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Islamic World News ( 12 May 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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“Real Kerala Story”: Muslims Mobilise Rs 46 lakh ‘the Blood Money’ Required To Free a Kerala Hindu Jailed in Qatar over Accidental Death

New Age Islam News Bureau

12 May 2023

 

Representational picture

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India

Give Hindu Woman Security for “Offering Namaz” At Mosque,Uttarakhand HC Tells Cops

Delhi HC Orders Sudarshan News to Remove Video Accusing Muslim Man of Forceful Conversion

Why we need to remember the Muslims who raised their voice for a united India

Trouble at the temple: ban on Muslims a sign of India’s new intolerance

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North America

Shocking Video Shows Man Violently Attacked In Scarborough Mosque Parking Lot

US Man Linked To Islamic State 'Empress' Faces Charges for Wiring Money To Group

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Europe

Postgraduate scholarships for British Muslim students looking to study in Bournemouth

EU members support clampdown on Russian oil smugglers – Politico

EU will not sanction Russia’s nuclear industry – Hungarian FM

Ukraine using chemical weapons, Russian journalist claims

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Arab World

Ministry launches ‘Hajj Journey’ documentary series in Indonesia

Fourth and Fifth Saudi Aid Planes Arrive In Sudan

Saudi Arabia concludes evacuation operations in Sudan

Saudi economy and planning minister meets with Belgian officials

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Southeast Asia

PAS President Says, PAS Seeks To Restore Malay Leadership That Follows Islamic Principles

Regent of Perlis: Function of the mosque needs to be strengthened for benefit of ummah

Perak Ruler grants permission to selected teachers to present Friday sermon

Indonesia says ASEAN credibility at stake as Myanmar crisis worsens

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South Asia

Following The Demands of the World China Asks Kabul to Protect Women’s Rights

Afghans living in Pakistan ‘concerned’ about their safety

Afghanistan should not be excluded from international community: China

UN Violates Gender Equality by Adopting Taliban Policies: Freedom Now

Former Minister Of Information and Culture Surrenders To Taliban Forces

UNICEF Warns Of Critical Funding Gap for Treatment OF Severe Acute Malnutrition in Afghanistan

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Mideast

Mosul Museum to Reopen After 20-Year Closure, Iraq War and Islamic State Ransacking

Israel Kills Islamic Jihad Rocket Chief in Gaza, Fourth Senior Commander Dead in Three Days

Israel Strikes on Gaza Kill 25 People Including Children: Palestinian Health Ministry

Islamic State Claims Damascus Car Bomb As Assad Invited To Saudi

HRH Prince Salman Lauds Bahrain’s Global Standings, Commitment To Islamic Values

Organization of Islamic Cooperation strongly condemns continuation of Israeli military aggression against Gaza

Islamic Jihad group links cease-fire with end to Israeli assassination policy

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New Zealand

New Zealand Loses Top Spot As Most 'Islamic Country in the World'; Muslim Community Leaders Say They Are Not Surprised

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Pakistan

Islamabad High Court Resumes Hearing on Imran’s Bail Plea in Al-Qadir Trust Case

Frontier Corps Muslim Bagh Camp Attacked By Terrorists in Balochistan: ISPR

Islamic Finance enters the Russian market

Bank Alfalah Islamic offers young Islamic professionals internships

ICIEC honoured with GTR leaders in trade award for Islamic Finance in trade

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Africa

Algeria Says Army Officer Killed In Clash with Islamists

Federal Road Safety commander wants Islamic law to try traffic offenders

Zukuka Finance deploys Islamic banking principles to save borrowers

AlQalam University remains Islamic, liberal, says VC

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/kerala-story-muslims-blood-money-qatar/d/129762

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 “Real Kerala Story”: Muslims Mobilise Rs 46 lakh ‘the Blood Money’ Required To Free a Kerala Hindu Jailed in Qatar over Accidental Death

 

Representational picture

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M. Rakesh

12.05.23

The Indian Union Muslim League has mobilised the blood money required to free a Kerala Hindu who works as a lorry driver in Qatar after he was jailed over an accidental death, in what is being termed as the “real Kerala story”, that too in Malappuram that is often a Right-wing target.

Divesh Lal, 28, had parked his water tanker to enter a nearby shop on January 8 when the vehicle rolled back and hit an Egyptian national who later died. Lal was jailed and offered two options in keeping with the law of the land — secure his freedom by paying blood money to the family of the deceased or serve the entire prison sentence.

Kerala state chief of the Muslim Youth League, Panakkad Sayyid Munavvar Ali Shihab Thangal, launched a campaign to collect the required money to free Lal and bring him back to his family at Perinthalmanna in Malappuram.

“Blood money of Rs 46 lakh was needed to free Divesh Lal, who was jailed after his vehicle accidentally killed an Egyptian man. Many have responded to the appeal to bring the young man back to his poor family,” Thangal said in a Facebook post, announcing the closure of the donation drive on Wednesday.

While a Qatar-based Malayali businessman connected to the IUML donated Rs 16 lakh, the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre, which is linked to the party and is based in the Gulf nation, pitched in with Rs 4 lakh. A collective of Qatar-based NRIs from Malappuram donated Rs 6 lakh.

“The remaining Rs 20 lakh was collected through donations from Malappuram within three days of Thangal’s appeal last week,” Aziz Pattikkad, IUML leader and chairman of the Perinthalmanna block panchayat standing committee, told The Telegraph on Thursday.

The IUML had formed a special committee under Vallikkunnu MLA Abdul Hamed Master to supervise the mobilisation of the funds and its transfer to Qatar.

“As we speak, the legal formalities are underway in Qatar where the money will be paid to the kin of the deceased Egyptian national before the release order is processed to free Lal,” Aziz said.

Lal, who hails from a poor family, had headed to Qatar to work as a driver to repay the housing loan of Rs 10 lakh he had taken from a local bank.

Lal had spent 74 days in jail before being released on account of the month of Ramazan when certain categories of under trials are freed temporarily. He is set to return to prison on May 20. “We hope to complete all formalities before that to ensure he doesn’t have to go back to jail,” Aziz said.

While the act of kindness from the IUML and the larger Muslim community of Malappuram is nothing unusual, the mission has coincided with the controversy stirred up by The Kerala Story, which purports to show that girls from Kerala are forcibly converted and sent to join the Islamic State as “jihadi brides”.

Thangal said: “We have been seeing such acts of kindness and generosity for decades in Kerala. But these acts get highlighted when seen against the backdrop of hate campaigns by certain sections that are trying to tarnish the image of a state and its people.”

Source: telegraphindia.com

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https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/muslims-team-up-to-free-kerala-hindu-jailed-in-qatar-over-accidental-death/cid/1936167

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Mohammed Chhipa, A US Citizen of Indian Origin, Accused Of Aiding ISIS

 

Mohammed Chhipa, 33

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12 May 2023

The story of Mohammed Chhipa, a US citizen of Indian origin, has recently made headlines across various news platforms. Chhipa was arrested on charges of providing material support to a terrorist group, with prosecutors revealing that he was in a relationship with an American woman dubbed the “empress of ISIS.” The woman in question is Allison Fluke-Ekren, a US citizen who is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for organising and leading the Khatiba Nusaybah, a battalion in which girls and women learned how to use automatic weapons, as well as detonating grenades and suicide belts.

Chhipa’s Alleged Actions

According to reports, between November 2019 and July 2022, Chhipa transferred nearly $188,000 to various accounts. Nearly $18,000 was traced to the Islamic State (IS) group, with the alleged goal of helping to smuggle female IS members from detention camps. At least $61,000 went to cryptocurrency wallets in Turkey, with money intended for Syria often routed through Turkey. Chhipa allegedly wanted the money to be used to bribe guards at detention camps where the families of IS members are being held. Text messages allegedly sent by Chhipa were quoted in the court affidavit, indicating his intention to do so. Chhipa also allegedly met with an FBI agent or confidential source and accepted cash from the person. He then allegedly turned the money into Bitcoin and sent it to an IS member. The family of Chhipa, however, has a different story to tell. They claim that he was an activist looking to help women and children.

Read More: US Accuses South Africa of Illicit Arms Trade with Russia

The Role of Allison Fluke-Ekren

According to prosecutors, Chhipa was in a relationship with Allison Fluke-Ekren, and he apparently considered himself married to her. However, their marriage has no legal status in the US as it was allegedly conducted online. Fluke-Ekren is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for her role in organising and leading the Khatiba Nusaybah. A detention memo stated that Fluke-Ekren trained children, including her own five or six-year-old child, how to use assault rifles in Syria. Fluke-Ekren has pleaded guilty to her charges and is currently serving her sentence in prison.

Abdullah el-Faisal’s Conviction

The case of Mohammed Chhipa and Allison Fluke-Ekren is not the only one of its kind in recent times. Earlier this year, Muslim cleric Abdullah el-Faisal was convicted in a US court on state terrorism charges after being extradited to New York City following an undercover police operation. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office said it was the first-ever state-level trial on terrorism charges. New York’s laws on terrorism were passed a week after the 9/11 attacks. Prosecutors said Faisal, whom they described as highly influential, had supported IS for several years, encouraging violent acts in online lectures and calling for the creation of an Islamic caliphate. Faisal began messaging the officer, who claimed to be an aspiring militant with medical training, on WhatsApp.

Read More: Trump refuses to accept 2020 defeat, mocks sexual abuse victim

The case of Mohammed Chhipa and Allison Fluke-Ekren sheds light on the continuing threat of terrorism and the dangerous allure of extremist ideologies. It also highlights the ongoing efforts of law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute individuals who support or engage in terrorist activities. The recent convictions of individuals such as Chhipa and Fluke-Ekren, as well as Abdullah el-Faisal, demonstrate the importance of remaining vigilant in the fight against terrorism. But it still begs the question, was this a wrongful arrest simply because of religion?

Source: globalvillagespace.com

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https://www.globalvillagespace.com/muslim-us-citizen-accused-of-aiding-isis/

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Spanish Academics Who Convert To Islam Face Discrimination in Spain

 

The Muslim community of Granada celebrates activities to inform citizens about Islam and performs the rite of breaking the fast in a city square on 25 March, 2023 in Granada, Spain.

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Ömer Faruk Madanoğlu

12.05.2023

ISTANBUL

Spanish academics who convert to Islam conceal that they are Muslims so that their careers will not be harmed, one such academic who works in the field of international relations said Thursday.

Speaking to Anadolu, Luci Hurtado highlighted the discrimination against Muslim academics at universities in Spain.

Hurtado said she was a Catholic before becoming a Muslim in 2010.

Noting that she could not get clear answers from the people around her to questions about Christianity and that she discovered Islam while researching the history of Spain to clear her mind, Hurtado stressed that her decision to become a Muslim was a big step because she knew she would be ostracized by her social circle after she converted.

Hurtado said she encountered strong reactions and discrimination when she told her family and close friends that she was a Muslim, adding her father rejected her decision to convert to Islam.

She said she joined a community founded by Muslim Spaniards in order to make friends when she was excluded from her social circle. She noted that others like her also complained of being discriminated against by society.

Hurtado said she earned a doctorate in international relations at one of the prestigious universities in Spain in 2011 and that she was not discriminated against because she was not wearing a headscarf at the time, but Muslim Spaniards around her were excluded from the academy.

She noted that Spanish academics who are Muslims are more pressured than Muslim academics coming from foreign countries.

She said she began facing discrimination even before academic life.

"The pressure starts before you enter academic life. They research you for a long time during the application. This is not a procedural thing. The professors of the department call your professors at the university you come from and investigate whether you are a Muslim or a 'radical' person. If it turns out that you are a Muslim, you are not accepted into the academy. If you ask the people who do this, they deny it because what they're doing is illegal," she said.

Hurtado noted that Spanish academics who were discovered to be Muslims were branded as "traitors who betrayed their country."

She said Spanish lecturers who are Muslims also have great difficulties in applying to other universities.

"No Spanish academics who choose to become a Muslim will answer the questions you ask me because they are afraid of being stigmatized and exposed. The universities we apply to look at our religion more than our academic career. If it turns out that we are Muslims, the credibility of our articles, analyses and research will be questioned."

Hurtado said the thesis advisors did not speak out against academic bullying even though they thought this was wrong, adding the need felt by Muslim Spaniards to conceal their religion has caused them stress and psychological problems.

Source: aa.com.tr

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/muslim-academics-in-spain-face-discrimination/2895406

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Pope Francis Recognises 21 Copts Beheaded By Islamic State As Martyrs

 

Pope Francis. Credit: AFP Photo

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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Thursday announced that 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians beheaded by Islamic State in Libya in 2015 are being recognised as martyrs by the Vatican.

He revealed the move during a meeting with Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church and said he was doing so with Tawadros' consent.

The 21 Copts, 20 Egyptians and a Ghanaian, were lined up on Feb. 15, 2015 in orange jumpsuits on a beach in the Libyan city of Sirte, which Islamic State then controlled. The Islamist group posted a video of the killings, showing the men praying as they died.

Francis told Tawadros that the inscription of the men in what is known as the Roman Martyrology, or calendar of saints, was "a sign of the spiritual communion that unites our two Churches".

Their 'feast' day - which celebrates their memory - is expected to be Feb. 15.

Tawadros, 70, is at the Vatican to mark the 50th anniversary of the first meeting between a Roman pope and a Coptic pope, which took place between their respective predecessors, Paul VI and Shenouda III, in 1973.

Copts comprise about 10% of Egypt's mostly Muslim population and there are small Coptic Christian communities throughout the Middle East and Africa. They have long been attacked by Islamist militants who see them as heretics.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

Source: uk.news.yahoo.com

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https://uk.news.yahoo.com/pope-francis-recognises-21-copts-150842515.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly9jLm5ld3Nub3cuY28udWsv&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAAdhmuyGC9VBnmoF75Q_O9FdF3RjyB6SP8RdV-H5_jFfdC3gF6VbMUZ7GDnZY8KbPCSLORGxQOzx-Dl8uwZIK_lr12LyQH5Xo8U6cz8KrIDscWNovTqkDCijzLxSZUq-6s4umr_s9KHsxH0clOXHVz7VjR5QEl6KFk2yYFAKrXcc

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Saudi University Opens Innovation Lab To Develop Society, Improve Quality Of Life

 

Director of the research, development, and innovation laboratory, Dr. Thamer Al-Munif, talks to guests at the forum. (PSAU)

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May 11, 2023

RIYADH: A research, development, and innovation laboratory designed to develop society and improve quality of life has been opened at a Saudi university.

The inauguration ceremony took place on Wednesday at Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University in Al-Kharj during a forum held under the title, “National Aspirations and Priorities for Competitiveness and Global Leadership.”

Dr. Abdullah bin Nidal Adass, the university’s vice rector for graduate studies and scientific research, said: “PSAU saves no efforts to keep pace with the latest developments and scientific practices in research, development, and innovation.

“At PSAU, we transform research, development, and innovation into knowledge products that serve and develop the knowledge economy and national prosperity.”

He noted that the university aimed to be a leading knowledge provider equipped with the best resources, in line with the goals of Vision 2030.

“The first phase of the research, development, and innovation laboratory at the PSAU was inaugurated with a modern design and advanced infrastructure that enhances the localization of technology and contributes to improving the growth of the national economy based on knowledge and innovation,” Adass added.

As well as sharing the results of its scientific work with relevant national authorities, the laboratory will look to build partnerships to commercialize technology while boosting the Kingdom’s competitiveness and position globally.

PSAU presents an annual award for research and innovation.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2301751/saudi-arabia

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India

 

Give Hindu Woman Security for “Offering Namaz” At Mosque,Uttarakhand HC Tells Cops

May 12, 2023

DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand high court on Thursday while hearing a petition by a 22-year-old Hindu woman has ordered the local police to provide her security for “offering namaz” at Piran Kaliyar mosque in Haridwar as “she was receiving threats from right-wing groups”.

The woman, who belongs to Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh, along with a co-petitioner and her male friend, 35, from Haridwar had approached the HC on Tuesday alleging that she was being “threatened by certain people”. Both have been living together for about two years.

The HC in Nainital then ordered her to appear before the court on Thursday to explain why she wanted to offer namaz in the mosque despite being a Hindu. In her reply, she told the court that “she neither wanted to convert to Islam nor was she married to a Muslim”.

The woman also told the court, “After visiting Piran Kaliyar, I liked the place and so I want to offer namaz and prayers there... There is no other reason”. The woman and her friend, who belongs to a different community, work for a well-known pharmaceutical firm in Haridwar.

Speaking to TOI, the petitioner’s counsel Sheetal Selwal said the woman appeared before a division bench of Justices Manoj Kumar Tiwari and Pankaj Purohit. Advocate Selwal said: “The court ordered my client to give an application to the station house officer of Piran Kaliyar for police protection. The court has fixed the matter next on May 22.”

Selwal further said that certain activists may have come to know about the matter “since some of their colleagues at work must have spread the word”.

Situated in Haridwar, people from different faiths usually visit the famous Piran Kaliyar dargah for spiritual solace and prayers, and the mosque where the woman wants to “offer namaz” is located in the same complex.

When the HC asked the petitioner why she wanted to offer namaz despite being a Hindu, she said she neither wanted to convert nor was she

married to a Muslim. She said: ‘I liked the place... There is no other reason’

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/give-hindu-woman-security-to-pray-at-mosque-hc-tells-cops/articleshow/100170393.cms

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Why we need to remember the Muslims who raised their voice for a united India

Syeda Hameed

May 11, 2023

The hall of the Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad on Calcutta’s Shakespeare Sarani was fully packed when I arrived for the Hashim Abdul Halim Foundation International Seminar. The Foundation is named after a man who was the speaker of the West Bengal Assembly for 29 years. The Iran Society which brings out the journal Indo Iranica is located in his ancestral home. Fuad Halim and Saira Shah Halim, along with their group, were the spirit of this event.

The overhead banner read “Muslims for a United India — Unvisited Histories: Remembering the Azad Muslim Conference, April 27-30, 1947”. Each word of the banner was part of my life although I had never thought of framing it in this way.

In 1947, my family was forcibly evicted from our ancestral place, Panipat, where we had lived for 800 years. No one asked them if they wanted to go to a newly carved country named Pakistan. The women of my family left notes pasted on their front doors, “We are going for a short time; we will return”. Keys were handed to neighbours, tears flowed on both sides. All they could carry were bundles and potlis. They were mostly women; the men of Panipat worked in nearby cities. They would join later. Young men who were studying abroad did not “opt” for the new country until it became inevitable. Seventy-six years later in 2023, I live in Delhi, near the campus of a university, Jamia Millia Islamia. Those who established it in 1920 were fortunately not evicted; they stayed on amidst the communal frenzy because they believed in a united India.

That day I heard speaker after speaker in a hall which remained packed for almost eight hours. They spoke on topics like ‘The Case for a South Asian Union’, ‘1857 Joint Heritage Joint Martyrdom’, ‘Muslims against Partition – Carrying Forward the 1857 Legacy’, ‘Challenging the Two Nation Theory: Maulana Azad and Nationalist Muslims’, ‘The Two Nation Theory: One Thought of Hindu Mahasabha RSS and Muslim League’, ‘Muslims who opposed the Partition of India’, ‘Allah Bux Soomro and Muslim Politics’. These were academics from universities across West Bengal, plus a few from the US and the UK.

The Azad Muslim Conference was the cord that held it all together. It was organised in Delhi in 1940 for three days, its objective: Advocacy for composite nationalism and for a united India, and unequivocal opposition to Partition and the Two Nation Theory. Participants were from the Krishak Praja Party, the Jamiat, Majlis e Ahrar ul Islam, All India Momin Conference, Khudai Khidmatgar, All India Shia Political Conference, Anjuman i Watan Baluchistan and others. Wilfred Smith, a world-renowned orientalist from McGill University in Canada wrote that this conference represented the vast majority of India’s Muslims. The Bombay Chronicle reported that the Muslim attendance was five times that of any event organised by the Muslim League. Allah Bux Soomro, twice premier of Sindh, was its leading light. Born in 1900 in Shikarpur, his fierce commitment to a united India led him to return the honours bestowed on him by the Empire. An equally unequivocal opposer of the two-nation theory was Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. He was born in Mecca, lived in Kolkata and joined the struggle with the guerrilla movement of Jugantar with Rash Behari Ghosh and Shyam Sundar Chakravarty. Azad spoke from every platform, the highest being his addresses as President (twice) of the Indian National Congress,  against Partition and for a united India. In his first presidential address in 1923, he spoke for Hindu-Muslim unity, even if it meant a delay in attaining Swaraj.

Three years after the AIMC, Allah Bux Soomro was assassinated by an assailant said to belong to the Muslim League.

As the conference proceeded, layer after layer opened up and, to reword John Keats, I felt as if a “new planet swam into my ken”.

In the last decade, I have heard the following refrain from many quarters: “They demanded Pakistan. So why are they here? The Muslims — expunge, expel, exorcise them.”

Questions: Who asked us? Was there a plebiscite? Was there a “rai shumari”? Who made it happen? Elite Muslims, colonial masters — who suffered?

In his excellent work, Muslims Against Partition, Shamsul Islam writes, “The people of India, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, unitedly challenged imperialist power. This unprecedented unity naturally unnerved the firangis and made them conscious that their rule could flourish only if Hindus and Muslims were divided along communal lines.” The Minister of Indian Affairs, Lord Wood wrote to Lord Elgin, ‘We have maintained our rule in India by playing off one part against another.’ John Lawrence, Administrator of the East India Company, wrote, ‘If Muslims and Hindus have quarrelled, so much better for us; let them slaughter each other…’”

In the end, only three Indians spoke against Partition: Mahatma Gandhi, who said “over my dead body” but succumbed to the Congress; Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who stood his ground and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who wrote to Gandhi, “We Pashtuns stood by you and had undergone great sacrifices for attaining freedom. But you have deserted us and thrown us to the wolves.”

In the run-up to 2024, with the pendulum poised between a secular or theocratic India, we need to recall this forgotten history. In the current din of Muslim hatred is heard the rasping voice of the Minster of State for Law and Justice. At Delhi’s Maharashtra Sadan, he said, “There are very few tolerant Muslims; those who pretend to be tolerant do so to grab the offices of the Vice President, the governor as well as vice-chancellors. As soon as they retire they start spitting poison. They wear the mukhota (mask) of tolerance; tolerant Muslims can be counted on fingers. The basic structure of the nation is Hindu Rashtra.”

I’m ending with two lines from Hafiz Shirazi, quoted in S Abid Husain’s prophetic work, The Destiny of Indian Muslims: “If sorrow raises its dire legion/ To overwhelm people of faith / The Saqi and I will join hands /To wipe it off the face of this earth.”

The writer is former Member, Planning Commission

Source: indianexpress.com

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https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/lok-sabha-polls-2024-muslims-united-india-8604078/

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Trouble at the temple: ban on Muslims a sign of India’s new intolerance

Fri 12 May 2023

For 800 years, Bappanadu Sri Durgaparameshwari temple had stood as a symbol of India’s cohesive religious past. It is said that the Hindu temple, which sits on the bank of the Shambhavi River in India’s southern state of Karnataka, was built by a Muslim merchant, Bappa Beary, after a goddess came to him in a dream. The land to build the temple was donated by a local Jain ruler.

Over the centuries, its unique origins were regularly honoured and the annual festivals, celebrations and buffalo races that took place at Bappanadu temple were attended by Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Jains alike.

“There was always this harmony,” said Dugganna Sawantha, a member of the temple committee and direct descendent of the Jain king who donated the temple land. “But last year, that’s when the troubles began.”

Days before the annual 23-day festival was due to begin last April, Sawantha was approached by Bajrang Dal, a rightwing Hindu vigilante group that is active across the state, often targeting Muslims. It issued him a warning: no Muslims were to be allowed to set up stalls at the festival or take part in celebrations.

Bappanadu was not the only temple identified. Bajrang Dal members began to hang banners up in nearby towns and the city of Mangalore reading “no permission for those who are against the constitution and those who kill cattle”. Then, Karnataka’s chief minister, Basavaraj Bommai, from the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), issued a statement supporting the ban.

The ban then spread to other nearby temples, as BJP government officials began enforcing it. For the hundreds of Muslims who relied on selling their wares on the temple festival circuit, it was devastating. Umar, 52, who sells cosmetics, used to make about £1,500 a year from his stall – but now he barely makes £50.

“We are desperate, our traditional business is dying and I’m not making enough to survive,” he said.

While most states in India’s south have been largely unaffected by the Hindu nationalist politics that now dominate north and west India, Karnataka has long been the exception; though communal divisions have not taken root across the whole state, they are highly prevalent along the 200-mile-long coastal belt. The BJP has had political influence in the state since the 1980s.

Since 2014, the BJP has ruled India’s central government, led by Narendra Modi, the prime minister. But it was in 2018 that the party returned to power in Karnataka, beckoning in the most rightwing government in the state’s history. This week, as the state goes to the polls, the party is seeking re-election.

Under the BJP, a de facto ban was imposed on the wearing of the hijab in government schools, colleges and in exams, an “anti-conversion” law was passed in response to the unproven “love jihad” conspiracy theory that Muslim men are luring Hindu women for marriage in order to convert them to Islam and school textbooks were rewritten to remove references to Islamic leaders. Economic boycotts of Muslims were endorsed by ministers and a bill banning halal meat was also proposed.

The government has also been accused by activists and political opponents of giving groups such as Bajrang Dal a free rein to carry out vigilante acts of violence, including lynchings of Muslims – often in collusion with police. Last month a Muslim cattle trader in Karnataka’s Ramanagara district was murdered by a group allegedly led by a local Bajrang Dal activist.

As part of its manifesto in the state election, the opposition Congress party pledged to ban Bajrang Dal, casting it as a terrorist organisation. In response, Bajrang Dal, which claims to have a presence in 2,000 villages across the state, has come out fighting for the BJP in the election.

Sharan Pumpwell, the state secretary for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad militant organisation, of which Bajrang Dal is the youth wing, said: “I personally gave a call to Bajrang Dal members across Karnataka to come out on the streets and conduct door-to-door campaigns against the Congress party. We have to make the BJP victorious to protect cows and protect our volunteers. The BJP has withdrawn many cases that had been filed against our people.”

Pumpwell denied any allegations of illegal activity. “We only work in the interest of our religion and our country,” he said.

The BJP is fighting for re-election in Karnataka with policies on its manifesto that many fear are further attempts to marginalise the Muslim population, who make up about 13% of the state. Weeks before the polls, the state government scrapped a 4% reservation allocated to the state’s economically deprived Muslims, who are among the poorest community in the state.

In the city of Udupi, meanwhile, tensions over the wearing of the hijab began in December 2021, when a government college issued a ban on Muslim girls wearing headscarves, declaring it against the school’s uniform policy.

Muslim students protested and the issue was taken up by the BJP and rightwing religious groups. One local BJP representative said girls who wanted to wear the hijab in schools should “go to Pakistan”, while the state chief, Nalin Kumar Kateel, said the “talibanisation of classrooms” would not be allowed. In February 2022, a government order declared that restriction on the hijab was not in violation of the freedom of religion, which was then upheld by the Karnataka high court.

Though the order was not an outright ban, it was widely interpreted as such by many institutions in the state. Many Muslim girls found themselves prevented from entering classrooms or from taking exams if they did not remove their headscarves and some had teachers or police try to forcibly remove their headscarves at school gates. According to a submission made to the supreme court, which has taken up the matter, 17,000 girls did not sit their exams after the order, and thousands are thought to have dropped out of education altogether.

One 24-year-old law student was in the final semester of her law degree when the court made its ruling. “I never thought it would ever affect our college, there was always a secular and friendly atmosphere,” she said, requesting anonymity for fear of harassment. “But after the court passed the order, our college summoned all 40 girls who wear a hijab to the auditorium and asked us to make a choice if we wanted to continue attending classes.”

Like many others, she refused to remove her hijab and was banned from attending classes, missing out on the final lessons of her degree.

Another student, who also requested anonymity, dropped out of her law degree altogether and accused the government of depriving Muslim girls of their right to education. “The hijab is an important part of who I am, it’s a choice I make. I shouldn’t be forced to remove it,” she said.

Tejasvi Surya, a popular BJP MP from the state, denied the policy discriminated against Muslims even though no other religion has been affected by the new rules. “The BJP stand was not anti hijab, it was pro-uniform in a school institution,” he said.

Source: theguardian.com

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https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/may/12/trouble-at-the-temple-ban-on-muslims-a-sign-of-indias-new-intolerance

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North America

 

Shocking video shows man violently attacked in Scarborough mosque parking lot

May 11, 2023

Toronto police are investigating after a man was violently attacked outside a mosque in Scarborough on Wednesday, which was captured by a surveillance camera.

Police said the assault occurred in the parking lot of Baitul Aman Masjid near Victoria Park and Danforth avenues at around 7:45 p.m.

In the video, a man is walking in the parking lot when two people approach him.

One of them is seen holding what appears to be a bat and proceeds to strike the man. The other person then kicks the man, causing him to fall to the ground.

The assailants continue to attack the man, stomping and hitting him. As it is happening, a grey-coloured sedan slowly pulls up beside the suspects.

Shortly after, the two get into the vehicle and drive away.

Police said the victim was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

No suspect information has been released.

When asked if the incident is being investigated as a hate crime, police said it is not at this time.

“The investigator has advised that after speaking with the victim, the attack does not appear to be hate-motivated,” police said.

Muhammad Kamruzzaman, the secretary of the mosque, identified the victim as 67-year-old Mahbubul Alam Chowdhury.

Speaking to CP24 on Thursday night, Kamruzzaman described Chowdhury as a very well-known and kind member of the mosque.

"He was crying," Kamruzzaman said when asked how Chowdhury was doing after the attack. "And then he said that he doesn't have any enemy. This is his belief."

"He couldn't walk properly. He cannot talk even properly," Kamruzzaman said, adding that the victim's family is contemplating moving elsewhere.

As for the suspects, he says he has never seen them before and has no clue why they attacked Chowdhury.

Kamruzzaman noted that the suspects waited for almost an hour in the parking lot. He says he is still waiting for an update from the police.

The attack has left many in the community shocked and scared.

While there had been incidents of vandalism and theft before, Kamruzzaman says this is the first time that something like this has happened.

"I've never seen this type of incident in the community," he said. "We want justice."

Source: cp24.com

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https://www.cp24.com/news/shocking-video-shows-man-violently-attacked-in-scarborough-mosque-parking-lot-1.6395480

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US man linked to Islamic State 'empress' faces charges for wiring money to group

11 May 2023

A US man was arrested on charges of providing material support to a terrorist group, with prosecutors revealing he was in a relationship with an American woman dubbed the “empress of ISIS”.

Mohammed Chhipa, a naturalised US citizen from India who lives in Virginia, was arrested last week. Between November 2019 and July 2022, he allegedly transferred nearly $188,000 to various accounts, NBC News reported.

Nearly $18,000 was traced to the Islamic State (IS) group to support his alleged goal of helping to smuggle female IS members from detention camps. At least $61,o00 went to cryptocurrency wallets in Turkey. According to the court affidavit, money intended for Syria is often routed through Turkey.

The affidavit quotes text messages allegedly sent by Chhipa indicating that he wanted the money to be used to “bribe guards at detention camps” where the families of IS members are being held, NBC News reported.

Chippa's family told reporters in a written statement that he was an activist looking to help women and children.

Chhipa also allegedly met with an FBI agent or confidential source and accepted cash from the person. He then allegedly turned the money into Bitcoin and sent it to an IS member.

According to prosecutors, Chhipa was also in a relationship with Allison Fluke-Ekren, an American woman who is serving a 20-year prison sentence. Chhipa apparently considered himself married to Ekren, though their marriage has no legal status in the US as it was allegedly conducted online.

She pled guilty last year to organising and leading the Khatiba Nusaybah, a battalion in which girls and women learned how to use automatic weapons, as well as detonating grenades and suicide belts.

A detention memo states that Fluke-Ekren trained children - including her own five or six-year-old child - how to use assault rifles in Syria.

Earlier this year, Muslim cleric Abdullah el-Faisal was convicted in a US court on state terrorism charges after being extradited to New York City following an undercover police operation.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office said it was the first-ever state-level trial on terrorism charges. New York's laws on terrorism were passed a week after the 9/11 attacks.

Prosecutors said Faisal, whom they described as highly influential, had supported IS for several years, encouraging violent acts in online lectures and calling for the creation of an Islamic caliphate.

Faisal began messaging the officer - who claimed to be an aspiring militant with medical training - on WhatsApp, The New York Times reported.

Source: middleeasteye.net

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https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-man-linked-empress-islamic-state-faces-charges-wiring-money-group

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Europe

 

Postgraduate scholarships for British muslim students looking to study in Bournemouth

Friday, May 12, 2023

Bournemouth University has announced a new partnership with the Aziz Foundation that will offer scholarships to students from British Muslim communities.

The scholarships are designed to increase opportunities for British muslims to study postgraduate courses and will cover the full tuition fees for those without the financial means to complete Masters degrees in the UK.

For the next academic year, we have committed to welcoming up to three scholars and we hope to increase that number in future years.

Ibrahim Mohammed, Communications Manager at the Aziz Foundation, said: "It is with great excitement that we declare Bournemouth University as one of our Preferred Partners, as they have shown a dedicated effort to expanding access to postgraduate education and diminishing educational disparities for underrepresented students. Our collaboration with the university will allow us to develop initiatives that promote inclusivity and expand opportunities for British muslim communities at the postgraduate taught level."

Claire House-Norman, Director of Fundraising & Alumni Relations at Bournemouth University, added: “Bournemouth University is delighted to enter into a partnership with the Aziz Foundation and be able to offer several postgraduate scholarships for British muslim students who wish to study here. This collaboration forms part of our broader efforts to improve opportunities for underrepresented communities in higher education. We are hugely grateful to The Aziz Foundation for their support."

The scholarships are for students starting a Masters degree in September 2023 in courses covering a wide range of areas, including Media and Journalism, Technology, Sustainability and the Environment, Law, Policy, and Creative Content.

You can find more information on the scholarships and how to apply on the Aziz Foundation website.

Source: bournemouth.ac.uk

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https://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/news/2023-05-12/postgraduate-scholarships-british-muslim-students-looking-study-bournemouth

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EU members support clampdown on Russian oil smugglers – Politico

12 May, 2023

EU states agree that tankers suspected of carrying Russian oil in violation of embargoes must be barred from the bloc’s ports as part of the 11th sanctions package against Moscow, Politico has reported.

There was “no major opposition” to stepping up efforts to enforce existing restrictions as representatives from EU members discussed the issue on Thursday, three sources told the US outlet.

Even nations that apparently benefit from undeclared imports of Russian crude back the proposal, the sources claimed.

A diplomat from one such country told Politico that “for us, enforcement isn’t proving to be a major issue – we don’t have red lines on this.” However, he noted that the new sanctions package “is different from the others, focusing on circumvention, and it will have a different impact, so we are taking our time to look at all the proposals.”

An unnamed senior European Commission official also asserted that the planned clampdown on the so-called ‘shadow fleet’ delivering Russian oil to the EU would not lead to serious frictions within the bloc.

“The media like to write about rock and roll and rough and tumble, but the success has been in unity – preserving that unity for the outside world is very important,” the official insisted.

A draft European Commission proposal seen by Politico stated that tightening is required “given the sharp increase in deceptive practices, and related environmental risks, by vessels transporting Russian crude oil and petroleum products in an effort to circumvent Union restrictive measures.”

According to the document, Brussels is seeking to bar “access to the ports and locks of the Union to vessels that are suspected or found in breach of the ban on importing seaborne Russian crude oil and petroleum products into the Union and of the G7 agreed price cap by engaging in ship-to-ship transfers.” Ships traveling with their transponders and GPS turned off will also be targeted, it added.

Late last year, the EU, G7, and their allies slapped a collective ban on Russian seaborne oil exports, along with a price cap of $60 per barrel. In February, another embargo kicked in, banning almost all imports of Russian oil products, as well as introducing price caps on diesel and other petroleum products.

Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that despite the restrictions, the average four-week seaborne shipments of Russian crude in the period to May 5 had jumped by 180,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 3.63 million bpd, the highest increase since the start of 2022. The main destinations for the tankers were China and India.

Source: rt.com

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https://www.rt.com/news/576163-eu-oil-embargo-ukraine/

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EU will not sanction Russia’s nuclear industry – Hungarian FM

12 May, 2023

The next round of anti-Russia sanctions currently being debated by EU member states won’t target nuclear energy, according to Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

Budapest has repeatedly said it would oppose any attempts to impose restrictions on Russia’s nuclear sector, stressing that other member states that use nuclear energy are also against the proposal.

“Negotiations on the 11th package of sanctions began on Wednesday in Brussels. The proposal of the European Commission for this package does not contain sanctions related to the nuclear industry,” Szijjarto said during a joint press conference with Bulgarian Minister of Energy Rossen Hristov.

The Hungarian foreign minister stressed once again that Budapest would agree to the proposal under no circumstances, adding that it was a decision for individual countries to decide how they get their electricity.

Szijjarto noted that Hungary has been operating its Paks Nuclear Power Plant for more than four decades, adding that it was built in cooperation with the USSR, and that it would continue to use Russian nuclear fuel.

The Paks Nuclear Power Plant produces more than half of the electricity consumed in Hungary.

The Hungarian authorities had previously said the expansion of the Paks infrastructure was seen as crucial to the nation’s energy security. Budapest had previously struck a deal with Moscow to expand the facility.

“We won’t certainly abandon plans to build two new power units in Paks,” as they would guarantee the country’s energy supply in the long term, Szijjarto added.

He also said that Russian nuclear fuel, which used to be delivered by rail through Ukraine, is now being transported to the Paks nuclear power plant by ship across the Black Sea through the Bulgarian port of Varna, and then by rail through the territory of Bulgaria and Romania to Hungary.

“In this regard, Bulgaria is also an important transit country,” Szijjarto said.

Source: rt.com

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https://www.rt.com/business/576115-eu-sanctions-nuclear-power-hungary-russia/

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Ukraine using chemical weapons, Russian journalist claims

11 May, 2023

Ukrainian forces have used chemical weapons that caused loss of consciousness after inhalation, Komsomolskaya Pravda correspondent Alexander Kots reported on Thursday, citing sources in the Russian military. The alleged attack happened near Orekhov, in Zaporozhye Region.

The use of substances banned by international conventions appears to be part of the much-anticipated Ukrainian offensive, the journalist wrote on Telegram.

According to Kots, Western-supplied tanks have been spotted outside of Kharkov, while Ukrainian troops have launched attacks on Russian positions north and south of Artyomovsk, which they call Bakhmut.

On Thursday evening, the Russian Defense Ministry said there were “no active operations” on the Zaporozhye front, and that the “general situation in the area of the special military operation is under control.”

Multiple Western officials have said over the past week that all the weapons, ammunition and supplies required for Ukraine’s grand counteroffensive had already been delivered. On Thursday, the UK confirmed it had supplied Kiev with long-range ‘Storm Shadow’ missiles.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, however, claimed he needed more time and more armored vehicles before he could launch the assault, in order to avoid casualties. In the same interview, Zelensky claimed Ukraine had nothing to do with the drones that attacked the Kremlin last week.

According to US presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whose son had volunteered on Kiev’s side for several months last year, Ukraine has suffered around 300,000 military casualties and is taking losses at a far higher rate than Russia.

Donetsk People’s Republic authorities had accused Ukrainian troops of dropping chemical weapons from drones back in February, pointing to frontline reports and videos shared by Ukrainians on social media.

In late February, the Russian military warned that the Ukrainian forces in Kramatorsk had received 16 containers with riot control agents CS (chlorobenzylidenemalononitrile) and CR (dibenzoxazepine), as well as the incapacitating agent BZ (3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate), accompanied by “citizens of foreign countries.” Moscow suggested the US might be planning a “false flag” attack in the Donbass.

Chemical warfare is forbidden under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), an international treaty that took effect in 1997 and to which both Ukraine and Russia are signatories.

Source: rt.com

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https://www.rt.com/russia/576138-ukraine-chemical-weapons/

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Arab World

 

Ministry launches ‘Hajj Journey’ documentary series in Indonesia

May 11, 2023

Riyadh: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah recently launched in Jakarta the “Hajj Journey” documentary series, which tells the story of eight Indonesian pilgrims and highlights the facilities provided for them by the Kingdom.

The series follows the pilgrims’ journey, from leaving their homeland, their welcome in Saudi Arabia, performing the rituals, and finally returning home.

The launching ceremony in Jakarta was attended by the Saudi Ambassador to Indonesia, Faisal Al-Amoudi; Undersecretary of the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Indonesia, Prof. Halman Latif; and Director General of the General Management of Corporate Communication, A. Turki Al-Khalaf, who is also the director general of the General Awareness Department.

Al-Amoudi said that the series highlights efforts made by the Kingdom to facilitate pilgrims’ journeys.

Indonesia's Minister of Religious Affairs, Yaqut Khalil Oumas, expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for producing the documentary.

Al-Khalaf said that 60 filming stations used in the series highlighted farewells from Indonesia, reception procedures inside the Kingdom, the performance of Hajj and Umrah rituals, the visit to the Two Holy Mosques, and the return home.

“This media production provides the Islamic nation, in general, and Muslims in Indonesia, in particular, with a vivid memory of the greatest journey a Muslim can go on. This 10-episodes series took more than 240 hours of filming for 120 working days. Episodes were filmed in Indonesian to be understood by Indonesians, and were later translated into Arabic and English,” he said.

The series will be shown on the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s YouTube channel, and will be broadcasted on several Indonesian and Saudi channels.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2301626/saudi-arabia

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Fourth and fifth Saudi aid planes arrive in Sudan

May 11, 2023

RIYADH: The fourth and fifth Saudi planes carrying aid for Sudanese people arrived at Port Sudan International Airport on Thursday carrying 10 tons of relief each.

The relief includes food baskets, shelter materials, and medical supplies.

The aid flights are part of a Saudi directive to provide the Sudanese people with assistance worth $100 million.

The UN on Thursday urged countries with influence in Africa to help end the conflict in Sudan after reported progress in truce talks between the army and the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

Clashes rocked Halfaya, an entry point to the capital, early on Thursday as residents heard warplanes circling over Khartoum and its adjoining sister cities of Bahri and Omdurman, but the fighting appeared calmer than on Wednesday.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2301611/saudi-arabia

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Saudi Arabia concludes evacuation operations in Sudan

May 12, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has concluded all humanitarian evacuations of its citizens and nationals of other countries from Sudan, the Saudi Press Agency said early Friday.

The evacuations, implemented by the Royal Saudi Navy and Air Force, included 8,455 people, 404 of whom are Saudi citizens, and 8,051 people from 110 nationalities.

The Kingdom also assisted other countries in evacuating 11,184 of their citizens to the Kingdom and then to their countries. It provided them with full care and follow-up throughout the stages of the operation.

The Saudi foreign ministry thanked Sudan for their cooperation in facilitating the evacuations.

It also thanked all countries that followed up on the affairs of their nationals who were evacuated from Sudan, and cooperated in completing the procedures regarding their return to their countries.

The evacuations came under the directives and follow-up of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and in response to requests the Kingdom received from many countries.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2301891/saudi-arabia

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Saudi economy and planning minister meets with Belgian officials

May 11, 2023

RIYADH: During an official visit to Belgium, the Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal bin Fadel Al-Ibrahim met with Belgian Deputy Prime Minister David Clarinval.

They discussed ways of enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries, along with investment opportunities, and issues of mutual concern.

Al-Ibrahim also met the vice president and senior portfolio officer for research, development, and innovation at IMEC, Patrick Vandenameele. They reviewed areas of cooperation, including in nanoelectronics and digital technology.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2301796/saudi-arabia

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Southeast Asia

 

PAS President Says,PAS Seeks To Restore Malay Leadership That Follows Islamic Principles

By Muhammad Yusry

Friday, 12 May 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang today said his party is willing to cooperate with anyone so long as Malaysia is led by Malays and Muslims who perfectly follow the tenets of Islam.

The Marang MP claimed the Islamist party’s aim since its founding in 1951 has been unchanged, amid shade from former ally Umno over PAS’ latest support of ex-prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s “Malay Proclamation” move to unite the country’s largest demographic group.

“Currently, PAS seeks to strengthen the politics of Malay Islam and we are obliged to lead the way by providing support and cooperation to unite the Malays through Islam.

“The aim is to restore the power of the Malay Muslim leadership with the agenda of leading the unity of the people,” he said in his latest Facebook post titled “PAS Bekerjasama Mengikut Islam”.

Hadi and several other PAS leaders had signed Dr Mahathir’s “Malay Proclamation” touting the unity and protection of the community to “restore the political power of Malays” on May 4.

Leaders from Bersatu including its deputy president Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, another PAS ally from the Opposition Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition had also similarly signed the 12-point document, but asserted that it only showed personal support and carried no political weight.

Yesterday, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi took a swipe at PAS, claiming its former Muafakat Nasional (MN) partner would abandon its PN partner eventually, just like it had done in the past.

Ahmad Zahid rejected PAS’ claim that Umno has put Malay unity on the backburner, saying his party — now a member of the “unity government” under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from Pakatan Harapan (PH) — is still pursuing that objective, adding that it must be compatible with the country’s diversity.

In his Facebook post today, Hadi acknowledged that PAS has teamed up with multiple partners over the years, including non-Muslim groups like DAP.

However, he said PAS will now not work with “liberal” parties like PKR and Umno so long as they are partnered with the DAP.

“DAP openly opposes an Islamic nation and urges the establishment of secularism in the Federal Constitution,” Hadi claimed.

DAP leaders have repeatedly said that the party abides by the country’s laws that recognises Islam as the religion of the federation, contrary to Hadi’s assertion.

Hadi also claimed that Umno has abandoned the foundation of its struggle to defend Islam, race and country for its own self-interests such as to gain positions of power and to grow its assets.

“PAS works with all parties and NGOs on different approaches and fields without rejecting the clear principles and concepts of Islam.

“In fact, PAS also accepts non-Muslims who do not reject Islamic principles and policies to join our supporters under our machinery, and work with all non-Muslim parties and NGOs that are not extreme despite their ideological differences with PAS,” said Hadi.

Source: malaymail.com

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/05/12/hadi-says-pas-seeks-to-restore-malay-leadership-that-follows-islamic-principles-wholly/68857

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Regent of Perlis: Function of the mosque needs to be strengthened for benefit of ummah

12-05- 2023

KANGAR: The function of the mosque needs to be strengthened for the betterment and development of the ummah, says Regent of Perlis Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail (pix).

The mosque, he said, played a very important role in uniting the ummah.

“The Kariah Committee and the mosque officials consisting of imams, bilal, siak, and area caretakers must be committed to the tasks and responsibilities entrusted to them, be friendly with the community living near the mosque, and try to solve the problems raised as well as be conciliatory,“ he said at the opening ceremony of the Al-Amin Mosque in Sempering yesterday.

Also present were Perlis Menteri Besar Mohd Shukri Ramli, Perlis Mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, Perlis Religious Committee chairman Muhammad Azmir Azizan and other members of the state executive council.

Tuanku Syed Faizuddin said the mosque was a centre for knowledge and thought development, therefore the kariah committee and religious agencies needed to ensure that there were a sufficient number of such programmes organised.

“The mosque should also act as a one-stop location that was friendly to travellers, the disabled, single mothers, children, the elderly and other groups in need.

“Besides that, it is also a place of shelter when natural disasters such as storms and floods occur,“ he added. –Bernama

Source: thesundaily.my

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https://www.thesundaily.my/local/regent-of-perlis-function-of-the-mosque-needs-to-be-strengthened-for-benefit-of-ummah-FO10963350

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Perak Ruler grants permission to selected teachers to present Friday sermon

By Zahratulhayat Mat Arif

May 12, 2023

KAMPAR: It was once in a lifetime experience for educators in Perak when they were given a chance to deliver the 'khutbah' or Friday sermon, in conjunction with Teachers' Day.

Fourteen teachers and District Education Officers were selected after the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah gave his consent for them to deliver Friday sermon entitled "Guru Insani: Pemangkin Membangunkan Masyarakat Bertamadun" (Model Teacher: Catalysts for Developing a Civilised Society).

Despite feeling anxious, one of the teachers, Muhammad Anas Mohamed Salleh, 30, said it was once in a lifetime experience when delivering the Friday sermon at the An-Nur Mosque here today.

The Islamic religious teacher of SJKC Pei Yuan here said he immediately accepted the offer to do it. He always believed that only certified people could deliver the Friday sermon, so he thought that the opportunity was an honour.

"This is my first time delivering the Friday sermon and I am happy to be chosen by the district education office. I know there are a lot of teachers in the district who are more deserving of the opportunity, but I believe I am among the lucky ones.

"I have delivered sermons during Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Aidiladha in the past, but it is a different thing when you are chosen to deliver the Friday sermon because only those certified are allowed.

"Thank you Sultan Nazrin for this chance and for allowing teachers to deliver Friday sermon, in conjunction with Teachers' Day. We feel appreciated," he said when met at the mosque here.

He said it was not always easy to be a teacher, but he found it was rewarding when they could shape students to explore their potential.

"As a teacher, it is not an easy job to educate our children. But teachers will always give their best to ensure that all the students would be 'somebody' in the future."

Today's Friday sermon text, which was prepared by the Perak Islamic Religious Department (JAIPk), focused on Islam's teaching to always uphold a high standard in knowledge and matters related to it, including those tasked to impart that knowledge and those who seek knowledge.

"The dignity of teachers is very noble in accordance with the high regard we must place on knowledge.

"Teachers not only possess knowledge and master certain fields of knowledge, but they also possess noble qualities such as patience, diligence, concern, respect, and the ability to delve into and understand other people's feelings or emotions," said the text.

The sermon also honoured teachers for being among frontliners in the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Teachers were required to educate students in unprecedented conditions. Face-to-face teaching and learning methods stopped and were replaced by a virtual teaching and learning approach.

"At that time, the teachers had no training, did not get full guidance and did not have an opportunity to gain exposure to teaching and learning methods at home.

"However, without giving any excuses, in a short time, they tried their best, adapting to new demands in education," the sermon said.

Source: nst.com.my

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https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2023/05/908566/perak-ruler-grants-permission-selected-teachers-present-friday-sermon

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Indonesia says ASEAN credibility at stake as Myanmar crisis worsens

May 11, 2023

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Thursday that the credibility of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is at stake, as the bloc comes under increasing pressure over the lack of progress in ending ongoing deadly violence in Myanmar.

ASEAN leaders met this week for the first of their biannual summits in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, with the exception of Myanmar’s junta leaders who have been barred from attending over their lack of progress in implementing a peace plan endorsed by the regional grouping in 2021.

More than two years since the military junta seized power and unleashed a bloody crackdown on opponents, violence in Myanmar has been on the rise. One of the most recent incidents included an attack on an aid convoy comprised of Indonesian and Singaporean diplomats.

“ASEAN’s credibility is at stake, and Indonesia is ready to talk with anyone, including with the junta, and all the stakeholders in Myanmar for the sake of humanity,” Widodo told a press briefing at the summit’s conclusion.

He added that “engagement doesn’t mean recognition.”

As ASEAN chair this year, Indonesia said it has engaged many stakeholders in Myanmar to discuss possible solutions, as it continues to push for dialogue and the implementation of its peace plan, which has not been enforced since the bloc forged it with Myanmar’s top general in April 2021.

The Five-Point Consensus plan, also referred to as 5PC, called for an immediate end to the violence in Myanmar and dialogue among contending parties to seek a peaceful solution, to be brokered by an ASEAN special envoy.

“I have to be honest, there has been no significant progress in the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus, so we need ASEAN unity to formulate our next steps,” Widodo told Southeast Asian leaders.

More than 3,450 people have been killed by security forces since the junta took power, and thousands more remain imprisoned, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a non-governmental organization that tracks killings and arrests.

In April, an airstrike killed at least 100 people, who were mostly civilians and included many children. Human Rights Watch on Tuesday described the attack as a war crime.

“There is disunity within ASEAN regarding on how it should actually deal with Myanmar crisis to some extent,” Lina Alexandra, senior researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Arab News.

“This is a very crucial time for Indonesia and the fact that there is no progress that means Indonesia needs to work harder,” she said. “Indonesia (needs) to be much more bold … and also to be more brave, particularly to discuss this further with the other ASEAN leaders … to push for a breakthrough.”

In a review meeting held last November, ASEAN leaders highlighted the “need for an implementation plan that outlines concrete, practical and measurable indicators with a specific timeline to support the Five-Point Consensus” and delegated their foreign ministers to develop one.

“If Indonesia chairmanship this year, you know, can really say ‘this is the implementation plan that ASEAN has decided on how we can implement the 5PC’ — that will be a major achievement,” Alexandra said.

Even though Indonesia has acknowledged the lack of progress, a solution to the problem remains to be found.

“Restating the problem is not really solving the problem, right?” Alexandra said. “Here’s the problem, so what’s your solution, proposed solution to that?”

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2301581/world

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South Asia

 

Following the demands of the world China Asks Kabul to Protect Women’s Rights

11-05-23

Following the demands of the world regarding the change of the current Afghan government's approach towards women, the ministry of foreign affairs of China asked the Islamic Emirate to adopt "moderate and prudent" domestic and foreign policies, and protect the rights and interests of women in Afghanistan.

Speaking at a press conference on May 10, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin urged the Islamic Emirate to take a firmer stance on countering terrorism.

"We also noted that there are quite some concerns and expectations about the Afghan interim government from the rest of the world. Specifically, it is hoped that the Afghan side will make more progress in adopting moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, and protecting the rights and interests of women and children. It is also hoped that the Afghan side will take a firmer stance on countering terrorism and strive for more tangible outcomes in this regard,” Wenbin noted.

According to Wang Wenbin, Afghanistan should not be excluded from the international community.

“As a traditionally friendly neighbor of Afghanistan, China always believes that Afghanistan should not be excluded from the international community, the interests and wellbeing of the Afghan people should be given attention, the peaceful reconstruction of the country should be encouraged, and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan should be respected,” Wenbin added.

However, the Islamic Emirate said that the issue of women in Afghanistan is an internal issue, and the current challenges will be resolved in accordance with Islamic principles.

"There are some issues in Afghanistan which are values or are Islamic laws, and they should respect them. Interference in Afghanistan's affairs is not in anyone's interest,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman of the Islamic Emirate.

Some political analysts believe that the continuation of bans on women creates a greater gap between the current Afghan government and the world.

"Violating women's rights is a violation of human rights, and this is the main point that can isolate Afghanistan,” said Wali Frozan, a political analyst.

“We want girls go to schools and universities based on the Islamic system not democracy, and the prohibition of women's work should be ended,” said Shir Agha Bayanzai, another political analyst.

Many countries including the US have called for the lifting of bans on women in Afghanistan, but so far girls above sixth grade are denied access to an education in the country.

Source: tolonews.com

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https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-183318

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Afghans living in Pakistan ‘concerned’ about their safety

May 12, 2023

Afghans in Pakistan said they have been living in fear for the past two days and have avoided going outdoors due to the unrest that gripped the country following former president Imran Khan’s arrest on Tuesday.

Speaking to Azadi Radio, one migrant in Pakistan, Abdul Basit, said: “Afghan immigrants who are here do not feel safe. Their concern is that they can neither return to their country, nor do they feel safe in Pakistan. One of the countries that takes the files and cases of Afghan immigrants, Afghans who are in danger here, we request that their cases be dealt with seriously as soon as possible.”

Afghans reported having their internet services disconnected following the arrest of Khan on Tuesday and men said they could not leave their wives and children at home alone.

Another Afghan, Abdul Rahman Karimi, told Radio Azadi about his family’s problems in Islamabad: “We can’t easily go to the market to buy goods, women are facing a lot of problems. Our children who used to be able to go to the market with women for now, they can’t. These problems are increasing every day. On the other hand, the problem of the internet being cut off and social networks not working, including Facebook and WhatsApp, are problems that we immigrants in Pakistan are facing.”

Imran Khan supporters demonstrated across the country following his arrest on Tuesday. In a bid to calm the situation, the Pakistan government deployed thousands of police and military personnel around the country to contain the unrest and blocked internet services in many areas.

But late Thursday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered Khan’s release, declaring his arrest “illegal”.

“The Supreme Court reversed all legal proceedings against Imran Khan … he has been asked to present himself in the Islamabad High Court on Friday morning,” lawyer Babar Awan told reporters.

Awan said the court ruled that Khan was now under its custody and not of the anti-graft agency, adding he would spend the night in the same police guest house as before with permission to see up to 10 people from friends and family.

It was not immediately clear when he would be allowed to go home.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), expresses deep concern and sadness regarding the recent developments in Pakistan, which have resulted in protests accompanied by instances of violence.

Hafiz Zia Ahmad Takal, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs IEA, stated that in light of the current situation, the Ministry has provided necessary instructions to its representatives to ensure the safety and security of #Afghan citizens residing in Pakistan.

Source: ariananews.af

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https://www.ariananews.af/afghans-living-in-pakistan-concerned-about-their-safety/

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Afghanistan should not be excluded from international community: China

May 11, 2023

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday that Afghanistan should not be excluded from the international community and the Afghan people’s well-being should receive due attention.

“As a traditional friendly neighbor of Afghanistan, we always believe that Afghanistan should not be excluded from the international community. Afghan people’s well-being should receive due attention,” Wang Wenbin said during his regular briefing when asked whether China would help the Afghan side gain international recognition if the Islamic Emirate “truly delivers” on its pledge to fight terrorism.

Wang said Afghanistan’s reconstruction process should be encouraged, and its sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected.

“We also note the world’s concerns and expectations for the interim government, including with regard to adopting prudent and moderate policies protecting women and children’s rights and interests and taking a firmer stance on counter-terrorism,” he added.

Referring to the joint statement issued at the end of last week’s 5th China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue held in Islamabad, he said it reflected the consensus reached and trust for deeper cooperation in political development and security domains.

“As you said, this is the first multilateral document that has the participation of the Afghan interim government. And it is also the first time that the Afghan Taliban (IEA) made an explicit written pledge denouncing terrorism especially the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM),” he added.

The spokesperson termed it of great significance to the future of China-Afghanistan relations and regional counter-terrorism and security cooperation.

He pointed out that the fifth dialogue was the first formal dialogue among the foreign ministers of the three countries since the Islamic Emirate’s takeover in August 2021.

”The dialogue plays an important role in advancing good neighborly friendship and practical cooperation among the three countries and contributes to the political settlement of the Afghan issue and galvanize international efforts for stability and development in Afghanistan,” he added.

Source: ariananews.af

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https://www.ariananews.af/afghanistan-should-not-be-excluded-from-international-community-china/

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UN Violates Gender Equality by Adopting Taliban Policies: Freedom Now

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

May 12, 2023

Freedom Now, a Washington-based human rights organization said, that concerns are growing about the United Nations’ policy to engage with the Taliban-run administration despite the ban on its Afghan female employees.

Freedom Now has called on the United Nations instead of accepting the Taliban’s gender-based policies, the organization should defend the rights of its employees, who have been barred from working for the international organization.

The organization has said the UN’s continued operation under the Taliban administration, which has restricted female staff from working with the world body “violates the principle of gender equality in the UN Charter”.

Despite the ban on women’s employment, the UN has to continue its operation in Afghanistan to deliver life-saving aid to the millions of people who are in dire need of humanitarian aid. Furthermore, prolonged drought, economic crisis and hunger have put the lives of millions of people in grave danger, the UN said.

According to a senior UN official, currently, its employees are advised to remain at home and receive salaries. The United Nations has not yet announced its decision regarding the fate of these employees.

Freedom Now is a Washington-based human rights organization that protects individuals and communities from government repression and defends human rights through direct legal support, targeted high-leverage advocacy, and capacity-building analysis and assistance.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/un-violates-gender-equality-by-adopting-taliban-policies-freedom-now/

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Former Minister Of Information and Culture Surrenders To Taliban Forces

By Fidel Rahmati

May 11, 2023

Mohammad Tahir Zaheer, former Minister of Information and Culture, has surrendered to the Taliban forces, sources said.

Sources confirmed to Khaama Press that Tahir Zaheere, former Minister and governor of Bamyan Province, surrendered to the Taliban forces on Wednesday.

According to the report, he surrendered to the Taliban in the Dara Soof district of Samangan province.

Sources also said that the Taliban forces have detained, imprisoned, and tortured Zaheer’s family members and relatives, leading to his surrender.

Last year, Zaheer and the Taliban’s Hazara leader Mawlavi Mehdi fought with the Taliban; however, after Mehdi’s death, he continued to fight with the Taliban.

Still, his family has not commented on his surrender. Also, it is unclear under what condition he surrendered to the Taliban forces.

Zaheeer was a former governor of Bamyan province and the former Minister of Information and Culture of the previous government.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/former-minister-of-information-and-culture-surrenders-to-taliban-forces/

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UNICEF Warns Of Critical Funding Gap For Treatment OF Severe Acute Malnutrition in Afghanistan

By Fidel Rahmati

May 11, 2023

UNICEF in Afghanistan warned of a critical funding gap to provide essential medical food for severe acute malnutrition in the country.

Thousands of malnourished children in Afghanistan face severe consequences because of a critical funding gap, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Melanie Galvin, UNICEF’s Chief of Nutrition, said on the organization’s official Twitter account on Thursday that it urgently needs additional funding to provide severe acute malnutrition children with ready-t-use medical food (RUTF) and life-saving treatment.

Galvin noted that this year, 875,000 children in Afghanistan suffer from severe acute malnutrition. Without treatment, thousands of children are life-threatening.

Severe malnutrition can be treated with RUTF, a “highly efficient and effective” treatment, “in as little as eight weeks,” Galvin said. However, she noted that UNICEF lacked the $21 million necessary resources to purchase RUTF and train health workers across Afghanistan.

This comes a day after the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) expressed concern over running out of funding for humanitarian assistance in the country.

With adequate funding, humanitarian partners can reduce large-scale hunger, prevent disease outbreaks & reduce the chances of women dying giving birth, OCHA said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, the organization called for timely funding to support people in need. “The price of doing nothing has never been higher. Timely funding is needed to support people in need,” it added.

The UN estimates that 28 million people in Afghanistan require humanitarian aid, and the Taliban’s restrictions on women have worsened the situation.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/unicef-warns-of-critical-funding-gap-for-treatment-of-severe-acute-malnutrition-in-afghanistan/

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Mideast

 

Mosul Museum to reopen after 20-year closure, Iraq war and Islamic State ransacking

11 May 2023

MOSUL, Iraq — Iraqi officials on Thursday said Mosul’s once-celebrated museum had entered the final stages of restorations ahead of a planned 2026 reopening after being closed to the public for 20 years.

The museum closed its doors in 2003 amid the chaos following the US-led invasion of Iraq, and was later ransacked by Islamic State group jihadists after they seized the city in 2014.

“We are celebrating today, in the city of two springs, the launch of the Mosul Museum’s rehabilitation project,” the director of Iraq’s antiquities authority, Laith Majid, said at a press conference.

“This museum, an icon of museums in Iraq, was targeted by a blind barbarian assault,” Majid said, referring to the destruction by IS.

The jihadists used sledgehammers and power tools to deface ancient statues and pre-Islamic treasures housed in the museum, releasing an infamous video showing the destruction in 2015.

“Part of this cavity will be preserved, as a witness throughout history to what has been perpetrated,” said Khair al-Din Ahmed Nasser, head of antiquities in Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital.

A new display was inaugurated, showcasing the museum’s history, collection and current restoration plans, as part of efforts supported by France’s Louvre Museum, the Smithsonian Institute and the World Monument Fund.

It comes within the “second and final phase” of the “total reconstruction and rehabilitation of the museum building” and should be completed within two or three years, said Nasser.

Among the pieces defaced by IS and under restoration at the museum are treasures from the ancient Assyrian site of Nimrud, including a winged lion, two imposing “lamassu” — winged bulls with human heads — and the throne base of the ninth century BC King Ashurnasirpal II.

“Out of five works, there are three that are extremely advanced,” said Barbara Couturaud from the Louvre. The artifacts are being revived with financing from the International Alliance for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH).

“The pieces have been identified… now they have to be assembled. These are sculptures that weigh several tonnes, requiring extremely complicated handling,” she said, adding she hoped they would be ready for the planned full reopening in summer 2026.

Source: timesofisrael.com

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https://www.timesofisrael.com/mosul-museum-to-reopen-after-20-year-closure-iraq-war-and-islamic-state-ransacking/

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Israel Kills Islamic Jihad Rocket Chief in Gaza, Fourth Senior Commander Dead in Three Days

12.05.23

Israeli air strikes killed the head of Islamic Jihad's rocket force in Gaza early on Thursday, part of an operation that has killed 25 people including women and children this week and that has been met with hundreds of rockets fired from the enclave.

Egypt was set to host senior Islamic Jihad official Mohammad al-Hindi in Cairo as part of mediation efforts to end the fighting, two Islamic Jihad officials and a foreign diplomat told Reuters.

Ali Ghali was the fourth senior Islamic Jihad commander killed since Israel began striking Gaza in pre-dawn raids on Tuesday. The death toll in the raids includes at least five women and five children.

The military said Ghali had helped oversee the launch of rocket fire towards Israel over recent days as well as in previous rounds of fighting. Islamic Jihad is an Iranian-backed militant group allied with Hamas, which rules the enclave.

Air raid sirens sounded in areas of southern Israel around the Gaza Strip, and Reuters images showed rockets intercepted by Israeli air defences in the night sky. Israeli jets hit targets including a mortar post in the northern part of the enclave.

The Israeli military said it has attacked 158 targets in Gaza while at least 523 rockets were launched towards Israel this week, and 380 crossed into Israel but air defences intercepted 96 per cent of those that threatened to hit targets.

Source: telegraphindia.com

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https://www.telegraphindia.com/world/israel-kills-islamic-jihad-rocket-chief/cid/1936176

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Israel Strikes on Gaza Kill 25 People Including Children: Palestinian Health Ministry

May 12, 2023

The death toll from Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip has risen to 25, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on Thursday.

Another 76 Palestinians have been injured in the air attacks, according to the ministry.

Early on Thursday, the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad group, confirmed the death of its rocket launch unit commander Ali Hassan Ghali.

Ghali, who was also a member of the group’s military council, is the fourth Islamic Jihad leader killed in the recent wave of Israeli airstrikes, Anadolu news agency reported.

Wives and children of Islamic Jihad leaders have also been killed in the attacks.

The Israeli army has said the airstrikes are part of its Operation Shield and Arrow, an offensive launched after rockets were fired from Gaza following the death of a Palestinian inmate who was on a hunger strike in an Israeli prison.

Palestinian factions also fired a barrage of rockets at Israel on Wednesday, read the report.

According to Palestinian figures, at least 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the start of this year. At least 19 Israelis have also been killed in separate attacks during the same period, Anadolu reported.

Source: ariananews.af

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https://www.ariananews.af/israel-strikes-on-gaza-kill-25-people-including-children/

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Islamic State claims Damascus car bomb as Assad invited to Saudi

May 10, 2023

The Islamic State (ISIS) group claimed responsibility for a car bombing on a police station in Syria’s capital Damascus on Wednesday, killing one and injuring several others. The explosion came as Arab countries sped up normalization efforts with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who received on Wednesday a formal invitation to attend the Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia on May 19.

One officer was killed while four other police were injured when a car exploded at the Barzeh Police Station in the city. The officer was later identified as Muhannad Fendi Jadallah, who worked in the police’s salaries division, the official SANA news outlet reported.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that an officer from the state security forces was killed and seven others were severely injured.

IS later claimed credit for the attack on its Telegram channels. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the IS claim.

Background: Security in government territory in Syria is much better than it was earlier on in the civil war. Damascus has been relatively free from the civil war for years.

There are still attacks against government forces, however. In April, 17 members of the pro-government National Defense Forces along with 19 civilians were killed by the Islamic State in central Syria while picking truffles. The group still carries out attacks in Syria’s central and eastern desert areas.

Israel is also suspected of regularly carrying out strikes on Syrian and Iranian military targets in Damascus, Aleppo and other parts of the country. Most recently, a Syrian soldier was killed by an Israeli missile attack at the Aleppo airport.

Know more: Arab countries are rapidly normalizing relations with Syria after years of President Bashar al-Assad's government being isolated. On Sunday, Syria was readmitted to the Arab League. Saudi Arabia formally resumed relations with Syria on Tuesday.

Assad's formal invite to the upcoming Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia, marks a shift in Riyadh's relations with Damascus. The two also resumed full diplomatic ties following more than a decade of severed relations. The Syrian presidency has not confirmed if Assad will attend the summit but he is expected to do so.

Editor's note: this article was updated on May 11, 2023 to include information of the Islamic State claiming credit for the Damascus police station bombing.

Source: al-monitor.com

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https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2023/05/islamic-state-claims-damascus-car-bomb-assad-invited-saudi

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HRH Prince Salman Lauds Bahrain’s Global Standings, Commitment To Islamic Values

MAY 12, 2023

His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa yesterday thanked the visionary leadership of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa for Bahrain continuing to uphold its strong global standings.

In this regard, His Royal Highness commended Bahrain’s steadfast commitment to protecting the Islamic religion and its fundamental values in line with the National Action Charter and the Constitution. The Crown Prince and Prime Minister was speaking during a meeting with Ahmed bin Salman Al-Musallam, the Parliament Speaker and Ali bin Saleh Al Saleh, the Chairman of the Shura Council, at Riffa palace. HRH CP, PM further noted the deep-rooted cooperation between the Executive and Legislative Authorities and emphasised the importance of continuing to implement plans, initiatives, and strategies to further economic progress and development.  The current and forthcoming development phase requires Team Bahrain’s comprehensive efforts to implement the 2023- 2026 Government Programme, said Prince Salman. For their part, Al-Musallam and Al Saleh thanked HRH’s commitment to fostering cooperation between the Executive and Legislative Authorities to ensure progress and prosperity for the Kingdom and its citizens. 

The Deputy Prime Minister, Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and the Minister of Finance and National Economy, Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, were present.

Source: newsofbahrain.com

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https://www.newsofbahrain.com/bahrain/90134.html

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Organization of Islamic Cooperation strongly condemns continuation of Israeli military aggression against Gaza

JEDDAH, Thursday, May 11, 2023 (WAFA) - The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), strongly condemned the continuation of the Israeli military aggression against the Gaza Strip, which has killed treacherously 25 martyrs and wounded 76 Palestinian citizens, in addition to the destruction of several residential buildings during the past two days.

OIC in a statement considered this barbaric military aggression a heinous crime and a flagrant violation of the international law and international humanitarian law.

The OIC held Israel, the occupying power, fully responsible for the consequences of the continuation and escalation of its aggression and the war crimes it is committing against the Palestinian people, which constitute a threat to security, peace, and stability in the entire region.

It called the International Criminal Court to accelerate its procedures to prosecute those responsible for war crimes. It also renewed its call on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities and intervene urgently to stop this continuous Israeli aggression, provide international protection for the Palestinian people, and compel Israel to respect its obligations under international law.

Source: english.wafa.ps

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https://english.wafa.ps/Pages/Details/135746

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Islamic Jihad group links cease-fire with end to Israeli assassination policy

Nour Abu Eisha 

11.05.2023

GAZA CITY, Palestine

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group demanded on Thursday that Israel end its assassination policy in order to establish a cease-fire.

Speaking to Anadolu, the group's spokesman Dawood Shihab said no progress has yet been achieved on a cease-fire between the Palestinian groups in Gaza and Israel.

“The Egyptian side is continuing efforts with the Palestinian groups to reach a cease-fire in Gaza,” Shihab said.

He added that senior Islamic Jihad leader Mohammed Al-Hindi is set to arrive in Cairo to discuss the developments and stop Israeli "aggression on Gaza."

On Wednesday, a Palestinian source said that Egyptian efforts to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza have stalled.

“The truce talks have stalled as factions insist on obligating Israel to halt its assassination policy,” the source told Anadolu on condition of anonymity because he was unauthorized to speak to the media.

At least 25 Palestinians were killed and 76 injured in the Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip since Tuesday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Three senior military commanders of the Islamic Jihad group, their wives, and children were among those killed in the attacks.

Palestinian factions fired a barrage of rockets Wednesday into Israel amid tensions following Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.

*Writing by Ahmed Asmar in Ankara

Source: aa.com.tr

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/islamic-jihad-group-links-cease-fire-with-end-to-israeli-assassination-policy/2894931

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New Zealand

 

New Zealand Loses Top Spot As Most 'Islamic Country in the World'; Muslim Community Leaders Say They Are Not Surprised

May 12 2023

In just three years, New Zealand has slipped from being the “most Islamic country in the world”, and Muslim community leaders say they are not surprised.

In the 2019 Islamicity Index, Aotearoa was ranked first overall, followed by Sweden, Iceland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark and Ireland.

But the latest Islamicity rankings – 2022 reveal we have fallen behind those six nations, plus Norway and Finland, with Denmark taking out the top spot.

New Zealand ranks 9th overall – 13th from 3rd in 2021 in terms of its economy, 11th (3) for legal and governance, 5th (7) for human and political rights, and 9th (7) for international relations.

Aliya Danzeisen, of the Islamic Women’s Council, was not surprised New Zealand had dropped from the highest ranking.

Danzeisen said although there are good models of Islamic finance out there, New Zealand hasn't seized the opportunity to explore them, likely contributing to the decrease in the economy category.

That was unfortunate as it was a time for stable options, she said.

“New Zealand fell greatly in the economic portfolio, which is likely due to the Government's inability to adapt to new and more innovative funding options.

“For example, the Muslim community does not utilise interest as it is considered inappropriate to do so. Instead, it is recommended in Islam that one takes on business partnerships and collaborative funding initiatives to progress the community and investors simultaneously.

“Despite several encouragements to look for alternate funding options to support the growing Muslim community and have Islamic finance that meets the compliance of partnerships, New Zealand hasn't stepped into that space.

“In contrast, other countries such as the UK and Australia now have Islamic funding and financing options.”

Danzeisen said the fall in both the legal/governance and human rights categories only pointed to the public service's inability, particularly the Ministry of Justice's inability, to draft inclusive legislation to address hate.

She said New Zealand is one of the few OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries that does not protect religion as a category.

Similarly, the Government has been unwilling or unable to modify legislation to include religion, despite its vulnerability and need for protection, she said.

“We have no funding allocated and no timeline to get the legislation on the table.

“Given the new global awareness that religion is not a fully protected category of human rights in this country, it may have also contributed to New Zealand's fall in the rankings.

“The rise in hate and the targeting of vulnerable communities, and the New Zealand Government's inability to address that increase and prevent the spread of hate, likely would have had an impact. The index also calculates the societal wellbeing of the community,” Danzeisen said.

The index also revealed that while there were ups and downs in the performance of individual countries from 2021, the broad pattern had not changed even from 2000.

“The best-performing Muslim countries continue to be Malaysia, the UAE, Albania and Qatar while Turkey has deteriorated significantly.

“Muslim-majority countries performed badly – they do not follow and practise the important teachings of Islam to build flourishing institutions in support of justice, freedom, equality, sound economic management and rulers answerable to the people,” the index stated.

Abdur Razzaq, of the Federation of Islamic Associations, was surprised at the safety and security indicators.

Razzaq, who chairs the FIANZ Royal Commission, said while NZ has yet to establish a national security policy, “this is a priority of the DPMC [Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet].

“We score quite low in this compared to many of the EU countries. We have done a U-turn on the hate speech legislation for certain vulnerable communities,” he said.

“On the positive side, under social capital such as people trusting, respecting and helping one another, we rank No 2 after Denmark.

“I think it is not that NZ has lowered its ranking but that the EU, as an economic bloc, has improved in a number of indicators, particularly economic and governance areas,” Razzaq said.

Danzeisen said she didn’t think the 2019 Christchurch terror attacks had anything to do with New Zealand’s ranking “because there have been two indexes since that time, including one that came out shortly after the attacks.

“However, the response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry and the processing of its findings likely would have had an impact on this.

“A couple of examples are the findings that the New Zealand Government was almost solely focusing on the Muslim community when there were far greater risks inside the borders that they failed to identify.

“The role that counter-terrorism played and the actions taken up to the attacks probably did have an impact on the ranking,” Danzeisen said.

Razzaq said the impact of the attacks on March 15, 2019 “took a while to filter through, even though we were ranked No1 in 2021”.

Out of the 150 nations highlighted, Australia is ranked 14th (11th in 2021) while Papua New Guinea ranked 108th (101).

Source: stuff.co.nz

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https://www.stuff.co.nz/pou-tiaki/132019153/new-zealand-loses-top-spot-as-most-islamic-country-in-the-world

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Pakistan

 

Islamabad High Court Resumes Hearing on Imran’s Bail Plea in Al-Qadir Trust Case

May 12, 2023

ISLAMABAD:

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) resumed hearing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan's bail plea in the Al-Qadir Trust case after a break in proceedings.

IHC CJ Aamer Farooq constituted a two-member bench - comprising Justice Miangul Hasan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz - to hear Imran's bail plea in the case.

As the hearing commenced today, a lawyer stood up and chanted slogans in favour of the ousted premier. Expressing its displeasure, the division bench said there should be complete silence, with Justice Miangul warning that the case will not be heard if such acts continue.

The court then took a break for Friday prayers.

As the hearing resumed, Imran stood up and requested everyone to listen to the proceedings quietly, alleging that and individual "had been planted" to disrupt the proceedings earlier.

Reacting to his remark, Advocate General Islamabad Barrister Jahangir Khan Jadoon raised an objection and questioned why the PTI chief was levelling allegations.

"Jadoon sb, I am sorry but I did not say anything about you," replied Imran.

Khwaja Haris, representing the PTI chief, came to the rostrum and stated that Imran had written to the accountability watchdog for a copy of the inquiry in the Al-Qadir Trust case. "We came to know through the media that the inquiry has been converted into an investigation," Haris maintained.

The lawyer added that the manner in which the inquiry was converted into an investigation, the aim was to "arrest Imran immediately".

Haris furthered that NAB can convert an inquiry into an investigation only if there is sufficient evidence.

"A notice was sent to me on March 2 to which I replied," he said, adding that in his reply, he informed NAB that the notice was not sent as per the requirements of the NAB Ordinance.

'Looks as if martial law is in place'

During recess, Imran spoke to media to the media again and said "this is my country, my people, be peaceful". He assured that he has obtained bail "in all cases" and cannot be arrested.

The former prime minister further stated that he has full confidence in the chief justice of Pakistan. Recalling his arrest earlier this week, the PTI chief said he was assaulted with a baton but maintained that NAB's "behaviour was fine" during his detention.

"I had warned of a reaction," said Imran referring to his arrest. "How can be held responsible if I was under arrest."

Elaborating on his arrest, the PTI chief said he was inside the premises of the IHC when he was arrested and "they had no justification" for the act.

Imran maintained that he was "abducted" and was shown the warrant for his arrest while in custody. "This is the law of the jungle."

"It looks as if martial law has been declared," said the former premier.

Prior to the start of the hearing, the PTI chief stated that he can be arrested again, adding that he was allowed to talk to his wife Bushra Bibi.

When asked for confirmation that he had reached a 'deal', Imran smiled but stayed silent

The former premier reached the IHC amid tight security. On his arrival, a large number of lawyers gathered outside the IHC premises and raised slogans in support of the PTI chief.

The hearing in Courtroom No. 1 commenced after the premises were checked by the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) and cleared by security officials.

Imran's counsel, Babar Awan, talking with the media outside the IHC and said that the PTI chief's "life is in danger".

He maintained that there are certain people who fear that if Imran is released, their jobs will be at risk. "That is why Punjab Police has come from Lahore," he added.

PTI urges supporters to reach Islamabad

PTI leader Hammad Azhar released a short video on Twitter and urged the party's supporters to reach Islamabad.

"Everyone should reach Islamabad and safeguard themselves from illegal arrests," said the PTI leader and added that Friday prayers will be offered in the federal capital.

Prior to her arrest today, party leader and former health minister of Punjab Dr Yasmin Rashid also posted a video on Twitter urging PTI workers to reach Islamabad.

“I also want to pay tribute to our peaceful workers who stood strong in the face of aggressors who infiltrated the protests,” she added.

However, after the ousted premier reached the court premises, the Islamabad police again requested the people to cooperate with the law enforcers and stated that "Imran Khan has reached IHC and orders of the Supreme Court were followed".

High security in the capital

Extraordinary security arrangements were witnessed in the capital ahead of Imran's appearance at the high court at 11 am.

According to reports, police and Frontier Corps (FC) troops are deployed outside the IHC. Containers have been placed near police lines on the Srinagar Highway and a heavy contingent of police and Rangers officials has been deployed under the Faizabad Bridge, Srinagar Highway and Police Lines.

Military vehicles were also seen patrolling in Islamabad ahead of the hearing. Moreover, it was reported that no unrelated person will be allowed to enter the high court for the hearing of the high-profile case.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad Capital Territory Police (ICT) reminded the citizens that Section 144 is still in force in the capital, requesting the public not to obstruct the legal process.

"Citizens are requested to avoid moving in the area of the IHC", the statement added.

As PTI workers gathered in solidarity with the party chief, ICT police said that the Srinagar Highway has been closed to traffic, requesting citizens to take alternative routes.

A day earlier, the top court came to the rescue of the PTI chief as it declared his arrest by the country's top graft-buster from the premises of the IHC illegal and directed the immediate release of the former prime minister.

“The petitioner is directed to be produced before the IHC tomorrow—May 12— at 11:00 am for hearing of his writ petition filed to challenge the NAB action against him in the Al-Qadir Trust Case,” said the SC.

The apex court also said the NAB authorities and the Islamabad police shall ensure foolproof security to the petitioner until his production in the IHC.

Dozens of troops of paramilitary Rangers on May 9 broke into an office of the IHC and whisked Imran away in an armoured vehicle in a whirlwind raid while executing the arrest warrant issued against the former premier by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the Al-Qadir Trust case.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq later in the same day issued contempt notices to the secretary interior and Islamabad Inspector general police (IGP) over the manner in which the arrest had been carried out but termed the arrest legal.

While violent protests erupted across the country after the development—protests that involved attacks on security personnel and arson of military and civil properties, the PTI on Wednesday approached the Supreme Court against Imran’s arrest.

Source: tribune.com.pk

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https://tribune.com.pk/story/2416369/ihc-resumes-hearing-on-imrans-bail-plea-in-al-qadir-trust-case-1

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Frontier Corps Muslim Bagh Camp Attacked By Terrorists InBalochistan: ISPR

May 12, 2023

A group of terrorists attacked a security facility in Balochistan on Friday and an operation to capture the culprits was currently ongoing, the military's media wing reported.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) revealed that a Frontier Corps (FC) Camp in Muslim Bagh area in Northern Balochistan was attacked In the early hours of Friday morning.

"Commander 12 Corps is supervising the security forces operations being conducted at Muslim Bagh area in Balochistan where the terrorists have been cornered into a building complex," the military sources said. adding that at least two of them have already been killed.

"The security forces continue to maintain pressure on the terrorists," the statement added, saying that a "heavy exchange of fire is underway.

"In the process of clearance operation, two soldiers have embraced shahadat (martyrdom) while another three are injured."

Two weeks ago, seven terrorists were killed as security forces gallantly fought off three assaults within a short span of time in the night between April 28 and 29 in Lakki Marwat, the ISPR said.

Three soldiers were also martyred in fierce exchange of fire during the encounters with terrorists in Lakki Marwat town and the general area of Amir Kalam and Tajbi Khel.

During his maiden press conference, on April 25, as director general of the ISPR, Maj-Gen Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry had revealed that a total of 8,269 intelligence-based operations (IBOs) had been conducted since January as a result of which 1,535 terrorists had been killed or apprehended.

Of these, 4,040 IBOs were conducted in Balochistan, another 3,591 in K-P, 119 in Punjab and 519 operations were conducted in Sindh. On average, over 70 IBOs were being conducted daily by the army, police and LEAs since January, he continued.

Source: tribune.com.pk

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https://tribune.com.pk/story/2416394/fcs-muslim-bagh-camp-attacked-by-terrorists-in-balochistan-ispr

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Islamic Finance enters the Russian market

May 12, 2023

A new market may open up for the Islamic world. The first debit card and bank branch under Shariah rules appeared in Russia. So far as an experiment. But in the near future, the large-scale introduction and development of Islamic finance mechanisms in Russia is possible.

This topic will be one of the main at the XIV International Economic Forum Russia – Islamic World: Kazan Forum 2023. The forum will be held on May 18-19, in the Russian city of Kazan with the participation of representatives from 77 countries.

Experts note the growing interest in Islamic finance and responsible investing in Russia, where more than 20 million Muslims live. Kazan Forum provides strategic support to the largest Russian and foreign corporations in the development of Islamic finance mechanisms. Thus, based on the results of expert discussions at Kazan Forum 2022, in Russia, it was decided to launch a pilot and legal regulation of the mechanism of partnership finance in certain regions.

The relevant bill was submitted to the Parliament of the country, which was supported by the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Russia. As a result, Ak Bars Bank for the first time in Russia has presented an Islamic debit card based on the “Mir” payment system. Russia’s leading bank Sber has opened an office of partner Islamic finance in Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, with the possibility of obtaining an Islamic mortgage. This is the first bank branch in Russia, designed according to all Shariah rules.

Based on Russian and foreign experience, the participants of KazanForum 2023 (including representatives of Parliament, the government, and the Central Bank of Russia) will discuss the prospects of expanding the pilot project to other regions of the country with a full-scale legal regulation of this type of business. Representatives of government agencies and the expert community of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will speak at the sessions. They will consider adapting the experience of Islamic countries in developing the market of Islamic finance.

A series of events on the track «Islamic finance» will be attended by representatives of Islamic business and banking, interested in the development of partnership projects in Russia. For entrepreneurs, KazanForum 2023 will be a good opportunity to find trading, financial and technological partners, enter into new markets and attract investments.

Experts will also discuss financial technologies, trends and features of Islamic finance, the development of the digital financial assets market; the organization of courses in Islamic finance. Their educational programs will be presented by the Russian bank «Sber» together with the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), which defines the standards of Islamic finance operations for Muslim financial institutions around the world.

Also, within the track “Islamic finance” at KazanForum 2023 there will be business interactive games, developed by experts in economics and specialists from the Russian Islamic Institute. Participants will be able to obtain and demonstrate practical experience in business, investment, and financial literacy in accordance with Islamic values. Winners and runners-up at the end of the tournament will receive gifts.

Source: pakobserver.net

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https://pakobserver.net/islamic-finance-enters-the-russian-market/

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Bank Alfalah Islamic offers young Islamic professionals internships

May 12, 2023

Bank Alfalah Islamic becomes the first bank in the industry to offer internships in partnership with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) under their initiative titled “Young Islamic Banking Professionals Program (Y-IBP).”

Young Islamic Banking Professionals (Y-IBP) Program is a first-of-its-kind initiative taken by the State Bank of Pakistan to link academia with the industry to amplify the influx of quality professionals.

Under the program, SBP has joined hands with Islamic banking institutions and various universities across Pakistan to create awareness on Islamic Banking fundamentals and choose potential candidates to transform them into quality professionals through internships and Islamic banking certifications by the National Institute of Banking & Finance.

Bank Alfalah Islamic has taken the lead in offering internships to the students of Iqra University under Y-IBP.

In this regard, an event was held at Bank Alfalah Islamic Learning Centre Karachi, which was attended by several senior officials from SBP and Bank Alfalah, including Mr. Abdul Basir Khan (Additional Director Islamic Finance Development Department, SBP), Mr. Imran Ahmad (Additional Director Development Finance Support Department, SBP), Mr. Shoaib Siddiqui (Head Talent Acquisition, Bank Alfalah), Mr. Ahsan Raza Mankee (Head of Learning & Development Bank Alfalah), Mr. Salman Ghaffar (Head of Product and Sales Management Bank Alfalah-Islamic Banking Group) and Mr. Muhammad Rizwanullah (Lecturer, Iqra University).

The Y-IBP program is open to young individuals who are in the process of completing their education and are seeking to develop their careers in the Islamic banking sector.

Through this program, participants will gain exposure to various aspects of Islamic banking, including Shariah-compliant products, services, and operations.

Participants will also have the opportunity to work with experienced professionals in the Islamic banking sector, enabling them to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the industry.

Mr. Imran Ahmad, Additional Director Development Finance Support Department at the State Bank of Pakistan BSC, commented on the program, saying, “The State Bank of Pakistan is pleased to achieve another millstone under Y-IBP. We are happy that Bank Alfalah Islamic has taken the lead in offering an internship program to one of the batches selected by SBP under Y-IBP.”

Dr. Muhammad Imran, Group Head Islamic Banking at Bank Alfalah, said, “Bank Alfalah Islamic is dedicated to spearheading the advancement of the Islamic banking sector in Pakistan. With the introduction of the Y-IBP program by SBP, the Bank is committed to nurturing young talent and fostering a pipeline of skilled professionals who are passionate about Islamic banking.”

Bank Alfalah Islamic is committed to playing a leading role in developing the Islamic banking sector in Pakistan.

With the launch of the Y-IBP program by SBP, the Bank aims to support the sector’s growth by developing young talent and creating a pipeline of professionals passionate about Islamic banking.—Agencies

Source: pakobserver.net

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https://pakobserver.net/bank-alfalah-islamic-offers-young-islamic-professionals-internships/

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ICIEC honoured with GTR leaders in trade award for Islamic Finance in trade

May 12, 2023

The Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), the insurance arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, is proud to announce that it is the recipient of the prestigious Global Trade Review (GTR) Leaders in Trade Award for Islamic Finance in Trade. This esteemed accolade was presented to ICIEC during the GTR Saudi Arabia awards ceremony on May 9, 2023.

The GTR Leaders in Trade Awards celebrate innovation, excellence, and growth in the trade, commodity, supply chain, and export finance markets, with a specific emphasis on Islamic finance. This award underscores ICIEC’s unwavering commitment to supporting and promoting trade within the Islamic world, fostering economic development, and driving sustainable growth.

ICIEC CEO, Mr. Oussama Kaissi, expressed appreciation for the recognition, stating, “It is with immense pleasure that we receive the GTR Leaders in Trade Award for Islamic Finance in Trade. This award serves as recognition for ICIEC’s dedication to providing our member states with comprehensive, world-class Islamic insurance and risk management services. We remain committed to driving transformative change in the sector, and we thank GTR for acknowledging our efforts in championing Islamic finance in trade.”

Since its establishment, ICIEC has been actively involved in its member states’ economic growth and development by offering Shariah-compliant insurance and reinsurance solutions, reducing trade and investment risks, and promoting the expansion of trade within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation countries. The GTR Leaders in Trade Award cements ICIEC’s position as a leader and pioneer in the Islamic finance industry.—Zawya News

Source: pakobserver.net

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https://pakobserver.net/iciec-honoured-with-gtr-leaders-in-trade-award-for-islamic-finance-in-trade/

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Africa

 

Algeria says army officer killed in clash with Islamists

11 May, 2023

An Algerian army officer has been killed in a clash with suspected Islamists during an operation southwest of the capital, the defence ministry said on Thursday.

The captain died Wednesday during the operation to capture "a group of terrorists" in the wooded region of Tissemsilt, a ministry statement said.

Four jihadists were arrested, the statement added.

Algerian authorities use the term "terrorist" to describe armed Islamist militants who have been active in the country since the early 1990s.

Between 1992 and 2002, a civil war pitting the army against multiple jihadist groups killed an estimated 200,000 people.

A 2005 Charter for Peace and Reconciliation was supposed to have turned the page on the conflict, but jihadist groups continue to carry out sporadic attacks.

In January, the defence ministry announced that 39 "terrorists" had been "eliminated" during targeted army operations in 2022.

Source: newarab.com

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https://www.newarab.com/news/algeria-says-army-officer-killed-clash-islamists

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Federal Road Safety commander wants Islamic law to try traffic offenders

11 May 2023

The Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Bauchi State, Mr Yusuf Abdullahi has clamoured for application of Sharia Law to prosecute traffic offenders to stem road crashes in the country.

He made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Bauchi.

According to him, the extant laws guiding road crashes are not stiff enough, hence, the need for introduction of the Sharia Law into traffic rules.

Abdullahi said the measure would instil discipline, encourage respect for traffic rules and promote safe road habit among motorists.

He said that it would also curtail spate of urgly scenes on the road occasioned by reckless driving.

“Let us introduce Sharia Law into road crashes and people will wake up. Our people are too careless, and the vehicle owners don’t bother to check them.

“If we don’t introduce Sharia Law, many road users, especially in this area would not start thinking twice before doing whatever they want to do.

“The introduction of Sharia Law will curtail bad behaviour, as most of the crashes are due to negative attitude by motorists and other road users.

“People don’t want to take a rest, they over speed because they want to make money.

“If the law is introduced, by the time you are involved in a crash, it would be investigated, the guilty and his family would also be responsible for anything that happens in that vehicle.

“In a situation where the driver lost his life to a crash, if found guilty, the owner of the vehicle would also be held responsible as it would be revealed that he didn’t do his homework before giving out the vehicle.

“The extant law is working, however, the extent to which it works is very important because in countries where Sharia Law is being implemented, it guides attitudinal conduct to a level that even relatives and friends guide their relations in terms of what to do or not do,” he said.

According to him, the offender is not left alone to bear the penalty, as the Sharia Law equally brings in the family members.

“If stiffer penalties are being attached to road traffic crash offenders, it will go a long way to help us stem all drivers and other road users and make them drive carefully to avoid crashes”.

He noted that the conventional law did not appeal to attitude nor did it take care of conducts to the final end, rather it only looked at the immediate happening while the Sharia law looked deeper into the final happening.

He said, “the Sharia law will be better. If you look at the countries where it is being practiced, it is everybody’s business because your relations and friends know that it can not be compromised”.

Source: guardian.ng

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https://guardian.ng/news/frsc-commander-wants-islamic-law-to-try-traffic-offenders/

 

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Zukuka Finance deploys Islamic banking principles to save borrowers

May 12, 2023

A quick scan through the newspapers will show you how many people are losing their businesses to financial services providers for failure to service a loan.

Financial services providers usually don’t care if the applicant made a profit or a loss on the money borrowed; they just want their money back plus the interest accrued. If you fail, they will advertise and sell the collateral.

It is this unfortunate reality that partly inspired Farid Gava Kakande and four others to start Zukuka Traders Limited, a digital saving and loan product based on the Islamic banking system.

“We have two fundamentals in Islam that drive finances; profit and loss sharing – this is mainly for businesses…We share the profit and loss as long as the loss is not bound to the clients. We consider the loss as natural. The second principle is interest-free loans. At Zukuka, we give loans without expecting any interest. If you take Shs 500,000, we expect the same amount on return,” said Kakande, Zukuka CEO.

On the technology side, Zukuka came to solve the problem of manual processes within Saccos because everything is digitized. Members can join using their Zukuka mobile app, website, and social media handles. In the two years of operation, Zukuka has attracted more than 800 clients saving daily, weekly, or monthly depending on their earnings.

“We try our best to reach about 75 million monthly in savings. For credit facilities, we give an average of 10 members monthly and expect a payback of 65 per cent in loans,” he says.

He adds that the Zukuka mobile app allows users to track transactions in real-time. Clients can also carry out deposits on their Zukuka accounts via mobile money. Meanwhile, Hassan Kawooya, one of the Zukuka members says it is the principle of zero interest that has impressed him most.

“I joined Zukuka Finance two years ago, but I am very happy with it because of the reliable and efficient service. Our savings are safe and when you need a loan, it comes with no interest. We just have to share profits, if any,” he says, noting that even countries like Uganda are struggling to finance national budgets because of the high interest they have to pay to their creditors.

40 Days 40 FinTechs

Zukuka Finance is a fully registered Sacco under the ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives and regulated by the Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority. However, Kakande says people’s uptake of digital innovations is still a stumbling block in Uganda.

“People are illiterate about these technologies. We are doing our best to carry out training for our members. People also think technology involves a lot of fraud. For us, when a customer wants to withdraw money, we always request for a [secret] code to avoid fraud and embezzlement of funds,” he says.

He further appreciates initiatives such as 40 Days 40 FinTechs that are shining a light on emerging players in the FinTech space which is one way of building confidence among end-users.

“This initiative has helped giant companies to interact with SMEs. This has helped to build a relationship in business which eventually leads to economic growth,” he says.

Now in its fourth season, HiPipo’s 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative has become a household name in the financial technology space of the East African region. In the last three editions, more than 100 fintechs have been showcased, highlighting stories changing people’s lives, especially in the under-served sectors.

“This season we are happy to show the impact stories of these innovations. The likes of Zukuka are facilitating financial inclusion because we believe that in order to create real change, the cost of credit should be reduced significantly. And that is what Zukuka has done through their implementation of Shariah-compliant finance principles,” noted Innocent Kawooya, CEO of HiPipo.

Source: observer.ug

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https://www.observer.ug/businessnews/77746-zukuka-finance-deploys-islamic-banking-principles-to-save-borrowers

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AlQalam University remains Islamic, liberal, says VC

May 11, 2023

Aprivately-owned university in Katsina State, Al-Qalam University, has said that in in spite of being an Islamic institution, it still remain liberal in its admission policy.

It said it is open to teaching staff and students irrespective of ethnic and religious background.

The varsity’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Nasiru Musa Yauri who made the clarifications in a chat with a select group of journalists in Katsina, said the varsity does not discriminate.

He said the institution will not hinder the practice of other religions.

He said the varsity has not had conflicts arising from religious practices

He said: “Our University is an Islamic university though with liberal attitude to other religions. It is true, we are an Islamic University. We, nonetheless, allow other religions. We don’t stultify practice of other religions. We have not had issues concerning religion since our establishment.

“What we do and enforce here is the promotion of moral values, decency and good character. We ensure that our students embrace good moral values and shun anti-society behavior.

“If you go round our campus, you see that we place posters in strategic places, reminding students on the institution’s stand against anti-society behavior.

“I also cultivate the habit of meeting the students’ body and enlighten them on the need to ensure good community relations where they stay. I encourage them to embark on affordable social responsibility such as cleaning their communities, once in a while; and the empowerment of some of the needy in their communities, etc.

“Since students’ welfare is also key, we have embarked on some developments to encourage the students. We recently acquired two coastal buses that would be carrying the students. I have also directed that the Handball field; the Volleyball field and others be upgraded and made functional for the use of the students.”

The VC also announced that he has directed the mounting of a large television on the varsity’s mini stadium so that the students can watch football and other programmes whenever they are less busy.

Source: thenationonlineng.net

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https://thenationonlineng.net/alqalam-university-remains-islamic-liberal-says-vc/

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