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Islamic World News ( 1 Aug 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Railway Protection Force Constable Chetan Singh Shoots Four Dead on Moving Jaipur-Mumbai Train, Including A Senior Colleague And At Least Two Muslim Passengers

New Age Islam News Bureau

01 August 20123

 

Undated picture of Chetan Singh, the suspected killer/ PTI

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India

• Gurugram Mosque Set on Fire Was the Only One of Govt-Allocated Land in the Area

• Owaisi Alleges Jaipur-Mumbai Train Firing Incident As 'Targeting Muslims'

• Gyanvapi mosque 'historical wrong', claims Uttar Pradesh CM Adityanath

• ‘Instant triple talaq a gruesome cruelty’: V P Suhara, a crusader against triple talaq petition, speaks on Muslim Women’s Rights Day

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Europe

• Christian Iraqi Immigrants Staged Another Quran Burning in StockholmOutside Swedish Parliament – AFP

• Yr Wyddfa: 300 Muslim Hikers come together to climb Mount Snowdon and reconnect with nature

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North America

• Colorado teen pleads not guilty to trying to join Islamic State group

• Islamic group suggests that member nations downgrade ties with countries that allow Quran burnings

• Descendants of expelled Muslims renew ties with Crete

• CAIR-WA Seeks Public’s Help Identifying Suspects After Burglary at Federal Way Mosque

• UK accidentally sent emails intended for Pentagon to Russia’s ally Mali

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Africa

• Mali and Burkina Faso warn against any foreign military intervention in Niger

• Niger: Bazoum's party denounces "abusive arrests" including ministers

• Migrants between life and death in Tunisia-Libya desert

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Southeast Asia

• DAP MP calls on police to investigate Muhyiddin for racial, religious incitement over ‘Allah’ court case ahead of state polls

• Fahmi says ready to cooperate with Jais on mosque political talk claim

• Maips: Wearing of face masks no longer mandatory in Perlis mosques. surau

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Mideast

• ‘I Screamed for Them to Save Me’: Ain Al-HilwehPalestinian Refugee Camp Residents Shelter in Mosque, Schools Amid Deadly Clashes

• Al-Aqsa Mosque Faces Increasing Settler Incursions Amid Rising Tensions

• Islamic State claims responsibility for Pakistan suicide bombing

• Islamic sanctities, holy Qur'an insulted again in Sweden

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Pakistan

• Pakistan Blast: Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Suicide Blast That Killed 54 During A Political Rally inBajaur

• Bajaur suicide attack draws condemnation from across Muslim world

• NA passes bill proposing jail for disclosing ‘sensitive information’

• PTI chief again approaches SC to stop Toshakhana trial

• Exploring Shariah-compliant Islamic Coin: A New Face in the Crypto Space

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Arab World

• Saudi Arabia Reaffirms Desecration of Qur’an Is Unacceptable

• Saudi Arabia-based OIC Urges Member Nations to Act Against Countries Allowing Quran Burnings 

• Nearly 200 Saudis graduate from Spain’s prestigious Les Roches institute

• Islamic Affairs Ministry Participates in Moderation, Peaceful Coexistence Symposium in Thailand

• Saudi govt agency to fund $22m Bosnia library building project

• Saudi FM calls on OIC states to take practical steps to confront Qur’an desecration incidents

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South Asia

• Delegation of Islamic Clerics from UK Meet with Acting Ministers

• Number Increases of Afghan Refugees in UK Given Permanent Housing

• Continued Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan is Essential: ARCS Acting President

• IEA Condemns Explosion at a Jamiat-Ulema Islam Gathering in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

• Foreign Organizations’ Campaign is Aimed for Brain Drain from Afghanistan: Mujahid

• Organs Instructed to Urgently Reach to Flood-Affected People in Urgon: Deputy PM

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/rpf-jaipur-mumbai-train-muslim-passengers-yogi-modi/d/130353

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Railway Protection Force Constable Chetan Singh Shoots Four Dead on Moving Jaipur-Mumbai Train, Including A Senior Colleague And At Least Two Muslim Passengers

 

Undated picture of Chetan Singh, the suspected killer/ PTI

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Our Bureau, PTI New Delhi 01.08.23

PTI

A Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable on Monday morning shot dead four people, including a senior colleague and at least two Muslim passengers, on board the moving Jaipur-Mumbai Central Express near Palghar railway station in Maharashtra, officials said.

By the evening, the cold-blooded murders took on an unparalleled turn when a video clip emerged. The clip featuring the purported graphic scenes inside the train compartment shows a person in uniform, whose face is mostly not visible because his back is turned towards the camera, saying in Hindi: “If you want to vote, if you want to live in Hindustan, then I am saying, Modi and Yogi, they are the two, and your Thackeray.”

Three of the victims have been identified as Tika Ram Meena, RPF assistant sub-inspector; Abdul Kadarbhai Mohammed Hussain Bhanpurwala (48), a resident of Nalasopara in Palghar (around 100km from Mumbai); and Asgar Abbas Sheikh (48), a resident of Madhubani in Bihar. The fourth victim had not been identified till late on Monday.

Constable Chetan Singh (34), the murder suspect who hails from Hathras in Uttar Pradesh, was caught with his weapon while he was trying to flee after passengers pulled the chain of the train which stopped near Mira Road station (on the Mumbai suburban network) around 6am.

The murders were carried out in different coaches of the train, suggesting the killer picked out his victims from among the passengers.

The video shows the person in uniform standing near a body lying in a pool of blood and addressing other passengers who have gathered near the door. Some passengers can be seen seated behind him also.

The uniformed person tells the passengers: “They are operating from Pakistan. Your media, this country’s media is showing the news, they are getting to know everything, these people’s masters are there. If you want to vote, if you want to live in Hindustan, then I am saying, Modi and Yogi, they are the two, and your Thackeray.”

Asked about the video, Government Railway Police (GRP) commissioner Ravindra Shisve told reporters: “It is too early to jump to any conclusion, and at this stage, it will be premature to say anything and share any details about the probe.”

“This is the first-of-its-kind of incident on a running train. Passengers are scared. We want to assure them that police will investigate the incident in detail,” he added.

Shisve said the exact reason behind the incident was not known yet. The GRP has formed a special investigation team to probe the murders.

Earlier in the day, the GRP control room and a senior official had identified the accused as Chetan Kumar Chaudhary. In the afternoon, GRP commissioner Shisve told reporters the constable has been identified as Chetan Singh.

Some media reports suggested that the police are investigating if the constable has any mental ailment. But Bhagwan Singh Chaudhary, who identified himself as an uncle of the RPF constable, said in their native village Mitai in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras that “Chetan never showed any sign of mental imbalance".

Bhagwan Singh told local reporters that Chetan had got the job in 2009 in place of his father, who was also a constable in RPF and had died on duty.

Pravin Chandra Sinha, principal chief security commissioner, Western Railway, told reporters: “He (Chetan) was not upset. He was a bit unwell... later he lost his cool.”

Asked whether Chetan had any mental health issues, Sinha said: “He had a short fuse and lost his temper, leading to the incident.”

Chetan was staying in the barracks. His family includes his wife and two children aged 6 and 8.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted on Monday evening: “The cold-blooded murders carried out by an RPF constable is the result of a hyper-charged and highly polarised news media and social media atmosphere. The genie of hate is now out of the bottle and it will take a lot of collective effort to put it back in.”

Ramesh added: “The message of the Bharat Jodo Yatra was aimed to dial down the hate and violence spreading due to the ideology of the RSS, and the politics of prejudice and polarisation of the BJP. Its top leadership is complicit in damaging the social fabric of India. The vast majority of Indians will soon reject this politics of hatred and vengeance.”

Chetan shot dead RPF assistant sub-inspector Meena and another passenger in the B5 coach with his automatic weapon after 5am. He then shot dead another passenger in the pantry car five coaches away and went on to kill one more passenger in S6 coach, which is the eighth bogie from the B5 coach, an official said.

A 25-year-old RPF constable, who is the complainant in the case, said that Chetan tried to strangulate him before going on the firing spree, a GRP official said. The GRP official, citing the FIR, said complainant constable Amay Ghanshyaam Acharya said Chetan was not feeling well.

So, ASI Meena advised him to take rest and have medicines when the train arrives in Mumbai. The complainant said Chetan went to sleep but after 15 minutes, he woke up and started demanding his rifle. When Acharya refused to give him the weapon, he tried to strangulate him and managed to take the rifle and left the spot in anger, he said.

Acharya went to the pantry car and narrated the incident to his seniors. Acharya feared Chetan may attack him and so he hid in a sleeper coach.

The assailant later got down from the train and started walking on the tracks between the Meera Road and Dahisar stations. Acharya asked passengers to close the windows and saw Chetan firing on the train indiscriminately, said the official, quoting from the FIR.

According to an official, the alarm chain in the train was pulled around 5.59am. As the train came to a halt near Mira Road station, Singh jumped down on the railway tracks with his weapon and started running. He was nabbed by personnel of GRP and RPF after a chase and his weapon was seized.

“The incident occurred after 5am after the Mumbai-bound Jaipur Superfast Express crossed Vapi station (in Gujarat). RPF constable Chetan Singh, who was on escort duty, opened fire at his senior Tika Ram Meena and went on shooting dead three more passengers in different bogies of the train,” Shisve said.

According to the GRP, Singh fired 12 rounds from his automatic weapon. The GRP recovered eight bullets from his automatic weapon after the incident.

Four RPF personnel, including Chetan, were escorting the Jaipur-Mumbai Central Express from Surat station in Gujarat on Monday.

The accused constable was attached to the Lower Parel RPF post here, while ASI Tika Ram Meena was attached to the Dadar RPF post.

An official said ASI Meena hailed from Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan. He was supposed to retire in 2025. Meena is survived by his wife, a 20-year-old son and a 22-year-old daughter.

Source: telegraphindia.com

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https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/rpf-constable-shoots-four-dead-on-moving-jaipur-mumbai-train-fires-12-rounds-from-assault-rifle/cid/1955777

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Two Home Guards Killed, Several Injured in Clash During Vishva Hindu Parishad Event in Haryana; Gurugram Mosque Set on Fire

 

Security personnel attempt to disperse miscreants after stones were pelted at a 'Brij Mandal Jalabhishek Yatra', in Nuh. / PTI photo

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Our Bureau and Agencies Gurgaon

 01.08.23

Two home guards were killed and at least 15 people, including several policemen, were injured on Monday as protesters in Haryana’s Nuh district tried to stop a Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) procession.

Shots were fired, stones pelted and cars set on fire, officials said.

The Union home ministry is despatching 15 companies of central forces to Haryana as violence also erupted in Sohna in the neighbouring Gurgaon district, adjacent to Delhi.

According to police, the VHP’s Brij Mandal Jalabhishek Yatra was stopped by a group of young men near Nuh’s Khedla Mod and stones were pelted at the procession. Cars were then set ablaze.

People in the procession also hurled stones back at the youths who had stopped them, reports said. Later, many took refuge in a nearby temple as police tried to evacuate them to safety.

The yatra was flagged off from Gurgaon’s Civil Lines by BJP district president Gargi Kakkar. A police contingent was deployed with the procession.

According to some claims, the trigger for the clash was an objectionable video posted on social media by a Bajrang Dal activist in Ballabhgarh.

There were also reports that Monu Manesar, a cow vigilante booked earlier for the murder of two Muslim men whose charred bodies were found in Bhiwani district in February, was supposed to join the procession.

The vigilante, however, told PTI that he did not participate on the advice of the VHP, which feared that his presence would create tension.

As news of the clash in Muslim-dominated Nuh spread, protesters in Sohna pelted stones and set ablaze four vehicles and a shop belonging to people from that community. Protesters there blocked a road for hours.

About 2,500 men, women and children at a Shiva temple in Nuh were evacuated by the police, Haryana home minister Anil Vij said. The evacuees apparently included devotees and those who had taken shelter there as the two sides clashed.

Prohibitory orders banning the assembly of people were clamped in Nuh and Gurgaon districts. Mobile Internet services were suspended in Nuh and Faridabad up to Wednesday.

Educational institutes were ordered closed Tuesday in Gurgaon, Faridabad and Palwal districts as a precautionary measure.

Haryana minister Vij said one man was brought dead to a Nuh hospital where 16 others were admitted.

Gurgaon police commissioner Kala Ramachandran said two home guards, attached with her district, were killed in the violence in adjoining Nuh. About 10 police personnel were injured in Nuh violence, the official said.

Another police officer said home guard Neeraj died because of a gunshot wound. The other home guard killed in the violence was identified as Gursevak.

Suspending mobile Internet services in Nuh, the BJP-led Haryana government said there was “intense communal tension” in the area.

Late at night, Nuh authorities said the situation was “under control”. Representatives from both communities held a meeting in which officials and local leaders too took part. Another meeting was slated for Tuesday morning, they said.

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar appealed for calm in Nuh, invoking the slogan “Haryana Ek Haryanvi Ek” (Haryanvis are one).

An alert has been sounded in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district following the violence in neighbouring Haryana.

PTI

Source: telegraphindia.com

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/two-home-guards-killed-several-injured-in-clash-during-vishva-hindu-parishad-event-in-haryana/cid/1955839

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Leicestershire Police Give Award To Anti-Muslim Hindutva Extremist, Bageshwar Dham Baba; Muslim Organisation MEND Demands Investigation

 

Dhirendra Shastri proudly displaying his award by Leicestershire Police

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31st July 2023

A prominent anti-Muslim Hindutva extremist recently spoke at a Hindu community centre in Leicester and was even given an award by Leicestershire Police.

Dhirendra Shastri, also known as Bageshwar Dham Baba, is a famous 25-year-old Indian Hindu guru who regularly targets Muslims in his discourse. Several BJP leaders are among his devotees.

He spoke at Prajapati Hall (a community centre which contains a Hindu Temple) in front of a large audience on July 22 and was given an NPA Commanders Award for Recognition of Service by Leicestershire Police for his support to the local communities of Leicester.

Shastri has publicly backed “bulldozer politics,” which the Hindutva far-right hails as a means to a “final solution” for Muslims in India. He has urged Hindus to unite and buy bulldozers, demolish the homes of ‘stone pelters’… India belongs to Hindus.”

He was seen cheerfully clapping and laughing at the demolition of Muslim houses in the aftermath of anti-Muslim violence in Khargone, Madhya Pradesh.

In some speeches, he has backed arming Hindus – “Hindus are required to have spears along with a string of beads (used for prayer).”

Other incendiary remarks he has made include:

“Keep supporting me, and I will give you Hindu Rashtra, don’t sit in homes wearing bangles (like women); reciting Radhe Radhe won’t save the religion (from Muslims and Christians).”

“Hindus unite! Ramcharitmanas (Hindu religious text) will be made the constitution (for India) and India will be declared Hindu Rashtra.”

Threatening Muslims: “If you want to live in India then say Sita Ram. For your own good, stay within limits.”

“If you (Hindus) are united, you will make India or Pakistan a Hindu nation.”

Leicestershire Police told 5Pillars: “Following an event that was not organised through the police, some challenging logistical problems arose and needed to be responded to at the time.

“As a result the local East Leicester Chief Inspector, Inspector and PCSO wanted to acknowledge the help that was given by the event to ensure the continued safety of the public.

“Therefore, a thank you was given to those involved to show that the help given was appreciated in what was a complex and busy gathering in East Leicester.

“This should not be confused with any more formal awards or commendations that are issued by Leicestershire Police, but rather as it was intended, a thank you to those who helped keep the public safe.”

However, Muslim organisation MEND has demanded an investigation by Leicestershire Police.

MEND said: “His reprehensible calls for violence against Muslims, advocating for bulldozing in reference to Muslim homes and his vision of a Muslim-free Indo-Pakistan region reveal the extent of his dangerous beliefs.

“What’s shocking is that this comes less than a year after hostilities in Leicester, where Muslims were primarily targeted by RSS Hindutva extremists. Allowing Shastri’s presence and influence in the city, along with a commendation, will undoubtedly fuel further tensions between Hindus and Muslims, undoing any progress towards restoring cohesiveness.

“Leicester Police’s failure to recognise the extremist nature of Shastri’s ideology is alarming. By commending him, they display indifference towards Islamophobia and the welfare of Muslims in the community, perpetuating an atmosphere of fear and discrimination.

“We call upon Leicestershire Police to immediately revoke their commendation of Dhirendra Shastri and launch a thorough investigation into his ideology and nature. Embracing an individual with such hateful views can only harm community relations and pose a threat to social harmony.

“Additionally, we urge Hindus in Leicester to reject Dhirendra Shastri’s Islamophobic rhetoric. Unity, respect and understanding between communities are essential for any society. Embracing divisive figures will only sow seeds of animosity, hindering progress/cooperation.

“Let’s stand together against hatred and bigotry, fostering an environment of acceptance and inclusivity. Leicester can be a beacon of unity, but only if we actively denounce hate and extremism and work towards building bridges between all communities.”

And local activist Majid Freeman added: “We are appealing to all community networks to keep an eye on vulnerable members of the Leicester Hindu community who are being targeted and groomed by the RSS Hindutva government in India for short-term political goals. We will not let Modi and his BJP strategists destroy the good inter-faith relations we have enjoyed for a very long time. We await a full explanation from.”

The development comes nearly one year after Muslim and Hindu youths confronted each other on the streets of Leicester leading to scores of arrests and several jail sentences.

Muslims told 5Pillars that the unrest was instigated by Hindutva thugs, but Hindus have said this is a false narrative which has made them fearful and targeted.

Source: 5pillarsuk.com

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https://5pillarsuk.com/2023/07/31/leicestershire-police-give-award-to-anti-muslim-hindutva-extremist/

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Muslims, Christians Join Forces to Protest LGBTQ+ Pride in Canada: 'Let Kids Be Kids'

 

Muslims protest in Calgary against gender ideology in K-12 education. (Screenshot/TikTok)

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July 31, 2023

People of different faiths are joining forces to protest gender ideology curriculum they find inappropriate in Canadian schools, according to The Toronto Star.

The issue that has become integral to school board discussions and beyond in the U.S. is no exception in Canada as well, where, according to the outlet, parents sporting hijabs and "keffiyeh" or a scarf symbolizing Palestinian solidarity, stood beside parents who wore Bible verses on their shirts.

All because these unlikely allies have a common goal.

"When I came here 22 years ago, the Christians were the majority, and I was a Muslim," Aziz Wadya, an Egyptian immigrant and one of the Muslims criticizing the LGBTQ+ ideological expansion, said, per the report.

"They did not force the agenda to teach my kid Christianity. They respected my identity, even though they were the majority. Now, less than one percent of the population force their agenda on every single one of us," he added.

The protest garnering media attention erupted in downtown Calgary, a city in the Canadian province of Alberta, but those opposing the gender ideology curriculum weren't alone. Prepared to shout back, counterprotesters urged the discontent parents to "leave queer kids alone."

But one Christian –  Joe Schellenberg – described his group's display of unity with Muslims as "very sweet," The Star reported.

"I'm so happy we can come together on this … One Muslim lady came up to me earlier and just blessed me, put her hand on me as a Christian, and I just felt that was a very sweet moment," he said.

Similar to disputes that have unfolded in the United States, some parents behind the protests are concerned that schools are focusing too much on the topic, offering instruction about sexual content and hosting LGBTQ+ themed events such as drag queen story hour.

In the backdrop, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blasted the American right-wing recently, after other dustups ensued surrounding Muslim students skipping school to avoid pride events and a teacher allegedly criticized them for doing so, saying, "It goes two ways. If you want to be respected for who you are, if you don’t want to suffer prejudice for your religion, your color of skin or whatever, then you better give it back to people who are different from you. That’s how it works."

Trudeau, speaking to the Muslim community at a mosque in Calgary, received a plea from someone who asked that he help protect their culture, and "belief, the sin that you are doing to them."

Trudeau responded, "First of all, there is an awful lot of misinformation and disinformation out there [from] people on social media, particularly fueled by the American right-wing are spreading a lot of untruths about what is actually… in the curriculum."

Mourra, a father of five who was identified as the organizer behind the Calgary protest, took his discontent with school curriculum a step further and removed his kids from public schools altogether, choosing to homeschool them instead.

He, like Schellenberg, said he was pleasantly surprised that groups that once opposed each other could come together and rally around a common cause.

"I felt so shocked when I saw the people who used to scream against us and make fun of our religion, mopping the floor with us, to come to our protest and say Allahu akbar," he said, according to The Toronto Star.

Muslim parents have also spoken out in the U.S., including activist Sameera Munshi, who joined other parents in criticizing Maryland's Montgomery County Public Schools for removing an option to opt-out of LGBTQ+ sexuality curriculum.

She accused the board of mocking Muslim values and only agreeing to care for the Muslim community and protect their rights if they abide by popular ideological narratives.

Source: foxnews.com

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https://www.foxnews.com/media/muslims-christians-join-forces-protest-lgbtq-pride-canada-let-kids-be-kids

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Islamist Militants Behead At Least 10 Farmers In Nigeria's Borno State, Residents Say

 

Representative Image: Credit/Stock Photo

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Reuters

August 1, 2023

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, July 31 (Reuters) - Islamist militants have beheaded at least 10 farmers in Nigeria's northern state of Borno after attacking their farms, residents said on Monday.

Last week, militants killed at least 25 people and wounded others in attacks on two villages in Borno state, a hotbed for insurgency and the center of a more than a decade-long insurgency in Nigeria that has spilled into neighbouring Chad and Cameroon.

Abubakar Masta, a farmer who escaped, said the assailants attacked their farms in Kawuri village of Konduga local government area of Borno State on Monday around 08:30 a.m. (0730 GMT), on motorbikes, carrying rifles.

"I saw 10 corpses of my friends who were slaughtered," Abubakar said, as security officials were recovering the bodies.

Residents said suspected Islamist group Boko Haram was behind the attack.

The Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP), a regional affiliate of the Islamic state, is also active in Borno state.

The militants have been killing farmers, residents said, disrupting farming villages, which could lead to increases in food prices for a country already struggling with double-digit inflation.

A police spokesperson did not immediately respond to calls to confirm the deaths of the farmers.

One resident, Alkali Mommodu, said he helped the military in its response and recovered 10 bodies.

Reporting by Ahmed Kingimi Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; editing by Grant McCool

Source: reuters.com

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https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/islamist-militants-behead-least-10-farmers-nigerias-borno-state-residents-2023-07-31/

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India

Gurugram Mosque Set on Fire Was the Only One of Govt-Allocated Land in the Area

New Delhi: Gurgaon’s Sector 57 mosque was vandalised, set on fire and its deputy imam murdered by a mob amidst reports of tension prevailing in Haryana’s Mewat after a Hindutva procession caused a communal flare up.

Sources told The Wire the mosque was attacked at 12:30 am last night by a large armed mob which fired on the mosque and then set it on fire. The chief imam of the mosque was away to his village last night. But the naib-imam or deputy imam, who would lead prayers in his absence, was assaulted, stabbed 13 times with swords, etc. and his throat slit before he was killed. Another person present in the premises was also badly beaten up and shot in the knee. He is presently in the ICU.

Sources at the hospital the two were taken to – W Pratiksha Hospital – confirmed to The Wire that one of the victims was brought dead, with multiple stab wounds in his chest.

 Only mosque in New Gurugram on government-allocated land

The Sector 57 mosque is the only mosque on a government-allocated land in the planned urban developed area in Gurugram and, as The Hindu reported in 2021, it “caters to almost half of the city’s municipal area spread across south and east zones and a large section of the floating population commuting to the Millennium City daily for work”.

Though it is the only mosque in the area, despite having been allotted the land earmarked for a mosque on August 11, 2006 and having secured a clearance for its building plans earlier, further construction has not recommenced pending revalidation of the plans from the government.

Supreme Court dismissed petition against it this May

It was only recently, on May 1, that a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court finally dismissed the petition against the mosque. The court said:

“After hearing the learned counsel for the parties, we are not convinced that the petitioners have made out a case for exercising jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution. However, we reiterate the observations and directions which are contained in the impugned order(s) which shall be strictly complied with by the sixth respondent- Haryana Anjuman Charitable Trust as also the Public Authority.

We record the submission of learned counsel for the sixth respondent that the sixth respondent will make available volunteers (Traffic Volunteers) so that the problem arising out of increasing traffic is adequately redressed. That apart, we direct that over and above the said assurance being recorded, that the Commissioner of Traffic Police, Gurugram, Haryana will deploy police personnel in sufficient numbers as and when required and particularly without fail on every Friday so that they will efficiently control and regulate the Traffic in such a way that all the people in the area are least inconvenienced.

We further record the submission of the learned counsel for the sixth respondent that there will be no noise pollution caused by it and the sixth respondent shall not use loud speakers for Azaan.

The Commissioner of Traffic Police, Gurugram, Haryana will make assessment and make suitable arrangements so that apart from Fridays, police personnel are always present so as to obviate any untoward situation. He may consider establishing a Traffic Police Post/Booth in the vicinity of the Mosque in question, if he deems it fit.

Subject to the aforesaid directions, the special leave petitions are disposed of. Pending application(s), if any, stand disposed of.”

The context

It is learnt that a few weeks before this attack, the mosque had been attacked by miscreants from a neighbouring village.

The police had acted promptly on information being shared with them and detained several attackers. However, due to intervention of residents and elders, in order to restore peace in the area, the matter was ultimately resolved by negotiation.

About six months after the construction on the plot allotted for the mosque began in 2004, some real estate agents etc. moved the Punjab and Haryana high court, saying that the land allocated for the mosque was earmarked for other purposes.

The petition was rejected by the high court but an order was obtained to “maintain status-quo” from the Supreme Court, which lasted for 12 years.

As a result, despite being granted permission from the authorities to build three storeys, only the basement and the ground floor were built where prayers were held. The namaz controversy in Gurugram had driven more and more Muslims to pray here.

While the building plan of the mosque has been sanctioned by the government, it is possible to do the work only if construction starts within a stipulated time period of getting the permission. As the stay meant that time was missed, sources say that “permission to revalidate the old building plan is pending in the chief minister, M.L. Khattar’s office”.

Source: thewire.in

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https://thewire.in/communalism/gurugram-mosque-set-on-fire-was-the-only-one-of-govt-allocated-land-in-the-area

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Owaisi Alleges Jaipur-Mumbai Train Firing Incident As 'Targeting Muslims'

August 1, 2023

Asaduddin Owaisi, the chief of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), alleged that the firing incident on the Mumbai-bound Jaipur Express Train was a terror attack targeting Muslims. The incident occurred near Palghar railway station in Maharashtra when a Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable shot dead his senior colleague and three passengers. The victims were identified as Abdul Qadirbhai Mohammed Hussain Bhanpurwala, Akhtar Abbas Ali, and Sadar Mohammed Hussain.

A video clip went viral on social media, showing the accused, Chetan Singh, standing near one of the victims and making controversial statements about the attack. He mentioned the involvement of Pakistan and criticised the media's coverage, while also expressing his support for political figures like Modi, Yogi, and Thackeray.

"... Pakistan se operate hue ye, aur media yehi coverage dikharahihai, unko sab patachalrahahai ye kyakarrahe hain... Agar vote denahai, agar Hindustan meinrehnahai to maikehtahoon Modi aur Yogi, ye do hain, aur aapke Thackeray." Singh was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times. Asaduddin Owaisi shared a part of the video on his official Twitter handle. It read, "One of the victims of #JaipurExpressTerrorAttack is seen in this video. He is struggling for his life."

Source: oneindia.com

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https://www.oneindia.com/india/owaisi-alleges-jaipur-mumbai-train-firing-incident-as-targeting-muslims-3598549.html

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Gyanvapi mosque 'historical wrong', claims Uttar Pradesh CM Adityanath

01st August 2023

By Namita Bajpai

LUCKNOW: Days ahead of the Allahabad High Court’s order on a scientific probe into the Gyanvapi mosque premises in Varanasi, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ruffled many feathers by saying the Muslim community should acknowledge the mosque as a ‘historical mistake’ and come forward to thrash out a solution.

During a podcast interview with a news agency, the CM, in his first reaction to the controversy, claimed that calling Gyanvapi a mosque was problematic and that it should just be called Gyanvapi.

“If we call it a mosque, there will be a dispute... What is a trident doing inside a mosque? How is the Jyotirlinga present there? What are the images of deities doing there? We did not put them there. The walls of the structure are screaming, to tell the truth,” Adityanath said in reply to a query about what should be done to resolve the dispute.

“I think the Muslim society should come forward with a proposal that a historic mistake has happened and that they want a solution,” he added.

The Allahabad High Court is about to deliver its verdict on a plea of the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid, the mosque management committee, challenging the Varanasi district court order of July 21 directing the ASI to conduct a survey to determine if the mosque was built upon a pre-existing temple. All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s Mohd Suleman said the CM’s views hurt him.

Source: newindianexpress.com

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‘Instant triple talaq a gruesome cruelty’: V P Suhara, a crusader against triple talaq petition, speaks on Muslim Women’s Rights Day

August 1, 2023

Written by Chithira N Raju

August 1 is regarded as Muslim Women’s Rights Day to commemorate the enactment of law against instant triple talaq. V P Suhara, head of Nisa, a progressive Muslim women’s group in Kerala, was one among the petitioners in the Supreme Court that declared the discriminatory practice of instantly divorcing a Muslim wife unconstitutional in 2017. A victim of triple talaq herself, Suhara reminisces the struggles she had gone through and the problems women in the minority community continue to face after the enactment of the law.

Triple talaq is the practice prevalent in Muslim community that allows a husband to instantly divorce his wife simply by uttering ‘talaq’ (divorce) three times. The central government enforced the Triple Talaq law on August 1, 2019.

Suhara told indianexpress.com that she had filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the practice of triple talaq in 2015. However, she added she was not listed among the petitioners.

Advocate Sriram Parakkat, a lawyer at the Supreme Court, said her matter was heard as an impleading plea. “However, there was not much fanfare at that time for her other than one or two news articles about her. Other petitioners were in the limelight as I was a junior lawyer then compared to seniors who filed others’ petitions.”

Problems Muslim women still face

The 70-year-old activist, who felt victorious when the apex court declared triple talaq unconstitutional, says that women’s woes however do not end with the law enforcement. “As per the law, if a man pronounces ‘talaq’ thrice and the woman or her close relative files a complaint, the man will be imprisoned for three years. This leaves the wife with no financial assistance and she is left in distress along with her children, if any. Also, after filing a complaint, women undergo intense pressure from family and others to withdraw the case, settle the matter outside the court. In the end, the woman is the one who is in distress,” Suhara points out, while adding that in some instances, women are also supposed to return the ‘Mehr’ (the gift the bride receives from the groom on the wedding day) they received during marriage, which is misogynistic. It adds to their financial distress.

The key issues Muslim women still face are polygamy, nikah halal (practice of marrying a woman for a short while, divorcing her to remarry the former wife), the paternal authority of children, Suhara says

‘Instant triple talaq: a gruesome cruelty’

Suhara was married at the age of 15 to a man who was 10 years older than her and after four years of their marriage, the man sent her a letter pronouncing talaq. She was abandoned with two children – aged two and other two months. The social worker, who terms triple talaq a gruesome cruelty towards women, has penned down her personal experiences with the discriminatory practice in her autobiography ‘JorayudeKadha’.

“They are not even given human consideration. A man lives with a woman for a long time and a woman invests a lot emotionally in the relationship. However, once a man feels attracted to someone else, instantly he pronounces talaq,” Suhara says. She remarks that after the law came into force, there is a sense of fear among men to pronounce talaq,” she added.

Initially, Suhara regarded her personal experience as “my fate or even as a result of my ancestor’s deeds. Later, I realised it’s a problem of the law”.

The activist interacted with several other women from the community and understood the gravity of the problem. “Our group studied the problem and went door-to-door speaking about it, organised meetings and protests against the practice,” she says.

Fight for minority women’s inheritance rights

The Nisa group filed a petition before the Supreme Court for inheritance rights for Muslim women in 2016. “Along with another organisation, we filed a case in the Kerala High Court. However, it was quashed,” Suhara says. But that did not discourage Suhara who went on to file a case in the Supreme Court. The apex court sought Kerala government’s stance. However, the state government discussed the matter with religious fanatics from the community who said there was no problem in the Shariat law. “Then we talked to the Chief Minister and gave a petition urging him to include us, women, also in the discussion,” she says, while asserting that inheritance is a woman’s basic right.

“On the basis of gender, she should not be denied her ancestral wealth. Why are women regarded as inferiors? In the case of a family with a single girl child, no matter how tirelessly a father works to earn money, a large portion of his wealth will go towards the father’s male relative. A person who desires to bestow his wealth to his own children does not even have the right to do so,” Suhara points out.

However, the veteran activist is apprehensive about the implementation of Uniform Civil Code. “We have a sense of fear as it’s the Hindutva party-led government. We cannot support it.”

“We need an alternative. We made a model bill (bringing amendment to the Indian Succession Act) after consultation with legal experts and urged Kerala government to pass it in concurrent list. The Kerala government responded saying it’s a matter related to the whole country and the Centre needs to pass the order. We may approach the central government,” she clarifies.

Suhara has been active in socio-political activities since 1987. She had spearheaded Nisa since 1997. Recollecting the early days of Nisa, Suhara said, “It all began with Sugathakumari teacher. Kerala Women’s Commission was instituted in 1997. At that time a woman who had seven children was instantly divorced through triple talaq and evicted from her husband’s house. Sugathakumari, who was the chairperson of Kerala Women’s Commission conducted a seminar in Kozhikode to discuss the issue. However, Sugathakumari was criticised by many asking why a Nair woman was speaking for Muslim women. At that time, I was inspired to form an organisation for the women in my community to bring out their struggles.”

Suhara fought several odds in her early years as she strived for the betterment of women in her community. She was termed anti-Muslim and anti-Shariat especially at a time when ‘Arabi Kalyanam’ was rampant in Kerala. ‘Arabi Kalyanam’ is a practice of Arab men marrying Kerala Muslim women and taking them to their native land. “Once they have children, the women were sent back. Their children were later deprived of citizenship here. The key problem was that they did not comply with the rules in India permitting foreigners to get married to women here.”

Suhara actively conducted campaigns and delivered a series of speeches ahead of the All India Women’s Conference held in Kozhikode in December 1990. Interestingly, she says in her book that the key office-bearers of the national conference that was aimed at women’s emancipation were men and she was given the charge of food committee. At a time when women-led rallies were not well-accepted, Suhara joined hands with other women’s groups such as Thiruvananthapuram-based ‘Prajodhana’, and ‘Prabhudhata’ led by K V Devi in Payyannur to organise campaigns highlighting women’s issues. Abuses were hurled at us and there were attempts to thwart the campaign, she says. Prominent women leaders such as writer Sarah Joseph, K Ajitha, a social worker were part of All India Women’s Conference, she recalls in her autobiography.

Source: indianexpress.com

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https://indianexpress.com/article/india/instant-triple-talaq-v-p-suhara-muslim-womens-rights-day-8870672/

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Europe

 

Christian Iraqi Immigrants Staged Another Quran Burning InStockholmOutside Swedish Parliament – AFP

31 Jul, 2023

Iraqi immigrants staged another Quran burning in Stockholm on Monday, kicking and stomping on the Muslim holy book before setting some torn-out pages on fire outside the Swedish parliament building, according to AFP.

“I will continue until they ban this book,” Salwan Momika, a Christian refugee who sought political asylum in Sweden in 2018, told Swedish broadcaster SVT.

It was the third Quran burning carried out by Momika and his partner Salwan Najem, both of whom are currently under investigation for hate speech by Swedish authorities. They previously burned the Quran on the Muslim holiday of Eid outside Stockholm’s Grand Mosque. Momika also stomped on the Quran and wiped his shoes with the Iraqi flag outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm earlier this month.

While Najem became a Swedish citizen in 2005, seven years after arriving in the country, Momika’s three-year residence permit is reportedly in danger of being revoked. Swedish authorities who began probing his social media after the first Quran burning found he had played a leading role in a Christian militia group said to be allied with Iran – even though the militia fought against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terror group.

The international fallout from the protests has been swift – Iraq cut diplomatic ties with Sweden, multiple Muslim-majority nations have summoned their Swedish ambassadors to complain, and counter-protesters have swarmed Sweden’s embassy in Baghdad twice. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei warned Stockholm that “those who have insulted the Holy Quran deserve the severest punishment.”

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told Swedish news outlet TT last week that the Security Service had information that Sweden was now being “d” as a target for terrorism. “We are in the most serious security policy situation since the Second World War,” he warned in an Instagram post on Sunday.

The PM said he was “deeply concerned” that permit applications for further Quran-desecrating protests were flooding in to police headquarters. Authorities are only allowed to refuse such requests if there were “serious public disturbances” or a “considerable danger” to participants at previous similar gatherings under Swedish law.

A planned burning of the Torah in front of the Israeli embassy in Stockholm did not go ahead on Friday after Israel’s foreign minister warned his Swedish counterpart it would harm relations between the two countries.

Denmark’s foreign minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen revealed on Sunday that Copenhagen was working on outlawing Quran desecration – or defiling any religion’s holy book – in front of foreign embassies, saying the government was determined to find a solution that did not also curtail freedom of expression.

Source: rt.com

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https://www.rt.com/news/580637-iraqi-immigrants-quran-burning-sweden/

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Yr Wyddfa: 300 Muslim Hikers come together to climb Mount Snowdon and reconnect with nature

Monday 31 July 2023

Around 300 members of the Muslim Hikers group gathered over the weekend to embark on their annual climb up Yr Wyddfa.

The group was founded by Haroon Mota to create opportunities for people from the Muslim and South Asian communities to come together and reconnect with nature.

With trekking poles and coffee cups in their hand, it was an early start for these eager hikers.

Mr Mota said the group started out as an Instagram page in 2020.

Now it is the largest community in the world for Muslims interested in the outdoors, according to Mr Mota.

He told ITV News: "People from all over the country are joining us, we’ve got someone travelling from Belgium as well.

"We’ve seen people in our events before travel all the way from San Francisco, New York and different parts of Europe and I think that symbolises the power of community."

Zahra Rose Alazaibi, who is the social media manager for Muslim Hikers, said: "I think for a lot of South Asians, they haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors or to be outdoors have that safety net to be outdoors.

"I think it’s a remarkable way to allow people to discover themselves and also to discover new passions and new hobbies. Also, to be around like minded people and have their community around them while doing all of this."

It is estimated that people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds only make up to 1 % of national park visitors, despite making up to around 14% of the general population.

Muslim Hikers is hoping to increase the numbers through recruiting more members.

Zarida Riaz, 51, is a nurse with the NHS who has hiked with the group a number of times.

She said: “Working full-time means it can be hard to get out. I think it’s important to keep moving especially for women of my age with the menopause. So, you need to improve your mental health as well as be an influence for other people and be a role model.”

Yr Wyddfa was the first summit the group climbed together, which is why they are marking their 3rd anniversary by returning to Eryri.

Muslim Hikers travel across the UK, exploring different locations each week, inspiring more people from the Muslim and South Asian communities to get outdoors.

Source: itv.com

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https://www.itv.com/news/wales/2023-07-31/people-want-to-connect-with-one-another-300-muslim-hikers-climb-yr-wyddfa

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North America

 

Colorado teen pleads not guilty to trying to join Islamic State group

August 1, 2023

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado teenager pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of attempting to support a designated foreign terrorist organization, the Islamic State group.

Davin Meyer, 18, sat handcuffed at his arraignment in a federal courtroom in Denver and didn’t say anything about the allegations. Earlier this month, Meyer was arrested when he tried to board a plane to Turkey, where prosecutors say he planned to become a fighter for IS.

David Kaplan, Meyer’s attorney, declined to comment on the case. The trial is not yet scheduled.

In November, after he turned 18, Meyer began communicating over the internet with someone he believed was an IS facilitator, and another who presented themselves as an ISIS travel facilitator, according to the arrest affidavit, but both were actually undercover informants.

In a previous court hearing, Meyer’s mother, Deanna Meyer, testified that her son wouldn’t have tried traveling to the Middle East if not for the support of people he met who shared his views, including the FBI informants.

This was in response to a judge’s question about whether her son — who was diagnosed with autism — understood the gravity of the situation, given his condition.

The prosecutor, assistant U.S. attorney Melissa Hindman, argued that the young man was already committed to radical Islam before the informants spoke with him.

During Monday’s hearing, prosecutors didn’t speak about the allegations and the U.S. Attorney’s office did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment after the hearing.

Deanna Meyer had reached out to law enforcement when Davin was 17 over concerns about his escalating “radical Islamic beliefs” and openly expressing violent intentions, according to court documents. The FBI was later notified, it said.

Source: apnews.com

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https://apnews.com/article/islamic-state-terrorism-colorado-teen-trial-c81cae23eb7bc79357381eade087eb4b

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Islamic group suggests that member nations downgrade ties with countries that allow Quran burnings

August 1, 2023

 BEIRUT (AP) — The Organization for Islamic Cooperation urged its member nations Monday to take action against countries that permit public burning or desecration of the Quran, including the recalling of ambassadors.

The Saudi Arabia-based group made the call in a statement following an emergency online meeting of its foreign ministers to discuss recent incidents in which the Islamic holy book was burned or otherwise defaced at officially permitted protests in Sweden and Denmark.

The organization’s 57 member countries should “consider taking any necessary decisions and actions that they deem appropriate in their relations” with Sweden, Denmark, and other countries that allow such incidents, including recalling their ambassadors, the statement said.

It encouraged civil society organizations in the member states to work with counterparts in countries where the Quran has been burned or desecrated to file local lawsuits “before taking their cases to international judicial bodies, where applicable.”

It also called for more efforts at outreach to combat Islamophobia, praising Kuwait for commissioning the printing of 100,000 copies of the Quran translated into Swedish for distribution in Sweden.

Many of the points in the final statement echoed recommendations made by Iraq’s Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein, who also called on the United Nations to “take measures to prevent these incidents.”

Ahead of the meeting, two men who had previously burned a copy of the Quran in Sweden did so once again, in front of a crowd of a few dozen onlookers and about 20 counter-protesters.

In both Sweden and Denmark, t here is no law against blasphemy, and freedom of expression is generally held in high regard.

But as the recent Quran burnings have sparked angry demonstrations and diplomatic backlash in Muslim countries, officials in the Scandinavian countries have begun to consider whether there should be curbs on public defacement of holy books or other religious symbols.

Denmark’s foreign minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, said Sunday in an interview with Danish public broadcaster DR that the government is seeking a “legal tool” to prohibit such inflammatory acts without compromising freedom of expression.

In Sweden, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Sunday on Instagram that his government is analyzing the legal situation regarding desecration of the Quran and other holy books, given the animosity such acts are stirring up against Sweden.

Before Monday’s meeting, the OIC had already suspended the status of Sweden’s special envoy over the Quran burnings.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said in a statement that he spoke in recent days with counterparts in OIC countries to explain how Sweden’s freedom of expression works and that police make independent decisions on protest applications. He added that “the government is very clear in its distance from the Islamophobic acts carried out by individuals at demonstrations in Sweden.”

The Danish foreign minister said his “government condemned and denounced the insult” to the Quran and “that it is studying this issue with great interest.”

Source: apnews.com

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https://apnews.com/article/organization-islamic-cooperation-quran-meeting-iraq-sweden-denmark-0d6796f7ecb0bd0c11ba1d7f13d4a4d4

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Descendants of expelled Muslims renew ties with Crete

July 31, 2023

HERAKLION, Greece — At the end of June, friends from the Turkish cities of Izmir (formerly Smyrna) and Kuşadasi pinged my phone with dozens of photos, videos and social media posts from the Cretan Federation of Turkey’s 11th International Cretan Festival, a three-day event I didn’t expect to see in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey.

One video from Erol Gurman showed a delegation of Cretan musicians and dancers performing folk dances in traditional costume under the watchful image of Turkey’s founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the Turkish flag. The men dressed in black leather boots, navy blue vests and baggy, pleated breeches with fringed kerchiefs called saríkia wrapped around their heads and knives tucked into their belts. The women wore colorful pleated skirts and hand-woven aprons adorned with intricate patterns and long-sleeved vests embroidered with gold thread.

In another video shot in a large, open-air park, the costumed dancers were nearly lost in a crowd, thousands of people of all ages linking arms, dancing to the lute and lyra. And even though I currently live in Heraklion, the capital of Crete, I wish I could have been there to experience it.

The annual gathering of the federation’s 18 member associations from along the Anatolian coast features live music and dance, home-cooked Cretan dishes, film screenings, lectures and photo exhibitions. The festival is the biggest event of the year, a cultural touchstone for Turkey’s one million Turkocretans, Muslims whose ancestors emigrated from Crete to Anatolia either before or during a mandatory 1923 population exchange that displaced 1.3 million Orthodox Christians from Turkey and 400,000 Muslims from Greece.

The descendants of those refugees have one foot in Greece and one in Turkey, countries whose relations have been acrimonious and at times bloody. The two NATO allies have long argued over maritime and airspace boundaries, energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean, the demilitarization of islands and Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus. Following re-election, Erdogan and his new ministers continue to promote Turkey’s revisionist “Blue Homeland” doctrine that challenges the sovereignty of Greece and Cyprus.

Last November, while based on the Aegean island of Chios, I traveled across the narrow strait to Izmir to meet Turkocretans who had resettled in the neighborhoods of Bornova and Eşrefpaşa. Later, in Crete, I visited statues, exhibitions and associations commemorating the exchange and satisfied my sweet tooth at patisseries run by Anatolian Greeks. I learned that despite their religious differences, the descendants of the 1923 exchangees in Turkey and Greece understand the trauma of exile and the difficulty of rebuilding lives in foreign places. With a shared longing for their homelands and a desire to preserve their customs and traditions, they are uniquely positioned as a bridge between the two countries.

Source: icwa.org

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https://www.icwa.org/muslims-in-greece-strengthen-ties/

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CAIR-WA Seeks Public’s Help Identifying Suspects After Burglary at Federal Way Mosque

July 31, 2023

Ibrahim Hooper

(SEATTLE, WA, 7/31/2023) – The Washington chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on the public to help identify two individuals caught on video burglarizing the Islamic Center of Federal Way. 

In video shared by the mosque, two men are seen entering the facility through a window. They walk all over the sacred space with their shoes on, proceeding to break into the mosque’s office. According to mosque officials, the proceeds from charitable donations were stolen during the break-in. 

“Seeing a house of worship targeted and disrespected like this is highly concerning,” said Imraan Siddiqi, CAIR-WA’s executive director. “We stand with the ICFW community in calling for those who burglarized to be identified and caught.”  

During a five-month span in 2021-22, multiple mosques in Washington State were targeted by either hate, vandalism or burglaries.  The Federal Way mosque can be contacted with any relevant information regarding this crime through the organization’s Facebook page.

CAIR-WA also called on mosques and Islamic institutions to use the advice offered in CAIR’s “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety” booklet to help keep those facilities safe. 

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.        

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertadesciviles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a losmusulmanesenlosEstados Unidos.          

END     

Source: cair.com

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https://www.cair.com/press_releases/cair-wa-seeks-publics-help-identifying-suspects-after-burglary-at-federal-way-mosque/

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UK accidentally sent emails intended for Pentagon to Russia’s ally Mali

Sunday, 30 July 2023

The UK has mistakenly sent emails, containing classified information, intended for the Pentagon to the military forces in the African country of Mali, which is a Russian ally, because of a typing error.

According to a report by the Times on Thursday, UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) officials were supposed to be sending emails to the Pentagon, but accidentally sent them to Mali’s government instead.

The mistake was the result of a typo, as the Pentagon’s domain name is “.mil,” while Mali’s is “.ml.”, the report said.

British authorities launched an investigation after the media report.

“We have opened an investigation after a small number of emails were mistakenly forwarded to an incorrect email domain,” a spokesperson for MoD said on Friday.

The Times’ report added while most emails sent to Mali were “innocuous” like information about when the foreign ministry’s employees were on holiday, some contained “detailed descriptions” of British research into hypersonic missiles.

However, the MoD rebuked the Times for what it described as a misleading report about the incident.

“This report misleadingly claims state secrets were sent to Mali’s email domain,” it said.

MoD claimed the emails sent to Mali were fewer than 20 and did not contain any sensitive information.

“We assess fewer than 20 routine emails were sent to an incorrect domain and are confident there was no breach of operational security or disclosure of technical data,” the ministry tweeted.

“An investigation is ongoing. Emails of this kind are not classified as secret or above.”

Earlier this month, an investigation by the Financial Times revealed that since 2014, the US Army has been mistakenly sending millions of emails meant for the Pentagon to Mali, again as a result of the same typo.

It said some of these emails included sensitive information, such as diplomatic documents, tax returns, passwords, and officers’ travel details.

Mali is among the six African nations Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to provide with free grain shipments within the next few months.

On Thursday, Putin told a summit of African leaders that Russia will provide Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, Central African Republic, and Eritrea with 25-50,000 tons of free grain each in the next 3-4 months to honor Moscow’s critical role in global food security.

The announcement came after Moscow’s decision to quit the Black Sea grain deal, which allowed Ukraine to ship grain from its seaports despite the war.

Source: presstv.ir

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/07/30/708002/UK-US-Mali-Military-Emails-

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Africa

 

Mali and Burkina Faso warn against any foreign military intervention in Niger

In a move considered a tactical way to protect the recent regime change in Niger, Mali’s military Junta said Monday that they stand to support the coup leaders in Niamey.

Mali said that they stand together with Burkina Faso to defend Niger and further warned that any foreign military intervention in Niamey will be considered a declaration of war on both nations with Niger.

“I warn that any military intervention against Niger will be considered as a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali,” announce Col. Abdoulaye Maiga, State Minister for Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Mali junta.

The announcement was in response to the outcome of a summit by regional bloc ECOWAS that gave a 7-day deadline to Niger's coup leaders to free detained president Mohamed Barzoum and restore civilian rule or face consequences, with military force an option being considered.

Mali further denounced the persistent sanctions by the ECOWAS upon the three countries terming the illegal.

“The transitional governments of Burkina Faso and Mali, One: have expressed their fraternal solidarity of the people of Mali and Burkina Faso with their brothers in Niger who have decided of their own accord to take their destiny in hand and to assume their sovereignty. Two: Denounce the persistence of the regional organisations to apply sanctions that aggravate the suffering of the population and imperil the spirit of PanAfricanism. Three: Refuse to apply these illegal, illegitimate and inhumane sanctions against the Nigerien people and authorities," said Col. Abdoulaye Maiga.

The declaration came from Col. Abdoulaye Maiga, State minister for Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Mali junta, who spoke on the state television network ORTM.

The nations are run by military governments in West and Central Africa, where there have been nine successful or attempted coups since 2020.

Source: africanews.com

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https://www.africanews.com/2023/08/01/mali-and-burkina-faso-warn-against-any-foreign-military-intervention-in-niger/

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Niger: Bazoum's party denounces "abusive arrests" including ministers

Four ministers, a former minister and the leader of the party of Mohamed Bazoum, president-elect overthrown by a coup on Wednesday, were arrested, according to a press release from the presidential party sent to AFP on Monday.

"After the kidnapping of the President of the Republic", Mohamed Bazoum, "the putschists are returning to the charge and multiplying the abusive arrests", denounced the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS).

On Monday morning, Oil Minister Mahamane Sani Mahamadou - son of former President Mahamadou Issoufou - then Mines Minister Ousseini Hadizatou, were arrested. The putschists also "arrested the chairman of the National Executive Committee of the PNDS", Fourmakoye Gado, the statement added.

"This follows" the "arrests" of the Minister of the Interior and Decentralization, Hama Amadou Souley, of the Minister of Transport, Oumarou Malam Alma, and of the deputy and former Minister of Defense Kalla Moutari, recalls the party.

The PNDS “demands” the “immediate release” of the ministers arrested and “unjustly kidnapped”, saying it fears that Niger will evolve towards “a dictatorial and totalitarian regime” . Sources close to the presidency also announced the arrest of the Minister of Vocational Education, Kassoum Moctar.

These arrests come at a time when the junta called in a press release "all former ministers and directors of institutions to return to the various ministerial departments and directorates all the official vehicles made available to them", no later than Monday at 12 p.m. (11 a.m. GMT).

The Prime Minister of Niger, Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou, denounced Sunday on France 24 as a "gratuitous coup" and repeated that Niger relied "a lot on its international partnership".

President Bazoum has been sequestered in his residence by members of his close guard since Wednesday morning. He spoke on the phone with several Heads of State and other personalities from Niger's partner states, such as France and the United States.

Source: africanews.com

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https://www.africanews.com/2023/07/31/niger-bazoums-party-denounces-abusive-arrests-including-ministers/

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Migrants between life and death in Tunisia-Libya desert

In the unbearable midday heat, a Libyan patrol near the border with Tunisia comes across a black African man collapsed on the reddish-brown desert sand.

He is barely breathing, and officers try to revive him, gently, with a few drops of water on his lips.

The man is just one among hundreds of migrants arriving daily in Libya after being abandoned in the desert borderland by Tunisian security forces, according to Libyan border guards and the migrants themselves.

By the time they reach Libya, the migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are ready to drop from exhaustion, in temperatures that have exceeded 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

AFP on Sunday witnessed the border guards rescue around 100 men and women from an uninhabited zone near Sebkhat al-Magta, a salt lake along the Libya-Tunisia border.

In the distant shimmering heat haze, six figures emerge, the latest to reach the area. They speak Arabic and say they have come from Tunisia.

By the time they reach Libya the migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are ready to drop from exhaustion.

Libyan border guards told AFP that, over the past two weeks, they have rescued hundreds of migrants who said they were left by Tunisian authorities in the border region near Al-Assah, about 150 kilometres (90 miles) west of Tripoli.

In early July, hundreds of migrants from sub-Saharan African countries were driven out of the Tunisian port city of Sfax as racial tensions flared following the death of a Tunisian man in a clash between locals and migrants.

- Tunisians 'brought me here' -

Haitham Yahiya, from Sudan, said he worked for a year in Tunisia's construction sector after reaching the country clandestinely through Niger and Algeria.

"I was at work when they caught me and brought me here, first in a police car then in a (security forces) truck. Then they left me and told me to go to Libya," he said in Al-Assah.

At its closest point, near Sfax, Tunisia is only about 130 kilometres from the Italian island of Lampedusa.

The North African country is a major gateway for migrants and asylum-seekers attempting perilous sea voyages in hopes of a better life in Europe, whose leaders have offered financial aid to help Tunisia manage the flow.

Human Rights Watch said up to 1,200 black Africans were "expelled, or forcibly transferred by Tunisian security forces" in July to the country's desert border regions with Libya and Algeria.

In mid-July, the Tunisian Red Crescent said it had provided shelter to at least 630 migrants who had been taken after July 3 to Ras Jedir, about 40 kilometres north of Al-Assah.

A few days later, though, AFP gathered testimony from hundreds of migrants still stuck in the Ras Jedir buffer zone. They said they had been forced there by Tunisian security forces.

In Ras Jedir, 350 people remained in a makeshift camp, including 65 children and 12 pregnant women.

"Their living conditions are very problematic," a humanitarian official told AFP, adding that "it is not sustainable in the long term, there are no toilets, no water tanks, no real shelters".

At Al-Assah, dazed migrants continue to stagger in, some with only sandals on their feet.

In twos and threes or by the dozens, they come. Some collapse. The guards hold bottles of water over their parched mouths.

Libyan border guards told AFP that, over two weeks, they have rescued hundreds of migrants.

Faced with the influx, Libyans from the border guards Battalion 19 of the army, and a unit against Saharan immigration, have been patrolling daily.

"We are on the demarcation line between Libya and Tunisia and we see more and more migrants arriving every day," said Ali Wali, Battalion 19 spokesman.

He said AFP received permission to accompany the units "to silence those (in Tunisia) who claim that we fabricated it all and brought the migrants here".

Their patrol area covers 15 kilometres around Al-Assah. Wali said that depending on the day, they might find "150, 200, 350, sometimes as many as 400 or 500 irregular migrants".

On this day there are 110, two of them women. There are supposed to be two others. A soldier searches for them through his binoculars.

- At least 17 dead -

On Thursday, a joint statement from United Nations agencies referred to the "unfolding tragedy" of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Tunisia's border regions.

"They are stuck in the desert, facing extreme heat, and without access to shelter, food or water. There is an urgent need to provide critical, life-saving humanitarian assistance while urgent, humane solutions are found," they said.

The UN has also singled out Libya in several reports in the past, denouncing violence against the 600,000 migrants it detains, most of them in camps.

The government of Tripoli has made it known in recent days that it rejects "resettlement" on its territory of migrants arriving from Tunisia.

The migrants, meanwhile, have crossed the border unknowingly. They walk, they said, in the direction that the Tunisian security forces told them to go -- towards Libya.

As a heatwave has suffocated the Mediterranean, some like Alexander UncheOkole said they had walked for two days, without food or water.

'How do you expect them to survive?' asks Ali Wali, spokesman of Libya's Battalion 19

Okole, 41, from Nigeria, said he entered Tunisia via Debdeb in Algeria, and "spent some time in Tunis but then the Tunisian police got me. They arrested me in the street and then took me down to the Sahara desert."

He showed a mobile phone whose screen was smashed, he said, by the Tunisians.

"With the Grace of God, the Libyans rescued me" and provided food and water, Okole said.

He survived but others have not.

Wali said officers found two bodies on Saturday, a couple of days after recovering five more including a woman and her baby. They had also discovered five corpses a week earlier, he said.

"How do you expect them to survive? The heat, no water, and a march of two, three days?" Wali asked.

Humanitarian groups in Libya reached by AFP gave a death toll of at least 17 over the past three weeks.

Source: africanews.com

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Southeast Asia

 

DAP MP calls on police to investigate Muhyiddin for racial, religious incitement over ‘Allah’ court case ahead of state polls

By Kenneth Tee

Monday, 31 Jul 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — Bukit Bendera MP Syerleena Abdul Rashid today called on the police to investigate Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for racial and religious incitement over his recent remarks on the unity government’s court withdrawal in appealing against a Sarawakian Bumiputera Christian’s contentious use of the word “Allah” for God.

The government backbencher from DAP said Muhyiddin’s remarks were a “dirty tactic” that aimed to create division even after Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Razarudin Husain warned political parties to steer clear of touching on sensitive topics involving religion, royalty and race (3R) in the state elections.

“His intention is clear, to divide the people with fear mongering,” she told a press conference in George Town that was also livestreamed on the DAP’s Facebook page this afternoon.

Syerleena accused the former prime minister of hypocrisy in playing up the 3R issues to garner support from Malay-Muslims voters for August 12 six state elections.

She said Muhyiddin had expressly stated in a June 22 press conference that PN would steer clear of the 3R issue and focus on addressing “important” matters such as the high cost of living.

“It is very clear cut. We are now urging the police to commence a probe against Muhyiddin,” she added.

Syerleena’s DAP party mate and Jelutong MP RSN Rayer who was also present at the same news conference said Muhyiddin's latest remark is clearly meant to sway Malay-Muslim voters not to back the Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional (PH-BN) unity government and its candidates in the state elections.

“I want to urge them to not resort to dirty tactics such as using religion and race during their campaign.

“Our campaign has been clean and on what can be done by the respective state governments, we do not resort to dirty tactics such as PN,” he said.

Several news outlets reported Muhyiddin saying at a PN ceramah in Kapar, Selangor last night that he was under pressure from DAP not to appeal against a High Court ruling that allowed Sarawakian Melanau Christian Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill to use the word Arabic word for God, “Allah” as part of her religious learning.

Muhyiddin was also reported claiming that PH chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had become prime minister only to stop the government from appealing the court decision so that non-Muslims could use the word.

Source: malaymail.com

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Fahmi says ready to cooperate with Jais on mosque political talk claim

Tuesday, 01 Aug 2023

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 1 — Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil is ready to fully cooperate with the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) if he is called in for questioning on allegations that he had delivered a political speech at a mosque in Rawang yesterday.

“Insya-Allah, if asked to, I am ready to step forward,” he told a media conference after delivering his keynote address at the Public Sector Day Malaysia programme here today.

Yesterday, several pictures of Fahmi with captions that he had allegedly touched on political issues while speaking at the prayer area of the Nurul Yaqin mosque in Kampung Melayu Seri Kundang went viral.

Yesterday, the media reported that Jais had received complaints on the matter and had called in the mosque ‘nazir’ (guardian) to give his statement.

Fahmi said he had clarified the matter on Facebook and Twitter, saying that he had been invited by the mosque committee to explain the decision to ban United Kingdom pop rock bank The 1975 and the cancellation of the Good Vibes concert.

“There was nothing political at all spoken (at the talk) or anything about the state elections,” he said while regretting the actions of certain quarters for trying to politicise the matter.

On July 22, the government cancelled the Good Vibes Festival (GVF) 2023 following The 1975’s controversial conduct and remarks during their session at the event held at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC). — Bernama

Source: malaymail.com

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Maips: Wearing of face masks no longer mandatory in Perlis mosques. surau

Tuesday, 01 Aug 2023

KANGAR, Aug 1 — The use of face masks in mosques and surau in the state is no longer mandatory with immediate effect, said the Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (Maips).

The directive has received the consent of the Regent of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail.

“This is in line with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) announcement on the latest developments of the Covid-19 pandemic which has the potential to subside this year to a point where it spreads like the flu (influenza).

“The directive is also in line with the relaxation of standard operating procedures with regard to the wearing of face masks that took effect on July 5, 2023, as announced by the Health Ministry,” said Tuanku Syed Faizuddin in a statement issued by Maips today.

However, the use of face masks is still encouraged for those with respiratory symptoms and high-risk individuals.

According to the same statement, Raja of Perlis Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail and Raja Perempuan of Perlis Tuanku Tengku Fauziah Tengku Abdul Rashid have expressed their appreciation to the people of Perlis for always giving full cooperation to Maips and its agencies in helping to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the state. — Bernama

Source: malaymail.com

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Mideast

 

‘I Screamed for Them to Save Me’: Ain Al-HilwehPalestinian Refugee Camp Residents Shelter in Mosque, Schools Amid Deadly Clashes

31 July 2023

SAIDA — Neighbours rushing a wounded man out of a street market on a vegetable cart. Families sheltering in a mosque overnight. And patients evacuating a nearby hospital — all as rival Palestinian factions traded deadly gun and RPG fire for a third consecutive day on Monday.

Deadly clashes in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, just outside Saida, broke out Saturday, killing at least eight people and wounding dozens, camp security sources told L’Orient Today. The fighting ignited between rival Fatah and Islamist factions.

Photos and videos shared with L’Orient Today by residents inside the camp showed streets filled with rubble, torn tarpaulins and standing water, while stray bullets hit buildings as far away as Saida. One shell hit a vegetable market inside the camp, residents told L’Orient Today, wounding a man who was then wheeled away on a wooden cart by his neighbors.

A video showed men maneuvering the cart down a street as gunfire reverberated.

Hundreds of families fled the camp on Sunday and Monday, young children and luggage in hand. It was not yet clear Sunday afternoon exactly how many people had been forced to leave the camp amid the clashes, as efforts to evacuate some families close to the frontlines were still underway, according to a L’Orient Today reporter who spoke with volunteers on the ground in Saida.

One volunteer, Ibrahim Hariri from the Rahman aid group, was among the first responders helping displaced families on Sunday. He estimated a total of 400 families had fled their homes since the fighting broke out.

On Monday afternoon, Islamic forces within the camp announced that the Joint Palestinian Action Committee, with the sponsorship of Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, agreed to an immediate ceasefire. However, the sounds of gunfire could still be heard inside the camp.

Sheltering in schools

On Monday afternoon, L’Orient Today found dozens of women and children sheltering in the UNRWA-run Nablus School in Saida, several hundred meters outside the camp. A local NGO had helped transport them to the school from a mosque near the camp entrance, where they had slept overnight after fleeing their homes.

Majdi Krayem, head of the Shafaa relief group, told L’Orient Today he and other volunteers transported 12 families from the mosque to the school on Monday and had brought them a doctor, drinking water and some vital medicines.

As they carried out their relief work “beneath the bombs” on Monday, some of the group’s ambulances were struck by bullets, Krayem added.

Inside the UNRWA-run Nablus school, L’Orient Today found 45-year-old Fatima, who said she was trapped by the rubble after a shell hit her home, toppling “half” of her house. She shouted for help from her neighbors.

“I screamed for them to save me,” she said. As the neighborhood filled with smoke, “one of my neighbors carried me out.”

Next to Fatima, Daad, a mother of four, sat with her children. “I fled my house because I was afraid for my children,” the oldest of whom is 17, Daad recounted. They ran toward the same mosque where hundreds of others sought refuge just outside the camp.

“We ran amid the sound of the bullets and the shells... I wasn’t the only one running. Many people were running: children, men and women, everyone,” she told L'Orient Today.

Daad and her children moved to the Nablus school the next day.

Nearby, L’Orient Today found supermarkets handing out food and some basic supplies to the women and children sheltering in the school.

Frequent clashes

Ain al-Hilweh is home to more than 54,000 registered Palestinian refugees who have been joined in recent years by thousands of Palestinians fleeing the conflict in Syria.

The densely populated camp is regularly the scene of shootings and clashes, either due to personal disputes or because of tensions between various Palestinian factions.

However, this week’s clashes – between Fatah and Islamist factions – are the deadliest in years.

The fighting prompted UNRWA on Sunday to announce it was suspending all services inside Ain al-Hilweh, while summer schools, the main government office and some main highways in Saida also closed. Saida residents also urged one another to stay indoors as stray bullets threatened those both within the camp and in nearby districts.

The shooting became so heavy on Monday that staff evacuated patients from the nearby Saida Governmental Hospital for safety, the Health Ministry announced.

Camp residents said the intensity of the fighting meant there was no way out except on foot.

“We left our home barefoot after a rocket fell in the building’s staircase,” Hanan, a teenage girl, told L'Orient Today on Sunday evening as she sat on the floor of the mosque-turned-shelter with her family.

Outside, the sound of bullets and RPG fire continued through the evening and into Monday afternoon.

Source: today.lorientlejour.com

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Al-Aqsa Mosque Faces Increasing Settler Incursions Amid Rising Tensions

July 31, 2023

During the month of July 2023, a record number of 6,558 settlers stormed the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, marking the highest number since the beginning of the year compared to previous months.

On Monday, July 31, 2023, 133 Israeli settlers, protected by Israeli occupation forces, conducted two rounds of incursions, one in the morning and another in the evening.

These settlers engaged in provocative tours inside the mosque, receiving explanations about the alleged “temple” and performing Talmudic rituals in its eastern part.

The incursions coincide with escalating tensions as extremist settlers are determined to establish the alleged “temple” amidst unprecedented preparations with full support from the right-wing Israeli government.

The situation at the Al-Aqsa Mosque remains highly sensitive, with daily violations and incursions by settlers, in an attempt to exert full control over the site both temporally and spatially.

Last Thursday, 2,180 settlers, led by the extremist Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, stormed the holy site, commemorating what they refer to as the “destruction of the temple.”

This invasion came in response to calls by settler organizations, who had been working for weeks to mobilize large-scale incursions to the mosque grounds to commemorate the event.

Source: daysofpalestine.ps

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Islamic State claims responsibility for Pakistan suicide bombing

Shuaa launches new Sharia-compliant Saudi Equity fund

DUBAI

Shuaa Capital, a leading asset management and investment banking platform in the region, has launched a new Sharia-compliant fund, Shuaa Saudi Equity Fund, designed to capitalise on the growing potential of Saudi and GCC equities.

The fund is under the Incorporated Cell Company (ICC) umbrella, domiciled in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and managed by Shuaa GMC Limited, the wholly-owned regulated subsidiary of Shuaa.

The new fund, provides regional and global institutional and High Net Worth individual investors with a strategic gateway to invest in the fast-growing Saudi public market.

Sharia-compliant equities

Shuaa Saudi Equity Fund will primarily invest in Sharia-compliant equities in Saudi Arabia, with a small allocation to other member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Shuaa Saudi Equity Fund will be actively managed and will typically invest across a wide range of industries. The fund is expected to invest in a portfolio of value and growth stocks across a combination of established and emerging business models.

The investment objective of the fund is to achieve long-term and risk-adjusted capital appreciation. The fund also offers an option to receive periodic dividend through a separate dividend share class. The Qualified Investor Fund will be open for subscribers through the Allfunds bank, a leading investment distribution platform, or via direct subscriptions.

Fund strategies

Shuaa established the ICC fund structure in ADGM in 2020 to launch differentiated fund strategies under the ICC platform to tap into asset classes such as equities, sukuk and multi-asset strategies across strong and resilient economies. With the launch of the Shuaa Saudi Equity Fund, the ICC platform now offers six diversified funds, including the Shuaa Global Sukuk Fund, Shuaa Global Equity Fund, Shuaa North America Equity Fund, Nujoom Aggressive Fund and Nujoom Balanced Funds. The assets under management (AuM) of the ICC platform has crossed $350 million.

Shuaa GMC is the investment manager of the six funds under the ICC umbrella.

Ajit Joshi, MD and Head of Public & Private markets at Shuaa Capital, said: "The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations have emerged as powerful forces in the worldwide economy, fuelled by their dedication to diversification and enterprising development strategies.

“Given the rising investor interest in Sharia-compliant investments, Shuaa's specially designed managed funds within the ICC framework serve these demands efficiently, while tapping into market-specific opportunities. The Saudi Equity Fund offers timely avenues for investors to take advantage of the region's growth potential and diversify their portfolios.”--TradeArabia News Service

Source: tradearabia.com

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https://www.tradearabia.com/news/BANK_411819.html

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Islamic sanctities, holy Qur'an insulted again in Sweden

Jul 31, 2023

TEHRAN, Jul. 31 (MNA) – Media reported on Monday that two Iraqi refugees who had insulted the Muslim holy book before in Sweden repeated their shameful action outside the Swedish parliament under police protection.

The AFP reported the repetition of the act of desecrating the Holy Qur'an in Sweden.

According to European media reports, Iraqi-born Salwan Momika and Salwan Najem, who had previously desecrated the Quran in the country, had been granted permission to burn the Muslim holy book this time outside the Swedish Parliament.

The two men committed the heinous act in front of the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm earlier today just like the ones they had done before.

The desecration of the Holy Qur'an in Sweden, which received Muslim condemnation, has put the two European countries of Sweden and Denmark under international immense pressure as Islamic countries and nations are boycotting their commercial and economic relations with them, dealing a heavy blow to their economies.

The repeated shameless move came only a day after Denmark's government released a statement saying that it would put legal limitations in order to stop the demonstrations involving the burning of the holy book Qur'an in certain circumstances.

Also yesterday, the Iraqi foreign ministry said that the country and the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) sent a strong letter, condemning the repeated attacks on the Holy Qur'an in Sweden.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Sunday he has been in close consultations with his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen over the incidents in their countries.

Both the Danish and Swedish governments have claimed that they oppose such actions.

The foreign ministers of the OIC member countries are slated to hold an emergency meeting later today to discuss the repeated insults and desecration of the Holy Qur'an.

Source: en.mehrnews.com

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan blast: Islamic State claims responsibility for suicide blast that killed 54 during a political rally in Bajaur

01 Aug 2023

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the Bajaur suicide blast in Pakistan, resulting in 54 deaths, including 23 children, with nearly 200 people wounded, according to a news report by Al Jazeera. The attack targeted an election rally in Pakistan's border district of Bajaur.

“A suicide attacker from the Islamic State [ISIL] … detonated his explosive jacket in the middle of a crowd" in the town of Khar, the armed group’s news arm Amaq said in a statement, according to Al Jazeera.

Pakistan: Suicide bombing during public rally

A suicide bomber targeted a gathering of around 400 members of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) party, a prominent government coalition partner led by hardline politician Fazlur Rehman. 

The attack took place near a market under a large tent, where the speeches were about to begin. The convention started at 2 pm, and the explosion happened at 4:10 pm.

According to Shokat Abbas, additional inspector general for the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), nearly 10–12 kg of explosives were used in the blast.

Fazlur Rehman, who had previously survived two explosions during political rallies in 2011 and 2014, was not present at the event, as reported by Al Jazeera.

US, Russia and Saudi Arabia condemn attack

The United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia have condemned the terror attack and have sent their condolences to the impacted families.

Since last year, when a truce between Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Islamabad collapsed, attacks by extremists have increased in Pakistan.

More than 100 people were killed earlier this year in a Peshawar mosque blast, reported Geo News. According to a recent UN Security Council report, the TTP may be looking to unite with Al Qaeda to form a single entity that would house all militant organisations active in South Asia.

Although cross-border militancy persists, Pakistan has long held Afghanistan responsible for failing to uphold its promise to ensure that its soil was not utilised for terrorism in Islamabad.

Source: livemint.com

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Bajaur suicide attack draws condemnation from across Muslim world

AUGUST 1, 2023

The suicide attack that took place in Bajaur on Sunday, which killed around 54 people and left over 200 injured, has drawn strong condemnations from across the Muslim world.

The leadership of the Muslim nations as well as the heads of the Muslim world bodies condemned the heinous crime and sympathized with the bereaved families.

At least 54 people were martyred in a suicide blast at a Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) workers’ convention in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Bajaur tribal district on Sunday. The explosion occurred when more than 400 JUI-F members and supporters gathered under a tent in the town of Khar, near the border with Afghanistan.

Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Hissein Brahim Taha, in a statement, condemned the explosion in the strongest terms.

He offered his sincere condolences to the victims’ families and to the government and people of Pakistan wishing a speedy recovery to the injured.

The secretary-general reaffirmed the OIC’s solidarity with Pakistan in its efforts to combat extremism and terrorism.

In a statement, the Saudi Foreign Ministry denounced the attack and reaffirmed the Kingdom’s rejection of violence and terrorism anywhere in the world, expressing that the Kingdom stood in full solidarity with Pakistan and its people.

The ministry offered condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims, the government, and the people of Pakistan, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

Secretary-General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf Jassim Muhammad Al-Budaiwi, also condemned the bombing and said that the position of the Cooperation Council was firm.

He said the Council rejected all forms of violence, extremism, and terrorism, which aimed to destabilize security and stability and were inconsistent with human values and principles.

Similarly, in a statement, the UAE foreign ministry also strongly condemned the terrorist attack and reiterated its permanent rejection of all forms of violence and terrorism aimed at undermining security and stability in contravention of human values and principles.

The UAE ministry also expressed its sincere condolences and sympathy to the Pakistani government and people.

The State of Qatar also expressed its strong condemnation and denunciation of the explosion.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated Qatar’s firm position on rejecting violence and terrorism, regardless of the motives and reasons.

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani strongly condemned the attack and offered condolences on behalf of the government and the people of Iran to the government and the people of Pakistan.

Besides Kuwait, the state of Egypt also condemned the bombing and “renewed its firm stance toward its categorical rejection of all forms of violence.

“Egypt, government and people, expressed their sincere condolences and sympathy to the government and people of brotherly Pakistan in this painful affliction, and to the families of the victims, wishing a speedy recovery for all the injured,” the Egyptian foreign ministry said.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk

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NA passes bill proposing jail for disclosing ‘sensitive information’

AUGUST 1, 2023

The National Assembly passed a bill on Monday to amend the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, which proposes up to five years in jail for those who disclose sensitive information pertaining to the security of the country or the military.

The bill was passed by the Senate last week, and according to Monday’s agenda of the NA, it was scheduled to be presented by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif in the lower house of Parliament.

However, in his absence, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar presented Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act, 2023 in the largely empty house.

Previously in the upper house of Parliament, senators had criticised the bill, and the PTI on Saturday decided to initiate a probe into the role of its senators in the passing of the legislation.

While tabling it Monday, Tarar clarified that none of the provisions of the amendment act would apply to civilians. He further elaborated that a matter pertaining to military trials had been taken up by the Supreme Court and this legislation would not apply to those trials as well. “This will not be retrospective in nature.”

The Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act, 2023 proposed adding Section 26-A to the act, under which “anyone who discloses or causes to be disclosed any information…shall be […] punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years”.

In case, the disclosure is approved by the army chief, it would not be considered a violation. The bill also proposed introducing Section 26-B, which forbids any person subject to the army act from engaging in any kind of political activity for two years from the date of their “retirement, release, resignation, discharge, removal or dismissal from the service”. It further said those who “remained posted, employed, seconded, tasked or otherwise attached on sensitive duties” are forbidden from taking part in “political activity of any kind, during a period of five years from the date of his retirement, release, resignation, discharge, removal or dismissal from the service”.

In case of violation, a court constituted under the army act can punish them with “rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years”. Section 55-A forbids any person subject to the army act in the past five years from “directly or indirectly enter[ing] into employment, consultation or other engagement with an entity having a conflict of interest” with the activities of the army or its affiliates. However, the law does not apply to those who seek prior approval from the COAS. A person guilty of the said offence can be imprisoned for up to “two years with fine not exceeding Rs500,000 or with both”, the bill stated. Section 55-B stated that any person, who is or has been subject to the army act, and commits an offence under the Peca 2016 “with the mala fide intention to undermine, ridicule, or scandalise the armed forces” shall be punished in the manner as prescribed in the Peca law.

Section 55-C stated that a person who is or has been subject to the army act, “intentionally ridicules, scandalises, brings into hatred or otherwise attempts to lower the armed forces of Pakistan or any part will be punished with imprisonment which may extend to two years or fine or with both”. A clause introduced to Section 176-C proposed that the COAS “may delegate any of his powers and functions conferred by, or delegated under this act, to any officer or authority subordinate to him”.

Meanwhile, the addition of Section 176-E proposed that the laws under the act “shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent contained in any other law, rules or regulations for the time being in force”, adding that any such inconsistent law shall, “to the extent of any inconsistency, cease to have effect”. Besides the Army Act amendment bill, the NA passed six other bills today.

Three of these bills were approved after the passage of a motion to suspend the rules for immediate consideration of these legislative proposals. The bills included the Pakistan Sovereign Wealth Fund Bill, 2023, National Commission for Human Development (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences and Technology, Islamabad (Amendment) Bill, 2023. Later, Tarar also moved the Defence Housing Authority Islamabad (Amendment) Bill, 2023. State Minister for Law and Justice Shahadat Awan moved the Cantonments (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and the Board of Investment (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk

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PTI chief again approaches SC to stop Toshakhana trial

AUGUST 1, 2023

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Monday filed another appeal before the Supreme Court seeking to stop his trial in the Toshakhana criminal case.

The PTI chief stated in his plea that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had not stopped the lower court from proceeding in the criminal case while continued hearing his appeals. Once the trial was completed then his appeals in the high court would become ineffective, he said, adding that the high court should have issued an order regarding rejection or acceptance of his request for a stay order.

The PTI chief’s legal team also filed a miscellaneous application seeking to fix the said case for hearing on August 1.

Meanwhile, a miscellaneous application has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking to form a full court bench for hearing cases pertaining to the trial of civilians by military army courts. Petitioner Kramat Ali, in his plea moved through his lawyer Faisal Saddiqui Advocate, stated that a similar case was also heard by a nine-member bench or full court and its decision was accepted. The Federal Government had also prayed to form a full court bench into the matter but the request was rejected, he added.

The petitioner prayed the court to form a full court bench containing all available judges and fix the case before it for further hearing, adding the Attorney General for Pakistan had already assured the court that the trials of the civilian accused had not started yet by the military courts. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on disposed of a contempt of court case against Justice Qazi Faez Isa after the petition was withdrawn.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial conducted in chamber hearing in the case, filed by Riaz Hanif Rahi Advocate. Earlier, the Registrar Office had raised various objections against the petition and the petitioner had filed an in chamber appeal against it.

The petitioner had filed the case seeking contempt of court proceeding against SC’s judge for running proceeding on audio tapes inquiry commission. However, the petitioner prayed the court to grant permission to withdraw his case which was accepted by the chief justice. The court subsequently disposed of the case.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk

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Exploring Shariah-compliant Islamic Coin: A New Face in the Crypto Space

August 01, 2023

Set to launch publicly on September 1, Islamic Coin ($ISLM) is an unprecedented amalgamation of digital finance and Islamic principles. By July 2023, the project had secured a staggering US$400 million in funding, and while such a sizable investment doesn't assure success, it certainly highlights the asset as a contender in the high-stakes world of cryptocurrency.

 $ISLM was designed to resonate with the world’s 2 billion Muslims, and this sheer demographic weight could potentially catapult it to the forefront of cryptocurrency ventures. However, the crucial question remains: will the broad audience embrace it?

Islam-aligned, community-oriented

At present, the global landscape of cryptocurrencies is populated by nearly 22,932 entities, according to CoinMarketCap, many of which have faded or are lying dormant. Only a bit over 8,000 of these currencies is actively engaging in the digital marketplace. In such a saturated environment, Islamic Coin has its work cut out for it — yet; it appears to have an unparalleled unique selling proposition.

The cryptocurrency has been meticulously fashioned to align with the values of practicing Muslims. The potential market for such a targeted initiative is substantial, ranging from estimates of 1.2 billion to 2 billion individuals globally.

Islamic Coin serves as the official currency of Haqq, a community-led block chain network developed by the Swiss-based non-profit HAQQ Association. On the network, $ISLM will possess a limited total supply, and 10% of every issuance will automatically be committed towards philanthropic initiatives.

These distinctive and community-driven functions offer the global Muslim community a robust financial tool tailored for the digital era. This instrument would facilitate frictionless transactions while simultaneously championing philanthropy and promoting innovation.

What is Shariah Compliance in Finance?

To gain a deeper understanding of the prospects of Islamic Coin, we need to explore what Shariah compliance in the financial sphere means.

●       Islamic law prohibits the imposition or payment of interest, instead advocating for profit-sharing or risk-sharing arrangements. It also doesn't allow involvement in uncertain transactions. Any activities involving gambling, speculation, or alcohol are also forbidden.

●       Contracts must be transparent, with explicit terms and conditions to ensure all parties involved have a comprehensive understanding of potential outcomes.

●       It mandates businesses to be socially responsible, necessitating those transactions are underpinned by tangible assets and that a portion of profits is allocated towards charitable causes.

Shariah-compliant finance provides an alternative financial system that matches Islamic values while delivering a suite of sustained financial services. Adopting this system comes with several benefits, including fostering an equitable distribution of wealth and reducing the risk of financial crises through its prohibition of excessive risk-taking and speculative trading. This approach also encourages sustainable development by mandating businesses operate responsibly towards society and the environment.

Islamic Coin aspires to anchor itself upon these principles when launching its cryptocurrency. While these tenets make sense theoretically, their practicality is a different matter. Recent research shows a gradual loosening of ties to Islam in parts of the Middle East, particularly in countries like Iran and among the younger generation.

So, will adherence to Shariah law alone be sufficient to bolster the popularity of this coin? This will be one of the biggest challenges of the project going forward.

Understanding Fatwa

The project received a Fatwa last year, confirming its Shariah compliance from a board of distinct leaders in Islamic finance. A Fatwa signifies an "opinion" from an Islamic authority asserting conformity with Shariah principles. This means Haqq can now assert that it has earned recognition and stands at the precipice of a revolution in Islamic finance.

While a positive Fatwa isn't legally binding, it offers assurance of alignment with the precepts prescribed in the Quran and Islamic teachings. However, not all Muslim authorities capable of issuing Fatwas agree with this Fatwa.

Islamic Coin aims to persuade practicing Muslims that its use can economically uplift the Muslim community. It intends to accomplish this while maintaining Islamic values via the application of block chain technology and other innovations.

The Driving Forces behind Islamic Coin

The key figures orchestrating the project present a fascinating amalgam of expertise. One such luminary is Mohammed AlkaffAlHashmi, a computer science engineer and the Co-Founder of HAQQ Network.

The project’s Shariah board behind this fatwa included Sheikh Dr. Nizam Mohammed Saleh Yaquby, who is colloquially known as 'The Gatekeeper' for safeguarding the $2 trillion Islamic finance market. The board also includes Shariah scholar and Islamic finance professor Sheikh Dr. Essam Khalaf Al-Enezi, financial advisor to Dubai Islamic Bank and Emirates Islamic Sheikh Mohamed Abdel Hakim Mohamed, and Sheikh Dr. Mohamed Zoeir: a Shariah scholar and Islamic banking expert with 45 years of experience. The board’s remaining members are Sheikh Juma bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, Sheikh Mohammad bin Khalifa bin Mohammad bin Khalid al Nahyan and Sheikh Khalifa bin Mohammed bin Khalid al Nahyan.

In addition to its robust Shariah board, an executive board directs the project’s key operations and maintains oversight. This includes individuals like Hussein Mohammed Al Meeza, an Islamic banker affiliated with Dubai Islamic Bank, and Peter Raffety, a fund manager at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. To complete the team, Dubai's ruling family member Sheikha Mariam Suhail Obaid Suhail Al Maktoum brings unique perspectives to the table.

Charitable Endeavors

One of the core virtues of this coin is its inherent philanthropic approach. Yet, the potential of Islamic Coin extends beyond this generosity. There is a palpable optimism around the project's future, predicated on a seemingly modest estimation. If only a small fraction (3% to 4%) of Muslims who currently engage in crypto currency trading decide to join the network, it could catapult the coin to popularity levels comparable to Bitcoin.

Such a trajectory could inflate the value to an astronomical $1 trillion valuation. Consequently, per its philanthropic principle, $100 billion would be channeled into community work and charitable initiatives.

Advantages over Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the leading cryptocurrency by market capitalization and enjoys extensive adoption and real-world utility. However, Islamic Coin presents an intriguing alternative for the Muslim community. While Bitcoin is globally recognized, it has been deemed 'haram' (impermissible) by several Muslim authorities due to its non-compliance with Islamic law. The project’s adherence to Shariah principles differentiates it from other cryptocurrencies and could give it a distinct advantage in appealing to practicing Muslims.

Final Thoughts on Islamic Coin

Islamic Coin's launch marks a pivotal moment in the cryptocurrency sphere. A digital currency that is Shariah-compliant and tailored to meet the needs of practicing Muslims may possess the unique appeal needed to make waves in the crypto market.

However, there remain hurdles to overcome. Not all Muslims align with its principles, and the fatwa doesn't necessitate unanimous approval from Muslim authorities. Furthermore, the coin will be up against robust, well-established Islamic financial systems and institutions that already operate in accordance with Shariah principles.

ISLM Co-Founder Mohammed Alkaff expressed pride in creating a "Shariah-compliant, immutable, independent financial system that serves the Muslim community and beyond." He called it "a pillar of stability, intertwined with values that are future-proof in a changing world.”

By the last quarter of 2023, the project aims to have integrated 20 payment firms from the Middle East and North Africa regions, but the central question remains: will Islamic Coin reach and surpass the level of adoption of Bitcoin and other top currencies? The potential is there, but only time will tell.

Source: nation.com.pk

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Arab World

 

Saudi Arabia reaffirms desecration of Qur’an is unacceptable

July 31, 2023

JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia reaffirmed on Monday that desecration of the Holy Qu’ran is unacceptable under any justifications and there should be practical steps to put an end to repetition of the incidents of burning of the holy book. Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan said this while addressing remotely the opening session of the

Extraordinary Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which groups 57 Muslim countries.

The meeting was convened, at the request of Saudi Arabia, which is chairing the 14th Islamic Summit, to discuss the measures to be taken to address the repeated incidents of desecration and burning of the copies of the Holy Qur’an in a number of Western countries, such as Sweden and Denmark.

Prince Faisal renewed the Kingdom’s strong condemnation and denunciation of the repeated attacks on the sanctity of the Holy Qur’an, while emphasizing that these provocative actions cannot be accepted under any justifications. “These are in violation of international covenants that call for harmony, peace and rapprochement, and are in direct contradiction with the international efforts seeking to spread the values of tolerance and moderation, and rejecting extremism, and undermines the principles of mutual respect necessary for maintaining better relations between peoples and states,” he said.

The minister emphasized that the OIC has the greatest role in coordination, cooperation and integration with various other Islamic organizations to defend the values of tolerance and peace, protect and spread the true image of Islam, and reject and combat intolerance, extremism, and spread of hatred and violence. He also drew attention to the outcome of the efforts of the OIC member states in the adoption of the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on July 12, 2023 that aimed at combating religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.

Prince Faisal called on the OIC member states to unite efforts in order to take practical and effective steps to confront these attacks, noting that the OIC Charter emphasizes protecting and defending the true image of Islam, confronting distortion of the image of Islam, and encouraging dialogue between civilizations and religions.

The minister underscored that the freedom of expression shall be deemed a moral value that fosters respect and coexistence among peoples and not a tool to spread hatred and clash between cultures and peoples. He also pointed out to the need to spread the values of tolerance and moderation and reject all forms of practices that generate hatred, violence and extremism.

From the Saudi side, the extraordinary meeting is being attended by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Eng. Waleed Al-Khereiji, Advisor at the Undersecretariat for Multiple International Affairs Dr. Abdullah Al-Tayer, and the Kingdom's Permanent Representative to OIC Dr. Saleh Al-Suhaibani.

Source: saudigazette.com.sa

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Saudi Arabia-based OIC Urges Member Nations to Act Against Countries Allowing Quran Burnings 

July 31, 2023

BEIRUT —

The Organization for Islamic Cooperation urged its member nations Monday to take action against countries that permit public burning or desecration of the Quran, including the recalling of ambassadors.

The Saudi Arabia-based group made the call in a statement following an emergency online meeting of its foreign ministers to discuss recent incidents in which the Islamic holy book was burned or otherwise defaced at officially permitted protests in Sweden and Denmark.

The organization's 57 member countries should “consider taking any necessary decisions and actions that they deem appropriate in their relations" with Sweden, Denmark and other countries that allow such incidents, including recalling their ambassadors, the statement said.

It encouraged civil society organizations in the member states to work with counterparts in countries where the Quran has been burned or desecrated to file local lawsuits “before taking their cases to international judicial bodies, where applicable.”

It also called for more efforts at outreach to combat Islamophobia, praising Kuwait for commissioning the printing of 100,000 copies of the Quran translated into Swedish for distribution in Sweden.

Many of the points in the final statement echoed recommendations made by Iraq’s Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein, who also called on the United Nations to “take measures to prevent these incidents.”

Ahead of the meeting, two men who had previously burned a copy of the Quran in Sweden did so once again, in front of a crowd of a few dozen onlookers and about 20 counterprotesters.

In both Sweden and Denmark, there is no law against blasphemy, and freedom of expression is generally held in high regard.

But as the recent Quran burnings have sparked angry demonstrations and diplomatic backlash in Muslim countries, officials in the Scandinavian countries have begun to consider whether there should be curbs on public defacement of holy books or other religious symbols.

Danish Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said Sunday in an interview with Danish public broadcaster DR that the government is seeking a “legal tool” to prohibit such inflammatory acts without compromising freedom of expression.

In Sweden, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Sunday on Instagram that his government is analyzing the legal situation regarding desecration of the Quran and other holy books, given the animosity such acts are stirring up against Sweden.

Before Monday’s meeting, the OIC had already suspended the status of Sweden’s special envoy over the Quran burnings.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said in a statement that he spoke in recent days with counterparts in OIC countries to explain how Sweden's freedom of expression works and that police make independent decisions on protest applications. He added that “the government is very clear in its distance from the Islamophobic acts carried out by individuals at demonstrations in Sweden.”

The Danish foreign minister said his “government condemned and denounced the insult” to the Quran and “that it is studying this issue with great interest.”

Source: voanews.com

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Nearly 200 Saudis graduate from Spain’s prestigious Les Roches institute

July 31, 2023

MAKKAH: The first batch of Saudi students graduated this week from the executive master’s program in international hotel management at Les Roches Global Hospitality Education, in Marbella, Spain.

The program was launched by the Ministry of Tourism last year as part of the Ahlaha 2022 initiative. All 198 male and female graduates expressed their gratitude to the Saudi ministry, which is developing initiatives to enhance the capabilities of workers in the tourism sector, especially in the hotel industry.

The graduates told Arab News that they can now return with a refined knowledge and vision gained from one of the world’s best hospitality institutes.

Maram Kokandi, the hotel manager of Doubletree by Hilton Makkah, said that the nine-month intensive program she enrolled in covered all subjects relevant to hotel management.

She described it as a fantastic program that supported the hotel sector, based on Saudi Vision 2030, and praised the support provided by the ministry to Saudi nationals.

She pointed out that Les Roches is globally renowned for producing the best talents in the field of hospitality, and they were honored to be part of this global fabric.

Kokandi added that the knowledge they acquired will be valuable in terms of management and localization of the tourism and hospitality sector, and will contribute to the development and progress of the sector in the Kingdom.

She said: “This is a big dream, and everyone is striving to give back to this great nation.

“We are determined to succeed in achieving the hopes and aspirations for our country and benefiting from each other’s experiences.”

Dawla Talal Al-Malki, the front office manager at Hilton Riyadh Olaya, said that the program was one of the greatest offerings by the ministry to the hotel and hospitality sector, and represented an unprecedented step globally.

Speaking about the significance of the opportunity to the future of the Kingdom, Al-Malki added: “Our goal is to represent the Kingdom in the hospitality sector in the best possible way and contribute to creating a new generation capable of leading the tourism and hospitality sector in the country.

“What the ministry has provided will have a lasting impact, and my fellow graduates and I will work on crystallizing this academic aspect to improve services.”

Al-Malki pointed out essential topics in hotel management such as sustainability programs, financial management, and strategic management, and added: “All of these are essential for us to reach and achieve the Vision 2030’s aspiration to be a leading tourist destination, whether locally, regionally, or globally.

“All of this and more will directly impact our work performance and the sector as a whole, enabling tourism in Saudi Arabia to rise with the highest service standards, reflecting the Kingdom’s generosity and high professionalism.”

FerasBawareth, who works as the cluster chief engineer at Seera Group, said that the journey was both challenging and enjoyable.

He said: “It began with applying for the program, interviews, and selection. Princess Haifa bint Mohammed, the deputy minister of tourism, was with us every step of the way, personally overseeing the Kingdom’s vision and the purpose of this program.

“We were divided into two groups, one at Les Roches in Switzerland and the other in Marbella, Spain, to pursue the executive master’s degree in hotel management … in the field of global tourism.

“The goal was to prepare us for leading the hotel sector in Saudi Arabia, and I tried to bridge the gap between my engineering studies and hotel management.”

Nouf Aldhahri, an assistant food and beverage manager at Jeddah Hilton and Waldorf Astoria Qasr Alsharq, said that her experience at Les Roches was a dream she had never imagined achieving.

She noted that throughout the past year, the ministry had put in tremendous effort, special arrangements, and attention to the smallest details.

She described the program as an enriching experience that allowed them to immerse themselves in a world of knowledge, broaden their horizons, and acquire the necessary skills and experiences for excellence in the tourism field.

She added: “The support (of the ministry) not only empowered us but also reinforced our commitment to contributing meaningfully to the growth and development of our tourism industry.”

Maha Mahdi, who works as the guest relations supervisor at Novotel Jazan Hotel, said that she started working in the sector five years ago in the city of Jazan, where opportunities for development were limited compared to major cities, especially those with international brand hotels.

She added: “Today, I am a graduate with an executive master’s degree in international hotel management from one of the strongest specialized universities, a dream that has been achieved thanks to a great and supportive nation.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2347431/saudi-arabia

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Islamic Affairs Ministry Participates in Moderation, Peaceful Coexistence Symposium in Thailand

31 Jul, 2023

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah, and Guidance actively contributed to the organization of a scientific dialogue symposium focused on moderation and peaceful coexistence in a multicultural society. This collaborative effort took place in conjunction with the Thai Wasatiyyah Institute for Peace and Development.

 The symposium, hosted by Prince of Songkla University in southern Thailand, attracted the participation of approximately 200 university students. Its primary objective was to promote moderate Islamic ideology, specifically emphasizing peaceful cohabitation between Muslims and non-Muslims in the predominantly Muslim provinces of southern Thailand.

 Additionally, the symposium aimed to draw upon the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's expertise in advocating moderation and combating hatred, extremism, and intolerance.

Source: alriyadhdaily.com

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Saudi govt agency to fund $22m Bosnia library building project

July 31, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Fund for Development officials on Monday unveiled a $22 million project to build a library at the University of Sarajevo, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

A ceremony to launch the scheme was attended by Bosnia and Herzegovina Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmedin Konakovic, Prime Minister of the Sarajevo Canton Nihad Uk, and the Saudi Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Osamah bin Dakhil Al-Ahmadi.

The public library, which will cover 13,590 square meters, will connect 28 branch libraries in the various faculties of the university. It will be accessible to more than 22,000 students, around 1,600 staff and faculty members, and 10,000 other external users.

The project aims to boost university standards, enhance its scientific research capabilities, and address the needs of students.

Chairman of the SFD’s board of directors, Ahmed Aqeel Al-Khateeb, said the project was part of efforts to further strengthen relations between Saudi Arabia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Konakovic said that while the project would enrich academic work, he hoped the library would become a symbol of joint efforts between the two countries to promote education and knowledge for future generations.

Established in 1975, the Saudi fund has financed 11 projects and development programs in various regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina with a total value of around $185 million.

Source: arabnews.com

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Saudi FM calls on OIC states to take practical steps to confront Qur’an desecration incidents

July 31, 2023

RIYADH:Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan has called on Organization of Islamic Cooperation states to unite in efforts to take practical and effective steps to confront protests involving the desecration of the holy Qur’an.

He was speaking at an extraordinary OIC meeting on Monday to address repeated incidents where copies of the Qur’an have been desecrated in Sweden and Denmark.

Prince Faisal said that the organization was responsible for defending the values of tolerance and peace, protecting and spreading the true image of Islam, and rejecting and combating intolerance and extremism.

Prince Faisal highlighted that efforts by OIC states resulted in the UN Human Rights Council adopting a resolution on July 12 which condemned and strongly rejected any advocacy and manifestation of religious hatred, including public and pre-meditated acts of desecration of the holy Qur’an.

The foreign minister said that freedom of expression should be a moral value that spread respect and coexistence among people and not a tool to spread hatred and clashes between cultures.

He highlighted the need to spread the values of tolerance and moderation, and reject all forms of practices that generated hatred, violence and extremism.

Prince Faisal renewed the Kingdom’s strong condemnation of Qur’an-desecrating incidents, stressing that these provocative acts could not be accepted under any justification.

OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha called on Sweden and Denmark to prevent Qur’an desecration and “expressed his disappointment that no measures were taken in this regard so far.”

“It is unfortunate that the concerned authorities claiming freedom of expression continue to provide licenses to repeat these acts contrary to international law, and this leads to a lack of respect for religions,” Taha said in remarks during the meeting.

A recent string of public Qur’an desecrations by a handful of anti-Islam activists in Denmark and Sweden have sparked angry demonstrations in Muslim countries.

Earlier on Monday, more Qur’an burnings took place in Sweden and Denmark as the governments of the two Nordic countries said that they were examining ways to legally limit such acts in a bid to de-escalate growing tensions with OIC countries.

On Sunday, Denmark’s Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said that the government would seek to make it illegal to desecrate the Qur’an or other religious holy books in front of foreign embassies in the Nordic country.

He said in an interview with the Danish public broadcaster DR that the burning of holy scriptures “only serves the purpose of creating division in a world that actually needs unity.”

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2347336/saudi-arabia

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South Asia

 

Delegation of Islamic Clerics from UK Meet with Acting Ministers

A delegation of Islamic clerics which recently arrived in Kabul met with the acting minister of Vice and Virtue, and minister of Justice of the Islamic Emirate

According to the spokesman for the Ministry of Vice and Virtue, Mohammad Akif Mahajar, the acting Minister Mohammad Khalid Hanafi said that the Islamic Emirate remains committed to practical implementation of its promises.

Hanafi also called the propaganda against the Islamic Emirate inaccurate.

“These Ulema said that they want to see an image of Islamic government in Afghanistan,” Mahajar said.

The delegation of the religious clerics from the UK also met with the acting minister of justice, Abdul Hakim Sharie.

“Implementation of Islamic Sharia means opening schools and granting girls’ access to their schools and educational centers, the education of girls and rights of women. The rights of women in the society is one of the fundamentals of Islamic religion,” said Wais Naseri, a political analyst.

“The obstacles ahead of girls' and women’s education should be lifted. The continuation of these obstacles causes a major disaster for today and tomorrow in Afghanistan,” said Fazal Hadi Wazin, university instructor.

The delegation earlier met with the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amir Khan Muttaqi, and talked about the ongoing situation, strengthening security, national stability and economic development after the Islamic Emirate came to power.

Source: tolonews.com

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https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-184439

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Number Increases of Afghan Refugees in UK Given Permanent Housing

TOLOnews findings indicate that the process of transferring Afghan refugees living in the UK from hotels to permanent housing has accelerated.

The British Home Office warned a few months ago that if the Afghans who were moved to the hotels after being evacuated and transferred to the UK do not leave the hotels, they would be expelled from the hotels.

A number of these Afghan citizens, who have moved to hotels in different regions of the country after being transferred to Britain, told TOLOnews that most people in the hotels have been moved to permanent homes.

The situation of Afghans who have been transferred to Britain has not been the same in all areas and in all hotels.

For some people, permanent homes became available quickly, but not for many.

Almost three months ago, the British government warned that if Afghans transferred to Britain rejected the proposed houses and do not look for houses themselves, they will be expelled from the hotels.

In an announcement, the British Home Office gave 8,000 Afghan refugees who are staying in 59 hotels across the UK a deadline to leave the hotels until the end of August 2023.

Now, a number of Afghans living in hotels have told TOLOnews that the process of transferring Afghan families to permanent homes has been accelerated.

“I live in a hotel ... Almost thirty families stayed in this hotel. Now there are seven or eight families left. Everyone has been given a home and left the hotel. I have also been offered a house and I am going to leave here on August 14,” said Abdur Rahman Fekri, who lives in a hotel in Kent.

Fekri says that house owners are not very willing to rent houses to Afghans who still have no job or income here. But the houses proposed by the government can solve the problem.

Several Afghans in other cities and hotels also told Tolonews about similar experiences in an informal conversation.

According to the BBC, around 21,100 Afghans have come to Britain under two separate schemes: one for vulnerable people and ethnic minorities, and another for those who worked for the British army and government.

In response to the rejection of the houses proposed by the government by some Afghans, the British government has said that the government does not guarantee that these refugees will be given desired properties.

Previously, some circles within the British government have challenged the decision of the UK home office to set a deadline for Afghan citizens living in hotels and have said that this decision may make these people face homelessness.

Source: tolonews.com

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Continued Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan is Essential: ARCS Acting President

2023-07-31

Kabul (BNA): The President of the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) in a meeting with the President of the Saudi Red Crescent Authority said that continued and further humanitarian aid to Afghanistan is important for responding to current economic crisis in the country.

According to a statement from ARCS, the Acting President of Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) Mawlavi Mati-ul-Haq Khalis met with President of Saudi Red Crescent Authority Dr. Jalal Al-Owaisi, on the sidelines of the fifth consultative meeting of national Red Cross societies, which was held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

In the meeting, Mawlavi Muti-ul-Haq Khalis stated that continued and increasing international help to Afghanistan is critical to alleviating the country’s current economic crisis. He also requested for cooperation in the health sector of Afghanistan.

Acting President of ARCS Mawlavi Muti-ul-Haq Khalis also met with Faiz Ali, the deputy president of the Tajik Red Crescent and his accompanying delegation and discussed signing a memorandum of understanding for strengthen cooperation between the two organizations.For Better Communication between Gov’t and Public, 1259 Religious Scholars Appointed.

Source: bakhtarnews.af

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IEA Condemns Explosion at a Jamiat-Ulema Islam Gathering in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

KABUL (BNA): The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) condemned the explosion in a meeting of Jamiat -Ulema Islam in the Bajaur tribal district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.

The spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Zabiullah Mujahid said that the Islamic Emirate condemns the tragic incident and shares his deep condolences to the affected families.

He prayed for the souls of the martyrs and for the rapid recovery of those injured and stated that such acts cannot be justified in any words.

It comes as dozens of people were killed and over a hundred others injured in the explosion at the gathering in Bajaur region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, on Sunday.

Source: bakhtarnews.af

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Foreign Organizations’ Campaign is Aimed for Brain Drain from Afghanistan: Mujahid

2023-07-31

KABUL (BNA): The spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Zabiullah Mujahid says that a number of foreign organizations including International Organization for Transitional Justice and Peace have launched a campaign to evacuate professional individuals from Afghanistan.

International Organization for Transitional Justice and Peace and some other foreign organizations in the United States have recently launched a campaign in order to transfer 1,500 Afghan prosecutors and their families to third countries, under the pretext of threats to their safety.

The spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid, said that the concerns of American organizations regarding the safety of Afghan prosecutors in Afghanistan is totally baseless, criticizing the campaign as an attempt for promoting brain drain from the country and human trafficking.

He said that there are no any threats to former prosecutors in Afghanistan and reports released by a number of foreign NGOs on the regard are biased and intended for spreading propaganda to create an atmosphere of fear among Afghans.

The Islamic Emirate calls on Afghans not to be deceived by these dubious organizations and not to leave their country. The general amnesty of Islamic Emirate is granted to everyone and no one is allowed to violate it, he said.

Source: bakhtarnews.af

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Organs Instructed to Urgently Reach to Flood-Affected People in Urgon: Deputy PM

2023-07-31

KABUL (BNA): Deputy Prime Minister of the IEA for political affairs, Mawlavi Abdul Kabir, in a meeting with a number of scholars, influential people, and tribal elders of Urgon district, Paktika province, said, he has directed relevant departments to provide urgent assistance to the flood affected people in the region.

According to a statement released by the office of the Deputy Prime Minister, scholars and elders of Urgon while expressing satisfaction with the strengthening of the Islamic system in the country, assured their support, and said that there have been significant positive changes in the country over the last two years.

The participants of the meeting also shared information regarding the losses caused by the recent floods in the district and expressed concern that necessary measures have not been taken to help flood-affected families in the region.

They also shared their demands and suggestions regarding the expansion of services in fields such as education, health, and reconstruction in the Urgon district.

Mawlavi Abdul Kabir expressed his sympathies to Urgon elders for the damage caused by the recent floods and stated that the organs concerned have been requested to reach out to individuals impacted immediately and focus on methods to prevent such disasters in the future.

He assured the elders that their demands and suggestions would be forwarded to the appropriate authorities for consideration.

Source: bakhtarnews.af

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