New Age Islam
Tue Jan 18 2022, 11:13 AM

Islamic World News ( 14 Dec 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Saudi Arabia Ready to Normalize Ties with Israel Based On Arab Initiative

New Age Islam News Bureau

15 December 2021

 


 

Representational Photo

----

• Saudi Arabia Ready to Normalize Ties with Israel Based On Arab Initiative

• Idea of 'Muslim Terrorist' Invented By Western Countries to Create Islamophobia: Turkish Parliament Speaker

• Opening of Kashi Vishwanath Dham Dispels Doubts over Gyanvapi Mosque Security Which Is Situated Adjacent To the Kashi Vishwanath Temple

• Al-Quds Mufti Raps Arizona Rep. Over Proposal to Destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque

• US Bans Imports From Xinjiang over Uighur Treatment and Forced Labour

 

Arab World

• Abu Dhabi Launches Court for Non-Muslims to Settle Family Disputes Implementing Law Governing Non-Muslim

• Israel's intelligence minister says Syria must not have chemical weapons

• US watching closely as Lebanese military court tries civilians

• UAE suspends talks on F-35 deal with US; State Dept hopes solve ‘outstanding issues’

--------

Europe

• France Shutters 21 Mosques Accused Of Not Respecting 'Separatism' Laws

• Muslim cemetery in France’s Mulhouse vandalized

• Islamophobia awareness conference held in London

• Mosque in Germany vandalized by far-left protesters

--------

India

• Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema Jammu and Kashmir Urge Saudi Arabia to Revoke Ban on Tablighi Jamaat

• Don't Throw Out Peace-Loving League Sympathisers to Islamic Terror Outfits: Kerala CM Tells IUML

• Unidentified terrorist killed in encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama

• Pak terrorist killed in Poonch encounter

• 5 killed, 2 injured as vehicle falls into gorge on way back from burial of ASI slain in Zewan terror attack

• Wasim Rizvi resigns from Shia board after converting

--------

Mideast

• Israelis are dressing up as Muslims to enter Al-Aqsa complex

• Iran warns Israeli PM’s visit to UAE goes against interests of Arab, Muslim nations

• Iran sees understanding with IAEA soon, France says reaching end of road to save deal

• US envoy to UN scolds Iran-backed Houthis, demands release of detained staff

• Arab Coalition carries out 31 operations against Houthis in Yemen’s Marib, al-Jawf

• Yemeni army thwarts Houthi infiltration attempt in Saada

--------

North America

• UAE suspends talks with US on purchase of F-35 planes, drones worth $23bn

• Pak offered safe haven to Taliban as militants killed US troops: Senator Robert Menendez

• Antony Blinken says Biden administration weighing new sanctions on Myanmar

• US, Palestinian officials renew economic dialogue

• US House to vote on Ilhan Omar's bill to combat Islamophobia

--------

Pakistan

• Rulers Towing Foreign Agenda Can’t Be Loyal To Country: Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan Chief

• Sialkot lynching: Sri Lankan cricket legend thanks PM Imran for efforts to ensure justice for Priyantha Kumara

• ASI in Islamabad arrested on charge of sharing secret information with foreign diplomat

• Nacta drafts first-ever policy to counter violent extremism

• Pakistan issues 112 visas to Indian pilgrims

• PM urges Muslim think tanks to highlight Kashmir atrocities

--------

South Asia

• Taliban Blamed For At Least 72 Extrajudicial Killings: UN

• Afghanistan: We have enough money to address needs and pay salaries of civil servants, says Deputy PM

• US announces $474 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan

• US will not release Afghanistan's assets for three reasons: White House

--------

Southeast Asia

• Thirty-Three Cases Of Deviant Religious Activities Detected In 2020, Parliament Hears

• Sabah CM says RM42.9m aid channelled to non-Muslim schools, religious bodies this year

• Syed Saddiq slams hypocrites who want to ‘divide Malaysia forever’

• Saving Malaysians shouldn't involve killing our food

• Pakistan, Indonesia promote socio-cultural relations

--------

Africa

• How Ulama, Imams can key into war against insurgency – NSA

• NSA Monguno names three Islamic groups as sponsors of terrorism in Nigeria

• Libya’s Presidency Council says ‘important’ to hold timely elections

• French soldiers lower flag after years in Mali’s Timbuktu

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau


URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/saudi-arabia-israel-arab-initiative/d/125965

--------

Saudi Arabia ready to normalize ties with Israel based on Arab initiative

 



Representational Photo

----

Mahmoud al-Bozum  

14.12.2021

Saudi Arabia said it is ready to normalize relations with Israel based on the 2002 Arab initiative proposal for peace.

In an interview with the Riyadh-based Arab News daily, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, the kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN, said Riyadh is committed to the Arab Initiative for peace, which calls for the end of the Israeli occupation of all Arab territories occupied in 1967 and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital in return of normalizing ties with Israel.

"The official and latest Saudi position is that we are prepared to normalize relations with Israel as soon as Israel implements the elements of the Saudi peace initiative that was presented in 2002," Al-Mouallimi said.

He added that once implementing the initiative, Israel will have recognition "not only from Saudi Arabia but the entire Muslim world, all 57 countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation."

“Time does not change right or wrong. The Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is wrong no matter how long it lasts," the diplomat said.

Last month, Israeli media reported that a delegation of some 20 American Jewish leaders had visited Saudi Arabia and met with senior officials there, including at least six government ministers and senior representatives of the Saudi royal house in an effort to review possibilities of establishing ties between Riyadh and Tel Aviv.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly reiterated its commitment of the Arab parameters for peace with Israel expressed in the 2002 Saudi-proposed Arab Initiative.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/saudi-arabia-ready-to-normalize-ties-with-israel-based-on-arab-initiative/2447023

--------

Idea of 'Muslim Terrorist' Invented By Western Countries to Create Islamophobia: Turkish Parliament Speaker

 



Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop speaks at the panel discussion on Islamophobia in Europe held in the capital Ankara, Turkey, Dec. 13, 2021. (DHA Photo)

-----

December 15, 2021

The West intentionally exploited terrorism to create the concept of Islamophobia, Turkey's Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop said Monday.

"In order to create Islamophobia, it was necessary to present a picture of terrorism by Muslims in the West. This doesn't occur on its own. Islam doesn't allow such a thing anyway. It's impossible for normal Muslims to do such a thing (terrorism)," Şentop told a panel on Islamophobia in Europe held in the capital Ankara.

The parliament speaker noted that the idea of “Muslim terrorist” was invented by some Western countries and their intelligence agencies. He continued by giving the example of French support for Daesh terrorists through Lafarge.

Şentop also said that the Western countries also invented the idea of Islamophobia based on the association of Muslims with terrorism.

“Islamophobia does not only involve hostility against Islam, but it also involves xenophobia and racism,” Şentop said, as he argued that the word Islamophobia should not be used in Turkish or other languages because it was a term coined by anti-Muslim circles.

Turkish officials have criticized their Western counterparts for remaining indifferent to anti-Muslim sentiment and fueling such ideology as experts believe the country can lead the fight.

They have continuously called on world leaders to take action to stop the demonization of Muslims and have been taking action to tackle the growing problem.

Turkey has a large diaspora living in the West, particularly in Europe. According to the Foreign Ministry, the Turkish diaspora exceeds 6.5 million people, around 5.5 million living in Western European countries. The growing anti-Muslim hatred and far-right sentiment in these countries have significantly affected the communities.

Source: ABNA24

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

https://en.abna24.com/news//turkish-politician-idea-of-muslim-terrorist-invented-by-western-countries_1208695.html

--------

Opening of Kashi Vishwanath Dham Dispels Doubts over Gyanvapi Mosque Security Which Is Situated Adjacent To The Kashi Vishwanath Temple

 


 

Gyanvapi mosque/ TOI

----

Dec 15, 2021

VARANASI: The apprehension in some quarters of the local Muslim community regarding the security and safety of Gyanvapi mosque, which is situated adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, seemingly disappeared with the opening of the grand Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

When the opening ceremony was in progress on Monday, the local Muslims were offering namaz at the Gyanvapi mosque in a peaceful environment.

“It is true that in the beginning of the construction of Kashi Vishwanath Dham, there were some apprehensions among us regarding the security of Gyanvapi mosque. But now all the doubts have gone away... there is no apprehension now and we are quite confident about the safety of the mosque,” SM Yaseen of the Anjuman Intezamiya Masajid, an administrative body of Gyanvapi mosque, told TOI on Tuesday. Before the construction of the corridor had started, Yaseen gave a statement in the media expressing fear about the safety of the mosque. “At that time the situation was quite different because we had no clear picture of the project. But our doubts started disappearing with the progress of the project in a transparent manner,” said Yaseen.

“We wholeheartedly welcome the construction of Kashi Vishwanath Dham because the best thing that happened is that both Hindus and Muslims got convenience,” he said adding that earlier there were narrow lanes leading to the temple and devotees had to stand in the queues for hours. Now there will be no such problem.

“There is a fixed time for offering namaz in the mosque. We used to feel very bad at that time when the temple going devotees were stopped and the Muslims were allowed to go to the mosque due to the only way existing there. In such a situation, the hearts of the devotees standing in the queue for hours must have been hurt. But now it will not happen,” he said, adding that the Muslims are equally happy with the construction of Kashi Vishwanath Dham. Regarding the land dispute between the Gyanvapi mosque and Kashi Vishwanath temple, Yaseen said that it is not a matter of grave concern, as such things happen in the society. “The matter is in the court, and we are fighting the case. But it does not mean that it will spoil the unique communal harmony of Kashi,” he argued.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/opening-of-kv-dham-dispels-doubts-over-mosque-security/articleshow/88286806.cms

--------

Al-Quds Mufti Raps Arizona Rep. Over Proposal To Destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque

 


Grand mufti of al-Aqsa

----

December 15, 2021

Grand mufti of al-Aqsa has issued a statement to denounce the recent call by Arizona Representative over his proposal for destruction of al-Quds Mosque.

Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, mufti of al-Quds in his statement has called on the international community for resolution to revive the rights of Palestinian nation denounced Rep. Paul Gosar for his proposal to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Top cleric in his statement noted," These racial remarks are in line with comments by radical Rabbi Yaakov Heimann who had made similar proposal" calling such remarks "dangerous" and manifestation of "racial" view in opposition with the global recognition of al-Quds and al-Aqsa Mosque as its gemstone.

He stressed that al-Aqsa Mosque belongs solely to Muslims; therefore, non-Muslims have no right to meddle in decision related to the holy site saying," Any decision to attack the holy mosque is in fact an attack against Muslims across the globe."

Sheikh Mohammad Hussein said," We call on the world countries to implement a resolution on Palestine and condemn the discriminative stance of the illegal Israeli regime and prevent their offenses against the rights of Palestinian nation, their lands and sanctities."

Al-Quds Mufti urged the Arab and Islamic nations to make the best to protect al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem al-Quds and prevent struggles for Judaization of the Islamic holy sites.

Source: ABNA24

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

https://en.abna24.com/news//al-quds-mufti-raps-arizona-rep-over-proposal-to-destroy-al-aqsa-mosque_1208690.html

--------

US Bans Imports From Xinjiang over Uighur Treatment and Forced Labour

 


Photograph :( Reuters)

-----

December 15, 2021

WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives passed legislation today to ban imports from China’s Xinjiang region over concerns about forced labour, part of Washington’s continued pushback against Beijing’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority.

The measure passed by unanimous voice vote, after lawmakers agreed on a compromise that eliminated differences between bills introduced in the House and Senate.

The House last week passed its version of the bill, but that measure failed to advance to the Senate.

But the Senate is expected to pass the compromise version as soon as today, sending it to the White House, where president Joe Biden has said he will sign it into law.

“The administration will work closely with Congress to implement this bill to ensure global supply chains are free of forced labour, while simultaneously working to on-shore and third-shore key supply chains, including semiconductors and clean energy,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate have been arguing over the Uighur legislation for months.

The compromise keeps a provision creating a “rebuttable presumption” that all goods from Xinjiang, where the Chinese government has set up a network of detention camps for Uighurs and other Muslim groups, were made with forced labour, in order to bar such imports.

China denies abuses in Xinjiang, which supplies much of the world’s materials for solar panels, but the US government and many rights groups say Beijing is carrying out genocide there.

Republicans had accused Biden’s Democrats of slow-walking the legislation because it would complicate the president’s renewable energy agenda.

Democrats denied that.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/business/2021/12/15/us-bans-imports-from-xinjiang-over-uighur-treatment/

--------

 

Arab World

 

Abu Dhabi Launches Court for Non-Muslims to Settle Family Disputes Implementing Law Governing Non-Muslim

14 Dec 2021

A new court that specialises in settling personal cases of non-Muslim expats was inaugurated by Youssef Saeed Al Abri, Under-Secretary of Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD).

The move is part of the executive procedures to implement the law governing non-Muslim personal matters in the Capital, promulgated by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in his capacity as Ruler of Abu Dhabi.

The step aims to provide a flexible and elaborate judicial mechanism to settle family disputes for non-Muslims, so as to enhance Abu Dhabi's position and global competitiveness as one of the most attractive destinations for expertise and skills.

Al Abri explained that the establishment of the court is part of the continuous efforts being made to further develop the judicial system of the Abu Dhabi, in line with the directives of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Judicial Department of Abu Dhabi.

All related forms and procedures in the new court will be bilingual (Arabic and English), in order to facilitate the understanding of legal proceedings by foreigners and to strengthen transparency of the judicial system, Al Abri added.

He stated that the Personal Status Law for Non-Muslims, which is applied by the Court, is the first-of-its kind in the world to apply civil principles in the regulation of family matters, as it addresses the smallest details regarding non-Muslim family issues, and provides a modern judicial umbrella for foreigners to resolve disputes in a flexible manner in accordance with international best practices.

About Personal Status Law for non-Muslims

The law consists of 20 articles divided into several chapters covering civil marriage, divorce, joint custody of children and inheritance, with the regulation of marriage procedures for foreigners before the court by introducing the concept of civil marriage based on the will of the husband and wife, divorce procedures and the rights of divorced spouses after divorce, and the discretionary power of the judge to assess the financial rights of the wife based on several criteria.

Source: Khaleej Times

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

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/legal/abu-dhabi-launches-court-for-non-muslims-to-settle-family-disputes

--------

Israel's intelligence minister says Syria must not have chemical weapons

14 December ,2021

Israel's intelligence minister said Tuesday that Syria cannot be allowed to obtain chemical weapons, after a report emerged that Israel targeted the country's chemical weapons facilities.

In an interview with Israeli Army Radio, Elazar Stern would not directly comment on the report in the Washington Post that said that Israel struck Syria on two occasions — once this year and once last year — in a bid to block attempts to rebuild its chemical weapons stockpile. But Stern, a retired military general, hinted that Israel could not accept such weapons in the hands of its enemy to the north.

“We have a neighbor who has already proved that it doesn’t hesitate to use chemical weapons even against its own people,” he said. “(Syrian President Bashar) Assad must not have chemical weapons."

Israeli officials have declined to comment on the Washington Post report.

Military affairs commentators in Israel, who often are briefed by top defense officials, said the timing of the report was not a coincidence and comes as negotiators are meeting with Iran in Vienna to try to revive a 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran has close ties with Syria and has sent fighters and advisers to back the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad in his country's decade-long civil war.

“It was a signal to all of the actors, Iran and the United States, that Israel is serious about acting against the development of non-conventional weapons by its enemies,” wrote Yossi Yehoshua in the Yediot Ahronot daily.

Israel has long opposed the 2015 nuclear deal between global powers and Iran, which granted Iran relief from economic sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Instead, it has called for an accord with even tighter safeguards on Iran's nuclear program and that addresses other Iranian military behavior, such as its missile program and support for anti-Israel militant groups like Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which also has sent fighters to Syria. Israel also supports a “credible” military threat against Iran as leverage.

Israel believes Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon — a charge Iran denies. U.S. intelligence agencies and the IAEA have said Iran ran an organized nuclear weapons program until 2003.

Israel has acknowledged carrying out scores of airstrikes in Syria — almost all of them aimed at Iranian forces or its proxies. Attacks on Syrian targets are rare.

One of the raids cited by the Washington Post, on June 8, was reported by Syrian state media as an Israeli aerial attack near the Syrian capital Damascus and in the central province of Homs, that prompted a response from Syrian national air defenses.

There was no mention in official media of what was targeted in the strikes, although loud explosions were heard in Damascus.

The Syrian government reported the strike to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in a July 9 letter. In it, Syria acknowledged that two chlorine cylinders were destroyed in an airstrike and had been moved there from Douma, the central Syrian town where the global chemical weapons watchdog agency has said chlorine was used as a weapon against civilians in 2018.

Although the agency did not assign blame for the attack, which killed some 40 people, the U.S., Britain and France blamed Syria and launched punitive airstrikes.

The Syrian Archive, a Berlin-based group that documents human rights violations in Syria with a focus on chemical weapons, said one of the sites has reportedly been described as a chemical production center in the southern region. It said another in central Syria was described by former Syrian military officials, who joined the opposition, as a place where chemicals are stored and where work on developing missiles warheads as well.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group that closely monitors the war in Syria, has said the targeted sites included a branch of the military-linked Scientific Studies and Research Center northwest of Homs, in addition to an ammunition depot likely to belong to Hezbollah, south of Homs. The strikes killed 11 soldiers, including a colonel it identified as Ayham Suleiman Ismail.

Unconfirmed reports published by pro-Assad media at the time identified Ismail as a leading chemist at the research center.

The center is a government agency described by the Syrians as a facility for the advancement of scientific research. But Syria watchers have long described it as an outfit for the development of chemical, biological and other weapons.

Israel is believed to have struck facilities associated with the SSRC on numerous occasions in the past.

Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in September 2013, pressed by Russia after a deadly chemical weapons attack that the West blamed on Damascus.

By August 2014, the Assad government declared that the destruction of its chemical weapons was completed, but its initial declaration of chemical stockpiles and production sites to the OPCW has remained in dispute.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/14/Israel-s-intelligence-minister-says-Syria-must-not-have-chemical-weapons

--------

US watching closely as Lebanese military court tries civilians

14 December ,2021

The US is growing increasingly frustrated with the crackdown on press freedom in Lebanon and the use of military courts to try civilians, officials have told Al Arabiya English in recent days.

Washington’s anger comes ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections next year and after a military court in Beirut sentenced a local journalist to thirteen months in prison for “insulting the military.” The sentenced journalist had simply criticized the Lebanese Army.

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

Radwan Mortada was tried in absentia after slamming Lebanese officials during televised remarks earlier this year and saying that the army was to blame for the Aug. 4 Beirut port blast.

He has also accused the judge leading the explosion of being close to the US and being “weak.”

“The support [Judge Tarek] Bitar has from America and some of the right-wing Lebanese parties only increases my apprehension and concern,” Mortada said in an interview after being sentenced last month.

Despite Mortada working for a pro-Hezbollah newspaper - which consistently criticizes America, while supporting Iran – US officials have decried the use of military courts for civilians.

“Governments should protect the rights of all persons to voice their views without fear of intimidation, even in cases where we do not agree with those views,” a State Department official told Al Arabiya English.

In Lebanon the Publications Court is where journalists are supposed to face any legal actions.

The Military Court was formed to bring legal action against security personnel, but it has often been used against those accused of endangering national security or terrorism.

The Lebanese Army command does not, however, have a direct role in the military court, which falls under the Defense Ministry.

“The LAF [Army] command technically has no oversight over a military court system that reports to the Defense Ministry and Lebanon's political powers that be,” said Aram Nerguizian, a senior associate at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). “This has turned into a recurring crisis and source of acrimony for LAF leadership,” he said.

In another case involving a Lebanese civilian, Shaden Fakih was summoned last month to the Military Court for harming the reputation of the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

Her trial date was set for June 24, 2022, after being questioned by the ISF for a video she posted asking the local police to deliver her a sanitary pad during coronavirus lockdown measures.

In Fakih’s case, no law addresses how social media postings should be dealt with.

But both cases have drawn local and international condemnations.

“The use of courts, particularly military ones, to prosecute defamation cases against civilians undermines freedom of expression,” the State Department official said.

It is not the first time the military court has made international headlines.

Hanin Ghaddar, a former journalist and current fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, was sentenced to prison, also in absentia.

Contrary to Mortada, Ghaddar was a vocal critic of the Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Like Mortada, Ghaddar was tried after criticizing the Lebanese Army for the way it was treating Hezbollah.

“I believe the military court [is] one of the most oppressive tools in Lebanon, as it is clearly politicized and goes after opponents of the political class,” Ghaddar said.

She cited the sentencing of Mortada as an example of how all the political class could “infiltrate the tribunal.”

“However, it is clear that the majority of its victims are critical of Hezbollah and its allies, indicating the political affiliation of the military tribunal - its head and judges,” Ghaddar told Al Arabiya English.

She said that Washington - the largest donor of resources and weapons to the Lebanese army - needs to increase its pressure on the military to stop going after civilians.

“This is even more significant today as we see more attempts by the political class to protect itself, and with the elections date nearing,” Ghaddar said, alluding to next year’s elections.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/14/US-watching-closely-as-Lebanese-military-court-tries-civilians

--------

UAE suspends talks on F-35 deal with US; State Dept hopes solve ‘outstanding issues’

14 December ,2021

The US is hopeful that it can work out any “outstanding issues” with the UAE over a $23 billion arms deal, a State Department official said Tuesday, after an Emirati official said his country was suspending talks on the sale of F-35 fighter jets.

“As we recently confirmed at the Dubai Air Show, the Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to the proposed sales of F-35 aircraft, the MQ-9B, and munitions even as we continue consultations to ensure that we have a clear, mutual understanding of Emirati obligations and actions before, during, and after delivery,” the official told Al Arabiya English.

Initially struck under the Trump administration, the UAE had requested to buy the US fighter jet and other weapons, including armed drones, as part of the Abraham Accords deal, which saw the Emirates normalize ties with Israel.

But the Biden administration’s decision to review all foreign arms sales, including this deal, led to increased skepticism.

While visiting the Dubai Air Show last month, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Security Mira Resnick said the US intended to move forward with the proposed defense sales.

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal first reported that an Emirati official informed Washington of the suspension of talks over the deal. “Technical requirements, sovereign operational restrictions, and the cost/benefit analysis led to the reassessment,” the official was quoted as saying in a statement.

Asked to comment on the UAE’s new stance, the State Department official told Al Arabiya English: “We are hopeful that we can work through any outstanding issues, and we look forward to the US-UAE Joint Military Dialogue later this week.”

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland was in the UAE last week to discuss “and advance key regional security and economic issues,” the State Department said before her trip.

Commenting on the UAE’s decision, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters that Washington would try to work out the differences.

Kirby said that senior UAE officials had a visit scheduled to the Pentagon later this week.

“We will always insist, as a matter of statutory requirements and policy, on a variety of end use requirements,” Kirby said, directing questions to the State Department.

The UAE’s use of China’s Huawei 5G technology and its warm relationship with China has irked the US, American officials have said publicly and privately.

And Chinese construction at UAE naval ports also raised questions from Washington about Beijing’s military ambitions at the site.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/12/14/US-hopes-to-solve-outstanding-issues-with-UAE-over-23-bln-arms-deal-State-Dept

--------

 

Europe

 

France shutters 21 mosques accused of not respecting 'separatism' laws

14 December, 2021

At least 21 mosques have been closed in France in recent months, said Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, adding that several more Muslim places of worship were also being reviewed.

The closures are a continuation of plans by the French government to tackle what it sees as "Islamist separatism".

Darmanin, who appeared on the channel LCI on Sunday, said that of 99 mosques checked because they were suspected of such "separatism", 21 had been shut down, with another six to be shut down soon.

He said another 36 mosques have accepted the French government's request that they cut ties with imams France considers "dangerous" or by no longer accepting foreign funding, among other actions.

He added that the majority of Muslims in France "pose no problems".

The closures come after a controversial bill was passed by the French Senate in July, making amendments to the constitution.

The 'Supporting Republican Principles Bill' - also known as the 'separation bill' - tightens the rules regarding when homeschooling is permitted, requires mosques to register as places of worship, and also requires foreign funding over €10,000 to be declared to authorities.

The closing of mosques has become easier under the new amendments, as French authorities claim they want to "liberate Islam in France from foreign influences."

Some French politicians have accused mosques in the country of preaching hate and radicalising worshippers.

Source: The New Arab

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

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/france-shuts-21-mosques-not-respecting-separatism-laws

--------

Muslim cemetery in France’s Mulhouse vandalized

December 15, 2021

A Muslim cemetery in Mulhouse, east of France, has been vandalized on Sunday evening.

The Muslim community in France has again been stunned by yet another Islamophobic act as vandals defaced the Muslim cemetery in Mulhouse, a commune in the the Haut-Rhin department in eastern France.

Mayor of Mulhouse Michele Lutz condemned the acts of vandalism that took place on Sunday evening in the Muslim section of the city’s cemetery.

The mayor said authorities found elements of decoration of tombs, flowers, vases, and statuettes, scatted on the ground in the Muslim section of the cemetery.

“Let me add that the graves as such have not been desecrated,” she said, condemning the acts.

“A grave is a symbol that must be respected. I understand that the families were shocked by what they saw. A cemetery must remain a place of meditation and serenity,” she added.

The MP of Haut-Rhin, Bruno Fuchs from the Democratic Movement, also expressed solidarity with the Muslim community, condemning the acts of vandalism.

He also called on the victims to go to the police station to lodge a complaint.

In response to the acts of vandalism, the French Council of Muslim Worship (CFCM) strongly condemned the desecration of Muslim graves.

The Muslim council said that the graves were almost all ransacked.

“The CFCM expresses its solidarity with the families and calls on public authorities to do everything possible to find the perpetrators of this abject act,” the council said.

France has witnessed a wave of Islamophobic acts in recent months, with perpetrators particularly targeting mosques.

In November, two mosques in Besencon were vandalized; the attackers used red paint to draw the crosses of Lorraine on the walls of the mosques.

The Lorraine cross symbolizes French resistance to Nazi occupation in the 1940s, suggesting the vandals of the two mosques were influenced by the far-right claim that Muslims are “invading” France.

Such incidents have become commonplace in France, with Muslim associations and activists asking for justice to ensure the safety of the European country’s Muslim community.

Source: ABNA24

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

https://en.abna24.com/news//muslim-cemetery-in-france%e2%80%99s-mulhouse-vandalized_1208691.html

--------

Islamophobia awareness conference held in London

December 15, 2021

The Islamic Human Rights Council based in London has held an Islamophobia awareness conference, bringing together scholars and witnesses of discrimination to discuss the way forward for Muslims everywhere.

Islamophobia is everywhere, making news on a regular basis. In 2015, Donald J. Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” From the halls of power in Europe, Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders famously said, “Do I have a problem with Islam? Yes I have a problem with Islam.”

Recently, US congresswoman Lauren Boebert made headlines, after she joked about meeting fellow congresswoman Illan Omar. She describes Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, getting into an elevator she was in, and then this.

'I look to my left, and there she is. Ilhan Omar. And I say well, she doesn't have a backpack, we should be fine.'

Muslim minorities everywhere are discussing solutions to this crisis. At the Islamophobia awareness conference organized by the Islamic Human Rights commission based in London, the panel asked: How much Muslim minorities can engage with their non-Muslim governments without compromising their faith.

The de-politicization of mosques and the younger generation, is a major concern. Efforts to prevent young people seeking justice and fighting oppression have intensified, raising the alarm.

Source: ABNA24

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

https://en.abna24.com/news//islamophobia-awareness-conference-held-in-london_1208688.html

--------

Mosque in Germany vandalized by far-left protesters

Ayhan Şimşek

14.12.2021

BERLIN

A mosque in the eastern German city of Leipzig has been vandalized by left-wing extremists, authorities said on Tuesday.

During a rally of far-left groups on Monday night in the east Leipzig, some of the protesters attacked the Eyup Sultan Mosque in the same district and smashed its windows, according to a police statement.

Small groups of violent demonstrators also threw fireworks and rocks at police officers, burned garbage cans, and tried to torch parked cards in the district, according to local media reports.

Police said they arrested 11 suspects after the demonstrators turned violent.

Germany’s largest Turkish-Muslim group DITIB, which runs Leipzig’s Eyup Sultan Mosque, has condemned the attack and called for stronger protection for the places of worship.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/mosque-in-germany-vandalized-by-far-left-protesters/2447216

--------

 

India

 

Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema Jammu and Kashmir Urge Saudi Arabia to Revoke Ban on Tablighi Jamaat

14th December 2021

Srinagar: Islamic scholars in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday called upon Saudi Arabia to reconsider its decision to ban the Tablighi Jamaat. Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU) Jammu and Kashmir, an organisation of Islamic scholars, at a meeting held here passed a resolution in which the west Asian kingdom was asked to reconsider its decision.

Saudi Arabia on December 6 banned the Tablighi Jamaat by calling it a “danger to society and one of the gates of terrorism”.

“As per the resolution presented at the meeting, serious concern was expressed over the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s ban on a purely religious and Da’wah organisation Tableeghi Jamaat; and the government of Saudi Arabia was called upon to reconsider its decision,” tha MMU said in a statement.

The MMU also expressed strong concern and resentment over the blasphemous content published by a Delhi-based publisher ‘Jay Cee Publications’ for the pictorial representation of the Prophet of Islam and the Archangel Jibra’eel in the history and civics books of Class 7.

“From time to time conspiracies have been hatched against the religion of Islam, the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) and the Holy Qur’an. However from time to time, Islamic scholars and the Muslims have registered their strong protest against it,” the MMU said.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/islamic-scholars-in-j-k-urge-saudi-arabia-to-revoke-ban-on-tablighi-jamaat-2241582/

--------

Don't throw out peace-loving league sympathisers to Islamic terror outfits: Kerala CM tells IUML

14th December 2021

KOCHI: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan continued his tirade against Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) for its stand on the Waqf board issue, warning against its 'soft stance' towards the extremist Islamic outfits will lead to a situation whereby the peace-loving people who rallied behind that party will be thrown to the highly-dangerous Islamic terrorist outfits.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the CPM Ernakulam district conference on Tuesday, the chief minister said that IUML has been joining forces with extremist Muslim outfits such as Jamaat-e-Islami, Popular Front.

"In the Waqf issue, the rally held by the Muslim League and their stand on the issue, are going beyond its earlier position. The League is taking an extreme communal stand on the issue," he said, adding that earlier too, there were criticisms that IUML was adopting a soft stand towards Islamic fundamental organizations.

During the local body polls, this alliance was public. During the Assembly elections, though not direct, there were some arrangements. The change that has now happened should be looked at carefully.

"The League has adopted the slogans and views of Islamic fundamentalist forces. They have even spoken against the highly revered Muslim community leaders in a humiliating manner. This stance is very dangerous. This will lead to a situation where-in the peace-loving people who rallied behind the League will be thrown into the extreme Islamic fundamental forces," he said.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2021/dec/14/dont-throw-out-peace-loving-league-sympathisers-to-islamic-terror-outfits-kerala-cm-tells-iuml-2395539.html

--------

Unidentified terrorist killed in encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama

Dec 15, 2021

SRINAGAR: An unidentified terrorist was killed in an encounter with security forces in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, police said.

Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Rajpora area of Pulwama district late on Tuesday night, a police spokesman said.

He said the search operation turned into an encounter after terrorists fired upon the forces, who retaliated.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/unidentified-terrorist-killed-in-encounter-in-jammu-and-kashmirs-pulwama/articleshow/88289728.cms

--------

Pak terrorist killed in Poonch encounter

Sanjay Khajuria

Dec 15, 2021

JAMMU: A Pakistani terrorist on the run inside the dense forests of J&K's Poonch for months was cornered and killed in a joint operation by the armed forces and police in the frontier district on Tuesday. Jammu-based defence spokesperson Lt Col Devender Anand said the slain terrorist, identified as Abu Zarar, was part of a cross-border plot to carry out "spectacular" attacks on security forces.

An AK- 47 rifle, four magazines, a grenade and some Indian currency were found on Zarar, the eighth Pakistan-backed terrorist to be killed in a gunfight with security forces in the region this year. An accomplice of his managed to escape the dragnet.

"We detected Zarar's presence in the Poonch-Rajouri belt last August, after which he and another terrorist took shelter deep inside the forests straddling the twin districts. Their need for food, clothing and communication (by mobile) with the civilian population helped us trace them," Lt Col Anand said.

Security forces monitored the duo's mobile communication in real time while some residents provided crucial information about their movements, the defence spokesperson said.

"Our cordon-and-search operation forced them to move to the higher reaches of Pir Panjal just at the onset of winter. They were cornered in the Dori Dhok area of Behramgala in Poonch and one of them was killed while the other sneaked out."

Haji Arif, a terrorist guide, was recently shot dead along the LoC in the Rajouri sector.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pak-terrorist-killed-in-poonch-encounter/articleshow/88287850.cms

--------

5 killed, 2 injured as vehicle falls into gorge on way back from burial of ASI slain in Zewan terror attack

Sanjay Khajuria

Dec 15, 2021

JAMMU: Five people, four of them women, were killed and two others injured on Tuesday when a private passenger vehicle carrying mourners returning from the burial of ASI Ghulam Hassan, killed in Monday’s Zewan terror attack, plunged into a deep gorge in Ramban district of J&K, the police said.

According to the police, the deceased were relatives of the ASI and were returning to Topneel village, in Doda district.

Two other police personnel, too, died of injuries suffered in Monday’s attack on a police bus on the outskirts of Zewan.

"The accident took place on a link road near Chuchater village, connecting Rajgarh with Ramban district headquarters on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, sources said.

They said that the driver lost control as a result of which the vehicle rolled down several hundred feet into Chimotri nullah,, a rivulet, resulting in the on-the-spot death of five people and injuries to three others. "One of the injured was shifted to district hospital Ramban, while two others are undergoing treatment at a nearby health facility," the sources said.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/5-killed-2-injured-as-vehicle-falls-into-gorge-on-way-back-from-burial-of-asi-slain-in-zewan-terror-attack/articleshow/88287670.cms

--------

Wasim Rizvi resigns from Shia board after converting

14th December 2021

Lucknow: Jitendra Narain Singh Tyagi aka Waseem Rizvi on Tuesday resigned from the membership of the Shia Waqf Board.

He handed over his resignation to the chairman of the Shia Waqf Board, Ali Zaidi, before the meeting of the Board.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/wasim-rizvi-resigns-from-shia-board-after-converting-2241444/

--------

 

Mideast

 

Israelis are dressing up as Muslims to enter Al-Aqsa complex

December 14, 2021

Jewish Israelis are disguising themselves as Muslims to sneak into the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem, Israel's Channel 13 news reported.

The extreme Israeli organisation Returning to the Mount, that promotes Jewish entry to and prayer in the compound, is fuelling concerns among security officials, who warn that their actions could spark violence at the Muslim holy site.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world's third holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the "Temple Mount", claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Raphael Morris, head of the Returning to the Mount group, told Channel 13, the group stresses on appearing like Arabs so as not to raise the suspicions of Al-Aqsa Mosque guards or the Jordan-run Islamic Waqf Department, which oversees holy sites in Jerusalem.

Yisrael, an instructor, was shown in footage broadcast by Channel 13 teaching the extreme members of the group how to carry out Islamic positions of prayer while discreetly reciting Jewish liturgy.

"Our vision is to be able to go to the Temple Mount at all hours of the day, and eventually to also succeed in building the Temple and restore the sacrificial services," said Morris. Insisting that he acts "openly" and that his actions are legal, Morris said: "The fact that the country doesn't like it doesn't mean that it is illegal."

Since 2003, Israel has allowed settlers into the compound almost on a daily basis. Scores of Jewish Israelis storm the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Mughrabi Gate every day, under the protection of the Israeli occupation police, and carry out provocative tours, as well as performing Talmudic prayers.

Source: Middle East Monitor

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

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20211214-israelis-are-dressing-up-as-muslims-to-enter-al-aqsa-complex/

--------

Iran warns Israeli PM’s visit to UAE goes against interests of Arab, Muslim nations

December 14, 2021

Khatibzadeh said such acts disrupt security in the region and run contrary to the interests of the Islamic ummah and regional people as well as Arab countries.

The people in West Asia have not forgotten the heinous and hostile acts of the Zionist regime which are the root cause of all problems in the region, the spokesman added.

Khatibzadeh also said the people in the region will remain opposed to normalization of ties with this regime.

The diplomat added that welcoming the prime minister of an illegitimate regime which has been the root cause and creator of insecurity, tension and warmongering for more than 70 years in the territory of Arab and Muslim countries will linger in the historical memory of the Palestinian people, regional nations and the freedom-seeking people of the world.

Source: Tehran Times

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

https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/468093/Iran-warns-Israeli-PM-s-visit-to-UAE-goes-against-interests-of

--------

Iran sees understanding with IAEA soon, France says reaching end of road to save deal

15 December ,2021

A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry told state-run Press TV on Tuesday he can anticipate reaching an understanding with the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA soon.

He added that ongoing discussions between the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami and IAEA's director general “have led to progress and gaps over several issues of mutual interest have narrowed.”

Meanwhile, France's ambassador to the United Nations said on Tuesday the door to resuscitate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is open for now but “we are rapidly reaching the end of the road” to revive a pact that is being hollowed out by Iran's nuclear advances.

“We are nearing the point where Iran's escalation of its nuclear program will have completely hollowed out the JCPOA,” France's Nicolas de Riviere told reporters.

“The diplomatic door is firmly open for Iran to a deal now. Iran has to choose between the collapse of the JCPOA and a fair and comprehensive deal... Iran's continued nuclear escalation means that we are rapidly reaching the end of the road.”

“Iran has to choose between the collapse of the JCPOA and a fair and comprehensive deal...Iran's continued nuclear escalation means that we are rapidly reaching the end of the road,” he said, flanked by the UN ambassadors from Britain and Germany, a group known as the E3.

He added: “Iran's nuclear program has never been more advanced than it is today. This nuclear escalation is undermining international peace and security and the global non-proliferation system.”

Under the 2015 accord, Iran limited its nuclear program - which the West feared would be used to develop weapons, something Tehran denies - in return for relief from US, European Union and UN sanctions.

In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal and reimposed US sanctions, prompting Iran to begin violating its nuclear restrictions about a year later.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2021/12/15/Iran-sees-understanding-with-IAEA-soon-France-says-reaching-end-of-road-to-save-deal

--------

US envoy to UN scolds Iran-backed Houthis, demands release of detained staff

15 December ,2021

The US envoy to the UN lambasted Yemen’s Houthis on Tuesday, demanding that the Iran-backed group release US employees it continues to detain.

In October, the Houthis detained 30 local Yemeni staff and were subsequently released with the help of Washington’s regional partners, a State Department official told Al Arabiya English.

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

But the group later detained more US employees and others that worked for the United Nations. The exact number of detained US and UN employees remains unknown.

And US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Tuesday that the Houthis are still detaining and harassing “our Yemeni local staff” while also intruding into the former US Embassy compound.

“The Houthis must immediately release — unharmed — all current and former Yemeni employees of the United States. They must immediately vacate the US compound and return all seized property and cease their threats against their own fellow citizens, simply for being employed by us,” she told the UN Security Council briefing on Yemen.

While the US has taken a softened stance against the Houthis since President Joe Biden took office, the group has refused to engage in talks about ending the yearslong war.

The humanitarian situation in Yemen remains dire, Greenfield said. “With continued conflict, Yemen’s economy will deteriorate further, and with it, the livelihoods of millions of Yemenis. Lives will continue to be endangered, and generations of Yemenis will bear its scars.”

While the Yemeni government, backed by Saudi Arabia, has repeatedly voiced willingness to end the war and hold discussions on a peaceful solution, the Houthis continue to “undermine peace,” she said.

Apart from detaining local employees, the Houthis have refused to halt their offensive on Marib.

“The offensive endangers thousands of civilians, and OCHA has warned it could lead to the displacement of half a million people. The Houthis must stop this offensive immediately,” Greenfield said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/12/15/US-envoy-to-UN-scolds-Iran-backed-Houthis-demands-release-of-detained-staff

--------

Arab Coalition carries out 31 operations against Houthis in Yemen’s Marib, al-Jawf

14 December ,2021

The Arab Coalition confirmed it has carried out 31 operations against the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen’s Marib and al-Jawf areas, according to a statement.

The targeted operations during the past 24 hours resulted in the destruction of 20 military vehicles and killed more than 210 militants, the coalition added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/12/14/Arab-Coalition-carries-out-31-operations-against-Houthis-in-Yemen-s-Marib-al-Jawf

--------

Yemeni army thwarts Houthi infiltration attempt in Saada

December 15, 2021

DUBAI: The Yemeni army thwarted a Houthi infiltration attempt on its positions in Saada province, state news agency SPA reported.

The army targeted gatherings of the militia and its reinforcements, which resulted in the killing and wounding of multiple militants, while the rest fled, a military source said.

Earlier, the Arab coalition airstrikes destroyed two caves used to store ballistic missiles and four secret drone facilities in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1987206/middle-east

--------

 

North America

 

UAE suspends talks with US on purchase of F-35 planes, drones worth $23bn

December 15, 2021

WASHINGTON: The United Arab Emirates suspended talks on a $23 billion deal to purchase American-made F-35 planes, armed drones and other equipment on Tuesday, in a rare dispute between Washington and a key ally in the Gulf.

The Emirati embassy in Washington said it would suspend discussions with the US, though meetings at the Pentagon this week between the two sides on other matters would move forward as planned.

The US remains the UAE’s preferred provider for advanced defence requirements and discussions for the F-35 may be reopened in future, the embassy said in a statement.

The proposed sale of 50 F-35s to the UAE came at the end of former president Donald Trump’s administration, emerging from a deal that saw the Emiratis formally recognise Israel. President Joe Biden’s administration put the deal on hold after he took office, in part due to criticism of the UAE and Saudi Arabia over their role in the conflict in Yemen.

Also included in the deal are 18 advanced drone systems and a package of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions. Emirati officials blamed an American insistence on restrictions on how and where the F-35s could be used and said they were a violation of sovereignty.

The State Department said in a statement that the administration remained committed to the proposed sales ... even as “we continue consultations to ensure that we have a clear, mutual understanding of Emirati obligations and actions before, during, and after delivery”.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters that US requirements on the use of American-made military equipment were universal, non-negotiable, and not specific to the UAE. The US partnership with the UAE is more strategic and more complex than any one weapon sale, Kirby said.

A person familiar with the matter said the US believed the Emiratis’ move now was a negotiating tactic to try to move the process along. The person said the UAE letter notifying the US of the suspension was written by a relatively low-level official.

The Wall Street Journal first disclosed the suspension of negotiations.

The UAE has long worked with the US on counter-terrorism and allowed the entry of people fleeing Afghanistan during the chaotic US withdrawal earlier this year. But tensions between Washington and Abu Dhabi have risen over the UAE’s growing cooperation with China.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1663883/uae-suspends-talks-with-us-on-purchase-of-f-35-planes-drones-worth-23bn

--------

Pak offered safe haven to Taliban as militants killed US troops: Senator Robert Menendez

Dec 14, 2021

A Democrat senator from New Jersey Robert Menendez on Tuesday said Islamabad offered a safe haven to the Taliban as its militants targeted and killed troops of the United States.

Welcoming the nomination of Donald Armin Blome as US Ambassador to Pakistan, the senator called for a serious conversation with the Imran Khan government on the path forward in bilateral relations.

“Islamabad offered a safe haven to the Taliban even as its militants targeted and killed US troops. We need to have a serious conversation with the Pakistani Government in our path forward,” Menendez was quoted as saying news agency ANI.

The senator, who is chairing a hearing of US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on ambassadorial nominations to Pakistan, India and Germany, further said, “As I told this committee last month, the failure of our mission in Afghanistan was due, in a small part, to years of Pakistani double-dealing.”

As I told this committee last month, the failure of our mission in Afghanistan was due, in a small part, to years of Pakistani double-dealing: Senator Robert Menendez, chairing the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

— ANI (@ANI) December 14, 2021

“We welcome your (Blome as US Ambassador to Pakistan) nomination at this particularly challenging moment in US-Pakistan bilateral relationship,” he added.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/us-senator-says-pak-offered-safe-haven-to-taliban-as-militants-killed-its-troops-101639499018369.html

--------

Antony Blinken says Biden administration weighing new sanctions on Myanmar

December 15, 2021

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the Biden administration is weighing tough new sanctions on Myanmar to pressure the country's military leaders to restore a democratic path interrupted by a February coup.

Blinken said the situation in Myanmar in the 10 months since the coup had gotten worse" with mass arrests and violence against protesters.

And he said the administration is also looking very actively at designating ongoing repression against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim population as a genocide.

I think it's going to be very important in the weeks and months ahead to look at what additional steps and measures we can take individually, collectively to pressure the regime to put the country back on a democratic trajectory, Blinken said.

Blinken made the comments on Wednesday in Malaysia, where he is on the second leg of a three-nation trip to Southeast Asia.

His Malaysian counterpart said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations must also act, saying the regional grouping must do some soul-searching about its policy toward member Myanmar.

The long and short of it is we have to look at what additional steps, measures could be taken to move things in a better direction and that's something that we're looking at," Blinken told reporters at a news conference with Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.

Blinken was asked specifically about potential sanctions on Myanmar's state-run oil and gas sector but did not mention the possibility in his response.

He did, however, address the possibility of a genocide determination.

We continue also to look actively at determinations of what are the actions taken in Myanmar and whether they constitute genocide and that's something we're looking at very actively right now, Blinken said.

He repeated demands for the Myanmar junta to release all of those who had been unjustly detained," including democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, allow unhindered humanitarian access to areas in need of assistance, end violence against protesters and restore Myanmar to its democratic path."

In response to the same question, Abdullah said Malaysia believes that ASEAN must adopt a more coherent position when it comes to Myanmar.

The 10-nation group has long hewed to a policy of non-interference in its members' internal affairs and often resisted taking action against them.

I understand that we celebrate the principles of non-interference, but...ASEAN should also look at the principle of non-indifference because what happens in Myanmar is already getting out of Myanmar, he said, noting that Malaysia is now hosting nearly 200,000 Rohingya refugees.

Source: Business Standard

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

https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/blinken-says-us-weighing-new-sanctions-on-myanmar-121121500390_1.html

--------

US, Palestinian officials renew economic dialogue

Servet Günerigök 

14.12.2021

WASHINGTON

American and Palestinian officials held a virtual meeting Tuesday to renew the US-Palestinian Economic Dialogue.

"The first such meeting in five years, this senior-level dialogue brought together a wide range of agencies and ministries from the U.S. government and the Palestinian Authority to discuss current and future areas of economic cooperation," the State Department said in a statement.

Officials pledged to expand and deepen cooperation and coordination across a range of sectors.

Among issues discussed were infrastructure development, access to US markets, US regulations, free trade, financial issues, renewable energy and environmental initiatives as well as international trade relations.

"The two sides concluded the dialogue agreeing to work on several crucial issues to advance the economic prosperity of the Palestinian people," said the statement.

US Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Yael Lempert underscored the Biden administration’s belief that Palestinians deserve to live in freedom, security and prosperity.

"Growing the Palestinian economy will also play a critical role in advancing our overarching political goal: a negotiated two-state solution, with a viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel," she added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-palestinian-officials-renew-economic-dialogue-/2447568

--------

US House to vote on Ilhan Omar's bill to combat Islamophobia

Servet Günerigök  

14.12.2021

WASHINGTON

The US House of Representatives will vote Tuesday on congresswoman Ilhan Omar's legislation to combat Islamophobia.

"Until everyone is free to practice their religion, no one is," Omar said on Twitter.

The Combatting International Islamophobia Act seeks to create a special envoy to combat Islamophobia.

US President Joe Biden’s administration also backed the legislation, saying "religious freedom is a fundamental human right".

"This freedom is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is also part of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution," the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement.

"Our country’s commitment to defending freedom of religion and belief goes back centuries, and the Administration strongly believes that people of all faiths and backgrounds should be treated with equal dignity and respect around the world," it added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-house-to-vote-on-ilhan-omars-bill-to-combat-islamophobia/2447563

--------

 

Pakistan

 

Rulers Towing Foreign Agenda Can’t Be Loyal To Country: Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan Chief

December 15, 2021

LAHORE: Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) president Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi while addressing a workers meeting Tuesday said the rulers working on foreign agenda can never be loyal to the national interest, honour and religion. The sole purpose of the rulers is to gain personal interests and not to do public service, he added.

He said the TLP has entered politics for the glory of Holy Prophet (PBUH) honour and Islam, with national security and development its priority, adding that method of realisation of rights has been taught by Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA).

He asked the masses not to vote for any civilized thief or fraudster, saying the agenda of all the secular parties is unIslamic which they have been following. “Our agenda, manifesto and flag, all are Islamic, and Pakistan’s future is in Islam for which the country was created,” he said. According to the Constitution of Pakistan, people of all religions have religious freedom, but the so-called democracy has been promoting secularism in the country by restricting Islamic laws and system which amounts to denial of religious freedom to Muslims.

He said secular parties have drowned the country into inflation, poverty, unemployment and lawlessness, but gone is the time to blame inabilities to the previous rulers. Instead of giving basic needs to the masses, the PTI government was killing them economically by blindly following the IMF dictation.

Source: The News Pakistan

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

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/916951-rulers-towing-foreign-agenda-can-t-be-loyal-to-country-tlp-chief

--------

Sialkot lynching: Sri Lankan cricket legend thanks PM Imran for efforts to ensure justice for Priyantha Kumara

December 15, 2021

Former World Cup-winning Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunga thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for his efforts to find all those involved in the lynching of a Sri Lankan man in Sialkot earlier this month and his support for the deceased's family.

Priyantha Kumara, a 49-year-old Sri Lankan factory manager, was lynched by a mob comprising hundreds of protesters, including the employees of the factory he was the manager of, on December 3. The mob had tortured him to death and later burnt his body.

A first information report was registered against 900 workers of Rajco Industries on the application of Uggoki Station House Officer Armaghan Maqt under sections 302, 297, 201, 427, 431, 157, 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code and 7 and 11WW of the Anti-Terrorism Act. Scores of suspects were arrested in the following days.

The incident saw widespread outrage and condemnation across Pakistan with politicians, scholars and civil society members calling for swift punishment to be meted out to the perpetrators.

Reacting to the "horrific vigilante attack", Prime Minister Imran Khan had termed it a day of shame for Pakistan. "I am overseeing the investigations & let there be no mistake all those responsible will be punished with full severity of the law. Arrests are in progress,"he had tweeted.

The Sri Lankan cricket legend thanked the premier on Monday for his actions.

"Thank you for all your efforts in bringing justice for the crime committed against Priyantha Diyawadanage, and for the continued support and commitment toward his family," he tweeted.

He pointed out that such violent vigilante behaviour should be condemned vigororously, adding that an entire nation should not be judged because of the actions of a "small proportion of the population".

He said Pakistan and Sri Lanka had a long-standing relationship and bond based on "strength and solidarity", recalling past instances when the two countries had come to each other's aid.

"You (Imran Khan) have always been unwavering in facing challenges whether it be on the cricket field or the political arena. Since you've become the prime minister of Pakistan, you have been carefully addressing some controversial issues in the country.

"In the same manner, I hope you will be able to teach the few misguided individuals within the Pakistani community to treat everyone with the same respect and dignity that all human beings deserve," he said.

Reiterating his gratitude for the premier's efforts to ensure justice, the former skipper added that the Sri Lankan nation appreciated the prime minister's sentiments for the future of the deceased's family.

"All the contributions will go a long way in aiding Priyantha's wife and children. Your continued support and the actions of Pakistanis will go a long way in helping the family heal from this traumatic experience."

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1663938/sialkot-lynching-sri-lankan-cricket-legend-thanks-pm-imran-for-efforts-to-ensure-justice-for-priyantha-kumara

--------

ASI in Islamabad arrested on charge of sharing secret information with foreign diplomat

Munawer Azeem

December 15, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The counter-terrorism wing of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has arrested an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of the capital police on the charge of sharing sensitive information with a foreign diplomat, officials of the agency and the police told Dawn.

The ASI was stationed at the Golra police station and on suspicion he was being monitored.

The arrest was made after the agency got information that the ASI would meet a foreign diplomat/agent at a metro bus station on Jinnah Avenue. The agency was further informed that the ASI would share secret information and documents with the diplomat, which was against the interest of the country.

In response, a team, comprising officials of the FIA counter-terrorism wing police station, was constituted. When the officials reached the spot, they got information that the ASI had been picked up by the foreign diplomat in a car having black tinted glasses.

The team waited in the same area and after some time the car returned and dropped the ASI there and was taken into custody.

Two mobile phones, a wallet, an envelope containing Rs50,000 and USBs were recovered from him. When asked, he failed to give a satisfactory answer over his meeting with the diplomat.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1663822/asi-in-islamabad-arrested-on-charge-of-sharing-secret-information-with-foreign-diplomat

--------

Nacta drafts first-ever policy to counter violent extremism

Iftikhar A. Khan

December 15, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The National Count­e­­r­terrorism Authority (Nacta) has come up with the first-ever National Cou­nter Violent Extremism Policy of Pak­istan (NCVEP 2021) as its draft was submitted to the interior minister on Tuesday.

Nacta’s national coordinator Mehr Khaliq Dad Lak presented the draft policy to Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed for approval.

Before finalising the draft, Nacta said it held provincial consultations with representatives of various segments of society, including academics, journalists, experts and members of civil society, in the past three months.

More than 250 relevant contacts and stakeholders from federal and provincial governments were approached for their contribution and input to the policy. This was in addition to three months of hard work by researchers and experts presently serving in Nacta who worked on the draft.

Draft policy submitted to interior minister for approval

Nacta had in August helped revise the National Action Plan (NAP) after consultation with stakeholders. As per revised NAP, Nacta was then given the responsibility to formulate a policy to counter violent extremism. The counterterrorism authority finally completed this task and submitted the draft policy to the interior minister for approval.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1663850/nacta-drafts-first-ever-policy-to-counter-violent-extremism

--------

Pakistan issues 112 visas to Indian pilgrims

By Mian Abrar

December 14, 2021

LAHORE: Pakistan on Tuesday issued another 112 visas to Hindu pilgrims in India to visit prominent temples in Punjab’s Chakwal district.

“Today, the High Commission for Pakistan in India issued 112 visas to Indian Hindu pilgrims for their visit to a prominent Hindu temple in Punjab, Pakistan,” read an official statement.

The group would be visiting Shree Katas Raj Temples, also known as Qila Katas or complex of Katas Temples in Chakwal district of Punjab from December 17-23, it added.

Katas Raj Temples surround a pond which is considered sacred by Hindus. The visit is covered under the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines, 1974. In addition to visas for Hindu religious places covered under the framework of the bilateral protocol, a large number of Indian Hindus are issued visas by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi on a regular basis for visits to their families and friends in Pakistan, according to the communiqué.

“The [Pakistan] High Commission wishes a spiritually rewarding pilgrimage to Hindu pilgrims visiting Pakistan. Pakistan remains committed to preserving sacred religious sites and extending all possible assistance to the visiting pilgrims of all faiths,” it added.

Earlier this month, the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi issued 136 visas to Hindu devotees who are visiting the country to participate in the 313th birth anniversary celebrations of Shiv Avtari Satguru Sant Shadaram Sahib at Shadani Darbar Hayat Pitafi in Sindh from December 4 to 15, an official statement said.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/12/14/pakistan-issues-112-visas-to-indian-pilgrims/

--------

PM urges Muslim think tanks to highlight Kashmir atrocities

DECEMBER 14, 2021

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the West was ignoring the atrocities committed by India in Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and stressed the need for a strong voice from the platform of Muslim think-tanks.

“No western country is criticizing India for the wrongs it is committing in Kashmir. Had it been some other country, it could raise a lot of hue and cry in the world,” he said at the inaugural session of the Margalla Dialogue.

The dialogue was organized by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute, a think-tank focusing on regional and international situations. Imran Khan said it was unfortunate that the racist government in India was continuing with its fascist policies and meting out ill-treatment to the people in Kashmir and other religious minorities. Unfortunately, he said the Muslim world lacked the think-tanks that could effectively highlight India’s actions before the world. He regretted that foreign think-tanks concentrated on Pakistan’s extremes and painted the entire nation in a specific way.

Also, he said the country’s “so-called intellectuals” misguided the foreign journalists about the presence of hordes of extremists on the soil. He said contrary to the impression, Pakistan was the land of hospitable, generous and civilized people with strong family values. He pointed out that overseas Pakistanis faced a difficult situation when they came to know about negative propaganda about their homeland.

Imran Khan said western media portrayed Pakistan in a negative light. “Just pick up the newspapers of 10 to 12 years ago, it is full of content blaming Pakistan despite its enormous casualties in the war against terrorism,” he said. He recalled that Pakistan faced a “very bleak period and humiliation” despite being the ally of the United States. “This was due to our inability to project our point of view in the world,” he added. The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of research by the think-tanks of the country to counter the negative propaganda in the world.

“Research leads to original thinking within a society. You have to define yourself instead of letting others define you,” he said. He said lack of in-depth research led to reliance on second-hand information by the western think-tanks on important issues such as Afghanistan. Pakistan, he said was the country that suffered the most in collateral damage in the wake of the Afghan conflict, however it was made a scapegoat for the mistakes of the superpowers.

The PM went on to say that throughout the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan had to witness the biggest collateral damage as it was the only US ally that suffered more than 80,000 casualties, displacement of millions of people, and a loss of over $100 billion. He mentioned that inability of the national leadership to handle the Afghan situation wisely, which landed the country into two main pro and anti-America divisions. He said the role of local think-tanks in this situation was important to effectively highlight Pakistan’s perspective in the world, rather than being under continuous criticism by the western lobbies.

The Prime Minister lauded National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf for compiling the book on Afghanistan that gave the correct Pakistani perspective on the situation.

On Islamophobia, he said a strong response by Muslim think-tanks was important to nullify the impression of Islam’s link with violence and terror. He said national security could not be ensured unless the inclusive development and equitable growth of all segments of society, provinces, and people was established. “Unequal distribution of resources leads to anarchy among the people who are left out of the mainstream development,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the uplift of the underprivileged segment of society was critical to ensure across the board national security.

Source: Daily Times Pakistan

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

https://dailytimes.com.pk/854595/pm-urges-muslim-think-tanks-to-highlight-kashmir-atrocities/

--------

 

South Asia

 

Taliban blamed for at least 72 extrajudicial killings: UN

Dec 15, 2021

GENEVA: The UN has said there are "credible allegations" of more than 100 extrajudicial killings in Afghanistan since the Taliban took power in August, with most blamed on the country's new rulers.

UN deputy rights chief Nada Al-Nashif said she was deeply alarmed by continuing reports of such killings, despite a general amnesty announced by the Taliban after their August 15 takeover.

"Between August and November, we received credible allegations of more than 100 killings of former Afghan national security forces and others associated with the former government," she told the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday.

"At least 72 of these killings," she said, were "attributed to the Taliban".

"In several cases, the bodies were publicly displayed. This has exacerbated fear among this sizeable category of the population," she said.

Taliban foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi said the government was "fully committed" to the amnesty decree, and denied employees of the previous administration were being persecuted.

Anyone "found breaching the amnesty decree will be prosecuted and penalised", he said.

"Incidents will be thoroughly investigated but unsubstantiated rumours should not be taken at face value."

Al-Nashif, who presented Tuesday's update to the council on behalf of UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet, said many members of the jihadist Islamic State-Khorasan group -- a main Taliban enemy -- had also been killed.

"In Nangarhar province alone, there... appears to be a pattern of at least 50 extrajudicial killings of individuals suspected to be members of the ISIL-KP," she said, with reports of "brutal methods... including hanging, beheadings, and public display of corpses".

In a report released Wednesday, Amnesty International also said members of the Taliban had tortured and killed ethnic and religious minorities, former Afghan soldiers and suspected government sympathisers as they seized control of Afghanistan in July and August.

"Our new evidence shows that, far from the seamless transition of power that the Taliban claimed happened, the people of Afghanistan have once again paid with their lives," said Amnesty secretary general Agnes Callamard.

"Homes, hospitals, schools and shops were turned into crime scenes as people were repeatedly killed and injured. The people of Afghanistan have suffered for too long, and victims must have access to justice and receive reparations."

Amnesty said the full scale of the killings remained unknown.

The UN and Amnesty comments came after the United States and other countries condemned the Taliban following a Human Rights Watch report earlier this month documenting 47 summary executions.

Those killings were of former members of the Afghan National Security Forces, other military personnel, police and intelligence agents "who had surrendered to or were apprehended by Taliban forces" from mid-August through October, it said.

Taliban spokesman Qari Sayed Khosti flatly rejected the HRW report and other claims about extrajudicial killings as "not based on evidence".

In her update Tuesday, Al-Nashif depicted the profound humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, saying many people were being "pushed to take desperate measures" to survive, including child labour and even reportedly "the sale of children".

The UN says more than 23 million Afghans -- over half the population -- will face an "acute" food shortage in the winter months, forcing millions to choose between migration and starvation.

The UN's World Food Programme said Tuesday that its latest surveys estimated 98 percent of Afghans were not consuming enough food -- up 17 percentage points since August.

"Afghanistan is facing an avalanche of hunger and destitution the likes of which I have never seen," WFP country director for Afghanistan Mary-Ellen McGroarty said in a statement.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/taliban-blamed-for-at-least-72-extrajudicial-killings-un/articleshow/88289113.cms

--------

Afghanistan: We have enough money to address needs and pay salaries of civil servants, says Deputy PM

14 Dec 2021

Deputy Prime Minister of the Taliban Abdul Salaam Hanafi said that Afghanistan’s current economic and currency situation is stable and that they have enough amount of money to pay the salaries of civil servants of the government.

Speaking at a news conference in Kabul on Tuesday, December 14, Hanafi said that they can address the needs of the country from the internal sources of Afghanistan and the absence of corruption will make the process more transparent.

Abdul Salaam Hanafi pledged to provide the market with enough amount of dollars to control the value of dollars and stabilize the local currency (Afghani).

It comes after the highest ever price of dollars against Afghani made the prices of nearly everything double in Afghanistan.

“The economic commission decided to take action against the smugglers of dollars in Afghanistan and all the security forces are directed to hold accountable those who smuggle dollars.” Said Hanafi.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/we-have-enough-money-to-address-needs-and-pay-salaries-of-civil-servants-hanafi-986976/

--------

US announces $474 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan

15 Dec 2021

US special representative for Afghanistan Thomas West in a Twitter post said that his country will add an extra amount of $474 million this year in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

Thomas West said the United States has offered the people of Afghanistan one million additional COVID-19 vaccine doses through COVAX.

According to the special representative, the new consignment of vaccines will bring the total number by the US to Afghanistan to 4.3 million doses.

Earlier, China donated over 800 thousand doses of the Sinopharm vaccine to Afghanistan.

The doses of COVID-19 vaccines come as the Taliban’s Deputy PM on Tuesday said that they do not have enough money to buy medication for COVID patients and asked the US to release the frozen funds.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/us-announces-474-million-in-humanitarian-aid-to-afghanistan-3984673496/

--------

US will not release Afghanistan's assets for three reasons: White House

December 15, 2021

The US on Monday (local time) denied releasing over USD 9.5 billion of Afghanistan's frozen fund.

Spokeswoman of the White House Jen Psaki said that this was a complicated process and will not allow the Taliban to access the money, reported Khaama Press.

Psaki made comments on the frozen funds to the recent statements of Afghanistan's acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Motaqi over the release of funds and added that the decision will be made after consulting allies.

As per Psaki, the US cannot release the assets because the families of the victims of September 11 have made pleas for the money to be given to them. The plea is an important one.

Moreover, the US still recognized the Taliban as a terror group and most of the officials of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan are on the black list of the UN, said Psaki, reported Khaama Press.

She also said that the US is yet to get a clear answer over the money not to be used by the Taliban and how the money will be given to Afghan people.

Earlier, Afghanistan's acting Foreign Minister Motaqi had said that the US must release the assets of Afghanistan and had added that they want good relations with the people of Afghanistan.

Source: Business Standard

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

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/us-will-not-release-afghanistan-s-assets-for-three-reasons-white-house-121121500079_1.html

--------

 

Southeast Asia

 

Thirty-three cases of deviant religious activities detected in 2020, Parliament hears

By RAHIMY RAHIM and MARTIN CARVALHO

13 Dec 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: Religious authorities detected a total of 33 cases involving deviant teachings and worship, as well as spreading false doctrines and information last year, the Dewan Rakyat was told.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Ahmad Marzuk Shaary said the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) and state religious departments would continue to work together to protect the image of Islam.

He added both parties would continue enforcement of syariah criminal offences, including deviant teachings, gambling and drink driving-related offences.

“Throughout 2020, a total of 33 cases involving deviant teachings, deviant worship, false doctrines and false information was detected,” he said in reply to a question from Datuk Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid (PH-Kapar) during Question Time.

He had asked the government to share its commitment to ensure the image and sanctity of Islam was protected from any negative influences including deviant teachings, gambling and intoxication as well as others.

Among the common traits found by religious authorities when exposing deviant teachings include, those that adhered to other beliefs aside from the teachings of the Sunni school of thought”, mixing other spiritual and superstitious beliefs including based on dreams or specific leaders, deviating from the teachings of the Al-Quran and the hadiths as well as extremism in believing in certain spiritual leaders.

Others include believing in religious pluralism and rejecting religious discipline from authorised religious bodies.

According to Ahmad Marzuk, religious authorities also found a total of 334 cases involving gambling as well as 86 cases involving consumption of intoxicating drinks during the same period.

Source: The Star

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

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2021/12/13/thirty-three-cases-of-deviant-religious-activities-detected-in-2020-parliament-hears

--------

Sabah CM says RM42.9m aid channelled to non-Muslim schools, religious bodies this year

14 Dec 2021

KOTA KINABALU, Dec 14 — The Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government has channelled about RM42.9 million in financial aid to non-Muslim schools and religious bodies in Sabah this year, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

Of the total, RM17.9 million was disseminated to schools, including Chinese private schools, National Type Secondary Schools, Chinese National Type Schools, kindergartens and private schools.

Meanwhile, assistance to religious bodies, namely churches, temples and shrines involved a total of RM24.9 million.

“As a caring and fair government, we will continue to provide assistance and allocation to non-Muslim schools and religious bodies in the state. The assistance is also a sign and proof that the GRS state government is serious and sincere in helping all walks of life regardless of race and religion,” he said when officiating the Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebration 2021 organised by Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) and the Sabah Council of Churches at Padang Merdeka on Wednesday night.

Hajiji said the state government was committed to ensuring that the unity, racial harmony and strong religious tolerance in the state would continue to last.

According to him, any action that could affect the unity of the people and the stability of the government, must be avoided to ensure that the Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) Roadmap development agenda is realised in order to effectively improve the economy and drive development and progress in the state.

The state government, he pointed out, always supports the organisation of festivals, carnivals and programmes that lead to the strengthening of unity among the people of various races and religions in the state.

“The organisation of the Christmas festival can further enhance the spirit of unity, tolerance and mutual respect among the people of Sabah of various races, ethnicities and religions.

“Indeed, this kind of spirit has long been practiced in Sabah and it is also in line with the concept of the Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family) introduced by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob,” he added.

Hajiji also called on the people to continue to work together to ensure that social prosperity can be maintained and enhanced for the common wellbeing as well as benefit for all.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/12/14/sabah-cm-says-rm42.9m-aid-channelled-to-non-muslim-schools-religious-bodies/2028451

--------

Syed Saddiq slams hypocrites who want to ‘divide Malaysia forever’

Jason Thomas

December 14, 2021

PETALING JAYA: Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has hit out at “hypocrisy and double standards” practised by those pushing for a gambling ban and a clampdown on the sale of alcohol, saying they want to use Islam “for their own personal interest”.

In a wide-ranging interview with former diplomat Dennis Ignatius today, the former youth and sports minister also blasted such parties for “wanting to divide Malaysia forever”.

Syed Saddiq was replying to Ignatius’ claim about “creeping Islamisation” in the country, stating that there was a growing sense that Islamic authorities are increasingly dismissive of non-Muslim rights.

“Do not blame Muslims or Islam. Blame those who masquerade as Islam’s defenders for their own personal interest and want to divide Malaysia forever,” said Syed Saddiq.

“Why do I say this? It’s not about Islam, it’s about hypocrisy, the biggest hypocrisy in Malaysia.”

He noted that while the name of a locally manufactured whisky known as Timah was debated in Parliament for two weeks, the same people who made the issue a national one did not comment on the government awarding a plot of land worth RM100 million to a former prime minister.

He also said the same parties did not speak as passionately about the 800,000 Malaysians who were unemployed or the 30,000 Malaysians who had died from Covid-19.

“The level of focus they gave to this name (Timah) was so much more important than anything else,” he said, taking an obvious dig at PAS.

“To me, they’re hiding their failures to govern by making this a lightning rod for them to be the so-called ‘champion of Islam’.”

He also said the ban on selling liquor at grocers, convenience stores and Chinese medical halls in Kuala Lumpur was unfair on small businesses as bars and pubs were still allowed to operate and sell liquor until midnight.

“Where is the logical consistency in this? They always protect the big guys, but the small guys, they push to the max,” he said.

Touching on Kedah’s decision to effectively ban all gaming outlets from operating in the state by not renewing their licences, Syed Saddiq said the move would benefit illegal operators the most.

Highlighting the SMSes and other forms of communications that such operators use to entice customers to use their services, Syed Saddiq said such unregulated businesses also target minors and channel their profits to the illicit drug industry and prostitution.

“They are the happiest people now as now they can operate unfettered since they no longer have legal competitors.

“Data has shown that once legal gambling is suppressed, the illegal gambling industry thrives to the max.

“Don’t just look: ‘Oh good, Kedah state government. Oh Muslim! Very good!’ But in reality, they are the ones who are enriching the black market, hurting Malaysians and hurting those who want to operate within the legal framework.”

He also noted that PAS, the party leading the Kedah government, was also part of the federal government, which had tripled the number of special draws for gambling.

“Fight them with facts and figures, never pander to them. We can win this fight together,” he stressed.

He also said he would not be voting for the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 amendment bill, better known as RUU355.

The RUU355, which is a Private Member’s Bill by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, mainly seeks to increase criminal jurisdiction of the shariah courts.

In September, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a parliamentary reply that the government would be intensifying efforts to prepare the draft bill for tabling in Parliament after consultations with various state governments.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2021/12/14/syed-saddiq-slams-hypocrites-who-want-to-divide-malaysia-forever/?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=AkzDgVYpbJANwQohKNIulPiF6UvJRxOGj2maQB9A6VE-1639552644-0-gaNycGzNDCU

--------

Saving Malaysians shouldn't involve killing our food

Erna Mahyuni

15 Dec 2021

DECEMBER 15 — Karma, I have found, is as petty as I am. I used to joke that flourless, eggless cake tasted of only one thing: regret.

Fast forward to my 40s where even a plate of thick Japanese Shibuya Honey Toast could give me an infection or severe indigestion so alas, my cake scarfing days are over.

I think cutting down on less healthy food is an inevitable part of ageing unless of course you're willing to dedicate yourself to hours of daily exercise a la Jennifer Lopez.

It is truly unfortunate then that my favourite workout is rolling over to the other side of my bed.

Speaking of habits just the other day I saw an article highlighting the Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) of all people talking about how fat Malaysians are.

Apparently Malaysians have responded by saying well, our food is too good, and that is why we are fat.

Stop right there.

Malaysia doesn't have a monopoly on good food. Whatever is behind our obesity levels, we shouldn't be blaming it on taste.

Leave fat people alone

We really need to quit with the fat shaming already when in reality obesity is not that cut and dry.

The BMI is one thing that I have learned over the years is absolute bull. It does not take into account different body types and also does not consider people with extra weight that comes from muscle.

If some bodybuilders were to try following the BMI they wouldn't have physiques that were competition worthy.

It is so tiresome to hear people saying that obesity is just about bad lifestyle choices, when for many people there just isn't a lot of choice at all.

When I used to juggle multiple gigs, sometimes I wouldn't have time to cook or even order food ― instead my meals would consist of a bag of chips and a soda, because they would provide enough energy and keep my stomach quiet for as long as I needed to write.

It helps too that it was fairly cheap. Now I would never recommend that kind of regime for other people but I can understand just why nutrition is put on the backburner when you literally can't afford better.

These days I have the time and Google to help me prepare meals in advance. I make four servings of Hainanese chicken rice at a time thanks to the magical invention called the rice cooker, and I have a choice between the oven, air fryer or stove for reheating.

I find it puzzling that people who make adorable judgements about the poor and their lifestyle choices seem to assume everyone has access to at least a fridge and a stove.

It is not about shaming fat people into feeling bad about themselves, when I'm sure many already do. It's about giving them, heck, everyone, choices in the first place.

Look at the ridiculous advice we're getting (again) from politicians to just plant our own vegetables instead of complaining about price hikes.

Must I now raise chickens in the front yard and goats in my backyard since eggs and mutton are both more expensive these days?

Perhaps I should also install fish tanks in my living room and start farming tilapia and start reading up on marijuana planting, as medical marijuana just might be a thing in Malaysia soon.

Inflation happens and is not a terrible thing but wages should rise with inflation; unfortunately in Malaysia we use higher costs to justify paying workers less and less each year.

We're still paying admin clerks around RM1,200-1,500 when that was probably the rate they were getting in my teens.

Back then, roti canai was RM0.30-0.50 and RM2 for a Coke was something you would only get charged in a fancier restaurant.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/opinion/2021/12/15/saving-malaysians-shouldnt-involve-killing-our-food/2028521

--------

Pakistan, Indonesia promote socio-cultural relations

December 15, 2021

In order to strengthen the socio-cultural relations between Pakistan and Indonesia, two Muslim countries, the Indonesian Consulate General in Karachi facilitated meetings between the representative of Nahdlatul Ulama Main Committee / Pengurus Besar Nahdalatul Ulama (PBNU), led by Kyai Zulfa Mustofa and the leaders of Jamia Binoria Al-Aalmia and Jamia Darul Uloom.

Kyai Zulfa Mustofa, who also serves as Vice-Secretary in the Secretariat of Consultative Board of Indonesian Ulema Council (Majelsi Ulema Indonesia/MUI), visited two of the biggest Madaris in Karachi, namely Jamia Binoria Al-Aalmia and Jamia Darul Uloom.

The meetings between Kyai Zulfa Mustofa with Sheikh Maulana Nooman Naeem (Jamia Darululoom) and Sheikh Maulana Farhan Naeem (Jamia Binoria Al-Aalmia) were arranged in warm and constructive manner, in which Kyai Zulfa from Nahdaltul Ulama (NU), provided information on Majalis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) as a national platform that unites all Muslim organisations in Indonesia as well as information on Nahdaltul Ulama as one of the major Islamic organisations in Indonesia which has its members all over the world, including Pakistan.

During the meeting, Indonesian Consul General, Dr. June Kuncoro stated that the visit was also the part of Indonesian commitment to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries in the form of people-to-people contact and socio-cultural ties which shares the common ideas of Islam as an inclusive faith based on the principle of Rehmatul Lil Aalameen.

Source: The Tribune Pakistan

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

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2333961/pakistan-indonesia-promote-socio-cultural-relations

--------

 

Africa

 

How Ulama, Imams can key into war against insurgency – NSA

DECEMBER 14, 2021

By Chuks Oyema-Aziken

The National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Monguno, has urged Ulamas, Preachers and Imams to support the war against insurgency through enlightenment and education at the grass root level.

The NSA started this at the 14th Workshop of Ulamas, Preachers and Imams of Sahel countries holding in Abuja.

The NSA said that terrorism and the rapid escalation of violent activities by militant Islamist groups in the Sahel since 2016 have been primarily driven by the Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS), which mainly operates in Mali and extends to Niger Republic and Burkina Faso.

“It is bolstered by activities of groups such as Jama’at Nasr al-Islam Wal Muslimin (JNIM), the Islamic and Muslim Support Group (GSIM) and ISGS, which have continued to pose an imminent threat to the stability of the region. In Nigeria, Boko-Haram and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) dominate terrorist activities, especially in the North-Eastern part of the country.

“The situation in the Sahel has never been grimmer, extremist violence continues to spread; the number of internally displaced persons (IDPS) is growing; and food insecurity is affecting more people than ever before.

“There are several not entirely congruent working hypothesis underpinning foreign and regional government strategies. It is imperative to reassess and reset the strategy towards the Sahel, setting aside faulty assumption.

“Particularly, the international community and its Sahelian partners should prioritize governance, press for or pursue an expanded peace process, cautiously through dialogue, and push for adoption of more non-kinetic measures through affected communities.

He said affected countries are not relenting as several measures have been put in place.

“Nonetheless, the possibility of Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) creating an established caliphate to rival Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) countries has been checkmated by series of concerted and reinvigorated efforts of the countries of the Region.

“The adoption of both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches by LCBC countries to stem the conflict has yielded tremendous success.

Monguno noted that propaganda videos by Terrorist groups to project themselves as contending powers in the region, is a mere attempt to garner support from sympathizers, as they struggle to maintain relevance.

“Thus, it is assessed that while the groups maintain the long term strategic goal of creating a caliphate, the efforts of LCBC countries will continues to frustrate that goal.

He therefore appealed to the Ulamas, Preachers and Community Leaders to support efforts of the security forces in their various localities to end the menace.

Source: The Authority

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

https://authorityngr.com/2021/12/14/how-ulamas-imams-can-key-into-war-against-insurgency-nsa/

--------

NSA Monguno names three Islamic groups as sponsors of terrorism in Nigeria

December 14, 2021

The National Security Adviser (NSA) Babagana Monguno, has named three Islamic groups, the Jama’at Nasr al-Islam Wal Muslimin (JNIM), Islamic and Muslim Support Group (GSIM), and the Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS), as sponsors and backers of terrorism activities in Nigeria and other countries in the Sahel region.

Monguno stated this while delivering a lecture at the 14th Workshop of the League of Ulamas, Preachers and Imams of Sahel countries held in Abuja, on Tuesday.

“Terrorism and the rapid escalation of violent activities by militant Islamist groups in the Sahel since 2016 have been primarily driven by the Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS), which mainly operates in Mali and extends to Niger Republic and Burkina Faso,” Monguno said.

“It is bolstered by activities of groups such as Jama’at Nasr al-Islam Wal Muslimin (JNIM), the Islamic and Muslim Support Group (GSIM) and ISGS, which have continued to pose an imminent threat to the stability of the region.

“In Nigeria, Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) dominate terrorist activities, especially in the North-Eastern part of the country.

“The situation in the Sahel has never been grimmer, extremist violence continues to spread; the number of internally displaced persons (IDPS) is growing; and food insecurity is affecting more people than ever before,” he added.

The NSA urged Islamic preachers and Imams to deploy their vantage positions to canvas support for ongoing counter-terrorism operations.

“Alliances between the clerics and security forces should be the backbone to rebuilding our terrorism infested communities.

“It is imperative that Ulamas, Preachers and Community Leaders in your localities key in to support efforts of our security forces, in order to end this menace,” he advised.

He, however, said the possibility of ISWAP creating an established caliphate to rival Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) countries has been checkmated.

“This was done through series of concerted and reinvigorated efforts of the countries of the region.

Source: Ripples Nigeria

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

https://www.ripplesnigeria.com/nsa-monguno-names-three-islamic-groups-as-sponsors-of-terrorism-in-nigeria/?6D9368FD-2206-734A-B008-00E95D62A47B_kav_cup_C6FA3ED5_6D17_47D1_B6E2_F4B02CC905E0_

--------

Libya’s Presidency Council says ‘important’ to hold timely elections

Walid Abdullah  

14.12.2021

TRIPOLI, Libya

Libya's Presidency Council on Tuesday underlined the importance of holding the country’s general elections on Dec. 24 as scheduled.

Speaking following a meeting with UN Special Representative to Libya Stephanie Williams, the council’s vice-president, Musa al-Koni, said the Libyan people are waiting for the moment to elect the country’s president.

"It is a historic moment for Libya to elect a president, who can lead the country in dealing with the world," al-Koni wrote on Twitter.

He said despite the difficulty facing the polls, it is still "worth abiding by, a move which will make a difference.”

Libya's presidential and parliamentary elections are set to take place on December 24. Calls, however, have grown to postpone the vote amid political differences and absence of constitutional or legal grounds.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/libya-s-presidency-council-says-important-to-hold-timely-elections/2447282

--------

French soldiers lower flag after years in Mali’s Timbuktu

December 14, 2021

TIMBUKTU, Mali: French officers handed over the keys to a military base in the Malian city of Timbuktu on Tuesday, after a nearly nine-year deployment.

The ceremony took place near the city’s airport, with Malian army officers, officials from the local government and the United Nations attending.

The French flag was lowered and the Malian flag raised in its place on the base, where a force of about 150 soldiers have remained after Paris began withdrawing troops having liberated the city from extremists in 2013.

General Etienne du Peyroux, head of France’s Operation Barkhane anti-extremist campaign in Mali, shook hands with the new camp commander and offered him a large wooden key as a French military plane made a low flyover.

The highly symbolic departure comes after French forces already left bases in the northern towns Kidal and Tessalit this year, even though the extremist-driven violence in the Sahel state shows no signs of easing.

France “will be present in a different way,” said du Peyroux. “This is ultimately the aim of Operation Barkhane: to allow Mali to take its destiny into its own hands... but always in partnership.”

The new Malian commander did not speak.

It was in Timbuktu on February 2, 2013 that former French president Francois Hollande declared the start of France’s military intervention in the conflict-torn country.

Just a few days earlier, French legionnaires and Malian troops had liberated the northern desert city after an eight-month extremist occupation.

“Some people were overcome by emotion, women were crying, young people were shouting, I myself was overwhelmed,” said Yehia Tandina, a Timbuktu television journalist, recalling the day.

With the departure of French troops, there are now questions about the future of extremist activity as militants put down roots in the countryside.

Since 2013, Paris has deployed around 5,100 troops across the Sahel region — which includes Mali — aiming to support local governments and their poorly equipped forces fighting an ever-growing insurgency.

However, extremist attacks have grown more frequent. An insurgency that began in Mali has spilled over into neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced a major drawdown of French troops in June, however, after a military takeover in Mali in August 2020 that ousted the elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

France’s deployment in the Sahel is due to fall to about 3,000 troops by next year.

“For us, this is a page that is turning,” Captain Florian, former base commander, told reporters. “But the mission continues. My soldiers and I will continue our mission in Mali.”

The French were greeted as liberators when they entered Timbuktu in 2013.

Hollande also described the day French soldiers retook the city as “the best day of his political life.”

But after nearly nine years the extremists in the region are still active. Whether France’s military mission can be described as a success is a sensitive question.

Master Corporal Julien, a French soldier who was in Timbuktu in 2013 and returned for the handover, said: “We have to hope that things will get better for civilians.”

Outside the city, locals appear to have come to terms with the extremists, according to security officials and Western diplomats.

An acceptance of their legitimacy, at least among locals, may have also decreased violence.

“Where there is coexistence, there will certainly be fewer negative acts,” said Tandina, the journalist, noting improved security in the Timbuktu region.

According to the UN, militant attacks on civilians in Timbuktu and the surrounding area are at their lowest since 2015.

Still, Westerners cannot travel outside the city without an armed escort.

The central government, which is supported by the UN inside the city, is largely invisible in the countryside.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1987021/world

--------

URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/saudi-arabia-israel-arab-initiative/d/125965

 

New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomen in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomen In ArabIslamophobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism

 

Loading..

Loading..