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Islamic World News ( 24 May 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Qutub Minar Mosque's Walls Have Sculptures of Hindu Deities, Says Imam of Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque Built in Qutub Campus

New Age Islam News Bureau

24 May 2022


The Qutub Minar in New Delhi.


• Policies of 'Muslim Middle Powers' Like Pakistan, Turkiye, Iran, and Saudi Arabia Can No Longer Be Dictated By West: Pakistani Senator

• Senior Israeli Lawmaker Warns Of ‘Religious War’ After Court Allows Settlers to Pray At Al-Aqsa Mosque

• Taliban Leaders Remember Former Amir-ul-Muminin of The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on 6th Martyrdom Anniversary

• Israel Bans Member of European Parliament from Visiting Palestine



• Malappuram Man, Shihab Chottur, Set To Walk 8,640 Km to Mecca for Haj

• Hindu Petitioner Seeks Permission for 'Purification' Ritual in Mathura's Shahi Idgah Mosque

• Lawyer, files application in SC seeking to be impleaded in the ongoing case of Gyanvapi Mosque

• Gyanvapi Mosque Case: Varanasi Court to Decide Future Course Of Action Today

• CMs competing to see who can hassle Muslims most: Mehbooba Mufti on Assam CM's 'madrasa' remark

• Will dismantle terror ecosystem in J&K, LG tells Kashmiri Pandits

• Case filed against Asaduddin Owaisi for allegedly inciting religious sentiments



• Over 100 Opposition Activists Arrested In Pakistan

• Pakistan govt rejects PTI’s demand to hold general elections, decides to complete its tenure

• Pakistani Generals push for early election to appoint new Army Chief

• Fazlur Rehman claims Imran sent delegation to US to form relations with Israel

• Seven Tableeghi Jamaat members drown in Thatta’s KDA canal



• Israel Army: ‘No Suspicion’ Of Crime In Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh Shooting

• Turkey's foreign policy reset sign of Brotherhood's dwindling influence

• IRGC Member Martyred in Assassination Attempt in Tehran

• Iran president Raisi visits Oman with multiple trade deals expected

• Palestinian foreign minister hails relations with Turkiye

• Turkish foreign minister to hold talks with senior officials in Palestine, Israel

• Over 1,200 Palestinians held by Israel last month: NGOs


South Asia

• Afghan Politicians Expect Taliban to Collaborate for Future Decision

• The Taliban’s Clash in Parwan Province Kills Three Armed Men

• Afghan Refugees Hold Rally, Want To Settle In Developed Countries

• Rohingya refugee boat sinks off Myanmar, dozens dead or missing



• UK Withdrawal from Afghanistan Was a 'Disaster' and 'Betrayal', Inquiry Reveals

• Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque to Be Recognised In Police Awards Ceremony

• British-Iranian says was ‘forced to sign false confession’ before release

• Security guard killed inside Qatar Embassy in Paris

• UN unequivocal about right of Afghan girls to education, World Economic Forum told

• UK lawmakers criticize ‘absence’ of Afghan evacuation plan


Southeast Asia

• Singapore Says Abdul Somad Batubara, Indonesian Muslim Preacher, Radicalized Its Citizens

• Uyghurs Urge UN Rights Chief To Ask Hard Questions In Xinjiang

• Shahidan, Muthu poised to clash for MAF presidency

• Non-local control of Sabah hampers ties, says Sarawak minister

• Join hands for political stability, says Muhyiddin


Arab World

• ‘We Will Act When We See A Serious Government in Lebanon,’ Saudi Minister Tells Davos Panel

• Explosive-laden drone strikes Baghdad's airport: Report

• Turkey's Erdogan threatens new incursion into Syria

• At least 6 people killed in Daesh/ISIS attack in northern Iraq

• Several terrorists killed, injured as PMU hits Daesh positions in northern Iraq

• Syrian Interim Government against YPG/PKK’s ‘census’

• Saudi minister receives Swedish special envoy to OIC



• Tunisian Union Calls National Strike, Rejects President Saied’s Move

• Turkiye-Africa Media Summit to be held in Istanbul on occasion of Africa Day

• Jordan says Iran-linked groups in Syria wage drug war along border


North America

• US GOP Senators Vow To Kill Domestic Terrorism Bill, Despite Spike in Hate Crimes

• Israel used US weapons against American assets, businesses in Gaza: Report

• US warns American companies against business in Sudan, assails military for violence

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Qutub Minar Mosque's Walls Have Sculptures of Hindu Deities, Says Imam of Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque Built in Qutub Campus


The Qutub Minar in New Delhi.


Arvind Ojha

New Delhi

May 24, 2022

Maulana Sher Mohammad, the Imam of the Mughal mosque built in Qutub Minar, said that the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque on the campus of the Qutub Minar, which is being disputed, has sculptures of Hindu deities on its walls.

A controversy erupted after ASI’s ex-regional director Dharamveer Sharma claimed that the Qutub Minar was constructed by Raja Vikramaditya and not by Qutub al-Din Aibak, to study the direction of the sun.

The Imam said that Namaz cannot be offered in a place where there are idols of deities. “The Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid is in ruins now. Hindu organisations had raised the issue even 20 years ago, but the administration of the time had ruled in our [the masjid's] favour and quietened the matter,” he said.

Maulana Sher Mohammad, however, said that when kings started capturing lands, there were very few mosques. “Sculptures of deities were carved on the stones used to build this mosque,” he said.

Maulana Sher Mohammad, who had been offering Namaz at the Mughal Masjid since 1976, said Namaz was stopped at the Qutub Minar from May 13.

According to the cleric, a guard came on May 13 and said that officials from the ASI had come. “They asked us not to offer Namaz here. When we said that we were only four persons and assured them that no outsider would be allowed to offer namaaz, the officials told us that the order (to stop Namaz) had come from higher officials.”

“We met Waqf Board chairman Amanatullah and told him about this. He is looking into the matter now,” Maulana Sher Mohammad said.

Source: India Today

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Policies of 'Muslim Middle Powers' Like Pakistan, Turkiye, Iran, and Saudi Arabia Can No Longer Be Dictated By West: Pakistani Senator


Pakistani Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed


Riyaz ul Khaliq  


The policies of “Muslim middle powers” can no longer be dictated by Western nations, while these nations should focus on connectivity, boosting their economies, and coming together for “mutual interests,” a Pakistani senator said.

Calling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a “lion of Asia” who has a “vision and will,” Mushahid Hussain Sayed told Anadolu Agency: “We have what I call ‘Muslim middle powers’ emerging like Pakistan, Turkiye, Iran, and Saudi Arabia… and these are important elements who are playing a role for stability.”

“Their policies can no longer be dictated by people sitting in London, Washington or New York or Brussels,” said Sayed, who was visiting Istanbul for a meeting on Palestine with lawmakers from several other countries.

Citing the “role” of Turkiye and Pakistan in Azerbaijan’s second Nagorno-Karabakh war which started on Sept. 27, 2020 and lasted 44 days to recapture its territory from Armenia, Sayed called for greater cooperation on regional connectivity, the economy, defense, and issues of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Palestine, and Kashmir.

‘Relations between Turkiye and Pakistan not dependent on respective governments’

Sayed, who also chairs the Pakistani Senate’s Defense Committee, said Turkiye and Pakistan enjoyed “a rather unique relationship.”

“It predates the existence of even Pakistan,” he noted.

Recalling the help extended by South Asian Muslims during Turkiye’s war of liberation, he said “this relationship, irrespective of any government in Turkiye or in Pakistan, is always a strong bond.”

“It's now strengthened through mutual interests. The mutual interests are linked with our worldview,” he said.

Sayed said the two countries “have similar positions on the issue of Palestine, Kashmir, and the TRNC.”

“This relationship has been reinforced by our cooperation in the fields of economy, defense, diplomacy, and in the field of regional connectivity, and that is extremely important,” he said, citing the resumption of the Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad (ITI) freight train as one example.

“When Azerbaijan was fighting the Armenian aggression and occupation of the homeland, Pakistan Turkiye were two countries which rose to the occasion,” he said, adding “because of this move,” the flags of Turkiye and Pakistan were raised in Azerbaijan when they celebrated the Nagorno-Karabakh victory.

Sayed said Pakistan was the first country to send a delegation of parliamentarians to “express solidarity” with Turkiye after the failed coup by the Fetullah terrorist organization in July 2016.

“I, myself, in my speech at the Asian Parliamentary Assembly in Cambodia, said that President Erdogan is 'the lion of Asia',” he recalled. “I meant it because he is a man who has vision, like (former Malaysian Prime Minister) Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.”

Sayed said Erdogan is “a man who takes positions on issues, and he has shown the vision and will to do that.”

Acknowledging that progress in bilateral relations between Turkiye and Pakistan faced “bureaucratic obstacles,” Sayed, however, said, “there are no limits to Pakistan-Turkiye collaboration.”

He said the two countries should sign a free trade agreement “and we should cut through the bureaucratic red tape.”

“It's not a decision for bureaucrats. It is a political decision,” he asserted.

“And there is the issue of dual nationality, which should also be there,” he said. “I will work on these issues.”

Sayed said Istanbul and Turkiye are “the favored destinations of Pakistanis when they go abroad because of love, esteem, and respect.”

“Two big anniversaries are coming up and we are celebrating them together,” he said, referring to the 75th anniversary of the founding of Pakistan in 2022 and the centenary of the founding of the Republic of Turkiye in 2023.

“We will be there with our Turkish brethren to celebrate the historic anniversary because Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had said that when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk died in October 1938, that this is a day of mourning for the Musalmans (Muslims) of India,” said Sayed, a renowned political commentator.

“That is how high in esteem the father of our nation held the father of the Turkish nation.”

‘Element of racism in Ukraine war’

Commenting on Russia’s war on Ukraine, the Pakistani senator said Pakistan and Turkiye “have broadly similar positions on the issue of the Ukraine war.”

“Of course, nobody can endorse any invasion of any foreign country. But there’s a context to that. And Pakistan, therefore, abstained on that issue because basically, we see it as a European war,” said Sayed.

“We are also concerned! I, as a Pakistani, and as a person who has links with the media, believe that there are, unfortunately, a lot of double standards in the Western media’s coverage of the Ukraine war, because there is an element of racism -- as if the lives of Europeans in Ukraine are perhaps more precious than the lives of non-Europeans, be they Kashmiris or Palestinians or Afghans or Syrians or Iraqis,” he said. “That needs to be put on the record.”

Sayed said there is the “context of the NATO expansion” around the Ukraine war.

“We wish that it should not become a part of another new Cold War,” he said.

Complimenting Turkiye for its role in attempting to diffuse the situation, Sayed said “Turkish drones are playing a very important role.”

“The Bayraktar drone has been very effective. It has been used on almost 80 occasions in the Ukraine war, and this drone was also effective in the Azerbaijan war,” he said.

“It is a tribute to Turkish technology that it is so sophisticated. And we as Pakistanis, who are brothers and friends of Turkiye, take pride in the achievements of this country.”

Sayed said President Erdogan is “among those leaders… Perhaps the only international statesman who has the capacity…who has the vision, and who has the will to bring both parties (Russia and Ukraine) to the conference table.”

He warned that “prolonging the war is part of a new Cold War.”

“We do not agree with that view because prolonging the war would create other complications like shortages of oil and food. And it is in that context, it is important that President Erdogan play that role. He has already done it at the level of foreign ministers,” Sayed said, referring to a meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine on the eve of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in March.

“I hope that if there is a summit between (Ukrainian) President (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy and (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin that it will be President Erdogan who will host it, Insha Allah!”

‘Resurgence of the East’

Lauding the vision of Pakistani philosopher and national poet Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Sayed said: “this great Muslim philosopher saw it 90 years ago that the sun is rising in the east.”

“I think he was referring to the resurgence of Asia and the emergence of the Asian century,” he said.

Pointing to President Erdogan’s slogan “the world is bigger than five,” Sayed said: “What we are seeing today in the world, and what President Erdogan alluded to, is that it has become a multipolar world where -- and this is very important -- the balance of economic and political power is shifting from the West to the East. And by the West, I mean the United States of America and Europe.”

He said there were “multiple power centers now…no one superpower, self-styled, can control what is happening today.”

“We see the decline of the US… We see the decline of Europe also, in front of our own eyes. It’s their political clout that is limited… their economies are in bad shape,” he said, citing Brexit as an example.

“In that context,” Sayed emphasized, “I feel that the world has to adjust to new powers, especially in the Muslim world.”

He quoted a remark by Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, during an interview with an American magazine in October 1947, in which Jinnah said: “Pakistan will be the pivot of the world placed on the frontier around which the future geopolitics of the world will revolve.”

“You can see that today when we talk of regional connectivity… we are the hub of regional connectivity,” he said, referring to initiatives like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), which was earlier known as the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD).

In 1964, said Sayed, “Pakistan, Turkiye, and Iran launched the first initiative in the Muslim world for regional connectivity -- the RCD.”

Later on, the RCD evolved into the ECO with the participation of the Central Asian republics, Azerbaijan, and Afghanistan.

The over $50 billion CPEC is the flagship project of China’s multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

“The train, which leaves London, reaches Beijing in 10 to 12 days. And Turkiye is the center,” he said.

He said thanks to these initiatives, a “greater South Asia” was emerging which “was not a geographical concept that is just a South Asia.”

“It’s a geopolitical concept,” he noted. “This regional connectivity is driven by the economy, energy, roads, railways, ports, and pipelines.”

“A whole new world is opening. And we are at the center of that. So Pakistan and Turkiye, together with countries like China and Iran as well as Central Asia, have to play a historical role,” said Sayed. “This is the need of the hour.”

‘Reject new Cold War era’

Sayed, known for his sharp analysis of China’s socio-politico-economic development, said two “visions were emerging.”

“One is a vision of a new Cold War, conflict, confrontation,” he said, adding this phenomenon was already “happening in Europe, where they see Russia as the enemy.”

“The hawks in Washington talk of China as the enemy… We reject this kind of thing,” he emphasized, arguing that “after so many years of conflict, we cannot have a return to a Cold War…a zero-sum game mindset.”

“We're talking of regional connectivity, connectivity based on cooperation, based on consultations, and it is connectivity among countries, civilizations, and continents,” he added.

Lauding what he called the “historic visit” of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Islamabad, where he attended the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign Ministers Summit in March this year, Sayed said: “I do recall that President Xi Jinping hosted a conference on the dialogue among civilizations in 2019.”

“He talked of how Islamic civilization has enriched the Chinese civilization -- the Confucian civilization. He talked of the Great Mosque of Makkah. He talked of the Indus Valley Civilization. He talked of Ibn Batuta, the traveler who went to China and who has written about China in the past,” said Sayed.

Wang was the first Chinese top diplomat to represent his country at the OIC at this level.

“So there is a lot which is linking the Chinese civilization with the Islamic civilization,” he said.

Sayed said Xi had also presented “for the first time a peace plan for the Middle East on the issue of Palestine.”

He said China was the “first country to support” the war of liberation by Palestinians on the first of January 1965 while Pakistan was the first country which hosted the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under Yasser Arafat in April 1974 in Lahore at the Islamic Summit, where the PLO was accepted and recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the people of Palestine.

“Pakistan’s support to Palestine predates the creation of our country because Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the father of our nation, gave that support to Palestine,” he recalled.

“In that context,” he said, “there are a lot of commonalities between the positions of Pakistan, Turkiye, and China viz-a-viz Palestine.”

“This needs to be taken forward. This initiative of inviting Chinese Foreign Minister Mr. Wang Yi to Pakistan was very important. And that has reinforced this relationship and together with the BRI, together with the $400 billion China-Iran agreement,” he said, calling it “extremely important.”

Referring to the Beijing Olympics held this February, Sayed said China-Saudi relations and China-UAE relations also add to this phenomenon.

“Pakistan, Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, other countries. And Turkiye was also represented there.”

“This camaraderie is developing. And interestingly, when Mr. (Samuel P.) Huntington talked in a negative way about the clash of civilizations in 1993, it seems that the Confucian civilization and Islamic civilization are moving closer together, not against anybody, but for the common good. For connectivity, for cooperation, for strengthening development in these countries,” he said.

‘Kashmir and Palestine are inextricably intertwined’

Sayed said the issues of Kashmir and Palestine “are inextricably intertwined.”

“They are both linked with peace, security, and stability in South Asia and the Middle East, respectively,” he added.

“Both (of) our lands are under brutal foreign occupation,” he said, referring to UN Security Council resolutions that grant the peoples of these lands the right of self-determination.

He said Palestinians and Kashmiris were facing “human rights sufferings” while the “demographic balance is sought to be changed by Israel in Palestine and by India in occupied Kashmir.”

“There is a genuine, popular, indigenous, spontaneous resistance to this repression.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Senior Israeli Lawmaker Warns Of ‘Religious War’ After Court Allows Settlers To Pray At Al-Aqsa Mosque


Israeli settlers gesture as Israeli forces secure the area at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in al-Quds Old City, on May 5, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)


May 24, 2022

A senior Israeli lawmaker has warned that a recent court ruling allowing settlers to pray at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds could trigger a "religious war."

Ram Ben Barak, head of the Israeli parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee, made the remark on Monday, a day after the Israeli Magistrate’s Court in al-Quds rescinded a restraining order against three settlers who had prayed while visiting the holy site.

"I think that during this sensitive period care must be taken," he said, adding, "We should not, with our own hands, cause a religious war here or all kinds of provocations that are liable to ignite the Middle East."

He also voiced concern about the so-called flag march by far-right Israeli settlers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied East al-Quds, which its route includes the Muslim quarter of the Old City.

Ben Barak predicted that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett would wait until the night before the planned march to decide on its final route to prevent possible conflict.

"It is not always worth paying this price for a demonstration that is all about spectacle and little else," he said.

The so-called flag march was originally scheduled to be held on May 10, but Israeli right-wing groups shelved the controversial parade after the Israeli police refused to authorize it and Hamas warned of the consequences.

Nonetheless, the Israeli right-wingers reached an agreement with the Israeli public security minister Omer Bar-Lev to let the show roll in the occupied holy city on May 29.

The march marks Israel's occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.

Khaled al-Batsh, member of the politburo of Islamic Jihad, said going ahead with the flag march would be a "message of war" against Palestinians.

"The Palestinians will confront the flag march and the resistance will do all it should to protect al-Aqsa Mosque and the sacred sites," Batsh said.

As per a long-standing convention, settlers may visit the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, but are not allowed to pray. However, an uptick in settlers' visits to the mosque has angered Palestinian Muslims and led to protests, which were met with Israeli forces’ brutal attacks on the protesters.

Palestinian officials and resistance groups have repeatedly voiced concerns over the Israeli regime’s plot to divide al-Aqsa into Jewish and Muslim sections or set visiting times.

Recently, there has been a sheer escalation of atrocities by the Israeli regime against Palestinian worshipers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Outraged by the Israeli barbarity, Palestinian resistance groups have intensified their operations throughout the occupied territories.

The clashes in al-Quds had sparked fears of another armed conflict similar to an 11-day war in May last year between Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian resistance groups, including Hamas.

Source: ABNA24

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Taliban Leaders Remember Former Amir-ul-Muminin of The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on 6th Martyrdom Anniversary


Mullah Akhtar Mansour


May 23, 2022

KABUL: Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar said that double progress was made at the chain of Jihad under the late Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, former Amir-ul-Muminin of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

A grand ceremony, attended by hundreds of the IEA members and high-ranking officials, was held at the Isteqlal Hall to mark the 6th martyrdom anniversary of late Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, former Supreme Leader of the Islamic Emirate here in Kabul. The Deputy Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar said: “Due to the blessings of the martyrdom of the elders and the sacrifices and dedication of the subordinates, we have now gotten together under the Islamic umbrella.” He asked for mercy from the leaders towards their subordinates and obedience of the subordinates to their leaders.

Speaking on the occasion, Mawlavi Abdul Salam Hanafi the Deputy Prime Minister said that late Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour was martyred in ‘a wronged manner.’

“All the world witnessed that his sacred body was completely burned.

This happened for the holy Islam. Respected Mansour sacrificed his live for the country’s independence and the rule of the Islamic system,” said Hanafi.

Likewise, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mawlavi Amir Khan Muttaqi said that Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour was the owner of a great plan. He could unify this society and protected it from any conspiracies, after the demise of late Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid.

Shir Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, Deputy to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also praised and enumerated the good characteristics of the late Mansour, former Supreme Leader, as saying he was very kind, modest, generous as well as a brave man.

The country’s acting Minister of Defense, Mullah Mohammad Yaqub Mujahid also spoke on the advent of late Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour as saying: “We do our best to have Afghanistan a rival country in any fields at the regional level.”

According to a report, the Supreme Court of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, also held a Holy Quran praying ceremony for the Late Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour at the conference hall of the court, where scores of officials and Holy Quran memorizers have taken part.

Source: The Kabul Times

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Israel Bans Member Of European Parliament From Visiting Palestine


Zehra Nur Düz  


Israel has banned Manuel Pineda, a Spanish communist politician from the United Left coalition who is a member of the European Parliament (MEP) and also the head of the delegation for EU-Palestine relations, from entering the country.

Pineda in a Twitter post announced that he had canceled the mission he was going to lead on Monday to assess the current situation of the Palestinians.

He also shared the rejection statement delivered by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

According to “the information received from the competent authorities in Israel,” the ministry has decided “not to approve the arrival” of Pineda in the country, said the statement, without giving reasons.

Pineda accused Israel of “blocking the work of the European Parliament.”

“The mission was planned to meet with the Palestinian authorities and civil society, to see the consequences of the occupation on the daily life of the Palestinian population on the territory, as well as to see the effects of the policies of EU cooperation,” Pineda said.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola also regretted the decision to refuse entry to Pineda to Israel.

“I will raise the issue directly with authorities concerned. Respect for MEPs and the European Parliament is essential for good relations,” Metsola said on Twitter.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Malappuram Man, Shihab Chottur, Set To Walk 8,640 Km to Mecca For Haj

24th May 2022

By KP Vishnuprasad

MALAPPURAM: Before modern transport facilities came into existence, many Indians made the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca entirely on foot. The faithful rarely take such a risk these days. But Shihab Chottur, a 30-year-old from Malappuram, has decided to do just that. He plans to walk 8,640 kilometres to be a part of Haj 2023. With the journey scheduled to start on July 2, he is expected to complete the trip in 280 days.

An intense desire to travel on foot to Mecca led him to the decision, Shihab says. “I just decided to do it. Then I worked for it. And so I am now ready to start the journey. All able Muslims are obliged to visit Mecca at least once in their lifetime. I am healthy and able to walk at least 25 kilometres a day. I think I should do it now as I have the support of a large number of people, including my family members and friends,” he says.

Shihab -- who runs a supermarket at Kanhipura -- plans to carry with him a luggage weighing around 10kg. It will include a sleeping bag, four t-shirts and trousers, and an umbrella. He will use the free accommodation and food provided by the worship places on the way. He began preparing for the journey eight months ago.

“I needed to take travel insurance to get financial help in case something goes wrong while travelling. Then, I had to get visas to enter Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The ministry of external affairs and Union Minister V Muraleedharan helped me during the process. Almost all preparation is over,” he says.

Once he reaches Saudi Arabia after walking through six countries, Shihab will apply for Haj 2023.

Source: New Indian Express

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Hindu Petitioner Seeks Permission for 'Purification' Ritual in Mathura's Shahi Idgah Mosque

MAY 24, 2022

A petitioner in the Shri Krishna Janmasthan-Shahi Idgah Masjid dispute has sought permission from a local court to perform a Hindu ritual inside the mosque, claiming that the sanctum sanctorum of the temple was located there.

The petitioner submitted an application in the court of the Civil Judge on Monday seeking permission for purification of the sanctum sanctorum of the Keshav Dev temple, which he claimed was inside the mosque, his counsel said.

The petitioner, Dinesh Chandra Sharma, wants to revive the sanctity of sanctum sanctorum inside Shahi Masjid Idgah by purifying the divine place with holy water of Ganga and Yamuna, Deepak Sharma, the counsel for petitioner said.

Dinesh Chandra Sharma, the National Treasurer of Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, on May 19 had submitted a similar application in the court of Civil Judge senior division Mathura, he said.

Through the application, Sharma had sought the permission for performing abhishek' (anointment) of Laddu Gopal in the Katra Keshav Dev temple claiming it to be inside the mosque, he said. Both his applications are pending in the court here for disposal, the counsel said.

According to him, his client has submitted these applications seeking early disposal of the suit. Sharma had filed a suit on February 26, 2021 in the court of Civil judge Senior division Mathura seeking shifting of Shahi Masjid Idgah constructed on a part of the 13.37 acre land of Katra Keshav Dev temple.

UP Sunni Central Waqf board, Intezamia committee Shahi Masjid Idgah, Sri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan, and Srikrishna Janmabhumi trust, are the defendants in the lawsuit. Several suits have been filed so far in the matter with a common prayer of shifting of Shahi Masjid Idgah, which has been claimed to have been constructed in the temple premise.

Source: News18

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Lawyer, files application in SC seeking to be impleaded in the ongoing case of Gyanvapi Mosque

May 24, 2022

Lawyer and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, has filed an application before the Supreme Court seeking a direction for impleadment in the Gyanvapi Mosque dispute case, going on in the SC.

The lawyer, Upadhyay, in his Intervention Application (IA) filed before the Supreme Court, said that the Places of Worship Act of 1991 cannot govern the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque issue.

Upadhyay has also filed a petition before the Supreme Court last year, challenging the constitutional validity of the Places of Worship Act. The matter is pending before the Supreme Court,

Upadhyay in his Public Interest Litigation filed in the Apex Court challenged the constitutional validity of the Places of Worship Act, in October 2020 and the Court had issued notice on his plea.

Upadhyay has stated in his application that, “only those places can be protected, which were erected or constructed in accordance with the personal law of the person erected/constructed them, but places erected or constructed in derogation of the personal law, cannot be termed as a ‘place of worship’.

He has stated that the “Temple’s religious character does not change after the demolition of the roof, walls, pillars, foundation and even offering Namaz. After the Pran Pratishtha of idol, A Temple is Always a Temple until the Idol is shifted to another temple with the rituals of Visharjan. Moreover, the Religious Character of the Temple (Place of Worship) & Mosque (Place of Prayer) is totally different. So, the same Law can’t be applied to both”.

Upadhyay has stressed that the SLP filed before the Supreme Court is infructuous as the Places of Worship Act does not bar the determination of religious character. He mentions in the application that the Act is a penal Law so it must be interpreted literally, not purposively.

Upadhyay also submits in his application that “The mosque constructed at temple land cannot be a mosque, not only for the reason that such construction is against Islamic law but also on grounds that the property once vested in the deity continues to be deity’s property and right of deity and devotees are never lost, howsoever long illegal encroachment continues on such property. Right to restore back religious property is unfettered and continuing wrong and injury may be cured by judicial remedy.”

Source: The Statesman

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Gyanvapi Mosque Case: Varanasi Court To Decide Future Course Of Action Today

24 MAY 2022

A district court in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi reserved its order for Tuesday on which petition is to be heard first in the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri temple case transferred to it by the Supreme Court.

The court of District Judge A K Vishvesh heard arguments from both the Hindu and Muslim sides.

A fresh plea seeking permission to worship the "Shivling" claimed to have been found on the mosque premises during a videography survey ordered by a lower court was also filed.

The apex court had on Friday transferred the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri temple case from a civil judge (senior division) to a district judge, saying looking at the "complexities" and "sensitivity" of the issue, it is better if a senior judicial officer having an experience of over 25-30 years handles this case.

"After hearing arguments of both sides, the court will on Tuesday give its verdict on which petition is to be heard first," said Madan Mohan Yadav, a lawyer for the Hindu side.

The Hindu side argued that since a court-appointed commission has completed its work, the opponents should present their objections on it.

Yadav said they pleaded to make available the commission's report and videography done by it to present its side on it.

Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee's lawyer Mohammad Tauhid Khan argued that the writ is not sustainable, hence, it should be dismissed.

Source: Outlook India

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CMs competing to see who can hassle Muslims most: Mehbooba Mufti on Assam CM's 'madrasa' remark

May 23, 2022

A day after Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma launched an attack on madrasas while speaking at an RSS event, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti claimed that chief ministers in the country were competing to see who can hassle Muslims most.

"CMs are competing against each other that who can hassle Muslims the most. So, issues of temples and mosques are being raised. Muslims are being provoked to react so that these people get a chance to execute another episode like that in Gujarat or UP," Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti said on Monday, as per ANI news agency.

She added, "The British pitted Hindus against Muslims, today BJP is doing it. PM Modi is watching silently. His party thinks it means what they're doing is right. The Constitution on which this country was based is now being taken apart."


Speaking at an RSS event on Sunday, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said the word ‘madrasa’ should cease to exist and stressed "normal education" in schools for all.

He was responding to a former chancellor of the Hyderabad Maulana Azad University who hailed the Assam government’s decision to dissolve all madrasas and turn them into general schools.

“Till the time this word (madrasa) exists, children will not be able to think about becoming doctors and engineers. If you tell children that they will not become doctors or engineers if they study in madrasas, they themselves will refuse to go,” he said.

“Teach the Quran to your children, but at home,” the chief minister said, adding that children are admitted to madrasas “in violation of their human rights”.

Source: India Today

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Will dismantle terror ecosystem in J&K, LG tells Kashmiri Pandits

May 24, 2022

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha, while addressing protesting Kashmiri Pandits at Sheikhpora in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Monday, said the administration is resolved to target not only those who kill the innocent but also those running the terror ecosystem.

The agitators have been staging a sit-in protest inside the residential cluster in Sheikhpora — demanding security for the Kashmiri Pandit community and the presence of LG Sinha — for the past 11 days following the targeted killing of fellow Kashmiri Pandit Rahul Bhat, a revenue department employee who was gunned down by terrorists at his office in Chadoora on May 12.

LG Sinha on Monday went to the cluster to meet the protestors and assured them that the administration will not rest till the terror ecosystem is dismantled completely. “The roots of terrorism have remained strong in J&K for too long. There was a time when even a case wouldn’t be registered. While nobody can compensate for the death of a person, the government is taking measures to provide job compensation to Bhat’s next of kin,” said Sinha.

The LG said security forces have had the upper hand in tackling terrorism in the Valley over the past year. “Despite this, some incidents have taken place. There are (terrorist) informers everywhere. Nobody can even identify them,” he said, adding: “We will not stay calm until this (terror) ecosystem is put to an end… (we) can’t tolerate this anymore.”

Source: Times Of India

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Case filed against Asaduddin Owaisi for allegedly inciting religious sentiments

24th May 2022

New Delhi: A case has been filed against All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi for allegedly inciting religious sentiments over the Gyanvapi mosque row.

The case which was filed in Varanasi court also alleged that Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav hurt the religious sentiment.

Advocate Harishankar Pandey alleged that both the leaders have tried to incite the religious sentiment by commenting on the Gyanvapi mosque row.

Asaduddin Owaisi on Gyanvapi mosque row

Recently, Asaduddin Owaisi said that he will not let the mosque meet the fate of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.

He also said that bhakts of Godse (Nathuram Godse who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi) are spreading hatred against Muslims by raising issues such as hijab, job jihad, etc.

On the Gyanvapi mosque issue, Akhilesh Yadav accused BJP of dividing people based on communal lines and creating fear among Muslims.

Gyanvapi mosque issue

Varanasi district court on Monday completed the hearing of the Gyanvapi mosque case. The court has reserved its judgment. The verdict is expected to come on Tuesday.

During the hearing, only 23 people, including 19 counsels and four petitioners, were allowed inside the courtroom.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Over 100 Opposition activists arrested in Pakistan

May 24, 2022

Over 100 activists belonging to ousted Pakistani premier Imran Khan's party have been arrested in the country's Punjab province for a planned mega-march to the federal capital, Islamabad, demanding early elections.

The police, who later confirmed that the arrests were made at the behest of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) ruling coalition, launched the clampdown on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) activists late on Monday night.

PTI chief Khan has demanded the government to dissolve the Federal Assembly and call for elections. To press these demands, the PTI protests have grown louder with each passing day. The agitators were scheduled to assemble in Islamabad on May 25.

"Police have so far arrested over 100 PTI activists, including a lady lawmaker Rashida Khanum, from different parts of Punjab province to stop them from reaching Islamabad to take part in the 'Azadi March'," said PTI Punjab information secretary Mussarat Cheema.

She said most of the PTI office bearers and workers were arrested from Lahore. She said a number of provincial leaders of the party have gone underground to escape the arrests. She said the arrests were 'fascist tactics' of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to stop the PTI workers from reaching Islamabad.

PTI leader and former Punjab minister Raja Basharat said the police raided almost every former minister and adviser of the former Punjab government belonging to the PTI.

He said one party worker suffered injuries in Gujranwala city, 80 km from provincial capital Lahore, during a clash with a police raiding team.

He warned the government was forcing the PTI workers to besiege the Raiwind Residence of the Sharif family. He also uploaded videos of police raids at various PTI workers and leaders' homes.

PTI chairman Khan, in a tweet on early Tuesday, said: "Peaceful protest is the right of all our citizens. The brutal crackdown on PTI leaders and workers in Punjab and Islamabad has once again shown us what we are familiar with - the fascist nature of PML-N when in power. The present crackdown also raises serious questions about the handlers."

Khan further said when he was in office his government never stopped opposition protest marches of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League-N and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F)

"This is the difference between democrats and kleptocrats," Khan said, adding that already the economy was in a tailspin.

"I want to warn the crooks and their handlers that these undemocratic and fascist steps will further exacerbate the economic situation and push the country into a state of anarchy."

Cash-strapped Pakistan is passing through a phase of economic turmoil.

The newly-formed Shehbaz Sharif government is saddled with an economy which is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and is dealing with spiked global prices of essential goods due to the Russia-Ukraine war and other such conflicts.

Pakistan's currency, current account deficit and trade deficit numbers are in red because of huge debt payments. Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves have dwindled to USD 7.5 billion.

According to a senior police officer, the PML-N led ruling government had issued the arrest orders and to take PTI leaders and workers into custody.

"We will seal GT Road and motorway at different points to stop the PTI workers from reaching Islamabad on May 25," an official said.

Ruling PML-N supreme leader and three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif tweeted that the people should not be left at the mercy of miscreant jathas (group of people) which already played havoc with their lives," he said.

Earlier, the nine-party coalition government at the Centre had claimed that it would not stop anyone from coming to Islamabad to join the PTI protest.

However that contradicts the police action on Monday night.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif have affirmed that the government would complete its tenure till August 2023.

Khan, ousted through a no-trust vote on April 10, has accused the US of orchestrating the fall of his government after his decision to follow an independent foreign policy over the issue of Ukraine.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Pakistan govt rejects PTI’s demand to hold general elections, decides to complete its tenure

24 May, 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], May 24 (ANI): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) government on Monday rejected the demands of ousted former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan for holding re-elections in the country, and said that the government will complete its tenure, as per the Pakistan media reports.

PML-N and its allies announced that the current setup will complete its tenure till August 2023 and the general elections would be held at the stipulated time next year, reported Express Tribune quoting sources.

This comes after PTI chief Imran Khan announced to begin the protest march to Islamabad on May 25 against the present government demanding the dissolution of the National Assembly and a date for the next general election.

The sources said that the PML-N and allies have decided to take measures against the economic instability and improve the governance in the country.

They also said that allies were of the view that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had already announced a date for the next elections hence it is not possible to hold polls early, reported Express Tribune.

The report further said that the PM Shehbaz Sharif will chair a meeting of the coalition government on Wednesday to decide the action regarding the next general election.

Regarding the PTI’s protest march, the allies said that they will handle it in a democratic way and will not allow the protestors to hold a rally on Srinagar Highway in Islamabad, sources said adding that the government will provide PTI a ground to hold a rally or stage sit-in, reported Express Tribune.

Meanwhile, PTI Chairman Imran Khan announced that his party’s long protest march to Islamabad will begin on May 25 demanding the dissolution of the National Assembly and a date for the next general election and invited people to join in large numbers.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday after his party’s core committee meeting in Peshawar, Imran Khan said that he will meet the people on the Srinagar highway on May 25.

Source: The Print

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Pakistani Generals push for early election to appoint new Army Chief

24 May, 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], May 24 (ANI): In recent months, the call for the general election in Pakistan has grown louder and it seems that the ‘neutral generals’ are giving up their neutrality and are coming back into the game as they are pushing for an early election in the country so that they can appoint the next Army chief.

Army has been talking to select a political and financial leader as there is a possibility of creating a caretaker government before declaring the election, Islam Khabar reported citing credible reports.

Notably, these reports are more than rumours circulating in Islamabad.

Former Pakistan Finance Ministers Hafiz Sheikh and Shaukat Tarin, along with the former State Bank Governor Raja Baqir, were called by the Generals for consultations on the International Monetary Fund deliberations. The Generals do not want to lose the IMF deliberations and urged a united approach to get an urgent bailout.

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced that he will launch the Islamabad long march on May 25. Tabling his demands, the PTI chairman said that he is demanding the date of fresh elections and the dissolution of the assembly, reported Islam Khabar.

In response, the interim government, led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, has unleashed a revenge campaign against PTI leaders like Shireen Mazari and journalists who are siding with Imran Khan.

Charges are flying thick and strong, all of which puts the country’s future in dire straits.

The Shehbaz Sharif government has its own woes to deal with. It is at best a coalition of convenience and offers no hope of a united front against the imminent challenges like inflation, and debt that the country is facing. Even within the government, there is the problem of elder Sharif in London and the young one in Islamabad trying to pull a lame horse to trot. This is reflected in the critical issue of the IMF bailout, according to Islam Khabar.

Accepting the bailout means ending the fuel subsidy, a highly unpopular decision which would bury the chances of the party winning the election. There is talk that the Shehbaz Sharif government would rather quit than end fuel subsidies.

There is no unity in the PMLN and its allies in the party, hence there are different voices being heard on this issue.

The factor which seems to spur such anxious confabulations and worries is that time-the government has to take some hard decisions or else the economy is primed for a nosedive and this is what makes the Generals worry the most. They felt that Pakistan can turn into the Sri Lanka issue where angry people would turn on the road in protest, reported Islam Khabar.

Imran Khan’s supporters, in thousands, are already on the streets and are indoctrinated enough to take on the state institutions which can turn out to be a civil war as the Prime Minister warned.

Regarding this, the Generals have already warned the Imran Khan brigade to step back on mudslinging. The Shireen Mazari incident is a part of one of their game. Pro-Imran journalists have also been charged with sedition. The media authority has issued a strict warning against casting a slur on Generals and judges.

Source: The Print

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Fazlur Rehman claims Imran sent delegation to US to form relations with Israel

By Yousaf Ali

May 22, 2022

PESHAWAR: Central chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUIF) and President Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Maulana Fazlur Rehman has claimed that former prime minister Imran Khan had sent a delegation to the US in Donald Trump's tenure as president to form relations with Israel.

While addressing the Taqaddus Hurmat Masjid-e-Nabvi (SAW) Conference here on Saturday night, Fazlur Rehman said that former US president Donald Trump tried to convince Arab countries at the diplomatic level to recognise Israel.

"Imran Khan was a part of that campaign with the Pakistan Embassy in Washington being used as its base camp,” the PDM chief alleged. He warned that Jewish agents would be kicked out of the country by JUIF activists.

Fazlur Rehman said that Saudi Arabia and China are true friends of Pakistan but both are not happy with us anymore because of the previous government's policies. “We have to restore that relations with both Saudi Arabia and China,” he said.

Fazlur Rehman also urged the institutions to keep national solidarity above their petty personal, political gains and limited benefits and play a role for the well-being and prosperity of the country.

"I have a message for the military leadership and the establishment that when we had grievances against you, we expressed them openly. And now that we think you are moving towards performance of your constitutional role, we would support you,” he said in his late-night address.

Tens of thousands of people from across the province turned up to attend the mammoth conference. At least 5,000 volunteers of the security wing of the party had been deployed for the security of the event.

Fazlur Rehman said that Pakistan should not be made a testing ground anymore. "The country will get stronger when its institutions are strong. And the institutions will get strength once they perform their role in accordance with their constitutional limits,” he said. He said that the judiciary too had some question marks over its role, which it would have to wash away. He said that the judiciary de-seated some members of the parliament over the reference of a dummy president, which was against the lawmakers' privilege of expressing no-confidence against the prime minister.

"The judiciary, on the one hand, de-seated members of the parliament over a controversial reference and, on the other hand, it had given a stay over the de-seating of a former deputy speaker, who had polled some 65,000 fake ballots. And he served as the deputy speaker for nearly four years on the same stay order,” Fazlur Rehman said.

He blasted former prime minister Imran Khan for creating chaos in the country. He urged his party workers to get ready for countering Fitna-e-Imrania. “Stop provoking our youth. They are ready to render every sacrifice for Islam. If they get provoked, none of the youthias will dare come out of their houses,” he threatened.

The PDM chief ridiculed Imran Khan’s claim of ‘foreign conspiracy’ to topple his government. “No conspiracy was hatched against you. We were present in the field against you. We carried out a declared struggle against your illegitimate rule and we ousted you from the corridor of powers,” he said.

Fazlur Rehman said that the former prime minister was hiding behind a piece of paper while terming it as proof of foreign conspiracy. “Don’t hide behind just a piece of paper. Show your three-year performance. You destroyed the national economy. You supported the election campaign of Trump and Modi and you made a compromise over Kashmir,” he said, while referring to the ex-prime minister Imran Khan.

He also criticised the use of foul language against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz by Imran Khan. He said that Imran Khan has lost his political worth after being ousted from corridors of power and after his so-called public gatherings, he would lose his mental balance as well.

"Some elements in institutions and aunties at home are grieved over his ouster from power and they are making comments over his public gatherings. Let me tell them, if you gather 10 million people over a dead body, it won’t get up,” he stressed.

Fazlur Rahman strongly criticised the PTI leaders and workers for desecrating the sanctity of Masjid-e-Nabvi (SAW). He said that they could take every criticism against them, but they won’t tolerate anything against the sanctity of Islam, the Holy Prophet (SAW) and the holy places of Islam.

Earlier, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Maulana Abdul Shakoor said that the Haj expenses had been increased several times in the four-year government of the PTI. “When I took oath, I was informed that the Haj expenses had reached Rs950,000. I would announce the Haj policy soon after finalising the expenses,” he said.

Federal Minister for Communication Maulana Asad Mahmud said that they would remain in power as long as they wanted and they would hold elections whenever they wanted. He criticised President Arif Alvi for what he termed his controversial role. He announced that the Haj expenses this year would not be more than Rs750,000.

Source: The News Pakistan

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Seven Tableeghi Jamaat members drown in Thatta’s KDA canal

May 24, 2022

THATTA: Seven members of the Tableeghi Jamaat drowned after the tri-wheeler they were travelling in fell into the KDA Canal, located some 14 kilometres from here, along National Highway on Monday evening. Local divers managed to rescue three other group members soon after the incident.

The survivors said that a 10-member group of Tableeghi Jamaat had hired a loader rickshaw (having a capacity of 10-12 persons) to proceed to Gul Manda, a small settlement within Thatta district, with intention to stay at a mosque there in their preaching tour. They took the route of KDA Canal bank which is a shorter one to reach Gul Manda than the main route along the highway. They said the tri-wheeler overturned due to some unknown reason and plunged into the canal.

The survivors — Ali Gul Khan, a resident of Malir, Karachi; and Mohammad Naseer and Abdul Ali, residents of Sohrab Goth, Karachi — said residents of a nearby village rushed to their rescue after hearing a hue and cry and some of them dived into the canal and save them from drowning.

Source: Dawn

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Israel Army: ‘No Suspicion’ Of Crime In Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh Shooting

23 May ,2022

Israel's army said Monday that if an Israeli soldier fired the shot that killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, it did not appear that the soldier was guilty of criminal misconduct.

“Given that Ms Abu Akleh was killed in the midst of an active combat zone, there can be no immediate suspicion of criminal activity absent further evidence,” said a statement citing Military Advocate Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi.

Tomer-Yerushalmi will ultimately be responsible for determining whether any individual soldier will face disciplinary action over the fatal May 11 shooting during clashes in the occupied West Bank flashpoint of Jenin.

She stressed that Israel does not yet know whether Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American, was killed by stray Palestinian gunfire or by an Israeli bullet aimed at a Palestinian.

The army “is taking every effort to examine the circumstances of the incident in order to understand how Ms Abu Akleh was killed,” the statement said.

Qatar-based Al Jazeera has accused Israel of killing Abu Akleh “deliberately” and “in cold blood”.

Tomer-Yerushalmi restated Israel's request to examine the bullet extracted from the body of the reporter. The projectile is in the Palestinian Authority's custody.

“The inability to inspect the bullet, which is being held by the Palestinian Authority, continues to cast doubt on the circumstances of Ms Abu Akleh's death,” the statement said.

The army has said it had zeroed in on one incident where an Israeli soldier using “a telescopic scope” fired at a “Palestinian gunman”.

That gunman “was near” to Abu Akleh, the army has said, adding that it wants to compare the bullet with the weapon fired in this incident.

Israel has offered to conduct the ballistic examination with Palestinian and American experts present.

By procedure, Tomer-Yerushalmi decides on next steps in the military probe based on the initial findings, known as a commander's inquiry.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkey's foreign policy reset sign of Brotherhood's dwindling influence

Pinar Tremblay

May 23, 2022

Turkey’s Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati’s upcoming visit to Egypt scheduled for June 1 has created excitement, particularly among Turkey’s pro-government media outlets, as it will mark the first high-level visit from Ankara to Cairo after years of a deep freeze.

Nebati will attend the Islamic Development Bank summit to be convened in the Red Sea resort province of Sharm el-Sheikh, and he is also set to hold talks with “his counterparts” on the sidelines of the meeting, Turkey’s Finance and Treasury Ministry said in a statement without clarifying whether he will also meet with his Egyptian counterpart. The visit will mark the first ministerial-level meeting from Ankara to Cairo in nine years.

Yet despite that Ankara has made a significant effort to reduce the activities of Muslim Brotherhood members based in Turkey, including forcing some of its members to leave the country by not extending their residency permits, the planned visit appears to be failing to generate similar sentiment on the Egyptian side.

Egyptian diplomat and Egypt’s last Ambassador to Turkey Abdel-Rahman Salahuddin, who returned to his country in 2013 as a result of Ankara’s protest of the ouster of the country’s then Muslim Brotherhood-led government, said Cairo was still waiting for more concrete steps from Ankara. Describing Ankara’s efforts as a “step in the right direction,” Salahuddin told Turkey’s independent ANKA news agency, “We hope they follow their statements with more action,” referring to the Turkish government.

Ankara’s halt to its support for the Muslim Brotherhood — which Cairo considers a terrorist organization — remains the major Egyptian demand, with conflicting interests in Libya and Syria standing as other predicaments before the normalization of ties.

Speaking in early May, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also expressed his disappointment at the “slow” progress in talks with Cairo toward normalization.

Turkey and Egypt’s economic relations are based on trade. Despite the rupture in the diplomatic ties of bilateral relations, trade has continued to flourish, especially for Cairo. “Between 2016 and 2020, Egyptian exports to Turkey grew at an annual average of 7% compared to imports from Turkey that grew at an average of 2%” said Amr Adly of the Carnegie Middle East Center.

Although trade ties and economic cooperation between the two countries remain intact, the political price of Ankara’s diplomatic isolation in the region has forced the Turkish government to improve poor relations with Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and finally Egypt.

Islam Ozkan, a scholar who specializes in Islamist movements in the Middle East, describes this price as an “impasse.”

“Turkey’s foreign policy got stuck. Its unintended consequences are one impasse after another in economic and political realms,” he told Al-Monitor. Ozkan also argued that the rapprochement between Ankara and Gulf capitals could also accelerate the slow-going normalization talks between Ankara and Cairo. “Turkey realized the path to normalization of relations with Egypt goes through UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he added.

According to Zenonas Tziarras, a researcher at the PRIO Cyprus Center, one of the other reasons for Ankara’s effort to mend ties with Cairo is aiming to adapt itself to the regional order that emerged after the Abraham Accords between Israel and Gulf countries.

“Through the improvement of its relations with Eastern Mediterranean states, Turkey is trying to deconstruct the regional network of cooperation that emerged out of the so-called trilateral partnerships — e.g., Cyprus-Greece-Egypt and Cyprus-Greece-Israel — and the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, which Turkey sees as threatening,” he said.

According to Soli Ozel, a political scientist at Istanbul’s Kadir Has University, another factor stands out as the Muslim Brotherhood’s swiftly diminishing foothold in the region. Speaking to Al-Monitor, Ozel said the visit reflects the “charm offensive” that Ankara has launched as part of its “efforts to normalize relations with” the Gulf countries and Egypt. Ozel added that Ankara ramped up its efforts as the energy crisis fueled by the Russian invasion of Ukraine forces European capitals to find alternative sources for the Russian gas. Turkey stands as a major transit route to carry Middle Eastern gas to Europe.

As political costs of hosting the Muslim Brotherhood rise, Ankara — trying to improve its ties with Gulf capitals and Cairo — appears to have realized that the movement has turned from an asset to a liability.

Source: Al Monitor

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IRGC Member Martyred in Assassination Attempt in Tehran


The IRGC member was assassinated on Sunday afternoon when he was dismounting his car to enter his home in Eastern Tehran.

Colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodayee was martyred after two motorcyclists shot him five times before fleeing the scene.

IRIB news agency reported that three bullets hit him in the head and two bullets hit his hand.

The IRGC issued a statement soon after the assassination, saying that its former member was assassinated in a terrorist attack by counterrevolutionary elements.

The statement condoled with his family, adding that necessary measures have been taken to identify and arrest the assailant or assailants.

Following the assassination, Head of Tehran Court of Justice Ali Alqasi ordered Tehran prosecutor to speed up efforts to identify and arrest those behind this criminal act.

He also stressed the need to expedite judicial measures aimed at the identification of the perpetrators of this assassination.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran president Raisi visits Oman with multiple trade deals expected

23 May, 2022

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in Oman on Monday with trade deals on the agenda and as international talks on Tehran’s nuclear program hang in the balance.

Raisi, on his second Gulf visit since taking office in August, was greeted by Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said at the airport and received a 21-gun salute at the royal palace, an Omani statement said.

Raisi’s one-day trip comes at a time when renewed talks on restoring a 2015 nuclear deal are at a stalemate. Oman played a mediating role between Tehran and Washington in the build-up to the original agreement.

“Trade exchanges between the two countries of Oman and Iran will improve definitely,” Raisi said before departure, according to Iran’s official IRNA news agency.

“Both countries are determined to upgrade the level of political and economic ties,” he added.

Raisi said he expected memoranda of understanding to be signed during the visit, making mention of the fields of transport, energy, tourism, and health tourism.

A delegation of 50 Iranian businessmen travelled to Oman last week, IRNA said, adding that Iran’s minister for roads and urban development has announced plans for a joint shipping line and tourist flights.

Oman is also seeking to import gas from Iran by building an offshore pipeline between the two countries, who are discussing the development of joint gas fields offshore.

The sultanate, which faces Iran across the Gulf of Oman, endured economic pain during the pandemic, with its GDP dropping 6.4 percent in 2020 and government debt soaring.

Raisi visited Qatar in February, where he met with Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and took part in a conference of gas exporting countries.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Palestinian foreign minister hails relations with Turkiye

Qais Abu Samra  


RAMALLAH, Palestine

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has hailed Palestinian-Turkish relations as “solid and strong.”

"The Palestinian-Turkish ties have been solid and strong for a long time, and we are working to strengthen them in every way," al-Maliki told Anadolu Agency.

Al-Maliki is scheduled to meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who will visit the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday.

"We are proud of our relations with Turkey, and there is a relationship between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that moves on all levels,” al-Maliki said.

The top diplomat said Ramallah and Ankara are working together “to lift the injustice and end the suffering of the Palestinian people, including (helping them achieve) their right to self-determination."

"We are confident that the efforts made by the Turkish state will serve the interest of the Palestinian people," al-Maliki said, noting that the second round of the Palestinian-Turkish ministerial committee will also take place during Cavusoglu’s visit “to consolidate bilateral relations between the two countries."

Israeli violations

Meanwhile, al-Maliki accused Israel of “exploiting the lack of accountability” by the international community to commit more violations against the Palestinians.

“Israel must be held accountable for its crimes,” he said, going on to slam the “weakness and inaction of the international community” towards the Israeli violations.

"The international community contributed to creating the Palestinian cause, and it must contribute to putting an end to this suffering," he stressed.

Al-Maliki cited Israeli plans to build thousands of settlement units in the Palestinian area of Masafer Yatta in the southern West Bank as an example of Israel’s latest violations against Palestinians.

He said the Palestinians there “are reliving the Nakba as Israel attempts to expel them from their homes.”

The Nakba, or Catastrophe, refers to the 1948 forced expulsion of nearly 800,000 Palestinians from their homes in historical Palestine to make way for the creation of the state of Israel.

Slain journalist

Al-Maliki said the Palestinian Authority has submitted a file about the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

On May 11, Abu Akleh, 51, was covering an Israeli military raid near the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank when she was shot dead. Palestinian officials and her employer, Al Jazeera, said she was killed by Israeli forces.

"Abu Akleh’s killing was a crime,” al-Maliki said. “We have documented (the crime) and submitted a file about it to the ICC prosecutor alongside other Israeli violations,” he said.

Al-Maliki called on The Hague-based court to add Abu Akleh’s death to other crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians to facilitate an official investigation and bring Israel to accountability.

US-Palestine ties

As for the Palestinian-US relations, al-Maliki expressed dissatisfaction on the “very slow implementation of the promises of the administration of President Joe Biden (towards Palestine)."

Washington’s position has been "shy and traditional … and continues to shield Israel from accountability and questioning," he said.

Despite this, al-Maliki said Palestine wants to give the US another opportunity to prove that “it does not apply double standards” regarding the Palestinian issue.ü

"The US administration must prove that it is committed to providing justice to the Palestinian people, and does everything possible to achieve the two-state solution and end the occupation."

He also called on Washington not to allow its preoccupation with the Ukrainian crisis and other global concerns to trivialize the Palestinian issue.

"The American administration does not act unless it feels that the issue will disturb Israel and affect its relations with neighboring countries," he explained.

Kach movement

Al-Maliki also described a recent US decision to remove radical Jewish group Kach from the list of foreign terror organizations as a “sin”.

"We were surprised by this step that came from the American administration, because the Kach movement still exists through Kahane's heirs in the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament)," the minister said.

On Friday, the US Department of State removed five extremist groups from its list of foreign terrorist organizations, including Kach movement.

The Jewish movement is classified as a terrorist group by the European Union and Israel itself, where its founder Meir Kahane was banned from participating in the elections in 1988.

"The movement's heirs are still expressing their hatred of the Palestinian people, and calling for the expulsion of our people from their land and now the US gives them freedom and legitimacy,” al-Maliki remarked.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Turkish foreign minister to hold talks with senior officials in Palestine, Israel

Ali Murat Alhas  


Turkiye's foreign minister is scheduled to go on a two-day visit for official talks in Palestine and Israel, according to an official statement on Monday.

Mevlut Cavusoglu is set on Tuesday to chair the second meeting of the Joint Committee of the Palestinian and Turkish foreign ministries, which was established in 2010, followed by talks with counterpart Riyad al-Maliki and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Over 1,200 Palestinians held by Israel last month: NGOs

Qais Abu Samra  


RAMALLAH, Palestine

More than 1,200 Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank last month, according to Palestinian NGOs on Monday.

“A total of 165 minors and 11 women were among 1,228 Palestinians arrested by the Israeli army in April,” four Palestinian groups said in a joint statement.

The occupied city of East Jerusalem recorded the highest number of detentions with 793 people arrested, including 139 minors, the statement said.

“Israel issued 154 administrative detention orders last month,” it added.

The NGOs cited violations against detainees and their families during the arrests, including opening fire on detainees and terrifying them by dogs.

The statement was issued by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees, the Palestinian Prisoner Society, the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer) and the Jerusalem-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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South Asia


Afghan Politicians Expect Taliban to Collaborate for Future Decision

By Arif Ahmadi

23 May 2022

Kabul, Afghanistan – Political figures still in Afghanistan expect the Taliban government to collaborate for any future decision concerning all aspect of the country, according to sources, following the establishment of a commission that engages former politicians.

In March, the Taliban officials had established a “Commission for Return and Communications with Former Afghan Officials and Political Figures” to encourage return of the former government officials and political figures who fled the country after the Taliban takeover in August last year.

But according to these figures, the commission has been inactive, saying the so-called Islamic Emirate government has forgotten politicians inside the country.

“I think the establishment of this commission is very good, in terms of composition as well, and I hope that they will have relations with the elders inside the country and get their views,” said Asif Nang, the former governor of Laghman, as local media quoted.

Meanwhile, the political figures suggest transparency and open talks with politicians residing in Afghanistan, which is said to be one of the main objectives of the commission.

“First, the commission should make it clear about what it is talking about with them, and then talk once with a number of them who are inside Afghanistan, along with the figures who have been involved in Afghan politics for 45 years,” said Sayed Ishaq Gailani, the leader of the Afghan People’s Solidarity Movement.

While the commission aims to facilitate internal communication, encouraging former authorities to return to the country, a number of politicians are concern whether they will be handed back their role in respective government bodies, questioning the context of the commission and its usefulness for the former officials.

“Those who have left Afghanistan want to come back if they can resume their activities in the society, in the government and in the political society of the country, and this commission has not proposed this,” said Tariq Farhadi, a political analyst.

“If these figures, the government officials and professional cadres, who have left Afghanistan are not given chances, then I think this will add to the number of unemployed,” said Ghulam Sakhi Ehsani, a university lecturer.

Meanwhile, the commission head assures those who return to the country will have their legitimate demands met, saying it has drafted a procedure in fifteen articles that provided short-term accommodation for political figures and former military personnel.

Although the “Commission for the Return and Communications with Former Afghan Officials and Political Figures” was established in March, it formally started operation on Saturday.

The commission is chaired by Shahabuddin Delawar so as to facilitate communication channels and safe pathways for the return of the former officials and political figures who fled the country during the chaotic troop withdrawal last year.

Source: Khaama Press

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The Taliban’s Clash in Parwan Province Kills Three Armed Men

By Saqalain Eqbal

23 May 2022

Three gunmen were killed in a clash with Taliban security forces in Parwan province’s Jabal Al-Saraj district, according to Taliban security officials.

According to the Taliban, three gunmen were killed and one detained in the clashes, according to Kamran Habibi, a spokesman for the Taliban’s police chief in Marwan.

Kamran Habibi has not provided any other details of the incident, and the identity of the gunmen are still to be determined.

Opposition groups, based primarily in northern Afghanistan, have remained silent about the clash.

The Taliban have been accused of killing former government soldiers, officials and dissidents during their nine months in power.

Source: Khaama Press

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Afghan refugees hold rally, want to settle in developed countries

May 24, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of Afghan nationals on Monday staged a protest rally in Islamabad to get shelters in developed countries saying they don’t want to go back to their country being governed by Taliban.

The Afghan nationals, who have been camping outside the National Press Club for the last several weeks, brought out the rally from the press club to D-Chowk.

Some of the protesters Dawn spoke to said they were insecure under the Taliban government that’s why they left their country.

“We are here and want to get settled in any developed country. So far, we are not being given the status of refugees here,” said Alyas Zaki, a protester.

He said Pakistan was also not providing asylum to them, adding: “We know people of Pakistan are also facing several challenges such as unemployment and high inflation, therefore, frankly speaking, we want to stay in any developed country,” he said.

Another protester, Mir Waiz, said after the takeover by Taliban last year, thousands of Afghan nationals came to Pakistan and were now facing issues of documentation as Pakistan, it seems, is not going to provide asylum to them. He urged the developed countries to look into the issues of Afghans who along with their families were moving from one place to other.

Many of the protesters were wearing white shrouds inscribed with the slogan “kill us, kill us”.

The protesters, most of them unable to speak Urdu or English, seemed committed to their cause. Some elderly people on wheelchairs were also part of the protest.

“I don’t want to go back; I will stay here or any other country but will not go back to Kabul because of life threats,” said 50-year-old Habiba, who along with her four daughters moved from Kabul to Islamabad.

She said his husband was a police official but since the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban he has been missing.

Source: Dawn

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Rohingya refugee boat sinks off Myanmar, dozens dead or missing

May 24, 2022

Dozens of ethnic Rohingya refugees were dead or missing after a boat with about 90 people aboard, including children, capsized and sank in bad weather off the coast of Myanmar over the weekend, according to media reports.

More than 20 survivors were detained by authorities in Myanmar's Ayeyarwady region, the US-funded Radio Free Asia reported, citing residents in the coastal district of Shwe Taung Yan.

According to survivors, the boat, which was bound for Malaysia, ran into trouble within a couple of days after setting out from Sittwe in Myanmar's Rakhine State on May 19, the Ayeyarwaddy Times reported.So far, at least 14 bodies had been recovered, but more than 50 people were still missing, Radio Free Asia said.

There are only around 600,000 Rohingya Muslims left in Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country with a long history of military rule. Rohingya have been rendered as stateless by Myanmar, and as a result of past ethnic violence and persecution the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 148,000 of them are displaced, with many living in camps.

A spokesman for the military government did not respond to a request for comment on the latest reported tragedy involving Rohingya perishing at sea in a bid to escape persecution in Myanmar.

More than 730,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh in 2017 to escape a military-led crackdown that UN investigators have said was carried out with "genocidal intent" and included mass killings and rapes.

Myanmar has denied widespread atrocities, framing the violence as a response to attacks by Rohingya militants.

The other main destination for Rohingya refugees has been Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country that is seen as sympathetic though they are not officially recognised there as refugees.

Some 630 Rohingya had attempted sea journeys across the Bay of Bengal between January to May this year, UNHCR said, noting women and children made up 60% of the maritime crossings.

Source: Times Of India

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UK withdrawal from Afghanistan was a 'disaster' and 'betrayal', inquiry reveals

24 May 2022

The chaotic and hasty withdrawal of the US-led allied forces from Afghanistan last year, including the British troops, has been described by the UK lawmakers as “systemic failures of leadership, planning, and preparation”.

A damning inquiry by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, published on Tuesday, reveals a “fundamental lack of planning, grip or leadership at a time of national emergency” before and during the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August 2021.

“The manner of our withdrawal from Afghanistan was a disaster and a betrayal of our allies that will damage the UK’s interests for years to come,” the scathing report reads, pointing to the botched exit from the war-ravaged country after 20 years of military occupation.

The British government faced blistering criticism for following the decision of its ally, the US, to hastily abandon the South Asian country last August.

“The UK government failed adequately to shape or respond to Washington's decision to withdraw, to predict the speed of the Taliban's takeover, or to plan and prepare for the evacuation of our Afghan partners,” the report notes.

Hundreds of Afghans eligible for relocation were left behind after the UK pulled out, which drew widespread criticism and condemnation.

“Most damning for the Foreign Office is the total absence of a plan for evacuating Afghans who supported the UK mission, without being directly employed by the UK government, despite knowing 18 months before the collapse of Afghanistan that an evacuation might be necessary,” the report adds.

The cross-party committee started working on the report in September and inquired the Foreign Office, whose answers were “intentionally evasive and often deliberately misleading.”

However, two whistle-blowers provided crucial testimony to the committee.

“Those who lead the Foreign Office should be ashamed that civil servants of great integrity felt compelled to risk their careers to bring the situation to light,” the report states.

The inquiry also highlighted a lack of arrangements and “unaccountable political interventions” referring to the evacuation by a British ex-serviceman of around 150 dogs and cats from his animal charity on a privately chartered plane, which the MPs said absorbed “significant” resources during the chaotic period.

According to the committee’s report, the situation around Nowzad animal charity highlighted the “arbitrary and chaotic” nature of the Foreign Office’s role in the evacuation process.

It also laid the responsibility on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s door, saying he had the main role in prioritizing the evacuation of Nowzad’s staff over other more vulnerable people caught in the conflict.

Source: Press TV

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Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque to be recognised in police awards ceremony

23 May, 2022

Police are recognising 59 staff for their involvement in Operation Deans, following the 2019 mass shooting at two mosques that left 51 people dead.

Muslim community members, civilians, and other organisations will be also be recognised.

Al Noor Mosque Imam Gamal Fouda told Morning Report both himself and the Linwood Mosque Imam will be receiving an award.

It's difficult for the Muslim community to attend events like the awards ceremony, he said.

"The 15 March changed our lives forever but ... it shouldn't change the way we act, the way we think and the way we work together.

"We will continue working together and we will not let hate divide our nation."

Fouda says the way the members of the Muslim community acted after the 15 March terrorist attacks comes from their faith - "the most understood faith around the world".

"...People assume ISIS represents Muslims which in fact is a misconception. They are a very very small number and they do not represent us.

"The rise of white supremacy and the far right wing is so alarming to our world, not only New Zealand but around the world so the police actually is doing a great job for our country."

He says the Muslim community will continue its message of love.

"This actually doesn't come from our cultures first of all, it comes from our faith which calls for the mutual understanding and the cooperation between people of different race and colours."

Fouda praised police for their quick response in arresting the terrorist after the attack and says he will continue to support them.

Source: RNZ

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British-Iranian says was ‘forced to sign false confession’ before release

23 May ,2022

British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe said in an interview on Monday that she was forced to sign a last-minute false confession before she was freed after six years' imprisonment in Tehran.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 43, returned home in March along with a fellow dual national, after Britain agreed to pay a longstanding debt to Iran.

She was imprisoned for allegedly plotting to overthrow the Iranian government and for propaganda against Iran, charges she has always denied.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe told the BBC that she was coerced into signing a confession to the alleged crimes in the presence of a British diplomat who said nothing.

“I was made to sign the forced confession at the airport in the presence of the British government,” Zaghari-Ratcliffe said.

“They told me that they have been given the money. So what is the point of making me sign a piece of paper which is incorrect. It's a false confession.”

Zaghari-Ratcliffe said the Iranian Revolutionary Guards filmed her signing the confession because “they enjoy showing how scary they are”.

She stressed that such false confessions “have no value. They are just propaganda for the Iranian regime to show how scary they are and they can do whatever they want to do”.

“Why would I sign something? I have been trying very, very hard for the past six years to say I have not done it,” she added.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe worked as a project manager for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the news and data agency, and was arrested on a visit to see family with her young daughter.

Morad Tahbaz, an environmental campaigner who holds British, US and Iranian citizenship, was supposed to be released under house arrest at the same time was freed but he was swiftly returned to prison.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Security guard killed inside Qatar Embassy in Paris

23 May, 2022

A security guard was killed in the early hours of Monday inside the Qatar Embassy in Paris in an incident that does not appear to have any links to terrorism, a source close to the investigation said.

The incident took place at around 0630 (0430 GMT), the source said, adding that the suspect had entered the embassy and had a row with the security guard, who died after being punched.

The Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed the death and said one person had been arrested on the spot.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UN unequivocal about right of Afghan girls to education, World Economic Forum told


May 23, 2022

LONDON: The UN is clear about the human rights it expects authorities in Afghanistan to uphold, one of which is the right of girls to education, an official from the organization said on Monday.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Achim Steiner, the administrator of the UN Development Program, said that girls in the country should be free to complete their education and pursue careers.

The UN “is unequivocal about the fundamental human rights that we expect a country like Afghanistan to uphold and to respect and that includes … the right of girls to attend educational institutions,” he said. “And not just primary school but also secondary school, and their ability to pursue careers and to go to university.

“It is without doubt a grave misjudgment that up to now the Taliban have not fulfilled the commitment that they have repeatedly made to their own public, but also to the international community, that they would reopen the secondary schools” to girls, Steiner added.

The Taliban has barred girls from attending school after the sixth grade, reversing previous promises made by Taliban officials when they took control of the country last year that girls of all ages would be allowed to continue their education.

The group has placed other strict restrictions on females, including ordering all women to wear clothing in public that covers them head to toe with only their eyes visible. They also issued a decree stating that women should leave their homes only when necessary and that male relatives would face punishment for any violations of the women’s dress code, starting with a summons and escalating to court hearings and jail time.

Steiner said the first thing that must be reestablished in the country is “a rule of law in the sense of fundamental rights.” He added: “I think this is perhaps the greatest single litmus test that the international community holds up to the Taliban — and I think quite rightly.”

However, Steiner warned that the most urgent need in Afghanistan is action to save its economy from complete collapse.

“We cannot abandon 40 million Afghans simply on the principle of moral outrage,” he said. “That is why the UN stepped back into Afghanistan and became the backbone of an international community’s presence.

“We are there because we see the desperation of the Afghan people. And while the international community finds a way with the Taliban to conclude a process of political rapprochement, we are trying to essentially intervene in an economy that has to keep people alive.”

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan nine months ago following the withdrawal of US troops triggered an economic crisis. Underpinning this was the decision of the Biden administration to freeze about $9.5 billion deposited by the Afghan central bank in American financial institutions.

Source: Arab News

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UK lawmakers criticize ‘absence’ of Afghan evacuation plan

May 24, 2022

LONDON: Britain’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was a “disaster and betrayal” hampered by a lack of leadership from senior politicians and civil servants, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said in a report released Tuesday.

The committee criticized the Foreign Office for the “total absence” of a plan for evacuating Afghans who supported the UK mission despite knowing for 18 months that such an evacuation might be necessary.

This was compounded by the fact that there seemed to be no clear lines of leadership among political leaders, with decisions made on the basis of “untraceable and unaccountable political interventions,” the committee said in its report.

“The fact that the Foreign Office’s senior leaders were on holiday when Kabul fell marks a fundamental lack of seriousness, grip or leadership at a time of national emergency,” the committee said.

Source: Arab News

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Southeast Asia


Singapore Says Abdul Somad Batubara, Indonesian Muslim Preacher, Radicalized Its Citizens

By: Heru Andriyanto

MAY 23, 2022

Jakarta. Singapore provided more details about the reason behind its refusal to allow entry of Abdul Somad Batubara, saying on Monday that some of its citizens have been investigated for following “extremist teachings” by the Indonesian controversial Muslim preacher.

In a lengthy media statement explaining the government’s stance on the issue, Singaporean Home Affairs Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam said that Somad doesn’t respect Singapore’s sovereignty by implying that the city state is part of Indonesia.

“Some of the people that the ISD [Internal Security Department] have investigated in Singapore for radicalization, one of the things we picked up was that they were watching videos of Somad and following his preaching,” Shanmugam said according to the transcript uploaded on the Home Affairs Ministry website.

“One of them was a 17-year-old detained under the Internal Security Act two years ago, in January 2020. He had watched Somad’s YouTube lectures on suicide bombing and the young boy began to believe that if you fought for ISIS, and if you are a suicide bomber, you can die as a martyr and receive rewards in heaven. So you can see, Somad’s preaching has real-world consequences.”

Somad, 45, was denied entry upon arrival at Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal from Batam accompanied by his wife, their child, and four other people last week.

The cleric later appeared in several interviews at home to denounce the refusal and demand an apology from Singapore.

“He says Singapore is a, I quote, ‘Melayu land’ – Tanah Melayu, claims that people in Riau see Singapore as part of their land, because of Singapore’s history as part of the Temasek Malay Kingdom,” Shanmugam said.

“So this is all part of Indonesia, a larger Tanah Melayu. And therefore, our sovereignty is irrelevant. We are not a separate country from his perspective,” he added.

Shanmugam, who is also the minister for law, said Somad’s supporters have called for cyberattacks on Singapore, government websites, and social media accounts and also called for a boycott of Singapore products and for Indonesians to stop visiting Singapore, “all because we exercised our right to deny someone entering into Singapore”.

A social media user even threatened a 9/11-style attack on Singapore before his account was disabled, he said.

“Somad has publicly promoted extremist, divisive teachings … He has claimed that suicide bombing attacks are legitimate, and they are legitimate martyrdom operations. This kind of support for violence, in our view, is very dangerous,” Shanmugam said.

“He has labeled non-Muslims as ‘kafirs’ (infidels) – that’s most of you here, and most Singaporeans. He has preached that Muslims should not accept non-Muslims as their leaders, given that he says non-Muslims could conspire to oppress Muslims and, I quote, ‘slit their throats'. You consider that acceptable in Singapore?”

“If someone said this in Singapore, the Internal Security Department will be visiting him or her, and they will be behind bars. So the language, the rhetoric, as you can see, is very divisive – completely unacceptable in Singapore,” he said.

Shanmugam said Somad was denied entry for his divisive teachings, not his religion, and that he is not the only person not given an entry permit to Singapore.

“We take a zero-tolerance approach and even-handed approach towards any form of hate speech and divisive ideologies. And it is not directed at any specific individual, any specific religion, or any specific nationality. Our position applies equally to all,” he said.

In 2017, two foreign Christian preachers were banned from preaching in Singapore after making derogatory comments towards other religions, he said.

Source: Jakarta Globe

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Uyghurs Urge UN Rights Chief To Ask Hard Questions In Xinjiang

May 24, 2022

BEIJING: Uyghurs have urged UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to avoid falling victim to a public relations stunt as her trip to China enters a delicate new phase on Tuesday with a visit to the remote Xinjiang region.

The ruling Communist Party is accused of detaining over one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the far-western region as part of a years-long security crackdown the United States has labelled a “genocide.”

China vehemently denies the allegations, calling them the “lie of the century.”

Bachelet is expected to visit the Xinjiang cities Urumqi and Kashgar on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of a six-day tour.

“I hope she can also ask the Chinese government for the whereabouts of my mother,” said Jevlan Shirememet, adding that he had not been able to contact her in four years.

The Turkey-based 31-year-old — from the province’s northern reaches near the border with Kazakhstan — also said he hoped Bachelet would venture further than her itinerary.

“I don’t know why she can’t visit these places,” he told AFP.

Nursimangul Abdureshid — another Uyghur living in Turkey — was “not very hopeful that her trip can bring any change.”

“I request them to visit victims like my family members, not the pre-prepared scenes by the Chinese government,” she told AFP.

“If the UN team cannot have unlimited access in Xinjiang, I will not accept their so-called reports.”

Regional capital Urumqi — population four million — houses major government bodies believed to have orchestrated the province-wide campaign China described as a crackdown on religious extremism.

It is home to a sizeable Uyghur community and was the site of deadly ethnic clashes in 2009 as well as two terrorist attacks in 2014.

Meanwhile, Kashgar — home to 700,000 people — lies in the Uyghur heartland of southern Xinjiang.

An ancient Silk Road city, it has been a major target of Beijing’s crackdown, researchers and activists say, with authorities accused of smothering the cultural hub in a high-tech security blanket while bulldozing Uyghur homes and religious sites.

The outskirts of both cities are pockmarked with what are believed to be detention camps, part of a sprawling network of recently built facilities stretching across the remote province.

Campaigners have voiced concern that Chinese authorities will prevent Bachelet from conducting a thorough probe into alleged rights abuses and instead give her a stage-managed tour with limited access.

The US has said it is “deeply concerned” that she had not secured guarantees on what she will see, adding that she was unlikely to get an “unmanipulated” picture of China’s rights situation.

Speaking in Guangzhou where she met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday, Bachelet said she would be “discussing some very important issues and sensitive issues.”

“I hope this will help us build confidence, and enable us to work together,” she added.

Bachelet also gave assurances on her access to detention centers and rights defenders during a Monday virtual meeting with the heads of dozens of diplomatic missions in China, according to diplomatic sources in Beijing.

Caroline Wilson, the UK’s Ambassador to China, was on the call and said she stressed “the importance of unfettered access to Xinjiang and private conversations with its people.”

“There is no excuse for preventing UN representatives from completing their investigations,” Wilson wrote on Twitter.

Bachelet’s office has also said she will meet with civil society organizations, business representatives and academics.

In addition to mass detentions, Chinese authorities have waged a campaign of forced labor, coerced sterilization and the destruction of Uyghur cultural heritage in Xinjiang, researchers and campaigners say.

Source: Arab News

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Shahidan, Muthu poised to clash for MAF presidency

Frankie D'Cruz

May 24, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: Shahidan Kassim has joined the fight for the top post in the Malaysia Athletics Federation (MAF), hoping to restore the credibility of the conflict-ridden body.

Perlis Athletics Association secretary Iyaru Muthusamy said his president has confirmed that he will contest the MAF election on June 12.

He said Shahidan, who is the federal territories minister, held firm that the trust of the athletics family had to be restored and words turned into action.

Shahidan will face the incumbent president SM Muthu, who has been under increasing pressure to step down over his non-performance and Malaysia’s rapid decline in track and field.

Two former MAF deputy presidents, Danyal Balagopal Abdullah and Wan Hisham Wan Salleh, are expected to pull out with Shahidan’s entry into the fray. Nominations close on May 28.

MAF’s constitution allows for anyone to contest for the post of president but only affiliate members can stand for the other positions.

A Shahidan-Muthu clash will ramp up a bitterly fought campaign for the presidency of the MAF that is engulfed in a credibility crisis.

It is believed that Shahidan, who was the MAF president from 2008 to 2012 and is the present Malaysian swimming chief, already has the support of eight of the 12 state affiliates.

Selangor and Sabah AAs are not in the equation because of alleged irregularities.

State affiliates have three votes each and a shift of support over perks, trips and money cannot be ruled out, said a source.

The source claimed the current batch of state office seemed unmoved by the severe lack of junior development, athletes’ wellbeing and a questionable coaching system.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Non-local control of Sabah hampers ties, says Sarawak minister

Alvin Jeffreyson

May 22, 2022

KUCHING: Control of Sabah by non-local parties is hampering the efforts of the East Malaysian states to cooperate on their rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963, says PBB vice-president Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

“Everybody knows that the administration in Sabah is under the control of non-local based parties,” he said, referring to Umno and Bersatu which are members of the ruling GRS coalition.

“And their big bosses are not from Sabah,” he said, pointing out that when important decisions or policy matters such as MA63 are needed, Umno and Bersatu ministers would refer to their “big bosses” first.

Karim said “deep down” within them, the Sabah leaders would love to be like their Sarawak counterparts.

“I believe they are quite envious of us, the full control we have,” he said, referring to GPS (the ruling coalition of Gabungan Parti Sarawak) which has full control in making decisions for the state.

GPS comprises local parties Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, Sarawak Unted People’s Party, Parti Rakyat Sarawak and Progressive Democratic Party.

Karim, a state minister in Sarawak and a member of the Sarawak consultative committee on MA63, said “things might change, maybe after the next general election”.

While not wishing to interfere in matters of another state, Karim said he would “love to have the Borneo states to be independent to make their own decisions”.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Join hands for political stability, says Muhyiddin

May 21, 2022

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Perikatan Nasional chairman Muhyiddin Yassin has urged all political parties, including Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional, to work together to create political stability in the country.

Muhyiddin, who is also Bersatu president, said it was time for all political parties to set aside their political differences to reset the nation for recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, Bernama reported.

“Political parties, no matter who, BN, PH, or PN, we must find a way together. There must be sacrifices. It’s better if we can cooperate. It isn’t easy, but that’s one way of resolving problems,” the news agency quoted him as saying after attending an Aidilfitri open house by Penang Gerakan today.

Muhyiddin said that other countries abroad had confidence and supply arrangements for their Parliaments and this could be one of the solutions to create a stable government.

“This issue is big. It’s vital for all interested parties who are concerned for the nation’s interest to sit together and form a stable government,” he said, Bernama reported.

However, in a statement quoted by Sinar Harian later, Muhyiddin’s office said the report was inaccurate.

“Tan Sri Muhyiddin did not specifically mention any party but stated that these parties must have a common stance in creating political stability and against kleptocracy. He also stated that he did not want to see kleptocrats in parties like BN returning to full power in the country,” the statement said.

In power without a majority

A confidence and supply agreement in parliamentary systems allows a political party without a parliamentary majority to form a government with the voting support of minority parties on crucial confidence votes and on finance bills.

A government which loses a confidence vote, or whose budget fails to obtain parliamentary approval, is required by convention to resign.

The current government of Ismail Sabri Yaakob has an informal confidence and supply arrangement with Pakatan Harapan, which has agreed not to vote out the government in exchange for certain political reforms.

Ismail’s government has the support of 112 MPs from Barisan Nasional (41), Perikatan Nasional (42), GPS (18), GRS (9) and PBM (2).

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Arab World


‘We will act when we see a serious government in Lebanon,’ Saudi minister tells Davos panel


May 23, 2022

DAVOS: Only Lebanese citizens can help their country, Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan said on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum.

Responding to a question by Arab News regarding the outlook of Lebanon following the elections, Al-Jadaan said that Saudi Arabia wants to see the best for the country, but that others cannot act for Lebanon.

The Lebanese public last week cast their ballots in the country’s general election, with Hezbollah and its allies suffering a blow to their majority.

The outcome signaled a shift in a country devastated by an ongoing financial crisis and soaring poverty.

“We really care about Lebanese people,” Al-Jadaan said, adding: “We want to see the best for Lebanon but then we can’t act as Lebanese — it is the Lebanese who need to act.

“As and when we see a serious government that is going to take care of the people of Lebanon, we will act. We have been (acting) historically and there is no reason why we wouldn’t come to support.”

Ties between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon have been strained amid growing illegal drug and captagon smuggling attempts from Beirut into the Kingdom.

Hezbollah is known to have primary control of captagon production and smuggling in the region, which it uses to finance its operations.

Source: Arab News

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Explosive-laden drone strikes Baghdad's airport: Report

24 May ,2022

An explosive-laden drone struck near a military base by Baghdad International Airport on Tuesday morning, according to an Al Arabiya and Al Hadath correspondent.

Sirens were heard in the vicinity of the airport, and its air defense system was reportedly activated.

Drones have previously targeted the Victory Base Complex situated near the airport.

The base includes international forces, including Americans, as well as Iraqi personnel.

There have been several attempted missile attacks on military bases housing US personnel in Iraq over the last few months.

Six missiles were fired towards the airport in late January, with three landing inside the compound and damaging a disused civilian airplane, Iraqi police sources told Reuters.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkey's Erdogan threatens new incursion into Syria

23 May, 2022

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Monday to launch a new military operation in Syria to secure Turkey's southern border.

Speaking following a Cabinet meeting, Erdogan said the aim of the operation would be resume Turkish efforts to create a 30-kilometer (20 mile) safe zone along its border with Syria.

“We will soon take new steps regarding the incomplete portions of the project we started on the 30-km deep safe zone we established along our southern border,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan did not provide further details but said the operation would begin after Turkey’s military, intelligence and security forces complete their preparations.

Turkish forces have launched three major incursions into northern Syria, taking control of areas along the border in a bid to secure its frontier from threats from the ISIS group and Kurdish militia group, the People’s Protection Units, or YPG.

Turkey views the group as an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK which is listed as a terror group by Turkey, the US and the European Union. The PKK has waged an insurgency against Turkey since 1984. Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict.

Source: Al Arabiya

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At least 6 people killed in Daesh/ISIS attack in northern Iraq

Ali Makram Ghareeb  



At least six people were killed in an attack carried out by Daesh/ISIS in northern Iraq, officials said late Monday.

The terrorist group targeted residents of Taza Khurmatu district south of the city of Kirkuk, where the majority of Turkmen live, the government-affiliated Security Media Network said in a statement.

An operation was launched to arrest the attackers, the statement added.

The terrorist group gained control in Mosul, Salahuddin and Anbar provinces in June 2014 and partly captured Diyala and Kirkuk provinces, but Iraqi authorities regained control afterwards.

Former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over Daesh/ISIS on Dec. 9, 2017.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Several terrorists killed, injured as PMU hits Daesh positions in northern Iraq

23 May 2022

Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), an umbrella organization composed of the Arab country’s resistance groups, has fired artillery shells at a position of the remnants of the Daesh (ISIS) terrorists in northern Iraq.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the PMU, better known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, said the Brigade 22 launched an artillery attack on a Daesh position on al-Ayth Island, east of Salahuddin Province.

It asked the Iraqis “not to worry” as long as the PMU forces exist.

Iraqi security forces reportedly said several terrorists were killed and injured in the operation.

Meanwhile, Iraq’s Security Media Cell announced on Sunday that the country’s security and military forces arrested 21 Daesh terrorists, including commanders, in several provinces across the country, including Anbar, Kirkuk, Nineveh, and Diyala, as part of their operations against the remnants of the Takfiri militants.

Also on Sunday, three terrorists were killed in several rounds of Iraqi airstrikes in Salahuddin.

Iraq declared victory over Daesh in December 2017 after a three-year counter-terrorism military campaign.

The terror outfit’s remnants, though, keep staging sporadic attacks across Iraq, attempting to regroup and unleash fresh violence.

Daesh has intensified its terrorist attacks in Iraq since January 2020, when the United States assassinated top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and PMU’s deputy commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis near Baghdad International Airport.

Anti-US sentiments sharply increased in Iraq in the aftermath of the assassination, prompting Iraqi lawmakers to pass a bill – only two days after the terrorist attack – that required the Baghdad government to end the presence of all foreign military forces led by Washington.

Source: Press TV

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Syrian Interim Government against YPG/PKK’s ‘census’

Ethem Emre Özcan  


The YPG/PKK terrorist group is conducting a false census which is illegal and has no validity, the head of the Syrian Interim Government said Monday.

"We are against the so-called census of the separatist YPG/PKK," said Abdurrahman Mustafa, speaking to Anadolu Agency.

He said the terrorist organization is carrying out "profiling" under the name of a "census" in the region east of the Euphrates River.

"The YPG/PKK's so-called census serves its separatist aims, its plans to change the demographic structure, and its existence built on tyranny," he said, adding it aims to make demographic changes in the geographies dominated by the Arab population according to the data to be obtained.

Noting that the local community living in the region is worried sick about the false census, he said: "The terrorist organization had previously changed the education system and imposed a curriculum against the culture of the people in the region."

As internally displaced Syrians suffered racism at the hands of the terror group’s members in the region, the group confiscated the properties of Syrians who it forced to leave their native land, he noted.

"This false census once again shows the true racist face of the terrorist organization. The separatist group wants to destroy the real identity of the people of the region," he said.

Underlining that the YPG/PKK does not represent the people of the region, Mustafa said that as they are conducting a so-called census, the terrorist group is also collecting information about the displaced people and the assets they left behind.

"Under the name of the census, the members of the group will confiscate more assets of those who had to leave the region," he said.

- Federation plan, ‘census’ to increase international aid

As of May 7, the YPG/PKK had initiated a kind of "profiling" which they called a "census" in Syria’s Al-Hasakah province. Moreover, it plans to carry out the so-called census in other regions in the coming days.

The terror group’s members in plain clothes go to people’s homes and ask questions about their religious and ethnic origins, place of birth, residential address, marital and educational status, displacement, health status and occupation.

It is noteworthy that the members also collect information about the assets and immovables left behind by locals’ relatives abroad.

Some regional politicians told Anadolu Agency that the YPG/PKK is preparing to identify the owners of immovable properties that are not in the region and to confiscate these properties.

As part of a plan called a "social contract,” which aims for a federation, it plans to take steps such as a “census,” identifying the electors and so-called elections to seek external legitimacy.

After the “census,” the YPG/PKK is expected to demand an increase in the share of foreign aid allocated to the occupied territories.

Population density is a very important criterion in the distribution planning of international aid within Syria.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Saudi minister receives Swedish special envoy to OIC

May 23, 2022

RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh received in Riyadh Ambassador Ulrika Sandberg, special envoy of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Organization of the Islamic Conference for interreligious and intercultural dialogue.

The meeting was attended by the counter-terrorism coordinator at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Erika Ferrer, the Swedish Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Niclas Trouvé and an accompanying delegation.

Al-Asheikh said the Kingdom endeavors to spread the principles of moderation, rejecting extremism and respect for all human beings, as stipulated in the Holy Quran and the way of the Prophet. 

Source: Arab News

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Tunisian union calls national strike, rejects president Saied’s move

23 May ,2022

Tunisia’s powerful labor union said on Monday it would hold a national strike over wages and the economy after refusing to take part in a limited dialogue proposed by the president as he rewrites the constitution.

With more than a million members, the UGTT is Tunisia’s most powerful political force and its call for a strike may present the biggest challenge yet to President Kais Saied after his seizure of broad powers and moves to one-man rule.

The president’s opponents accuse him of a coup that has undermined the democratic gains of the 2011 revolution that triggered the Arab spring, but he says his moves were legal and needed to save Tunisia from a prolonged political crisis.

The union has demanded a meaningful national dialogue on both political and economic reforms, but it rejected Saied’s proposal that it join a small advisory group of other civil society organizations that could submit reform ideas.

Saied said last week that political parties would be barred from a role in forming the new constitution, which would replace the 2014 document that emerged from an inclusive debate among Tunisia’s main political factions and social organizations.

“We reject any formal dialogue in which roles are determined unilaterally and from which civil and political forces are excluded,” UGTT spokesperson Sami Tahri said.

The date of the strike, by UGTT members working in public services and state companies, will be announced later, Tahri said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkiye-Africa Media Summit to be held in Istanbul on occasion of Africa Day

Mumin Altas 


A two-day summit marking May 25, Africa Day, organized by Turkiye’s Communications Directorate, will start in Istanbul this Wednesday.

Attending the event will be 80 press members from 45 African countries, African diplomats, and officials of public institutions, media representatives, academics, and representatives from the private sector and NGOs, said a directorate statement.

Fahrettin Altun, the directorate head, will deliver the opening speech of the summit, which aims to strengthen cooperation and coordination between Turkish and African media members, share experiences, and develop a partnership perspective.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Jordan says Iran-linked groups in Syria wage drug war along border

24 May ,2022

Jordan said on Monday pro-Iranian Syrian army units and militias loyal to Tehran are stepping up their attempts to smuggle hundreds of millions of dollars worth of drugs across the Jordanian border to wealthy Gulf markets.

The army said it was bracing for an escalation in confrontations with armed smugglers trying to drop large amounts of drugs along the rugged border terrain with Syria.

“We are facing a war along the borders, a drugs war and led by organisations supported by foreign parties. These Iranian militias are the most dangerous because they target Jordan's national security,” senior army spokesperson Colonel Mustafa Haiti told state-owned Al Mama.

Jordan said four smugglers were killed by the army on Sunday in the latest showdown along the border that has left at least 40 infiltrates dead and hundreds injured since the start of the year, mostly nomads employed by Iran-linked militias who hold sway in southern Syria.

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Jordan is both a destination and a main transit route to the oil-rich Gulf countries for the Syrian-made cheap amphetamine known as captagon.

War-torn Syria has become the region's main production site for a multi-billion-dollar trade also destined for Europe. Syrian President Bash al-Assad's government denies involvement in drug making and smuggling.

The sharp rise in smuggling attempts has forced Jordan to change army rules of engagement along the border where it has given its military the authority to use overwhelming force.

Jordan's King Abdul said last week he feared that a Russian withdrawal from southern Syria as a result of the Ukraine war would allow Iran-backed militias to fill the void.

The growing influence of Iranian-backed militias including Lebanon's Hezbollah group in southern Syria in recent years has already alarmed both Jordan and Israel.

Jordanian officials say their concerns about the alarming spike had been raised with Syrian authorities but have not seen any real attempt to clamp-down on the illicit trade.

“Our demands were always that forces do their job but we have not felt so far we have a real partner in protecting the borders,” Brigadier General Ahead Khleifat, the head of border security, told al Glad newspaper.

Source: Al Arabiya

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North America


US GOP senators vow to kill domestic terrorism bill, despite spike in hate crimes

22 May 2022

US Republican senators are lining up against Senate-passed domestic terrorism legislation, in the wake of the racist mass shooting which killed ten people in New York last week.

The House passed the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act Wednesday night to address the growing threat of white supremacists and other domestic extremist groups, just days after a gunman shot 13 people, 11 of whom are Black, at a supermarket in Buffalo.

White supremacists and hate crimes were being investigated as key motivating factors in mass shootings.

The incident prompted Democrats to push for more actions against the threat of domestic terrorism across the US.

The measure would authorize offices in the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the FBI to investigate and monitor domestic terrorism.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said he will bring the bill to the floor this week as a response to the recent killings.

Sen. Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin said at a press conference that the mass killing "was a tragic reminder of the threat posed by violent White supremacists and other far-right extremists."

Durbin said that he would circulate the Senate’s domestic terrorism bill among GOP colleagues in hope of winning their support. 

But the efforts have run into opposition from the Republicans.

Senate conservatives say empowering the federal offices to monitor domestic terrorism could easily morph into federal policing of political speech.

"I’m completely opposed to this idea that we would be giving the federal government and federal law enforcement power and authority to surveil Americans,"  said Sen. Josh Hawley.

Sen. Ron Johnson, a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee, said law enforcement is already supposed to be tracking domestic terrorism threats.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified in March of last year that the threat of domestic terrorism is “metastasizing” across the country. 

Durbin said,  “We’ve seen evidence of that in so many places. Sadly we saw it in Buffalo.”

But so far, no Republicans have signed onto the bill, he added.

After the Buffalo shooting, President Joe Biden called for an end to “hate-fueled domestic terrorism.

He said, "A racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation.”

Since Democrats lack the support in the Senate to move forward with any sort of gun control legislation, they are instead putting their efforts into a broader federal focus on domestic terrorism.

Source: Press TV

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Israel used US weapons against American assets, businesses in Gaza: Report

21 May 2022

The Israeli regime used weapons made and funded by the United States to destroy American projects and businesses in the Gaza Strip during its devastating 11-day war on the besieged enclave last year, according to a report.

In an article published on Thursday, The Intercept said it reviewed documents and reports that showed hospitals, water treatment facilities, and schools funded by US agencies destroyed during the Israeli regime’s bombardment of Gaza in May 2021.

“Also impacted were the Foamco mattress factory — the main producer of mattresses for Gaza — the Abu Iskandar plastic factory, the Clever detergent factory, the Siksik plastic pipes factory, and the Al-Wadi food plant, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in damage. The factories employed 1,500 Palestinians and were severely impacted by the shelling in the early morning hours on May 17 and 18, 2021,” the report said.

It added that a Coca-Cola factory, built by a US citizen, served as yet another casualty of Israeli shelling during the May onslaught, in a “highly symbolic display of just how far Israel’s disregard for US material interests in Gaza extends.”

“Coca-Cola is also a shareholder, not just a licensor, and I am a shareholder as a US citizen, so this affected many US citizens,” Zahi Khouri, the factory’s owner, told The Intercept.

“We had thousands of pallets burned, and there was damage to the logistics area. There was damage in the industrial estate, but what was also damaged was the investment of Coca-Cola in a project through Mercy Corps where we built a water purification station for a refugee camp.”

The Israeli war on Gaza, which continued between May 10 and May 21 last year, killed at least 250 Palestinians, including 66 children, and injured more than 1,900 others.

The Israeli airstrikes also displaced tens of thousands of people and demolished, completely or partially, dozens of buildings, schools, and hospitals.

“The vast majority of ammunition used by Israel is manufactured or subsidized by the US,” Raed Jarrar, advocacy director at Democracy for the Arab World Now, or DAWN, told The Intercept. “It’s fair to say that every Israeli munition is subsidized by the US one way or another, by US tax dollars.”

Israeli regime is the largest recipient of US military aid. It has received over $150 billion in assistance from the US government since 1948, but the regime has never been subjected to any inspections in Washington on how it uses weapons made or funded by the US.

Also, under that weapons assistance program, Israel is allowed to spend US tax dollars on its own weapons industry without disclosing how it spent the money to Congress or the American public.

The first anniversary of the 2021 Israeli war on Gaza was marked past week with intensified Israeli aggression against Palestinians in both the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military’s killing of Al Jazeera Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh earlier this month once again attracted global attention to the Israeli regime’s atrocities.

“A major reason for the perpetuation of the Israeli occupation, and the deaths and suffering which accompany it, is the extraordinary military, diplomatic, and political support given to it, largely without conditions, by the United States,” said Michael Lynk, the recently departed UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories.

Source: Press TV

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US warns American companies against business in Sudan, assails military for violence

23 May, 2022

The US government issued an advisory on Monday warning American companies and individuals from doing business with Sudanese state-owned companies and military-controlled companies.

“These risks arise from, among other things, recent actions undertaken by Sudan’s Sovereign Council and security forces under the military’s command, including and especially serious human rights abuse against protesters,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

The business advisory, which was issued by the Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, and Labor, said some of the risks predated the October 2021 military coup. But they criticized the Sudanese military’s actions for “exacerbat[ing]” the risks.

Monday’s warning called on American individuals and companies to take extra precautions related to human rights issues and to be aware of the risks of dealing with state- or military-owned companies.

.@StateDept, @USTreasury, @CommerceGov, and @USDOL today issued a Business Advisory on Sudan, highlighting the reputational risks associated with conducting business with Sudanese State-Owned Enterprises and military-controlled companies.

— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) May 23, 2022

Price also said that US businesses and individuals should beware of working with any sanctioned individuals or entities.

“The United States remains committed to supporting the Sudanese peoples’ aspiration for a civilian-led transition to an elected government. We continue to support the Sudanese-led, UN-AU-IGAD facilitated dialogue around the transition process,” he added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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