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Islamic World News ( 17 Oct 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Prince Saud Al-Shaalan Cousin of Mohammed Bin Salman Threatens West with 'Jihad and Martyrdom'

New Age Islam News Bureau

17 October 2022


Saud al-Shaalan is a tribal leader and grandson of King Abdulaziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia (Screenshot)


• Muslim Student’s Holy Book Torn, Headscarf Thrown in Trash in France

• Supreme Court Notice On Plea Against HC Order Allowing A 16-Year-Old Muslim Girl To Enter Into Marriage Under The Muslim Personal Law

• Iran Calls On EU to Adopt ‘Realistic Approach’ To Mahsa Amini Protests

• Pakistan Launches World Conference on the Biography Of Prophet Mohamed


Arab World

• For Indians, UAE’s new temples bring feeling of home away from home

• Syria, Russia forces kill 20 Daesh terrorists in 'special operation': Tass

• Some 100 terrorists killed as Russian warplanes hit their positions in NW Syria

• Iraq’s Sadrist Movement Says Will Not Take Part in the Next Government: Report

• Islamic State claims over 125 people killed in Syrian operations

• IMF and Egypt agree to finalize work to reach staff-level agreement ‘very soon’

• Saudi Arabia seeks to support stability, balance of global oil markets: King Salman

• OPEC+ decision taken unanimously for ‘economic reasons’: Saudi defence minister

• Iraqi president meets Iran’s envoy to discuss bilateral ties



• Tributes paid to British MP on anniversary of murder by Daesh sympathizer

• Terrorist attack at Russian army base leaves 11 dead, 15 injured

• EU foreign policy chief Borrell expects no progress in Iran nuclear talks for now



• Bihar: Muslim Students Appearing For Exams Asked To Take Off Hijab

• AIMIM UP Chief Stokes Row, Says Those Who Threaten Muslims 'Marry One, Keep Three Mistresses'

• BJP True Well-Wisher of Muslims, So-Called Secular Parties Used Them as Vote Bank: UP Deputy CM

• Mahanga Muslims Community Celebrate Naveen’s Birthday with Gift of Life in Odisha



• Hamas: Israeli Plans to Judaize, Divide Al-Aqsa Mosque Will Be Foiled

• Tehran Denounces Washington Opportunistic Attitude towards Iran's Unrest

• Iran’s Evin prison fire death toll rises to eight: Judiciary

• Iran Carries Out Initial Tests of Bavar 373 Missile System at Range of 300km

• Iran Calls on Iraq's Kurdistan to Counter Terror Groups

• Family of Palestinian who died in Israeli detention rejects compensation



• Pakistan Likely To Exit FATF ‘Grey List’ This Week

• TLP chief, stick-wielding supporters enter Haripur despite ban on rallies

• Five ‘terrorists’ killed in Splinji operation

• 6 Out Of 8: Imran Khan Wins Majority of Seats in Pakistan’s By-Elections

• Pakistan summons US envoy for demarche over Joe Biden’s nukes remarks


South Asia

• Ex-Leaders in Virtual Meeting Not Acceptable to Afghans: Islamic Emirate

• New UNAMA Chief Meets with Senior Islamic Emirate Officials, Discusses Importance Of Girls’ Education

• Two Rohingya community leaders killed in Bangladesh

• Taliban Prevents Bulk Cash Smuggling from Afghanistan to Iran

• Afghan Passport Labelled ‘Least Powerful’ in Henley Index

• Taliban Establishes Commission to Investigate Detainees in Northern Afghanistan


Southeast Asia

• Call To Fund Non-Islamic Places of Worship Lauded By Penang Hindu Association

• Tun M: Indian Muslim alliance will give GTA a big win in GE15

• I have never been aligned to any party, says Azhar

• Time to give 2 days off for Deepavali, says Syed Saddiq



• Stop Victimising Muslim Judges, Muslim Rights Concern Tells Osun Chief Judge

• Tunisia police clash with protesters in second night of protests

• Army chief says Sudan close to national consensus

• Thousands protest in Tunisia to call for ending ‘coup’


North America

• Brazilian Muslims Demand Harvard Return Skull of Slave Who Fought In Uprising

• No president has done more for Israel than I have: Trump

• Biden has no plans to meet Saudi crown prince at G20 summit: Official

• Richard Falk: Washington fears Saudi realignment to Russia and China

• Iran slams Biden's support for riots as intervention in state matters

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Prince Saud Al-Shaalan Cousin of Mohammed Bin Salman Threatens West with 'Jihad and Martyrdom'


Saud al-Shaalan is a tribal leader and grandson of King Abdulaziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia (Screenshot)


16 October 2022

A cousin of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has issued a violent threat against the West amid souring relations over a decision by Opec+ to cut oil production.

In a message "to the West", Prince Saud al-Shaalan is seen in a video circulating on social media saying "anybody who challenges the existence of this kingdom, we are all projects of jihad and martyrdom". The prince is heard issuing his warning in English and French.

Saud al-Shaalan is a tribal leader and grandson of King Abdulaziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia, according to Saudi human rights advocate Abdullah Alaoudh.

His intervention comes as relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia have hit a nadir. With energy prices rising following Russia's February invasion of Ukraine, Washington has lobbied members of the Opec+ oil cartel, particularly Saudi Arabia, to increase production.

US President Joe Biden travelled to the kingdom in July, despite previously promising to turn Saudi Arabia into a pariah following the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and his administration briefed media that they believed the Saudis would ramp up production.

Instead, a small increase was followed by a decision last week to cut oil output from Opec+ by two million barrels a day, which could raise prices globally.

Washington has reacted furiously, accusing Saudi Arabia of helping Russia to relieve the pressure of sanctions placed on it over the Ukraine war.

The White House said on Wednesday that it was looking to work with Congress on assessing Washington's ties with Riyadh. Lawmakers have offered up a number of measures, including halting weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and opening up Opec to litigation in the US.

"In recent weeks, the Saudis conveyed to us - privately and publicly - their intention to reduce oil production, which they knew would increase Russian revenues and blunt the effectiveness of sanctions," White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday.

He added that other Opec members told the US privately they disagreed with Riyadh's decision, "but felt coerced to support Saudi's direction".

Kirby's statement came after a defiant Saudi press release that expressed its "total rejection" of the outpouring of condemnation from the US and accused the Biden administration of asking the Saudis to delay the production cut until after the midterm elections in the United States.

Alaoudh, who belongs to the Democracy in the Arab World Now group set up by Khashoggi, said on Twitter that Saud al-Shaalan's video showed "a direct cousin" of Mohammed bin Salman threatening the West with "jihad and martyrdom".

However, Saudi lobbyist Ali Shihabi said the prince was a minor royal with no official role.

"This is a private individual who made a personal statement that has nothing to do with the state," he tweeted.

Source: Middle East Eye

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Muslim Student’s Holy Book Torn, Headscarf Thrown in Trash in France


Mollet News Photo


Alaattin Doğru, Esra Taşkın


The Holy Quran was torn and a student’s headscarf was thrown in the trash at a French high school dormitory, media reports said Saturday.

French public broadcasting service, FranceInfo, reported that an unnamed Muslim student at the Jean Rostand High School in the port city of Caen found her Quran and veil in the trash when she returned to her dormitory Thursday.

The student reported the incident to the school management, it reported.

Sebastien Duval-Rocher, headmaster of the school, said in a statement that he and his colleagues were shocked about the incident.

He noted the school is open-minded “and tolerant and accept all confessions,” and said he denounced the “unworthy, intolerable, legally reprehensible act.”

FranceInfo said neither the student nor her family want to file a complaint against the perpetrator but the prosecutor's office acted through the school’s management.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Supreme Court Notice on Plea against HC Order Allowing A 16-Year-Old Muslim Girl To Enter Into Marriage Under The Muslim Personal Law


Citing the Muslim Sharia law, a single-judge bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court upheld minor marriage. (Getty image used for representation)


17th October 2022

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice on a plea by National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) challenging a verdict by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in which the court allowed a 16-year-old Muslim girl to enter into a valid marriage under the Muslim Personal Law.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on his part, submitted before a bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul this is an important issue, and he is not against the protection granted. Mehta said, but can the court pass an order against the penal provisions?

The bench said this matter will have to be considered. The top court appointed senior advocate Rajshekar Rao as amicus curiae in the matter.

The top court was informed that the high court judgment would impact on the ban of child marriages and also the POCSO Act. The bench said will any court follow the judgment when the Supreme Court is considering the issue. “How will anybody follow this? We are saying we will examine the issue. Let us hear the amicus…,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Abhay S. Oka. The high court had granted protection to a Muslim couple.

Mehta urged the court to stay the two paragraphs of the impugned order. Justice Kaul said the matter will be heard and it is keeping it open for now. The top court scheduled the matter for further hearing on November 7.

The NCPCR moved the apex court challenging the June 13 order delivered by the bench of Jasjit Singh Bedi. The plea argued that the order is essentially allowing a child marriage and this violative of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

The High Court, in its order, said, the marriage of a Muslim girl is governed by the personal law of the Muslims.

“As per Article 195 from the book ‘Principles of Mohammedan Law by Sir Dinshah Fardunji Mulla’, every Mahomedan of sound mind, who has attained puberty, may enter into a contract of marriage, and puberty is presumed, in the absence of evidence, on completion of the age of fifteen years,” the high court held.

“The Court cannot shut its eyes to the fact that the apprehension of the petitioners needs to be addressed. Merely because the petitioners have got married against the wishes of their family members, they cannot possibly be deprived of the fundamental rights as envisaged in the Constitution of India,” it said.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Iran Calls On EU To Adopt ‘Realistic Approach’ To Mahsa Amini Protests




15 October, 2022

Iran has called on the European Union to adopt a “realistic approach” regarding the protests over Mahsa Amini’s death as the bloc prepares to impose new sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

EU countries on Wednesday agreed to level new sanctions on the Islamic Republic over the “crackdown” during a month of demonstrations over Amini’s death. The move is due to be endorsed at the bloc’s foreign ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg on Monday.

“We recommend that Europeans look at the issue with a realistic approach,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in a phone call Friday.

In a separate statement on Friday, Amir-Abdollahian said: “Who would believe that the death of one girl is so important to Westerners?”

“If it is so, what did they do regarding the hundreds of thousands of martyrs and deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Lebanon?” he added.

Iran has been rocked by protests since Amini’s death on September 16, three days after she was arrested by morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.

The street violence has led to dozens of deaths, mostly among protesters but also members of the security forces, while hundreds have been arrested.

“Iran is not the land of velvet or color coups,” he continued in his call with Borrell, in reference to Western-backed protest movements in Europe and elsewhere.

“Iran is the anchor of lasting stability and security in the region,” he added, according to a ministry statement early Saturday.

Borrell meanwhile stressed that “people in Iran have the right to peaceful protest and to defend fundamental rights.”

“Violent repression must stop immediately. Protesters must be released,” he wrote on Twitter Friday, adding that “internet access and accountability are needed.”

Iranian officials have previously criticized Western “hypocrisy” over the issue of human rights.

“It is not right that in Europe, the most violent confrontation with riots is a good and acceptable act, but the same act within the legal framework in Iran is considered repression,” Amir-Abdollahian told Borrell.

The United States, Canada and Britain have already imposed sanctions on Iranian officials and entities over the protests.

Tehran has warned of tit-for-tat measures if the EU makes a similar move.

“In their meddlesome statements, some countries... put the subject of issuing a resolution or imposing sanctions (on Iran) on the agenda” of the EU foreign ministers’ meeting, Amir-Abdollahian said in a separate conversation with his Portuguese counterpart Joao Gomes Cravinho Friday.

In the event that such a measure is taken, “the Islamic Republic of Iran will take reciprocal action,” he was quoted as saying by the ministry.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Pakistan launches World Conference on the Biography of Prophet Mohamed


Calligraphy of Muhammad - Wikimedia Commons


16 Oct 2022

With the participation of a group of senior scholars, members of the government, two houses of parliament and the Senate and the diplomatic corps,

in the presence of the Pakistani President, Islamabad launches its conference on the biography of Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him) and chooses Dr. Al-Issa as chief guest,

the Pakistani President awards Dr. Al-Issa with the Presidential Shield of Pakistan’s World Biography Conference.

Arif Alvi and Dr. Al-Issa hand prizes to winners of this year's Prophetic Biography competition.

President Arif Alvi: Prophet Mohamed’s life is an integrated approach to humanity that aims basically to promote human values and honor human beings.

Dr. Al-Issa: The Muslim World League was honored with launching museums of the Prophet’s life around the world, based on its main museum in Medina.

Our duty in the (MWL) is to make our Prophet’s life a road map for the Islamic nation.

The Secretary General of the MWL meets Pakistan Senate speaker, the Governor of Punjab Province and the Prime Minister.

Pakistan Army Commander addressing Dr. Al-Issa: What you have done in the face of Islamophobia is highly appreciated.

Pakistan’s Senate Speaker to Al-Issa: Your key role in correcting concepts about Islam is strong and effective in alleviating “Islamophobia”


The Pakistani capital, Islamabad, hosted the activities of the World Conference on the Biography of Prophet Mohamed under the auspices and in the presence of His Excellency Pakistan’s President, Dr. ArifAlvi, a group of senior scholars of the Islamic world, members of the parliament and the Senate along with the diplomatic corps. Pakistan chose His Excellency Secretary-General of the Muslim World League and head of the Association of Muslim Scholars, Sheikh Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, to be a chief guest at its World Conference to Celebrate Prophet Mohamed’s life. Dr. Al-Issa was awarded by Pakistani President with the conference’s presidential shield.

In his speech, Pakistani President, ArifAlvi, welcomed His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Muhammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa for his participation in this conference, praising the contents of Al-Issa’s speech in which he shed light on the meaningful life of the Prophet (peace be upon him). President Arif Alawi urged all Muslims worldwide to follow Prophet Mohamed’s Sunnah the Seal the last of the Prophets (peace be upon him) which mainly aims to promote human values. He said: “The biography of Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him) is a symbol and an integrated approach for humanity and a role model to follow for everyone in the world.

Pakistani President, Arif Alvi, said that social harms, including polarization and hatred cannot be dealt with effectively unless we follow the life of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Arifcalled for promoting harmony and tolerance among followers of religions, considering this vital for peaceful coexistence in the Muslim Community.

His Excellency the Secretary General of the MWL, Sheikh Dr. Muhammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, delivered a speech in which he expressed his happiness with this great meeting filled with the beauty and majesty of the biography of Prophet Mohamed the Seal the last of the Prophets (peace be upon him).

Dr. Al-Issa stressed that reviewing the noble meanings mentioned in the honorable biography of the Prophet is a reminder of the guidance of Islam in the greatest biography ever. The Prophet’s biography is the most accurate and comprehensive of what was written about a great man. He added: "Prophet Mohamed’s biography taught us, mercy to all creation, ease in religion, and turning away from the ignorant people. The Prophet Mohamed’s biography also taught us tolerance and beautiful forgiveness, wisdom and reconciling hearts.

Dr. Al-Issa highlighted some of the arduous efforts of the Muslim World League in introducing the Prophet’s biography, stressing that the MWL was honored with launching museums of the Prophet’s biography around the world, based upon its main museum in Madinah. These museums included highlighting the carefully documented biography of our Prophet through a presentation that adopted state-of-the-art technical means, under the slogan “The Prophet’s Biography as If You Live It.” He added:"Yes, these museums provided a comprehensive and full description of the Prophet's biography using modern methods, which transport you emotionally to those blessed spaces."

Dr. Al-Issa stressed that the MWL is pleased that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan hosts one of these sub-museums around the world, hoping that the Islamabad version will have a distinction over the rest of the other branches in terms of display capacity, and allocating a large space for young people, following the completion of the necessary procedures. His Excellency concluded by praying to God Almighty to help Pakistan recover from the damages caused by the destructive floods.

For his part, the Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Mufti Abdulshakur Sardar Khan, confirmed that the participation of His Excellency the Secretary-General of the MWL along with senior scholars and sheikhs, has increased and stressed the importance of this conference which aims to highlight the importance of the Prophet's biography, the application of His teachings and ethics, to be consolidated in Islamic communities, and to clarify the true image of Islam before the whole world.

In his speech before the participating scholars, Chairman of the Central Ahl al-Hadith Association, a member of the Pakistani Senate, Senator Sajid Mir, stressed the need to fight corruption and other social unrest by following the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). He made clear that the Prophet's biography has provided us with an integrated approach to solving various social problems. Such prophetic values and teachings serve as golden principles for the entire humanity.

Secretary General of the Council of Shiite Scholars in Pakistan and a member of the Pakistani National Committee for Scholars, sheikh Arif Hussain Wahedi, warmly welcomed Secretary-General of the Muslim World League, Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Al-Issa. He said: “The Prophet Mohamed’s message is considered a mercy to all humanity, and the adoption of the teachings contained in the Prophet’s biography is considered a source of unity for the Islamic nation. And he said: “Mother of the Believers, Lady Aisha, may God be pleased with her, when she was asked about the character of the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: His character is the Qur’an, and God Almighty praised His Noble Prophet by saying: “And you are of a great character.”

The activities of conference continue including speeches and sessions. In the conclusion, Pakistani President, Arif Alviand His Excellency Dr. Al-Issa handed the prizes to the winners of the Prophet Biography’s competition for this year.


His Excellency the Secretary General of the MWL, Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Al-Issa, in the context of his visit to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, met Speaker of the Pakistani Senate, Muhammad SadiqSanjrani who congratulated Dr. Al-Issa on receiving the Presidential Civilian Medal "Crescent of Excellence", appreciating his international efforts in promoting the true image of Islam and combating "Islamophobia". He stressed that "the global role played by the MWL in order to correct concepts about Islam.”

Dr. Al-Issa and his accompanying delegation also visited the province of Punjab, where he was received by His Excellency Governor of the province, Mr. Muhammad Baligh Rahman at the governor's residence in Lahore. They discussed a number of issues of interest on the Islamic and international arena. They also reviewed the current situation in Pakistan recently hit by destructive floods. Dr. Al-Issa stressed that the MWL will spare no effort in alleviating the severity of this disaster for the friendly Pakistani people, pointing out that the MWL is one of the great favors and blessings of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that it has gifted to the Islamic world.

In the same context, Prime Minister of the province, His Excellency Mr. Pervez Elahi, received His Excellency Secretary-General, Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Al-Issa, at the headquarters of the Prime Ministry. They discussed a number of issues of Islamic interest, and His Excellency the Prime Minister praised the arduous efforts of the Secretary-General of the MWL in confronting extremism and hatred among cultures and within communities, and strengthening relations based on co-existence and cooperation. In addition, Dr. Al-Issa met with the Commander of the Pakistani Army, Lieutenant-General Qamar Javed Bajwa who commended the great efforts made today by the Muslim World League in Pakistan and around the world.

Source: Egypt Today

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Arab World


For Indians, UAE’s new temples bring feeling of home away from home


October 15, 2022

NEW DELHI: As works are underway on the largest Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, and another one was just inaugurated in Dubai, India’s ambassador and expats living in the UAE say they are a “shining example of tolerance” that makes them feel at home.

India-UAE ties reached new highs in May, with the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

About 3.5 million Indians are living and working in the UAE. The first Hindu temple built for this community was opened in Dubai in the 1950s. Recently expanded to 15 acres of land donated by local authorities, in a style blending Indian and Islamic architecture, it was reinaugurated earlier this month by UAE Tolerance Minister Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak.

“The presence of Sheikh Nahyan as chief guest and the fact that the Dubai government has provided the land for the Hindu temple shows how proactive the government of the UAE is in making sure that the Indian community here is comfortable,” India’s Ambassador to the UAE Sunjay Sudhir told Arab News.

“The temple is very symbolic of the fact that the Indian community here feels very much at home.”

Besides serving religious purposes, it also has a knowledge center dedicated to Hindu heritage and is open to people of all faiths.

For Raju Shroff, whose family was involved in managing the first temple and who now serves as a committee member of the new one, its opening will help strengthen cultural ties between India and the Gulf state.

“India and the UAE have always had close ties, whether business or political. Now, they will also be cultural,” he said.

“Ties between the two nations have become even deeper as they are opening up different avenues, not only commercial ones. Now there will be a greater sharing of culture and ideas.”

More such exchanges are likely to come when another temple, the largest in the UAE and currently under construction, will be inaugurated in Abu Dhabi.

Developed on 27 acres of land, its groundbreaking ceremony was held in the presence of three UAE ministers in 2019, proclaimed by the government as the Year of Tolerance.

Source: Arab News

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Syria, Russia forces kill 20 Daesh terrorists in 'special operation': Tass

17 October 2022

Russian and Syrian forces have reportedly killed at least 20 members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group during a "special operation" conducted in the south of the Arab country.

The operation took place in the town of Jasim in Syria's Dera'a Province, Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency reported, citing Deputy head of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria, Major General Oleg Yegorov as saying on Sunday.

The operation was performed by "Syrian forces supported by [Russian] aircraft," the report added.

The fatalities, it said, included four organizers of a terrorist attack that killed at least 19 Syrian government soldiers and wounded as many as 27 others on Thursday.

The terror attack targeted a bus carrying the forces near the Syrian capital of Damascus. According to the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), the attack saw the terrorists detonating an explosive device that had been attached to the vehicle.

Daesh invaded Syria in 2014, unleashing a campaign of bloodshed and destruction against the country.

The terror outfit overran huge swathes of the Syrian territory during lightning advances.

Syria's allies, Russia and Iran, however, rushed to the country's support, respectively providing the Syrian military with aerial backup and military advisory assistance.

The combined effort helped Damascus reverse the Takfiris' gains until the outfit was eventually defeated in late 2017.

Source: Press TV

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Some 100 terrorists killed as Russian warplanes hit their positions in NW Syria

17 October 2022

The Russian Defense Ministry says the country’s fighter jets have carried out airstrikes against the positions of foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorist outfits in the militant-held northwestern flank of Syria, killing dozens of terrorists in the process.

Deputy Chief of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria Major General Oleg Yegorov said the air attacks destroyed a training camp in addition to a command center for terrorists, their weapons depots and nearly 15 pickup trucks with heavy machine guns mounted on them.

Yegorov added that the aerial raids killed some 100 terrorists as Takfiri militants are engaged in fierce clashes in an area divided between Turkish-allied militants and members of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist group, as well as Levant Front and Sham Legion militants.

Separately, Russian and Syrian military forces conducted a special operation in the Arab country’s southern province of Daraa, killing 20 militants, including the architects of a terrorist attack last week.

Eighteen soldiers were killed and 27 others injured in a bomb attack on a military bus on the outskirts of the Syrian capital of Damascus early on October 13.

Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing a military source, reported that the blast was caused by an explosive device that had been previously affixed under the bus.

Russia has been providing Syrian forces with crucial military assistance in the ongoing battles across the conflict-plagued Arab country.

Source: Press TV

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Iraq’s Sadrist movement says will not take part in the next government: Report

15 October, 2022

Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s movement on Saturday announced its refusal to join a new government being formed by prime minister-designate Mohammad Shia al-Sudani.

The announcement came two days after lawmakers elected Abdul Latif Rashid as Iraq’s new president, and he swiftly named Sudani as prime minister in a bid to end a year of political gridlock since October 2021 elections.

“We stress our firm and clear refusal for any of our affiliates to participate... in this government formation,” Mohammed Saleh al-Iraqi, a close associate of al-Sadr, said in a statement posted on Twitter.

The 52-year-old Shia former minister Sudani has the backing of al-Sadr’s Iran-backed rivals, the Coordination Framework, which controls 138 out of 329 seats in the Iraqi legislature.

In June, al-Sadr had ordered the 73 lawmakers in his bloc to resign, leaving parliament in the hands of the Framework, which includes representatives of the former paramilitary Hashed al-Shaabi.

In his statement Saturday, Iraqi charged that the upcoming government has a “clear subordination to militias” and would “not meet the (Iraqi) people’s aspirations.”

He said the Sadrist movement refused to take part in any government led by Sudani “or any other candidate from among the old faces or those affiliated with the corrupt.”

“Anyone who joins their ministries does not represent us... rather, we disavow them,” Iraqi said.

Snap elections were held last year following nationwide protests that erupted in October 2019 to decry endemic corruption, decaying infrastructure and the absence of services and jobs for youth.

Al-Sadr, who has the ability to mobilize tens of thousands of his supporters with a single tweet, has repeatedly demanded early elections, while the Coordination Framework wants a new government in place before any polls are held.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Islamic State claims over 125 people killed in Syrian operations

Khaled al-Khateb

October 17, 2022

ALEPPO, Syria — In the weekly issue of the Islamic State's (IS) al-Nabaa newspaper on Oct. 7, IS announced that its cells carried out 59 military operations in the span of 68 days, from Aug. 1 through Oct. 5.

The operations caused the death of 103 members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and 19 soldiers of the Syrian government forces, according to al-Nabaa.

Deir ez-Zor province in eastern Syria had the largest share of IS operations in the past two months with 30 attacks, including shootings, explosive devices, ambushes and two car bombs, which caused the destruction of 34 military vehicles across the province, according to IS’ newspaper.

Zain al-Akaidi, a journalist based in the Kurdish-controlled Deir ez-Zor countryside, told Al-Monitor that “IS focused its attacks on Kurdish areas in the Deir ez-Zor countryside.”

“This is because of several reasons, mainly the weak security services of the Kurds and the rampant corruption and violations within Deir ez-Zor’s military council of the SDF headed by Ahmad al-Khabil,” he said.

“This is not to mention the widespread presence of IS cells in several locations in Deir ez-Zor, which is open to the Syrian desert. Also, IS operatives move around easily in the area as they are supported by local tribes that provide the group’s members with protection and support to keep targeting the SDF," Akaidi added.

IS' Oct. 7 announcement came in the aftermath of the killing of one of the group’s fighters in a US drone strike in the village of Hammam al-Turkman in northeast Syria on Oct. 10.

Earlier on Oct. 6, the US military announced the killing of three IS officials in separate operations in northeast Syria.

“The recent US-led coalition’s operations that targeted prominent IS leaders were meant to limit the group’s activities, but they didn't bring them to a halt. IS cells, notably in the Deir ez-Zor countryside, are capable of finding new replacements for their leaders who were considered the masterminds behind the group’s activities,” Akaidi said.

Anas Shawakh, a researcher at the Istanbul-based Jusoor Center for Studies, told Al-Monitor, “The announced number of attacks and operations bears several indications. IS is trying to convey a message that it has avenged its partisans in the al-Hol camp, which was [recently] subject to a security campaign launched by the SDF in cooperation with the US-led coalition.”

“IS also wants to say that the group is still strong and its cells continue to be active despite the killing of their leaders. It was also noted that the group used car bombs over the past two months, which is an indication of the ease and escalation of its activities, with its members moving easily and intensifying threats against the Kurdish forces,” Shawakh added.

Source: Al Monitor

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IMF and Egypt agree to finalize work to reach staff-level agreement ‘very soon’

16 October, 2022

Egypt has finalized a staff-level agreement with the international monetary fund (IMF) on the components of its program, and will issue an announcement “very soon,” the country’s finance minister said on Sunday.

“Very productive bilateral discussions were held with IMF staff on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank’s annual meetings in Washington, and significant progress was made across all policies,” Mohamed Maait said in a statement.

Egypt began talks with the IMF for a financial support package in March, soon after the Ukrainian crisis threw its already unsettled finances into further disarray and led foreign investors to pull nearly $20 billion out of Egyptian treasury markets in a matter of weeks.

It is hoping to stem a currency crisis that has restricted imports and sparked market unease over foreign debt repayments.

In its own parallel statement on Saturday, the IMF said it had agreed with Egyptian authorities to finalize work to reach a staff-level agreement “very soon.”

The policies discussed, according to the IMF statement, included monetary and exchange rate policies that “would enable Egypt to gradually and sustainably rebuild foreign reserves,” public debt reduction, social safety net expansion, and increasing competitiveness in the economy.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Arabia seeks to support stability, balance of global oil markets: King Salman

17 October, 2022

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz said that the Kingdom seeks to support the stability of global oil markets, in a wide-ranging speech on Monday.

“Our country is working hard within its energy strategy to support the stability and balance of global oil markets,” King Salman said, as reported by the Saudi Press Agency, “as petroleum is an important element in supporting the growth of the global economy.

OPEC+ members also issued statements early on Monday to support the King’s declaration, after the White House accused Saudi Arabia of coercing members into supporting the decision to cut oil production.

United Arab Emirates energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Twitter: “I would like to clarify that the latest OPEC+ decision, which was unanimously approved, was a pure technical decision, with NO political intentions whatsoever.”

Iraq’s oil marketer SOMO also published a statement saying: “There is complete consensus among OPEC+ countries that the best approach in dealing with the oil market conditions during the current period of uncertainty and lack of clarity is a pre-emptive approach that supports market stability and provides the guidance needed for the future.”

Kuwait Petroleum Corporation Chief Executive Officer Nawaf Saud al-Sabah welcomed the decision in a statement, state news agency KUNA reported.

Oman and Bahrain issued separate statements confirming that OPEC had unanimously agreed on the reduction, and Algeria’s energy minister called the decision “historic” and expressed his full confidence in it, Algeria’s Ennahar TV reported.

Saudi Arabia will continue to develop newly-discovered natural gas fields throughout the country, as well as targeting carbon neutrality and cutting emissions by 278 million tons annually by 2030, he added.

Speaking via video link to inaugurate the meeting of the Shura Council advisory body, King Salman also said that the Kingdom is a mediator for peace, highlighting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s initiative to release prisoners of war from Russia.

King Salman urged Iran to fulfil its nuclear commitments, and to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The King highlighted the rapid developments taking place in Saudi Arabia, noting that the country is moving into the second phase of Vision 2030 reforms that begun in 2016.

Projects of particular importance include the NEOM, AlUla, and Diriyah developments, which he said will improve the life of citizens while protecting Saudi heritage.

Other national priorities included the national investment strategy, financing for SMEs, the national artificial intelligence strategy, tourism development of the Asir region, and the recently-announced gaming strategy, he said.

Womens’ role in Saudi professional life has been “crystallized,” King Salman said, with many women taking on leadership roles in private and government institutions.

The Saudi King tackled a number of regional and international issues.

On Yemen, King Salman reiterated the Kingdom’s support to all efforts that can contribute to a permanent ceasefire and initiate a political process between the Yemeni government and the Iran-backed Houthi militia.

He also voiced the importance of ending the Houthis’ “provocative violations” in Yemen.

Regarding Lebanon, the King said it was important to implement comprehensive political and economic reforms that help the country overcome its crisis.

Source: Al Arabiya

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OPEC+ decision taken unanimously for ‘economic reasons’: Saudi defence minister

16 October, 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman said on Sunday that the decision by OPEC+ to cut oil output was taken unanimously and for “purely” economic reasons.

In a series of tweets, the Saudi defense minister expressed the Kingdom’s astonishments by the accusations that it is “standing with Russia” in its war with Ukraine, adding: “Iran is also a member of OPEC, does this mean that the Kingdom is standing with Iran as well?”

“It is telling that these false accusations did not come from the Ukrainian government,” he added.

Earlier in October, OPEC+, the producer group comprising the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) plus allies including Russia, announced its new production target after weeks of lobbying by US officials against such a move.

The decision, however, provoked accusations that the Kingdom was taking sides in international conflicts and that it was politically motivated against the US.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iraqi president meets Iran’s envoy to discuss bilateral ties


New Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid met Sunday with Iranian Ambassador Mohamad Kadhim al-Sadiq in the capital Baghdad.

The meeting dwelt on bilateral ties between Iraq and Iran and means of enhancing them, the state news agency INA reported.

The two sides also underlined the importance of strengthening joint cooperation and coordination between Baghdad and Tehran, INA said.

The Iranian envoy congratulated the Iraqi president on his election and underlined Tehran’s support for boosting Iraq’s security and stability, the broadcaster said.

Abdul Rashid was elected Iraq’s new president on Thursday by Iraqi lawmakers.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Tributes paid to British MP on anniversary of murder by Daesh sympathizer

October 15, 2022

LONDON: Tributes have been paid to Sir David Amess, the British Conservative MP murdered in his own constituency while meeting with members of the public, a year after his death.

Amess, a father of five and an MP for over four decades, was stabbed in the town of Leigh-on-Sea in the county of Essex on Oct. 15, 2021.

Ali Harbi Ali, a 26-year-old British supporter of Daesh, “showed no remorse or shame” as he was convicted of the murder and a separate offense of preparing acts of terrorism on April 13, 2022, and handed a rare whole-life sentence for a crime the presiding judge said “struck at the heart of democracy.”

Messages came from across the UK’s political divides, including from Prime Minister Liz Truss, her predecessor Boris Johnson — who said Sir David’s legacy “shines bright” — and the leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer.

Truss tweeted: “On the anniversary of Sir David Amess’ death, we cherish his memory and remember his enormous contribution to politics, to the people of Southend and to the country.

“My thoughts today are with his wife Julia, the Amess family and to all those who knew and loved him.”

Johnson tweeted: “On this sad anniversary of the death of Sir David Amess we remember the many good things he stood for: Campaigns for animal welfare, city status for Southend and independence for a sovereign parliamentary democracy.”

Sir Keir tweeted: “Remembering our friend & colleague David Amess, on the 1st anniversary of his senseless death.

“David’s commitment to public service, carried out with inherent, consistent kindness, will forever be admired. Thinking of his wife & children, hoping memories of him bring comfort.”

Priti Patel MP, home secretary at the time of Sir David’s murder, said: “A year ago today, Sir David Amess, my dear friend, was murdered. David was an outstanding public servant full of kindness, energy and integrity. He was killed serving the public in a senseless attack on democracy.”

Brendan Cox, husband of Labour MP Jo Cox, who was shot and killed by a far-right gunman in 2016 while meeting constituents, paid his own tribute to Sir David.

Cox tweeted: “A year ago David Amess was killed while trying to help his constituents. So much has happened in our politics since but for his family it will feel like yesterday.

“The grief, pain and shock will still be overwhelming. They deserve all of the support and kindness that we can give.”

Sir David’s home town of Southend in Essex was made a city in tribute to the late MP in October 2021, and he was posthumously named its first freeman in March this year.

Source: Arab News

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Terrorist attack at Russian army base leaves 11 dead, 15 injured

16 October 2022

A terrorist attack on a training range in Russia's Belgorod Region bordering Ukraine has left at least 11 people dead and 15 others injured.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that the attack was a “terrorist act”.

Two terrorists who carried out the attack were killed on the spot in retaliatory fire, the Defense Ministry noted.

According to RIA Novosti, the two attackers opened fire at a group of volunteer forces during training at a firing range. The Ministry has yet to confirm this information.

The news of the attack comes amid a partial mobilization ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 21.

Earlier this week, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that over 200,000 reservists had been called to arms as part of the process, with most of them still undergoing training. The top military commander added that the fresh forces that had been mobilized were being trained at "80 training grounds and six training centers".

The attack follows the “terrorist act” on the Crimean Bridge last week. Putin on Sunday put the blame for the huge blast that targeted the bridge connecting Russia to the Crimean Peninsula squarely on Ukraine.

"There is no doubt this is a terrorist act aimed at destroying critical Russian civilian infrastructure," Putin said at a meeting with the head of an investigation committee which is looking into the incident, adding that, "The authors, perpetrators, and sponsors are the Ukrainian secret services."

After the attack, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted that the bombing was just “the beginning.”

Russia launched a "special military operation" in Ukraine in late February with the objective of liberating the eastern Ukrainian region consisting of the pro-Russia self-proclaimed republics of Luhansk and Donetsk, as well as Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

In 2014, Crimea also broke away from Ukraine.

In a referendum, 97 percent of voters favored joining the Russian state, refusing to recognize the Western-backed Ukrainian government there that had overthrown a democratically-elected Russia-friendly administration.

Last year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had himself suggested holding a referendum on the future status of eastern Ukraine as a way to resolve the conflict and restore the stalled peace efforts to end the hostilities with neighboring Russia.

Source: Press TV

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EU foreign policy chief Borrell expects no progress in Iran nuclear talks for now

17 October, 2022

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday he currently did not expect progress in negotiations over reviving a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

“I don’t expect any move, that’s a pity because we were very, very close,” Borrell told reporters on arriving to a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday, noting that international talks with Tehran had been stalled for the last weeks.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Bihar: Muslim Students Appearing For Exams Asked To Take Off Hijab

16th October 2022

Muzaffarpur: A college student in this north Bihar town alleged that objectionable remarks were made against her by a male teacher who got annoyed when she refused to take off her head-scarf (hijab) during an exam on Sunday.

The incident took place at the Mahant Darshan Das Mahila College, better known by its abbreviation “MDDM”, situated in the town’s Mithanpura locality where intermediate students turned up for their sent up tests.

Students who clear sent up tests will be eligible to appear for the final examination.

College Principal Dr Kanu Priya said, “She was not prevented from wearing the hijab. She was only asked to reveal her ears since there were apprehensions that she might be carrying a Bluetooth device.

The Station House Officer of the local Mithanpura police station, Shrikant Sinha, said the dispute arose when the tests had just begun.

“Both sides were counselled by us and the exams were conducted peacefully. At present, lodging a case or deployment of additional forces in the area is not warranted. But we will keep a watch,” the SHO said.

The principal said, “Hijab was not an issue at all. Many students were carrying mobile phones, which was against norms. The girl in question was among those who were asked to leave their handsets outside the exam hall”.

The girl was only asked to reveal her ears as the teacher, who was one of the invigilators, needed to check if she was carrying any Bluetooth device, the principal said.

“If the girl had a problem with that, she could have informed the examination controller or me. But she had other intentions. She rang up the local police station and also some local anti-social elements she seemed to be knowing. When they arrived, she created a ruckus,” alleged the principal.

“She claimed that the teacher had called her an anti-national and taunted her with the remark that she should go to Pakistan. I was not at the examination hall at the time but other girls appearing for the tests have said it was a lie,” said the principal.

The college principal also claimed that it appears from records that the girl’s attendance has been very poor.

“The education department has issued instructions that no student with less than 75 per cent attendance be allowed to sit for the final exams. The girl might have acted under the impression that this will browbeat the college administration and force it to be lenient in her case,” Dr Kanu Priya said.

Wearing hijab in educational institutions was a major issue in Karnataka and the matter had reached the Supreme Court.

Source: Siasat Daily

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AIMIM UP Chief Stokes Row, Says Those Who Threaten Muslims 'Marry One, Keep Three Mistresses'

October 17, 2022

New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh state unit chief of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) Shaukat Ali has stoked controversy with his provocative speech made at an event in Sambhal on Saturday, October 15, where he said “those who threaten Muslims” marry one woman but keep several mistresses and produce illegitimate children with them.

He has been booked by the Uttar Pradesh Police for allegedly disturbing communal harmony. The video of his speech has now gone viral, drawing ire from various sections.

“When BJP [Bhartiya Janata Party] starts losing ground, they go after Muslims…They say Muslims have more children; sometimes they said we marry twice. Yes, it’s true that we marry twice but give respect to both wives, but you marry one and keep three mistresses and no one gets to know. You give respect to none of them,” he can be heard saying in the video.

Apparently, the “you”, he referred to in his speech, was obliquely aimed at the members of the Hindu community. However, Ali denied that he was referring to any community in particular, including the Hindu community.

“Even if we marry two women, we give equal respect to them, some people marry once but have three wives outside and hide them from society. I was only talking about such men, I didn’t mention ‘Hindu’, my intention was not to hurt the sentiments of any community,” news agency ANI quoted him saying, a day after his speech stoked controversy.

In Saturday’s speech, the AIMIM leader also referred to Mughal emperor Akbar’s marriage to Rajput princess Jodha Bai saying “we [Muslims] uplifted your people along with us” but now you are threatening us.

Ali also called those who threaten Muslims “worms and insects” who used to bow before Mughal emperors.

“You are threatening us? We have ruled worms and insects like you for 832 years, and you used to do ‘Ji Huzoor‘ with your hands folded at the back, and now you are threatening us,” he can be heard saying in the video.

“Who is more secular than us? Akbar married Jodha Bai. We are uplifting your people too along with us. But you have a problem. One sadhu [Hindu saint] says Muslims should be butchered. Why? Are we like carrots, radishes, onions?” he added. He challenged the “sadhu” that if he gets to see an angry Muslim’s face alone, his bowel movements would stop.

According to ANI, Sambhal superintendent of police Chakresh Mishra said that a complaint was filed against Ali “for his alleged disrespectful, derogatory statement against Hindu Community in a viral video”. He said cases were registered under Sections 153A (promoting enmity), 295A (outraging reli­gious feelings), and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code and further investigations were underway.

Ali’s controversial comments close on the heels of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remarks made during his Dusshera annual speech where he had spoken of “religion-based population imbalance”.

“Along with population control, population balance on a religious basis is also a matter of importance which cannot be ignored,” he had said, indirectly targeting the Muslim community.

His comments were in line with the worn-out trope that RSS and its political front BJP have long advanced to hold the largest religious minority group in the country – the Muslims – responsible for population growth.

Source: The Wire

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BJP true well-wisher of Muslims, so-called secular parties used them as vote bank: UP deputy CM

Oct 17, 2022

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak on Sunday claimed that the BJP was a true well-wisher of the Muslim community.

In a meeting hosted by the BJP for Pasmanda Muslims, the deputy CM accused the secularists of using Muslims as a mere vote bank and turning a blind eye to the community’s rights.

"Muslims were only used as a vote bank by so-called secular parties. These parties came to power by capturing Muslim votes, but they were never granted their rights. This is why Muslims are so backward nowadays," stressed the BJP leader.

In the assertion made by the deputy CM, he said the BJP is a "true well-wisher" of Muslims and was making significant efforts to bring them into the mainstream.

"For this, the government is running a number of schemes that benefit Muslim society," stressed Brajesh Pathak.

"No other party has ever been as concerned about the education, security, and advancement of Muslims as the BJP," stated the state’s Minority Welfare Minster, Danish Azad Ansari.

Source: India Today

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Mahanga Muslims community celebrate Naveen’s birthday with gift of life in Odisha

17th October 2022

CUTTACK: The Muslim community of Mahanga celebrated the 76th birthday of Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president Naveen Patnaik by organising a mega blood donation camp at Sukarpada on Sunday.

Over 1,000 people in the community including 34 women came forward to donate blood at the camp.

Around 256 units of blood were collected at the camp, organised under BJD’s ‘Jeevan Bindu’ initiative. The programme was organised under the guidance of former Minister and Mahanga MLA Pratap Jena.

“The camp was organised with an aim to fulfil the noble objective of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to make blood accessible to all free of cost,” said Jena.

Earlier, members of the community prayed with the recital of ‘ayat’ of the Holy Quran by Maulana Mohammad Fayazuddin to seek Naveen’s long life. Following the prayer, cakes were cut and the camp was held.

“We are happy to donate blood on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s birthday. Our Chief Minister has always showered his love and affection on us. We pray before Allah to grant him long life and good health,” said local Muslim community leader Mirza Abdul Baig.

Presiding over a meeting, Maulana Abdul Wadood Khan hailed Naveen for his unending support to the minority community. The BJD supremo has always held secular beliefs and sought to ensure religious equality in the State. The philanthropic gesture was a reciprocation of the Muslim community’s love, support and admiration towards Naveen.

The Chief Minister, in 2020, had sanctioned funds, which are being utilised for the creation of pilgrim amenities and community halls in various mosques across the State. As many as 800 pilgrims go for Haj from Odisha every year under a programme that provides Rs 10,000 as financial assistance to purchase Haj kits.

Source: New Indian Express

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Hamas: Israeli plans to Judaize, divide al-Aqsa Mosque will be foiled

16 October 2022

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has censured attempts by the Israeli regime to Judaize and divide al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Old City of al-Quds, saying that Palestinians will continue defending their territories until there will be no place for the occupiers.

Abdul-Latif al-Qanou, a spokesman for the Gaza Strip-based resistance group, said in a press statement on Sunday that the escalating Israeli raids into al-Aqsa Mosque and the regime’s desperate attempts to tighten the grip on the holy site required continued Palestinian presence in al-Aqsa’s courtyards.

“The Zionist occupation continues its aggression and mobilizes its forces and police to storm al-Aqsa Mosque and attempts to extend control,” Qanou said.

“The Israeli plans to Judaize and divide al-Aqsa Mosque will be foiled,” he said, adding that such violations could lead to a “religious war” in the region.

The Hamas spokesman also said that the Israeli settlers’ intrusions into al-Aqsa Mosque, facilitated by tight protection of Israeli forces during the Jewish holidays while closed to Muslim worshipers, heralded bad omens that the occupying regime would be responsible for.

Last month, Hamas severely censured the Israeli regime and extremist Jewish settlers for their unrelenting violations at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, saying such acts of desecration could lead to an uncontrollable explosion of Muslim nations’ wrath.

Israeli right-wing groups called at the time for the storming of the site so as to increase Jewish presence there as Jews celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

The extremist right-wing groups have openly called for turning al-Aqsa into a Jewish worship area and tearing down the Islamic shrines in order to build a Jewish temple on the location.

Hardline Israeli legislators and settlers regularly storm the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied city, a provocative move that infuriates Palestinians. Such mass settler break-ins almost always take place at the behest of Tel Aviv-backed temple groups and under the auspices of the Israeli police in al-Quds.

Source: Press TV

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Tehran Denounces Washington Opportunistic Attitude towards Iran's Unrest


“Given the fact President Joe Biden neither does enjoy trusted advisers nor a good memory, I remind him that Iran is so strong and steadfast that it would not give in to his cruel sanctions and idle threats," Kana'ani said in a post on his Instagram account on Sunday.

"It is also so proud that would be unfazed by the interventions and exclamations of a politician tired of years of futile campaign against Iran,” the senior diplomat added.

Biden has said he was surprised by the courage of the people taking to the streets in Iran. He added that the United States stands with Iranians. The American leader had noted that the United States will impose further costs on "Iranian officials responsible for violence against demonstrators who protested against Iran's government after the death of Mahsa Amini".

Kana'ani highlighted that "neither Biden’s comments nor Washington’s meddlesome gestures will not surprise Tehran" as "intervention, aggression and killing form the backbone of the US political system".

“Since the 1953 coup d'état up until today, the anti-Iranian policies of the US administration have been well recorded in our minds. And of course, the history and every part of the world would testify the wounds that America's crimes and violence have inflicted,” the spokesperson pointed out.

“You (Americans) are accustomed to fishing in troubled waters,” the official noted.

Protests erupted in several cities across Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who fainted at a police station in mid-September and days later was pronounced dead at a hospital. The demonstrations soon turned violent. A special committee has been established to investigate different aspects of her tragic death.

Last week, Kana'ani slammed Biden for his meddling remarks over the recent unrest in Iran, and advised the POTUS to ponder about human rights record of his own country.

"For years people of the world have been and are witnessing the true and unmasked face of American human rights in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria and … and even on the US soil," Kana'ani wrote on his Instagram page.

"It would have been better if Mr. Joe Biden, before making humanitarian gestures, would have thought about the human rights record of his own country, though hypocrisy needs no thinking," the diplomat said.

"It would have been better for the US president to be concerned about the numerous– and as acknowledged by the US government, unprecedented and paralyzing – sanctions against the Iranian nation, as their implementation against any nation is a clear example of crimes against humanity," the spokesperson added.

Iranian officials blame Western countries for orchestrating the riots to destabilize the country.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei severely censured the deadly riots, saying they were orchestrated in advance by the United States and the Israeli regime.

“I state it clearly that these developments were planned by America, the Zionist regime and their acolytes. Their main problem is with a strong and independent Iran and the country’s progress. The Iranian nation proved to be fairly strong during recent events and will bravely come onto the scene wherever necessary in the future,” he added.

In recent days, Iranian officials have blamed the United States, the European Unions (EU), and several Western states for meddling in Iran's internal affairs over the death of Mahsa. They advised the US and its allies against "opportunism and instrumentalization of the issue of human rights" by misusing the incident.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran’s Evin prison fire death toll rises to eight: Judiciary

17 October, 2022

Iran’s judiciary authority said Monday that eight prisoners were killed in a fire that raged amid unrest inside Tehran’s Evin prison, doubling the previously reported death toll.

The blaze Saturday night, which Iran said broke out amid “riots and clashes,” came after four weeks of protests over the death of 22-year-old Masha Amini, following her arrest for allegedly violating Iran's strict dress code for women.

The wave of demonstrations has turned into a major anti-government movement in the Islamic Republic, confronting its clerical leadership with one of its biggest challenges since the ousting of the shah in 1979.

After four Evin prison inmates injured in the fire died in hospital, “the total number of victims of the fire and the clash between prisoners has reached eight,” said the judiciary’s Mizan Online website.

Gunshots and explosions were heard during the blaze from inside the complex, illuminated by flames and smothered by smoke, in video footage posted on social media channels.

Prisoners’ relatives and rights groups have voiced grave fears for other inmates and said authorities had used tear gas at the facility.

Evin, infamous for the ill-treatment of political prisoners, also holds foreign detainees and thousands facing criminal charges.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran Carries Out Initial Tests of Bavar 373 Missile System at Range of 300km


Addressing a military academy in the capital Tehran on Sunday, Sabahifard said Iran’s Air Defense Force is equipped with indigenous radar systems that can monitor the movements of enemies even in their homes within a span of thousands of kilometers.

Iran has upgraded Bavar 373 missile defense system, initially unveiled in August 2019 with a range of 200 kilometers, proportional to threats, the senior commander stated.

“Today, we have created the necessary defense cover in all levels and layers of the air. We have tested the Bavar 373 system up to a range of 200 kilometers for high altitudes, and we have started conducting the initial tests of the system at a range of 300 kilometers,” he noted.

The top commander noted the enemies do not dare attack Iran because they are aware of the Islamic Republic’s deterrence power.

Sabahifard added Iran’s air defense in the field of radar, aerial, forestry, intelligence, interception and combat equipment is on a par with most state-of-the-art equipment in the world.

Iran unveiled the state-of-the-art surface-to-air Bavar 373 missile defense system, designed and manufactured by the country's experts, in August 2019.

It is a mobile missile defense system designed to intercept and destroy incoming hostile targets. The system employs missiles that have a maximum range of 300 kilometers. The system is capable of simultaneously detecting up to 300 targets, tracking 60 targets at once and engaging six targets at a time.

Iranina military officials say the Bavar 373 missile defense system is one of the most important defense achievements of the country after the victory of the Islamic Revolution.

Military officials say the military power of Iran is strong, extraordinary and deterrent despite enemy sanctions and pressures, and hail the country's defense sector for its remarkable developments in the recent decades. They stress the Iranian Armed Forces’ deterrent power dissuades the United States and Israel from implementing its threats against the country.

The Islamic Republic’s military doctrine holds that the country’s armed capability solely serves defensive purposes.

Iranian military experts and technicians have in recent years made substantial headway in manufacturing a broad range of indigenous equipment, making the armed forces self-sufficient in the weaponry sphere.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran Calls on Iraq's Kurdistan to Counter Terror Groups


The Secretary of the Supreme Security Council of Iraq Qasim Al-Araji, who is visiting Tehran at the dead of a high-ranking security delegation, met with  Amir Abdollahian on Saturday evening.

During the meeting, the Iranian foreign minister pointed to the expanding relations between Tehran and Baghdad in all fields, and emphasized on the cooperation of the two countries in the field of security, including the need to deal with armed terrorists from the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

Amir Abdollahian stressed that the relations between the two countries are strategic and privileged, adding, “We consider the security of Iraq as the security of Iran.”

“Considering the good relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Iraq, we do not expect the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to be a haven for terrorist acts and a threat against Iran,” the senior diplomat noted.

The foreign minister demanded that Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq take full responsibility for dealing with terrorist groups and the apartheid in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq from its source.

“We have always wanted a prosperous, free and independent Iraq and we want nothing but good for the Iraqi government and nation, but we will not tolerate the continued armed presence of terrorists in the Kurdistan region and their actions against Iran’s security,” Iran's foreign minister stated.

For his part, the secretary of the Iraqi security council noted that “the Iraqi constitution does not allow the activities of people and movements that threaten the neighbors".

Araji assured that any anti-security measure against Iran will be met with an action by the central government and the regional Kurdish government, and that Iraq considers Iran’s security as its own.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has in recent days launched a series of aerial raids on the positions of Iraqi Kurdistan-based terrorist groups.

The operation came after the illegal entry of armed teams linked with the Kurdish terrorist groups into the Iranian border cities in recent weeks.

The IRGC Ground Force has announced that that the operations against terror bases will continue until all anti-Iran separatist and terrorist outfits holed up in the rugged mountainous area lay down their arms and surrender.

The Iranian Armed Forces, specially the IRGC, have repeatedly warned that they will never tolerate the presence and activity of terrorist groups along the Northwestern border and will give strong and decisive responses in case of anti-security activities.

The IRGC has on countless occasions attacked and destroyed terrorist hideouts in the Kurdistan region with artillery fire, missiles and drones.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Family of Palestinian who died in Israeli detention rejects compensation

16 October 2022

The family of an elderly Palestinian-American man, Omar Abdalmajeed As’ad, who died after being forcibly detained, blindfolded and handcuffed by Israeli soldiers, has vehemently rejected a claim from Israeli authorities that the parties have reached a compensation settlement.

Nawwaf As’ad, Omar’s brother, strongly denounced Israeli reports that the family had accepted financial compensation in exchange for closing the lawsuit, the Palestinian official Wafa news agency reported.

As’ad stressed that he had instructed the family’s lawyer to continue the legal procedures until the perpetrators are held to account for their crime.

He further said that the family would continue the legal procedures in courts.

“We will not give up the case for any reason. The death of my brother Omar cannot be compensated with money. His wife and children miss him and his grandchildren are still calling for him and looking for him at home.”

An autopsy carried out on the body of the Palestinian-American elderly showed that he had died of a stress-induced heart attack caused by the circumstances of his detention, with signs of bruises and abrasions on his body and head.

As’ad died in January after he was stopped at a checkpoint on his way home to Jalaliya in the occupied West Bank and “resisted a check,” according to an Israeli statement, and was then handcuffed, gagged and blindfolded for between 20 minutes and an hour.

In interviews, several witnesses who were detained by the unit at the same time said As’ad had clearly lost consciousness and stopped breathing, but the Israeli soldiers left without checking his well-being, despite the fact that a military medic was nearby.

The high-profile case attracted significant international attention and calls from US legislators for a thorough investigation.

Criminal prosecutions against Israeli soldiers who harm Palestinians are extremely rare.

Senior Israeli authorities have been encouraging troops to kill Palestinians they suspect of attacking Israelis even when they are no longer a threat.

Human rights groups have documented a large number of cases of Israeli soldiers gunning down peaceful Palestinian protesters across the occupied territories.

Palestinians say that such cases must be taken to international courts and that Israelis must be held accountable for their atrocities.

Source: Press TV

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Pakistan likely to exit FATF ‘grey list’ this week

Khaleeq Kiani

October 17, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is expected to finally exit the ‘increased monitoring list’ — commonly known as grey list — of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Oct 21, after languishing in the infamous category for almost 52 months.

“The first FATF Plenary under the two-year Singapore Presidency of T. Raja Kumar will take place on October 20-21, 2022,” said the Paris-based global watchdog on dirty money. Delegates representing 206 members of the Global Network and observer organisations, including the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the World Bank, Interpol and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, will participate in the Working Group and Plenary meetings in Paris, it added.

On the conclusion of the two-day deliberations, decisions of the plenary would be announced.

The plenary will also focus on jurisdictions identified as presenting a risk to the international financial system, with an update to public statements that identify jurisdictions as high risk or being subject to increased monitoring besides other key issues, including guidance on improving beneficial ownership transparency to prevent shell companies and other opaque structures from being used to launder illicit funds.

Pakistan was included among jurisdictions under increased monitoring list in June 2018 for deficiencies in its legal, financial, regulatory, investigations, prosecution, judicial and non-government sector to fight money laundering and combat terror financing considered serious threat to global financial system.

Much-awaited decision to be announced after two-day deliberations in Paris

Islamabad made high-level political commitments to address these deficiencies under a 27-point action plan. But later the number of action points was enhanced to 34. The country had since been vigorously working with FATF and its affiliates to strengthen its legal and financial systems against money laundering and terror financing to meet international standards in line with 40-recommendations of the FATF.

A 15-member joint delegation of the FATF and its Sydney-based regional affiliate — Asia Pacific Group — paid an onsite visit to Pakistan from Aug 29 to Sept 2 to verify the country’s compliance with the 34-point action plan committed with the FATF.

The authorities that had kept the countrywide visit of the delegation low profile later termed it “a smooth and successful visit”. The delegation had detailed discussions with relevant agencies pursuant to the authorisation of Onsite Visit by FATF Plenary in June 2022. According to the Foreign Office, the focus of the visit was to validate on ground Pakistan’s high-level commitment and sustainability of reforms in AML/CFT regime and [it] looked forward to logical conclusion to the evaluation process. The report of FATF Onsite team will be discussed in FATF’s International Cooperation Review Group and plenary meetings.

Pakistan believed that as a result of strenuous and consistent efforts over the past four years, it has not only achieved a high degree of technical compliance with FATF standards but also ensured high level of effectiveness through implementation of two comprehensive FATF action plans.

In June this year, FATF had found Pakistan “compliant or largely compliant” on all the 34 points and had decided to field an onsite mission to verify it on ground before formally announcing the country’s exit from the grey list that finally took place in August and September.

In terms of technical compliance with FATF standards, Pakistan has been rated by APG as “compliant or largely compliant” in 38 out of 40 FATF recommendations in August this year, which placed the country among the top compliant countries in the world.

Source: Dawn

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TLP chief, stick-wielding supporters enter Haripur despite ban on rallies

Muhammad Sadaqat

October 17, 2022

HARIPUR: Despite ban on processions and gatherings in the limits of Haripur for 15 days, a defiant Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Allama Saad Rizvi entered the district from Jhari Kass area with thousands of his stick-wielding supporters on Sunday, and continued journey undeterred towards Havelian, where the firebrand leader was scheduled to address an Eid Miladun Nabi procession in the evening.

Mr Rizvi stopped briefly at Sidiq-i-Akbar Chowk, asking workers to chant with him the party slogans. Instead of making a planned address in Haripur, he left for Havelian on a container surrounded by club-wielding supporters.

The procession was still on the way to Havelian when this report was filed though the distance between the two cities is barely a 20-minute drive.

According to TLP local leadership, the participants of the rally, including those coming from other parts of the country, were beyond 30,000, but an official source put the number at no more than 6,000 to 7,000.

Saad Rizvi likely to address rally in Havelian

“We allowed them to enter and cross the urban limits of Haripur peacefully as we avoided taking action fearing loss of property as hundreds of Rizvi’s followers were wielding clubs,” said a police officer.

Meanwhile, the administration had blocked all entry and exit points on the Hazara Motorway and the GT Road by placing containers on Saturday night, and deployed 1,600 riot police. Two companies of Frontier Corps sent in aid of the civil administration remained alert for quelling any unrest.

The passengers and motorists travelling in or out of the district using GT Road and motorway faced problems. The mobile service remained suspended throughout the day. However, internet service was functional but with poor signals. The traders on both sides of GT road kept their business shut.

THREE KILLED: Three persons, including two minor boys, were killed in different incidents in the Haripur city, police said on Sunday.

A young woman, 20, allegedly committed suicide by shooting herself with a pistol in the chest inside her room in Khalabat Township on Saturday night, the police said, quoting the victim’s father.

The man told the police his daughter ended her life as the family was mired in abject poverty.

Source: Dawn

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Five ‘terrorists’ killed in Splinji operation

October 17, 2022

QUETTA: Nearly half a dozen suspected terrorists were killed and three security personnel sustained injuries in a gun battle during an intelligence-based operation in Splinji in Mastung district, on Sunday.

“The suspect terrorists were planning to attack pilgrims and security forces,” claimed a spokesman for the counter-terrorism department of police, adding that heavy consignment of arms and ammunition was seized during the search of their hideouts.

The exchange of fire, which continued till late night, took place in the same area where a roadside bomb explosion had recently claimed several lives.

The CTD spokesman explained that personnel of CTD and another law enforcement agency conducted intelligence-based operation in the Qabu area of Splinji Mountains and cordoned off the hideouts of terrorists. However, the armed militants opened fire triggering an exchange of fire, which continued for several hours. Besides gunfire, explosions were also heard during the operation.

Source: Dawn

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6 Out Of 8: Imran Khan Wins Majority of Seats in Pakistan’s By-Elections

Oct 17, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan won the majority of seats in byelections on Sunday, building momentum in his campaign to pressure the six-month-old government into calling an early national vote.

Khan contested seven of the eight seats and has won six, according to Election Commission of Pakistan data with all the votes counted. The Pakistan Peoples Party, a member of the ruling coalition, took the other two seats.

While the ex-leader will have to resign from all but one of the seats he won -- and elections will have to happen again -- the victory suggests voters in the nation of more than 220 million people support his political narrative. The former cricket star, who was ousted from power through a no-confidence vote in April, has been holding rallies across Pakistan that are attracting large crowds to seek early elections.

“I ask the government and the establishment to respect the will of the masses and immediately announce fresh elections in the country,” Fawad Chaudhry, a senior leader of Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, said in a tweet. “We are ready to discuss the election framework with the government”.

The political drama comes as Shehbaz Sharif’s government grapples with economic distress. Moody’s downgraded the nation’s credit rating and Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have dipped to the lowest levels in three years. Devastating floods earlier this year have also added to the crisis.

The vote is taking place after all 131 lawmakers from Khan’s party resigned from parliament’s lower house in April following the change in government. Elections for those seats are being held in phases. While a sweeping win will embolden Khan and his supporters, his current spate of legal woes may put a brake on his political ambitions.

The Election Commission has said Khan’s party received illegal foreign funds from the US, Australia and the United Arab Emirates. The PTI party has denied the charge and is appealing the order.

Any decision on what punishment the party faces if it loses its appeal rests with the Supreme Court. It could face a ban on contesting elections.

Pakistan’s top investigative agency has also filed a complaint against Khan for receiving funds illegally in his party’s accounts from the now-defunct Dubai-based Abraaj Group founder Arif Naqvi, the Dawn newspaper has reported. Khan has had to get preemptive bail in two of the cases.

Source: Times Of India

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Pakistan summons US envoy for demarche over Joe Biden’s nukes remarks

Oct 16, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan reacted strongly on Saturday to US President Joe Biden’s remarks that Pakistan was among the most dangerous nations in the world when it came to the safety of its nuclear weapons and summoned US ambassador to Islamabad Donald Blome to issue him an official demarche.

Hours after Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari spoke in detail on the issue, prime minister Shehbaz Sharif hit back at Biden, saying Pakistan had proven to be a “most responsible nuclear state” over the past decades and that its nuclear programme was managed through a “technically sound and foolproof command and control system”. A statement from the PMO described Biden’s comments as “factually incorrect and misleading”.

“Pakistan has also consistently demonstrated responsible stewardship of its nuclear-weapons capability, marked by a very strong commitment to global standards, including those of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) on non-proliferation, safety, and security,” Sharif said.

According to the PM, the real threat to international peace and security was posed by “ultra-nationalism, violation of human rights in regions that are struggling against illegal occupation, violation of global norms by some states, repeated nuclear security incidents, the arms race among leading nuclear weapon states, and introduction of new security constructs that disturb the regional balance”.

Earlier, Bilawal said at a press conference in Karachi that Pakistan’s nuclear assets “meet each and every international standard in accordance with the IAEA as far as security and safety of the country's nuclear programme is concerned. The minister pointed out India’s accidental firing of a missile into Pakistan on March 9. If there was any question as to nuclear safety and security then those questions, the minister said, should be directed to India, who had very recently, accidentally, fired a missile into Pakistani territory. “That is not only irresponsible, that is not only unsafe, but raises genuine concerns about the safety of nuclear-capable countries,” the minister said.

On Islamabad’s position on Ukraine, Bilawal explained that the country had abstained from voting on a UNGA resolution earlier this week, which called on countries not to recognise the four regions of Ukraine that Russia claims through referendums held under its occupation, because the resolution contained language from other resolutions on which Pakistan had abstained from voting in the past.

Bilawal said that he was looking forward to seeing similar concern about what he claimed was India’s action to “annex” Kashmir, which, according to him, was a “complete violation of international law and relevant UN resolutions”.

Source: Times Of India

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South Asia


Ex-Leaders in Virtual Meeting Not Acceptable to Afghans: Islamic Emirate

October 17, 2022

The Islamic Emirate in reaction to a recent Zoom meeting of former Afghan politicians said that the participants of the meeting are not legitimate.

The deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate, Bilal Karimi, also called on Afghans abroad to return to the country.

Some Afghan politicians, former government officials and Afghan civil rights activists held a virtual meeting, in which they called for a national dialogue.

“The Islamic Emirate has established a commission to facilitate the return of the people who are out of the country. They can live in calmness in their country,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.

The number of participants in the meeting was more than 200.

Former Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar believes that three points mentioned in the Doha agreement have not been fulfilled, one of which was the intra-Afghan dialogues.

“There should be an intra-Afghan dialogue and through intra-Afghan dialogue a political consensus and a political agreement may be formed,” he said.

This comes as some of the Kabul residents called on the participants of the meeting to come to Afghanistan and resolve their problems with the Islamic Emirate.

Political analysts gave various opinions in this regard.

Source: Tolo News

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New UNAMA Chief Meets with Senior Islamic Emirate Officials, Discusses Importance Of Girls’ Education

October 17, 2022

The new head of UNAMA in Afghanistan, Roza Otunbayeva, met with several Islamic Emirate officials to discuss a range of issues including political and security issues, opening up employment and educational opportunities for women, and establishing a large consultative council, the officials said.

Amir Khan Muttaqi, acting minister of Foreign Affairs, in a meeting with Ms. Roza Otunbayeva, asked her to inform the world of the facts within the scope of her responsibility.

The meeting covered bilateral cooperation, economic initiatives, security issues, and education, according to the spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that now is the time for Afghanistan and the world to come closer together and understand each other's priorities, conditions, and requests, and UNAMA can achieve this well," said Zia Ahmad Takal, deputy spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.

The head of UNAMA in Afghanistan has said that both sides should cooperate to address basic issues in Afghanistan.

Political analysts consider UNAMA's role in various sectors, especially the recognition of the current government, to be important.

"UNAMA can convince the world on the question of recognizing Afghanistan if the Taliban's strategy is such that it can satisfy UNAMA in the first step," said Aziz Marij, a former diplomat.

“The Islamic Emirate should provide full and direct cooperation with UNAMA leadership about the search for the truth,” said Yosuf Amin Zazai, political analyst.

In September, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Roza Otunbayeva of Kyrgyzstan as his new Special Representative for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Otunbayeva succeeds Deborah Lyons of Canada.

Ms. Otunbayeva brings to the position over 35 years of professional experience in leadership, diplomacy, civic engagement, and international cooperation. She served as the president of the Kyrgyzstan, as well as in other roles.

Source: Tolo News

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Two Rohingya community leaders killed in Bangladesh

Oct 16, 2022

COX'S BAZAR: A mob of a dozen people hacked to death two Rohingya community leaders in Bangladesh, police said Sunday, as security worsens in camps housing almost a million refugees.

Bangladesh has been housing Rohingya refugees in a vast sprawl of camps since they fled a military crackdown in Myanmar in 2017 that is now the subject of a genocide investigation at the UN's top court.

The squalid settlements have seen escalating violence in recent months, with gangs trying to assert control over drug trafficking and intimidate the refugees' civilian leadership through killings and abductions.

Police spokesman Faruk Ahmed said two Rohingya camp leaders were killed late on Saturday at Camp 13, calling it one of the worst attacks in recent months.

"More than a dozen Rohingya miscreants hacked Maulvi Mohammad Yunus, 38, who is the head majhi of Camp 13. They also killed Mohammad Anwar, 38, another majhi. Yunus died on the spot and Amwar died at a hospital," he said.

"Majhi" is a term for a Rohingya camp leader.

A senior officer of an elite police unit tasked with security in the camps blamed the killings on the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an insurgent group fighting the military in Myanmar.

"These are targeted killings by ARSA. The internal clashes in Myanmar are impacting the security situation in the camps," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information.

Gangs have long fought turf wars for control of the drug trade, centred on yaba methamphetamine pills, but the police chief of the Bangladeshi district of Cox's Bazar said there was an escalation taking place.

"In the last three months alone, at least 14 Rohingyas were murdered in the camps. The number of murders in the camp has increased compared to last year," Mahfuzul Islam told AFP.

A Rohingya community leader and a nephew of one of those killed on Saturday also blamed ARSA for the murders.

"ARSA killed my uncle last night. My uncle used to tell them not to deal in drugs. He would supervise voluntarily patrolling in the camps. They killed my uncle," the nephew said, asking to remain anonymous out of fears for his safety.

ARSA has not publicly commented on Saturday's killings.

Several of its members earlier this year were charged over the murder of top Rohingya leader Mohib Ullah in September last year. ARSA has denied its involvement.

Source: Times Of India

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Taliban Prevents Bulk Cash Smuggling from Afghanistan to Iran

By Saqalain Eqbal

16 Oct 2022

Taliban Ministry of Defense announced that the Taliban forces in the Islam Qala border crossing in the Islam Qala district of the northwestern Afghan province of Herat have prevented a $250,000 cash smuggling attempt to Iran.

According to a statement from the Defense Ministry of the Taliban administration, released on Sunday, October 16, the Taliban forces have held a person in custody along with an amount of $250,000 that he was attempting to smuggle to Iran.

The amount of money was deftly concealed inside the car seat in an attempt to illegally transport the cash undeclared, according to a statement from the Taliban government’s Ministry of Defense.

The perpetrator, who was carrying stacks of dollar bills illegally across the Afghan border, has been arrested by the forces and handed over to the respective bodies for taking further prosecution.

125 cartons of opium that were intended to be smuggled to the United Arab Emirates were previously seized by Taliban forces from the Kabul International Airport in disguise as black raisins.

Source: Khaama Press

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Afghan Passport Labeled ‘Least Powerful’ in Henley Index

By Saqalain Eqbal

17 Oct 2022

With its citizens only being able to visit 27 countries without a visa, the Henley Passport Index, which is updated quarterly, has once more named an Afghan passport as “the least powerful passport” in the world.

The Henley passport index, which was released on October 17th, places the Japanese passport at the top of the list, allowing its citizens to enter 193 countries and regions without a visa or visa on arrival.

On the list of nations where it is possible to enter 192 countries without a visa or with one upon arrival, Singapore and South Korea are the next two countries, ranking second.

Other top-ranked countries include Germany, Spain, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Sweden, Austria, France, Portugal, Ireland, Belgium, New Zealand, Netherlands, Denmark, United Kingdom, Norway, and the United States of America, whose citizens can travel to more than 186 countries.

Afghan passports, which are at the bottom of the list as the weakest passports in the world, allow citizens to enter 27 countries and territories without a visa or with a visa upon arrival.

Afghanistan comes after Iraq, Syria, and Pakistan, which their passports allow the holders to visit 29, 30, and 32 countries respectively.

According to a former Afghan diplomat, Ghaws Janbaz, special points are taken into account when determining the rank.

“The attractiveness of a country and its people is actually reflected in its passport. Unfortunately, the passport of Afghanistan cannot have this beauty and attractiveness due to the specific situation that prevails in that country,” Janbaz said.

Source: Khaama Press

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Taliban Establishes Commission to Investigate Detainees in Northern Afghanistan

By Saqalain Eqbal

16 Oct 2022

The Taliban-controlled media reported that the Taliban has established a six-member commission to investigate the cases of the people that have been detained during the “military operations in Panjshir” province in northern Afghanistan.

According to the Bakhtar state news agency, Mullah Hassan Akhund, the Taliban’s prime minister, directed the establishment of this commission.

Mawlawi Neda Mohammad Nadim the governor of the Taliban administration in Kabul has been selected as the chairperson of the newly established Taliban commission.

Bakhtar’s report made no mention of the number of detainees, but in recent weeks, more than 200 people were detained in Panjshir’s Rakha and Abshar districts.

The people who have been arrested in Panjshir province in the Taliban military operations, according to the Taliban-run media, are held in prisons in Kabul, the Afghan capital.

Earlier, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban government’s spokesman, claimed that more than 100 members of the National Resistance Front (NRF), an armed group resisting the Taliban rule, had been detained as part of the front’s suppression.

Source: Khaama Press

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Southeast Asia


Call To Fund Non-Islamic Places of Worship Lauded By Penang Hindu Association

Muhammad Yusry

17-10- 2022

PETALING JAYA: The Penang Hindu Association (PHA) has welcomed the call by the Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia (YBAM) for the next government to continue allocating funds in the national budget to carry out repairs, maintenance and emergency work on non-Islamic places of worship (POW).

Its president P. Murugiah said the YBAM statement that was issued last Thursday was spot on in its call, as the grants are important to carry out maintenance works to ensure safe, comfortable and functional spaces for devotees to conduct ceremonies and activities.

“Apart from POW, the government should also help old folks homes and shelters that are privately run by non-Muslims as they too need government help. There should be less red tape to help these neglected voices.

“NGOs and others help communities by taking care of the elderly, sending children to school and providing medical assistance, but they are often forced to get funds from the public. This is unsustainable. So, the new government should treat non-Muslims fairly.”

The YBAM had said it regretted that Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz did not allocate grants benefiting non-Islamic organisations when presenting Budget 2023 on Oct 7.

“In 2021 and 2022, the National Unity Ministry received an allocation of RM50 million from the federal government budget for eligible non-Islamic religious organisations to apply for funds to carry out repairs, maintenance and emergency work.

“Non-Islamic religious organisations, including Buddhist societies, temples, and churches are places where Malaysians of different religions, races, beliefs and cultures fulfil their responsibilities as devotees, playing a key role in self-purification and shaping a harmonious society.”

YBAM expressed hope that the next government would continue the beneficial measures implemented in 2021 and 2022 by including the allocation of grants to non-Islamic religious organisations in any revised budget for 2023.

Federation of Taoist Associations Malaysia president Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow also supported YBAM’s call.

He said the government should expand the criteria for providing grants and include the annual maintenance works of non-Muslim places of worship as well.

“Under the current criteria, most places of worship cannot qualify to receive grants, and because of this, there is quite a lot of unutilised money in the budget allocation.

“We also want the grants to be used to provide small sums of money to alleviate the hardship caused by the closure of non-Islamic POW due to Covid-19 restrictions. This is what the state governments of Sarawak and Penang are doing.

“When the criteria are expanded, all POW regardless of religion can benefit from the RM50 million allocation, and be registered with the National Unity Ministry.”

Tan also proposed that since the ministry has been entrusted to look after the affairs of other religions, it is only logical that either the minister or his deputy be a non-Muslim.

Source: The Sun Daily

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Tun M: Indian Muslim alliance will give GTA a big win in GE15

17-10- 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is convinced that the National Indian Muslim Alliance Party’s (Iman) presence in Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) would help the coalition record a big win in the upcoming 15th General Election (GE15).

GTA’s sponsor chairman said his confidence was based on the large number of Iman members throughout the country, and the Indian Muslim community’s willingness to ensure that their voice is heard at all levels of government.

“We know non-governmental organisations (NGO) like Iman are not involved directly in politics, their only hope is that their struggle and voice will be accepted by any government leading the country.

“So I’m convinced that the Indian Muslim community will play a big role in GE15 and will determine if GTA or Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) is victorious,” the former prime minister said during a dinner programme here yesterday.

Pejuang president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, Iman president Datuk Mohammed Mosin Abdul Razak, Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) president Datuk Ibrahim Ali and Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia (Berjasa) president Zamani Ibrahim were also present at the dinner.

GTA, established on Aug 4 and led by Pejuang, has previously stated that it intends to contest 120 parliamentary seats throughout the country in the upcoming election with 30 per cent of youth candidates.

Source: The Sun Daily

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I have never been aligned to any party, says Azhar

SK Devi

October 17, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Harun denies having any political allegiance, be it to Pakatan Harapan (PH) or the ruling coalitions in the past two years.

While he said his opinions “coincided” with PH’s aims before the 2018 general election (GE14), he was “never” its supporter.

“It so happens that prior to GE14, what I wrote and what I spoke about coincided and was in synergy with what the PH people were talking about,” Azhar said in an interview with BFM today.

“I am not an Umno supporter, too. I don’t have any allegiances.”

He said he was with an Umno think tank in the 1990s, but only saw it as a job and nothing more.

Azhar, a lawyer and former rights activist, was appointed the Election Commission (EC) chairman in September 2018 after PH came into power.

He served as the EC chairman until June 2020 and was appointed as speaker in July 2020 after being nominated by then prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Asked if he was the right person to fill the role, he said he took the job because he thought he was up to it and had the “advantage of having friends from both sides”.

“I have friends from the government and really, really good friends from the opposition. So I thought I could be the bridge (between the two) during the tumultuous period,” he said.

On the challenges of the role of a speaker, Azhar said he held the position during a period that was filled with disappointment and, at times, even anger, from both sides.

While he had expected the accusations and allegations that were thrown at him, he said he was still not prepared for how bad it could get.

“The intensity (of the accusations) was a bit unexpected,” he said.

Asked how one could change the perception that the role of the speaker was linked to the government, Azhar said people’s thoughts could not be controlled.

“We cannot control their thoughts, we can only follow the law,” he said.

He also said that while the Federal Constitution details the separation of powers of the judiciary, executive and legislative branches, “in reality, they are almost connected”.

“This is not a problem in Malaysia alone, it is in all Westminster-based governments,” he said, adding that it would be difficult even for MPs to separate their powers as MPs and ministers.

Asked if he would enter politics in future, Azhar said he was not considering such a prospect, adding that he had not been formally approached by any party.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Time to give 2 days off for Deepavali, says Syed Saddiq

October 16, 2022

PETALING JAYA: It is time for Deepavali to be given the same importance as other major festivals, when it comes to public holidays and days off for schools and universities, says Muda president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.

Citing complaints from university students who have to be in class the day after Deepavali, he said it was time for the government to treat the Hindu festival like how it does Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Chinese New Year (CNY).

There are two public holidays given for Aidilfitri and CNY, respectively, but only one day is set for Deepavali. Additionally, a one-week school holiday also coincides with the Aidilfitri and CNY celebrations.

This year the festival of lights falls on Oct 24, a Monday.

“Why is the Deepavali holiday only for a day? That’s the message I receive frequently, mostly from students.

“Monday is a holiday, and the next day (the students) must attend class again. I propose it be extended, to be just like Aidilfitri and CNY. Pity them,” the former youth and sports minister said on Twitter.

According to Syed Saddiq, he received over 500 messages on the plight of Hindu students this Deepavali.

He shared a screenshot of a message he received from a public university student, who said that most Indian students were disappointed with the holiday given for Deepavali this year.

“It is just for one day and we cannot even celebrate our festival as we have to attend class the very next day. Most of us cannot even go back home to visit and celebrate it with our family members,” the message read.

One netizen responded to the former Muar MP’s tweet by saying that an additional day off should be given when the festival falls on a Monday, to allow students to travel back to their universities.

“Can’t expect (them) to travel back on the day itself. If one needs to travel from Penang to Johor, that would be exhausting,” they said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Stop Victimising Muslim Judges, Muslim Rights Concern Tells Osun Chief Judge

17 October 2022

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has accused the Chief Judge of Osun State, Justice Adepele Ojo, of victimising Muslim members of the judiciary in the state.

MURIC’s allegation was contained in a statement, yesterday, signed by Director of the rights organisation, Prof. Ishaq Akintola.

The statement reads in part: “The Judiciary and Legal Department of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has for some time noticed an unpleasant trend in the affairs of the Osun State judiciary with respect to the treatment of Muslim judges. In particular, we noticed that the Chief Judge, Justice Adepele Ojo, has been doing everything possible to undermine Islam and the Muslims in Osun State judiciary.

“This observation is verifiable and we are going to substantiate every point we make here. MURIC does not act on impulse and neither does it level allegations out of spite.

“Exempli gratia, one of the past chief judges allocated two pieces of land of equal sizes to both Christian and Muslim communities of Osun State judiciary at the High Court, Osogbo. The Christians built a church on their land while the Muslims also built a mosque on their own.

“But the Muslims left a small portion of their land for future need. Recently, the Muslim community wanted to build a small structure on the remaining part of the land allocated to them. They had already started the foundation laying when the Chief Judge, obviously acting on information, rushed to the site and stopped them.

“She allegedly swore not to allow it till she bowed out of the Bench. The Muslim community lost some bags of cement and other materials on account of this injustice. The unfinished foundation is still there till tomorrow for any curious observer to see.”

“Another example of her victimisation of Muslims was her arrangement of the 2022 foreign trip of judges which she deliberately fixed to coincide with the period of this year’s Id al-Adha Salah. It was so arranged that Muslim judges could not fully enjoy the trip.

“Although such foreign trips were meant to enable judges relax, the 2022 trip of the judges to Thailand was a traumatic experience for the Muslim judges involved. It must be noted here that the Chief Judge could have fixed the trip during the yearly court vacation or at any other time. But she, in her own wisdom, decided to fix it at a time the Muslim judges would lose appetite and feel the pain.

“The trip was undertaken from July 4 to 15, 2022 whereas Salah was on July 9, 2022. It was therefore seen as a sadistic ploy to put Muslim judges in a panicky state of mind thereby defeating the primary objective of making the trip an avenue for relaxation for judges with the attendant optimal performance on their return.

“This arrangement resulted in a tortuous, tumultuous and topsy-turvy foreign trip for Muslims among the judges. A programme designed ab initio for hardworking judges to regain their strength turned into one of extreme stress and unmitigated psychological trauma for the Muslims among them.

“All available evidence point to the fact that the 2022 foreign trip as scheduled by the Chief Judge put Muslim judges at an undeserved disadvantage. When their Christian counterparts spent the whole period of about 12 days from 4th to 15th July, 2022, the Muslim judges were constrained to spend just 7 days from 2nd to 8th of July, 2022 because they had to rush home to celebrate Id al-Adha in Nigeria on 8th of July, 2022 for the Salah which was held the next day (9th July, 2022).

“Non-Muslims may not comprehend where we are coming from. They may not assimilate the import of this most embarrassing situation unless we create a scenario where Christians are made to go on a trip from 21st December to 4th January! This is most likely to create a hullabaloo, which will force Christians to return home on December 24, a day to Christmas!

“There is every raison d’etre to suspect that the Chief Judge has targeted Muslim judges who went for the trip for victimization. Perhaps we can ask the respected Chief Judge if she would like to schedule the 2023 foreign trip for judges in the state from December 21, 2022 to January 4, 2023 (which is Christmas period) or from April 5 to 16, 2023 (which is Easter period)! After all, who feels it knows it.

“Again, the Chief Judge may find it difficult to explain the cassu belli for the consistent denial of many qualified Muslim lawyers of appointment to bench vacancies in the state. The Chief Judge may want to explain why the last two high court appointments saw the emergence of only two Muslims out of 10 appointments despite the existence of eminently qualified Muslims who applied.

“When did loyalty to pastors and bishops become the standard yardstick for qualification as judges? This is just a question. No disrespect to the bench is intended. MURIC holds the judiciary in high esteem but we will like to see the judiciary promoting equal right, justice and fair play in all its actions. The judiciary is the last hope of the hoi polloi and the jamaaheer have no hope if the judiciary cannot be fair to themselves.

Source: Guardian Nigeria

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Tunisia police clash with protesters in second night of protests

16 October, 2022

Protestors clashed with police in the Tunisian capital of Tunis on Saturday, for the second night after a man died from injuries sustained during a police chase in August.

Riot police fired tear gas to disperse the crowds in the poor Ettadamen and Intilka districts, with protesters chanting slogans against the police and throwing stones at them.

The fresh protests come as the country suffers an economic and political crisis amid fuel and food shortages.

The family of the young man, Malek Selimi, 24, told local media on Saturday that their son died after suffering a neck injury from a fall during a police chase at the end of August.

The protests began on Friday after the funeral of the young man. The Ministry of Interior did not comment on the death of Selimi.

The North African nation is suffering a severe political crisis since Tunisian President Kais Saied seized power and dissolved parliament in 2021.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Army chief says Sudan close to national consensus

Buhram Abdel-Men'em 



Head of Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, said Saturday the country’s political groups are close to reaching a national consensus.

“There are signs of being close to reaching consensus with the participation of political and social forces and peace partners,” al-Burhan said at a peace forum in Ethiopia.

“This guarantees the stability of the transitional period and the formation of a civilian government to run the country, create the atmosphere and take the necessary measures to hold free and fair elections at the end of the transitional period,” he added.

The army chief renewed his commitment of withdrawing the military from politics in Sudan.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Thousands protest in Tunisia to call for ending ‘coup’

Yamena Salemi


TUNIS, Tunisia

Thousands of Tunisians demonstrated in the capital Tunis on Saturday to call for ending the “coup” in the North African country.

Opponents of Tunisian President Kais Saied accuse him of staging a “coup” by dissolving the country’s parliament last year and assuming executive power.

Saturday’s protest was organized by the National Salvation Front, a coalition of five Tunisian parties opposing Saied.

“A year and a half since the coup, Tunisians only saw poverty, unemployment, high cost of living and a shortage of basic commodities,” Ahmed Najib Chebbi, head of the National Salvation Front, told protesters.

“The putschist failed and became isolated without any support at home or abroad,” he said, referring to the Tunisian president.

Meanwhile, hundreds of supporters of the Free Destourian Party staged a rally in the capital to call for toppling the Tunisian leader.

Tunisia has been in the throes of a deep political crisis that aggravated the country's economic conditions since last year, when Saied ousted the government and dissolved parliament.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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North America


Brazilian Muslims demand Harvard return skull of slave who fought in uprising

16 October 2022

The Islamic community of Salvador, in Brazil’s Bahia state, has pushed Harvard University to repatriate the skull of an enslaved man who allegedly took part in a famous uprising of African Muslims in the city in 1835. 

The skull is part of a Harvard collection of human remains of 19 people of African origin likely enslaved in the Americas.

The University’s Peabody and Warren museums also hold the remains of some 6,500 Native Americans, and have for decades faced pressure in the United States to return all of them to their communities or descendants.

Earlier this year, Harvard established a committee to investigate the institution’s collection of human remains and ways of returning them.

According to student newspaper The Harvard Crimson, the university agreed in September to repatriate the remains, though no further details on the process have been published.

Bahia's Muslim community, which began its campaign in September, now plans to make direct contact with Harvard through the Islamic Centre and House of Nigeria in Salvador.

The victim

In 1835, 600 African Muslims - some freed people, but mostly enslaved men - took to the streets of Salvador and fought soldiers to try to take control of the city and the surrounding countryside.

The night of fighting resulted in the deaths of at least 70 Males - a word used to designate African Muslims in 19th-century Bahia, which probably comes from imale, a Yoruba term for Muslim. Some 500 others were imprisoned, flogged and deported. The skull supposedly belongs to a man who was wounded in the fighting and died in hospital.

Joao Jose Reis, a leading historian in Brazil and an expert on the Males uprising, first heard about the Harvard skull earlier this year.

“The skull record says that that individual took part in the uprising as a leader and that he was taken to a hospice after being wounded,” Reis told Middle East Eye.

According to the university, US citizen Gideon T Snow, who lived in Brazil in the 19th century, sent the skull to Boston, where - “prior to 1847” - it was donated to the collection of the Boston Society for Medical Improvement. Warren Anatomical Museum, part of Harvard Medical School, subsumed the collection in 1889.

Reis, a professor at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), argues that Harvard should try to use the skull’s DNA to identify the man’s ethnic origins - both for the sake of researcher and for the Bahia region’s Muslim community.

'Inspiring' revolt

The Males uprising has, over the past three decades, taken on a foundational importance for Bahia’s Muslims.

“We heard about the Males and knew there were documents about them in Bahia,” said Lebanese-born Ahmad Ali Saifi, a major Muslim community organiser in Brazil, based in the city of Sao Bernardo do Campo, in Sao Paulo State. “I travelled there at the end of the 1980s and met with experts in their history.”

Shortly afterwards, Saifi invited Misbah Akanni, a Nigerian exchange student living in Salvador, to study the Males and help to organise the region’s Muslims, who did not have an established community.

“I have first heard about the Males at university in Nigeria, in the classes of a visiting Brazilian professor,” Akanni told MEE.

Akanni settled in Salvador and brought together Muslims of different nationalities, including from African countries, the Middle East and Brazil. The new community, around 1,000 people, organised several conferences about the Males’ history, which attracted keen interest, especially among Black people.

“The uprising is inspiring for poor, Black Brazilians,” Akanni said. “It makes many of them feel proud.”

Nigerian-born Abdul Ahmad, the local sheikh, believes the region’s history is why Salvador "has been the Brazilian city with the highest number of Black converts [to Islam] every year. Slavery is something negative, but the history of the rebellion is not. When people learn about the Males’ heritage in Bahia, they begin to see Islam with different eyes,” he said.

Most signs of the Males’ historical presence were suppressed after the rebellion, but some remain, including Arabic inscriptions inside Catholic churches built by Muslim slaves.

In 1835, according to Reis’s estimates, there were between 3,300-4,400 African Muslims in the city.

The total number of Africans in Salvador was just under 22,000, Reis has calculated, roughly a third of the population. Most were slaves.

Reasons to rebel

The uprising had many causes, from the inherent injustice of slavery to the terrible living conditions of the enslaved, to the lack of social mobility in Bahia for freed people of African descent.

What's more, in Brazil, which didn't abolish slavery until 1888, Catholicism was the state religion, so the Males were regularly hindered in the practice of their faith.

“The Males were cultured people, as many of them were literate - and many white people were not,” Akanni added. “Their faith also contributed to the revolt, given that Islam does not accept that a man can be enslaved by another man.”

The uprising was planned for months, but when word got to authorities it had to begin earlier than expected. On 24 January 1835 the insurgents fought soldiers across the city with only a handful of firearms, relying mostly on knives and spears.

A day later, the rebellion fell. Many insurgents were wounded or killed in combat; others were imprisoned or expelled from Brazil. Four of the leaders were publicly executed.

The heavy repression that followed aimed to both crush any new rebellions and erase Islam in Bahia. Meetings of Black people were criminalised. Much of Islam's social influence disappeared in the aftermath of the revolt.

The repatriation of the Male skull “would help to consolidate the role of the Males in Salvador,” said Waldemar Oliveira, a PhD student at New York University who is researching the history of the Islamic community in the city. "It would be a way for the current Muslim community to say that the Males’ defeat in the 19th century did not represent the end of the Afro-Muslim experience in Bahia.”

The Muslim Male rebels did not have a proper funeral in 1835, according to Hannah Bellini, a post-doctoral researcher at UFBA who also studies Salvador’s Islamic community.

“The return of that skull would not only constitute an important measure of reparation from Harvard, considering its history of involvement in scientific racism,” she told MEE. "It would also be a way to correct a very violent practice, for Muslims, which is the exhibition of human remains.”

Source: Middle East Eye

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No president has done more for Israel than I have: Trump

Islam Doğru



Former US President Donald Trump claimed Sunday that Jewish Americans were not supportive enough of him and his policies toward Israel while he was in office, warning them to “get their act together.”

“No President has done more for Israel than I have,” Trump said in a post on his social media platform Truth Social.

“Somewhat surprisingly, however, our wonderful Evangelicals are far more appreciative of this than the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the U.S,” he added.

“Those living in Israel, though, are a different story -- Highest approval rating in the World, could easily be P.M.!” he wrote. “U.S. Jews have to get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel -- Before it is too late!”

In 2021, speaking to the US news website Axios, Trump criticized the fact that around 75% of Jewish voters in the US voted for his rival Joe Biden during the November 2020 presidential election.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Biden has no plans to meet Saudi crown prince at G20 summit: Official

Servet Gunerigok 



US President Joe Biden will not meet Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman during the G20 summit in Indonesia next month, according to a senior official on Sunday.

"He has no plans to meet with the crown prince at the G20 summit," Jake Sullivan, Biden's national security adviser, told CNN’s Dana Bash on "State of the Union". The summit will take place on Nov. 15-16 in Bali.

The president "is focused, however, on making sure that through every engagement that he has across the board, he’s looking out for not just the US but for our allies as well," said Sullivan.

Sullivan's remarks come amid a row between the US and Saudi Arabia after the latter threw its support behind a decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia, also known as OPEC+, to cut production by 2 million barrels a day starting in November.

The White House charged on Thursday that not only did Saudi officials lend their support to the measure, but worked behind the scenes as OPEC+'s chair to pressure other member states to vote in favor of the proposal.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Richard Falk: Washington fears Saudi realignment to Russia and China

16 October 2022

American academic and political analyst Richard Falk suspected that the foreign policy establishment in Washington is inhibited by the fear that Saudi Arabia might become tempted to shift its alignment in a direction more in line with China and Russia.

Falk made the remarks on Sunday in an exclusive interview with Press TV while commenting on US warnings to Saudi Arabia after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+), in which Riyadh is a top producer, announced last week it would cut oil production.

Falk is an American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, and a former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.

“Biden and the US swallowed a lot of harsh criticism for maintaining such a friendly relationship with Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the 2018 brazen murder in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul of the respected journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, who was long a Washington resident,” said Falk.

“Also, such a positive relationship had long been criticized as disregarding Biden’s supposed primary commitments to democratic values and human rights. In this sense, Saudi Arabia and Mohammed bin Salman had been shielded from official censure, being considered a strategic partner on energy and security in the Middle East,” he added.

‘Saudi never possessed the policy leverage in the US enjoyed by Israel’

“Saudi Arabia never possessed the policy leverage in the US enjoyed by Israel, lacking its lobbying prowess and influence on American voters,” said Falk.

“In addition, Biden’s visit in July of this year in the face of liberal criticism was at the time rumored to be compensated by  Saudi commitments to keep future oil production and pricing in accord with US policy anti-Russian and anti-inflation priorities,” he said.

“In this sense, the Saudi-led OPEC+ production cuts were seen as undercutting US foreign policy, which was seeking to reduce Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas. As well, with critically important and closely contested US midterm Congressional elections taking place in early November, the timing of the Saudi move was particularly resented by Washington, which perceived rising gas prices for consumers as damaging to the electoral prospects of Biden’s Democratic Party. It is widely believed that the outcome of these elections will determine control of Congress until the 2024 presidential elections,” he noted.

“To consider this production/price move from a Saudi perspective makes it seem mainly motivated by national interest in protecting the value of their principal trading asset, as well as not wanting their compliance with Washington wishes to be taken for granted. With a global recession widely anticipated in coming months, principally as a consequence of the prolonged Ukraine crisis, oil demand is predicted to fall sharply, if briefly, exerting a downward pressure on the world prices of oil and gas. Thus, from an economistic perspective, an OPEC adjustment by way of reduced production seemed sensible. The Saudis undoubtedly felt that to remain a trustworthy leader of the OPEC required that their influence not be distracted by political pressures and this depended on setting production quotas in accord only with energy market factors,” he observed.

Saudis following Turkey, Israel models

“Also, at stake was the idea that a country like Saudi Arabia should demonstrate its political independence. To do this meant rejecting any impression of subservience to the regional hegemony claimed by a non-Arab external actor. In this sense, what the Saudis are doing is somewhat similar to what Turkey has been doing in recent years, which has caused some friction within the NATO alliance framework but gained respect for Turkey as an independent political actor,” he said.

“This is also what Israel has done in a more provocative manner by not hiding its differences with the US on important questions, perhaps most notably through its intense opposition to 5+ 1 Nuclear Agreement of 2015 with Iran and currently by way of its opposition to its renewal in the event of a US return as a party. Israel has obstructed this important diplomatic effort without encountering any sort of pushback by way of adverse ‘consequences’ that the Saudis are now being warned about. I would venture the opinion that absent Israel’s opposition, the 2015 Agreement would be by now restored, greater stability would be present in the Middle East, and the harsh and unjustifiable sanctions imposed on Iran would be eased,” he noted.

Biden is vague about the nature of the consequences

Biden warned Saudi Arabia of the consequences, but he did not explain what those consequences could be.

Falk said, “Biden has been deliberately vague about the nature of such consequences, although he spoken publicly about reevaluating the entire US/Saudi relationship.”

“It may indicate that such a public show of displeasure, also reflecting some Congressional and public pressure to rethink whether closeness to Saudi Arabia serves American interests. The more persuasive view is that this is a temporary kafuffle between allies that will eventuate in nothing more than a warning and a signal of disappointment, conveying an implicit threat that if such diplomatic defiance is shown in the future by Riyadh it might then indeed have ‘consequences’ of a discernible character,” he added.

“More concrete options are of course presently possible and have been proposed in the US media and the Congress including an embargo on arms and legal action against the oil cartel. I find it somewhat doubtful at this stage that such drastic steps would be taken,” he opined.

“I suspect that the foreign policy establishment in Washington is inhibited by the fear that in the event of a tangible pushback, Saudi Arabia might become tempted to shift its alignment in a direction more in line with China and Russia, an outcome running directly counter to the regional policies of both Israel and Egypt and quite disturbing for Europe,” the analyst noted.

‘Saudis may not risk the loss of US security support’

“It is probable that Saudi Arabia’s leaders are also hoping that the storm will pass, and that it can reestablish close security ties with the US having made its point about the autonomy of its approach to oil and OPEC,” Falk said.

“There is little reason to think that the Saudis are ready to risk the loss of US security support, which has always been their overriding goal, which includes underpinning the anti-Iran policies,” he said.

“It may take some accommodating steps by Riyadh to restore pre-crisis normalcy such as voting with the US in the UN to condemn the Russian annexation of four areas of Ukraine following the sham referenda that Moscow insisted exhibited a popular preference for reintegration with Russia. The Saudis might even make a secret pledge to reconsider OPEC oil production quotas at the next cartel meeting in December in light of world conditions that might favor increased in oil production,” he noted.

Source: Press TV

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Iran slams Biden's support for riots as intervention in state matters

16 October 2022

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has vehemently censured the United States over meddling in the Islamic Republic’s domestic affairs after President Joe Biden voiced support for riots in the country, made an interventionist statement, and sought encouragement of violence.

“On Saturday, Biden interfered for the umpteenth time in Iran's state matters by supporting the riots as he has done ever since the outbreak of recent developments in Iran,” Nasser Kan’ani said in a statement on Sunday.

He added, “Given the fact he neither does enjoy trusted advisers nor a good memory, I remind him that Iran is so strong and steadfast that it would not give in to his cruel sanctions and idle threats. It is also so proud that would be unfazed by the interventions and exclamations of a politician tired of years of the futile campaign against Iran.”

Biden said on Saturday that “he was surprised by the courage of the people taking to the streets in protest in Iran.”

The senior Iranian diplomat highlighted that neither Biden’s comments nor Washington’s meddlesome gestures will not surprise Tehran as intervention, aggression, and killing form the backbone of the US political system.

“Since the 1953 coup d'état up until today, the anti-Iranian policies of the US administration have been well recorded in our minds. And of course, the history and every part of the world would testify the wounds that America's crimes and violence have inflicted,” Kan’ani pointed out.

“You (Americans) are accustomed to fishing in troubled waters,” the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has underscored that Iran is the anchor of stability and security in the region and not the land of velvet or colorful coup, slamming foreign intervention by some Western countries in Iran.

In a phone call with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell on Saturday, the Iranian foreign minister said that “the death of the late Mahsa Amini is painful for all of us,” however, he pointed out that this issue is just regarded as a pretext for (intervention of) some western authorities.

The Iranian minister reassured that peaceful protests and demands are different from riots, pointing to the West-backed violent but limited riots that have been taking place in some Iranian cities.

Iran mourned the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian who died at a hospital in Tehran three days after she collapsed in police custody. Iranians have held protests over the issue. But some extremist elements derailed the protests and incited violence against security forces. Western-backed media outlets have also encouraged violence. Iran says it will not allow interference in its own internal affairs.

Parliament probe: Amini’s death not related to assault, battery

Meanwhile, an investigative report by the Iranian Parliament has concluded that Amini’s death was not linked to physical assault and battery.

According to the report, the 22‐year‐old woman was neither assaulted during her transfer to the police center in the capital Tehran, where she fell into a coma nor hit while being held there.

The findings, however, question the effectiveness of the first medical response she received.

The report asserts that the crowd amassing outside the police station could have delayed her transfer to a nearby medical center.

The parliament report has called on those who jumped to conclusions about the cause of Amini's death to rectify their position or face prosecution.

It says the United States, the Israeli regime, and their acolytes took advantage of such hasty judgments to stir up unrest.

Source: Press TV

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