with substantive Shia populations.

Since the US withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, Iran has been extending its influence in the country, using multiple political, economic, and cultural tools to do so in addition to its local proxies.

One of the massive apparatuses that Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei has established in his office is that overseeing activities during visits to Shia holy shrines abroad, primarily in Iraq.

Similar to the one set up for the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, it is an essential tool in Tehran’s efforts to export the Islamic Revolution and disseminate Shia sentiment.

The body usually entrusts “Heyats Husseini Processions,” state-sponsored local associations with links to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, with organising the annual rituals.

About five million Iranian pilgrims entered Iraq to attend the Arbaeen pilgrimage this year, according to Iranian Interior Minister Ahmed Vehidi, mostly through crossing points along the 1,200 km border of the two countries and a few via Iraqi airports.

The influx forced the Baghdad government to remove limits on pilgrim numbers to avoid disturbances similar to those that have happened in previous years when Iranian pilgrims made their way into the country without visas or official papers.

Iran’s opposition media have reported that the government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars and made available huge resources to sponsor the pilgrimage, including free transportation, loans, cheap dollars, and free Internet on the road and inside Iraq.

The Iranian authorities, state-affiliated charities, and municipalities have deployed security personnel, religious guides, paramedic teams, garbage collectors, and other service providers to assist and help organise the crowds.

Khamenei on Saturday described this year’s Arbaeen as the most “glorious in history.” He urged Iranians to “follow the path… and to try to guide others to do so in every place.”

“The miraculous Arbaeen procession is a sign of God’s will to hoist Ahl Al-Bayt’s banner of Islam,” said Khamenei, referring to the Prophet Mohamed’s household, members of whom Shias hold as designated successors to the Prophet.

Yet, while Iran has wanted to present the huge gathering as a show of “soft power” and unity among Shias in the region, the rituals have also reportedly been marred by hiccups, including anti-Iranian sentiments.

Complaints over Iranian participation in the pilgrimage this year have erupted as the influx has begun to put more pressure on worn-out infrastructure and public services that have been depleted by decades of mismanagement, corruption, and instability.

Some Iranian pilgrims have deliberately and arrogantly disregarded rules made by the Iraqi authorities and local sentiments. Videos on the Internet show Iranians crossing lines on Iraq’s sovereignty.

In one video, a local mayor in Karbala is seen arguing with the head of an Iranian group over the demolition of the fence of a school building by pilgrims to bring in their power generator.  

In another clip, an Iraqi soldier at a checkpoint stops an Iranian driver to ask him to take down an Iranian flag posted atop his truck while on his way to Karbala.

Multiple videos have emerged showing Esmail Qaani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Al-Quds Force and Iran’s point man in Iraq, touring Karbala to check on their well-being.

As the city struggles with the crowds amid scorching heat, pollution caused by congestion, a severe water and electricity crisis, and disruptions caused by the Iranian pilgrims’ extravagant behaviour, frictions have been almost inevitable between visitors and locals.

Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, leader of the mass Sadrist Movement, singled out the Iranians in a call for the more rigid regulation of the festival, but he also condemned any “assault” on “Iranian brethren.”

Many Iraqis have been complaining about Iran’s increasing outreach in their country, but the Arbaeen ceremony has underscored the Islamic Republic’s far-reaching ambitions in Iraq.  

“Iran and Iraq are inseparable forever,” said Mohamed Hassan Abu Turabi, imam of the Friday Prayer in Tehran, in his sermon last Friday, repeating a slogan often used by Iranian officials.

The rhetoric was echoed by Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

Such goals set by Iranian spokesmen create issues with many Iraqis and even raise the political ire of Al-Sadr, who recently rebelled against Tehran’s influence in Iraq.

Source: Ahram

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Climate change, conflict ruining Syria’s grain crop: UN

20 September, 2022

Climate change, a faltering economy and residual security issues have decimated Syria’s 2022 grain crop, leaving the majority of its farmers in a precarious position, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

Syria’s 2022 wheat harvest amounted to around 1 million tonnes, down some 75% from pre-crisis volumes, while barley was almost non-existent, Mike Robson, FAO’s Syria Representative told Reuters.

Erratic rainfall patterns in the past two seasons have shrunk Syria’s wheat crop from around 4 million tonnes annually pre-war, enough to feed itself and export to neighboring countries in a good year.

Now after more than a decade of conflict many farmers are struggling with harsh economic conditions and security issues in some areas while having to adapt to the new realities of changing weather conditions.

The meagre harvest adds strain on Syria’s sanctions-hit government as it struggles to source wheat from the international market. Food is not restricted by Western sanctions but banking restrictions and asset freezes have made it difficult for most trading houses to do business with Damascus.

International import tenders conducted by the state’s main grain buyer, Hoboob, have repeatedly failed in previous years with most wheat sourced from ally Russia.

Global wheat prices have also surged since February, after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine halted grain exports from the Black Sea for months.

“Climate change isn’t easy anyway but it is doubly not easy in a place like Syria with high inflation, no power, no good quality inputs and some residual security issues that are still playing up in parts of the country,” Robson said.

The bulk of Syria’s wheat crop, or around 70%, relies on rainfall with irrigation underdeveloped due to war.

Compared to planted areas, the harvest was around 15% of what farmers expected of the rainfed wheat areas.

“When the rain fell it was concentrated and it didn’t follow traditional patters,” Robson said.

“A late start to the rainfall meant that farmers were delayed in planting and they couldn’t prepare their land in time and then the rains finished early by March,” he said.

Farmers in Syria typically plant their wheat crop around November-December and harvest in May-June.

Syria’s economy is also faltering under the weight of its complex, multi-sided conflict, now in its twelfth year.

The collapse of the Syrian pound has driven up the price of good quality fertilizers, seeds and fuel needed to power water pumps. On Monday, Syria further weakened its official exchange rate to the U.S. dollar by roughly seven percent.

The productivity of one hectare of wheat planted in irrigated lands should be around three to four tonnes but is currently at only around two as farmers struggle with agricultural inputs.

Precarious existence

The one million tonne production figure is far lower than government estimates of around 1.7 million tonnes.

The government did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the figures.

The FAO estimate translates into a need to import around 2 million tonnes from abroad to feed government-controlled areas.

A drop in global wheat prices in August, partly on the back of grain exports resuming from Ukraine under a July deal between Kyiv and Moscow makes the situation less dire than a couple of months ago but there are still concerns over the government’s ability to provide funding for purchases.

“The (international) market is slowly getting back to functioning but I’m still concerned as obviously there’s a need for foreign exchange to buy the wheat,” Robson said.

With the barley crop also failing, some sheep herders are choosing to de-stock, selling most of their animals as they are unable to feed them.

Syria used to be able to produce around 4-5 million tonnes of feed barley a year to feed its livestock but this year many are struggling to keep their livelihood.

“When they needed to buy feed, sheep farmers used to sell one animal to buy a tonne of barley for instance and they can feed 20 with that,” Robson said.

“This year they would need to sell 10 animals.”

The effects are already being felt in the food market where poultry meat is now selling for more than lamb as financially struggling farmers continue to sell their sheep.

“The price will go way down but then it will become in short supply and it will be a real problem,” Robson said.

Areas that are relatively lush in winter and could be used for grazing animals are plagued with lingering security issues and so livestock keepers prefer not to venture there.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Europe’s energy crisis plans are only a short-term solution: Aramco CEO

20 September, 2022

The head of Saudi state oil giant Aramco said on Tuesday Europe’s plans to cap energy bills for consumers and tax energy companies were not long-term or helpful solutions for the global energy crisis.

“Freezing or capping energy bills might help consumers in the short term, but it does not address the real causes and is not the long-term solution,” Chief Executive Amin Nasser told a forum in Switzerland.

“And taxing companies when you want them to increase production is clearly not helpful.”

Governments across Europe have plowed hundreds of billions of euros into tax cuts, handouts, and subsidies to tackle an energy crisis that is driving up inflation, forcing industries to shut production and hiking bills ahead of winter.

Under EU plans announced last week, excessive profits from energy companies would be skimmed off and redistributed to ease the burden on consumers.

On Tuesday, Nasser, who heads the world’s largest exporter of oil, said continuing underinvestment in the hydrocarbons sector at a time when alternatives to fossil fuels were still not readily available was among the root causes of the problem.

“The conflict in Ukraine has certainly intensified the effects of the energy crisis, but it is not the root cause,” he said.

“Sadly, even if the conflict stopped today as we all wish, the crisis would not end,” he said.

Aramco has been investing to raise the kingdom’s oil capacity to 13 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2027, but Nasser warned that globally investments in hydrocarbons were still, “too little, too late, too short term.”

The underinvestment comes at a time when spare capacity is thin and demand is “fairly healthy” despite strong economic headwinds.

Source: Al Arabiya

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US military tankers continue to smuggle Syrian crude oil from Hasakah to bases in northern Iraq

21 September 2022

Amid Washington’s ferocious attempts to further plunder natural resources in war-ravaged Syria, the US military has used dozens of tanker trucks to smuggle crude oil from the country’s energy-rich northeastern province of Hasakah to bases in neighboring Iraq, where American forces and trainers are stationed.

Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing local sources in al-Ya'rubiyah town, reported that a convoy of 60 tankers left Syria through the illegal Mahmoudiya border crossing on Tuesday, and headed towards Iraqi territories.

The development comes nearly a fortnight after the United States smuggled a batch of stolen Syrian oil into Iraq.

“A convoy of the US occupation forces, consisting of 88 tankers loaded with stolen Syrian oil, left from the illegitimate Mahmoudiya crossing and entered Iraqi territory,” SANA cited local sources from Ya'rubiyah town as saying on September 9.

The sources noted that US forces transferred the convoy to their bases in northern Iraq.

According to data released by the Syrian Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources, Syria produced a total of 14.5 million barrels of oil in the first half of the current year, and the daily oil production stood at about 80,300 barrels.

American occupation forces and their allied Takfiris plundered 66,000 barrels of crude oil during the mentioned period.

The data further showed that just about 14,200 barrels were available for the Syrian domestic oil refineries.

The US military has stationed forces and equipment in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh terrorists.

Damascus, however, maintains the deployment is meant to plunder the country's rich mineral resources.

Former US president Donald Trump admitted on more than one occasion that American forces were in the Arab country for its oil.

Last month, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman denounced the illegal presence of US military forces in Syria, saying Washington’s continued looting of the war-torn country’s energy and mineral resources has only exacerbated the suffering of the Syrian people.

Source: Press TV

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South Asia


White House Confirms Release of Taliban Member and American Navy Veteran in Swap

By Saqalain Eqbal

20 Sep 2022

A statement from the White House confirmed the swap release of the US navy veteran, Mark Frerichs, who was held hostage by the Taliban, and the Taliban member, Bashar Noorzai, who spent almost 17 years in a US jail for heroin smuggling.

US President Biden was quoted by the White House in a statement on Monday, September 19, stating that Frerichs had been taken hostage in Afghanistan for 31 months after being abducted in January 2020.

According to the White House statement, the Taliban hostage was released as a result of the “years of tireless work” of the US public servants and other partner governments, and he is returning home.

The US president also stated that during the talks that led to Frerichs release, “difficult decisions” had to be made and that Washington now prioritizes securing his safe return to the country.

“Bringing the negotiations that led to Mark’s freedom to a successful resolution required difficult decisions, which I did not take lightly,” the White House statement said.

In a statement, Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, stated that the former US Navy serviceman was safe and traveling from Afghanistan to the US.

The American official also expressed gratitude to the US partners in Qatar for their efforts in securing Frerichs’s release and said it was the culmination of “intense engagement” with the Taliban.

Source: Khaama Press

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On Taliban vs Pak over Masood Azhar, some officials advocate cautious approach

Sep 20, 2022

By Rezaul H Laskar

NEW DELHI: Reports have emerged of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar’s presence in Afghanistan amid pressure on Pakistan to act against the UN-designated terrorist ahead of a crucial meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in October.

The Pakistan government and the Taliban setup have engaged in a war of words in recent days over the whereabouts of Azhar, who formed JeM after being freed along with two other terrorists in exchange for the passengers of an Indian airliner hijacked to Kandahar in 1999.

People familiar with the matter said it is believed that Masood Azhar was in Kabul in the recent past and travelled to Kunar and Khost provinces, located in eastern Afghanistan and bordering Pakistan. The JeM has for long had a sizeable presence in this region. A UN report earlier this year said the group has eight training camps in Nangarhar province, which is situated between Kunar and Khost.

One of the key demands made by Western powers ahead of the FATF’s plenary meeting in Paris during October 18-21 is action against Masood Azhar. The Pakistani side contacted the Taliban setup in Kabul twice this year – once in January and again earlier this month – and asked for Azhar to be traced and detained.

Following the latest request from Pakistan’s Foreign Office, the Taliban rejected reports about Azhar seeking refuge in Afghanistan and said it would not allow any “armed opposition” groups to operate from Afghan soil. Despite this assertion by the Taliban, Pakistan’s foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told the reporters on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Uzbekistan last week that Azhar was “in Afghanistan”.

Azhar has not been seen in public in recent years and the people cited above, who closely track developments in Afghanistan on behalf of their governments, said the reports of the JeM chief’s presence in Afghanistan could not be ruled out.

“Except for al-Qaeda, no other group is as close to the Taliban as the JeM, not even Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) or Jundullah,” said one of the people cited above.

The UN sanctions monitoring team too noted in its report in May this year that the JeM is a “Deobandi group that is ideologically closer to the Taliban”, while the people said between 1,500 and 2,000 JeM fighters had fought alongside the Taliban over the past 20 years. The JeM runs its own training camps and controls territory where it does not face any challenge from the Taliban, the people added.

“In such circumstances, it would be easy for a top JeM leader to take shelter in Afghanistan,” a second person said.

Though Pakistan is widely expected to get out of FATF’s “grey list”, or the list of countries facing enhanced monitoring over money laundering and terror financing, during the multilateral watchdog’s upcoming plenary meeting, Islamabad is still facing pressure to investigate and prosecute UN-designated terrorists such as Azhar.

Source: Hindustan Times

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US Seeks to Exchange Afghan Aircraft for Assistance in Countering Terrorism

By Saqalain Eqbal

20 Sep 2022

As the Afghan government crumbled last year, the US began talks with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to exchange roughly 50 military aircraft that had been moved across the border in exchange for assistance in countering terrorists in Afghanistan.

The US wants to trade US-donated Afghan aircraft for Central Asian countries’ support in battling terrorism in Afghanistan, according to reports in the international media citing sources with knowledge of the negotiations.

In exchange for an unofficial agreement to “deepen security relationships” regarding border security and counterterrorism, it is intended to provide a number of aircraft to the governments of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Politico reported.

After Afghan air force pilots transported the donated U.S. aircraft to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan last year to flee Taliban capture, the future of the aircraft has been in uncertainty for over a year.

While the helicopters and light attack planes, which the Taliban claim belong to Afghanistan, according to Uzbek authorities, they are American property and will not be given back.

Politico reported citing the US official that the US intends to first asses the aircraft to see whether they are capable of flight and then may be handed to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Source: Khaama Press

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Ukraine glorified, Palestine vilified at UK schools

21 September 2022

Schools in Britain have been clamping down on protest in relation to Palestine, yet they have been actively encouraging support and solidarity for Ukraine, even fundraising to purchase weapons for Ukraine.

In a blow to free speech, a high court judge, Dame Beverly Lang, recently allowed the Department of Education to continue its clamp down on Palestine Solidarity in British schools after denying permission for a judicial review brought by human rights group, CAGE.

The legal challenge was in relation to a discriminatory letter sent to schools by the then Education Minister, Gavin Williamson, which gave instructions to schools on how to present the occupation of Palestine and recommended schools work with three specific organizations to deliver a "balanced presentation" of the issue.

As this program pointed out some months ago, none of the three organizations provide balanced or truthful accounts of the occupation of Palestine. In fact, every one of them has a covert Zionist agenda.

"Solutions Not Sides", which is a project of "One Voice", a group set up by prominent Zionists. Our research shows that multiple staff members have previously worked for the Israeli regime, including for the occupation forces. Some worked in Zionist intelligence, others worked for Israel at the same time as working for "One Voice".

The Forum for Discussion of Israel and Palestine is a group pushing a Zionist narrative, set up by an organization called "the Council of Christians and Jews". This is a long standing pro Israel grouping, which has overlapping personnel with FODIP, though they claim to be independent.

"Community Security Trust", a group that claims to combat anti semitism in the UK, but which purposely blurs together anti semitism and anti Zionism in pursuit of Israel's foreign policy objectives. Its charitable objectives include combating extremism; however, its founder the convicted fraudster, Gerald Monson, has a record of funding extremist Zionist groups, such as Chabad, through his family foundation.

It seems that bias in favor of the racist ideology of Zionism is regarded as acceptable in schools, whereas standing up for Palestinian rights is not.

CAGE found multiple cases where school kids have been punished, disciplined, or prohibited, even from the mildest display of solidarity with Palestine.

These include a school that banned the colors of the Palestinian flag, or any clothing resembling Middle Eastern clothes.

The student who was referred to PREVENT after emailing videos of Islamic lectures to his school to express his unhappiness at a one sided presentation on ISRAEL PALESTINE.

The students who were suspended for wearing a Palestine badge to school, or for discussing Palestine.

In response to the judge's decision on the letter from the Education Secretary CAGE released a summary of responses to a survey on the Ukraine. This shows that, just like the support for Zionism, most schools have been supporting the NATO proxy war in Ukraine.

With schools bedecked with Ukraine flags, and fundraisers openly supported by schools. Of course, the idea of raising money for Palestine is regarded as controversial and students are disciplined for raising the issue.

As always, we are joined by our resident expert David Miller. David is an academic and former professor at Bristol University and a leading British scholarly critic of Israel. He's also a co founder and co director of a lobbying watchdog '"Spin Watch".

We're also joined today by Fahad Ansari, who is a consultant in the immigration and public law departments at Duncan Lewis Solicitors. He has extensive experience in all aspects of asylum, immigration, and nationality law, as well as on terrorism and national security. He regularly writes about current affairs and frequently provides expert commentary on legal developments for numerous broadcast outlets, including the BBC, Sky News, CNN and Al-Jazeera.

What were the legal grounds upon which CAGE took this case to judicial review?

Three primary grounds that we argue that the letter that the then Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson sent to schools was unlawful.

The fact was that he had breached the Education Act by asking students to take a politically partisan view on a subject matter, namely the ISRAEL PALESTINE conflict. And specifically, he had asked schools or directed schools, not to work with, or use materials by, any external organizations that publicly rejected Israel's right to exist.

Now the right to exist, not a legal one, it's a political one that is used to justify Israel's creation and its current policies and practices. As such, there are two legitimate opinions on whether it does have a right to exist or whether it doesn't have the right to exist.

And while the government had its view on the matter, kids prohibited from, compelling schools to adopt that view, and teach that view, and what Gavin Williamson sought to do with his instruction for schools was to completely sideline one of those views as unacceptable.

So that breached the principle of political indoctrination in schools in each of the education acts. So that would be the first challenge.

The second ground was that it did not accept the views of Muslim students, and the Islamophobia that they have been subjected to, in the wake of the conflict, focusing only on the situation Jewish pupils who may have been subjected to anti semitism, and in doing so a discriminated against Muslim students.

And finally, we argue that while there was no duty on the education secretary to consult stakeholders, once he had done so with a stakeholder, he was under duty to conduct that exercise fairly, and involve other stakeholders and what seemed to have happened is he conducted a consultation with one specific group and nobody else.

Fahad Ansari

Do the organizations that Gavin Williamson recommended should go into schools have a covert Zionist agenda, particularly "Solutions, Not Sides"?

Yes, it does. "Solutions, Not Sides" is a project which was set up by another organization called "One Voice", which is mentioned in the film, but which we've done quite a lot of research on.

It was set up a guy who's boasted that his activities were anti BDS before anyone even heard of BDS. So, this is a Zionist Organization aiming to pursue the state interests of Israel and using as cover the idea that we should have solutions in the conflict that there are not just sides that we should really try to focus on solutions, but what they mean by solutions is not having a solution to this.

This is pushing down the road, the idea of a two state solution, and all kinds of things are definitely not supporting the Palestinians and their just struggle for their full rights.

David Miller

You obtained evidence of numerous inappropriate interventions in schools, like banning symbols and clothing to interfering in charitable fundraising, could you expound on that, please?

CAGE was approached by dozens of Muslim pupils, who had been reprimanded and sanctioned in a variety of ways by their schools and academies for engaging in Palestinian Solidarity; this ranged from verbal warnings to physical intervention such as seizing the flag or seizing their banners, taking their badges or serious sanctions, such as suspensions and expulsions, [sic] referred to Prevent and calling in the police to speak with the child in question.

Obviously, this is ludicrous where you have groups of children organically showing empathy towards people who are oppressed, on the other side of the world in full view of the international community and rather than schools welcoming this act of empathy, this act of solidarity.

The fact that students will need to be aware, they crack down on them with the intention that they would they would suppress that natural inclination to side with the oppressed against injustice.

Fahad Ansari

The government's leveling up department is promoting, and seems to be funding, the forum for the discussion of Israel and Palestine; is that an issue?

Well, it's not just the question of this one organization, "Community Security Trust", but it's also the question of the other organizations we've been talking about, "One Voice" and "Solutions Not Sides", all three of these organizations.

"Solutions Not Sides"s was a project of "One Voice" and became notionally independent, it's still part of the same organization, and all of them have been funded to the tune of many thousands of pounds by the "Leveling Up Department" which used to be called the "Department of Communities" in the local government.

These are funded as part and parcel of their sort of counter extremism agenda. So you can see what's going on here is that there's an attempt to support pro Israel narratives, as if that is somehow against extremism and what they mean by extremism, of course, is those people who are opposed to UK Foreign Policy, not those who support aspects of it, including the illegal parts of it, including supporting, of course, Israel, and it's illegal activities in the occupied territories as detailed on numerous occasions by the United Nations.

So there's a push towards a particular kind of extremism, which is not thought of as extremism, which, of course, is Zionism. And there's an attempt to suggest that anyone who stands up for perfectly legitimate rights under international law for the Palestinians is somehow an extremist or is somehow supporting terrorism, which is, of course, ridiculous.

David Miller

A peculiar state of affairs, with Israel  in breach of international law, and somehow that's sort of beyond the pale, it seems to be an odd state of affairs, to say the least.

"Community Security Trust" was one of the three organizations promoted by Gavin Williamson; can you explain how this group appears to be involved in extremism?

Well, the "Community Security Trust" does not get money from the same pot as these other two organizations, but it does get money from the government, and way more money than the other two organizations put together, something like 14 million a year for its activities.

Now of course, it's an organization which deliberately blurs together anti-semitism, anti-Zionism, so that you can target the left, and indeed, Muslims in this country, with spying activities, passing information on to the security services, etc. But it’s engaged in extremism.

You saw a clip in the film there of Gerald Ronson, you probably couldn't have told from the clip but he's giving an address at a meeting, a national meeting, UK national meeting of Chabad-Lubavitch, which is an extremist Jewish sect, which is involved in, according to the Israeli intelligence agency, multiple revenge attacks on Palestinians in the territories, but yet has been supported by Joe Bronson, the fraudster, committed fraudster for, it says in the press, for more than four decades he's been supporting this extremist organization.

His organization, The CST, has in its charitable objectives that it will challenge, educate, about extremism. Well, it's not challenging and educating about it. It's in fact supporting that extremism.

So there we have a clear indication of the way in which it breaches its own charitable objectives by supporting an extremist organization, Ya'abad, which is involved in all sorts of appalling activities in Palestine.

David Miller

Schools have been hypocritically banning Palestine as a topic on the grounds that it's too political, yet they're allowing support for the conflict in Ukraine. What is the justification for this?

And this is the double standard that is so blatant that every single child who was sanctioned for showing solidarity with Palestine raised the issue with their schools and is on the back of that CAGE actually began compiling information and data from these students as to how their schools operated visa vie the Ukraine situation, and then contrast that with how they behaved last year.

I think what's really interesting is the Solidarity with Palestine is very organic. It was not dictated to them by schools of anybody's interest and was a natural reaction that schools did not tolerate, and the government did not want to hear.

Yet when it came to the Ukraine, while [the] situations have parallels, schools and the government felt they needed to dictate to the pupils how to actually behave in the situation and that they should show solidarity, so students are encouraged to bring in Ukrainian flags, pupils were fundraising for Ukraine.

I remember one of the case studies that I came across where students were fundraising for Palestine; they were reprimanded because they were told you should be fundraising for both sides; for victims in Israel and Palestine. And I can imagine a student raised the fact that … we should be fundraising for Russia as well as Ukraine it would probably receive a sanction for that.

Fahad Ansari

Well, let's pause there for a moment while we look at this report about schools staging events and activities in support of the conflict in Ukraine.

A survey by CAGE shows that 96% of British schools have proactively engaged with the calls to support for Ukraine. The figures are in stark contrast to the treatment of Palestine last year, where pupils and staff were treated punitively for attempting to express solidarity.

Eighty survey respondents mentioned schools promoting motifs of the Ukraine flag, such as encouraging children to wear blue and yellow for non uniform days, or hoisting the Ukraine flag on school grounds. The openness with [which] schools have expressed forceful solidarity with Ukraine belies the excuses that pupils, and parents, largely Muslim, were subjected to by schools last year to justify ignoring the war on Gaza.

Indeed, some respondents spoke of this disparity in explicit terms: "The school organized the collection for Ukraine, but we were unable to do the same for Palestine, as it was, "political" as it was due to religion. We asked to do an assembly or put posters up and fundraise for Palestine. And they said no, but they're doing it all for Ukraine".

But the CAGE research also uncovered two further worrying findings. The first is that the government has been encouraging teachers to use resources on disinformation via the website "Educate Against Hate".

One resource was titled "Be Internet Citizens", developed as collaboration between YouTube and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, ISD. The ISD is a strongly Zionist Organization, which has been heavily involved in counter extremism work and is funded by major NATO states and by "Regime Change" foundations.

The second finding is that some schools may have been directly encouraging support for armed violence in Ukraine, and actively involved in supporting Nazi-adjacent Ukrainian groups. A key instance has been support for the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, the AUGB, the largest representative group for Ukrainians in the country.

But the AUGB has direct and explicit links to the Ukrainian far right, stretching back to its inception. These include the ultra nationalist fascist organization, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, the OUN, and its paramilitary organization, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, the UPA, as well as regularly celebrating a notorious leader of the OUN Stepan Bandera.

These developments are a direct encouragement of far right, indeed, Nazi, ideology in British schools, encouraging a hostile environment for Muslim Palestinians and other people of colour.

The Institute for Strategic Dialogue sounds innocuous enough, doesn't it, can you explain what it is up to here?

Well, the ISD is really quite a large organization for a think tank. It was funded by founded by Lord Weidenfeld, who of course famously served in the first Israeli government back in the day and then came to Britain and has funded a huge number of Zionist think tanks and lobby groups over the years.

 … The group continues to be strongly Zionist and the people in charge of it remain strongly Zionist and fund other key Zionist organizations. But it's also involved in doing work on disinformation. And what it means by disinformation is information which is critical of Western foreign policies.

And you can see the kind of strict connection there is between that and its work on Ukraine, or Russia. And its funders; It's funded by something like six or seven different NATO states, as well as by a whole range of regime change fundraisers, including the Soros foundations, and it's engaged [sic] has been pretty straightforwardly in propaganda whereby anyone who tells the truth about what's happening in Ukraine is actually just regurgitating Russian propaganda.

So it's itself a propaganda (mouthpiece) and it should have nothing to do with the Department for Education issues, It’s actually an active propaganda organization.

David Miller

How do you view schools allowing support for Ukraine but vetoing kids mentioning Palestine?

There is definitely a double standard at play here between ISRAEL PALESTINE and Russia Ukraine conflict. Any child can see that, children stayed away with reports of children questioning their schools as to why they want a double standard.

When they were asked to bring in Ukrainian flags, they remembered what happened when they brought in Palestinian flags and they raised that with the schools, parents went to the schools as well.

Fahad Ansari

David, tell us about this far right Ukrainian group that seems to be infiltrating some British schools.

Well, I mean, this was one of the extraordinary findings, I thought, of the CAGE researchers that some schools are actually going directly to this association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, in existence since 1946, seeming to have a very, very long history with the Ukrainian far right, you know, back to the time of Stepan Bandera, the hero of the Azov Battalians of today.

And so it's extraordinary to see that and see that there seems to be no due diligence that schools that have engaged in this new due diligence that actually actively engaging with Nazi and Nazi adjacent organizations and ideas in British schools, which must be against the law.

Secondly, also engaged as a result of that in building support for sending money to support the armed conflict directly, to support military equipment, which cannot be right. I mean, we certainly, imagine if people were doing the same thing, we should be raising money to buy military equipment for Hamas.

Of course, that that would be a completely different matter, actually, in terms of resistance to the Israeli occupation.

But we see this with Ukraine that there's literally no criticism of the idea that we might support, directly support, armed violence for schools, including primary schools, extraordinary.

David Miller

Could you remind us very briefly about the atrocities that Stepan Bandera perpetrated?

Bandera was the leader of the Ukrainian nationalists, proto Nazis, who collaborated with the Germans when they  occupied part of what was then Ukraine and was involved in pogroms against Jews and indeed, against Poles and travelers, gypsy travelers, as well.

At the time hundreds of thousands of people died. And these people were pursued by the Soviets until 1959. It wasn't until 1959 that they were eventually eliminated, and to use the phrase of today, denazified.

Source: Press TV

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Israel must end its occupation of Palestine, Qatari emir tells UN General Assembly

September 20, 2022

LONDON: Qatar’s emir on Tuesday called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to bring to an end its occupation of the Palestinian territories,

Speaking during the General Debate of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said: “The Security Council must shoulder its responsibility and must compel Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian territories and to establish a Palestinian state along the borders of 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

“Failure to implement international resolutions, and in light of the continuous change of the situation on the ground, the occupation and its settlement activities, is pursuing a policy of fait accompli.

“This will change the rules of the conflict and will change the format of solidarity in the future. At this juncture, I stress that we stand in full solidarity with the brotherly Palestinian people in their aspiration to achieve justice.”

The emir then highlighted the plight of Syrians, millions of whom have been forced from their homes during the decade-long conflict in the country.

“We must pay attention to the roots of the issues before their impacts knock on the doors of our countries,” he said.

Sheikh Tamim also noted that the ongoing war in Yemen is of concern to Qatar.

“In Yemen, we see a glimmer of hope in the parties’ consensus on a temporary truce and we are looking forward to a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire in preparation for negotiations between the Yemeni parties,” he said.

He also talked about other issues affecting the region, including sectarianism in Iraq, the crises affecting Lebanon, and the situations in Libya and Sudan.

The emir said a consensus on the issue of the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions would help bring stability to the Middle East.

“No one has an alternative to such an agreement and reaching it would be in the interest of the security and stability of the region and will open the door to a broader dialogue at the regional security level,” he told the General Assembly.

Turning to the global energy crisis, Sheikh Tamim said that efforts to alleviate its effects can only take place alongside protection of the environment.

Source: Arab News

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Leicester Hindus, Muslim leaders release joint statement: 'No place for ideology of division'

September 21, 2022

In a joint statement, community leaders among Hindus and Muslims urged for an end to the tension and violence in Leicester. The statement called for Hindus and Muslims to stand together as brother and sister, and that there was "no place for any foreign extremist ideology that causes division".

Part of the statement, as reported by NDTV: "Our two faiths have lived harmoniously in this wonderful city for over half a century. We arrived in this city together. We faced the same challenges together. We fought off racist haters together, and collectively made this city a beacon of diversity and community cohesion. What we have seen is not what we are about. We ask all to respect the sanctity of religious places, both mosques and temples alike," he added, urging people not to give in to "provocation with loud music, flag-bearing, derogatory chants or physical attacks against the fabric of worship".

The police had appealed for calm. "Community leaders from East Leicester are on the ground with officers. All are calling for calm and encouraging people to go home. Please avoid the area while our police operation continues," the Leicestershire Police tweeted.

The law enforcement denied viral social media claims that a mosque was attacked, and urged users to curb misinformation. "We have seen reports on social media that a mosque is being attacked. Officers on the ground have confirmed this is not true. Please only share information on social media you know to be true," the police claimed.

The incidents had first sparked following clashes between fans following an India-Pakistan Asia Cup cricket match at the end of last month, and it had spilled over into “serious disorder”.  The police said in a statement: "Officers became aware of groups of young men gathering on Sunday afternoon in the North Evington area of the city. Officers spoke to them and took steps, including putting in place a temporary police cordon, to minimise harm and disturbance to communities."

15 people have been reportedly detained.

Source: The Week

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Islamic preacher Khandaker Rahman discharged from mosque rape trial

September 21, 2022

An imam who raped a schoolgirl in a mosque has been unconditionally discharged.

Khandaker Rahman, 67, from Cwmdu, Swansea, was found to have committed the crimes by a jury at Swansea Crown Court in June, after a trial of facts, as he was too ill to stand trial.

The absolute discharge sentence means Rahman committed the offence but will not face any punishment or order.

At Swansea Crown Court, judge Huw Rees said it was the only suitable option.

The judge stressed it was not because of the "seriousness" of the offences.

Rahman raped the young girl in 2005 at a mosque in south Wales where he was an Islamic preacher.

The court previously heard he asked her to help him move some books in a quiet part of the mosque, pushing her into a washroom on the way before raping her.

The court heard she returned to the mosque and Mr Rahman indecently assaulted her on two separate occasions before she stopped going.

The girl kept the attacks secret for more than 10 years before confiding in her husband in 2018.

Rahman's case was heard as a trial of the facts, which happens when the court determines that a person is unfit to stand trial because of medical evidence.

The jury was therefore asked to determine whether Rahman did the acts alleged, instead of determining whether he was innocent or guilty.

The jury found Rahman did the acts alleged. They were one count of rape of a child under 13 and two counts of sexual assault.

Judge Huw Rees described Rahman, who was not present for the sentencing, as "elderly, frail with significant cognitive impairment" and dementia.

The judge said Rahman's "current presentation is not of a nature or degree that would meet the criteria for detention", leaving limited options as a result.

He explained that, under the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act of 1964, the court had three choices: a hospital order, a supervision order, or an order for absolute discharge.

Two psychiatrists concluded that neither a hospital order nor a supervision order would be appropriate in Rahman's case.

Judge Huw Rees therefore made the order of absolute discharge but said this disposal "is peculiar to the insanity act" and did not reflect "the seriousness of the experience" of the victim.

Source: BBC

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French and Iranian presidents meet amid nuclear talks stalemate

20 September, 2022

French President Emmanuel Macron held face-to-face talks with his Iranian counterpart President Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday with the French leader saying he hoped to be able to “discuss all subjects”.

The meeting is Raisi's first head-to-head with a major Western leader since he was elected last year.

It comes amid a complete stalemate to revive the 2015 nuclear talks and as protests grow in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, who fell into a coma and died after her arrest in Tehran last week by the morality police for “unsuitable attire”.

France said on Monday that there would not be a better offer for Iran to revive a nuclear deal with world powers and it was up to Tehran to make a decision now. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who coordinates the talks, said he saw little chance of progress at the United Nations General Assembly.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Türkiye saves 283 migrants after Mediterranean mayday call

Deniz Cicek Palabiyik 


Türkiye’s Coast Guard saved the lives of 283 irregular migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, authorities said on Tuesday.

The migrants were rescued on Monday night after an emergency call was received from a location some 100 miles south of Kas, a coastal town in southwestern Türkiye, according to the Turkish Interior Ministry.

After the mayday call, all nearby commercial ships were contacted and told to reach the location as soon as possible, while four Turkish Coast Guard boats were simultaneously dispatched.

The Turkish Navy also sent a frigate and corvette to assist in the rescue mission. It also used a drone to track down the migrants’ boat.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Lawsuit filed against member of PKK terror group in Germany

Cuneyt Karadag  



A lawsuit was filed Monday in Germany against a man on the grounds that he is both a member and administrator of the PKK terrorist organization.

The suit against Ozgur A. was filed in the city of Koblenz, according to a statement from the federal prosecutor's office in the city of Karlsruhe.

According to the statement, Ozgur A. has been a member of the PKK since May 2018 and has held numerous positions, including that of a regional officer in Hamburg, Berlin, Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate.

He was primarily responsible for the organization's collection of donation money, particularly in Berlin, where he collected money from donors, it said.

The suspect was also responsible for the coordination of the organization, personnel and propaganda efforts. As the regional manager, he also gave instructions to his subordinates and received updates from them on developments.

The statement said Ozgur A was apprehended in Bremen on April 29 and held there while awaiting trial.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Southeast Asia


Philippine Activists Vow To ‘Never Forget’ Former Dictator Marcos-Era Human Rights Abuses

September 21, 2022

MANILA: Philippine activists vowed today to “never forget” the human rights abuses under former dictator Ferdinand Marcos as they marked 50 years since his imposition of martial law.

Amnesty International estimates thousands of people were killed and tens of thousands tortured and imprisoned after Marcos imposed martial law on Sept 21, 1972, unleashing security forces on rivals, critics and dissidents.

Marcos’ son is now the president of the Philippines, and campaigners have urged him to recognise the violence.

“The Marcoses need to at least acknowledge their role in those dark days,” said Carlos Conde, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, as activists and victims marked the 50th anniversary of the start of martial law.

“Without truth-telling, without the space for Filipinos to understand and accept what happened during martial law, we can never find closure, we can never move forward.”

Half a century after the martial law began, 11,103 people have been officially recognised as victims of torture, killings, enforced disappearances and other abuses.

They have been compensated with some of the wealth, estimated to be in the billions of dollars, stolen by Marcos and his wife Imelda.

But human rights groups say there has never been a true reckoning of the abuses – or those responsible held to account.

Marcos was toppled from power by a bloodless “people power” revolt in 1986 and the family was chased into exile.

After the patriarch’s death in 1989, they returned to the Philippines and began a remarkable political comeback that culminated with Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s victory in the May 9 presidential election.

‘One of the darkest periods’

His landslide win was helped by a massive online misinformation campaign that portrayed the Marcos clan in a positive light and whitewashed abuses and corruption during the dictatorship.

Martial law victims and activists have described the Marcos regime as “one of the darkest periods” in the country’s history.

They accuse Marcos Jr and his supporters of distorting the facts about martial law and falsely portraying it as a “golden age” for the Philippines.

“There are young Filipinos who are interested in learning what really happened in spite of many others who were really blinded,” said former political prisoner Bonnie Ilagan, who spent two years in jail where he was repeatedly tortured.

“The fight continues. We must never forget.”

Ilagan and others accused Marcos’ allies in Congress of slashing budgets and weakening the government agencies responsible for preserving the nation’s past.

Marcos Jr, who has repeatedly praised his father’s rule, last week defended martial law as “necessary” to protect the country against communist and Muslim insurgencies.

“We do recognise the problems that happened, the abuses that occurred like in any war,” Marcos Jr said.

But he said critics were “wrong” to call his father a “dictator”.

“There’s no reason to revise history,” he said, while suggesting school textbooks need to be rewritten “only if they’re wrong”.

Cristina Palabay of the Karapatan human rights alliance accused Marcos Jr and his administration of peddling “one lie after another”.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Ignorant to say Dr M resigned as govt ‘not Malay enough’, says lawyer

September 20, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla has criticised former attorney-general (AG) Tommy Thomas for claiming that Dr Mahathir Mohamad had resigned as the seventh prime minister because of the impression that his government was not “Malay enough”.

Haniff, who has acted as counsel for Mahathir in the past, said Thomas was ignorant of the Federal Constitution as the then Bersatu chairman had lost the majority support of MPs in February 2020 and had to resign.

“(The Sheraton Move) made it a ‘must’, not a need or want, for the prime minister to relinquish his position, as Mahathir did on Feb 24. It is because he lost the confidence of the majority (of MPs) as the prime minister,” he said in a video posted on Facebook.

Haniff reminded Thomas that Article 43(4) of the Federal Constitution stated that if a prime minister lost the confidence of the majority of MPs, he or she must resign.

“He cannot put politics or anything else above the constitution, he must seek an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to resign. That is what Mahathir did, after several Bersatu (and PKR) MPs left Pakatan Harapan,” he said, urging Thomas to apologise for his remarks.

Haniff also accused his fellow lawyer of being “racist” when he was the AG, saying this could be seen in his memoirs, “My Story: Justice in the Wilderness.”

“We can see how he sought opinions from non-Malay lawyers (from the private sector), while sidelining the senior lawyers in the AG’s office.

“I leave it to Thomas to state the facts and apologise for his outdated thinking that any Muslim administration will fail”.

At a forum on Saturday, Thomas urged the opposition to get voters to ask themselves whether a “Malay government” had made the country better and more efficient.

He claimed that Mahathir had resigned as prime minister because of the impression that his government was not “Malay enough”. However, two-and-a-half years after Mahathir’s resignation, the Cabinet was dominated by Malays and non-Malays had been sidelined, he was reported as saying.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Malaysia must move towards renewable resources, says Perak sultan

September 20, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Perak’s Sultan Nazrin Shah has called on Malaysia to shift from unsustainable and damaging fossil fuels towards far greater use of renewable resources.

He said if such resources were effectively harnessed, energy consumption would not need to be rationed.

“Similarly, current methods of food production, whether of crops, livestock or fish, can be adapted so that they become sustainable and regenerative rather than damaging,” he said at the Cooler Earth Sustainability Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Bernama reported.

“Technological advances will help us greatly in this quest, such as with the use of drones to make fertiliser delivery more precise, or the increase of battery capacity to facilitate energy storage.

“Economic growth thus can and must continue, but it must be decoupled from its current overuse of limited natural resources and over-reliance on fragile ecosystems.”

Sultan Nazrin said this transition does not require Malaysia to abandon economic growth altogether nor must there be a trade-off between growth and sustainability as such trade-off would unfairly preclude further development for many.

He said working towards sustainability required greatly improved environmental governance. Therefore, much better regulatory and administrative coordination must be developed among the agencies that manage environmental matters.

“We need to put into place an ecosystem-based approach that includes all stakeholders and always place broad-based social and economic inclusion at the centre of our sustainability strategies.

“Inclusive development, by definition, must embrace the needs of both current and future generations. Choices made now will leave an indelible mark on the country’s future,” he said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Better to push for other safeguards, analyst tells Sabah, Sarawak

September 20, 2022

PETALING JAYA: A political scientist said it will be better for Sabah and Sarawak to pursue two other safeguards to better protect and advance their regional interests, instead of pushing for a 35% quota of Dewan Rakyat seats.

Wong Chin Huat of Sunway University said one safeguard was the devolution of power in areas such as education, medicine and health, which was enjoyed by Singapore but denied to the two Bornean states.

The other was for a fully elected and empowered Dewan Negara, with a 17% representation from each state, giving senators the right to reject bills from the Dewan Rakyat.

“I believe a holistic and well-planned decentralisation is good for not just Sabah and Sarawak, but also for the territorial integrity of Malaysia and welfare of the Malayan states,” he said in a Facebook post.

Wong was responding to statements by Bersih chairman Thomas Fann and Sarawak premier Abang Johari Openg on the matter.

While Fann said the country’s democracy would be weakened by 35% of the Dewan Rakyat seats given to the two states, Abang Johari said Sarawak agreed in principle on the restoration of the quota, although he was in no hurry to do so.

The decision to restore the quota was reached by a special council on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Wong noted that the current combined share of Sabah and Sarawak’s parliamentary seats came to nearly 25%.

However, he cautioned that the decision to restore the quota could be a pre-election promise that was likely to be forgotten after the polls, similar to the promise to return 50% of all tax revenue collected from Sabah and Sarawak made before the 2018 general election.

He said the 25% parliamentary representation allocated for East Malaysia was not based on equal representation but over-representation.

The population of both Sabah and Sarawak combined was smaller than that of Singapore, but the Bornean states were given a total of 40 seats compared to Singapore’s 15, he said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Iran MP criticizes ‘morality police’ after protests over death of Mahsa Amini

20 September, 2022

An Iranian lawmaker made a rare stand Tuesday to criticize the controversial “morality police,” following protests over the death of a young woman they had arrested, local media reported.

Public anger has grown since authorities on Friday announced the death of Mahsa Amini, following her arrest by the police unit responsible for enforcing Iran’s strict dress code for women, including the wearing of the headscarf in public.

The 22-year-old died in hospital after three days in a coma.

Her death comes amid growing controversy both inside and outside Iran over the conduct of the morality police, known formally as the Gasht-e Ershad, or “Guidance Patrol.”

Jalal Rashidi Koochi, a member of parliament, told the ISNA news agency that “Gasht-e Ershad is wrong because it has had no result except loss and damage for the country,” adding that “the main problem is that some people resist accepting the truth.”

Koochi questioned if the current policy of enforcing those breaking dress regulations was effective.

“Do the people who are taken to these explanatory classes by the Guidance Patrol become conscious and repent when they come out?” Koochi said, ISNA reported.

On Sunday, police made arrests and fired tear gas in the dead woman’s home province of Kurdistan, where some 500 people had protested, some smashing car windows and torching rubbish bins, reports said.

On Monday, demonstrations were held in Tehran, including in several universities, and the second city Mashhad, according to the Fars and Tasnim news agencies.

Protesters in Tehran were dispersed by “police using batons and tear gas,” according to Fars news agency.

“Several hundred people chanted slogans against the authorities, some of them took off their hijab (headscarves),” Fars added.

Tehran Governor Mohsen Mansouri on Tuesday said the protests in the capital were “fully organized with the agenda to create unrest,” in a post on Twitter.

“Burning the flag, pouring fuel on the roads, throwing stones, attacking the police, setting fire to motorcycles and garbage cans, destroying public property... is not the work of ordinary people,” he said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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British-Palestinian investigation concludes Abu Akleh's killing 'deliberate'

Awad al-Rujoub  


RAMALLAH, Palestine

A new investigation conducted by British and Palestinian groups concluded that Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was deliberately killed by Israeli forces. 

The London-based Forensic Architecture and Palestinian Al-Haq rights group said the findings of their joint investigation were submitted on Tuesday to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by Abu Akleh's family.

“The investigation was a scientific and documented study that concluded that the killing was deliberate by the Israeli army,’ Shawn Jabarin, the director of Al-Haq rights group, told Anadolu Agency.

He said the forensic engineering unit of the Forensic Architecture group has reviewed the field where Abu Akleh was killed and gathered all related documents, photos and videos, adding that the probe lasted for several days.

The investigation also examined the Israeli sniper’s precise angle of fire, and concluded that the sniper was able to clearly tell that there were journalists in the area.

The complaint to ICC by Abu Akleh's family was supported by the Palestinian Press Syndicate and the International Federation of Journalists.

Abu Akleh, 51, a Palestinian-American journalist, was killed on May 11, and the Palestinian Health Ministry said she was shot in the head while covering an Israeli military raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.

Several leading media agencies, including Al Jazeera, CNN, Associated Press, Washington Post, and the New York Times, conducted their own investigations, which all came to an end that Abu Akleh was killed by an Israeli bullet.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Iran says investigating woman’s death, rebuffs US calls for accountability

Syed Zafar Mehdi  



Iranian authorities have launched an investigation into the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody, the country’s foreign minister said, rebuffing US calls for accountability.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian termed Mahsa Amini's death as "tragic" and said she was "just like our own daughters".

The top Iranian diplomat took strong umbrage to a statement issued by the White House, asserting that human rights are of "inherent value" to Iran "unlike those who use it as a tool against adversaries".

"Instead of shedding crocodile tears, US must end #EconomicTerrorism," he wrote.

Amini was on Friday taken to a police station in Tehran by members of the morality police for alleged violation of the Islamic dress code.

Inside the police station, the 22-year-old woman fainted in mysterious circumstances and was later pronounced dead at a Tehran hospital, according to a CCTV footage released by the police.

In a statement on Monday, the White House National Security Council termed the Iranian woman's death as an "appalling and egregious affront to human rights.”

"Women in Iran should have the right to wear what they want, free from violence or harassment. Iran must end its use of violence against women for exercising their fundamental freedoms," said the Council’s spokesman, calling for "accountability" into her death.

On Friday, soon after the news broke out, US special envoy on Iran, Robert Malley, described the incident as "appalling".

"Iran must end its violence against women for exercising their fundamental rights. Those responsible for her death should be held accountable," he tweeted.

At a weekly presser in Tehran on Monday, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani dismissed remarks by US officials on the young woman's death, calling it "intervention" in Iran's domestic affairs.

"If the US government is concerned about the Iranian nation, it should lift its decades-old oppressive, unilateral, illegal siege against it," Kanaani said.

The capital Tehran and other major Iranian cities have been rocked by angry protests in the past few days over Amini's death, with protesters calling for justice and accountability.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has asked the interior ministry to investigate the incident as protests continue to grow louder.

Police say the young woman died of cardiac arrest but her family alleges that Amini had no medical history and was in good health.

Iran's top judiciary official, Mohseni Ejei, in a statement on Monday said he has ordered the country's judicial bodies of conducting a "thorough investigation" into the case.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Nuclear Chief: IAEA Intending to Close Anti-Iran Cases


"Messages delivered by the United Nations nuclear agency to us show that they intend to close the case of alleged locations," Eslami stated on Monday.

He expressed hope that the IAEA would be "honest" in this case and would not "waste its time" anymore, adding that they should not think that in such cases they can exert "maximum pressure".

Referring to the agreement with the IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, Eslami noted that "Iran will answer the questions on the condition that IAEA closes the case".

The AEOI head highlighted that the Zionists are looking to make changes to the NPT [for becoming a member], but they have not yet reached a consensus with other members.

The official said that according to the signs the Europeans have been willing to make a deal, but their main intention is to isolate Iran and somehow with the nuclear deal they want to buy time to “undermine us”.

Eslami added that they disagreed with Iran's fuel cycle even before the Islamic Revolution.

Iran has always had full cooperation with the IAEA and allowed it to visit the country’s nuclear sites, but calls the nuclear agency's approach unconstructive and destructive.

Back in mid-September, AEOI Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said Tehran has fully cooperated with the IAEA about three sites in question inside the country, adding that detection of nuclear traces at Iranian sites does not mean Tehran has undeclared nuclear material.

Kamalvandi stressed that remarks by Grossi regarding potentially undeclared sites in Iran were unwarranted.

"Iran has been fully cooperative regarding the three alleged sites brought up by the nuclear watchdog and has sent information and answers to the nuclear agency's questions and has also held meetings to resolve the ambiguity," the AEOI spokeperson asserted.

“Since the nuclear agency has accounted for all of Iran’s declared nuclear material and there is no discrepancy, the mere detection of contamination in some sites cannot be taken to mean undeclared nuclear material,” he noted.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Four Iranian police officers wounded, one assistant killed after protests: Report

21 September, 2022

Four Iranian police officers were injured and one “police assistant” died from injuries on Tuesday in the southern city of Shiraz following violent protests, the official IRNA news agency reported on Wednesday.

“On Tuesday evening, some people clashed with police officers and as a result one of the police assistants was killed. In this incident, four other police officers were injured in Shiraz,” IRNA said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Israel to seal off occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip for Jewish holidays

20 September, 2022

Israel will seal off the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip ahead of three Jewish holidays marking nearly a month of religious commemorations, the military said on Tuesday.

Palestinians will not be allowed to leave the West Bank or Gaza Strip to enter Israel during the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashana, later this month, as well as the Yom Kippur and Sukkot holidays in October.

“During the closure, passage will be allowed only in humanitarian, medical and exceptional cases,” said the army, which regularly imposes these measures during the holidays.

The closures come against a backdrop of soaring tensions after a series of deadly attacks on Israelis since March.

Since then, the Israeli army has stepped up raids in the West Bank, notably in the regions of Nablus and Jenin where Palestinian armed groups are active.

The operations, which according to the army are aimed at arresting people suspected of “terrorism,” are frequently punctuated by clashes with fighters or residents.

Dozens of Palestinians, including members of armed groups, have been killed.

On Tuesday, a Palestinian was killed in clashes in the city of Nablus in a rare operation by Palestinian Authority security forces to arrest members of the Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s secular Fatah has been at loggerheads with Hamas since 2007, when the Islamist movement took control of Gaza after a near civil war.

Since then, reconciliation efforts have failed.


Iran says it arrested foreign nationals during Tehran protests

20 September, 2022

Iran arrested several foreign nationals during anti-government protests in Tehran, the capital’s governor said on Tuesday, accusing foreign intelligence services of involvement in the country’s ongoing unrest.

“Some citizens from three foreign countries” were among those detained during protests in Tehran on Monday, the semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted Mohsen Mansouri as saying.

Mansouri did not specify how many foreigners were arrested.

He accused some foreign embassies and intelligence services of being involved in the unrest in Tehran. “The traces of the intervention by some foreign embassies and [intelligence] services are clearly visible.”

Anti-government protests have erupted across Iran since Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman, was pronounced dead on Friday. Amini fell into a coma shortly after she was detained by the morality police for not complying with the regime’s strict hijab rules in Tehran on September 13.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Palestinian Authority operation to arrest Hamas member sparks clashes in West Bank

20 September, 2022

A rare operation by the Palestinian Authority security forces to arrest a Hamas member sparked clashes in the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday, killing one.

A statement from the security forces confirmed the death of Firas Yaish and said they were “waiting for a medical report,” on the circumstances of his killing.

He was killed “in a place where no security personnel were present,” forces spokesman Talal Dweikat said in a statement.

Unrest persisted through the morning, with hundreds of youths hurling rocks at PA armored vehicles and the sound of gunfire ringing out across the city center, AFP correspondents reported.

Hamas, historic rivals of the secular Fatah movement that controls the PA, condemned the arrest of 30-year-old Musaab Shtayyeh, calling it a “kidnapping... a national crime” and a “stain” on the PA’s image.

It demanded the immediate release of Shtayyeh and Ameed Tbaileh, who was arrested with him, and blasted the PA for keeping up security coordination with Israel.

“The authority has positioned itself as an exclusive agent of the occupation (Israel) in the face of our Palestinian people,” the statement said.

While Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s forces maintain security ties with Israel, which has occupied the West Bank since 1967, PA raids targeting Hamas members are not common.

Fatah and Hamas have made various reconciliation attempts in recent years, but relations remain tense. Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2007, when it ousted PA forces from the coastal enclave in deadly street battles.

The northern West Bank has suffered near daily violence in recent months.

Israel has conducted dozens of night-time raids in the area, particularly in Jenin, pursuing wanted individuals.

Dozens of Palestinians, including fighters, have been killed in the raids that began after a series of deadly attacks against Israeli targets in March.

Israel has put mounting pressure on the PA to crack down on alleged militants in the West Bank.

Last week, after two Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed in clashes near Jenin, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said he would “not hesitate to act in any place that the Palestinian Authority does not maintain order.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Voting across ethno-religious lines will further divide Nigeria – Miyetti Allah

September 20, 2022

By Joe Chukindi

The leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) in the South-East has said voting along ethno-religious lines in the forthcoming 2023 general election will further divide Nigeria.

The group urged Nigerians to vote for the most credible presidential candidate instead, saying Nigerians should shun primordial sentiments.

Chairman of the group in the South East, Gidado Sidikki, who spoke during a press conference on Tuesday said, “I advice Nigerians to vote for the most credible presidential candidate that will make Nigeria safe for every citizen, irrespective of tribe or religion.”

Siidikki called on members of the group in the country to restrict their movement during the campaigns and also tell their parents or masters where they are going out for grazing.

He hailed the Anambra State Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo on his achievement within the six months he has been in office, saying he has shown dedication within the period.

Source: Daily Post Nigeria

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Dogara warns Christians against ‘wasting votes’ on Muslim-Muslim ticket

By Rauf Oyewole, Bauchi

21 September 2022

Former Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has urged Christians not to “waste” their votes in 2023, saying the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is “antithetical” to nation building.

Dogara spoke in Abuja, yesterday, at a summit, tagged: ‘Meet the Church’, organised by the Nigerian National Christian Coalition (NNCC), with the theme, ‘The role of the Church in nation building.’

Dogara and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and other Christian politicians from the north have publicly expressed opposition to the party’s same-faith ticket.

Dogara, citing Matthew 25:14-30, said, according to one of Jesus’ most significant parables, Christians must “invest everything God gives us, not waste it. ”

He argued that APC ignored warnings by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Catholic Secretariat, ECWA Church and many other church bodies, and adopted the ticket in a manner that negated the fundamentals of nation building, such as shared identity, values and vision.

He said: “The APC adopted a same-faith ticket in a country that has never attained nationhood. These warnings were not only ignored but also dismissed in one fell swoop by the APC presidential candidate, who strangely believes that he can build a strong, secure and viable nation-state without first forging a shared identity, vision and value for our people, thereby enabling us transit from citizens of a country into a nation of people with strong shared identity and values

“In their convoluted posturing, they have placed state building ahead of nation building; a task never before achieved in history. And we need no seer to tell us that such endeavour is guaranteed to end in spectacular failure. No divided people have ever built any civilization.

Dogara added: “To demonstrate that the Church is right, it is not alone in condemning the same faith ticket. Other prominent Islamic clerics and Muslim leaders have also spoken in the same light. It is a good omen that both Christian and Muslim elites are not complacent over this matter.

“To this end, it will be easy to generate the needed elite consensus that is key to nation building. All nations are built by elite consensus, while all countries that failed at nation-building were destroyed by elite complacency.

“Granted that the Christians and Muslims will always disagree on some issues, there are, however, many things over which we are agreeable.

Source: Guardian Nigeria

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Ethiopia says nearly 3,600 people killed by Tigray rebels in Amhara, Afar

Addis Getachew  



Ethiopia said on Tuesday that nearly 3,600 people were killed extrajudicially in northern states by Tigray rebels between September 2021 and January 2022.

A ministerial committee that published the report was formed last year after the UN high commissioner for human rights, and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission in a joint investigation blamed both warring parties for rights abuses.

War resumed in northern Ethiopia between government forces and Tigray rebels on Aug. 24, extending an almost two-year-long conflict that has already killed thousands and displaced millions of others.

Hopes for peace talks between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government were handed a welcome boost earlier this month after the rebels said they were willing to halt fighting and take part in a dialogue led by the African Union.

According to the report, the TPLF killed 3,598 civilians in Amhara and Afar regional states.

Another 1,315 people sustained injuries, while 2,212 females including girls and minors were raped by the TPLF fighters, it added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Why Somalia’s drought and looming food crisis require an innovative response

September 20, 2022

NEW YORK CITY: Just a few months ago, Somalia was promised a new era. After a peaceful vote and an equally peaceful transfer of power, many had hoped that a line had been drawn under decades of clan divisions, factious politics, heightened tensions between Mogadishu and the regions, and a persistent extremist presence.

In recent years, Somalia recorded encouraging economic growth as well, lifting the hopes of the international community further. Until a perfect storm, consisting of the coronavirus pandemic, a locust infestation and floods, struck the country, rolling back the gains.

A new president, whose election had crowned a period of hope that saw the drafting of a new provisional constitution, the establishment of a federal government, and the subsequent formation of five new federal member states, had promised to focus on national reconciliation and on further political and financial reforms.

James Swan, the UN special representative to Somalia, had told the Security Council that Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s presidency offered a “long-awaited opportunity to advance urgent national priorities.”

Yet it is not because of this progress that Somalia is set to be a major focus of this year’s 77th session of the UN General Assembly. Once again, the country finds itself facing a state of alarming emergency resulting from multiple, overlapping crises.

The UN’s World Meteorological Organization has predicted that the Horn of Africa is likely to face a fifth consecutive failed rainy season over the months of October to December. Somalia is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change and is ill-equipped to cope with this drought, the worst it has experienced in 40 years.

There is no end in sight, many say. Five years of drought have depleted the country’s water levels, leading to crop failure, with agricultural production falling 70 percent below average. More than 3 million livestock have perished. The animals that remained are now emaciated.

And getting aid to those in need remains a tremendous challenge. Some areas are hard to reach owing to poor road infrastructure. Others are under the control of Al-Shabab, an uncompromising, unpopular group with links to Al-Qaeda.

A deadly insurgency by Al-Shabab against the federal government has resulted in humanitarian aid convoys being attacked. In a vicious cycle, the scarcity that Al-Shabab is exacerbating is in turn leading to more young Somalis being vulnerable to recruitment.

Then came the war in Ukraine, the reverberations from which have been deeply felt in the Horn of Africa. The resultant spike in global grain prices has pushed millions of Somalis to leave their homes and look for food, carrying starving and malnourished children on the way.

Only those who are physically capable of leaving have left, however. As for the most vulnerable, the children, Somalia’s newest generation, they are perishing.

“Food insecurity is a global problem,” Abdirahman Abdishakur, Somalia’s special presidential envoy for drought response, told Arab News.

“The whole world has been affected by disruptions to global supply chains of grain, fertilizer and fuel arising from the conflict in Ukraine. Much like the rest of the world, Somalia has also been affected.

“The difference for Somalia is that this crisis is coming on top of many others that the country has been reeling from for decades.”

UN reports indicate that some communities, particularly agro-pastoral populations in Baidoa and Burhakaba districts and displaced people in the Baidoa town of the Bay region, will experience famine starting in October if aid is not immediately scaled up.

Abdishakur is in New York City to lobby and urge donors, the international community, and the Somali diaspora to support the drought response “before it is too late.”

Various UN bodies, including children’s fund UNICEF, the World Food Program, and the Food and Agriculture Organization, have repeatedly warned that the emergency shows no signs of letting up.

In a statement, the FAO said that “without action, famine will occur within the next few weeks,” adding that drought-related deaths had already been occurring and the toll could be much higher in hard-to-reach rural areas, compared with the number recorded in camps for displaced families.

During the famine of 2011, 340,000 Somali children required treatment for severe acute malnutrition, James Elder, UNICEF spokesperson, said in Geneva, Switzerland. “Today it’s 513,000. It’s a pending nightmare we have not seen this century.”

According to the FAO, approximately 6.7 million people in Somalia will likely endure high levels of acute food insecurity between October and December this year, including more than 300,000 who have been left “empty-handed” by the country’s triple emergency and who are expected to fall into famine.

Abdishakur said: “Needs have escalated, and funds remain below what is required. The window for the international community is literally now. If the world doesn’t scale up assistance, famine could be here as soon as October.”

Although such dire predictions have thrown Somalia into the limelight, famine projections were actually made back in March.

“Many governments have increased their funding over the course of the drought, and we are very grateful. However, the need for adequate levels of funding to contain the initial emergency was not met, allowing the situation to spiral into the crisis we are experiencing today,” he added.

Now, Abdishakur is leading a call for a more aggressive humanitarian response to the crisis to save as many lives as possible.

“The sheer severity of the situation demands a more aggressive, innovative, and tangible reaction from the international community,” he said. And he called on the international community to “rally in the spirit of humanitarian diplomacy” and increase their contributions “before it’s too late.”

“No one should be dying from starvation in 2022. In this world of staggering wealth, skills and knowledge, there should be enough support to go around,” he added.

It is not the first or even 10th time that an emergency appeal has been made for Somalia to donor countries, and Abdishakur noted that it would not be the last if the same approach continued to be taken each year by Somalia’s government or the international community.

He said: “I do not want to be knocking on doors again in five years’ time or ever. Around 1 billion dollars is spent on aid to our country annually yet needs continue to increase. Humanitarian support is vital during a crisis, but it cannot be a permanent solution.”

Somalis are aware of the progress they had begun to get a taste for, but now fear that their country’s full potential will not be achieved.

According to experts, had that potential been utilized, Somalia could have contributed to food security and sustainable energy production in the Horn of Africa and the world.

As the presidential envoy for drought response, Abdishakur is advocating a new way of working aimed at ultimately ending the cycle of hunger and suffering that focuses on long-term adaptation to, and mitigation of, climate change.

Along with the urgent funds needed to save lives, he has called for investments that focus on fighting food insecurity, help foster livelihoods, and build infrastructure, especially roads.

He said that between 20 and 40 percent of agricultural produce in Somalia was lost in transportation because of poor roads.

“Somalia needs partnerships that make its people thrive by continuing to live their traditional way of life with some added climate-adaptive and mitigation practices,” Abdishakur said

“Somalia has resources. We have minerals, rivers, wind, and natural gas. We have the longest coastline in Africa. We have a large agro-pastoral population, who live off ample pasture and export livestock to global markets when drought is not scorching their land.

“To break away from recurrent crises, we need the international community to understand the importance of building the resilience of our people to climate, economic, and security shocks.

“Along with urgently saving lives, international engagement in Somalia must contribute to livelihoods, develop vital modern infrastructure like roads and irrigation channels, and help families adapt to a new climate reality.”

Looking to the future, Abdishakur said: “We know that our government has a long way to go but we are committed to ending this crisis and stopping the cycle, including through improvements to the way we function, our transparency, and accountability.

Source: Arab News

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North America


American Muslims as likely as general population to serve in US military, poll finds

20 September 2022

American Muslims are just as likely as any other faith group to serve in the US military, a new poll by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (Ispu) has found.

More specifically, white Muslims are more likely than white non-Muslims among the general American public to serve in the military. The numbers in the poll came down to 17 percent versus 11 percent.

The findings were listed in Ispu’s American Muslim Poll 2022: A Politics and Pandemic Status Report.

According to the poll, roughly four in five Muslims in America hold US citizenship. However, Muslims are still just as likely to serve in the military as the general American public.

The poll found that 11 percent of Muslims, 10 percent of Catholics and Protestants, 13 percent of white Evangelicals, and nine percent of the nonaffiliated and the general public served in the armed forces.

"What the findings tell us is that American Muslims are part and parcel of American society, so it's not necessarily a surprise that we would find representation in the US military,” Ispu research project manager and American Muslim Poll 2022 co-author Erum Ikramullah told Middle East Eye.

The poll also specifies that white Muslims (17 percent) are more likely than Asian (4 percent) and Arab Muslims (less than 1 percent) to serve in the military. When it comes to Black Muslims, they are just as likely as Black non-Muslims to serve the US.

Those numbers seem to be unaffected by US interventions in the largely Muslim Middle East. In August, a major study entitled Introducing the Military Intervention Project: A New Dataset on US Military Interventions, 1776–2019, concluded that US military interventions "increasingly" target the Middle East and Africa, making up more than a quarter of the country's campaigns throughout its history.

From its founding in 1776 to 2019, the US has undertaken almost 400 military interventions, with more than a quarter occurring in the post-Cold War period, the report found.

Source: Middle East Eye

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US Treasury says some satellite internet equipment can be exported to Iran

21 September, 2022

US Treasury Department said on Tuesday some satellite internet equipment can be exported to Iran, suggesting that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk may not need a license to provide the firm's Starlink satellite broadband service in the country.

Musk said on Monday the company will ask for an exemption from sanctions against Iran. “Starlink will ask for an exemption to Iranian sanctions in this regard,” Musk wrote on Twitter in reply to a tweet.

Musk's tweet did not give more details on his plans but it came at a time of widespread protests in Iran over the death of a woman in police custody. The Treasury did not specify whether the license would apply to Musk's plans.

Some people on Twitter had asked Musk to provide the satellite-based internet stations. Access to social media and some content is tightly restricted in Iran.

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has a longstanding license that “authorizes certain exports to Iran of hardware, software, and services related to communications over the internet, including certain consumer-grade Internet connectivity services and residential consumer satellite terminals authorized under General License D-1,” a department spokesperson said in a statement.

“For any exports not covered by existing authorizations, OFAC welcomes applications for specific licenses to authorize activities supporting internet freedom in Iran,” the statement added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran, West at odds, US sees no breakthrough on nuclear deal at UN

20 September, 2022

Iran and the West remained at loggerheads on Tuesday over UN probes of uranium traces at three Iranian sites as the US said it did not expect a breakthrough on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal at this week's UN General Assembly.

Tehran has pushed Washington to commit to closing investigations by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into uranium traces found at three undeclared sites before it will fully implement a proposed deal to revive the nuclear pact.

The US and its partners, however, reject that stance, arguing the investigations can only conclude when Iran has given satisfactory answers to the Vienna-based UN agency.

Resolution of the investigations is critical to the IAEA, which seeks to ensure parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are not secretly diverting nuclear material which they could use to make a weapon.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi each laid out familiar positions on the uranium traces issue after their talks during the annual gathering of global leaders in New York.

“The ball is now in Iran's court which has to say whether it accepts the conditions that have been set formally by the Americans and Europeans,” Macron told reporters after meeting Raisi, saying the West would not pressure the IAEA to close the probes.

Speaking in Washington, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said he did not expect any breakthrough during this week's UN meetings but reiterated the US willingness to revive the deal, under which Iran limited its nuclear program in return for economic sanctions relief.

However, Raisi said Tehran continues to demand the IAEA close its investigations and the US, which abandoned the nuclear deal in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, provide guarantees to limit the effects of its reneging again.

“Iran's demand to receive guarantees is a completely reasonable and logical demand,” Raisi told Macron, according to the Iranian leader's office. “We believe that it is not possible to reach an agreement without the IAEA closing its probes.”

The Macron-Raisi meeting is the Iranian president's first head-to-head with a major Western leader since he was elected last year.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkish President Erdogan holds talks with leaders in New York

Servet Gunerigok 



Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks Tuesday with several state and government leaders during the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

Erdogan met separately with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Kyrgyz President Sadir Caparov and later received Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at UN headquarters.

Among other leaders Erdogan had conversations with were Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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President Erdogan of Türkiye meets UN chief in New York

Servet Gunerigok  



President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Tuesday with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at UN headquarters after the Turkish president addressed the General Assembly.

No details were provided about the meeting which came almost two months after Türkiye and the UN brokered a grain deal with Russia and Ukraine.

Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement on July 22 in Istanbul to restart grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which were paused after the Russia-Ukraine war began in February.

A Joint Coordination Center with officials from the three countries and the UN was set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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US court overturns Adnan Syed's prison sentence after 2 decades

Seda Sevencan  


A US judge on Monday overturned the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, who was convicted for the 1999 killing of his former girlfriend.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn vacated the conviction of Syed, granted a new trial, and ordered his immediate release after 22 years in prison.

Syed, now 41, was found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee and sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years. He had always maintained his innocence.

The judge acknowledged that the state had failed to share exculpatory evidence -- known as a Brady violation -- that could have helped his defense at trial.

“Judge Phinn's motion acknowledges that the State has proven that there was a Brady violation in Mr. Syed's case and that new evidence has come to light,” Office of the State's Attorney for Baltimore City said in a statement, adding that Phinn placed Syed on home detention with GPS monitoring.

The state's attorney, Marilyn Mosby, added: “Justice has prevailed with the outcome of today's hearing.

“After a nearly year-long investigation reviewing the facts of this case, my team successfully argued that Mr. Syed deserves a new trial where he can be adequately represented and the latest evidence can be presented.”

Prosecutors have 30 days to schedule a new trial or drop the murder charge.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Turkish president receives members of American Jewish community in New York

Servet Gunerigok  



Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received members of the American Jewish community Monday in New York.

The meeting with Jewish leaders took place at the Turkevi Center in Manhattan. It was closed to the media.

Among the leaders were Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Gideon Taylor, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, William Daroff, Chief Executive Officer of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Turkish Jewish Community Co-chairs Ishak Ibrahimzadeh and Erol Kohen.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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