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Fri May 20 2022, 09:51 AM

Islamic World News ( 4 Feb 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pushed into the shadows, ISIS still has global reach

New Age Islam News Bureau

05 February 2022

ISIS militants who surrendered to the Afghan government are presented to media in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, November 17, 2019. (Reuters)

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• India looking forward to a long-lasting cooperation with Afghanistan

• Hindu Right Groups Threaten Gujarat Bus Operators Who Stop at Muslim-Owned Dhabas

• Iranian envoy to Pakistan calls for collective response against terrorism

• Holocaust Museum in Indonesia Highlights Stakes In A Battle For The Soul Of Islam

• Israeli forces injure 82 Palestinians in West Bank anti-settlement rallies

• Bomb blast kills 10 civilians in southern Somalia

• Biden joins Pope Francis, imam in calling for ‘human fraternity’

• Supporters of PKK terror group attack two mosques in Austria

 

Arab World

• Iraq played 'pivotal role' in elimination of Daesh/ISIS leader, says premier

• ISIS leader and family blended in among Syrians uprooted by war

• UN Security Council issues veiled criticism of Lebanon’s Hezbollah

• Arab Coalition strikes in Yemen destroy nine ‘military vehicles,’ casualties reported

• France to reinforce UAE defense system after Houthi attacks

• Stress laid on interfaith cooperation at Expo 2020 Dubai event to mark Human Fraternity Day

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South Asia

• Over 300 media outlets shut down since Taliban took over Afghanistan: Report

• Rina Amiri asks Taliban to stop unjust detention of Afghans

• Church seeks justice over Catholic's murder in Bangladesh

• Foreign Office asks Taliban govt to address security concerns

• Pentagon: Deadly Afghan airport attack was not preventable

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India

• Conspiracy case lodged against Wasim Rizvi, 7 others who accused Muslim cleric of molesting minor

• Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan due to a Partition-era error: Rajnath

• This Hindu family in Bengal is taking care of a Mosque for over 50 years

• Muslim Youth League wants its cadre to be more Islamic

• 'I love hijab' movement in Karnataka; BJP says it won't allow Talibanisation

• India to give 80 Afghan cadets 1-year training

• Hijab-saffron shawl controversy enters more colleges in Karnataka

• Plot to kill Buddhadeb in 2002 after his Madrasa comment, reveals book

• Jammu and Kashmir: Two terrorists killed in encounter with security forces in Srinagar

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Pakistan

• Pakistan calls upon India to reverse Aug 5 actions

• Terrorists will be brought to justice: Balochistan CM

• ‘Great honour’: Hindu senator presides over Senate session on Kashmir

• Pakistani security forces conduct search operations for extremists after base attacks

• Afghan Hunger, Pakistani Islamists, Makhdum Alem

• SGPC flays removal of Sikh general Hari Singh Nalwa's statue in Pakistan's Haripur

• ECP stops Maulana Fazl from holding public meetings in DI Khan

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Southeast Asia

• Indonesian preacher criticized for 'justifying' domestic violence

• God’s guardians on earth: how young Muslims in Indonesia turn to faith for environmental activism

• Jokowi drums up support for Nusantara from Muslim group, sultans

• Analysts: Winning big in Johor will give Umno confidence to call for early national polls

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Mideast

• 3 Members of Anti-Iran Separatist Terrorist Group Found Guilty by Danish Court

• IRGC Commander: US Maximum Pressure Policy Fails Disgracefully

• Difference between criticism of Israeli state and anti-Semitism at heart of teacher’s lawsuit

• Iran Calls for Broadening of Ties with OIC

• Iran, Iraq FMs Call for End to Yemen Crisis

• US grants sanctions relief to Iran as nuke talks in balance

• Hamas slams upcoming meeting of PLO's Central Council

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Africa

• Ottomans credited for Libya's unification, says historian

• Morocco, king orders prayers in mosques against drought

• Rescuers edge closer to five-year old boy trapped in well in Morocco

• Tanzania's ruling party lauds unsung heroes of South Africa’s liberation struggle

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North America

• US eases restrictions on funds transfer to Afghanistan

• US grants sanctions relief to Iran as nuclear talks remain in balance

• US probe finds single attacker in Kabul evacuation bomb

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Europe

• French gov't to launch new body for French Muslims

• UK accused of neglecting citizen detained by Houthis in Yemen since 2017

• New landmark mosque gets green light from councillors

• EU reaffirms support for easing Armenia-Azerbaijan tensions

• Erdogan says Israel, Turkey can jointly bring gas to Europe

• Prominent UK Imam hails Queen Elizabeth as 'beacon of hope and stability' ahead of jubilee

• Plans for Preston mosque near motorway junction approved

• Erdogan accuses West of making Russia-Ukraine crisis worse, criticizes Biden

• ‘Bankrupt’ anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson faces court questioning over finances

• France to send Rafale jets to protect UAE airspace

• Poland will be one of Turkiye's most important allies in Europe: Envoy

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/pushed-shadows-isis-global/d/126309

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Pushed into the shadows, ISIS still has global reach

04 February, 2022

ISIS militants who surrendered to the Afghan government are presented to media in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, November 17, 2019. (Reuters)

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Since the peak of its power seven years ago, when it ruled millions of people in the Middle East and struck fear across the world with deadly bombings and shootings, ISIS has slipped back into the shadows.

Its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria folded under a sustained military campaign by a US-led coalition, and it has suffered other setbacks in the Middle East.

This week it lost its second leader in two years when Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi detonated explosives during a US military raid in northwest Syria, killing himself and family members.

But ISIS expanded in Africa’s Sahel region last year and the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan may open up opportunities to strengthen its presence there.

In the core area of its insurgency, Iraq and Syria, it claimed hundreds of attacks last year. In January it launched an attempted jail-break in northeast Syria in which more than 100 prison guards and security forces were killed.

Here is a summary of the group’s presence around the world.

Middle East

Iraq, where the group originated, and neighboring Syria remain the epicenter of Islamic State operations.

Once based in the Syrian city of Raqqa and Iraqi city of Mosul, from which it sought to rule like a centralized government, ISIS now takes refuge in the hinterlands of the two fractured countries.

Its fighters are scattered in autonomous cells, its leadership is clandestine and its overall size hard to quantify, although the United Nations estimates it at 10,000 fighters in the heartlands.

Last month’s attack on the jail in Hasaka holding hundreds of jihadist detainees was its largest operation since the collapse of the caliphate, showing ISIS can still carry out large-scale and lethal operations.

While links between the leadership and offshoots in other countries may be tenuous, groups from Sinai to Somalia pledged allegiance to Quraishi when he succeeded ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in late 2019.

A United Nations report last year estimated that in Egypt’s Sinai province there may be between 800 to 1,200 fighters loyal to ISIS.

In Libya, where it once held a strip of territory on the Mediterranean coast, the group is weaker, but could still exploit the country’s ongoing conflict. In Yemen it has also been in decline.

Africa

Groups affiliated operationally or by name to ISIS are only a part of the militant threat across Africa. Others include al Qaeda-linked groups, Boko Haram in Nigeria and al-Shabaab, which is active in East Africa.

ISIS has two known affiliates in the West and Central Africa region.

The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) formally split from Boko Haram in 2016, after a faction pledged allegiance to Islamic State the previous year.

GlobalSecurity.org estimated the group had some 3,500 members in 2021.

ISWAP operates mostly around the Lake Chad area bordering Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

The other affiliate, Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), operates around the border area of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. Crisis Group says ISWAP has links to ISGS.

The publication in March 2019 by ISIS media of a picture of ISGS fighters under an ISWAP caption appeared to confirm a connection.

The Africa Center for Strategic Studies linked 524 violent events to ISGS in 2020, more than double the numbers of 2019, and they resulted in more than 2,000 fatalities across Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

The ongoing militant threat posed by various groups has been one of the main factors behind a series of military coups in West Africa over the last 18 months.

One of the deadliest groups in Eastern Congo, the Allied Democratic Forces, has been linked to Islamic State by the US State Department, who refer to them as IS-DRC.

Although the extent of the ADF’s links to the movement are murky, the United States attributed the deaths of 849 civilians to the group in 2020.

ADF killings surged by almost 50 percent in 2021, according to figures from the United Nations. More than 1,200 people were killed in such attacks.

South Asia

Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) - the movement’s chapter in Afghanistan and surrounding areas - has emerged as the principal militant threat in the region since the Taliban took over the country in August last year.

Experts say that its main areas of operation are Central and South Asian states, and that it has been led by an “ambitious” though lesser-known leader named Shahab al-Muhajir since 2020.

ISIS-K was first formed in 2015 with the blessing of Baghdadi, according to Western think-tanks, and was a formidable adversary to the US-backed government and Taliban insurgents, even as the two fought each other.

Without international and US-trained forces to contend with, ISIS-K activities have grown, stoking fears that Afghanistan could again become a haven for militant groups just as it was when al Qaeda attacked the United States in 2001.

“It’s just about the biggest concern at the moment for everyone, in the region and in the West,” a senior Western diplomat told Reuters late last year.

Moscow has voiced concern about ISIS-K increasing its footprint in Central Asian states.

The group has carried out a number of audacious attacks recently, most notably a complex raid on Afghanistan’s biggest military hospital in November last year that killed at least 25 people and wounded more than 50.

That followed a string of bombings by the group, including a suicide attack outside the gates of Kabul airport during a chaotic US evacuation operation that killed close to 200 people, including US military personnel.

Figures on ISIS-K’s strength vary. A committee of the UN Security Council put the number of ISIS-K fighters at between 1,500 and 2,200, but that was just before the fall of Kabul.

There have been reports of disaffected Taliban fighters and some Pakistani Taliban members joining ISIS-K in recent months. A spiraling economic crisis has pushed millions into poverty and left former Afghan Taliban fighters with no employment.

There is little to suggest direct material coordination between ISIS-K and ISIS in the Middle East, but some claims of attacks carried out in Afghanistan and neighboring areas are posted on the group’s central information channels.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/04/Pushed-into-the-shadows-ISIS-still-has-global-reach

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India looking forward to a long-lasting cooperation with Afghanistan

05 Feb 2022

India has earmarked USD 26.7 million to Afghanistan, keeping a continuing focus on its people, without recognizing, like the rest of the world community, the Taliban regime.

The sum allocated in India’s Annual Budget for the year April 2022-March 2023 is less compared to USD 47.6 million of 2021-22, which can be easily explained by the lack of formal ties, especially the economic relations since the Taliban took control last August.

Like the world community, India seeks an inclusive government in Afghanistan that allows a role for women and for the ethnic minorities, besides freedom for girls to study and women to work. Taliban have so far not heeded to the global appeal.

India responded to a global appeal for medicine last December and flew two tons of aid, a gesture that was appreciated by the Taliban with the hope for continued medical supplies.

However, India and Afghanistan have not been that lucky on economic aid. After protracted modalities worked out with Pakistan, India this month is expected to send the much-awaited aid of wheat. However, delays have been caused by Pakistan’s refusal to allow the use of its territory for India to reach a landlocked Afghanistan.

Pakistan blocks India’s access on the ground that it would amount to allowing India to reap economic benefits from Afghanistan, even as the latter vigorously campaigns for humanitarian aid reaching Afghanistan. The impasse was broken when Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi visited Islamabad and personally appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan.

To get around this obstacle, Iran has offered to facilitate the movement of Indian aid via Chabahar port. The jointly developed port also receives fund allocation in the Annual Budget.

Some years back, Pakistan had blocked Indian-supplied biscuits to the malnourished Afghan children readied in response to a United Nations appeal. The consignment rotted on the India-Pakistan border and had to be destroyed.

India’s role in Afghanistan has been dictated by the volatile conditions in that country for the last five decades and by the obstacles from Pakistan that lie between the two. It had burgeoning ties during the monarchy and even through the 1980s when the country was ruled by Soviet-backed regimes.

Since 2001 after the US invasion, India had emerged as Afghanistan’s biggest aid supporter in the region investing USD three billion in numerous mega infrastructure projects.

Afghanistan has been a steady recipient of India’s grants over the last two decades and the Government of President Ashraf Ghani last year received around ₹348 crores (USD 46 million). India has showcased its assistance to Afghanistan as aid-oriented, which is focused on development projects on the ground.

Shaida Mohammad Abdali, Afghanistan’s ambassador to India, in April 2017 pointed out that India “is the biggest regional donor to Afghanistan and fifth-largest donor globally with over $3 billion in assistance. India has built over 200 public and private schools, sponsors over 1,000 scholarships, hosts over 16,000 Afghan students.”

Relations between Afghanistan and India received a major boost in 2011 with the signing of a strategic partnership agreement. It was Afghanistan’s first since the Soviet invasion of 1979 and was before one was signed with the United States.

India sought to expand its economic presence in Afghanistan through 2002- 2021 and thus, earned considerable goodwill among the Afghan people. A number of farm production and irrigation schemes, help to medium and small industries, and IT centers across the country came upon the ground.

India also helped Afghanistan to improve transport connectivity and economic collaboration with countries in Central and South Asia. It had invested $10.8 billion in Afghanistan as of 2012.

Since Pakistan had refused land access, India and Afghanistan had established two air corridors to facilitate bilateral trade. This had boosted Afghanistan’s economic viability.

India had planned more projects, expected to be taken up after NATO’s withdrawal. These included setting up iron ore mines, a 6 MTPA steel plant (by SAIL—Steel Authority of India Limited), an 800 MW power plant, hydroelectric power projects, transmission lines, roads, etc., India helped Afghans in the reconstruction of Salma Dam in the Herat province. Besides producing 42 MW power, this Indo-Afghan friendship dam provides irrigation for 75,000 hectares of farmland in the Chisti Sharif district.

India and Iran were set to ink a transit agreement on transporting goods to landlocked Afghanistan. The Indian government was investing more than US$100 million in the expansion of the Chabahar port in southeastern Iran which would serve as a hub for the transportation of transit goods. As a goodwill gesture, India had also constructed a new Parliament complex for the Afghan government at a cost of ₹710 crores (equivalent to ₹910 crores or US$120 million in 2020). This building was inaugurated on December 25, 2015, during a state visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/op-ed-india-looking-forward-to-a-long-lasting-cooperation-with-afghanistan-98763/

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Hindu Right Groups Threaten Gujarat Bus Operators Who Stop at Muslim-Owned Dhabas

Deepal Trivedi, Ajeet Tiwari and Janvi Sonaiya

Feb 5, 2022

Gujarat highway food stall owners are jittery after the International Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal issued a new diktat asking “vigilant Hindus” to inform them if they see any buses stopping for snack breaks at Muslim-owned dhabas on the highways.

“Let us start this with the Saurashtra-Surat route first,” a man with a saffron scarf and teeka is seen saying in a video which has been widely circulated on WhatsApp groups and other social media. On Thursday, a Muslim eatery owner on the highway in Saurashtra said that a bus stopped as usual, but then three passengers started taking photographs of the eatery.  “My eatery has a Hindu name. We do not serve non-vegetarian food. We do not even serve eggs or products containing eggs. None of my staff has a beard. In short, we are very liberal Muslims who don’t wear our religion on our sleeves. The name of my eatery is based on a local Hindu goddess. Every day, minimum 11 buses stop at my eatery. Today, none have. The driver of the bus is my friend and we give him a commission but the passengers some how found out that this is a Muslim-owned place and asked the driver to take them to a Hindu owned eatery nearby. “

The Muslim eatery owner was scared to give out his restaurant’s name and location. Ditto with two others near Bhavnagar, Amreli and Junagadh. But a palpable fear has circulated. Most Gujarat highway restaurants are owned by Cheliyas, a Muslim community. They serve vegetarian food only and the name of their restaurants are include ‘Bharat’, ‘Navbharat’, ‘NavGujarat’, ‘Tulsi’, ‘Kabir’, ‘Jaihind’, ‘Sarvodaya’, etc.

The International Vishwa Hindu Parishad, run by Hindu leader Pravin Togadia, who earlier led the Vishwa Hindu Parishad – an arm of the Sangh parivar – has posted this warning on social media and various WhatsApp groups, including those of the local media.

The warning, in Gujarati, states that if any “private luxury bus operator halts his bus on a dhaba run by Muslims would have to face the consequences”.

Confirming that his organisation has indeed come up with this notice, Raju Shevale, the secretary of the Surat unit of the International VHP, told Vibes of India, “The people in Gujarat are angry with the Muslims after the Kishan Bharwad murder. Muslim clerics are organising arms to kill Hindus in a larger conspiracy and people in Gujarat can see through it.”

Shevale claimed that the highway restaurants run by Muslims use the same vessels to cook veg and non-veg food and “in fact, we have reports that they spit in vegetarian food items before serving them to the people”.

He said some bus drivers also deliberately halted at eateries run by Muslims because they took a cut from the sales from their passengers.

Shevale said the International VHP even had meetings with the private luxury and Gujarat bus operators and their drivers. “We have conveyed to them that if they still continue to halt their vehicles at Muslim joints, they would have to pay the price for this. We will not be responsible for the damage they suffer because of this,” he told Vibes of India.

However, when contacted, Gujarat’s spokesperson for the International VHP Neeraj Vaghela dismissed this as a local issue. “This initiative is by the local unit of International VHP and not a state-level plan,” he said.

When approached, Surat Police Commissioner Ajay Tomar told Vibes of India, “I have not received any complaint or information about this. We will look into it if we get it.”

Activists demands action against “hate mongers”

Taking strong exception to a social media and poster campaign in Surat threatening bus operators against halting at highway eateries run by Muslims, a Gujarat-based human rights organisation has dashed off a letter to state DGP Ashish Bhatia to initiate action against such “hate mongers”. The letter by Mujahid Nafees, convenor of NGO Minority Coordination Committee, points out that the poster threatens the luxury bus operators and drivers that they may have to suffer damages to their vehicles if they made halts at any hotel, restaurant or dhaba run by the Muslims.

The NGO has requested the DGP to register an FIR against the people responsible for the threatening post and strict action against them.

“Sir, these types of posters being circulated on social media create fears among the people. Apprehending violence, people have started avoiding outstation bus travel. This will have a catalytic adverse impact on the businesses in the state,” the NGO wrote.

The organisation has drawn the attention of the DGP to the poster and video by Raju Shevale and Omprakash Shah, office-bearers of International VHP and International Bajrang Dal, who have issued the threats.

Source: The Wire

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

https://thewire.in/communalism/hindu-right-groups-threaten-gujarat-bus-operators-who-stop-at-muslim-owned-dhabas

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Iranian envoy to Pakistan calls for collective response against terrorism

February 5, 2022

Iranian ambassador to Pakistan emphasizes the necessity for a coordinated response against the “sinister phenomena of terrorism”, while denouncing the recent terrorist attack in the neighboring country’s Balochistan province.

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Iranian ambassador to Pakistan emphasizes the necessity for a coordinated response against the “sinister phenomena of terrorism”, while denouncing the recent terrorist attack in the neighboring country’s Balochistan province.

“It is unfortunate to hear of a terrorist attack in Balochistan, Pakistan, which claimed many lives, Iranian ambassador to Pakistan Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini said in a post on twitter on Friday.

“While condemning terrorism in all its forms, I reiterate the need for a collective response to this sinister phenomenon,” said the ambassador in solidarity with the government and people of Pakistan against the recent terror attack.

Armed assailants targeted two security posts hours apart in remote areas of Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province on Wednesday, triggering gun battles that killed at least four attackers and a soldier, the military said.

Later, the newly formed separatist Balochistan Nationalist Army claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attacks in a post on Twitter.

Hours later, assailants tried to sneak into a security camp in the Naushki district, nearly 500 km (300 miles) to the north, but troops foiled the attempt and killed four attackers. One soldier was also wounded in the attack, the military said. It said intermittent exchange of fire has continued.

Pakistan’s Balochistan has been the scene of numerous attacks in recent years. The Balochistan Nationalist Army was established last month when two minor separatist groups merged and vowed to continue attacks.

The latest violence comes a week after armed fighters killed 10 soldiers in an attack on a security post in the town of Kech in Balochistan province, which has been the site of a long-running armed terror activities.

Source: ABNA24

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

https://en.abna24.com/news//iranian-envoy-to-pakistan-calls-for-collective-response-against-terrorism_1225991.html

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Bomb blast kills 10 civilians in southern Somalia

Mohammed Dhaysane  

04.02.2022

MOGADISHU, Somalia

FILE PHOTO

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At least 10 civilians have been killed in a bomb explosion in Somalia’s southern state of Jubaland on Friday, officials and local media reported.

"10 civilians were killed and three others wounded after a minibus they were traveling in ran over an improvised explosive device (IED) planted by the terrorists on the outskirts of Kismayo town of Somalia’s Jubbaland State," according to Somali national television.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, officials in Lower Juba region blamed al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group in Somalia, for being behind planting the IED.

Kismayo is a major city and port located 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/bomb-blast-kills-10-civilians-in-southern-somalia/2494299

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Biden joins Pope Francis, imam in calling for ‘human fraternity’

February 5, 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden joined Pope Francis and a leading Sunni imam on Friday in calling for greater global co-operation to fight the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other world crises on the second anniversary of a landmark Christian-Muslim peace initiative.

The Vatican released a statement from Biden marking the International Day of Human Fraternity, a U.N.-designated celebration of interfaith and multicultural understanding inspired by a landmark document signed on Feb. 4, 2019, in Abu Dhabi by Francis and Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyeb, the imam of the Al-Azhar centre for Sunni learning in Cairo.

The document called for greater mutual understanding and solidarity to confront the problems facing the world. With the backing of the United Arab Emirates, the initiative has gone on to create a high-level commission to spread the message, and Friday’s anniversary celebration included a video message from Francis that was also translated into Hebrew.

In his statement, Biden said “for too long, the narrowed view that our shared prosperity is a zero-sum game has festered – the view that for one person to succeed, another has to fail …” Such a view, he said, had led to conflicts and crises that are today too big for one nation or people to solve.

“They require us to speak with one another in open dialogue to promote tolerance, inclusion and understanding,” he said.

Biden, a Catholic, met with Francis in October in a lengthy audience that touched on climate change, poverty and the pandemic.

“We all live under the same heaven, independently of where and how we live, the colour of our skin, religion, social group, sex, age, economic conditions, or our state of health. All of us are different yet equal, and this time of pandemic has shown that clearly,” Francis said in his message.

El-Tayyib, for his part, issued a message greeting “my dear brother” Francis and called him “the incessantly courageous companion on the path of fraternity and peace.”

“We have embarked on this path in the hope for a new world that is free of wars and conflicts, where the fearful are reassured, the poor sustained, the vulnerable protected and justice administered,” he said.

While such objectives are “unacceptable for warmongers” he said “the road of peace is predestined for all the believers in God.”

Source: The Globe And Mail

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

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-biden-joins-pope-francis-imam-in-calling-for-human-fraternity/

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Supporters of PKK terror group attack two mosques in Austria

February 4, 2022

Supporters of PKK terror group have attacked two mosques in the Austrian capital Vienna.

The attacks targeted the Austrian Turkish-Islamic Culture and Social Assistance Union (ATIB)'s Central mosque and the temporary place of worship of Ebubekir Mosque in the 16th district on Thursday during one of the holy nights for Muslims called Laylat al Raghaib.

Terrorism supporters broke the windows on the ground floor of ATIB's Central Mosque while writing PKK propaganda contents on the exterior wall of the Ebubekir Mosque.

Turkey's Ambassador to Vienna, Ozan Ceyhun expressed his regret in a statement on the attacks on two mosques on a night when Laylat al Raghaib was celebrated.

"Video footage of the attackers who 'descended' to attack worship places was given to the authorities. Our expectation is that they will be caught quickly and brought to justice.',' Ceyhun told Anadolu News Agency.

Noting that they are ready to cooperate with the authorities in every way against such attacks aiming to disrupt the peace of the society in Austria, Ceyhun stated that they will follow the course of the events.

Austrian condemnation

Meanwhile, condemnation messages regarding the attacks were shared by Integration Minister Susanne Raab and representatives of various political parties.

Raab stated that the attack should be condemned in the strongest terms and pointed to the importance of freedom of worship.

The Integration Spokesperson of the ruling Green Party, Faika El-Negashi, also stated that she strongly condemned the attack on ATIB, emphasizing that the attack was on democracy as well as freedom of worship.

Source: Trt World

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

https://www.trtworld.com/turkey/supporters-of-pkk-terror-group-attack-two-mosques-in-austria-54407

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Arab World

 

Iraq played 'pivotal role' in elimination of Daesh/ISIS leader, says premier

Ibrahim Saleh 

04.02.2022

BAGHDAD

Iraq has played a “pivotal role” in operations to destroy Daesh/ISIS and their efforts eventually led to the elimination of the terror group’s leader, the country’s prime minister said on Friday.

“Iraq’s Security Forces have played a pivotal role in killing and capturing Daesh terrorists inside Iraq and gathering intelligence that finally led to the head of this terrorist organization,” Mustafa al-Kadhimi said on Twitter.

Daesh/ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed in an operation by US forces in northern Syria this week.

According to the Pentagon, al-Qurayshi blew himself up to avoid being captured, also killing his wife and two children.

Al-Qurayshi, whose real name was Amir Muhammad Saeed Abdul Rahman, had taken over after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed by the US in 2019.

He hailed from Tal Afar in Iraq’s northern Nineveh province.

The operation to eliminate al-Qurayshi came after a spike in Daesh/ISIS activity in Syria and Iraq, where the terrorist group carried out multiple attacks in the past few months.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/iraq-played-pivotal-role-in-elimination-of-daesh-isis-leader-says-premier/2494072

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ISIS leader and family blended in among Syrians uprooted by war

04 February ,2022

In a corner of Syria crammed with people uprooted by 11 years of civil war, the leader of ISIS and his family hid in plain sight: they kept to themselves, neighbors did not pry into each other’s past, the rent was paid on time.

The status quo was shattered on Thursday night, when US special forces swept into the town of Atmeh in northwest Syria to raid his hideout.

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

Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi, head of one of the world’s most feared terrorist groups, blew himself up to evade capture, killing several family members and others in the blast, according to the United States.

His death marks a blow to ISIS as its fighters reemerge as a deadly threat in Syria and Iraq.

Until that point, locals believed that Quraishi was a Syrian merchant from Aleppo who had brought his family to the relative safety of Atmeh near the Turkish border, far from the frontlines of the Syrian conflict.

There was little to draw attention to the three-story building on the edge of town since Quraishi, an Iraqi, rented an apartment there a year ago, taking the first floor initially before expanding to rent the top one too.

The children were generally well behaved and kept out of sight, sometimes accompanying their mother to the shops, said a woman who lived on the ground floor and knew her neighbors as “the family of Abu Ahmed.”

“They kept to themselves and our kids played with their kids occasionally outside, but we never socialized with them,” the woman, who gave her name as Ameena, said in a phone interview. She declined to give her full name for fear of retribution.

Ameena said she was once invited for tea by one of Quraishi’s wives, Um Ahmad. She told Ameena her husband was a trader from Aleppo who had fled the city during the war. With hindsight, Ameena said she was struck by how rarely she saw him.

The women wore all-enveloping black gowns, typical of conservative Muslims.

While the family were not from Atmeh, this did not draw attention in an area where tens of thousands of people have fled from all over the country.

“We thought they could have gone through a lot, but as you know, here everyone has a tragedy and people rarely speak of what happened to them these years and everyone prefers to keep to themselves,” Ameena said.

Hiding near the enemy

Quraishi took over the leadership of ISIS following the death in 2019 of its founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who also died during a raid by US commandos when he detonated explosives.

Baghdadi had also been hiding in northwest Syria, the last major bastion of rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad. Baghdadi’s hideout was some 25 km (15 miles) from Atmeh, also in Idlib province.

Quraishi’s hideout was close to a checkpoint operated by the armed group that controls most of the Idlib area - Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an extremist faction formerly known as the Nusra Front that has been an ISIS adversary for years.

It was also not far from Turkish troop positions in the nearby Afrin area of northwestern Syria.

Despite the close proximity of hostile forces, this was a relatively good hiding place for Quraishi as he sought to revive the fortunes of ISIS, which controlled a third of Iraq and Syria in 2014 before being beaten into retreat.

Syrians say it is easy for strangers to go unnoticed. Beyond the internally displaced, the area also hosts foreign extremists who travelled to the country during the war either as fighters or civilian volunteers.

Last October, another senior ISIS leader, Sami Jasim, was captured in northwestern Syria in an Iraqi operation carried out with Turkish help.

A senior White House official said the blast was believed to have killed Quraishi, his two wives and a child on one floor, and likely a child who was on another floor with Quraishi’s lieutenant and his wife, who were killed after firing on US forces.

Syrian rescue workers said 13 people were killed after the raid began, including four women and six children.

Neighbors said four children were rescued after the assault - a 12-year-old girl, boys aged 7 and 4 and an infant. It was not clear if they were related to Quraishi. The badly damaged apartments were strewn with children’s toys, witnesses added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/04/ISIS-leader-and-family-blended-in-among-Syrians-uprooted-by-war

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UN Security Council issues veiled criticism of Lebanon’s Hezbollah

05 February ,2022

The UN Security Council issued a veiled criticism of Hezbollah on Friday without naming the Iran-backed group, calling on all “Lebanese parties” to disassociate themselves from external conflicts.

“The members of the Security Council called upon all Lebanese parties to implement a tangible policy of disassociation from any external conflicts, as an important priority, as spelled out in previous declarations, in particular the 2012 Baabda Declaration,” a statement from the Security Council said.

The Baabda Declaration was adopted by the Lebanese government under former President Michel Sleiman and called for abstaining from intervening in any conflicts outside of Lebanon’s borders.

Hezbollah has publicly admitted and boasted about its participation in the Syrian war, propping up the Assad regime for years since the fighting broke out.

The group, which dubs itself as a resistance to Israel and to so-called American projects in the region, is also believed to be aiding Yemen’s Houthis and Iran-backed militias in Iraq.

The Security Council also condemned the repeated attacks against UN peacekeepers in the Hezbollah strongholds of south Lebanon.

Members of the Security Council said justice was needed against the “perpetrators of those incidents in accordance with the Lebanese law and consistent with Security Council resolution 2589 (2021).”

Separately, the members of the Council called for “a swift, independent, impartial, thorough, and transparent investigation” into the Beirut blast in August 2020.

Hezbollah and its Shia allies, Amal Movement, have been blocking all efforts by the lead judge tasked with investigating the explosion.

Meanwhile, Lebanon continues to suffer from one of the worst economic and financial collapses in history, according to World Bank officials.

Hezbollah and Amal blocked cabinet meetings for nearly three months over their opposition to the Beirut Port blast investigations.

“As the Lebanese population is facing dire needs and has expressed legitimate aspirations for reforms, elections and justice, the members of the Security Council urged expeditious and effective decisions by the Government to initiate measures, including the swift adoption of an appropriate budget for 2022 that would enable the quick conclusion of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” the Security Council said. “Moreover, they reiterated with urgency the need to implement previously outlined, tangible reforms which are necessary to help the Lebanese population.”

Billions of dollars of aid have been pledged to Lebanon for years but are contingent upon reforms to combat corruption and mismanagement. Lebanese officials have not implemented promised reforms.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/05/UN-Security-Council-issues-veiled-criticism-of-Lebanon-s-Hezbollah

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Arab Coalition strikes in Yemen destroy nine ‘military vehicles,’ casualties reported

04 February ,2022

The Arab Coalition has conducted 16 targeted strikes in Yemen’s Marib and Hajjah to deter the Iran-backed Houthi militia in the last 24 hours, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The number of fatalities were not shared, but casualties have been reported, according to SPA. Additonally, nine “military vehicles” were destroyed, according to the same report.

The operation comes during a time when tensions are rising with Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis.

Following multiple attack attempts on the UAE, France has decided to reinforce Emirates’ defenses, including Rafale jets, to counter any future attempts.

It comes days after the US said they will send a warship and fighter jets to counter Houthi infiltrations.

These attacks have invited global condemnation and high-level talks are underway to find a solution to the recurring issue.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/02/04/Arab-Coalition-strikes-in-Yemen-destroy-nine-military-vehicles-casualties-reported

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France to reinforce UAE defense system after Houthi attacks

04 February ,2022

France said on Friday it had agreed to participate in the reinforcement of the United Arab Emirates’ defense system, including the deployment of Rafale jets, following Iran-backed Houthi attacks.

“The United Arab Emirates were victims of serious attacks on their territory in January. In order to show our solidarity with this friendly country, France has decided to provide military support, in particular to protect the airspace against any intrusion,” French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly wrote on Twitter.

The French Armed Forces ministry added that operations would be conducted from the al-Dhafra air base, working in close co-ordination with the emirates, with a view to detect and intercept any drone or missile attacks.

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

The United Arab Emirates said late on Wednesday that it had intercepted three drones that entered its airspace over unpopulated areas earlier in the day, in the latest attack on the Gulf commercial and tourism hub in the past few weeks.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/02/04/France-to-reinforce-UAE-defenses-after-Houthi-attacks

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Stress laid on interfaith cooperation at Expo 2020 Dubai event to mark Human Fraternity Day

February 05, 2022

DUBAI: The Document for Human Fraternity was “a milestone on the path of interreligious dialogue,” Cardinal Miguel Angel Ayuso told Arab News on the sidelines of an event at Expo 2020 Dubai marking the International Day of Human Fraternity.

He was one of several faith leaders who gathered at the Expo’s Sustainability Pavilion on Friday to mark the third anniversary of the signing — by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb, grand imam of Al-Azhar — of the document in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 4, 2019.

The joint declaration called for peace among all peoples, while setting out a blueprint for a culture of dialogue and collaboration between all faiths.

“We are citizens of the world,” said Ayuso, from Spain, who is the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and a renowned historian of Islam.

“All believers of God must work together to counter the problems we are facing today. It is important to cultivate values and to maintain a relationship with religion, whether it’s in church, a mosque or a synagogue.”

To mark the anniversary, Pope Francis and Sheikh El-Tayeb sent video messages in which they called for continued interfaith understanding.

“Now is not a time for indifference,” Pope Francis said. “Either we are brothers and sisters or everything falls apart.”

Sheikh El-Tayeb said: “This celebration means a quest for a better world where the spirit of tolerance, fraternity, solidarity and collaboration prevails. It also indicates a hope for providing effective tools to face the crises and challenges of contemporary humanity.

“We have embarked on this path in the hope for a new world that is free of wars and conflicts, where the fearful are reassured, the poor sustained, the vulnerable protected and justice administered.”

Opening the celebrations, Judge Mohammed Abdelsalam, secretary-general of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, emphasized the ways in which the Document for Human Fraternity has empowered people to fight prejudice and increase accountability, offering protection for “the haves and have-nots, the rich and the poor, and both genders.”

The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity was founded by authorities in the UAE to determine the recipients of the Zayed Award, which is awarded each year to people or organizations “who embody through their work this lifelong commitment to human fraternity.”

Last year’s recipients were UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Latifa Ibn Ziaten, a Moroccan-French activist who has campaigned tirelessly against radicalization since losing her son in a terrorist attack 10 years ago.

Speaking during Friday’s event in Dubai, Mohammed Al-Diwaini, Al-Azhar deputy director of the grand imam, said it is imperative to “drop any sicknesses” of hatred and discrimination in favor of religious tolerance.

“If we follow our religion in its right form and without misinterpretation, we would be living in the best condition possible,” he told attendees.

The opening ceremony included a short video highlighting leaders who had served the cause of coexistence, including Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr. and Sheikh Zayed, who was the driving force behind the formation of the UAE and championed plurality throughout his life.

To mark the International Day of Human Fraternity, US President Joe Biden sent a letter to the Higher Committee calling for global solidarity to meet the challenges of the day.

“From the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic and the existential climate crisis to the rise of violence around the world, these challenges require global cooperation from people of all backgrounds, cultures, faiths and beliefs,” Biden wrote.

He added that these challenges “require us to speak with one another in open dialogue, to promote tolerance, inclusion and understanding. Above all, they require us to be open minded, cooperative and empathetic and to ensure that all people are treated with dignity and as full participants in society.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2018421/middle-east

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South Asia

 

Over 300 media outlets shut down since Taliban took over Afghanistan: Report

Feb 5, 2022

KABUL: Since the Taliban took over, at least 318 media outlets have been closed in 33 of 34 provinces in Afghanistan, said a report.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in a report on Thursday said, "51 TV stations, 132 radio stations, and 49 online media outlets have ceased operations. The crisis has hit newspapers the hardest with just 20 out of 114 continuing to publish," reported Tolo News.

Expressing concerns over the status of the Afghan media community, the IFJ said that only 2,334 journalists are still employed "from a pre-Taliban high of 5069."

72 per cent of journalists who lost their jobs are women, according to the IFJ. "243 women are still employed by the media," added the IFJ report.

"From threats to draconian reporting restrictions and from economic collapse to the withdrawal of development funding the picture is catastrophic, not just for journalists who have lost their jobs or been forced to flee but also for citizens who are being denied access to information," IFJ general secretary Anthony Bellanger said.

Further, the Afghan media community called on the Taliban to help the media gain access to information, reported Tolo News.

"If the immediate steps are not taken towards the situation of the media in the country, only a certain number of media organizations will be active in Afghanistan in the near future," said Hujatullah Mujadidi, head of the Afghan Independent Journalists Association.

"We call on the international community to invest in media to protect the process of access to information in the current Afghan situation," said Hafizullah Barakzai, head of the Afghanistan Journalists Council.

Some journalists called on the international community to address the collapse of the Afghan media community.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/over-300-media-outlets-shut-down-since-taliban-took-over-afghanistan-report/articleshow/89362817.cms

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Rina Amiri asks Taliban to stop unjust detention of Afghans

05 Feb 2022

US special representative for Afghan women Rina Amiri said that the Taliban must stop unjust detention of the Afghans if they want legitimacy from their people and the world.

Rina Amiri in a Twitter post on Friday, February 4, 2022, also asked for the release of women activists who she believes to be detained by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

“This unjust detention must stop. If the Taliban seek legitimacy from the Afghan people and the world, they must stop unjust detention and respect Afghans’ human rights especially for women- including the freedom of expression and immediately these women, their relatives, and other activists.” Reads the Tweet.

This comes as two women recently disappeared in Kabul on Thursday.

The UNAMA has also expressed concern over the disappearance of women activists in Kabul and asked for the women and their relatives to be freed.

“Urgent information sought from @moiafghanistan today by UNAMA on a latest reported detention over the last 24 hours by the Taliban of a further two women in Kabul. UN repeats its call for all ‘disappeared’ women activists and relatives to be released.” Reads a Twitter post by UNAMA.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/rina-amiri-asks-taliban-to-stop-unjust-detention-of-afghans-86598/

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Church seeks justice over Catholic's murder in Bangladesh

Stephan Uttom

February 03, 2022

Catholics in a Bangladeshi diocese are protesting the murder of an elderly Catholic and looting of his house, saying criminals in the Muslim-majority area target them because of their peace-loving nature.

Some 1,000 people demonstrated on the street for a third day on Feb. 3 seeking the immediate arrest of criminals who attacked the Catholic’s home in Padrishibpur village that comes under Barishal Diocese.

“We are attacked because we are a minority. We don't seek action or protest when attacked,” said Father Anol Terence D’Costa, convener of Barisal Diocese's social media commission.

Unidentified people attacked the house of 94-year-old Melcome D. Costa on Jan. 29 after rendering six members of the family unconscious with drugs and looted all their valuables. Costa died in hospital on Jan. 31, while the other five family members are yet to recover.

Catholic leaders at the protest said a young man had visited Costa's house and mixed anesthetics with the food. After eating the food, everyone fell unconscious that night while Costa remained conscious.

At least three young men entered the house through an open window and Costa was attacked when he tried to stop them. Later, when he also fainted, the youths took everything in the house including cash and gold ornaments worth an estimated 750,000 taka (US$8,714) and fled, said neighbor Pius D’Costa.

Father D’Costa said such attacks “are not new” in the Muslim-dominated area, where Christians began to settle in the 18th century. Christians' inability to organize and protest such attacks makes them prone to increased attacks, he said.

He said the parishioners' protest will continue until the police arrested the criminals.

Holy Cross Archbishop Lawrence Subrato Howlader of Chattogram, Apostolic Administrator of Barishal Diocese, visited the parish and joined protesters calling for the immediate arrest of the criminals.

“We are also talking with the administration and local politicians, demanding financial support for the family and exemplary punishment for the criminals,” Holy Cross Father D’Costa told UCA News.

A similar incident took place at a home in the same area and a young woman was raped last year. The case is still pending.

The villagers felt that the incident was planned and that the criminals targeted them because they belong to a religious minority.

“Our village is a very old Christian settlement. There are various problems being created here lately,” said Lina Gomes, a Catholic resident.

Lina Gomes, a Catholic in the village who joined the protest, said: “Christians face various problems in the village, which was not the case earlier. I think we are being attacked because we are a minority.”

Source: UCA News

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

https://www.ucanews.com/news/church-seeks-justice-over-catholics-murder-in-bangladesh/95965#

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Foreign Office asks Taliban govt to address security concerns

February 5, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The For­eign Office on Friday said that the Pakistan government expected the Afghan Taliban authorities to add­ress its security concerns.

“It is not a question of just raising again. We have been raising this matter consistently and we will continue to do that. We expect our concerns to be addressed,” Foreign Office spokesman Asim Iftikhar said at the weekly media briefing.

He was responding to queries about the presence in Afghanistan of handlers of the attacks on Frontier Corps camps in Panjgur and Nushki.

The ISPR had a day earlier said: “Intelligence agencies have intercepted communications between terrorists and their handlers in Afgh­anistan and India.”

After the fall of the Ghani regime, it was generally believed that security threats emanating from Afghanistan would finish. An impression was also given in a section of media, a few days before the Panjgur/Nushki attacks, that the infrastructure of Baloch separatists based in Afgh­anistan had been wiped out by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Afghan Taliban have been soft pedaling the issue of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pak­­istan. Initially, they nud­ged Pakistani authorities to hold talks with the TTP militants on the promise that action would be taken if they did not move in that direction. No action was taken against the group after the failure of talks and resumption of its terrorist activities.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1673398/foreign-office-asks-taliban-govt-to-address-security-concerns

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Pentagon: Deadly Afghan airport attack was not preventable

Feb 5, 2022

WASHINGTON: The military investigation into the deadly attack during the Afghanistan evacuation has concluded that a suicide bomber, carrying 20 pounds of explosives packed with ball bearings, acted alone, and that the deaths of more than 170 Afghans and 13 US service members were not preventable.

The blast at Abbey Gate outside the Kabul airport on Aug. 26 killed 11 United States Marines, a sailor and a soldier, who were screening the thousands of Afghans frantically trying to get onto one of the crowded flights leaving the country after the Taliban takeover. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.

At the Pentagon on Friday, military officials laid out a detailed and graphic minute-by-minute account of the bombing. The bottom line, they said, was that those who died had wounds that were "so catastrophic" that they couldn't be overcome. And they said that earlier thoughts that it was a complex attack involving gunfire turned out to be unfounded.

"A single, explosive device killed at least 170 Afghan civilians and 13 US servicemembers by explosively directing ball bearings through a packed crowd and into our men and women at Abbey gate," said Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command. "The disturbing lethality of this device was confirmed by the 58 US servicemembers who were killed and wounded despite the universal wear of body armor and helmets that did stop ball bearings that impacted them, but could not prevent catastrophic injuries to areas not covered."

Investigators said the bomber likely got near the gate by bypassing Taliban and other security checkpoints. They said it appears the Taliban didn't know of the attack, that security precautions were being taken and that intelligence about potential threats that was circulating that day was not specific.

"Based upon our investigation, at the tactical level this was not preventable," said Brig. Gen. Lance Curtis, who led the investigation. He added that military leaders on the ground in Kabul followed proper security measures, at times closing the gate or pausing the processing of evacuees.

Military officials said that gunfire after the blast was found to be warning shots fired by the US and British troops, and that no one was killed or wounded by gunshots.

McKenzie said the investigation revealed that the five-millimetre ball bearings in the bomb caused wounds that looked like gunshots. He said some troops in the area fired a number of warning shots, and that led others to believe that the attack also included gunmen.

Friday's briefing lasted more than an hour and resembled the detailed explanations military officials gave to the families of the troops killed that day. It included several videos of the chaos at the gate at the time of the bombing.

One is very brief and shows two Marines in the foreground, and deep in the background between them is a glimpse of a single person, dressed all in black. And then there is the sound of an explosion, and a cloud of black smoke rises from that area. Investigators said the bomber was likely standing on the far side of a sewage canal and was a a bit "elevated" when detonating the bomb. Pieces of a backpack were found.

Three service members who were standing on a short wall looking over the crowd to identify potential evacuees were just 10 feet from the blast and were killed. Longer videos shot from overhead show Marines and others rushing to treat and evacuate the wounded, providing first aid and carrying people over their shoulders as they ran, while civilians scrambled to flee the area.

Marines cut holes in the adjacent fence so they could get to triage areas more quickly, while also struggling through a fog of tear gas that enveloped the area when the bomb fragments punctured the cannisters troops carry.

The blast, said investigators, created "instant chaos and sensory overload". But within 20 minutes all of the killed and wounded had been moved to triage sites.

The nearly 20 pages of briefing documents included photos showing the crush of Afghans and others trying to get cleared into the airport, many waving documents and slogging through the sewage trench to get closer to the troops processing evacuees.

Investigators said that as the Taliban made it more difficult to get through checkpoints, Afghans and others began using side roads and back alleys to get closer to the outer gate.

The investigation also concluded that there was enough medical staff and blood at several sites around the airport, including nine surgical teams and a hospital. And it quoted a trauma surgeon who told investigators, "We had all we needed. Did we need more people? No, we had a lot of experience on the team and plenty of people."

The number of service members wounded in the bombing grew to 45 in the following days as they were examined and some were found to have traumatic brain injuries from the blast.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/pentagon-deadly-afghan-airport-attack-was-not-preventable/articleshow/89356179.cms

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India

 

Conspiracy case lodged against Wasim Rizvi, 7 others who accused Muslim cleric of molesting minor

Ashish Srivastava

February 5, 2022

An FIR has been filed against Wasim Rizvi alias Jitendra Tyagi and seven others who had accused Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad of molesting a minor girl in 2016.

A woman has filed a case of conspiracy against the eight accused. According to her, her father Naushad Ali had alleged that Maulana Kalbe Jawad sexually exploited her younger sister after Wasim Rizvi pressurised him to do so.

In 2016, Wasim Rizvi had alleged that the woman's younger sister was sexually exploited. An FIR had been registered against Kalbe Jawad after an edited video was circulated online, as per the complaint.

A case has now been registered against Wasim Rizvi and seven others under sections 500, 506, 120B of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the IT Act. The FIR was filed at Saadatganj police station in Lucknow.

WHO IS WASIM RIZVI?

Former Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board chairman Wasim Rizvi renounced Islam and converted to Hinduism in December last year. He took a new name, Jitendra Narayan Singh Tyagi, after accepting Hinduism (Sanatan Dharma).

In the past, he has been accused of making derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad and hurting the sentiments of the Muslim community.

Source: India Today

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/conspiracy-case-wasim-rizvi-accused-muslim-cleric-molesting-minor-1909037-2022-02-05

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Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan due to a Partition-era error: Rajnath

Feb 5, 2022

GURDASPUR: Defence minister Rajnath Singh raked up the Partition during his rally here on Friday for the Punjab assembly elections, saying that Kartarpur Sahib would have been a part of India if some gaffe had not been made during the country’s division.

Addressing the rally in support of BJP candidates Dinesh Babbu (Sujanpur) and Parminder Singh Gill (Gurdaspur), Rajnath said a blunder had been committed during the Partition. He said if the decision had been taken rationally, Kartarpur Sahib would have been a part of India. Now, Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib, the birth and death places of Sikhism’s first master Guru Nanak Dev, respectively, were in Pakistan, he said.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/kartarpur-sahib-in-pakistan-due-to-a-partition-era-error-rajnath/articleshow/89357374.cms

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This Hindu family in Bengal is taking care of a Mosque for over 50 years

Suryagni Roy

February 4, 2022

At a time when we hear news about differences between communities, clashes between different religious groups and communal tension in various parts of the country, this story of communal harmony in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas stands out as an epitome of inclusiveness.

The Bose family, which arrived in North 24 Parganas from erstwhile East Pakistan in 1964, exchanged their land in Khulna for the same area in the town of Barasat. When the then Bose patriach, Ishwar Nirod Bose, swapped the land in Barasat with Giasuddin Morol, he found that the land housed a little mosque.

Speaking to India Today, 74-year-old Dipak Bose, son of Ishwar Nirod Bose, narrated how the Bose family took over the mosque, repaired it and has been taking care of it since 1964.

"I was 14 when we arrived in Barasat from Khulna, then East Pakistan, after a series of riots over there. As per law, we swapped the area in terms of square feet with a landlord named Giasuddin Morol with ours in Khulna. The land my father acquired here had a small mosque, which Morol stated that could be used as per our discretion" said Mr Bose to India Today.

Hindu family taking care of Mosque for over 50 years

Dipak Bose, the current patriarch of the Bose family, credited the looking after of the mosque to his mother.

"My parents were liberal, they believed that a place of worship is a holy place and should be respected. My mother was the first one to light a lamp in this mosque" said Bose.

The third generation of the Bose's have taken over taking care of their mosque where the family breaks bread with Muslims during Ramazan. Partha Bose, senior most of the third generation of Bose, claimed that not only them, but the future generations too, would take great care of the mosque.

"After my grandfather and my father, my generation is taking care of our mosque, we are happy to see that our next generations are eager to come forward to take care of this mosque. My daughter tells me that she will do whatever it takes to keep the glory of this mosque" said Partha Bose.

Future generations to follow

Akhtar Ali, the imam of the mosque, claimed that the original mosque was almost 500 years old.

"The Bose family took over this place and rebuilt the mosque. Earlier, it was in bad shape when it belonged to Giasuddin Morol, who left for Bangladesh. It was some 500 years old and was not taken care of in a way the Bose family does" said the Imam.

Source: India Today

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/hindu-family-taking-care-of-mosque-for-50-years-1908891-2022-02-04

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Muslim Youth League wants its cadre to be more Islamic

05th February 2022

KOZHIKODE: Muslim Youth League (MYL) has launched programmes titled ‘Fajr Youth Club’ and ‘Chiraku’ that aim to instil Islamic values among the activists and to help the youth use their time meaningfully as stipulated by the religion.

‘Fajr Youth Club’ is started by the Kozhikode district committee of the MYL on the death anniversary of IUML leader Syed Abdurehman Bafaqi Thangal on January 19, which will continue for 40 days. “We envisaged the programme after we realised that the youth are misutilising their time and energy. Many spend their time on social media till late night and get up late in the morning,” said MYL district general secretary T Moideen Koya.

The MYL workers in a unit will assemble at the IUML office or at the house of a party worker after the morning Subahi prayers in mosques and spend around 10 minutes for discussing an issue, usually something related to current affairs. “Then, they proceed to sports and games of their choice like walking or shuttle badminton,” Moideen Koya said.

“If they continue the process for 40 days, it will become a part of their life. We hope that the Fajr Youth Club will instil a sense of purpose in the life of our workers,” he said. The Malappuram unit of the MYL is implementing a similar programme titled ‘Chiraku’ that also aims to instil moral values among the youth.

Congratulating the MYL efforts, Sunni Yuvajana Sangham (SYS) state working secretary Abdul Hameed Faizi said it is a model to be emulated.  Faizi said the circular sent to MYL units has asked them to ensure that Islamic duties such as prayers are practised and to create interest in the affairs of mosques and madrasas.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2022/feb/05/muslim-youth-league-wants-its-cadre-to-be-more-islamic-2415477.html

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'I love hijab' movement in Karnataka; BJP says it won't allow Talibanisation

05th February 2022

BENGALURU: The hijab row in Karnataka is spreading fast to other districts of the state. Muslim students in Mysuru district started a "I love hijab" movement on Friday.

The ruling BJP has declared that it won't let Talibanisation happen and told these students that if they want to attend classes they will have to shun the hijab.

Muslim students have started a 'I love hijab'' movement in Mysuru city extending their support to the protest of students in Udupi district to wear a hijab and attend classes.

The group of students gathered near the historical Bannimantap and staged a protest urging the government to allow students with hijab. The protestors held placards saying 'I love hijab' and later attended classes wearing a hijab.

The police intervened when Hindu students came to classes wearing saffron shawls in Ramdurg College of Belagavi in north Karnataka.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai held a meeting on the evolving situation in the state over the hijab row. Education Minister B.C. Nagesh and top officers of the education department attended the meeting and briefed Bommai on the issue.

Minister for Power, Kannada and Culture V. Sunil Kumar stated that he won't allow Talibanisation of Udupi district from where the hijab row started. "How can students from poor backgrounds move the High Court? Who is behind them?" he questioned.

Education Minister Nagesh after attending the meeting with CM Bommai stated that if Muslim students want to study they have to come in uniform. He attacked Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah for targeting the BJP over the hijab row that rules on uniform were framed in 2018 when he was the CM.

"Do not destroy the education field in the state. The state would come out with a policy once the High Court decides the matter," he said.

Home Minister Araga Jnanendra has stated that the government can't make rules as per the wishes of the Congress party. The concept of uniform has come from the time of the British. The Congress has divided the nation on the basis of religion for vote bank politics, he said.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2022/feb/05/i-love-hijab-movement-in-karnataka-bjp-says-it-wont-allow-talibanisation-2415645.html

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India to give 80 Afghan cadets 1-year training

Feb 5, 2022

NEW DELHI: Eighty Afghan cadets who have completed their courses in various Indian military academies but are facing an uncertain future because of the situation in Afghanistan will be offered a year-long training programme by the Indian government.

The Afghan embassy here said in a statement the cadets will be trained in "effective English communication for business and office".

"Given the challenges and uncertainty facing these freshly graduated young cadets due to the prevailing situation back home, the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in India welcomes and applauses this generous move by the Indian government," the embassy said.

The Afghan cadets will be given training under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) of the ministry of external affairs (MEA).

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-to-give-80-afghan-cadets-1-year-training/articleshow/89356034.cms

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Hijab-saffron shawl controversy enters more colleges in Karnataka

Feb 5, 2022

UDUPI: The hijab controversy and saffron shawl issue surfaced at two more colleges in Karnataka, one in Udupi district and another in Belagavi, on Friday.

A group of Muslim girl students wearing hijab and 300 Hindu boys wearing saffron shawls at Government PU College in Byndoor, Udupi, were prevented from entering classes. This is the fifth college in Udupi district - three in Kundapur, one in Udupi, and one in Byndoor - to witness a row over wearing hijab.

The issue that started at Government PU College for Girls, Udupi spread to more institutions - two government PU colleges in Shivamogga, Kundapur's Government Junior College, Bhandarkar's Arts and Science College (Kundapur), Government PU College, Byndoor and a government PU college in Belagavi, among others. However, it has been resolved at the Shivamogga colleges.

Both government college (Kundapur) and Bhandarkar's, sponsored by the Academy of General Education, Manipal, which were allowing students to wear the hijab inside classes, stopped them from entering the campus after the government recently ordered all government colleges in the state to not allow students wearing hijab or saffron shawl inside the campus.

In Belagavi, a group of students from government PU college in Ramadurga town came to class draping saffron shawls on Tuesday. But the incident came to light only on Friday after related video clips and photographs surfaced on social media. In the morning, the group of 10-12 students walked inside the campus wearing shawls but with the intervention of college staff and local police, who warned of action, the latter obliged and attended classes.

In Kundapur, for the third day in a row, authorities of Government Junior College tried to prevent girl students from entering the campus wearing hijab. However, students managed to gain entry and insisted they be allowed to attend lessons. Later, students and parents began to protest on the streets opposing the college decision. Meanwhile, nearly 100 Hindu boys came with saffron shawls, leading to tension on campus. The principal ordered the protesting students to leave, and the college has declared a holiday on Saturday.

Muslim girls staged a protest in front of Bhandarkar's college on Friday after being denied entry for wearing a headscarf. They sat on the road in front of the college gate and raised slogans asserting their right to wear hijab.

Kundapur MLA Haladi Srinivas Shetty convened a meeting of parents of Muslim girls. The parents said that if the college had communicated about the hijab ban during the application process, they would have chosen a different institution.

Meanwhile, the six students at Government PU College for Girls in Udupi, where the hijab controversy began, continued their protest outside the campus.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mangaluru/hijab-saffron-shawl-controversy-enters-more-colleges-in-karnataka/articleshow/89358401.cms

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Plot to kill Buddhadeb in 2002 after his Madrasa comment, reveals book

Kinsuk Basu 

05.02.22

A book authored by retired Bengal intelligence chief Dilip Mitra has claimed that there were “three plots” between 2001 and 2008 to kill former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and specific plans were in place to shoot the late prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani during their visits to the state.

While Mitra avoids offering specific timelines in the book, “Operation Black Stiletto: My Years in Intelligence”, he said the first attempt on Bhattacharya’s life was in 2002 soon after the former chief minister had said unaffiliated madrasas were centres of unlawful activities. The two other attempts that he refers to during his tenure were made over the next six years with the last one ahead of Lalgarh Operation in 2008.

Mitra writes about his experience of interrogating one “Abdul”, an alleged member of the ISI’s sleeper cell in Calcutta, who revealed how he had been summoned to Dhaka soon after Bhattacharya’s statement was televised on news channels. He was tasked with offering shelter and logistics to ISI operatives who would reach from Dhaka during one of Bhattacharya’s scheduled visits to a bordering district of Bengal, understandably Murshidabad.

“He would carry out tasks from time to time, serve as a conduit for funds and, in a sort of master stroke, befriended and employed the daughter of a head clerk.. (in the police, handling sensitive information about VIP movements) ...” Mitra writes in his book.

One of the two other attempts that Mitra narrates was around the time when Maoists had spread over East and West Midnapore districts, Purulia and Bankura in Bengal after rebranding themselves as Peoples War group (PW).

During interrogation it surfaced that Bhattacharya was “the single most hated enemy of the Peoples War” and the Maoists were planning to strike when the former chief minister was scheduled to visit the Jungle Mahal.

Mitra talks about an assassination attempt on L.K. Advani by Lashkar-e-Tayeba, a banned terror outfit, during his visit to Belur Math, the global headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission in Howrah. While the book doesn't mention the time, it presumably refers to the visit in July 2003. Advani then was not a SPG protectee.

“Lal Krishna Advani would be assassinated during his forthcoming visit to West Bengal. That was what the paper in my hands said,” Mitra writes.

Shortly after Advani left Calcutta there was another “feed” that said Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Prime Minister would be killed during his visit to Calcutta.

According to the book, Vajpayee was arriving in Calcutta to attend two events with the first stop at a hotel adjoining the Salt Lake stadium. The ITC Sonar would have been his last stop.

Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/west-bengal/assassination-bid-on-buddhadebs-life-after-his-madrasa-comment/cid/1850589

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Jammu and Kashmir: Two terrorists killed in encounter with security forces in Srinagar

Feb 5, 2022

SRINAGAR: Two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists were killed in an encounter with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, police said.

Acting on specific inputs about the presence of terrorists in the Zakura locality of the city, security forces launched a cordon and search operation there during the night, a police official said.

He said as the forces were conducting searches in the area, the hiding terrorists fired upon them.

The forces retaliated and an encounter broke out. Two terrorists have been killed, the official said.

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said the ultras belonged to The Resistance Front (TRF), a shadow of the LeT.

One of the terrorists was involved in the killing of a head constable, Ali Mohammad Ganie, in Anantnag on January 29.

"Two terrorists of terror outfit LeT/TRF neutralised by Srinagar police. One of the killed terrorists Ikhlaq Hajam was involved in recent killing of HC Ali Mohd at Hassanpora Anantnag," the IGP Kashmir said on Twitter.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/jammu-and-kashmir-two-terrorists-killed-in-encounter-with-security-forces-in-srinagar/articleshow/89359006.cms

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan calls upon India to reverse Aug 5 actions

Iftikhar A. Khan

February 5, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The upper house of parliament on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution urging India to reverse the actions it initiated on and after August 5, 2019, which were aimed at illegally altering the demography of the Muslim majority state of Indian occupied Kashmir.

As a symbolic gesture, part of Friday’s special session — held on the eve of Kashmir Solidarity Day — was presided over by the first Hindu Dalit woman to be elected to the Senate.

“There can’t be a bigger slap on Modi’s face than this,” said Senator Krishna Kumari Kohli — who is also known as Kesho Bai.

The senator from Tharparkar was invited by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to chair the session during the course of speeches on Kashmir.

She was warmly welcomed with desk-thumping by Senate colleagues as she assumed the chair. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Dr Babar Awan, who was speaking at the time, paused to acknowledge Senator Kohli as she assumed the presiding seat.

Senator Krishna Kumari chairs special debate on eve of Kashmir Day, says Modi won’t be tolerated much longer

In her brief remarks, Senator Kohli said she wanted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to know that “this is the real face of Pakistan, which has allowed a Hindu member to preside over the Senate session.”

“We want Modi to know that he has had his way for long enough, we will not tolerate him for much longer,” she said.

Senator Kohli, who was elected in 2018 to a reserved seat on a Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) ticket, later tweeted: “It is great honour [that] I chaired the Senate session called to discuss the current situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) on the eve of Kashmir Solidarity Day.”

Resolution adopted

On Friday, the house unanimously adopted a resolution rejecting the “illegal and unilateral action” taken by India on August 5, 2019, and demanded that it revoke the step, calling it a “gross violation of all United Nations resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir”.

The resolution also condemned the unabated Indian human rights violations, war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law in IIOJK. “Ever since Aug 5, hundreds of innocent Kashmiris have been martyred, arbitrarily arrested or rounded up under trumped-up charges,” the resolution stated.

The Senate made it clear to India that even the worst state-sponsored terrorism would not break the spirit of the Kashmiri people, or crush their legitimate struggle.

The house demanded that Indian PM Narendra Modi and his “fascist RSS organisation” be held accountable for their crimes against humanity and called on the Indian government to stop extra-judicial killings of Kashmiris in fake encounters and cordon-and-search operations.

It also denounced illegal measures to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory, as well as “efforts to peddle a facade of normalcy” and demanded the immediate release of all political prisoners in IIOJK.

The Senate also asked the international community to take note of “India’s belligerence, intransigence and brazen persistence of cruelty against the Kashmiri people, including the danger of genocide which is now documented internationally”.

The resolution reassured the people of Kashmir that Pakistan’s government, people and parliament would always stand firm with them in their just struggle until it is resolved according to their wishes and as per the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

“The Senate of Pakistan reiterates its support to the people of Kashmir in the just struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination every step of the way,” the resolution said.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani ordered that copies of the signed resolution be dispatched to different world leaders and the UN secretary general.

United front

Earlier, opening the discussion on Kashmir, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Yousuf Raza Gilani said that durable peace in South Asia was not possible without the settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

Leader of the House Dr Shahzad Waseem and Advisor on Parli­amentary Affairs Babar Awan also condemned Indian atrocities in the valley in the strongest terms and called for the reversal of the “illegal and immoral steps” of Aug 5 and beyond, saying that their right to self-determination could not be denied any longer.

Dr Shahzad Waseem said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had effectively exposed Janus-faced India before the world and the international community had also taken note. He recalled that the UN secretary general and General Assembly president had also talked about the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.

Calling for serious and meaningful dialogue between India and Pakistan on the issue, he warned that otherwise, the two countries would continue remain under pressure from global powers, which would continue to use them for their own interests.

PML-N parliamentary leader Azam Nazir Tarar said that Kashmir could not be liberated through slogans alone and insisted there was still time for the government to convene a meeting of all political parties to take the Kashmir cause forward with vision and strength.

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri criticised the PTI government for adopting a weak policy on Kashmir and alleged that the “PTI government made a deal on Kashmir and sold out its people”.

In response, PTI Senator Ejaz Chaudhry came down hard on the JUI-F lawmaker for making “baseless accusations”, instead positing that even though Maulana Fazlur Rehman had been the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir, its performance remained abysmal.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1673397

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Terrorists will be brought to justice: Balochistan CM

February 5, 2022

QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo has said that elements involved in the terrorist attack in Panjgur and Nushki will be brought to justice.

Talking to journalists here on Friday evening after visiting the secretariat of JUI-Nazaryati, the chief minister said if some elements thought that through such terrorist attacks they could retard the development of and investment in Balochistan, they lived in a fools’ paradise.

At the JUI-Nazaryati secretariat, Mr Bizenjo offered Fateha for the party’s workers who were martyred in the Science College bomb blast last month and assured Maulana Abdul Qadir Luni that the government would pay compensation to the heirs of the victims.

He said that terrorists were not well-wishers of Baloch people and they were carrying out such activities to please their foreign masters.

He said that security forces of the country were strong and would eliminate these terrorists.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1673393/terrorists-will-be-brought-to-justice-balochistan-cm

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‘Great honour’: Hindu senator presides over Senate session on Kashmir

February 4, 2022

Senator Krishna Kumari Kohli chaired today’s session where the Senate unanimously passed a resolution to express solidarity with Kashmiris in connection with Kashmir Solidarity Day, which will be observed across the country tomorrow (February 5),

The session was welcomed by the loud thumping of desks as she sat on the chair’s seat.

In her own tweet, Kohli said it was a “great honour”.

“It is great honour [that] I chaired the Senate session called to discuss the current situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) on the eve of Kashmir Solidarity Day,” she said.

“A Hindu presiding [over] the Senate session on Kashmir in Pakistan. Chairman Senate [asked] our colleague Krishna Kumari Kohli to do the honour. In connection with #KashmirSolidarityDay, it’s a strong message going out depicting [the] difference between Pakistan and Hindustan,” Senator Faisal Javed Khan said on Twitter.

The senator, who was elected in 2018 to a reserved seat on a PPP ticket, thanked party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari for giving her an opportunity to become a member of the upper house of Parliament.

It is pertinent to note that Kohli became the first Hindu Dalit woman to be elected to the Senate in 2018. Prior to becoming a senator, she was an activist in a village in Nagarparkar.

The resolution passed during today’s session, paid tribute to the heroism and valour of the Kashmiris, while rejecting the illegal and unilateral action taken by India on August 5, 2019, and demanded that it revoke the step, calling it a “gross violation of all United Nations resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir”.

The resolution further warned India that the worst form of state terrorism would not break the will of the Kashmiri people or crush their legitimate struggle.

It condemned the unabated Indian human rights violations, war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law in IIOJK. “Ever since Aug 5, 2019, hundreds of innocent Kashmiris have been martyred, arbitrarily arrested or rounded up under trumped-up charges,” the resolution stated.

It denounced the illegal Indian measures to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory as well as “efforts to peddle a facade of normalcy” and demanded the immediate release of all political prisoners in IIOJK.

Lawmakers demanded that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his “fascist RSS organisation” be held accountable for their crimes against humanity. The resolution also called on the Indian government to stop extra-judicial killings of Kashmiris in fake encounters and cordon-and-search operations.

The resolution reassured the Kashmiri people that the government, people and Parliament of Pakistan would always stand firm with them in their just struggle until it is resolved according to their wishes and as per the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/02/04/hindu-senator-krishna-kumari-chairs-session-to-express-solidarity-with-kashmiris/

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Pakistani security forces conduct search operations for extremists after base attacks

04 February ,2022

Pakistani security forces were conducting search operations on Friday to flush out extremists suspected of hiding near two military bases attacked by extremists on Wednesday, which killed seven soldiers and 13 of their own, in the latest violence in the southwestern Balochistan province.

The attacks, the biggest in recent years by ethnic Baloch extremists, came hours before Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Beijing for the opening of the Winter Olympics, where he will have meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders.

Two Pakistani security officials, requesting anonymity as they are not permitted to speak publicly, said the operation was not yet over.

“The army is conducting search operations in the area. There might be some more elements hiding in the surroundings,” one official told Reuters.

The army said the attacks were simultaneous and coordinated.

“They used explosive-laden vehicles at gates, they have the latest weaponry left behind by NATO forces,” Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, Minister of Interior said on Friday, adding that the attack was defeated and both bases were under the control of the Pakistani military.

Ethnic Baloch guerrillas have been fighting the government for decades, demanding a separate state, saying the central government unfairly exploits Balochistan's rich gas and mineral resources.

The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) group said it was behind the attacks in a statement sent to a Reuters reporter, adding that one of the two bases was still under its control after 38 hours. This could not immediately be verified independently.

Last week, the insurgents killed 10 soldiers in an attack on a post near the port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea, the heaviest casualty toll for the army in the Balochistan insurgency in years.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/02/04/Pakistani-security-forces-conduct-search-operations-for-extremists-after-base-attacks

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Afghan Hunger, Pakistani Islamists, Makhdum Alem

February 04, 2022

By Abubakar Siddique

Welcome to Gandhara's weekly newsletter. This briefing brings you the best of our reporting from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

If you’re new to the newsletter or haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so here.

Hunger killing Afghan children

I write about how mounting hunger in Afghanistan is threatening the life and well-being of millions of children. Aid agencies warn that more than 1 million children could die of severe malnourishment and millions more require medical treatment.

"My son couldn't walk because he was so weak," said Graana, a mother of five who for weeks trekked more than two hours a day to receive treatment for her malnourished 2-year-old son in Helmand. "Hunger had disfigured him to the extent that he started to look scary. I was hopeless."

The snowballing humanitarian crisis hits Afghanistan's young the hardest, with the UN warning that children account for some 14 million of the country's 23 million people facing starvation. "[We are] deeply concerned about the rapidly escalating malnutrition crisis across Afghanistan," Sam Mort, a spokeswoman for UNICEF, told me.

In a video report, we take you to meet desperate Afghans. Some have sold their kidneys to survive the winter, while others are considering selling their own children.

"No one can tell me to sell our children, but we are struggling to keep them alive," said one mother who has already sold a kidney for $1,500. "And that's why we thought of selling [some of] them."

The Taliban's political blowback in Pakistan

Ron Synovitz writes about how the Taliban victory in Afghanistan is now shaping politics in Pakistan. Islamist parties in the country are bolstered by the ascent to power of an Afghan ideological ally.

"There is no doubt that with the Taliban in power in Afghanistan, support for the religious parties will increase in Pakistan," said Nazr-ul Islam, an analyst in Islamabad.

Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (JUI-F), the main Deobandi party, is already cashing in on the Taliban's victory in Afghanistan by claiming the lion's share of seats in the first round of municipal elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in December. The JUI-F and Tehrik-e Labaik Pakistan, a far-right Bralevi group, are now poised to challenge the ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaf and other moderate or secular political parties in parliamentary elections scheduled next year.

Embryonic ethnic conflict within the Taliban

Bruce Pannier weighs in on brewing ethnic tensions within the Taliban ranks after the predominately Pashtun group recently arrested one of its most powerful Uzbek commanders for alleged criminal activities.

Makhdum Alem's mid-January detention prompted protests in his native Faryab. Fellow Uzbeks within the Taliban ranks warned of more unrest if he was mistreated. The issue even prompted Taliban Defense Minister Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob to visit Faryab to quell the unrest.

"Despite Taliban warnings about protests, there is no sign tensions in the region will ease anytime soon," wrote Pannier, pointing to rising grievances among ethnic minorities against the alleged excesses of the Taliban in the ethnically mixed regions of northern Afghanistan.

Emerald Mountains

In a photo essay, we take you deep into Afghanistan's Hindu Kush Mountains, where former police officers and soldiers eke out a living by digging for emeralds in frosty mines.

Source: Gandhara

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

https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/gandhara-briefing-afghan-hunger-pakistani-islamists-makhdum-alem-afghanistan-pakistan/31686846.html

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SGPC flays removal of Sikh general Hari Singh Nalwa's statue in Pakistan's Haripur

Feb 05, 2022

February 4, 2022

The SGPC and Chief Khalsa Diwan have condemned the removal of a statue of Sikh general Hari Singh Nalwa in Haripur district of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. A video clip of removal of the statue has gone viral on the social media.

The statue of the Sikh warrior on the horseback with a sword in his hand was erected in 2017 on the Siddique-i-Akbar square in Haripur (district named after Nalwa).

Sources said the statue was removed by the local authorities after some religious parties objected to its installation at the intersection named after first caliph of Islam Abu Bakr al-Siddiq.

Nalwa was commander-in-chief of the Sikh Khalsa Fauj, the army of the Sikh Empire. He is known for his role in the conquests of Kasur, Sialkot, Attock, Multan, Kashmir, Peshawar and Jamrud.

On behalf of SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami, SGPC’s publicity incharge Harbhajan Singh Vakta appealed to the Pakistan government and the Evacuee Property Trust Board to clarify on the matter. He has also approached Amir Singh, president, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, in this regard.

Source: Tribune India

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

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/sgpc-flays-removal-of-nalwas-statue-in-pak-367107

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ECP stops Maulana Fazl from holding public meetings in DI Khan

February 5, 2022

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: The Dera Ismail Khan election commissioner on Friday directed the district administration to stop the public meetings of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in Yarik area on Feb 5 and in Baisakhi area on Feb 7 as they amounted to violation of the election code of conduct.

Mr Rehman is scheduled to address a public meeting in Yarik on Saturday (today), and a rally at the Baisakhi Ground on Monday as part of the election campaign of his party’s candidate for the Dera city mayor slot.

Election commissioner Hayatullah Jan has issued written instructions to the deputy commissioner and the district police officer to stop these meetings.

It merits a mention here that a rally will be organised on the Yarik interchange of the Hakla-DI Khan Motorway to welcome JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Saturday.

The second phase of the local body elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is scheduled for March 27.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1673339/ecp-stops-maulana-fazl-from-holding-public-meetings-in-di-khan

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesian preacher criticized for 'justifying' domestic violence

Katharina Reny Lestari

February 04, 2022

Catholics and rights activists in Indonesia have expressed disappointment at a sermon by a well-known Muslim woman preacher that they claim justified domestic violence.

Oki Setiana Dewi was narrating a quarrel between a couple from Jeddah during a sermon uploaded on her TikTok account on Feb. 2. In the video, she is seen explaining how in a fit of rage the husband slapped the wife but she chose not to tell her visiting mother about it.

“There is no need to tell a story that makes us vilify our own partner,” she concluded.

Justina Rostiawati, chairperson of the Jakarta-based Catholic Women of the Republic of Indonesia (WKRI), disapproved of the manner in which Dewi spoke, displaying no empathy for victims of domestic violence.

“She mentioned the story as an example of how a wife has to cover her husband’s disgrace … a housewife who always has to show her piety, goodness and beauty,” Rostiawati told UCA News on Feb. 4.

Rostiawati, a former member of the National Commission on Violence against Women, said the sermon can drive victims of domestic violence into a corner.

“This is very dangerous because a home, which should be a safe place, can turn into hell without others knowing,” she explained.

“The sermon encourages victims of domestic violence, particularly women, to keep silent and to bury their wounds for their whole life. They can even die in their home.”

She suggested that the preacher find appropriate examples for her sermons.

Lukman Hakim, a researcher at the Civil Muslim Network, said in a statement that the preacher’s sermon had the potential to justify domestic violence.

“Remember, all religions do not accept verbal and physical violence,” he said. “Domestic violence is a crime instead of a mere disgrace. It cannot be tolerated and ignored. It is very dangerous and threatens family harmony and the life of victims.”

Source: UCA News

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

https://www.ucanews.com/news/indonesian-preacher-criticized-for-justifying-domestic-violence/95988

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God’s guardians on earth: how young Muslims in Indonesia turn to faith for environmental activism

February 5, 2022

Our study of young environmental activists in Indonesia found that Muslim youth activists based their environmentalism firmly on their knowledge of Islam. They see themselves as khalifahs – or God’s lieutenants on earth – undertaking the sacred task of guarding the natural world.

This echoes the growing popularity of “green Islam” as an important global youth agenda.

Indonesia has a poor record on environmental protection. There are significant problems of pollution and deforestation, despite hundreds of regulations and laws governing environmental management and protection. As Indonesia has grown economically, so has the negative impact on its environment.

Amid that concerning trend, some pious and fervent young Muslim environmentalists are committed to raising the consciousness of peers about ecological crises. They view environmental pollution and destruction as haram, or forbidden by Islamic law.

Tapping into religious epiphany

For the study, we talked to 20 environmental activists, aged 19–23, from campuses in Java and Sumatra. These young Muslim activists had solid academic knowledge that they used to shape their views on environmental practices based on Islamic theology.

For example, Pertiwi in Palembang, South Sumatra, attended an Islamic boarding school (or “pesantren”) where she studied Quranic verses in depth.

Later at university she joined a group campaigning against pollution of the Musi River through awareness-raising in riverside communities, lobbying major industrial polluters and organising river clean-up days.

Pertiwi says she based her environmental activism on a surah (chapter) in the Quran about the destruction of the Earth.

“Look at our ancestors, Allah [God] became very angry with them, right? He was not only angry because of human nature itself damaging the environment, but because of human actions directly violating something Allah had created,” she said.

She considers damaging the environment as haram, including littering.

“It violates the work of the Creator (…) God sees, hears and knows what humans do,” she explains.

Classmate Fahmi, on the other hand, studied chemical engineering. He joined the Palembang chapter of Sobat Bumi, an environmental movement initiated by Indonesia’s state-owned oil and natural gas corporation, Pertamina.

Fahmi experienced a religious epiphany when climbing up through cloud forests in a national park where he realised the truth of what was said in the Quran.

“If someone takes care of the surrounding environment, then God will look after them, both in this world and in the hereafter. […] And His gratitude is truly manifested when we come to regret mistakes such as littering the fresh environment that gives us the air we breathe,” he said.

One of our other respondents in Bandung, West Java, Iin was an active member of Youth for Climate Change (YFCC) Indonesia. She believes it is an order from God for humans to behave as a khalifah, or God’s guardians on Earth.

“The term khalifah is mentioned in the verse that states, ‘[The] Lord said to the angels: 'I am placing on the Earth one that shall rule as My deputy [viceregent or lieutenant]’” she quotes (Quran 2:30).

She also took pride in her career aspirations in nature conservation.

“I know the salary will not be as big as what I would get working for an oil and gas company. But I don’t have a problem with that, because I have been paid by God with my breath, food to eat and the means to live my daily life,” she said.

In the capital Jakarta, meanwhile, another participant in our study named Heri joined a university-led campaign to clean up the Ciliwung River – one of the most polluted rivers in the world.

“There is environmental education in my religion. Harmony must be both vertical and horizontal, ”hablum minallah, hablun minannas“. It explains how you should interact socially with the environment,” Heri who attended a madrasah (Islamic school) said.

Heri’s words echo those of Mustofa Bisri (commonly known as Gus Mus), a popular theologian affiliated with Indonesia’s largest Muslim organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). He once tweeted that human life in the world is not only related to Allah (hablum minallah), but also to fellow humans (hablum minannas) and to the environment/nature (hablum minal alam).

It references the Quranic paradigm of holding fast to the “rope” of God as a multi-dimensional article of faith, one that encodes the common theological belief of harmony – “as above, so below”.

The young activists often drew on these Quranic references to explain their moral responsibility of conservation and reparation. The purity of nature was understood to reflect God’s transcendent goodness in creation.

They felt a moral duty to prevent other Indonesians from causing environmental pollution and destruction. They also campaigned actively to bring local Muslim polluters and destroyers back to the faith.

For example, a favoured T-shirt depicted the crescent moon and star, stating: “Even when doomsday comes, if someone has a palm shoot in his hand, he should plant it.”

The young activists sometimes alluded to their environmental struggle as an arduous journey guided by God. Yet they were not disheartened as they believed they would be rewarded in the hereafter for their work as a khalifah.

Source: The Conversation

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

https://theconversation.com/gods-guardians-on-earth-how-young-muslims-in-indonesia-turn-to-faith-for-environmental-activism-176278?85D8F668-F604-3743-ADF8-51340B8EF625_kis_cup_C6FA3ED5_6D17_47D1_B6E2_F4B02CC905E0_

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Jokowi drums up support for Nusantara from Muslim group, sultans

February 5, 2022

BALIKPAPAN: President Joko Widodo is drumming up support for Nusantara, Indonesia’s planned new capital city, from the country’s largest Muslim group, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), as well as local sultanates and indigenous communities – amid loud criticism in Jakarta.

The president earlier this week flew to the city of Balikpapan in East Kalimantan Province, in the Indonesian part of Borneo island, where NU was holding a ceremony to inaugurate members of its new national executive board.

The Muslim group declared a plan to build a main office near the proposed site of new capital Nusantara in Penajam Paser Utara regency, just next to Balikpapan.

Widodo told the inauguration ceremony on Monday that he would grant NU a “big (land) concession”, although it was not clear if that plot would be for the NU office in Penajam.

Yahya Cholil Staquf, the newly elected chairman of NU, applauded the government’s decision to move the capital as an “out-of-the-box” proposal.

“It’s becoming clearer and clearer that building a new capital here in East Kalimantan … will be an effective initiative to develop a better future for this nation,” Staquf said during the ceremony which was also attended by Vice-President Ma’ruf Amin, a senior NU cleric.

NU with its traditional Indonesian brand of Islam is the largest Muslim group in the world’s most populous Muslim nation, with tens of millions of followers across the archipelago.

Its support for Widodo since the 2014 presidential election was a key reason for the former furniture maker’s win then and in 2019. Widodo announced the capital relocation plan after his reelection.

The plan had been put on the back burner since the beginning of the pandemic, but parliament’s passage of the law on the new capital city on Jan 18 – which includes naming it Nusantara – has put it back in motion.

Despite rising numbers of Covid cases driven by the Omicron variant in Jakarta and some other parts of Java island, preparatory works have been ongoing in Penajam.

These works include the building of basic infrastructures such as a dam for clean water supply and access roads through a vast acacia and eucalyptus plantation that will host a new presidential palace and other government offices.

The government is preparing regulations to accelerate development, including the planned establishment of the Nusantara Capital City Authority.

An initial clause in the law has been removed that required the capital relocation to start in the first half of 2024, when Indonesia will elect its new president.

But officials in Jakarta said they were still aiming to have the new palace ready for the Independence Day ceremony on Aug 17, 2024, just a few months before Widodo’s tenure ends.

The law, however, has sparked wider controversies, with critics questioning the urgency of the move and calling it a waste of money – in addition to concerns over potential impacts on the environment and indigenous people in East Kalimantan.

In Balikpapan, Widodo met with representatives of indigenous communities including heads of the Kutai Kertanegara and Paser sultanates.

Although these small kingdoms were established centuries ago, like others scattered across the Indonesian archipelago, the sultanates have little power apart from some cultural influence over their territories.

After the meeting, Kutai Sultan Muhammad Arifin said he “fully supports” the move.

Paser Sultan Muhammad Jarnawi similarly said the sultanate “enthusiastically welcomes” the plan and hopes that the new capital “will be immediately built” – but reminded the government to protect the forests.

Representatives of some other indigenous groups, including the Dayak Kenya and Banjar, asked the government to involve their people in building Nusantara.

“The capital city development will be a long-term work – probably won’t finish in five to 15 years,” said Syarifuddin HR, head of a Banjar group.

“We’re only asking the president to please pay attention to our human resources so that our brothers, our (young) generation can later compete … with newcomers from elsewhere.”

In Jakarta, the controversy around the capital relocation has taken a new twist with the recent arrest of Edy Mulyadi, a former politician of the opposition Prosperous Justice Party, or PKS, over alleged insults of Kalimantan people.

In a video that went viral in which he criticised the move, Mulyadi baselessly said that the new capital development was part of China’s covert operations to install its citizens there.

He said, “(The capital) will be moved to a place where genies dump kids,” citing an Indonesian proverb commonly used to refer to remote and desolate places.

“It’s probably OK to build there if their (target) market is kuntilanak and genderuwo,” he added, referring to evil creatures in local urban legends.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2022/02/05/jokowi-drums-up-support-for-nusantara-from-muslim-group-sultans/

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Analysts: Winning big in Johor will give Umno confidence to call for early national polls

05 Feb 2022

BY SYED JAYMAL ZAHIID

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 ― A clear-cut victory in Umno’s birthplace of Johor will likely boost morale and embolden calls for an early general election, political analysts said.

The faction led by party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is said to be eyeing an early general election, which rivals claim to be motivated by hopes that returning Barisan Nasional (BN) to power could affect the corruption trials of several party leaders.

So far, all signs have been positive. The Umno-led BN trampled rivals in the Melaka state elections with a supermajority, while its Borneon allies, the Coalition of Sarawak Parties (GPS), decimated Pakatan Harapan to retain power in a state polls held just months prior, bagging more seats than it won in the previous polls.

GPS members were formerly BN component members but left after the coalition lost in the 2018 general election. Still, it has remained friendly with Umno since.

Should Umno succeed in replicating the Melaka election results in Johor, where it secured 21 of the 28 legislative assembly seats, pundits believe Zahid’s faction would likely press Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to call for elections quickly, as it seeks to capitalise on the momentum.

“The indicator in Johor would be a clear-cut victory like Melaka,” said Kartini Aboo Talib, political analyst with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

“I’m sure the battle will be interesting to see, especially among the Malay political parties (that are facing) division and disintegration,” she added, referring to the rumours about tension between Ismail and Zahid’s camps.

Pundits like Oh Ei Sun, a fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, believed that Ismail, a party vice-president who was seen as open to working with rivals Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, would likely try to delay calling for early elections in a bid to consolidate his position.

“With yet another supermajority win in Johor after Melaka, a momentum within Umno, or at least its mainstream faction headed by Zahid, would be created, such that the prevalent sentiment would be Umno should ride this winning streak into a snap poll,” Oh said.

“But if Ismail were to resist this call, he would be seen as working against the interest of the party.”

The party has dismissed the rumour as an attempt to drive a wedge between Umno’s top leaders.

Its information chief, Shahril Hamdan, who is also economic adviser to the prime minister, said the decision to nominate Ismail as prime minister received the unanimous support of the supreme council, and that Zahid had made several public statements indicating his disinterest in the post.

Another landslide?

Analysts polled by Malay Mail have rated the prospect of Umno scoring huge in Johor highly, despite some pointing to the possibility of PAS and Bersatu splitting the Malay votes.

“Umno-BN is going all out to repeat what happens in Melaka to Johor,” according to Kartini.

“PAS has no ground in Johor despite the state being Muslim-Malay majority. The intra-ethnic Malays groups are diverse in Johor thus the idea of Bangsa Johor is strongly advocated by the Istana and Umno,” she added.

“Meanwhile, Bersatu as a splinter of Umno, might have a difficult time convincing the people they betrayed in 14th GE, So, even if PAS-Bersatu maintains its Perikatan Nasional alliance, it will not do much to sway Bangsa Johor.”

State polls and by-elections, although not necessarily reflecting the national mood, have always provided useful insight for political strategists to gauge and predict voting sentiment.

That means Umno will likely have been buoyed by the spate of by-election victories post 2018 and its resurgence in the Sabah and Melaka polls, according to James Chin, political analyst with the University of Tasmania.

A two-thirds majority in Johor would then be enough to convince the leadership to force an early general election as it seeks to ride on the momentum.

“Momentum is a very important factor in the way elections are called for in Malaysia, you need momentum and that means they would try and go for a two-thirds majority in Johor,” Chin said.

Source: Malay Mail

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2022/02/05/analysts-winning-big-in-johor-will-give-umno-confidence-to-call-for-early-n/2039505

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Mideast

 

3 Members of Anti-Iran Separatist Terrorist Group Found Guilty by Danish Court

2022-February-4

The Danish court convicted the three men of financing and supporting terrorist activities in Iran in collaboration with Saudi Arabia's intelligence services, as well as engaging in espionage activities, the Danish media Ritzau reported.

The report also said he three men face prison terms of up to 12 years for numerous offenses, including providing information about Danish and foreign organizations and individuals to the Saudi Arabian intelligence service.

All three men were arrested two years ago and have been in custody ever since.

They also face potential deportation, and one also risks having his Danish citizenship revoked.

Habib Farajollah Chaab, also known as Habib Asyud, the ringleader of the so-called Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz terrorist group (SMLA), appeared in court on Wednesday.

At the hearing, Amin Vaziri, the prosecutor’s representative, said Chaab is accused of corruption on earth through forming, managing and heading the SMLA, as well as planning and carrying out terrorist operations, and destroying public property.

“Members of this terrorist group visited Saudi Arabia annually under the guise of Hajj to carry out the plans dictated by the Saudi intelligence agency. These plans included actions against innocent citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he added.

Vaziri also displayed the picture of a meeting between the Saudi culture minister and an SMLA member, who was arrested in the Netherlands for terrorist acts and sentenced to four years in prison. He further showed the photo of an invitation sent to the militant by the Saudi king.

Another picture showed a meeting between the SMLA spokesman and the Saudi king.

Additionally, the prosecutor’s representative pointed to the ties between the SMLA and Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

He also presented written documents that showed Chaab had dealings with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The defendant, Vaziri said, has over the past years infiltrated into non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and even charities to attract and organize SMLA members.

As the trial continued, images were displayed of intelligence and military elements of the terrorist group, who freely engage in terrorist acts against innocent Iranians in Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Based on an indictment, he is charged with “leading and heading the SMLA terrorist group as well as planning and carrying out numerous bombing and terrorist operations in Khuzestan Province and destroying public property in order to counter the Islamic Republic of Iran’s establishment”.

He is also charged with bombing operations at the Housing and Urban Development Office, Planning and Budget Organization, and Department of Environment in Ahvaz.

Chaab’s other charges include bombing operations targeting the governorates of Dezful and Abadan and oil pipelines in the cities of Abadan, Ahvaz, and Mahshahr, and also planning a bombing attack against Ahvaz’s Judiciary office.

In September 2018, the SMLA claimed responsibility for an attack on a military parade in Ahvaz that killed 25 people, including members of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and civilian bystanders, and injured 70 others.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the prosecutor's representative said the SMLA's operations are designed with the Saudi backing in Sweden and Denmark, where the group's ringleaders are residing.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001115000452/3-Members-f-Ani-Iran-Separais-Terrris-Grp-Fnd-Gily-by-Danish-Cr

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IRGC Commander: US Maximum Pressure Policy Fails Disgracefully

2022-February-4

"Since the glorious victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, enemies of Iran have left no stone unturned to undermine and tarnish real image of the Islamic Revolution, but the Iranians managed to foil all conspiracies and plots waged against the country," General Salami said.

He reiterated that even the US cannot even admit to its failure in imposition of the economic sanctions imposed on Iran.

"I dare say that no country, even the United States itself, can withstand in the face of these oppressive sanctions imposed against Islamic Republic of Iran, but these malicious plots were thwarted under the wise leadership of the Islamic Revolution," General Salami pointed out.

The IRGC commander expressed the hope that economic problems facing Iranians would be resolved due to the unsparing efforts of the government officials.

In a relevant development in late January, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei underlined that the enemies' economic war against Iran was aimed at bringing about economic collapse for the country.

"The goal of the enemies in this war has been the collapse of the Iranian economy; that was their intention. Now, the collapse of the economy was, of course, a prelude in order to set the people against the Islamic Republic by destroying the Iranian economy and to carry out their malicious political intentions in this way," Ayatollah Khamenei said in a meeting with a group of the country's manufacturers and officials in the economic and industry sector on Sunday morning in Imam Khomeini Hussainiyyah.

Referring to his advice to Iranian officials about not tying the country's economy to the results of the Vienna talks, he added, "I always repeat that you should not condition the country's economy and economic activities. Do not pause over something that we do not have. We should use our efforts to meet our needs. And thank God we have very good capacities in this regard."

The Supreme Leader lauded the Iranian manufacturers, entrepreneurs and workers as officers of the battle against the enemies' economic war, and said that their work has greatly contributed to Iran's resistance against the enemy.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001115000442/IRGC-Cmmander-US-Maximm-Pressre-Plicy-Fails-Disgraceflly

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Difference between criticism of Israeli state and anti-Semitism at heart of teacher’s lawsuit

February 05, 2022

CHICAGO: Attorneys for a 26-year-old Jewish woman who was fired from her teaching job at a New York Synagogue for criticizing Israel told Arab News that the lawsuit she has filed to get her job back shines a light on the important difference between criticism of the actions of the Israeli state and anti-Semitism.

Jessie Sander was hired last year to teach at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, New York. Weeks later, on July 21, she was fired because of her criticism, in a post on a personal blog, of Israel’s government.

On Jan. 25, Sander filed a lawsuit arguing that Temple leaders had dismissed her in violation of a New York state labor law “which prohibits an employer from firing an employee because of a legal, recreational activity performed without compensation, off the premises of the employer, and without reference to the employer’s property,” according to attorney Robert Herbst of Herbst Law. He noted that only a few states have similar laws.

“We are trying to say to established Jewish institutions, temples, schools, you can’t excommunicate your young people — who grew up and were educated by your institutions in Jewish religious and moral principles — you can’t excommunicate them because they want to apply them in good faith to what they think is wrongdoing on behalf of a Jewish State in its treatment of Palestinians,” Herbst told Arab News.

“If you do it, there will be a cost and we will call you out for it. That’s what we are trying to say.

“There have been a slew of really well-meaning people who have been fired, canceled or harmed because they are trying to uphold the principles that they were taught, the moral and religious tenets of their faith and it is a shame.”

In a statement to Arab News, Sander said: “I’m bringing this lawsuit because I am deeply invested in keeping Jewish institutions thriving, pluralistic spaces that welcome all Jews.

“It’s important to keep wrestling with Zionism and having difficult conversations, even if it makes us uncomfortable.”

In her blog post, Sander wrote: “We reject the notion that Zionism is a value of Judaism. Zionism is not equivalent to, or a necessary component of, Jewish identity. To conflate Zionism and Judaism is not only inaccurate but dangerous; if we do not understand the difference between settler colonialism and religion, we run the risk of spreading deeply anti-Semitic narratives about the nature of Judaism. ... As American Jews, we demand an end to American funding of Palestinian genocide. ... Jews in the United States must speak out against genocide in our name and state-sponsored murder disguised as support for Jewish people.”

Sanders is demanding she be reinstated to her position as a Jewish Learning Lab teacher at the Temple. Herbst said her case is the first time that this New York labor law has been used by a plaintiff in a lawsuit.

“We are hoping that the message will get sent,” he said.

In the wider context, he said that the case highlights the important distinction between legitimate political criticism and anti-Semitic comments.

“This is the distinction we activists in the field are trying to make clear in these statements about anti-Semitism that have come up,” said Herbst.

“The establishment institutions behind the first definition are trying to say that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. What those of us who support the Jerusalem Declaration second-grade statement against anti-Semitism are trying to say is, no, no, no, you have to distinguish carefully between criticisms of the government of Israel and the actions that Israel takes as a State, from hatred of Israel, the Jewish people.”

He added that Jewish people such as Sander who criticize the policies of the Israeli government should not be punished for their opinions.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2018531/middle-east

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Iran Calls for Broadening of Ties with OIC

2022-February-4

During the phone conversation today, Amir Abdollahian expressed his appreciation of the OIC chief efforts for the reopening of Iran's OIC office in Jeddah.

He also reviewed the problems of the Islamic world and the Islamic Ummah, the procedure of bilateral and multilateral cooperation between Iran and the OIC, the reopening of Iran's representative office in the OIC as well as a number of other regional issues.

The OIC secretary general, for his part, welcomed reopening of Iran's office in Jeddah and Tehran's active participation in the organization and underlined the role of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a founding and active member of the OIC.

He said the OIC will fail to solve the problems of the Islamic world in absence of the active participation of all Islamic countries.

Amirabdollahian invited Taha to visit Iran which was welcomed by him.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001115000176/Iran-Calls-fr-Bradening-f-Ties-wih-OIC

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Iran, Iraq FMs Call for End to Yemen Crisis

2022-February-4

During their phone talk on Thursday, the Iranian and Iraqi foreign ministers exchanged views on the developments in the region, including Yemen, and the need to halt the war in Yemen which causes insecurity and instability in the entire region.

Amir Abdollahian and Hussein, meantime, reviewed bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries.

In a relevant development in mid-January, Senior Assistant to the Iranian Foreign Minister for Special Political Affairs Ali Asqar Khaji and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grunberg discussed ways to resolve the crisis in the war-hit country.

During the phone conversation, Khaji sadi that the people of Yemen will make the final decision on their country's future, adding that the lifting of the oppressive blockade could trigger a political settlement in the country.

He referred to the UN key role in resolving the Yemen crisis, saying that lack of trust exists in the negotiations progress.

“Rebuilding trust should be accompanied by taking practical measures, specially in the field of humanitarian affairs,” Khaji said.

Grunberg, for his part, said that the UN is currently assessing different points of view and seeks to take into account the concerns of various Yemeni groups in its future plans while advancing its short-term priorities in accordance with the long-term goals.

Leading several of its allies, Saudi Arabia started the war on the Arab world’s already poorest nation in March 2015 to change the country’s ruling structure in favor of its former Riyadh-allied government.

The war has stopped short of the goal, while killing tens of thousands of Yemenis in the process and turning the entire country into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001115000230/Iran-Ira-FMs-Call-fr-End-Yemen-Crisis

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US grants sanctions relief to Iran as nuke talks in balance

05 February ,2022

The Biden administration on Friday restored some sanctions relief to Iran’s atomic program as talks aimed at salvaging the languishing 2015 nuclear deal enter a critical phase.

As US negotiators head back to Vienna for what could be a make-or-break session, Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed several sanctions waivers related to Iran’s civilian nuclear activities. The move reverses the Trump administration’s decision to rescind them.

The waivers are intended to entice Iran to return to compliance with the 2015 deal that it has been violating since former President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and re-imposed US sanctions. Iran says it is not respecting the terms of the deal because the US pulled out of it first.

Iran has demanded the restoration of all sanctions relief it was promised under the deal to return to compliance.

Friday’s move lifts the sanctions threat against foreign countries and companies from Russia, China and Europe that had been cooperating with non-military parts of Iran’s nuclear program under the terms of the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

The Trump administration had ended the so-called “civ-nuke” waivers in May 2020 as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran that began when Trump withdrew the US from the deal in 2018, complaining that it was the worst diplomatic agreement ever negotiated and gave Iran a pathway to developing the bomb.

As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden made a US return to the nuclear deal a priority, and his administration has pursued that goal but there has been little progress toward that end since he took office a year ago. Administration officials said the waivers were being restored to help push the Vienna negotiations forward.

“The waiver with respect to these activities is designed to facilitate discussions that would help to close a deal on a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA and lay the groundwork for Iran’s return to performance of its JCPOA commitments,” the State Department said in a notice to Congress that announced the move.

“It is also designed to serve US nonproliferation and nuclear safety interests and constrain Iran’s nuclear activities,” the department said. “It is being issued as a matter of policy discretion with these objectives in mind, and not pursuant to a commitment or as part of a quid pro quo. We are focused on working with partners and allies to counter the full range of threats that Iran poses.”

A copy of the State Department notice and the actual waivers signed by Blinken were obtained by The Associated Press.

The waivers permit foreign countries and companies to work on civilian projects at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power station, its Arak heavy water plant and the Tehran Research Reactor. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had revoked the waivers in May, 2020, accusing Iran of “nuclear extortion” for continuing and expanding work at the sites.

Critics of the nuclear deal who lobbied Trump to withdraw from it protested, arguing that even if the Biden administration wants to return to the 2015 deal it should at least demand some concessions from Iran before up front granting it sanctions relief.

“From a negotiating perspective, they look desperate: we’ll waive sanctions before we even have a deal, just say yes to anything!” said Rich Goldberg, a vocal deal opponent who is a senior adviser to the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/05/US-grants-sanctions-relief-to-Iran-as-nuke-talks-in-balance

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Hamas slams upcoming meeting of PLO's Central Council

Ramzi Mahmoud  

04.02.2022

GAZA CITY, Palestine

Hamas group on Friday criticized an upcoming meeting of Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Central Council, scheduled for Feb. 6, in Ramallah city.

“There is no legitimacy for any meeting that is held unilaterally, far from national consensus and the majority of the powers that factions and major influential Palestinian components are absent from it,” Hamas said in a statement.

The Central Council is a smaller assembly emanating from the National Council, the highest legislative body for Palestinians at home and abroad, and is affiliated with the PLO.

Notably, the PLO does not include, so far, Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups.

Hamas pointed out that "there is no legitimacy for any Palestinian council that does not come through elections or by comprehensive national consensus."

The movement considered that the "insistence" to hold the Central Council meeting without a "national consensus" indicates a "suspicious agenda and foreign interventions that want to impose proactive arrangements on the Palestinian arena."

The council is scheduled to elect members of the PLO’s Executive Committee to succeed personalities who have died or resigned, and a new head of the National Council, in place of Salim al-Zanoun, who recently submitted his resignation.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/hamas-slams-upcoming-meeting-of-plos-central-council/2494281

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Africa

 

Ottomans credited for Libya's unification, says historian

Muhammed Artima  

05.02.2022

TRIPOLI, Libya

A Libyan historian credited the Ottoman Empire for demarcating and unifying Libya's geographical borders.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Mahmoud al-Deek said the history of the Ottomans and Libyans is strongly interlinked.

“Since 1551, we have had geographical borders, and this was done during the Ottoman era," said al-Deek. “The history of the Ottoman Empire and Libya is one. We have common symbols such as Turgut Pasha and Yusuf Pasha al-Qarmanli."

Al-Qarmanli is a reference to the city of Karaman in southcentral Turkiye.

Al-Deek pointed out that Yusuf Pasha is one of the strong personalities that built the al-Qarmanli family, originally from Karaman but settled in Libya and became Libyans with Yusuf Pasha going on to become one of the strong personalities in the Mediterranean.

Historically, Libya has had close relations with Turkiye. At the beginning of 1551, Tripoli came under Ottoman sovereignty and Turks intermarried with Libyans and joined the Tripolitan society.

Since 1711, Tripoli was ruled by the al-Qarmanli family, which began with the rule of Ahmed al-Qarmanli, who installed himself as ruler at that time as an Ottoman governor.

The al-Qaramanli family continued to rule Tripoli until 1835 as representatives of the Ottoman Empire until the latter assumed direct rule. In 1911, Italy invaded Libya, bringing an end to Ottoman rule. 

American defeat

Al-Deek narrated an incident where the US was keen to control trade in the Mediterranean and refused to pay tax to the ruler Yusuf Pasha.

"The American consul at the time refused to pay the tax and said at the time that this pasha should be disciplined, and then America sent the huge Philadelphia ship," he said.

Al-Deek pointed out that the ship came to Tripoli, but it drifted to the port and was stuck in the sand, allowing Yusuf Pasha to seize it -- an act the Americans considered a great defeat.

"There were 300 American prisoners (officers and soldiers) in the hands of Yusuf Pasha,” said al-Deek. He said Libyans “are proud Yusuf Pasha was a symbol of the resistance and a symbol of the Islamic struggle against Europeans and Americans.” 

Resisting Crusades

The historian pointed out that "from the era of Turgut Pasha to 1911, the Europeans could not occupy Tripoli or even threaten it significantly."

"Turgut was a very important figure in the history of Libya having left great fingerprints in the city of Tripoli,” he said.

More importantly, he added, Turgut ensured that Tripoli was safe from the Christian crusades despite his old age.

A famous Ottoman commander, Turgut Pasha -- also known as Turgut Rais meaning Chief Turgut -- is known for his successive victories in the Mediterranean and Black seas. He is considered one of the most prominent commanders of the Ottoman navy. Many ships and towns bear his name in his memory.

Al-Deek also noted that Turgut was "one of the sailors who led the Ottoman fleets in the Mediterranean and lived under the custody of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, and thus he embodies the arm of the Ottoman Empire in the Mediterranean."

Turgut “carried out very important works in the city of Tripoli, such as fortifications and maintenance of the city” as well as “expanded the control of the Ottomans toward the (Tunisian) island of Djerba," he noted.

Al-Deek called for a special conference in honor of Turgut Pasha "to clarify” his real history as a mujahid amid accusations that he was a pirate.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/culture/ottomans-credited-for-libyas-unification-says-historian/2494517

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Morocco, king orders prayers in mosques against drought

04 FEBRUARY

RABAT, FEBRUARY 4 - Mosques across Morocco will pray for rain on Friday. The call for prayer was launched across the country by the minister for Islamic affairs, at the order of King Mohammed VI. The prayer refers to a verse in the Koran and the words of Prophet Mohammed urging to "pray each time rain is awaited".

This year the deficit of rain has reached record levels; reserves in dams are at an historic low, with levels of 34% compared to 46% last year. Agriculture, which represents approximately 14% of GDP, is seriously compromised by the drought, which comes after a two-year-long health crisis. In a recent address to Parliament, Agriculture Minister Mohammed Sadiki said "the upcoming season is one of the hardest over the past 30 years".

Out of 12 regions in Morocco, only four are not suffering due to lack of water for the time being: the northern regions between Fez, Tangiers, Rabat and Casablanca. The south has been hit hard. In Marrakech, since the start of the year, water has been rationed: it is forbidden to water gardens, public parks and sports fields. After the warmest year on the planet, 2020, when for example Agadir closed water distribution during the night, Morocco in 2021 reached temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius during the day and 30 degrees at night.

Source: Ansamed

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https://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/environment/2022/02/04/morocco-king-orders-prayers-in-mosques-against-drought_9f10b5fb-fc33-43da-b408-b9406b38540e.html

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Rescuers edge closer to five-year old boy trapped in well in Morocco

04 February ,2022

Moroccan rescue workers on Friday came closer to reaching a young child trapped at the bottom of a well in a delicate operation to dig out large parts of a hillside where there is a risk of landslide.

The five-year old boy, publicly identified only by his first name, Rayan, fell into the well in the northern hill town of Chefchaouen on Tuesday and his plight has gripped the North African country.

“I ask Moroccans to pray for the safe return of my son,” Rayan's distraught mother said in footage shown on local media. State news outlet SNRT News quoted a rescuer on Friday saying the boy was still alive.

The well is 32 meters deep and narrows as it descends from its 45cm (18 inches) diameter at the top, which means the rescuers cannot go down themselves to retrieve the child.

The hilly region around Chefchaouen is bitterly cold in winter and though food has been lowered to Rayan, it was not clear whether he has eaten any.

He has also been supplied with water and oxygen using a tube.

Rescuers have worked through the night with bulldozers to cut a massive trench into the hill next to the well leaving a gaping hole in the reddish earth.

Once they reach the same depth as the well the rescuers can start digging horizontally to save him, a witness told Reuters, confirming reports by local media.

One of the rescue team told local media on Friday: “We are preparing the most critical and most complicated rescue step ... we need to dig horizontally three to five meters.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2022/02/04/Rescuers-edge-closer-to-five-year-old-boy-trapped-in-well-in-Morocco

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Tanzania's ruling party lauds unsung heroes of South Africa’s liberation struggle

Kizito Makoye  

04.02.2022

MOROGORO, Tanzania

Tanzania’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party has hailed exiled members of South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) party who sacrificed their lives during the liberation struggle against the apartheid regime.

Dorothy Mwamsiku, CCM chairwoman for the Morogoro region, said at a great personal cost to themselves, exiled members of the ANC who lived in Morogoro used every political weapon to defeat the divisive apartheid era and fight for freedom and democracy in their country.

“We honor them for the resolve and bravery they had shown during their country’s liberation struggle. South Africa as it is today has been defined by the strength of those men and women who helped defeat the apartheid era," she said.

According to Mwamsiku, although it is almost impossible to speak about South Africa’s fight for freedom without mentioning Nelson Mandela, the country’s first democratically elected president, there were other men and women who helped wage a persistent battle for freedom to get to the point where every voice was heard.

She expressed her gratitude to the people of Morogoro for showing strong moral support to exiled ANC members during the difficult time of repression in South Africa, adding the experience has helped cement relations between the two parties, which have long developed a habit of working together.

Popular movements

The emergence of organized popular liberation movements across Africa after the Second World War was crucial for achieving independence for many African countries.

As a staunch opponent of colonial rule in Africa, Tanzania played a pivotal role in assisting other African nations in their liberation struggles.

Julius Nyerere, the architect of Tanzania’s independence and the country’s first president, was a key figure in the struggle against foreign domination and helped promote the concept of Pan-African unity.

Observers say that Tanzania’s support for the ANC’s liberation movement went beyond rhetoric as Nyerere encouraged unity and solidarity among Africans.

According to Mwamsiku, Nyerere, who dedicated his entire life to the wellbeing of humanity, played a very important role in the struggle for South Africa’s independence.

The country offered itself as a base for those fighting for liberation, including South Africa.

“These movements benefitted from the safety and stability of the country, as well as the experience and guidance they received from Tanzania, which by then had already achieved independence,” she said.

Although the most visible contributions to South Africa’s liberation struggle apparently came from Tanzania’s political elites, Mwamsiku said ordinary citizens, notably the people of Morogoro, were generally very supportive of the cause for freedom.

“The people of Morogoro and Tanzanians in general were very friendly and supportive to their brothers and sisters from South Africa,” she said.

Enduring legacy

A billboard bearing the message “Tell my people that I love them and that they must continue the struggle. My blood will nourish the trees that will bear the fruits of freedom, Aluta continua” at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Morogoro captures the enduring legacy of South African freedom fighter Solomon Mahlangu, who was brutally executed by the apartheid regime.

Perched at the foot of the rolling Uluguru Mountains are lively villages spanning the lush green scenery of Mazimbu -- the place where freedom fighters took refuge while waging a war against the repressive system back in South Africa.

Ali Mkopa, a resident of Mazimbu, who was a small boy when the first batch of ANC freedom fighters arrived in Morogoro seeking political asylum, hailed Nyerere for offering swathes of land to the exiled South Africans to settle and establish their political base.

“The freedom fighters felt at home here. They really had no hope of going back home. The situation there made them feel they would never return,” he told Anadolu Agency.

Mazimbu, which attracted a growing number of ANC exiles who flocked to the country after the 1976 Soweto uprising, also served as a political strategy center for the freedom fighters.

“Some of them learned Swahili and freely mingled with members of the Tanzanian society,” Mkopa said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/tanzanias-ruling-party-lauds-unsung-heroes-of-south-africa-s-liberation-struggle/2493887

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North America

 

US eases restrictions on funds transfer to Afghanistan

Anwar Iqbal

February 5, 2022

WASHINGTON: In a major move towards easing restrictions on Afghanistan, the United States has now decided to allow international banks to transfer money to the country for humanitarian purposes.

A directive issued by the US Department of Treasury earlier this week also allows aid groups to pay teachers and healthcare workers at state-run institutions without the fear of breaching US sanctions on the Taliban.

“Both US and non-US companies can ship food to Afghanistan, and banks can process financial transfers and other transactions associated with food shipments to Afghanistan,” said the directive issued in Washington.

The Treasury also outlined permitted transactions involving the Taliban, which includes the blacklisted Haqqani Network.

These include signing agreements to provide aid directly to the Afghan people, general aid coordination, including import administration, and sharing of office space.

“Payments of taxes, fees, or import duties to, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licences, or public utility services from” the Taliban, Haqqani Network or any entity in which they own more than 50 per cent is authorised for humanitarian operations, the directive said.

It explained that “US sanctions do not specifically prohibit the exportation or re-exportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices to Afghanistan”.

The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control also issued a general licence, which authorises “US persons to engage in all transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the exportation or re-exportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, replacement parts, and components for medical devices, or software updates for medical devices to Afghanistan”.

The directive, known as GL 15, allows persons in third countries as well to purchase these items specifically for resale to Afghanistan. Non-US persons may engage in or facilitate transactions that would be authorised for US persons under GL 15.

GL 15 also authorises US persons to engage in transactions or activities that are ordinarily incidental and necessary to authorised exports or re-exports, including the processing of financial transactions and related clearing and settlement involving privately-owned and state-owned banks in Afghanistan.

The United States froze about $9.5 billion of Afghan assets after the fall of Kabul in August last to prevent the Taliban from accessing them. The frozen Afghan assets are the second-largest seized by the US since the Iranian assets frozen in the 1980s.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1673372/us-eases-restrictions-on-funds-transfer-to-afghanistan

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US grants sanctions relief to Iran as nuclear talks remain in balance

February 05, 2022

WASHINGTON D.C.: The Biden administration on Friday restored some sanctions relief to Iran’s atomic program as talks aimed at salvaging the languishing 2015 nuclear deal enter a critical phase.

As US negotiators head back to Vienna for what could be a make-or-break session, Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed several sanctions waivers related to Iran’s civilian nuclear activities. The move reverses the Trump administration’s decision to rescind them.

The waivers are intended to entice Iran to return to compliance with the 2015 deal that it has been violating since former President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and re-imposed US sanctions.

Iran says it is not respecting the terms of the deal because the US pulled out of it first. Iran has demanded the restoration of all sanctions relief it was promised under the deal to return to compliance.

Friday’s move lifts the sanctions threat against foreign countries and companies from Russia, China and Europe that had been cooperating with non-military parts of Iran’s nuclear program under the terms of the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

The Trump administration had ended the so-called “civ-nuke” waivers in May 2020 as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran that began when Trump withdrew the US from the deal in 2018, complaining that it was the worst diplomatic agreement ever negotiated and gave Iran a pathway to developing the bomb.

As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden made a US return to the nuclear deal a priority, and his administration has pursued that goal but there has been little progress toward that end since he took office a year ago. Administration officials said the waivers were being restored to help push the Vienna negotiations forward.

“The waiver with respect to these activities is designed to facilitate discussions that would help to close a deal on a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA and lay the groundwork for Iran’s return to performance of its JCPOA commitments,” the State Department said in a notice to Congress that announced the move.

“It is also designed to serve U.S. nonproliferation and nuclear safety interests and constrain Iran’s nuclear activities,” the department said. “It is being issued as a matter of policy discretion with these objectives in mind, and not pursuant to a commitment or as part of a quid pro quo. We are focused on working with partners and allies to counter the full range of threats that Iran poses."

A copy of the State Department notice and the actual waivers signed by Blinken were obtained by The Associated Press.

The waivers permit foreign countries and companies to work on civilian projects at Iran's Bushehr nuclear power station, its Arak heavy water plant and the Tehran Research Reactor. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had revoked the waivers in May, 2020, accusing Iran of “nuclear extortion” for continuing and expanding work at the sites.

Critics of the nuclear deal who lobbied Trump to withdraw from it protested, arguing that even if the Biden administration wants to return to the 2015 deal it should at least demand some concessions from Iran before up front granting it sanctions relief.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2018411/middle-east

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US probe finds single attacker in Kabul evacuation bomb

04 February ,2022

An attack that killed at least 173 people including 13 US service members during the chaotic Kabul airport evacuation last year was undertaken by a single suicide bomber, a Pentagon investigation concluded Friday.

The investigation ruled out more than one perpetrator or anyone using firearms in the August 26 attack, which was claimed by ISIS.

At least 160 Afghan civilians and the 13 US troops were killed by the bombing, which came during the final days of the US military’s withdrawal after two decades of war, according to the investigation.

The bomb exploded in a dense crowd just outside the airport’s Abbey Gate as thousands of people pushed to try to get inside and leave the country in the US-managed airlift.

Although some gunfire erupted after the bombing, US officers said they were warning shots and none of those who died in the event were killed by them.

“There were no gunshot wounds” among the victims, said Brigadier General Lance Curtis, who presented the investigation findings Friday.

He said that the deaths were from shrapnel including ball bearings from the bomb, the wounds of which can look like gunshot wounds.

Curtis admitted that on the day, the US military thought the attack was “complex,” involving an Islamic State gunman as well as the bomber.

“We now know that the explosive fired ball bearings causing wounds that looked like gunshots. When combined with a small number of warning shots, that led many to assume that a complex attack had occurred,” Curtis told reporters.

Also adding to the confusion was the fact that the shrapnel from the blast punctured tear gas canisters carried by the US troops for crowd control.

That created “instant chaos and sensory overload,” said one of the officials who briefed reporters on the investigation.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/02/05/US-probe-finds-single-attacker-in-Kabul-evacuation-bomb

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Europe

 

French gov't to launch new body for French Muslims

Yusuf Özcan  

05.02.2022

PARIS

Despite reservations, France is set to launch its Forum of the Islam of France (FORIF) on Saturday in a move that will dissolve the long-standing French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), which has been under scrutiny since French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled the "French Islam" initiative. 

Though Muslim clerics and representatives of the county's Islamic associations will be included in the FORIF's four working groups, they will be selected by the Interior Ministry and governors, raising questions concerning the forum's underlying objectives by many French Muslims.

On condition of anonymity, a prominent member of the country's Muslim community told Anadolu Agency that there was no clear selection criteria for those who will be in the FORIF's working groups.

He did acknowledge, though, that the CFCM had been mismanaged and already lost its credibility in the eyes of the French government and some Islamic organizations.

Despite these difficulties, the CFCM should have continued, he remarked.

The FORIF working groups will address a range of issues concerning the country's Muslim population, including imams' (prayer leaders) training, Muslim clerics employed in prisons, hospitals, and the military services, mosque security, and anti-Muslim prejudice.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/french-govt-to-launch-new-body-for-french-muslims/2494486

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UK accused of neglecting citizen detained by Houthis in Yemen since 2017

04 February ,2022

The family of a British man held by the Iran-backed Houthis since 2017 and allegedly tortured in Yemen on Friday accused the UK government of apathy about his fate.

Luke Symons, 29, was detained by Houthi militants in southwest Yemen along with his Yemeni wife on suspicion of espionage, which his family strongly denies.

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

They say his arm was broken during one interrogation in a bid to force a confession, and that his physical and mental health has degenerated during solitary confinement in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

His wife was released and has been able to visit him periodically in the prison, and is alarmed at his condition, according to Symons’ grandfather Robert Cummings.

“Luke’s going through hell. He’s getting no medical attention, and we’ve been going backwards, not forward, with this (UK) government,” Cummings told AFP by phone from the family’s home in Cardiff.

“The government should ask the question, ‘what do the Houthis want to get Luke released?’,” he said, accusing the rebels of holding his grandson as a “bargaining chip” for unspecified aims.

“But they just won’t ask the question,” Cummings said, alleging inaction both by the Foreign Office in London and by Saudi-based British diplomats responsible for Yemen.

Amnesty International, which this week launched a fresh appeal for UK intervention, demanded that Foreign Secretary Liz Truss meet the family.

“It’s long overdue that the government properly engaged with his family and exerted sustained pressure on the Houthis to get him out of jail and back home to Cardiff,” Amnesty’s UK chief Sacha Deshmukh said.

Symons was arrested in April 2017, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson was foreign secretary, and has never been charged.

The detainee’s MP in the Welsh capital, Kevin Brennan of the opposition Labour party, pressed his case to Johnson in parliament a month ago.

The prime minister replied that the case was “a very sad one.”

“I know that our staff in the (Foreign Office) work very, very hard to try to release people from the positions they find themselves in,” Johnson said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/02/04/UK-accused-of-neglecting-citizen-detained-by-Houthis-in-Yemen-since-2017

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New landmark mosque gets green light from councillors

By Paul Faulkner

February 4, 2022

A landmark mosque is set to be built alongside one of the busiest motorway junctions in Lancashire after getting the green light from councillors.

The building – which was the winning design in a Royal Institute of British Architects competition – will be constructed on raised grassland at the Broughton interchange, where the M6 and M55 meet the A6 in Preston.

Preston City Council’s planning committee granted outline approval for the facility, the main body of which will be 12 metres high, with an accompanying 30-metre-tall minaret.

Members deferred a decision on the application last July – when the design had not yet been chosen – because they were unable to judge its suitability for the location.

They also requested more evidence of the need for a mosque in the area.

On that occasion, the authority’s planning officers had recommended that the proposal be refused, both because of the absence of sufficient information about what it would look like, but also due to concerns over parking and the fact that the plot was in an area designated as open countryside in local planning policies.

This time around, officers said that the parking issue had been overcome after the applicant pledged to operate a booking system for spaces which would be enforced by automatic number plate recognition technology.

They also concluded that while the mosque would not normally be deemed suitable for the proposed location, other material planning considerations “tipped the balance” in favour of approval.

That was because the place of worship would fulfil a separate Central Lancashire-wide policy designed to ensure that communities have sufficient facilities where there is a need for them.

However, during a packed meeting at the town hall, need, parking and suitability were the subject of intense debate both between committee members and those speaking for and against the proposal.

The meeting heard that the applicant had identified 311 households in the immediate local area for which the proposed building would be their closest aligned place of worship.

Of those, while only 17 were to the north of the M55 – and only two in Broughton village – a total of 73 were within the borders of the wider Broughton parish.

The proposed 150-space car park with booking system, has been designed to address the concerns of locals, with 77 of the spaces reserved for people who have car-shared, although there were concerns raised that double yellow lines to be painted on D’Urton Lane would simply not work, as it would encourage people to park further away.

Planning officers recognised the innovative and high quality design of the building which draws upon the history of Preston and is intended to be reminiscent of a cotton mill, with the minaret being a nod to a Victorian-era mill chimney.

Source: Asian Image

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

https://www.asianimage.co.uk/news/19899602.new-landmark-mosque-gets-green-light-councillors/

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EU reaffirms support for easing Armenia-Azerbaijan tensions

Agnes Szucs 

04.02.2022

BRUSSELS

The head of the European Council and France's president on Friday reiterated the EU's support for easing tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan after holding talks with the leaders of the two countries.

Charles Michel and Emmanuel Macron held a meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan via video link, Michel's office announced.

Michel and Macron "reaffirmed their full commitment to supporting efforts aimed at reducing tension and building trust in the region," the office said in a statement.

The leaders discussed progress in Azerbaijani-Armenian relations since their last meeting in mid-December, such as recent releases of detainees, joint efforts to find missing persons, and work to reestablish railway links.

The EU and France also reconfirmed their willingness to work with partners, including the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) "to build a prosperous, safe and stable" South Caucasus region, the statement added.

Relations between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/eu-reaffirms-support-for-easing-armenia-azerbaijan-tensions/2494381

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Erdogan says Israel, Turkey can jointly bring gas to Europe

February 5, 2022

Turkey and Israel can work together to carry natural gas from Israel to Europe and the two countries will discuss energy cooperation during talks next month, Erdogan was cited as saying on Friday.

Turkey has been working to mend its strained regional ties with Israel and other nations as part of a charm offensive launched in 2020. In an apparent easing after years of animosity, Erdogan said on Thursday that Israeli President Isaac Herzog will visit Turkey in mid-March.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/02/04/Erdogan-says-Israel-Turkey-can-jointly-bring-gas-to-Europe

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Prominent UK Imam hails Queen Elizabeth as 'beacon of hope and stability' ahead of jubilee

Neil Murphy

Feb 4, 2022

One of the UK's most senior imams has praised the UK's Queen Elizabeth II as a "beacon of hope” ahead of her platinum jubilee this weekend.

Imam Qari Asim, chair of the Mosque and Imams National Advisory Board, was one of many religious leaders who congratulated the monarch as she reaches her 70-year reign milestone on Sunday.

He said: “Throughout her 70-year-long reign, the queen has shown deep commitment, affection and admiration for her country, the Commonwealth and the people across the world, as well as the ability to adapt and evolve with the changing world around her.

“Her Majesty the Queen has been a wonderful beacon of hope, integrity, stability and unity for our country and beyond. May the Lord allow this momentous occasion of the platinum jubilee to provide unity, peace and hope across our wonderful nation.”

A series of events will be held from Sunday to mark the occasion which will culminate this summer.

More than 1,500 platinum jubilee beacons will be lit across the UK and Commonwealth on the first evening of the extended four-day jubilee bank holiday weekend in June.

Senior clerics from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Zoroastrian and Bahai faiths voiced strong support for the beacons and urged their communities to take part.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the most senior bishop in the Church of England, said the fires — which will light up the night sky across the UK and Commonwealth on June 2 — will see people joining together in celebration and remind everyone of “our common bond under the Crown”.

Mr Welby encouraged people to sing the newly written Song for the Commonwealth as the beacons are lit.

He said: “This will be a moment of remarkable celebration, as we join together across different generations, denominations, faiths and communities all over the world in proper tribute to Her Majesty the Queen.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, said: “The kindling of the Queen’s jubilee beacons throughout the United Kingdom and the capital cities of the Commonwealth will be a most powerful symbol as we celebrate her majesty’s 70 remarkable years on the throne.

Source: The National News

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

https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/uk-news/2022/02/04/prominent-uk-imam-hails-queen-elizabeth-as-beacon-of-hope-and-stability-ahead-of-jubilee/

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Plans for Preston mosque near motorway junction approved

February 5, 2022

A landmark mosque is set to be built alongside one of the busiest road junctions in Preston after getting the green light from councillors.

The building will be on raised grassland at the Broughton interchange, where the M6, M55 and A6 converge.

Preston City Council's planning committee voted to grant outline approval for the mosque, which will be 40ft (12m) tall.

Objectors claim an influx of worshippers will cause congestion.

More than 625 letters of support were sent to the city council as well as 425 objections, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Members had deferred a decision in July when the design had yet to be chosen in a Royal Institute of British Architects competition.

Councillors wanted to see if the winning design was suitable for the location and whether there was sufficient demand for the mosque.

Planning officers initially recommended refusing the proposal because of the lack of information and its place in an area designated as open countryside in local planning policies.

However, they believe the parking issue has been overcome after the applicant pledged to operate a booking system for spaces enforced by automatic number plate recognition technology.

They concluded while the mosque, which will have a 100ft (30m) tall minaret on top of it, would not normally be suitable for the proposed location, other material planning considerations "tipped the balance" in its favour.

Broughton Parish Council chair Pat Hastings told the packed meeting at Preston Town Hall the mosque and minaret would be akin to a stack of eight double-decker buses on a site which was already 40ft (12m) above the motorway junction.

"It is totally out of keeping with the Grade II-listed [St. John's] parish church set in the valley below and is a visual hazard to the motorway," she said.

The meeting heard the applicant identified 311 households "in the immediate local area" for which the proposed building would be their closest place of worship.

Local Scout group leader Fatima Ismail said the need for the mosque was obvious and Muslim families moving from other areas of Preston "should not be deprived of a local place of worship for their religious and spiritual wellbeing".

Alban Cassidy, the agent for the application, said the proposed 150-space car park went "over and above" anything he had ever known for a facility of this type.

Source: BBC News

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

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-lancashire-60258217

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Erdogan accuses West of making Russia-Ukraine crisis worse, criticizes Biden

04 February ,2022

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the West of making the Russia-Ukraine crisis “worse” and slammed US President Joe Biden's stance, in comments published by local media on Friday.

Erdogan's comments, made on his return from a trip to Kyiv on Thursday, come as he tries to set up a Russia-Ukraine summit aimed at easing fears that Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing to invade Ukraine.

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

Erdogan has tried to position Turkey, which is a member of the NATO defense alliance, as a neutral mediator close to both Moscow and Kyiv.

He issued some of his strongest criticism yet of the European and US positions on the crisis in an interview with Turkish reporters on his plane.

“Unfortunately, the West until now has not made any contribution to resolving this issue. I can say they are only making things worse,” Erdogan said, adding that Biden “has not yet been able to demonstrate a positive approach.”

Praising former German chancellor Angela Merkel and her approach to Ukraine, Erdogan said Europe was suffering “serious issues at the leadership level” after her departure.

After meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Erdogan reaffirmed his offer to host a Ukraine-Russia crisis summit in Turkey.

He said on the plane that Putin has “responded positively” to the idea and that a date for the Russian leader's visit would now be set soon.

On his flight back, Erdogan also criticized the international media's coverage of the crisis, which has relied heavily on US intelligence assessments that the Kremlin rejects and Kyiv has been cautious to accept.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/02/04/Erdogan-says-Israel-Turkey-can-jointly-bring-gas-to-Europe

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‘Bankrupt’ anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson faces court questioning over finances

February 04, 2022

LONDON: One of the UK’s most prominent far-right, anti-Islam activists will be quizzed by courts after failing to pay legal bills for a libel case he lost against a Syrian refugee.

Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was sued by Jamal Hijazi for defaming him online.

In response to footage widely circulated online of Hijazi being bullied, Yaxley-Lennon, 39, released a video claiming the 16-year-old boy had attacked “young English girls.”

He failed to prove those claims were true, and was ordered to pay £100,000 ($135,604.50) in compensation to Hijazi and legal costs understood to amount to around £500,000.

At a later hearing in March 2021, however, Yaxley-Lennon claimed he was bankrupt and thus unable to make those payments.

But now, the English Defence League founder has been called in front of a judge to answer questions about his finances.

Hijazi’s barrister argued that Yaxley-Lennon, who did not attend the hearing, could be cross-examined about his finances over the debt, despite the ongoing bankruptcy process.

In written arguments, he stated: “The claimant envisages that counsel’s opportunity to cross-examine the defendant under oath, accompanied by documents provided by the defendant, will provide for a more detailed analysis of his assets than might be possible through the normal bankruptcy process.”

He said Yaxley-Lennon, who has long campaigned against the presence of Muslims in Britain, owes a “substantial sum” to Hijazi, and intends to question him “with a view to establishing what steps would be most proportionate to take with a view to maximizing recovery.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2018196/world

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France to send Rafale jets to protect UAE airspace

Shweta Desai  

04.02.2022

PARIS

France announced on Friday that its Rafale fighter planes will carry out aerial surveillance for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to protect the Gulf country's airspace from drone and missile incursions.

In a show of solidarity with the UAE, France is providing military support to protect the Emirati airspace against intrusion, Defense Minister Florence Parly said on Twitter. France is the second country to lend military assistance after the US declared that it would send a warship and fighter jets to reinforce the UAE's security.

Amid an escalation of the conflict in Yemen, the UAE has recently been hit by several lethal drone and missile attacks, allegedly by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Under its strategic partnership with the UAE, France has a military settlement encompassing a naval, air, and land base known as Camp de la Paix, or Peace Camp, in Abu Dhabi. Parly added that seven Rafale jets deployed at the Al Dhafra airbase will operate with the Emirati military on surveillance, detection, and interception missions.

UAE authorities claimed this week that the country was hit by three drone attacks and a missile strike from Yemen-based militant groups. The attacks began in January when Emirati-backed Yemeni forces launched a push against the Houthis in the central region of Marib.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/france-to-send-rafale-jets-to-protect-uae-airspace/2494446

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Poland will be one of Turkiye's most important allies in Europe: Envoy

Hüseyingulu Hüseyinzade 

04.02.2022

Poland will be one of Turkiye’s most important allies in Europe in the near future, Ankara’s envoy to Warsaw said on Friday.

The countries have been making comprehensive efforts to further strengthen bilateral ties, with a particular focus on commerce and tourism, Ambassador Cengiz Kamil Firat said in an interview with Anadolu Agency.

Diplomatic relations that span over 600 years have borne fruit and high-level meetings are in the pipeline, he said.

Trade volume between Turkiye and Poland reached $8.5 billion in 2021, moving ever closer to the target of $10 billion set by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to the diplomat.

He said tourism figures between the countries are a good indicator of their strong ties.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of Polish tourists in Turkiye dropped to around 150,000 in 2020, but shot up again to 600,000 last year, Firat said.

Turkiye is ready to welcome many more tourists from Poland and it will be the destination of choice for Polish people, he added.

The two countries have made reciprocal investments in various sectors, the envoy said, and there is still great potential in fields such as infrastructure, construction and the defense industry.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/poland-will-be-one-of-turkiyes-most-important-allies-in-europe-envoy/2494156

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