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Islamic World News ( 5 Apr 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Quran Not Recited At Karnataka Temple Fest As Hardline Groups Oppose Old Custom

New Age Islam News Bureau

05 April 2023

• Kuwait Bans Imams From Reading Quran From Phones During Obligatory Prayers

• US Muslim Group Sues Prison For Denying Ramadan Accommodations To Inmate

• Iran’s Khamenei Reaffirms Mandatory Hijab Law, Says Unveiling ‘Forbidden’

• Significant Number Of German Police Prejudiced Against Muslims: Study

 

India

• Telangana: 3 Muslim Fruit Sellers Thrashed; Allegedly Forced To Drink Alcohol

• Malyana Riots: Victims Despair After Court Order of Setting Free 41 Hindu MenIn Which 72 Muslims Were Massacred

• Uttarakhand: Muslims Thrashed By Hindutva Mob While Offering Taraweeh

• UP BJP Bets OnMuslim Candidates In Municipal Polls, Blueprint Ready: Sources

• Hurriyat leaders’ premises among 5 locations raided in Kashmir in terror funding case

• Communal tension erupts in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani; case filed against 40 people

• Muslim cattle trader murder: Accused Kerehalli releases video, claims innocence

• 'Communal Mindset': 'India Slams Organisation of Islamic Cooperation For Remark Over Ram Navami Violence

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Arab World

• UAE’s Sheikh Mohamed Holds Phone Call With Israel’s Netanyahu

• ‘New Mideast’: Syria’s Rapprochement With Arab Neighbours Leaves Israel Jittery

• Iran holds funeral for IRGC officers killed by Israel in Syria

• Lebanon investigates embezzlement of over $300,000 at Ukraine embassy

• Bus attack in Syria injures 16 near Jordan border: State media

• Syria: Israeli aggressive policies threaten region with all-out escalation

• Amid ongoing Israeli airstrikes, Iran's deputy minister says Tehran to help Syria boost air defences

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North America

• Canada slashing suspect charged with terrorism linked to Islamic State

• US Welcomes Finland Into NATO, Urges Turkey To Let Sweden Join ‘Without Delay’

• Who is the Iraqi lawyer in the eye of the latest Donald Trump legal storm?

• ISIS/Daesh senior leader killed in airstrike northwestern Syria: US

• After attacks by Iranian-backed forces, US carrier repositioned near Syria: Pentagon

• US sends warship to Syria amid Tehran-Washington tension over attacks on Iranian advisors

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Mideast

• Iran, Saudi Arabia to Set Up Joint Chamber of Commerce Following Diplomatic Agreement

• Iran: Violent attack on al-Aqsa Mosque worshipers reveals inhumane nature of Israel

• Rockets fired at Gaza border towns following clashes inside Al-Aqsa Mosque

• Breakaway Candidate Could Give Erdogan A Lifeline In Tight Election

• Military Chief: Israel's Crumbling Inevitable

• Iran Vows to Take Decisive Measures to Guard Military Advisors in Syria

• Iranian VP: Israeli Assault Against Syria Constitutes Blatant Violation of Int'l Law

• At least 537 killed in Iran protest crackdown: Rights group

• UN rights council denounces rising number of executions in Iran

• Emissions cuts can slash heat deaths in Middle East, Iran at highest risk: Study

• Palestinian stabs two Israelis near army base south of Tel Aviv

• Israeli warplanes strike Hamas positions, prompt retaliation

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Europe

• Saudi Club In London Holds Iftar For Scholarship Students During Ramadan

• UK peer brands Afghan pilot’s deportation ordeal ‘totally cruel, appalling’

• Turkish charity holds iftar event in London

• PKK terror suspects face trial for extortion, forced recruitment in France

• Effective cooperation against terrorism 'a must' with Sweden: Turkish foreign minister

• 'Positive agenda' with Türkiye to improve diplomatic ties, daily lives, says Greek diplomat

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Africa

• Hisbah Shuts Beer Parlours, Bans Prostitution In Jigawa, Nigeria

• Jordan’s foreign minister presses EU to support end of Israeli escalation

• 4.7M people in Burkina Faso will need humanitarian assistance this year: UN

• 10 students abducted in northern Nigeria

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Pakistan

• Govt Vows Not To Let Chief Justice Of Pakistan Have His Way

• JUI-F Moves Court To Seek Disqualification Of Imran Khan

• Pakistan Supreme Court orders snap polls in two provinces by May 15

• Imran makes cover of Time, but supporters not happy

• Police begin probe as two personnel martyred in Kohat militant attack

• UK channel apologises to Dar over graft allegations

• Assassination attempt on Imran: Home dept proposes one-man tribunal to probe charges

• Iftar feast lights up Ramadan for Pakistani kids in impoverished city neighbourhood

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South Asia

• Failed To 'Liberate' Even An Inch Of Kashmir From India: Taliban Taunts Pakistan Army

• Afghan Taliban Raid Kills 6 Members OfIslamic State Group

• UN Tells Afghan Staff To Stay Home Over Women Worker Ban Concerns - Sources

• 57000 Afghan Civilians Killed, Injured by Landmines in Afghanistan: UN

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Southeast Asia

• Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Joins Muslim Community In Breaking Of Fast At Mosque

• Saudi Arabia Hosts ‘World’s Longest’ Iftar Table In Indonesia

• J-KomChief Pans Islamist Group For Fearmongering, Urges Youths To Reject Ethnoreligious Sentiments

• Court orders Loh Siew Hong's Muslim convert ex-husband to pay RM20,000 fine for contempt

• Orphans, caregivers treated to Ramadan dinner

• Expect inflation to remain under control amid Ramadan: Ministry

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/quran-recited-karnataka-temple-group-custom/d/129497

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Quran Not Recited At Karnataka Temple Fest As Hardline Groups Oppose Old Custom

TNN | Apr 5, 2023

HASSAN: The management committee of Chennakeshava temple in Karnataka's Belur said verses of the Quran were not recited during the annual Brahmarathotsava that ended on Tuesday amid tight security, following hardline groups' demand to do away with the age-old custom of a Maulvi attending the event and saying portions from the holy book.

"After accepting cash and grains handed over by the temple committee, he only offered 'Mujure' (thanksgiving prayer)," said Narayana Swamy, head of the committee. He said Maulvi Sajjad Basha Khadri Saheb had issued a written confirmation that he didn't recite the Quran. The groups had earlier submitted a memorandum to register their opposition to the ritual of reciting Quranic verses during Rathotsava.

Source:TimesOfIndia

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/quran-not-recited-at-karnataka-temple-fest-as-groups-oppose-old-custom/articleshow/99252689.cms

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Kuwait Bans Imams From Reading Quran From Phones During Obligatory Prayers

04 April, 2023

The announcement came during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset [Getty]

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Kuwait’s Ministry of Religious Endowments (Awqaf) and Islamic Affairs have prohibited imams in Kuwait from reciting Quranic verses by reading from their phones or paper copies of the Quran during obligatory prayers.

The ministry called on Thursday for imams to memorise the verses of the Islamic holy book well before performing them during optional Ramadan Taraweeh prayers and recite the Quran from memory as much as possible, Al Rai newspaper reported.

The announcement came during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and can choose to pray Ramadan ‘Taraweeh’ prayers, or night ‘Tahajjud’ prayers in addition to the five obligatory prayers per day.

The Assistant Undersecretary for Mosques Affairs, Salah Al-Shilahi, called on imams across the country to make every effort to fulfil the message of the mosque and correctly perform their role.

He also stressed that imams should read the Quran appropriately and not transgress from provisions of intonation by overly raising their voice or stretching words.

Many Muslims hold the belief that it is disliked for leader of an obligatory prayer to read from the Quran without having memorised it, however deem that if there is a need, it is permissible to consult ther text.

As Ramadan continues, a seemingly never-ending political crisis is harming Kuwait's economy, affecting basic services and causing mounting public concern.

Despite its large oil reserves, hospitals and educational services are in decay as squabbling paralyses Kuwait's parliament.

Source: The New Arab

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

https://www.newarab.com/news/kuwait-bans-imams-reading-quran-phones

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US Muslim group sues prison for denying Ramadan accommodations to inmate

ServetGünerigök

05.04.2023

WASHINGTON

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it sued the Virginia Department of Corrections and officials at a correctional facility for their refusal to provide Ramadan accommodations to a Muslim inmate.

The Green Rock Correctional Center in Chatham has denied accommodations to Alexander Crichlow during the month-long religious observance, CAIR said Monday.

Crichlow, a Muslim who converted to Islam in January, fasts from before dawn until sunset during Ramadan.

Since January, he has repeatedly asked prison officials to provide him with the same Ramadan accommodations as dozens of Muslims at Green Rock, including receiving breakfast before dawn, a double serving of dinner at sunset and permission to gather daily for evening prayers with other Muslims.

"But prison officials reportedly refuse to accommodate Critchlow because he converted to Islam after their arbitrary deadline to sign up for Ramadan accommodations, which fell on Nov. 18, 2022—over four months before Ramadan," CAIR said in a statement. "According to them, an exception-free statewide policy refuses Ramadan accommodation to any incarceree who converted to Islam after Nov. 18, 2022."

The group said that "there is nothing difficult about prison officials providing Crichlow exactly what they already provide to dozens of other Muslims."

"Virginia’s inflexible policy barring recent converts to Islam from receiving Ramadan accommodations is ridiculous and unlawful," said CAIR senior litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-muslim-group-sues-prison-for-denying-ramadan-accommodations-to-inmate/2863763

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Iran’s Khamenei reaffirms mandatory hijab law, says unveiling ‘forbidden’

04 April ,2023

This handout picture provided by the office of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei shows him speaking during a meeting with members of the Iranian government in Tehran on April 4, 2023. (AFP)

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reaffirmed on Tuesday the country’s mandatory hijab law, saying that removing the Islamic head covering is “forbidden” as Tehran continues to signal its inflexibility on the issue.

Iran has recently indicated that it will not retreat from its strict dress rules for women. On Saturday, President Ebrahim Raisi said that adherence to the hijab is obligatory. Earlier the same day, state media cited Iran’s judiciary chief, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, as saying that unveiling is “tantamount to enmity with the regime and its values” and that women who do not cover their hair “will be punished.”

The messaging from Iranian officials comes amid an increasing number of women in Iran appearing in public without the hijab after the death in police custody of 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman MahsaAmini.

Khamenei, the highest-ranking authority in the Islamic Republic, was the latest official to stress Iran’s mandatory hijab law, saying that the hijab is a “religious and legal restriction, not a government restriction.”

“Removing the hijab is forbidden religiously and politically,” state media quoted him as saying during a meeting with senior officials.

Khamenei accused “the enemy’s spies” of being behind an anti-hijab campaign in Iran. “Many (women) who remove their hijab do not know this. If they did, they would definitely not do it,” he said.

Amini, an Iranian Kurdish woman, died on September 16 shortly after being arrested by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly breaching the country’s dress rules for women. Her death triggered months of nationwide anti-regime protests during which some women removed and even burned their headscarves. The demonstrations eventually subsided due to a deadly crackdown by the regime.

Khamenei dismissed those protests as a “conspiracy” instigated by Western governments who used women’s rights as an “excuse.” He had previously accused the US and Israel of orchestrating the protests.

Norway-based rights group Iran Human Rights (IHR) said on Tuesday that Iranian security forces had killed at least 537 people in their crackdown on the protests.

Iran made it compulsory for women to wear the hijab shortly after the country’s 1979 revolution. Women who break Iran’s strict dress code risk being harassed and arrested by the country’s morality police. Under this dress code, women are required to fully cover their hair in public and wear long, loose-fitting clothes.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/04/04/Iran-s-Khamenei-reaffirms-mandatory-hijab-law-says-unveiling-forbidden-

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Significant Number Of German Police Prejudiced Against Muslims: Study

04.04.2023

BERLIN

Interim results of a long-awaited, comprehensive study on attitudes of police officers in Germany show that a significant slice of police officers are prejudiced against Muslims.

According to the interim results released Tuesday, 18% of German police officers said they feel as if Germany is being “overrun” by foreigners.

At total of 13% agreed with the statement that Muslim culture fits in with Germany, while just under half of the sample disagreed, and just under 40% were ambivalent.

Some 4% "fully agreed" with the statement, "The many Muslims here sometimes make me feel like a stranger in my own country," while 13% "somewhat agreed" and 21% expressed ambivalence.

The study's researchers conclude that "at best, there are only a small number of people who have a worldview that is consistently hostile to humanity and democracy."

But at the same time, they said they definitely see "more than just individual cases in which the individual attitude can hardly be reconciled with the guiding principles of the police."

"For me it is clear: There is zero tolerance for right-wing extremism, racism and other forms of misanthropy. Any such incident must have clear consequences," said German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser.

Researchers from the German Police University had been commissioned by the Interior Ministry to interview police officers from almost all German states and the federal government about their experiences and world views, and to observe them in their everyday work.

The interim report now published covers the status of the empirical survey at the current time.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/world/significant-number-of-german-police-prejudiced-against-muslims-study/2863428

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India

 

Telangana: 3 Muslim fruit sellers thrashed; allegedly forced to drink alcohol

4th April 2023

Hyderabad: A Hindu right-wing group allegedly thrashed three Muslim fruit sellers in Sangareddy on Monday reportedly grievously injuring one. However, police have refuted any communal connection to the attack.

According to accounts, the group also forced the traders in Patancheru to drink alcohol during the assault.

The fruit sellers filed a complaint and a case has been registered.

“The event was not motivated by hatred, but rather by a disagreement over fruit costs. According to him, the dispute resulted in a few individuals attacking the fruit sellers,” Patancheru DSP Bheem Reddy was quoted by India Today.

The suspects have been booked under sections 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 341 (wrongful restraint), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/telangana-3-muslim-fruit-sellers-thrashed-allegedly-forced-to-drink-alcohol-2561354/

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Malyana Riots: Victims Despair After Court Order of Setting Free 41 Hindu Men In Which 72 Muslims Were Massacred

By Geeta Pandey

The recent order of a trial court in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, setting free 41 Hindu men accused of religious violence against Muslims 36 years ago, has plunged the survivors and families of victims into despair.

The violence on 23 May 1987 in Malyana village on the outskirts of Meerut town, in which 72 Muslims were massacred, allegedly by local Hindus and members of the state's armed police force, has been described as a "blot on Indian democracy". And critics say Friday's sessions court order is "a travesty of justice".

Vibhuti Narain Rai, a former director general of the Uttar Pradesh police, described it as a "total failure on the part of the state".

"The victims have been miserably failed by all the stakeholders - the police, the political leadership, a partisan press, and now the judiciary," he told the BBC.

Mr Rai, along with senior journalist Qurban Ali who'd extensively covered the riots, and a couple of survivors of the massacre, had petitioned the Allahabad high court in 2021 complaining about the slow pace of the proceedings.

"The investigation had been faulty from the start and the trial was pending for three-and-a-half decades so we petitioned the high court to order a fresh investigation, hold a fair trial and pay compensation to the victims," Mr Rai said.

Mr Ali said one of their demands was to revisit the role of the police in the carnage. Survivors allege that the violence was started by members of the state's Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) - a police force created to deal with insurgencies and religious and caste conflicts.

Civil liberties organisations, including Amnesty International, have documented the PAC's involvement in the Malyana riots. Mr Ali also points out that "post-mortem reports submitted in court of at least 36 bodies show bullet wounds" - at a time when villagers had no access to guns.

The BBC reached out to the PAC for their response to allegations of involvement in the Malyana violence. A senior official said he was "not competent enough to talk about the case". An email has also been sent to the head of the force.

In the complaint registered by police after the killings, only 93 local Hindus were named as accused - 23 died during the trial and 31 "could not be traced".

Defence lawyer Chhotey Lal Bansal told the BBC that the prosecution case fell through because the main witness said he had "named the accused under police pressure" and that "police had included names of four people who had died seven-eight years before the carnage and one man who was gravely ill and in hospital".

"What happened to Malyana's Muslims was very painful and was highly condemnable. But my clients were also victims, living under threat of prosecution for 36 years," he said.

"Both the defence and the prosecution repeatedly blamed the police and the PAC for the killings, but their names were not included," he added.

The 26-page judgement has distressing details of violence narrated in court - a young man killed when a bullet pierced his neck, a father cut into pieces with swords, a five-year-old thrown into a fire.

So the judgement has shocked the survivors of the violence and members of victim's families.

Vakeel Ahmed Siddiqui, who carries scars from two bullet wounds, says "gloom has descended on the community in Malyana".

"I know all those who died and all those who killed," he tells me, adding that he weeps every time he talks about 23 May 1987.

For some days, he says, anti-Muslim rumours had been swirling around in their village and attempts were being made to create animosity between the two communities.

"Meerut had been a powder keg for years and had seen riots, but we didn't think there would be any violence in our village. But on that day, PAC personnel arrived in three vehicles and surrounded Muslim areas, shutting down all exit routes," he says.

"Some entered Hindu homes and others took position on rooftops of Hindu homes. Bullets were raining from all sides," he says.

Mr Siddiqui was among a handful of witnesses who was called to testify in court.

"I gave evidence over a year, I told them about the PAC's role, identified the men and the weapons they were carrying."

The judgement, he says, has "disappointed everyone" in Malyana.

"I think there was enough evidence to pin the guilt. We must find out where we went wrong. When Malyana was set on fire, the smoke was seen by the entire world. How could the court not see it?" he asks.

Mohammad Ismail lost 11 members of his family in the massacre, including his grandfather, parents, seven younger siblings and a cousin. The oldest victim, his grandfather, was around 85; the youngest was his sister, a toddler. He survived because he was travelling.

News of the killings reached Mohd Ismail the day after, but he could visit his village only "four-five days later because Meerut was sealed and a curfew was imposed". What he saw on his return, he says, still haunts him.

"Our house was burnt, the walls were splattered with blood. Some of my Muslim neighbours who had survived had been moved to a nearby madrassa [a religious school."

Mohd Ismail says even though riots were being reported from other parts of Meerut, his family didn't think that they would be targeted. "We had no animosity with anyone, so we were not worried."

Mr Ali, the journalist, told me that when he visited the village two days after the massacre, he found a place that was "devastated… it looked haunted".

"Most Muslim residents had either died or were in hospital being treated for injuries, including bullets wounds, or run away."

The violence in Malyana that summer, he said, was not an isolated incident.

Religious tensions had begun in Meerut weeks earlier after riots broke out on 14 April during a religious procession.

A dozen people, including Hindus and Muslims, were killed and a curfew was imposed, but tensions remained and riots continued to break out sporadically over the next several weeks.

According to official records, 174 people were killed - but unofficial reports say more than 350 people died and property worth billions of rupees was destroyed.

Initially, Mr Rai says, "both sides suffered casualties, but it later became organised violence against Muslims by the police and PAC".

On 22 May, a day before the Malyana massacre, PAC personnel had descended on Hashimpura, a Muslim-dominated locality just 6km away.

They took away 48 men - 42 were shot dead and their bodies were thrown into a river and a canal. Six survived and lived to tell the tale.

Photojournalist Praveen Jain, who was beaten up and told to leave by the police, hid in the bushes and took pictures of Muslim men being assaulted and being marched through the streets.

"When I left, I didn't know that they were going to be killed," he told the BBC.

In 2018, the Delhi high court convicted 26 former PAC personnel for abducting and killing Muslims in Hashimpura and sentenced them to life imprisonment.

Sharat Pradhan, a senior journalist in the state capital Lucknow, remembers the PAC being widely criticised for being "communal and anti-Muslim".

"Most of its personnel came from Hindu backgrounds and - unlike in the army - they were not trained in secularism."

Mr Pradhan says the fact that justice was delivered in the Hashimpura massacre was mostly due to the efforts of Mr Rai who in 1987 was the superintendent of police in Ghaziabad where the bodies of the murdered men - and a survivor - had turned up.

Mr Ali says he hopes that some day, justice will also be delivered in the Malyana case.

Source: BBC

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

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-65173980

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Uttarakhand: Muslims Thrashed By Hindutva Mob While Offering Taraweeh

4th April 2023

A group of Muslim men offering Taraweeh, special prayers offered during the holy month of Ramzan, were assaulted by a Hindutva mob on Monday night in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani district. The Imam was also reportedly beaten up.

According to a report by Scroll.in, the incident took place in Sarna Kothi, a Hindu-dominated area.

Taraweeh was being offered at a lawyer’s house. The lawyer – Zafar Siddique – said they were attacked by members of the right-wing organisation Bajrang Dal.

“There were around 50-60 people. Even the Imam was not spared. When they tried to hit me, someone from the crowd shouted that I was a lawyer. Upon hearing this, they backed out,” Siddique was quoted by Scroll.in.

Blaming the police and district administration for their lack of proactiveness Siddique alleges that the police remained mute during the assault. “The mob was led by Hindutva leader Mukesh Bhat,” he claimed.

Based on a complaint, police registered a case under Sections 147 (rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

Nanital Senior Superintendent of Police Pankaj Bhatt said that an investigation is underway based on the CCTV footage from the area.

Muslims demand justice

Soon after the attack, several Muslims gathered outside the police station demanding justice against the assaulters.

Siddique told Scroll.in he was informed by the local police that they had received complaints regarding Namaz being offered.

“I received a call a day before the incident (Sunday) from the police. They asked me to meet the Superintendent of Police,” Siddique was quoted by Scroll.in.

City magistrate seals three rooms

According to the SP, the city magistrate has sealed three rooms of the building where the prayers were being offered alleging the structure was built on ‘Nazul land’.

Nazul Land means Abadi land within the limits of a municipality or a panchayat circle or a village, town, or city, vesting in the state government. It can be used as a building, road, market, playground or any other public purpose.

Lawyer refutes claims

Stressing that it is his private property, Siddique told Scroll.in that prayers were being held in the area for the last 20 years.

“The basement is a prayer hall where we have been holding Namaz regularly,” Siddique said.

“Five years ago a few people had objected to us offering Namaz. At that time the police ensured safety and we continued our prayers without any disturbance,” Siddique said.

Fourth reported incident

This is the fourth reported incident since the beginning of the holy month.

On February 25, Rashtriya Bajrang Dal workers led by its state president Rohan Saxena barged into the godown of a Muslim man alleging new Paramparas (traditions) were brewing in the city.

The incident took place in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad district. However, instead of controlling the Hindutva men who created a ruckus notice was sent to Zakir Hussain and nine others.

The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Moradabad Hemraj Meena, while speaking to reporters said that upon investigation, police found that the information given by Saxena was false.

Source:Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/uttarakhand-muslims-thrashed-by-hindutva-mob-while-offering-taraweeh-2561326/

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UP BJP bets on Muslim candidates in municipal polls, blueprint ready: Sources

Abhishek Mishra

Apr 4, 2023

The Uttar Pradesh unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will field maximum number of Muslim candidates in the upcoming civic elections in the state in which the main target of the saffron party will be the Pasmanda Muslims.

The BJP has organised the Pasmanda Muslim Intellectual Conference on behalf of the Minority Morcha, followed by dialogue with Sufi saints and recently preparations are on to distribute the translation of 12 volumes of PM Modi's Mann Ki Baat in the form of an Urdu book. All these methods are being seen as a big exercise of the BJP to connect with the Muslim section.

A strategy has been chalked out to field Muslim candidates in about 800 wards, municipality and nagar panchayat seats in Muslim-majority areas. State President Bhupendra Chaudhary and UP BJP general secretary Dharampal Singh recently reviewed the preparations for the civic elections through a virtual meeting.

In the same Muslim community, consent has been expressed regarding the tickets, for which the work of finalising the tickets has begun for the applicants.

BJP President Bhupendra Chowdhary has already said that this time BJP will field Muslim candidates in the civic elections, in which the party will give tickets to Muslim sections in view of political participation, or their numbers are more and winnable and where backward Muslims political representation not been given.

The BJP has prepared a blueprint for civic and cooperative elections and now Muslim candidates will also appear in the list of candidates as soon as the civic body elections are announced, sources said.

Speaking to India Today, Minister of State for Minority Welfare Danish Azad Ansari said that the BJP does not work for an electoral vote bank but works for every section of society.

"The work of benefiting Muslims was done only during the Modi and Yogi governments in the Centre and state respectively. This is the faith of Muslims that we won in the Azamgarh Rampur by-election and due to this faith, a large number of Muslims, including Pasmanda, will be given tickets in the civic elections," he said.

Ansari said that many tickets will be given, applications are coming, the state president has started finalizing the names, the effect will be visible in the list of candidates coming soon and many Muslim candidates will be in the fray.

At the same time, it has been decided to give shares to Muslims in the party up to councillor, nagarpalika, nagar panchayat level.

"The Samajwadi Party used them for appeasement, they were only used to get votes and the political share of Muslims was given only to one person by SP and workers were not allowed to grow. SP has done the work of making Muslims wear caps, BJP is honestly taking them forward", he added.

Meanwhile, the Samajwadi Party has questioned the strategy of the BJP. SP spokesperson Ameek Jamai said that the BJP is lying about giving tickets to Pasmanda.

"It will give tickets only to the backward seats, if that is all, then they will give a seat to a Muslim on a general seat. Mulayam Singh Yadav gave reservation at the panchayat level," Jamai said.

"BJP is doing politics only in the name of Pasmanda. The BJP made VC of AMU as MLC but forgot that VC of AMU, BHU, JNU were made governor to vice president, the BJP could also give ticket of BDC or village head ticket to the next VC", he accused.

On the other hand, on BJP giving tickets to Muslims in the civic elections, Darum Uloom spokesperson Maulana Sufiyan Nizami said that any party has the right to come close to Muslims, but there should be no difference between their words and actions. "Everyone is free to connect Muslims with their political views but if the leaders of any party do not want to change their views over a particular community, then there is no use of any exercise. Such people of the party who spread poison against Muslims should also be banned; the party should clear its intention on this", he added.

Speaking to India Today, political expert Ratan Mani Lal on the BJP's strategy said that the saffron party had told Muslims to live without fear under their rule and claimed to benefit them from their schemes. "Now this is a move to give political stake which will benefit the party in upcoming polls. If BJP win, it is okay, but even it loses, the effect of the exercise of connecting Muslims will be visible," he said.

Source:IndiaToday

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/up-bjp-bets-on-muslim-candidates-in-municipal-polls-blueprint-ready-sources-2355803-2023-04-04

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Hurriyat leaders’ premises among 5 locations raided in Kashmir in terror funding case

Apr 5, 2023

SRINAGAR: The J&K State Investigation Agency on Tuesday conducted raids at five locations in three districts of Kashmir, including the residences of two Hurriyat leaders in Srinagar, in connection with a terror funding case.

The premises of Hurriyat leaders Bilal Sidique in Rajbagh locality and Bashir Molvi at Alochibagh were raided early morning, an official said.

Searches were also conducted at other locations in Kupwara, Baramulla and Srinagar districts “to unearth the logistic and funding support channels of terrorism, emanating from Pakistan and its ISI network”, an official statement said.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/hurriyat-leaders-premises-among-5-locations-raided-in-kashmir-in-terror-funding-case/articleshow/99250362.cms

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Communal tension erupts in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani; case filed against 40 people

Apr 04, 2023

Communal tension erupted at Haldwani in Uttarakhand’s Nainital district on Monday night after a group of people protested outside a house used by Muslims for offering prayers, accusing them of illegally constructing a mosque at the site, police said.

A ruckus was created in BhotiaPadao area around 9pm when 30-40 protestors gathered outside the house belonging to a lawyer, which was allegedly situated on a ‘nazul land’ (government land given on lease for non-agricultural purposes). Earlier, officials had stopped the construction at the site and sealed the building, saying that it did not have an approved map. Right-wing activists alleged that Muslims had been using this house for offering prayers.

Members of the Muslim community said that they had to stop the Taraweeh namaz (Ramzan special prayers) due to the protests. Around 10-12 people including the lawyer and the imam came out stopping the prayers, they said. They also alleged that the imam was slapped by someone during the ruckus.

Following this, the Muslims gheraoed the Haldwani police station and started raising slogans against police. They blocked the Nainital highway outside the police station around 2am demanding immediate arrest of the attackers. The police force surrounded the gate from all sides to prevent people from entering the police station. Police also used lathi-charge to control the crowd.

Haldwani city magistrate, Richa Singh, and Kumaon inspector general (IG) of police, Nilesh Anand Bharne, reached the spot.

Nainital senior superintendent of police (SSP), Pankaj Bhatt, called the city imam of Jama Masjid, Mufti Azam Qadri, to diffuse the matter. He also addressed the crowd through the loudspeaker installed in the police vehicle and asked them to let the police do their work. Following this, the angry protesters calmed down and started going towards their respective homes.

The SSP said that a first information report (FIR) has been lodged against 40 people on the complaint of Mohammad Shahid, the imam of the area who was leading Ramzan prayers in the area.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Nanital district president, Pratap Bisht, rejected the allegations that one of the people involved in the ruckus was a member of his party. “Mukesh Bhatt, whose name is coming up in the incident, is currently not in the BJP. He had switched over from the BJP to the Congress in the last assembly election. He has nothing to do with the BJP,” he said.

Abdul Mateen Siddiqui, a senior Muslim leader in Haldwani said, “The incident that happened on Monday night here is very condemnable. It can spoil atmosphere of not only the city but in whole of Kumaon. People of any community should not act like this. Action should be taken against the people who did all this.”

Source: Hindustan Times

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https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/dehradun-news/communal-tension-erupts-in-haldwani-after-protests-outside-muslim-prayer-house-police-lodge-fir-against-40-people-muslims-gherao-police-station-101680608159573.html

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Muslim cattle trader murder: Accused Kerehalli releases video, claims innocence

4th April 2023

Runaway cow vigilante and Hindutva worker Puneeth Kerehalli who is the main accused in the Idrees Pasha murder case released a video claiming innocence.

In a 15-minute video, Kerehalli can be seen sitting inside a car and explaining why his phone was switched off after the murder case came to light. He accused Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) behind Idrees Pasha’s death.

“I was visiting temples due to which my phone was switched off. I came to know about the murder only after switching my phone on. I am willing to cooperate with the police investigations. I will deal with questions in a straightforward manner. I will always protect cows and even in the future I will do it,” Kerehalli said in the video.

On April 1 cattle trader Idrees Pasha’s body was found dead after being allegedly murdered by Hindutva workers. According to an FIR lodged by his brother Yunus Pasha, Idrees was killed despite carrying a document that stated he was transporting cattle from Mandya to Tamil Nadu.

The incident happened in Sathanur village in Kanakapura taluk of Ramanagara district, Karnataka.

A case was filed by the Sathanur police against Kerehalli who is currently absconding.

In the video, Kerehalli termed the whole incident as a ‘political vendetta’ against him. Accusing the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) behind Idrees’s murder he said, “I live-streamed the incident on Facebook. I was with the police till 5 am on Saturday until the cattle were safely released. If I had really killed him (Idrees Pasha) why will I go to the police in the first place?”

Source:Siasat Daily

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https://www.siasat.com/muslim-cattle-trader-murder-accused-kerehalli-releases-video-claims-innocence-2561296/

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'Communal Mindset': 'India Slams Organisation of Islamic Cooperation For Remark Over Ram Navami Violence

05 APR 2023

India on Tuesday slammed the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for its statement on Ram Navami violence in the country, calling it "communal mindset" and "anti-India" agenda.

"We strongly condemn the statement issued by OIC Secretariat today regarding India. This is one more example of their communal mindset and anti-India agenda," external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

India's sharp reaction came after the OIC secretariat, in a statement, alleged that the Muslim community was being targeted in several states in India during Ram Navami processions.

"The OIC only does its reputation damage by being consistently manipulated by anti-India forces," the MEA spokesperson added.

Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh were among the states marred by communal clashes and violence amid Ram Navami festivities. Men with swords and ‘trishuls’ were seen marching the streets as mosques and madrasas were attacked, vehicles were torched and stones were pelted in many areas.

At least 14 devotees were killed in separate incidents in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, and clashes and arson in some parts of the country.

Meanwhile, a Hindu organisation has moved the Supreme Court seeking the registration of FIRs in recent incidents of violence on Ram Navami in different parts of the country.

Source:OutlookIndia

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

https://www.outlookindia.com/national/-communal-mindset-india-slams-islamic-nations-group-for-remark-over-ram-navami-violence-news-276018

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Arab World

 

UAE’s Sheikh Mohamed holds phone call with Israel’s Netanyahu

04 April ,2023

United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Tuesday discussed ways to enhance relations with Israel during a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, official press agency WAM reported.

Sheikh Mohamed “affirmed the UAE’s ongoing commitment to bilateral relations with Israel,” WAM said.

The UAE president said that the US-brokered Abraham Accords - signed in 2020 to normalize relations between UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan with Israel - “provides further framework for the countries to collaborate across multiple fields and sectors,” according to WAM.

During the phone call Sheikh Mohamed also “reaffirmed” that the UAE will work with Israel and other Arab nations to ensure peace in the region.

In January this year, national security advisors of the US, UAE, Bahrain, and Israel met to discuss deepening regional integration as the administration of US President Joe Biden was looking to increase the number of Arab states normalizing ties with Israel.

Discussions between the nations touched on clean energy, emerging technology, regional security, and commercial relations, according to a joint statement from the four countries.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2023/04/04/UAE-s-Sheikh-Mohamed-holds-phone-call-with-Israel-s-Netanyahu-

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‘New Mideast’: Syria’s Rapprochement With Arab Neighbours Leaves Israel Jittery

04 April 2023

Concerns have mounted in Tel Aviv over the rapprochement between Syria and several Arab states after years of tension and hostilities, according to Israeli media.

Hebrew-language daily Maariv described the wave of rapprochement between Syria and its Arab neighbors as the "New Middle East", referring to Saudi Arabia's plan to invite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to attend the Arab League summit in Riyadh in May.

The newspaper said Assad's participation in the summit would constitute "a significant development" in the resumption of ties between Damascus and other Arab states, noting that "it reflects a change in the regional position towards Syria", as reported by Russia's RT news channel.

Some Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, severed diplomatic ties with Damascus following the eruption of foreign-backed militancy in Syria in 2011.

The Arab League also suspended Syria’s membership in November 2011, citing an alleged crackdown by Damascus on opposition protests.

Syria, one of the six founding members of the Arab League in 1945, denounced the move as “illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”

Maariv also commented on Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad's visit to the Egyptian capital of Cairo, the first in over a decade, saying the high-stakes trip was aimed at laying the ground for the return of Syria to the Cairo-based 22-member Arab League.

Mekdad's meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Cairo on Saturday came amid growing Arab engagement with the Syrian government. The two top diplomats discussed the strengthening of bilateral relations as well as the latest regional and international developments.

The Syrian president also visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for an official visit in late March, amid a thaw in relations between Syria and the rest of the Arab world.

Heading a Syrian delegation, Assad, accompanied by his wife Asma al-Assad, was received by UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan upon his arrival at the presidential airport in Abu Dhabi..

Israel Hayom newspaper also said that inviting Assad to the Arab League summit comes as part of a big change in Saudi Arabia's foreign policy that would boost its ties with China and comes after Riyadh's recent resumption of diplomatic ties with Iran.

Last month, Riyadh and Damascus reached an agreement to reopen their embassies and resume consular services after the holy month of Ramadan.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/04/04/700932/Concerns-rise-Israel-rapprochement--Syria-Arab-states

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Iran holds funeral for IRGC officers killed by Israel in Syria

04 April ,2023

Thousands of Iranians attended a funeral procession in Tehran on Tuesday for two Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officers killed in Israeli strikes in Syria last week.

Israel launched several missiles on Friday from the occupied Golan Heights against positions near Damascus, part of a series of attacks over recent days including early Tuesday.

“The Zionists are trying to target the resistance front, but the resistance will become stronger and more motivated,” said IRGC spokesman Ramazan Sharif, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

“We will avenge the blood of martyrs Milad Heydari and MeghdadMahghani,” he vowed, while thousands gathered in central Tehran to mourn them, chanting “down with Israel.”

“Follow their path,” Heydari’s mother told the large crowd at the funeral, urging them to ensure the victims’ blood was not spilled in vain.

During more than a decade of civil war in Syria, Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on its territory, targeting Iran-backed forces and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters as well as Syrian army positions.

Iran, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, says it only deploys military advisers in the conflict-ravaged country.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanani, accused arch enemy Israel of bringing “war and insecurity” to the Middle East and of “creating discord in the region.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/04/04/Iran-holds-funeral-for-IRGC-officers-killed-by-Israel-in-Syria

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Lebanon investigates embezzlement of over $300,000 at Ukraine embassy

04 April ,2023

Lebanon is investigating alleged embezzlement of over $300,000 at its Ukraine embassy, a judicial official told AFP on Monday, as sources say cash-strapped Beirut is trying to cut costs at diplomatic missions.

The probe was launched after financial irregularities came to light in September, the official said, requesting anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Preliminary investigations showed “an estimated $318,000” had been embezzled from funds including for consular services such as “passport renewal fees,” the official said.

The foreign ministry had apparently failed to notice or investigate the missing funds, according to the official.

A diplomatic source confirmed to AFP that “judicial investigations are underway into a financial matter at the Ukrainian embassy.”

Ambassador Ali Daher – who had been recalled to Beirut pending the completion of the probe – and one of his assistants have been questioned, the judicial official said.

Citing initial investigations, the official said the money had been transferred to a Ukrainian bank account belonging to the embassy employee who claimed the funds had been sent to Beirut.

The assistant has returned to Lebanon but since disappeared, the official said, adding that Lebanon’s top prosecutor has issued a travel ban against the assistant and his Ukrainian wife.

Rent paid for the ambassador’s residence in Kyiv was also under investigation, the official said.

Work has largely been suspended at the Lebanese diplomatic mission in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion last year, the diplomatic source said also on condition of anonymity.

Since late 2019, Lebanon has faced a devastating economic crisis that has plunged more than 80 percent of the population into poverty, according to the United Nations.

The local currency has lost much of its value and public sector employees, whose salaries remained largely stagnant, have had their purchasing power slashed.

Since last year, the foreign ministry has proposed suspending work in 17 foreign missions to help rein in expenditure, according to the diplomatic source, with Kyiv being one of them according to media reports.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/04/04/Lebanon-investigates-embezzlement-of-over-300-000-at-Ukraine-embassy-

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Bus attack in Syria injures 16 near Jordan border: State media

04 April ,2023

A bus attack in Syria’s south near the Jordan border wounded at least 16 people on Monday, Syrian state media said.

“Sixteen employees of the joint Syrian-Jordanian duty free zone were injured after terrorists planted an explosive device near the bus they were on,” state news agency SANA said.

The attack took place “near the Saida bridge on the Damascus-Amman highway,” an area in Syria’s Daraa province, SANA said.

Daraa was the cradle of Syria’s 2011 uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, but it returned to Damascus’s control in 2018 under a ceasefire deal backed by Russia.

But the province has been wracked by violence for years.

ISIS, whose third leader was killed in Daraa in October, sometimes claims responsibility for attacks in the region.

Monday’s attack comes one day after a rare car bombing rocked the capital Damascus, with no deaths reported and no side claiming responsibility.

On January 30, a bomb attack on a bus carrying Syrian police wounded 15 officers in Daraa province, which is mostly controlled by Syrian government forces and former rebels who have reached understandings with the regime.

The Syrian war broke out in 2011 with the brutal repression of peaceful anti-government protests, and escalated into a deadly armed conflict that pulled in foreign powers and global extremists.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/04/04/Bus-attack-in-Syria-injures-16-near-Jordan-border-State-media-

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Syria: Israeli aggressive policies threaten region with all-out escalation

05 April 2023

Amid the Israeli regime's back-to-back attacks against Syria, the Arab country warns that the occupying regime's aggressive policies threaten the region with all-out escalation and a new phase of instability.

Syria's foreign ministry issued the warning on Tuesday while making mention of the regime's several rounds of aggression against the capital Damascus, the western Syrian city of Homs, and the cities' suburbs over the past few days, the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.

The latest of the attacks hit the vicinity of Damascus earlier in the day, causing the death of two civilians and leaving some material damage.

This was the fourth missile strike to be carried out by the occupying regime against Syria in less than a week.

The attack came after the regime conducted an airstrike against positions across the country's central Homs Province on Sunday, injuring five soldiers.

Two earlier attacks on Damascus were carried out on Thursday and Friday. The Friday attack led to the martyrdom of two members of the Iranian military advisory mission that is present in the Arab country at Damascus' request to help its forces in their fight against foreign-backed terrorist groups.

On Sunday, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) issued a stern warning to the Israeli regime, vowing retaliation for Tel Aviv's killing of the advisors.

The Tel Aviv regime mostly keeps quiet about its attacks on Syrian territory, which many views as a knee-jerk reaction to the increasing success of the country's government and its allies in confronting terrorism.

To escape from the repercussions of its acts of aggression, however, the Israeli regime tries to "hide behind the umbrella of immunity and unlimited support from its protectors," the Syrian foreign ministry added.

The ministry was referring to the United States and its allies and their provision of unreserved protection for the regime against the slightest instance of accountability across the international organizations for its violations and atrocities.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/04/05/700980/Syria-warning-Israel-aggressive-policies

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Amid ongoing Israeli airstrikes, Iran's deputy minister says Tehran to help Syria boost air defences

04 April 2023

A senior Iranian defense official has reaffirmed Tehran’s commitment to the security of friendly countries, saying the Islamic Republic considers itself “obliged” to help reinforce Syria’s air defense capabilities in repelling Israeli attacks on the Arab country.

Brigadier General HamzehQalandari, deputy defense minister for international affairs, made the remarks on the sidelines of a ceremony to mark the International Mine Awareness Day and Assistance in Mine Action in the capital, Tehran, on Tuesday.

“We find ourselves committed to help friendly countries, like Syria, improve their air defenses and fend off aerial attacks,” he said, as he talked about the export of defense products at the event.

The deputy defense minister further noted that Syria used to be a “defenseless” country in the face of Israeli aerial attacks in the past, but now Damascus is repelling a large number of air strikes carried out by the occupying Israeli regime.

Elsewhere in his remarks, General Qalandari stated that Iran has assisted many of its neighbors and friendly countries “not only in terms of equipment and arms, but also in the field of technology of manufacturing military equipment.”

He also highlighted the growing interest in the purchase of Iranian military and defense equipment, saying “After the removal of a UN arms embargo against Iran in 2020, we are witnessing many countries that seek to employ Iranian weapons."

The Israeli regime frequently violates Syrian sovereignty by targeting military positions inside the country, especially those of the resistance movement Hezbollah, which has played a key role in helping the Syrian army in its fight against foreign-backed terrorists.

Syria's official SANA news agency quoted an unnamed military source as saying that the Israeli regime had launched a fresh missile strike against Syria, this time targeting positions in the vicinity of the country's capital city of Damascus.

The new missile attack was carried out early Tuesday from the direction of the occupied Golan Heights, and in addition to Damascus, hit some other areas in the southern part of the country.

The military source added that the country's air defenses intercepted Israeli missiles, shooting down most of them. The attack, however, left two civilians dead and caused some material damage.

Syria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has warned Israel against the consequences of these attacks, saying such hostile policies will lead to insecurity and instability in the region.

Israel mostly keeps quiet about its attacks on the Syrian territories, which many view as a knee-jerk reaction to Syrian government’s increasing success in confronting terrorism.

The Tel Aviv regime has been a main supporter of terrorist groups that have battled the government of President Bashar al-Assad since foreign-backed militancy erupted in Syria in early 2011.

Syrian has repeatedly complained to the UN over Israeli assaults, urging the Security Council to take action against Tel Aviv’s crimes. The calls have, however, fallen on deaf ears.

Iran and Syria signed a comprehensive agreement to enhance their cooperation in the military and defense sectors in July 2020.

Back in February, Iranian and Syrian military officials agreed on the delivery of missile systems to Damascus to boost the Arab country's air defenses amid increased Israeli air raids. 

Iran was the first country to rush to Syria's assistance following the outbreak of the foreign-backed violence in the Arab country.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/04/04/700957/Iran-Syria-assist-air-defense-Israeli-airstrikes-aerial-targets-Hamzeh-Qalandari

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North America

 

Canada slashing suspect charged with terrorism linked to Islamic State

April 4, 2023

A suspect accused of slashing a person’s throat on a bus in the Canadian province of British Columbia has been charged with four terrorism-related counts in the attack that left a man with life-threatening injuries.

Provincial court documents show that Abdul Aziz Kawam, born in 1995, is accused of four counts of acting "for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group, to wit: the Islamic State."

He also faces one count of attempted murder, one count of assault and one count of aggravated assault for slashing the neck of a man with a knife on Saturday.

The court documents show that Kawam is accused of assault in a separate case for allegedly attacking another person on that same day.

Kawam, who was back in court in Surrey, British Columbia on Monday, remains in custody and will appear in court again on Wednesday.

Metro Vancouver Transit Police say they discovered during their investigation that "the suspect made several concerning comments," leading investigators to notify the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Integrated National Security Enforcement Team.

RCMP said the enforcement team consulted with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada on the terrorism charges.

"The amended charges relate to allegations the assaults were carried out for the Islamic State," police say in a statement issued Monday.

Supt. David Teboul, acting deputy criminal operations officer for the federal policing branch, said they are committed to "uncovering all the facts relating to this disturbing and unprovoked assault."

The terror charges carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Transit police say one man allegedly took out a knife and slashed the other across the throat, before being arrested at the scene by transit police and Surrey RCMP officers.

Source: FoxNews

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

https://www.foxnews.com/world/canada-slashing-suspect-charged-terrorism-linked-islamic-state

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US welcomes Finland into NATO, urges Turkey to let Sweden join ‘without delay’

04 April ,2023

The US on Tuesday formally welcomed Finland as NATO’s 31st ally, but called on Turkey and Hungary to swiftly approve Sweden’s ascension as well.

Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership last May following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Their membership was held up by Turkey and then Hungary for different reasons. American and European lobbying efforts helped remove the Turkish veto.

US President Joe Biden praised the Nordic countries for being “strong democracies” with highly capable militaries that “share our values and vision for the world.”

Biden added: “When Putin launched his brutal war of aggression against the people of Ukraine, he thought he could divide Europe and NATO. He was wrong.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it was a historic day and took a jab at Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I’m tempted to say this may be the one thing we can thank Mr. Putin for, because he, once again here, has precipitated something he claims to want to prevent,” Blinken said ahead of a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Belgium.

The US president said Europe and NATO were more united than ever while vowing to preserve transatlantic security and defending “every inch of NATO territory” together.

Finland became a member of NATO in record time, less than one year.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/04/04/US-welcomes-Finland-into-NATO-urges-Turkey-to-let-Sweden-join-without-delay-

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Who is the Iraqi lawyer in the eye of the latest Donald Trump legal storm?

RAY HANANIA

April 05, 2023

CHICAGO: Iraqi attorney Alina Habba has been on the front lines of the legal battles surrounding Donald Trump over the past two years, as one of the former president’s most tenacious defenders.

A managing partner of New York law firm Habba Madaio and Associates, she is married to attorney Matthew Eyet, who manages his own law firm in New Jersey. Habba and her two siblings were born in Summit, New Jersey, to Chaldean Catholic parents who fled Iraq in the early 1980s to escape the religious persecution of Christians. Her father, Saad F. Habba, is a gastroenterologist.

Trump was indicted last week by a grand jury in Manhattan on more than 30 counts related to allegations he paid “hush money” to adult movie star Stormy Daniels to prevent her from disclosing details of their relationship. Trump turned himself in to authorities in Manhattan on Tuesday and later appeared before Judge Juan Merchan, entering a plea of not guilty to all charges.

Habba, 39, has been one of Trump’s most vocal defenders and it has put her in the legal cross hairs. She was lead attorney on a legal team that was sanctioned, along with Trump, on Jan. 19 in Florida by US District Court Judge Donald Middlebrook, who ruled the lawyers and their client were jointly liable for $937,989 in damages over a lawsuit they filed accusing 31 defendants of “trying to destroy” Trump’s life and “rigging the 2016 election in favor of Hillary Clinton.”

The judge dismissed their case, saying it had “fatal substantive defects,” and accused the lawyers of ignoring his order not to advance the allegations that had been rejected.

On Tuesday, Trump became the first former president to be charged with a crime. His indictment came after a grand jury considered evidence presented by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The charges relate to payments allegedly made to Daniels on Trump’s behalf to prevent her speaking publicly about their relationship. Trump denies any wrongdoing.

Asked recently if she believes her client can get a fair trial in New York, Habba said: “No, no, I think it’s very difficult. I’d like to have faith in this state but I’ve been practicing for him now for a couple years and gone to court in New York for a few years, and I can tell you it’s not the same as representing anybody else.”

Habba’s legal expertise covers many types of cases, including corporate litigation and formation, commercial real estate, family law, the financial services industry and construction-related matters.

Before entering private practice, she was a law clerk for Eugene J. Codey, Jr., the presiding judge of the Civil Superior Court in Essex County, New Jersey.

In September 2021, Habba represented Trump in a $100 million lawsuit filed by the former president against his niece, Mary Trump, and The New York Times Company, accusing them of “an insidious plot” and conspiracy to publish information about his tax records. Mary Trump in turn filed a lawsuit against her uncle claiming she had been defrauded of her inheritance but a judge dismissed the case.

Although she is not lead counsel in the case surrounding Trump’s indictment on Tuesday, she has spearheaded investigations designed to clear his name and dismiss many of the lawsuits brought against him in recent years.

Celebrity gossip website TMZ reported this week that Habba found herself at the center of a social media storm of criticism when she compared Trump’s legal problems to those of African American rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., and said his arrest would serve only boost his popularity, a view that many conservative commentators embrace.

Habba also represents Trump in a defamation lawsuit brought against him by E. Jean Carroll, a former Elle magazine columnist who accused the former president of sexually assaulting her in New York in the mid-1990s. Trump has repeatedly denied the allegation. He was deposed in October last year by attorneys representing Carroll.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2281511/world

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ISIS/Daesh senior leader killed in airstrike northwestern Syria: US

FirdevsBulutKartal

04.04.2023

TORONTO, Canada

ISIS/Daesh terror group senior leader Khalid Ayyd Ahmad al-Jabouri was killed in an airstrike in Syria, US Central Command said Tuesday.

CENTCOM said the ISIS leader was killed in northwestern Syria early Tuesday.

There were no civilian casualties in the attack, it said. Al-Jabouri was responsible for attacks that ISIS carried out in Europe and Türkiye. He played a key role in the so-called senior staff of Deash in Türkiye, it added.

"The death of Al-Jabouri will temporarily disrupt the organization's ability to plot external attacks," according to CENTCOM. "DAESH/Isis continues to represent a threat to the region and beyond.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/isis-daesh-senior-leader-killed-in-airstrike-northwestern-syria-us/2863501

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After attacks by Iranian-backed forces, US carrier repositioned near Syria: Pentagon

ServetGünerigök

04.04.2023

WASHINGTON

The Pentagon said Monday that the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean has been repositioned near the Syrian coast as a precaution after Iranian-backed forces launched attacks on American military bases in Syria.

"We saw increased attacks from (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC-affiliated groups targeting our service members across Syria, and as a precaution, we did move the carrier to be slightly closer," Deputy Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told a press briefing.

Singh stressed that the reason for positioning the carrier was in response to the attacks.

Asked by Anadolu whether the vessel is being kept in the region for a possible military strike on Iran, Singh said: "This was about the attacks that we saw on our service members in the region and the response to that.”

Late last month, a drone attack killed one American contractor and wounded at least six US military personnel. The Pentagon blamed Iran for it.

The US carried out airstrikes in response.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/after-attacks-by-iranian-backed-forces-us-carrier-repositioned-near-syria-pentagon/2862682

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US sends warship to Syria amid Tehran-Washington tension over attacks on Iranian advisors

04 April 2023

The United States has relocated a warship in the Mediterranean to the coast near Syria as tensions rise between Tehran and Washington over deadly attacks on Iranian military advisors in Syria.

Iran’s envoy to the UN Amir SaeidIravani earlier on Monday warned that the Islamic Republic will take "decisive measures" to protect its forces and interests in Syria against any threats posed by the United States or others.

Last week, two Iranian military advisers stationed in Syria were killed in an Israeli airstrike near the country’s capital Damascus. Following the attack, the IRGC issued a stern warning to the Israeli regime on Sunday, vowing retaliation for the killing of its military advisers in Syria.

Deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh told a press briefing on Monday that, “We saw increased attacks from IRGC-affiliated groups targeting our service members across Syria, and so as a precaution we did move the carrier to be slightly closer.”

She added that the relocation of the carrier was in response to what she claimed to be increasing attacks on American service members in the region.

The Pentagon spokeswoman also emphasized that the US has no plans to change its footprint at this time in Syria.

Singh made the remarks on the same day that Iravani warned the United States and others.against attacks on Iranian advisors in Syria, stressing that Iran's presence in the Arab country is totally legal and at the request of Damascus.

In a Monday letter to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the head of the Security Council, Amir SaeidIravani pointed out that Iran’s presence in Syria is totally legal and at the request of Damascus.

The relocation of the US warship came as US President Joe Biden claimed in March that the United States was not seeking a conflict with Iran

He made the remarks after more than 20 rockets were fired against two illegal bases belonging to American occupation forces in eastern Syria, killing an American contractor.

US warplanes subsequently launched several strikes on the eastern city of Dayr al-Zawr, targeting the positions of resistance fighters.

Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said the strikes were carried out at the direction of President Biden, claiming that they targeted facilities used by groups affiliated with the IRGC.

However, local sources pointed out that the target was not an Iran-aligned military post, but rather, a rural development center and a grain center in the Hrabashneighborhood, near Dayr al-Zawr military airport. No Iranian was killed in the act of aggression.

An Iranian official has later rejected US allegations that Tehran was involved in the attack, saying the US is trying to divert attention from its illegal occupation of Syria.

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/04/04/700941/US-carrier-repositioned-Syria-attacks-Iranian-backed-forces

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Mideast

 

Iran, Saudi Arabia to Set Up Joint Chamber of Commerce Following Diplomatic Agreement

2023-April-4

Kashefi said on Monday Tehran and Riyadh will soon launch a joint chamber of commerce, adding that the move will mark a fruitful step toward furthering the economic goals of the two nations.

He described the rapprochement between Tehran and the kingdom as the most important political and economic development in Iran over the past month.

The official stated that the private sector of Iran will welcome the constructive interaction, adding that the political decision will have positive implications for the Iranian economy.

Kashefi voiced hope that such interactions will continue with other foreign countries.

The member of Iran chamber of commerce said the return of calm to the financial markets, including currency and gold, and stability in those markets counts as a positive result of the normalization of relations between Tehran and Riyadh.

He noted that this shows how correct political decisions can affect a nation’s economy.

While stressing that Iran and Saudi Arabia are two big and important countries in the region, Kashefi said political and economic cooperation between the two countries paves the way for regional stability and security.

He reiterated that Iran and Saudi Arabia plan to start the exchange of business delegations immediately after the reopening of their embassies.

Kashefi went on to describe Saudi Arabia as a big economy whose capacity has not been used as it should, stressing Saudi Arabia’s trade balance capacity of 300 billion dollars can yield Iran in the coming years a market worth at least 2 to 3 billion dollars.

The two regional heavyweights announced on March 10 a Chinese-brokered deal to restore ties seven years after they were severed.

First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber said on Monday that President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi has accepted an invitation from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to visit the kingdom following the reconciliation deal between Tehran and Riyadh.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14020115000274/Iran-Sadi-Arabia-Se-Up-Jin-Chamber-f-Cmmerce-Fllwing-Diplmaic

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Iran: Violent attack on al-Aqsa Mosque worshipers reveals inhumane nature of Israel

05 April 2023

Iran has censured Israeli forces’ vicious assault on dozens of Palestinian worshipers inside al-Aqsa Mosque, where they were peacefully observing the holy month of Ramadan, saying that the violent raid attests to the inhumane nature of the Tel Aviv regime.

“The brutal attack by the usurping Zionist regime’s military on Palestinian pilgrims and worshipers inside al-Aqsa Mosque has once again laid bare the criminal and inhumane nature of the regime before the eyes of the world,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani tweeted on Wednesday.

“This crime is strongly condemned, and deserves the immediate reaction of the Muslim world, freedom-loving people around the world as well as responsible international bodies,” he added.

Dozens of heavily armed Israeli forces stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Tuesday night before firing tear gas and stun grenades into the Qibli prayer hall, where hundreds of men, women, elderly people and children were staying overnight to pray. Some eyewitnesses said rubber-coated steel bullets were also fired.

Israeli officers then beat worshipers with batons and riot guns, wounding many, before arresting them.

Videos from inside the mosque showed Israeli officers repeatedly hitting people with batons while they appeared to lie on the floor. In the meantime, the cries for help from women and children could be heard in the background.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said it received multiple reports of injuries at al-Aqsa Mosque but has not been able to determine the number of casualties as Israeli forces continue to block medics from reaching the wounded.

Local media outlets said dozens were wounded and the injuries have included bruises, fractures and breathlessness from inhaling tear gas.

One of the female worshipers who was at the scene told local media that women were eventually let out but the men were harshly beaten and arrested.

“Every single one of them was harshly beaten. Every single man,” she said.

The Palestinian Commission of Detainees’ Affairs estimates that at least 400 people have been arrested.

After the raid, local mosques around al-Quds called on Palestinians through speakerphones to stage a mass rally in the occupied city and support those assaulted in the mosque.

Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets across the occupied West Bank to condemn the assault and confront Israeli troops at checkpoints and military posts.

Elsewhere in the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestinian resistance fighters launched a volley of rockets toward the occupied territories.

At least one rocket landed inside the territories and caused damage to a food factory. No casualties were recorded, according to Israeli media outlets.

Palestinians slam al-Aqsa Mosque raid

Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Hamas resistance movement, said in a statement, “What is happening in al-Aqsa Mosque is an unprecedented crime. Everyone must bear their responsibility, Palestinians and Muslims alike.”

He urged Palestinians in the West Bank and the 1948 Israeli-occupied territories to march to al-Aqsa Mosque and “protect it.” 

Ziyad Nakhalah, the leader of the Islamic Jihad movement, echoed a similar message.

“The events at al-Aqsa Mosque are a threat to our sacred places of worship and the Palestinian people must be prepared for the imminent decisive confrontation [with Israel],” he said in a statement.

The Fatah movement said what happened was “dangerous” and warned that the occupying Israeli regime “will pay the price.”

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the presidential spokesperson of the Palestinian Authority, said Israeli forces “crossed the red lines.”

“What the occupying regime is doing right now at holy sites such as in al-Aqsa, and the attacking of worshipers is an example of the relentless war against Palestinian people and Arab nations, which will ignite fires across the region,” Abu Rudeineh said.

Arab countries condemn ferocious attack

Moreover, several Arab countries have condemned the attack against Muslim worshipers and said they are following up the developments with concern.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the kingdom condemns the incursion and expresses its categorical rejection of such practices, which undermine peace and are contrary to international principles and values that call for respect of religious sanctities.

It reiterated Riyadh’s position in supporting all efforts aimed at ending the Israeli occupation and reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry also said in a statement that such hateful and reprehensible scenes and repeated Israeli violations of the sanctity of the holy places fuel feelings of anger among all Palestinians and Muslim nations.

Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates also strongly condemned the ferocious assault and called on Israel to stop such acts against worshipers, which it said violate international principles.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/04/05/700990/Violent-attack-on-worshippers-in-al-Aqsa-Mosque-substantiates-inhumane-nature-of-Israel--Spokesman

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Rockets fired at Gaza border towns following clashes inside Al-Aqsa Mosque

Terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired rockets at several towns in southern Israel early Wednesday morning, following clashes between police and Palestinians inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Hours later, an Israeli soldier was wounded in a suspected shooting near the West Bank city of Hebron, amid heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions during Ramadan and the start of Passover.

The launches set off alert systems in Sderot and a number of nearby communities. Around 20 minutes later, further warning sirens sounded at a kibbutz in the area.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, five projectiles were launched in the initial salvo, four of which were intercepted by air defense systems. The military said four more rockets were fired shortly after, all of which fell in open areas.

The Sderot Municipality said one of the rockets struck a factory in the industrial area, causing damage. There were no reports of injuries.

In response, Palestinian media reported Wednesday morning that Israeli forces struck targets in Gaza, after which sirens were again triggered in a number of southern communities.  There was no immediate confirm of the strikes from the IDF.

Prior to the sirens, the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group denounced the police’s actions at the flashpoint Jerusalem holy site as “an unprecedented crime” and urged Palestinians “to go en masse to the Al-Aqsa Mosque to defend it.” People started gathering in the streets, with calls to head for the heavily guarded Gaza-Israel frontier for more violent demonstrations.

Islamic Jihad, another Gaza-based terrorist organization, similarly called for Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Israel to go and gather around the mosque and confront Israeli forces.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman warned Israel against “crossing red lines” at holy sites, saying this could trigger a “big explosion.”

“We hold the occupation government fully responsible for any deterioration, and it must act responsibly and stop this absurdity, which will have dangerous consequences for everyone,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in a statement carried by the Ramallah-based PA’s official Wafa news agency.

Jordan, which controls the body that administers the Temple Mount, also denounced Israel, accusing police of “storming” Al-Aqsa and assaulting worshippers. Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry issued a condemnation that used nearly identical language.

“The foreign ministry calls on Israel to immediately withdraw its police and special forces from the compound,” the Jordanian statement said.

According to police, dozens of masked youths barricaded themselves inside the mosque atop the Temple Mount with fireworks, clubs and rocks following evening prayers, while locking the doors and placing barricades at the entrances.

The force said in a statement that officers tried to convince those inside to leave but were ultimately forced to enter the mosque, where they were attacked with rocks and fireworks.

Police added that dozens of suspects were arrested and that “the rioters caused damage to the mosque and desecrated it.”

During the clashes, an officer was struck in the leg by a rock, according to police, who did not provide any details on his condition. Palestinian reports said dozens were wounded, many of them apparently from smoke inhalation.

“Unfortunately at the same time many police are working to allow freedom of worship while maintaining security, the law and [public] order… There are those who choose to riot and disturb public order. These same rioters are first and foremost harming the Muslim public which comes to pray at the mosque,” the police statement said.

The violence at the mosque came after officers shot and wounded a 15-year-old Palestinian boy in the nearby Silwan neighborhood late Tuesday. Police said the teenager was among a group of suspects who threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at a security vehicle, with officers opening fire after they tried to open one of the car’s doors.

The suspect was in stable condition and taken to the hospital for treatment, according to police.

In the shooting near Hebron, the military said the soldier was taken to a hospital in Jerusalem after being struck by gunfire during clashes between troops and Palestinians in the village of Beit Ummar. No word was given on his condition.

The IDF said troops were searching the area for suspects.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began last week and will end April 21, often sees elevated Israeli-Palestinian tensions, with frictions already high this year in Jerusalem and across the West Bank following months of deadly violence.

Palestinian terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank in recent months have left 15 Israelis dead and several more seriously hurt.

Source: TimesOfIsrael

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https://www.timesofisrael.com/police-clash-with-palestinians-inside-al-aqsa-mosque-dozens-arrested/

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Breakaway candidate could give Erdogan a lifeline in tight election

April 5, 2023

ANKARA: A second-time presidential candidate who lost out to Tayyip Erdogan in a 2018 vote could push Turkiye’s May election to a second round, potentially boosting the president’s prospects of winning, according to analysts and polls.

Muharrem Ince, formerly of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), joined the fray last month and secured a spot on the ballot at the weekend, fuelling concerns among Erdogan’s opponents about a split in the opposition vote.

Some surveys put Ince’s support at more than 5 per cent, with one by Panoramatr giving him 10pc last month.

Pollsters and analysts say his backers would mostly otherwise vote for CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who is the main opposition candidate seen as the biggest electoral challenge to Erdogan in his 20 years in power. “The fundamental consequence of Ince’s (candidacy) is sending the elections to a second round,” Panoramatr research director Osman Sert said.

He said Ince’s support could slide from 10pc, where it has mostly held over the last month, as the vote approaches. “But even if there is such a meltdown it would not prevent the election going to a second round,” Sert said.

Some analysts say Ince might agree a deal with Kilicdaroglu and withdraw before the vote to boost the opposition which, polls suggest, retains an edge over the incumbent Erdogan. But Ince indicated he would not bow to such pressure.

“There is no situation that would require us to withdraw and technically this isn’t possible,” he told broadcaster Haberturk on Monday, noting that an official draw on Saturday formalised his spot on the ballot.

Ince, whose blunt speeches and impromptu dances have drawn social media attention, resigned from the CHP two years ago and formed the Homeland Party after twice failing to become CHP leader.

“They are saying, ‘Muharrem Ince, withdraw’,” he said on Haberturk, referring to opposition critics. “Their only concern is, ‘We’ll lose the election, let’s declare the guilty party now’.” A senior opposition party official, declining to be named due to the issue’s sensitivity, said Ince’s candidacy would make it difficult to defeat Erdogan in the first round but this can be overcome if, as the opposition alliance expects, his support and that of the fourth candidate Sinan Ogan drops to near 5pc by election day.

A senior official from Erdogan’s AK Party said its internal polls put Ince’s support at some 8-9pc, but did not provide the data.

If no presidential candidate gets more than 50pc in the May 14 vote, the top two would compete in a second round two weeks later. Voters will also select parliamentarians.

Analysts say that whichever alliance — ruling or opposition — controls parliament will be well placed for its candidate to win a second presidential round given they could campaign on stability. Polls indicate the AKP will remain the largest party in parliament.

Data from closely-watched pollster Metropoll showed Ince and undecided voters would determine the presidential vote, its head Ozer Sencar said.

In its March survey, 44.6pc of respondents said they would vote for Kilicdaroglu and 42.0pc for Erdogan, if just given a choice between the two, while nearly 6pc planned a “protest” vote. Erdogan was 2.9 points ahead in a similar January survey by Metropoll.

Support for Erdogan dipped after February’s devastating earthquake amid perceptions of an initially slow response. More than 50,000 people were killed and millions left homeless.

Among voters opposed to Erdogan, some voice dissatisfaction with the diverse main opposition alliance, partly as it includes parties led by former Erdogan allies and an Islamist party.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1745993/breakaway-candidate-could-give-erdogan-a-lifeline-in-tight-election

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Military Chief: Israel's Crumbling Inevitable

2023-April-4

“Last year was a tumultuous juncture during which [Iranian] Armed Forces took major steps to boost their defensive power and readiness,” Maj. Gen. Baqeri stated on Monday.

“What one sees at global and regional levels … is [indicative of] the fact that global and regional developments are weakening the global arrogance and pushing the Zionist regime toward collapse…. On the opposite, the power of our country and the resistance axis is increasing,” the Iranian general underlined.

The senior military official underscored that many American thinkers and even politicians have acknowledged this fact and “even the president of this fake regime has admitted time and again that Israel is on the verge of collapse… This is exactly our Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei]'s promise that they will not see the next 25 years".

His remark came as the occupied territories have been the scene of massive protests for the past 13 consecutive weeks over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's judicial overhaul.

Demonstrations have showed no sign of abating, despite its suspension by the embattled premier.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14020115000146/Miliary-Chief-Israel's-Crmbling-Ineviable

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Iran Vows to Take Decisive Measures to Guard Military Advisors in Syria

2023-April-4

Iravani made the remark in a Monday letter to the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the head of the Security Council, stressing that Iran's presence in Syria is totally legal and at the request of Damascus.

His remarks came after two Iranian military advisers stationed in Syria were martyred in an Israeli strike near the country’s capital Damascus. Following the attack, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) issued a stern warning to the Zionist regime, vowing retaliation for the killing of its military advisers in Syria.

Iravani’s letter also came after the US ambassador to the UN wrote a letter addressed to the president of the Security Council in an attempt to legitimize his country's ongoing violation of international law in Syria by accusing Iran of supporting the so-called non-State militia groups.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran reserves its inherent right to self-defense under international law and will take decisive measures to protect its forces, interests, and facilities from any threat or unlawful act perpetrated by the United States or others,” Iravani underscored.

He also strongly condemned “the unlawful military strikes by the US forces against civilian infrastructure in Syria … which resulted in the tragic loss of innocent civilian lives and severe damage to Syria's infrastructure".

“The United States must bear its responsibility for committing such a heinous crime that has violated Syrian national sovereignty and territorial integrity, the UN Charter as well as the basic rules of international humanitarian law,” Iran's UN envoy added.

The Iranian diplomat went on to say that Syria has explicitly and repeatedly stated that the presence of US forces on its soil is illegal and constitutes a violation of Syrian national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

On the other hand, he stated, “Iran's presence in Syria is fully legal and based on a formal request and consent from the Syrian government to provide assistance and support [to Damascus] in the fight against terrorism”.

He emphasized that Iran is totally committed to “Syria's national sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, and political independence".

"The United States must acknowledge that the continued plunder of Syrian resources, the ongoing occupation of Syrian territory, and its support for separatists are the main causes of the confrontation of the Syrian people against the United States military forces and it cannot place the responsibility for its blunders and crimes on others," Iran's UN ambassador continued.

Since 2011, Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy, as a result of which Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and other terror groups emerged in the country.

US forces were first sent to Syria in 2014, beginning with a contingent of special operators followed by more conventional ground troops the next year, most embedded with Kurdish fighters in the country’s oil-rich Northeast. Though then-President Barack Obama maintained the deployment was focused only on combating the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) terrorists, Washington had long intervened in Syria’s war against terror groups, sending and overseeing countless arms shipments to militants seeking to overthrow the government in Damascus.

Though American involvement in the conflict slowed under the next administration, in 2019 President Donald Trump noted some US troops would remain in Syria “for the oil”, openly suggesting Washington would simply “keep” the energy resources.

Subsequent reporting in 2020 would later reveal that the Trump administration had approved a deal between a US energy firm and Kurdish authorities controlling Northeast Syria to “develop and export the region’s crude oil” – a contract immediately condemned as “illegal” by Damascus. However, while that particular deal would later fall through after President Joe Biden took office, Syrian authorities have continued to accuse Washington of plundering its resources and some 900 US troops remain in the country illegally.

Syria, Iran, Russia and China have repeatedly called on Washington to stop plundering Syria’s national resources and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Arab country, calling on foreign occupation forces and their mercenaries to leave the war-ravaged country.

Israel frequently targets military positions inside Syria, especially those of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah which has played a key role in helping the Syrian Army in its fight against foreign-backed terrorists.

The Tel Aviv regime rarely comments on its cowardly attacks on Syrian territories, which many see as a knee-jerk reaction to the Syrian government’s success in confronting and decimating terrorism.

Israel has been one of the main supporters of terrorist groups that oppose the democratically-elected government of President Bashar Al-Assad since the foreign-backed militancy erupted in Syria.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14020115000218/Iran-Vws-Take-Decisive-Measres-Gard-Miliary-Advisrs-in-Syria

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Iranian VP: Israeli Assault Against Syria Constitutes Blatant Violation of Int'l Law

2023-April-4

Massive crowds of Iranian people have on Tuesday taken part in a funeral procession held for the two military advisors who were martyred in Damascus by the Israeli military.

The ceremony for the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) military advisers Milad Heidari and MeqdadMehqani which was held in Tehran, was also joined by senior government and military officials, including IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami, IRGC Qods Force Commander EsmayeelQaani and Mokhber.

Mokhber described the Zionist regime’s attack on Syrian soil as a "violation of international law".

"Such an attack is also an indication of the occupying regime’s collapse," he told reporters on the sidelines of the funeral ceremony.

The Iranian officials have underscored that Tehran reserves the right to respond to state terrorism of the Israeli regime in due time and place following the martyrdom of the Iranian military advisers.

Since 2011, Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy, as a result of which Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and other terror groups emerged in the Arab country.

Iran maintains an advisory mission in the war-ravaged country at the request of Damascus, helping it in the face of foreign-backed terrorism. Several members of the IRGC have so far martyred in battle against terrorists in Syria.

Israel has been a key supporter of the terrorist groups during the war and has frequently targets military positions inside Syria, especially those of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah which has played a key role in helping the Syrian Army in its fight against foreign-backed terrorists.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14020115000430/Iranian-VP-Israeli-Assal-Agains-Syria-Cnsies-Blaan-Vilain-f-In'l-Law

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At least 537 killed in Iran protest crackdown: Rights group

04 April ,2023

Iranian security forces have killed at least 537 people in a crackdown on protests that erupted in September, a rights group said on Tuesday, sharply revising upwards its previous toll.

Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) also said that while four people had been executed in this period on protest-related charges, over 300 more had been hanged on other accusations in the same time frame in what it described as a broad tactic to “intimidate” society.

The protest movement began in mid-September after the death in custody of MahsaAmini, a young Iranian Kurd who had been arrested for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.

Protesters took to the streets urging not just an end to clothing obligations like the obligatory headscarf for women, but also the ousting of Iran’s Islamic theocracy which has ruled the country since 1979.

The authorities responded with a crackdown which rights groups say saw protesters directly targeted with live ammunition across the country.

IHR’s previous toll was of 488 protesters killed in the crackdown, and it said the new figure of 537 was due to new deaths being openly verified.

The most deaths took place in late September with 223 killed, October when 100 lost their lives, and November when 173 died, it said in a report marking 200 days since Amini’s death.

The most deaths -- 134 -- were recorded in Sistan-Baluchistan province in the southeast, where the Baluch Sunni minority has held weekly protests.

At least 69 deaths were recorded in Tehran, and 57 and 56 in the provinces of Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan which are populated by the Kurdish minority.

Four men were executed in protest-related cases after what IHR described as “show trials” that prompted an international outcry.

But the group said in the same period 309 people were also put to death on other charges, including 180 for drug-related offenses, without a murmur of dissent from the international community.

The group said this showed how capital punishment in Iran was used as a “tool to intimidate society”.

“These are the ‘low-cost’ victims of the regime’s execution machine,” IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam told AFP.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/04/04/At-least-537-killed-in-Iran-protest-crackdown-Rights-group

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UN rights council denounces rising number of executions in Iran

04 April ,2023

The UN Human Rights Council denounced Tuesday the rising numbers of executions in Iran, including of people who received the capital punishment in connection with protests that have rocked the country.

The top United Nations rights body approved a resolution voicing “deep concern at the reported surge in the number of executions, including of individuals sentenced to death in relation to their alleged involvement in the recent protests.”

The resolution, which also extended the mandate of the UN special rapporteur on the rights situation in Iran for another year, passed with 23 of the council’s 47 members voting in favor.

Another 16 abstained, and eight opposed the text, including China, Cuba, Pakistan and Vietnam.

Iran’s ambassador Ali Bahreini took the floor to slam the resolution as a “weaponization of human rights as a foreign policy tool.”

The resolution echoed strong international condemnation over the country’s crackdown on the protest movement that erupted last September.

Iran has executed four people over the protests, sparked by the September 16 death of MahsaAmini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who had been arrested for allegedly violating the strict dress rule for women.

Rights groups have warned that executions on all kinds of charges are on the rise, arguing this seeks to intimidate society into not protesting.

According to the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) organization, at least 144 people have been executed this year.

Tuesday’s resolution called on Tehran to “take all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures” to ensure no one is executed for “offences that do not meet the threshold of the most serious crimes.”

Iran must also ensure no executions are carried out “for alleged offences committed before the age of 18 years” and that sentences are only handed down by “courts that are competent, independent and impartial,” it said.

Beyond executions, the council deplored “systematic discrimination and violence based on gender, ethnicity, religion or belief or political opinion” in Iran.

It urged authorities to guarantee and uphold the right to freedom of expression and opinion and to address “systematic impunity.”

The resolution also extended the mandate of special rapporteur Javaid Rehman, who in a report presented to the council last month warned Iran had committed serious violations since Amini’s death.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/04/04/UN-rights-council-denounces-rising-number-of-executions-in-Iran

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Emissions cuts can slash heat deaths in Middle East, Iran at highest risk: Study

04 April ,2023

Meeting world targets to limit climate change would avert hundreds of thousands of heat-related deaths in the Middle East and North Africa, scientists said on Tuesday, urging the region to adapt better.

A modelling study published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal found slashing carbon emissions to limit the rise in Earth’s average temperature to two degrees Celsius would reduce heat-related deaths in the region by 80 percent compared to a high-emissions scenario.

The regional focus on the heat risk came as Dubai prepares to host the United Nations COP28 climate summit in November.

Countries have pledged to limit global warming to 1.5C under the Paris climate accords, prompting efforts to switch to low-carbon energy sources.

In the highest-emissions scenario without cuts, around 123 people per 100,000 in the region would die per year from heat-related causes by the end of this century, according to the study, led by specialists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

That would be 60 times greater than the current heat-death rate and far higher than in other regions of the world.

Of the 19 countries analyzed, Iran was expected to have the highest annual death rate under a high-emissions scenario -- 423 deaths per 100,000 of population.

Lead author Shakoor Hajat told AFP temperatures were projected to be very high in parts of Iran. Ageing will also occur at a faster rate there than in many other countries in the region.

Hajat said health impacts would be “catastrophic” if the 2C target were not reached.

“Even with stronger action, countries in the region need to develop ways other than air-conditioning to protect their citizens from the dangers of extreme heat,” he said.

“Public health measures such as national heat protection plans and heat alert warning systems could be introduced.

“These are common in countries in Europe and North America and parts of Asia, but not in the Middle East,” he said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/04/04/Emissions-cuts-can-slash-heat-deaths-in-Middle-East-Iran-at-highest-risk-Study

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Palestinian stabs two Israelis near army base south of Tel Aviv

04 April ,2023

A Palestinian suspect stabbed two Israelis near an army base south of Tel Aviv on Tuesday in the latest incident in a yearlong spate of violence that shows no sign of abating.

The Magen David Adom paramedic service said first responders treated two men for stab wounds in the incident on a highway near the Tsrifin military base. They were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment their injuries.

Israeli media identified the two victims as soldiers. The suspect’s condition was unclear.

Palestinians have carried out numerous attacks on Israeli security personnel and civilians in the past year as violence has surged.

On Monday, Israeli troops killed two Palestinian gunmen during an arrest raid in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/04/04/Palestinian-stabs-two-Israelis-near-army-base-south-of-Tel-Aviv

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Israeli warplanes strike Hamas positions, prompt retaliation

05 April 2023

Israeli warplanes carried out a fresh round of airstrikes against the besieged Gaza Strip, drawing retaliatory rocket fire from Palestinian resistance fighters in the impoverished coastal enclave.

Explosions were heard west of Gaza City after the Israeli army’s drones targeted a resistance site in that area.

The Israeli occupation army bombed the “Abu Jarad” site, west of Gaza City, in addition to the “Areen” site, northeast of the Nusseirat refugee camp, in the central strip.

Rocket sirens blare across Israeli settlements

Rocket sirens were activated in the settlements around the Gaza Strip, warning of the firing of a missile salvo from the strip, which followed the raids launched by the Israeli warplanes on resistance sites in Gaza.

In a statement, a spokesman for the Israeli occupation army confirmed that nine rockets were launched from Gaza in two waves, noting that the Iron Dome system intercepted only four of them.

According to the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, the current trend in Israel is a limited response to the rocket fire from Gaza so that matters do not escalate on the eve of the Jewish Passover holiday.

Palestinian resistance responds to Israeli airstrikes

Meanwhile, the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip responded to the Israeli aggression by launching surface-to-air missiles at the warplanes.

The escalation comes after the occupation forces stormed the al-Qibli prayer hall in al-Aqsa Mosque, at dawn today, Wednesday, forcibly removed the worshipers from inside, and arrested hundreds, while firing stun grenades at them, which led to injuries among the worshipers.

During the attack, the occupation police prevented the medical staff from entering al-Aqsa Mosque and stormed the medical clinic adjacent to al-Qibli Mosque in al-Aqsa Mosque.

Palestinian resistance: We bombed the settlements in retaliation

The National Resistance Brigades (Martyr Omar Al-Qasim Forces), the military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, announced that it bombed the settlements around the Gaza Strip with a rocket barrage this morning, in response to the Zionist raids that targeted the Gaza Strip.

“The National Resistance Brigades and the Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades announce that they bombed the city of Asqalan with a rocket barrage a while ago in response to the Zionist aggression that targets our land and our al-Quds,” the statement read.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem also said that “the Zionist bombing of the Gaza Strip this morning is a failed attempt to prevent Gaza from continuing to support our people in al-Quds and the West Bank by all means.”

Qassem went on to say that the Palestinian people and their valiant resistance in the Gaza Strip and all of Palestine will remain a sword and a shield for al-Quds.  

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/04/05/700983/Israeli-warplanes-strike-Hamas-positions-prompt-retaliation

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Europe

 

Saudi Club In London Holds Iftar For Scholarship Students During Ramadan

April 05, 2023

LONDON: The Saudi Club in London organized a group Iftar for scholarship students and their companions to mark the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan at the Islamic Centre in London, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The Iftar was held in the presence of the Saudi cultural attache to the UK Dr. Amal Fatani and was attended by a large number of scholarship students and Saudi citizens from London and all parts of the UK.

The head of the Saudi Club in London, Reem Al-Kharji, said that the event was organized for the scholarship students who were fasting during the holy month while away from their families.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2281446/saudi-arabia

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UK peer brands Afghan pilot’s deportation ordeal ‘totally cruel, appalling’

April 04, 2023

LONDON: A member of the British House of Lords who fled the Nazis in the build-up to World War II has branded the UK government as “totally cruel” over its treatment of an Afghanistan war hero threatened with deportation.

The Afghan pilot, who fought alongside British troops against the Taliban after the 2001 invasion of his country, arrived in the UK on a small boat, but faces being relocated to Rwanda in east Africa under the government’s controversial asylum policy.

The airman was deemed by officials to have arrived in the country via an illegal route, which he said he was forced to do as there were “no safer legal routes into the country.”

British Labour peer, Alfred Dubs, told the Independent newspaper the fact the pilot faced deportation was “absolutely shocking.”

He said: “If he risked his life for us, how can we possibly not consider giving him safety? The government must think again.”

Dubs urged British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman to “stop hiding behind bureaucracy” and help war veterans in need.

Last week, following a report by the Independent, Sunak told a House of Commons liaison committee that the Home Office would “have a look” at the case, but refused to comment on the pilot’s plight, while officials in Braverman’s department said they could not comment on individual cases while a claim for asylum was being considered.

According to a Times newspaper report on Friday, British defense secretary, Ben Wallace, said the former lieutenant would receive the right to permanently remain in the UK as soon as he applied through the government’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy.

But Dubs, a campaigner for refugee rights, claimed the pilot’s ordeal had been “terrible” and “not right,” and described the British Conservative Party’s Rwanda policy as “appalling.”

He said: “The strongest possible claim someone can have is that they fought to help British forces, and it’s totally cruel for bureaucracy to stop him from claiming asylum.

“To which country should they flee but Britain – the one country they thought they would be welcome?

“My own story makes it ever more painful, because I’m shocked what we have come to, we’re turning our backs on the basic human rights principles that have characterized this country,” Dubs added.

A recent Home Office statement said: “We remain committed to providing protection for vulnerable and at-risk people fleeing Afghanistan and so far have brought around 24,500 people impacted by the situation back to the UK.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2281231/world

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Turkish charity holds iftar event in London

ZuhalDemirci

05.04.2023

LONDON

A non-profit Turkish charity held an iftar, or fast-breaking meal, on Tuesday for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The event, organized by the West London Turkish Volunteers, took place in Hounslow, west London.

Türkiye's Ambassador to the UK Osman KorayErtas, Consul General to London Bekir UtkuAtahan and the Embassy's Religious Services Counsellor EnsariYeniturk were among the attendees along with Turkish people living in London.

Speaking at the event, Ambassador Ertas mentioned the devastating Feb. 6 earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria and reminded those attending of the solidarity among the Turkish community after the quakes.

Touching on Britain's King Charles III's visit to the West London Turkish Volunteers in February, Ertas hailed their work and campaigns.

He said the visit showed how they represented Türkiye and the Turkish people very well at that time.

Following the devastating earthquakes, Charles on Feb. 14 met in London with members of the Turkish and Syrian communities, including the West London Turkish Volunteers, to show solidarity with the quake-hit people.

For his part, Atahan said the West London Turkish Volunteers was among the organizations that played a key role in fundraising campaigns for the quake victims.

He also thanked women volunteers for their active role during donation and fundraising campaigns.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkish-charity-holds-iftar-event-in-london/2863807

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PKK terror suspects face trial for extortion, forced recruitment in France

Nur AsenaErturk

04.04.2023

A French court started judging PKK terror suspects on Tuesday for extortion and forced recruitment, local media reported.

The trial for terrorism financing will continue until April 14 at the correctional court, while the suspects do not openly acknowledge being members of the PKK terror group, the Le Figaro newspaper said.

Investigators, however, are convinced of their membership and that the PKK is using France, Germany, and the Netherlands as its backyard for clandestine cells to mobilize the support of local Kurdish communities, reported the daily.

The investigation began in 2020 after two statements in southeastern France, about the disappearance of two young women, Le Figaro added.

Investigators say they have uncovered a network aiming to form recruitment camps across Europe to imbue the recruits with the terrorist group's ideology, before they are incorporated into its armed organization.

Many of the so-called recruits were actually abducted and taken away from their families, the probe also showed.

It revealed that PKK members harassed people to provide funds for the group, the investigation found, with around €2 million ($2.18 million) collected annually in southeastern France.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/pkk-terror-suspects-face-trial-for-extortion-forced-recruitment-in-france/2863674

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Effective cooperation against terrorism 'a must' with Sweden: Turkish foreign minister

BeyzaBinnurDonmez

04.04.2023

GENEVA

The Turkish foreign minister on Tuesday said "effective cooperation" against terrorism is "a must" with Sweden for the country's NATO bid.

Mevlut Cavusoglu's remarks came after his meeting with Swedish counterpart Tobias Billstrom on the sidelines of a two-day NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.

"Reiterated our expectations for Sweden's NATO accession to Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom," Cavusoglu said in a tweet. "Effective cooperation against terrorism is a must."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/effective-cooperation-against-terrorism-a-must-with-sweden-turkish-foreign-minister/2863445

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'Positive agenda' with Türkiye to improve diplomatic ties, daily lives, says Greek diplomat

Derya Gulnaz Ozcan

04.04.2023

Greece believes expanding the "positive agenda" with Türkiye will yield major benefits in both recently thawing diplomatic relations and the daily lives of people in both countries, a senior Greek diplomat told Anadolu.

In an exclusive interview, Deputy Foreign Minister Kostas Fragogiannis said Athens was keen to "find solutions to the matters covered by the positive agenda. Because we believe that in this way, we strengthen the good atmosphere and help fight any problems that may arise."

Pointing to a recent trip across the Aegean Sea to meet with his counterpart BurakAkcapar in Türkiye's capital Ankara, Fragogiannis underlined that progress had been made in many fields, including the economy, commerce, energy, tourism, transportation, culture, and sports.

"I and the accompanying Greek delegation were welcomed very sincerely in Ankara by our Turkish colleagues," said Fragogiannis, who focuses mainly on economic matters.

Relations between Athens and Ankara have warmed significantly in recent weeks after the rapid assistance that Greece provided in the wake of twin earthquakes that shook southern Türkiye in early February. Likewise, Türkiye was the first country to offer condolences and aid following a deadly Feb. 28 train accident in northern Greece that left dozens dead.

Underlining that the two neighboring countries respected and listened to each other's perspectives on various matters, Fragogiannis said they were planning a series of joint events in such fields as environmental protection, natural disasters, and civil protection.

"Greeks and Turks will see the agreements we have in basic matters will positively affect their daily lives," he added.

"This can manifest in issues like the ability of the businesses to invest in the other country or a third country, the development of economy and trade, touristic visits, or sea transportation."

Fragogiannis also underscored that the positive agenda was a dynamic process.

"When some matters are fully agreed upon, new topics will be incorporated into the positive agenda to be dealt with," he said.

Referring to a ferry line between the port city of Izmir on Türkiye's western coast and Thessaloniki in northern Greece, which came to a halt after operating for a limited time last year, Fragogiannissad this could be revived by the summer.

The line can be a good alternative not just for connecting people, but also as means of transportation, he argued.

Fragogiannis also said that Greece wanted to host more Turkish tourists on its islands and that talks had taken place with Ankara on loosening visa measures to this end.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/positive-agenda-with-turkiye-to-improve-diplomatic-ties-daily-lives-says-greek-diplomat/2863073

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Africa

 

Hisbah Shuts Beer Parlours, Bans Prostitution In Jigawa, Nigeria

April 4, 2023

By Khaleel Muhammad

Jigawa State Hisbah Corps has ordered the immediate closure of all beer parlours and prostitution spots during the month of Ramadan.

The state’s Hisbah commandant, Ibrahim Dahiru, stated this on Tuesday in an exclusive interview with the DAILY POST.

He said the move is part of the corps’ efforts to stem social vices during Ramadan.

Dahiru explained that the Hisbah corps has conducted sensitisation for commercial sex workers and alcohol sellers.

According to him: “We have gone round to such areas across the state and warned the perpetrators of the offences to quit their illegitimate businesses during [this] the holy month of Ramadan or leave the state.”

Source: DailyPost Nigeria

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

https://dailypost.ng/2023/04/04/ramadan-hisbah-shuts-beer-parlours-bans-prostitution-in-jigawa/

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Jordan’s foreign minister presses EU to support end of Israeli escalation

April 04, 2023

BRUSSELS: Jordan’s foreign minister and the EU’s top diplomat have discussed Israel’s illegal measures against Palestinians and efforts to end the Syrian crisis in a meeting in Brussels.

The Jordan News Agency reported that Ayman Safadi and Josep Borrell held extensive talks as part of the minister’s tour of Europe promoting partnership with the EU to help resolve regional crises and achieve security and stability.

Safadi said that it was important for the EU to support the two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, reject settlement and land confiscation and commit to respecting Jerusalem’s historical and legal status quo and its Islamic and Christian sanctities.

He also warned against the dangers of the continued deterioration in the occupied Palestinian territories. Illegal Israeli measures are fueling violence and undermining the two-state solution and need to be stopped, said Safadi.

The pair discussed the Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh meetings, and efforts made by the Kingdom to prevent escalation and activate the peace process. Europe has an “important and major” role, Safadi said.

They also reviewed Jordan’s initiative to solve Syria’s humanitarian, security and political issues and preserve its integrity through direct Arab-Syrian engagement, said Safadi.

Safadi and Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, also discussed the refugees’ crisis and highlighted the need to provide continued international support for them and the host countries.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2281366/middle-east

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4.7M people in Burkina Faso will need humanitarian assistance this year: UN

James Tasamba

05.04.2023

The UN and partners announced a $877 million response plan Tuesday to meet the urgent needs of millions of people in Burkina Faso who will require humanitarian assistance this year.

In a statement, the UN said the funding will support some 3.1 million people amid the worst humanitarian crisis in the country’s history.

At least 4.7 million people in the West African country, a fifth of the population, will need humanitarian support this year as the country grapples with insecurity, according to the UN.

“The humanitarian situation in Burkina Faso in 2023 is more worrying than ever,” said AbdouraoufGnon-Konde, the top UN aid official in the country.

“In line with humanitarian principles, our sole objective is to provide assistance to vulnerable civilians based on their needs, wherever they are.”

He said half of those in need are children.

Burkina Faso has been struggling with an insurgency that has spread from neighboring Mali over the past decade.

The country has been ranked most affected by terrorism on the continent and the second most affected worldwide in 2022, according to the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2023, a report published by the Australia-based Global Institute for Economics and Peace that was released last week.

Armed group activity and military operations have led to widespread displacement, with nearly two million citizens driven out of their homes.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/47m-people-in-burkina-faso-will-need-humanitarian-assistance-this-year-un/2863783

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10 students abducted in northern Nigeria

Ibrahim Garba Shuaibu

04.04.2023

At least 10 students have been abducted by unidentified people in northern Nigeria, an official said on Tuesday.

Students of Awon Government Secondary School in Kaduna state were abducted on Monday under unclear circumstances, according to Samuel Aruwan, the state commissioner for internal security.

Abductions and kidnappings for ransom are frequently reported in Kaduna, a state where several criminal gangs are known to operate.

In a statement, Aruwan said the exact location of the incident is yet to be ascertained.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/10-students-abducted-in-northern-nigeria/2863537

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Pakistan

 

Govt Vows Not To Let Chief Justice Of Pakistan Have His Way

Amir Wasim | Syed Irfan Raza

April 5, 2023

ISLAMABAD: In an act of open defiance, the National Assembly and the federal cabinet — dominated by members of the ruling coalition — refused to abide by the Supreme Court ruling that fixed May 14 as the election date in Punjab, with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif calling the verdict a “murder of justice”.

Lawmakers in the lower house of parliament, where the judiciary came under intense criticism for its latest judgement, categorically declared that the decision would not be implemented at any cost and demanded a full court to hear the issue — a demand long held by the government.

They asked Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial to “rethink and constitute a full court bench” to resolve the crisis while also drawing comparisons between the decision which led to the hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the ruling on polls date.

Speaking on the floor of the National Assembly, PM Shehbaz Sharif equated the decision with that of the ‘judicial murder’ of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and said that “his murder took place on April 4, 1979, and on the same date (today), the unfortunate episode was repeated” through the polls ruling.

“Two decisions were made today, murder of Bhutto and murder of justice, which is highly regrettable,” the premier said while speaking at the National Assembly session.

During a meeting of the federal cabinet that categorically rejected the verdict, the apex executive body directed the legal team to find ways to repulse the decision.

“The prime minister has directed me and the attorney general to give a legal opinion on the Supreme Court’s decision that has been made in such a way that it negated the judicial system of the country,” Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar said on the floor of the National Assembly following the cabinet huddle.

The verdict regarding elections in Punjab would further deepen the constitutional and political crises in the country, he said, adding: “We have reservations about the decision and our legal team will decide about the future course of action after consultations”.

Mr Tarar said the government wanted free and fair elections across the country simultaneously.

The law minister said according to Article 224, general elections should be held at the same time across the country, while as per Article 254, polls could be postponed due to some extraordinary situation.

‘Judicial martial law’

“Swear to God, we will restore the Constitution and democracy. We will not let this illegitimate and un-Islamic decision get implemented in Pakistan, come what may. We will fight till last as far as Constitution and the law permit us,” declared Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) leader Asad Mehmood amid desk-thumping by the members.

Lawmakers, including ministers, questioned the CJP’s reluctance to form a full bench and accused the judiciary of having a “clear tilt” towards the PTI and its chairman Imran Khan.

“You [the CJP] could have proved your impartiality with just one decision. But you preferred to get your name included in the list of lovers of Imran and PTI,” said Mr Mehmood, who is the son of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

“We have struggled against military martial laws in the country, and now we are announcing a revolt against judicial martial law. We will never accept judicial martial law,” said the JUI-F leader, who alleged that the CJP had divided the judiciary and wanted to divide the nation.

PML-N stalwart and Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said his party had succeeded in getting the judiciary restored through a movement during the military rule of dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf, but it failed to make it “independent and impartial.”

Mr Rafique recalled that veteran politician Javed Hashmi had disclosed in 2014 when he was still in the PTI that a decision had been made that the PML-N government of that time would be ousted through a “nexus between the judges and generals”. He added the claim later proved true.

He said once again efforts were being made to impose one person on the nation which no political party would tolerate. “We don’t want a repeat of the 2018 elections,” he added.

Climate Change Minister and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman alleged that the court’s verdict was an effort to “split Pakistan down in the middle”. “Heavens will not fall if you constitute a full court,” she said, adding: “You [the judiciary] have created this constitutional crisis and now you need to find a way out.”

‘Black day’

Criticising the verdict, opposition leader and PTI dissident Raja Riaz termed April 4 another “black day” in the country’s history, stating that instead of “uniting all the political forces, one ladla (blue-eyed) had been rewarded”.

MQM’s Salahuddin said, “It seems that the military establishment has become neutral, but the judiciary which carried out the judicial murder [of Mr Bhutto] in the past is still making wrong decisions.”

Paying tributes to the late Bhutto, PTI dissident Ahmed Hussain Deharr said unfortunately those who were given the task of interpreting the constitution hanged the creator of the Constitution. PPP’s Agha Rafiullah said that today “every Pakistani” was ready to commit contempt of court. He challenged the judges to summon him to any court.

Lone opposition voice

The sole voice in defence of the apex court came from recently-elected PTI MNA from Rajanpur, Mohsin Leghari who asked Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf not to allow the members to talk about the conduct of judges as per the Constitution.

The PTI MNA also defended his party chairman Imran Khan and asked the members not to target the SC judges and Mr Khan as they were not present in the house to defend themselves.

“I pay tributes to the CJP. There is no room and no doubt that the elections should be held within 90 days,” said the PTI MNA, adding the courts should make decisions based on justice without fearing their consequences. The speaker adjourned the NA session till Wednesday (today) morning.

Judicial murder of Z.A. Bhutto

The cabinet decided that the government would write to the court for the hearing of a presidential reference regarding the judicial murder of the slain PPP founder by a full court.

It was agreed that a reference over the judicial murder of PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, which had been pending for the last 12 years, should be taken up and decided by the full court.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1745992/govt-vows-not-to-let-cjp-have-his-way

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JUI-F moves court to seek disqualification of Imran Khan

April 5, 2023

PESHAWAR: Two leaders of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) on Tuesday moved Peshawar High Court, seeking disqualification of former prime minister Imran Khan from contesting National and provincial assemblies’ elections on multiple grounds.

A petition was jointly filed by JUI-F office secretary Ahmad Ali and former candidate of the party during by-polls in Kurram tribal district in October last year Jamil Khan, requesting the court to declare that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan was not qualified under Article 62 (1) (d), (e), (f) and (g) of the Constitution and thus he should be disqualified from contesting elections in the country.

The petitioners stated that Election Commission of Pakistan had notified Mr Khan as the returned candidate from the constituency NA-45 Kurram in by-polls on October 31, so he was a public office holder.

They said that Mr Khan had portrayed himself as a religious, honest and a patriotic man, who was ‘Sadiq and Ameen’ in terms of Article 62 of the Constitution, however, in light of certain revelations and confessions of various people involved in his personal life, he was not a man of good character within the meaning of Article 62(1) (d).

Petitioners want former premier barred from contesting polls on multiple grounds

They claimed that the respondent violated Islamic principles and committed a major sin as he solemnised Nikkah with his present spouse at a time when her Iddat period of four months and 10 days after divorce from her previous husband was not covered.

In support of their contentions, the petitioners stated that recently a confession as made by the NikkahKhwan, Mufti Saeed Khan, on a private television channel that he was not informed of the situation at that time, therefore, he termed it unlawful and offered the Nikkah ceremony again.

They also referred to the memoir of Reham Khan, former wife of Mr Khan, stating that it was published in 2018, and therein his several “affairs” were mentioned, showing that he was not sagacious, righteous, non-profligate and honest within the meaning of Article 62 (1) (f) of the Constitution.

The petition is filed through senior lawyer Kamran Murtaza.

The petitioners mentioned that the respondent had also made “U-turns” on important issues including the “cipher conspiracy and regime change”, “Gen Bajwa and establishment role”, “nepotism and corruption”, “electable”, “Russia visit”, “metro bus and BRT”, and many others.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1745959/jui-f-moves-court-to-seek-disqualification-of-imran-khan

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Pakistan Supreme Court orders snap polls in two provinces by May 15

Apr 4, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's Supreme Court said on Tuesday the election commission's decision to delay snap polls in two provinces was "illegal" and ordered that the elections be held between April 30 and May 15, Geo TV reported.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-supreme-court-orders-snap-polls-in-two-provinces-by-may-15/articleshow/99237318.cms

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Imran makes cover of Time, but supporters not happy

Anwar Iqbal

April 5, 2023

WASHINGTON: The renowned Time magazine on Tuesday published a cover story on former prime minister Imran Khan in its latest edition, putting his picture on the title page with the caption: ‘The Astonishing Saga of Imran Khan’.

The article caught the attention of PTI leaders as well, and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry immediately put it on his Twitter account, along with a picture of the title page.

It’s an article like most articles in Western magazines are; containing some praise and some criticism, analysing the current political situation in Pakistan and projecting the future, both for Pakistan and Mr Khan.

The magazine also did a Zoom interview with Mr Khan, but instead of a Q&A format, it used quotes from the interview throughout the article, some to highlight his achievements and some to back claims of his failures.

Some quotes were also used to back their projections, both positive and negative for Pakistan and Mr Khan.

But Mr Khan’s supporters did not like this approach and, as they often do with Pakistani publications, unl­eashed their wrath on the magazine and the author, Charles Campbell.

Time’s commentary “does not (go) beyond the West’s binary, myopic and fallacious view of the Muslim world,” wrote a PTI supporter, MaazUd Din, on his Twitter account. “This article is a perfect example of pathetic Orientalism.”

Another PTI supporter, Bia Agha, claimed that the article displayed “the orientalist art of obfuscating facts and hiding disdain under a cloak of objectivity”.

PTI opponents were not far behind in highlighting Imran Khan’s flaws mentioned in the article. “The article blames (Khan) and only (Khan) for Pakistan’s economic crisis,” wrote one such opponent.

MaazUd Din’s point-by-point rebuttal of the Time article became immediately popular and had registered almost 50,000 views within hours. It was also retweeted by hundreds of PTI supporters, some of those tweets were also viewed by thousands.

The article, however, did project Imran Khan’s position that only elections can end the bitter political divide that the entire country is suffering from.

“Political stability in Pakistan comes through elections,” he said in the interview. “That is the starting point for economic recovery.”

The article, however, noted that Pakistan is “the world’s fifth most pop­ulous country,” which “has only $4.6 billion in foreign reserves —$20 per citizen”, indicating that this crisis cannot be solved by the elections alone.

“If they default, and they can’t get oil, companies go bust, and people don’t have jobs, you would say this is a country ripe for a Bolshevik revolution,” Cameron Munter, a former US ambassador to Pakistan, told Time.

The article was published hours before the Supreme Court rejected the Election Commission’s order to delay elections in Punjab and KP. So, it generated much debate in the social media and among scholars of Sou­th Asian affairs in the US.

The debate focused on three key points: Will the PDM government implement the Supreme Court’s verdict and hold elections in Punjab on May 14, as ordered? Will the army persuade the government to implement the order? And who will the US support?

The article answered the last question, saying that “from the US perspective, he (Mr. Khan) may be far from the ideal choice to helm an impoverished, insurgency-racked Islamic state”.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1745974/imran-makes-cover-of-time-but-supporters-not-happy

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Police begin probe as two personnel martyred in Kohat militant attack

April 5, 2023

KOHAT/LOWER DIR/DERA ISMAIL KHAN: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police have begun an investigation into the martyrdom of two Kohat policemen in Monday night militant attack.

Also, an official of the traffic police was martyred in a gun attack in Lower Dir district, while a militant was killed and two injured in a police crackdown in Dera Ismail Khan district.

SHO of Kohat’s Mohammad Riaz Shaheed police station Islamuddin told Dawn that police personnel Ayaz and Qasim were attacked by militants on the Bannu Road in Mirozai area on Monday night when they’re on the way to the Abu Bakar and Hamza mosques to perform security duty for taraveeh prayers.

He said the bullets fired by the attackers pierced the helmets and bulletproof vests worn by the policemen.

Traffic cop shot dead in Dir; militant killed, two injured in DI Khan action

The SHO said funeral prayers for the deceased were offered at the police lines on Tuesday.

Provincial police chief Akhtar Hayat Khan Gandapur formed a two-member committee to probe the militant attack.

A notification issued by the Central Police Office said a fact-finding committee comprising DSP (Logistics) at the CPO Sanaullah and sub-inspector Safdar Khan would look into the attack and submit its report within a week.

It added that the committee would visit the place of crime, ascertain the kind of weapons used to kill police personnel, and examine the helmets and jackets issued to the deceased.

It will check what “security gadgets” the two police personnel received from the department for permanent and temporary use.

Meanwhile, a motorcyclist shot a traffic police constable dead in the Talash Bazaar of Lower Dir district and fled.

The police identified the deceased as Bakht Zamin, a 35-year-old resident of Ouch Sharqi, and said he was attacked while performing duty at a busy intersection.

They said they had registered a case and started a search for the gunman.

Local SHO Tauhid Khan told Dawn that Bakht Zamin was a victim of targeted killing.

The deceased’s family claimed that it had no enmity.

Also, the Dera Ismail Khan police said it killed a militant group’s member and injured others in a pre-dawn operation in the Kot Essa area in the wee hours of Tuesday.

The operation was launched by the provincial police’s Albarq Unit at 3am in the jurisdiction of the Daraban police station on a tip-off about the presence of militant commander Mazhar Gandapur.

The police said militant Ansar Abbas, a resident of Kot Essa area, was killed in an exchange of fire with police, while other members of the militant group, including its commander Mazhar Gandapur, fled.

District police officer Rauf QaiseranitoldDawnthat Mazhar Gandapur and another militant were believed to be wounded by the police gunfire.

He said the sub-machine guns snatched from the police were also seized along other unlicensed arms.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1745940/police-begin-probe-as-two-personnel-martyred-in-kohat-militant-attack

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UK channel apologises to Dar over graft allegations

April 5, 2023

LONDON: A Pakistani TV channel with broadcast rights in the United Kingdom apologised to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar this week after a string of allegations against him.

Former PTI minister Farrukh Habib had in September last year alleged that Mr Dar was involved in criminal activities and opening of fake accounts.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1745972/uk-channel-apologises-to-dar-over-graft-allegations

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Assassination attempt on Imran: Home dept proposes one-man tribunal to probe charges

Asif Chaudhry

April 5, 2023

LAHORE: The Punjab Home Department has proposed the government to appoint a one-man tribunal to investigate the serious allegations of assassination of former prime minister Imran Khan.

In a summary moved by Punjab additional chief secretary (home) Shakeel Ahmed, it has been asked to place the matter before the provincial cabinet for approval of the appointment of the tribunal to begin the investigations into the ‘serious’ threats to the life of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman as alleged by him off and on.

The Punjab government initiated the move when the former PM repeatedly asserted that a plot has been hatched for his assassination, alleging that the sitting prime minister and the interior minister had been behind the conspiracy.

The issue further drew attention of the federal and provincial governments when Imran Khan and his other senior party leaders came hard on them, raised fingers on some senior officers of the law-enforcement agencies, particularly, of the police officers serving against top positions alleging that they may play a ‘key role’ in his assassination.

A month back in the first week of March, PTI chief Imran Khan had also reportedly taken up the same matter with the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP).

Through a letter, he sought intervention of the CJP for adequate security arrangements for his appearance in the court due to the possible assassination attempt on him.

He had alleged that the current premier and the interior minister were involved in the failed assassination attempt on him. He further informed the CJP about ‘more such grave threats’ to his life saying that another plot was being hatched for his assassination.

Later, many other senior leaders of the PTI also alleged that the party chairman was facing ‘serious’ life threats and accused the provincial and federal government high-ups in this regard.

“The Punjab government has desired to constitute a one-man tribunal to conduct an inquiry into assassination threats as alleged by PTI chairman Imran Khan,” reads the summary letter of the home department.

It stated that the government intends to ensure that such serious allegations be thoroughly investigated and strict action be taken either way.

The department proposed that the one-man tribunal under section 3 of the Punjab Tribunals of the Inquiry Ordinance1969 may be appointed for the purpose of making an inquiry with the Terms of References (TORs) to investigate assassination threats as alleged by PTI chief Imran Khan, to ascertain the fact(s) and cause (s) of the assassination threats, to fix responsibility, and to make recommendations to avert such incidents in future.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1745895/assassination-attempt-on-imran-home-dept-proposes-one-man-tribunal-to-probe-charges

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Iftar feast lights up Ramadan for Pakistani kids in impoverished city neighbourhood

BURAQ SHABBIR

April 04, 2023

KARACHI: With beaming smiles on their faces, around 300 children in the Pakistani port city of Karachi sat in long lines along a narrow street festooned with lights, bunting, and banners waiting to enjoy a meal of biryani and rice pudding arranged by a local charity.

The communal children’s street iftar gatherings in the impoverished, crime-ridden Lyari neighborhood, are run twice weekly by the Faryal Kamran Initiative in collaboration with Lyari-based welfare organizations Dreams of Youth, and the Kiran Foundation.

The iftar program, which takes place on what has been dubbed Dream Street, was launched last year in Lyari’s Block-C, and is held every Tuesday and Thursday during Ramadan.

Up to 300 children are invited, based on tokens distributed to households in the vicinity according to the number of kids in each home, Kamran told Arab News.

Around 100 of the children also support Kamran and her team with the arrangements, blocking off the street near sunset, and only letting children with tokens enter and settle on the dastarkhwan, or floor spread.

Kamran said: “We saw the conditions here and how the children were deprived of so many things.

“So, we had the idea of setting up an iftar on the road ... I wanted to spend some time with these kids and give them the festive feeling of Ramadan.”

In Pakistan, evening street meals are widely organized by charities for the poor, while others, similar to the one in Lyari, are run by local communities which pool food donations.

Kamran sought the help of local organizations and volunteers to launch the initiative, especially the task of decorating the streets.

“First of all, we painted and renovated the streets. We got them cleaned and then we put out the dastarkhwan.

“The main purpose was to add colors, to bring happiness to the children for all of Ramadan. The lights and decor keep hanging here. So, whenever the kids walk by this street, they smile, and Ramadan is memorable for them,” she added.

This year, she noted, several confectionaries were supporting the project by providing gifts, biscuits, and goodie bags for children, and a different menu was offered every day which included burgers, cupcakes, rice, and juices.

Unaisa Bibi, a fourth-grader, told Arab News: “We come here for iftar. We have rice, biryani, kheer (rice pudding), and we have it with the kids.”

One of the children, Nashra, said the program gave her the opportunity to make new friends. “I have come to play with friends. I really like it with my friends here.”

Javeria Rauf, a high school student who helps with serving meals, said seeing the children happy filled her with gratitude.

“They come here full of energy. They are excited about what the meal will be. They are full of hope … The colorful cupcakes, when the children see that, they are so happy.”

Sabeer Ahmed, the founder of the Dreams of Youth welfare society, said: “We all are divided within Karachi, in different partitions. Events like this bring everyone together irrespective of caste and color.

“It’s not just the kids, their families are also involved in this with them. This is where we spread happiness and tell everyone to come together.”

Kamran said that next year they planned to provide iftar meals for children in other neighborhoods.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2281386/world

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South Asia

 

Failed To 'Liberate' Even An Inch Of Kashmir From India: Taliban Taunts Pakistan Army

AjeyoBasu

April 04, 2023

Peshawar: Mocking the Pakistan Army’s inability to ‘liberate’ Kashmir, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has dismissed allegations by the Pakistani military that it is being backed by India.

In a statement by its propaganda wing TTP Umar Media, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – also known as the Pakistan Taliban – has rejected the Pakistan Army’s claim that it is a proxy of India’s intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).

Countering the Pakistan Army’s claim, the TTP said that if it is being backed by India, then why is the Pakistani establishment talking to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan regarding TTP sanctuaries on Afghan soil.

The TTP also questioned the competence of the Pakistan Army, pointing out that it has not been able to ‘liberate even an inch of Kashmir’ from India and claimed that the Pakistani military is only capable of oppressing its own people.

The TTP also blamed the Pakistan Army for the economic crisis and political chaos in the country.

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid urged the international community to establish diplomatic ties with the current regime in Afghanistan.

Source: Firstpost

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

https://www.firstpost.com/world/failed-to-liberate-even-an-inch-of-kashmir-from-india-taliban-taunts-pakistan-army-12405492.html

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Afghan Taliban raid kills 6 members of Islamic State group

Apr 4, 2023

ISLAMABAD: An overnight raid by Taliban forces in Afghanistan's northern Balkh province killed six members of the extremist Islamic State group, a Taliban spokesman said on Tuesday.

The regional affiliate of the IS group - known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province - has been the key rival of the Taliban since their takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021. The militant group has increased its attacks, targeting both Taliban patrols and members of Afghanistan's Shiite minority.

According to Mohammad Asif Waziri, a spokesman for the police chief in Balkh, the operation late Monday night targeted an IS hideout in Nahri Shahi district and six members of the militant group were killed.

The Taliban swept across Afghanistan in August 2021, seizing power as U.S. and NATO forces were withdrew after 20 years of war.

The international community has not recognized the Taliban government, wary of the harsh measures they have imposed since their takeover - including restricting rights and freedoms, especially for of women and minorities.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/afghan-taliban-raid-kills-6-members-of-islamic-state-group/articleshow/99233615.cms?from=mdr

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UN Tells Afghan Staff To Stay Home Over Women Worker Ban Concerns - Sources

Apr 4, 2023

KABUL: The United Nations has told all Afghan staff not to report to work in Afghanistan for 48 hours for security reasons while it seeks information from the Taliban about a ban on Afghan women working for the world body, UN sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

The United Nations Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) earlier on Tuesday expressed concern that female staff in the eastern province of Nangarhar had been stopped from reporting to work.

"We remind de facto authorities that United Nations entities cannot operate and deliver life-saving assistance without female staff," UNAMA said in a statement. Spokespeople for the Taliban administration, the Afghan information ministry and Nangarhar's provincial administration did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

"National UN staff (male and female) will not come to UN offices for 48 hours due to a threat of enforcement of a ban on female national staff in light of enforcement starting today in Jalalabad," said a senior UN official, referring to Nangarhar's capital.

A second UN source said the United Nations was seeking further information from the Taliban authorities.

Since toppling a Western-backed government in 2021, the Taliban administration has tightened controls over women's access to public life, including barring women from university and closing most girls' high schools.

In December, Taliban authorities stopped most female NGO employees from working, which aid workers say has made it more difficult to reach female beneficiaries and could lead donors to hold back funding.

The restrictions did not initially apply to the United Nations and some other international organisations. The UN Deputy Secretary-General in January flagged concerns that authorities could next restrict Afghan women from working at international organisations.

A scheduled UN briefing to update member states on the situation in Afghanistan in New York on Tuesday was postponed at the last minute without explanation.

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/un-tells-afghan-staff-to-stay-home-over-women-worker-ban-concerns-sources/articleshow/99248489.cms

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57000 Afghan Civilians Killed, Injured by Landmines in Afghanistan: UN

By Fidel Rahmati

April 4, 2023Since 1989, about 57000Afghan civilians, have been recorded to have been killed or injured by landmines and explosive remnants of war, according to the United National Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

On the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance In Mine Action, the UN said in a series of tweets that mine action partners have removed over 19 million unexploded devices from the country.

“Today, on International Day for Mine Awareness & Assistance in Mine Action, we remember the lives lost and forever changed by explosive contamination. Since 1989, almost 57K Afghan civilians have been killed or injured by landmines & explosive remnants of war & mine action partners in Afghanistan have cleared over 19M items.”

Moreover, the organization stressed that “more than 4,150 identified hazards remain, posing a lethal threat to communities, particularly children in Afghanistan, OCHA added.

According to earlier studies, the United Nations estimates that 150 people are killed by land mines in Afghanistan every month. Eight out of every ten victims are children who unintentionally pick up an unexploded bomb that resembles a toy.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for broader global efforts to safeguard people from mines.

“For the millions living amidst the chaos of armed conflicts, especially women and children, every step can put them in danger’s path,” he said.

“Even after the fighting stops, conflicts often leave behind a terrifying legacy: landmines and explosive ordnance that litter communities,” he said. “Peace brings no assurance of safety when roads and fields are mined, unexploded ordnance threatens the return of displaced populations, and when children find and play with shiny objects that explode.”

Guterres added, “I urge Member States to ratify and fully implement the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.”

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/57000-afghan-civilians-killed-injured-by-landmines-in-afghanistan-un/

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Southeast Asia

 

Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Joins Muslim Community In Breaking Of Fast At Mosque

APR 5, 2023

SINGAPORE - Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong joined around 300 Muslim leaders and congregants at Masjid Alkaff Upper Serangoon for bukapuasa, or the breaking of fast during the Ramadan period, on Tuesday evening.

Mr Wong, who is also Finance Minister, was accompanied by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs MasagosZulkifli.

They were given a tour of the building, including a heritage wall displaying the mosque’s history and origins.

Masjid Alkaff Upper Serangoon has been gazetted as one of Singapore’s national monuments.

Mr Wong wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday that he had a good chat with mosque volunteers and management board members.

“They are stepping up to make a difference in the community through various programmes,” he said.

“Many thanks also to the team at the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) for putting together this bukapuasa, and also for their dedication in supporting the Muslim community through the last three years of the pandemic.

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“To all our Muslim friends, I extend my heartfelt wishes for a blessed Ramadan. May this holy month bring peace and happiness to all.”

Around 20 Muslims with disabilities from the Bedok Youth Society for the Disabled (BYSD) were also invited by the mosque to join in the bukapuasa.

Ustaz MohaiminTokyan, 59, a volunteer tutor at BYSD, said he was honoured to be invited back by the mosque. In 2018, he was a braille teacher of the Quran for the visually impaired at the mosque.

“Physical classes have not returned yet, the (teaching) programme shifted online because of the Covid-19 pandemic. But I really hope that physical classes can come back again,” he said.

As the sun began to set, sounds of the azan, or Islamic call to prayer, began filling the halls of the mosque.

Congregants then broke their fast with food prepared by the mosque, including Briyani, porridge, dates and tea.

Source: StraitsTimes

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

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/dpm-wong-joins-muslim-community-to-break-fast

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Saudi Arabia hosts ‘world’s longest’ iftar table in Indonesia

April 04, 2023

JAKARTA: Saudi Arabia hosted what appears to the world’s longest iftar table spanning 1,200 meters, attended by more than 8,000 Indonesian citizens, on Monday in the country’s West Sumatra city of Padang.

The Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance, represented by the religious attache in Jakarta, has been hosting iftar in several cities in Indonesia, according to a report by the Saudi Press Agency.

West Sumatra Governor MahyeldiAnsharullah and Religious Attache Ahmed bin Isa Al-Hazmi attended the event in the presence of several politicians, Islamic organization leaders and heads of universities.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2281246/world

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J-Kom chief pans Islamist group for fearmongering, urges youths to reject ethnoreligious sentiments

By John Bunyan

05 Apr 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 — Datuk Mohammad Agus Yusoff has today slammed hardline Islamist group Pembela for scaremongering, after the latter warned Muslims that the floodgates of apostasy would open under the current Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim administration.

The director-general of the Community Communication Department (J-Kom) in the Prime Minister’s Department also urged youths to reject such ethnoreligious sentiments, and to become agents of compassion in nation-building.

“As a student of politics, I reject racist politics. I dream of a united Malaysian nation. I am bored with the political narrative that tries to sow hatred among us,” he wrote on Facebook.

“Therefore, I urge the youth and Malaysians who want to see us progress to reject this racial and religious sentiment, let alone sentiment without facts and data. To me, this is the view of those whose minds remain under captive.”

Mohammad Agus said that the article published on Pembela's website had falsely claimed that the position of Islam in Malaysia is under threat because of several unnamed cases that are purportedly challenging the constitutionality of Islamic laws.

“This article is irresponsible and misleading. The statistics are not stated. How many court cases? What has the government or non-Malay done that Islam is threatened?” he asked.

“The title was also scaremongering, used only to incite racial emotions so that the Malays would reject the current government that is allegedly not taking care of the interests of Malays and Muslims.”

To back his argument, he pointed to the commenters on that article which he founds to be very emotional and ugly.

He also pointed out that the reactions of commenters supporting the article are emotional and ugly.

“Among them are those asking the government to protect the religion, not to follow the directions of the infidels. There are also those who claim that this government is envious of the rise of Islam and this is an act of treason. Further, some ask where the Agong is.

“In the end, they are calling for the Malays to rise because Islam is threatened,” he warned.

Mohammad Agus said that there are individuals who use racial issues to intimidate the ethnic majority Malay by claiming their race and religion are endangered almost every day.

“This kind of sentiment if it is coordinated can create racial tension. Our country has gone through tragedies due to these ethnic tensions such as the events of May 13, 1969, Memali 1985, and Operation Lalang 1986,” he said.

Source: MalayMail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/04/05/j-kom-chief-pans-islamist-group-for-fearmongering-urges-youths-to-reject-ethnoreligious-sentiments/63311

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Court orders Loh Siew Hong's Muslim convert ex-husband to pay RM20,000 fine for contempt

By Ida Lim

05 Apr 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 — The High Court today ordered Hindu mother Loh Siew Hong's Muslim convert ex-husband Muhammad NagahswaranMuniandy to pay a RM20,000 fine for contempt of court within 14 days, and said failure to do so would result in him being jailed for 14 days.

Loh was pursuing contempt of court proceedings against the ex-husband, over his failure to comply with a previous court order which granted her sole custody of her three children. Instead, the ex-husband had taken the children away and kept them separated from Loh.

Today, High Court judge Evrol Mariette Peters ruled that the ex-husband was actually well aware of what he had done, and that he had gone missing in order to avoid being detected and to evade the court order granting custody of the children to Loh, news portal Malaysiakini reported.

Among other things, Malaysiakini reported the judge as saying that the ex-husband had got a family member involved to prevent the children from being returned to Loh.

The judge said the ex-husband's failure to comply with the child custody order had resulted in Loh having to run around and to file different court applications just to reunite with her children and also noted that the children were deprived of their mother when they were passed around from one person to another, Malaysiakini reported.

Malaysiakini cited the judge as saying that the ex-husband had tried to avoid being served with court documents on the contempt of court matter, and that he could not use his own conduct to complain that he was not given those court documents.

The judge reportedly said the ex-husband had interfered with the administration of justice.

According to Malaysiakini, the ex-husband is seeking a stay of the court's order for him to pay RM20,000 for contempt of court, as he is pursuing an appeal at the Court of Appeal against today's decision.

Loh’s three children were taken away from her in 2019 while she was hospitalised with injuries she claimed were inflicted by her former husband. The three children were born to the couple when they were still non-Muslims.

The former husband converted to Islam and on July 7, 2020 secretly converted the three children to Islam without Loh's consent.

In December 2019, Loh obtained interim custody of her children pending her divorce, but her court case was delayed when the country went into Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020; she finally obtained an order granting her full and sole custody of the three children in March 2021.

Despite the March 2021 decision which gave her full custody of the three children, Loh was still separated from them.

Loh was only reunited with her three children when the High Court on February 21, 2022 ordered the trio's immediate release from alleged unlawful detention.

Source: MalayMail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/04/05/court-orders-loh-siew-hongs-muslim-convert-ex-husband-to-pay-rm20000-fine-for-contempt/63310

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Orphans, caregivers treated to Ramadan dinner

ArinaMusthafa

05-04- 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: Ramada Suites by Wyndham KLCC (Ramada KLCC) continued its yearly tradition of spreading hope and kindness during Ramadan by hosting a breaking of fast dinner for orphans from RahomaDarul Fakir organisation on March 29.

Seventeen girls aged between seven and 17, and an eight-year-old boy were invited to join the event with their caretakers. They were treated to a buffet dinner, a magic show and balloon art performance.

Trinidad Group of Companies CEO Datuk Indera Naresh Mohan said Ramadan is the month of giving and forgiveness.

“It’s the perfect time to show the group’s commitment to delivering on our social obligations, especially to the underserved community.”

RahomaDarul Fakir organisation president Datuk Faridah Omar Shah said the orphanage is honoured to be invited to enjoy an evening of happiness and togetherness during Ramadan.

“Every little help for the children is taken as a blessing,” she said, thanking Trinidad Group and Ramada KLCC for the initiative.

Established in 2008, the organisation is an independently managed all-girls orphanage that runs on public funds and donations.

To date, there have been more than 200 children that have passed through its doors.

The home provides shelter and education to orphaned and underprivileged children from low-income families.

“Rahoma, which is a combination of my parents’ names Rahmah and Omar, began as my post-retirement project. As a pensioner in the shipping sector, I am used to being busy and occupied all the time.

“By managing this orphanage, I can make use of the remaining time in this world by doing good deeds and serving the underprivileged,” she told theSun.

“The orphanage seeks volunteers who are willing to provide free tuition, motivational support and counselling sessions, and conduct after-school classes such as arts and crafts, cooking, religious lessons and environmental awareness.

“We need monetary contributions, which will go to purchasing food, school supplies such as uniforms and stationery, and paying for rent and utilities. This year, the orphanage did not receive as many donations compared with the years before Covid-19 hit us,” she said.

Source: TheSunDaily

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

https://www.thesundaily.my/local/orphans-caregivers-treated-to-ramadan-dinner-CK10832725

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Expect inflation to remain under control amid Ramadan: Ministry

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Head of the Finance Ministry's Fiscal Policy Agency (BKF), FebrioKacaribu, has said he expects the inflation rate to remain under control during the fasting month of Ramadan 1444 Hijri.

The government will keep maintaining the stability of the prices of food commodities during the national religious holidays (HBKN) of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr 1444 Hijri, he added, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

Earlier, the Religious Affairs Ministry announced that the fasting month started on March 23, 2023. Meanwhile, Eid al-Fitr is estimated to fall on April 22.

"Price stability during national religious holidays is an important key for maintaining food security and people's purchasing power," the BKF head remarked.

The central and regional governments will continue to monitor the prices and availability of food, carry out market operations and hold cheap basic commodities bazaars, as well as improve the stocks and distribution of commodities.

In addition, the rice assistance program, which started disbursing aid on March 31, is also expected to help control rice prices and help the community in obtaining staple food.

Kacaribu noted that inflation during Ramadan this year has remained quite stable, as reflected by the inflation rate in March 2023, which reached just 4.97 percent year-on-year (yoy), a decline from inflation of 5.47 percent yoy in February.

The inflation rate of volatile food prices also decreased significantly from 7.62 percent yoy in February to 5.83 percent yoy in March.

However, on a month-to-month (m-t-m) basis, there was a slight increase in the prices of several food commodities due to increasing demand from the community ahead of Ramadan.

Apart from food, the decline in the inflation rate in March compared to February was also caused by a fall in the inflation rate of core components, which reached 2.94 percent yoy in March.

Source:AntaraNews

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

https://en.antaranews.com/news/277713/expect-inflation-to-remain-under-control-amid-ramadan-ministry

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