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Islamic World News ( 2 Aug 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Seek God’s Forgiveness, Deoband Ulema Tell Muslim Woman Bhajan Singer, Farmani Naz; this is Against the Shariat

New Age Islam News Bureau

02 August 2022


Farmani Naaz, Bhajan Singer


• The School Discontinued the Practice of Reciting Verses from Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam in the Assembly, after Controversy on Islamic Verses Erupts

• Al Qaeda Leader Zawahiri Killed In US Drone Strike in Afghanistan over the Weekend: Joe Biden

• Haqqani Network Tried To Conceal Al-Qaida Leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri Was At Safe House in Kabul: Report

• Saudi Arabia Welcomes Announcement on Killing of Al-Qaeda Leader Al-Zawahri



• As Bangladeshi Terror Module Busted in Assam, Police Reveal Arrested Madrasa Teacher Trained Students in Jihad

• Humanity above Manmade Barriers: Mosque and Temples Unite To Raise Funds for Cancer

• NIA detains three for ‘links’ with handlers of Islamic State

• Aligarh Muslim University to remove Pakistani authors' books from syllabus

• NIA conducts searches at multiple locations across country in two separate Islamic State-related cases


North America

• Blinken says Taliban ‘grossly’ violated Doha agreement by sheltering Zawahiri

• How the CIA identified and killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri

• Ayman al-Zawahiri death: Did US use secret 'flying ginsu' missile?

• Two Presidents, Two Al-Qaeda Leaders & Similar Strikes: How US Followed Bin Laden's Blueprint to Kill Ayman al-Zawahiri

• US issues new Iran-related sanctions as nuclear deal talks remain stalled

• US secretary of state backs EU proposal aimed at salvaging Iran nuclear deal

• US mediator hopeful of Lebanon-Israel border demarcation deal


South Asia        

• No Tolerance for Premarital Relationships; Taliban Flogs Three People Accused of Adultery

• Taliban Condemns US Airstrike in Kabul That Killed Al Qaeda Chief

• Joint Committee for Preventing Border Skirmishes to be formed by Iran & Taliban

• Taliban accuses global community of violating Afghan women’s dignity

• Request India and Pakistan to Resolve Issues and Open Trade Vistas: Taliban Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani

• Myanmar violence, Ukraine war loom over ASEAN meetings


Arab World

• Ayman Al-Zawahiri: From Cairo Physician to Al-Qaida Leader

• Sharia Does Not Forbid Use of Visa Cards in Purchases: Former Grand Mufti

• Thousands of anti-Sadr demonstrators protest parliament occupation

• Al-Sadr movement rejects call for dialogue amid protests in Iraq

• 86 Syrian civilians killed in July: Rights group

• Supporters of pro-Iran groups protest near Baghdad’s Green Zone



• Persecution of Ahmadiyya Community Continues In Pakistan, PML-Q Issues New Eviction Diktat

• ECP Says Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf of Imran Khan Received 'Prohibited Funds' From 34 Foreign Nationals

• Pak Army Helicopter with 6 Senior Officers on Relief Mission Feared Crashed In Balochistan Province

• Pakistan, Chinese armies ‘brothers in arms’: COAS

• TikTok Creator Portal launched in Pakistan

• Another batch of Punjab police officers marked for ‘Azadi March violence’ removed

• Pashtun Jirga Concludes another Round of Talks with TTP In Kabul

• Bosnia deports first batch migrants back to Pakistan



• Iran Arrests Members of Israeli-Linked Baha'i Spying Group

• Iran: N. Deal within Reach, Needs US Realistic Approach

• Spokesman: Iran Believes Iraq’s Security Tantamount to Regional Stability

• Afghanistan Promises to Respect Iran's Water Rights

• AEOI Chief Underlines Iran's Opposition to Military N. Drive despite Capability

• Sweden Deprives Iranian Citizen Hamid Nouri from Reading Persian Translation of Verdict

• Top IRGC Commander: US Political Territory Shrinking

• Israeli troops arrest West Bank militant, Palestinian killed in raid

• Israel signals no change on nuclear policy as US reaffirms anti-proliferation drive



• Al-Mishri Re-Elected Head of Libya’s High Council of State

• Algeria President Tebboune talks of joining Russia-linked BRICS group

• Somalia, UN agencies call for efforts to promote breastfeeding for child health

• Fuel truck explosion kills 7 in southern Libya



• France Uses Controversial Law to Expel Moroccan Imam Iquioussen

• Turkish foreign minister stresses importance of peace, stability in Balkans


Southeast Asia

• Indonesia Muslim Scholars Congress Seeking to Raise Awareness about Climate Change Impacts

• New Perak Mufti Wan Zahidi Intends to Continue Predecessor Harussani’s Legacy

• US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Lands in Malaysia amid China Rage: Report

• Tough to avoid 3-cornered fight for Malay parties, says Khairuddin

• No ‘specific’ assets sold for EPF withdrawal schemes, says minister

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Seek God’s Forgiveness, Deoband Ulema Tell Muslim Woman Bhajan Singer, Farmani Naz; This is Against the Shariat


Farmani Naaz, Bhajan Singer


Aug 2, 2022

MUZAFFARNAGAR: A Muzaffarnagar-based Muslim woman singer, a former 'Indian Idol' contestant, has drawn the ire of Deoband Ulema for singing a Shiva Bhajan that was a hit in this year's Kanwar Yatra. But 30-year-old Farmani Naz has stood her ground and said she sees nothing wrong in doing what she's good at, more so as it helps her get additional money that she can use for her ailing son.

Naz became an internet sensation with over 3.8 million followers after she began singing to support her ailing son. On July 23, she posted her rendition of the Bhajan 'Har Har Shambhu', which has garnered over 920,000 views so far. It was also extensively played by Kanwarias on their march to Haridwar recently. Shortly after, she received flak from several Deoband Ulema.

"Our religion does not allow us to sing Bhajans of other religions. This is against the Shariat as well as the basic tenets of Islam. But we live in a democracy and everyone has the right to do whatever work they like," said Deoband-based Maulana Ishaq Gora.

Another Ulema, Mufti Asad Qasmi, said, “You can’t just sing any kind of song if you follow Islam. Despite being a Muslim, Naz is singing Bhajans. She should ask for forgiveness from god.”

Naz remained unfazed. “I sing to take care of my four-year-old son, who has an ailment pertaining to his throat. I even had to leave 'Indian Idol' in 2021 despite getting a ‘golden ticket’ because my child had to undergo an operation. He’s all that matters to me and this is my means to earning a livelihood. I don’t know which Maulana has a problem because no one has approached me.”

Underneath her video on YouTube, she commented, “Singing Aur Music Ka Koi Dharam Nahin Hota…Mohammed Rafi Saab Jaise Buland Singers Ne Bhi Bhajan Gaye Hai. Sabhi Se Hath Jodkar Nevedan Hai Ki Koi Bhi Singing Or Music Ko Dharam Se Na Jode (Music has no religion. Great singers like Mohammed Rafi have also sung Bhajans. It’s my request to everyone to not associate music with any particular religion).”

She said she was “fond of singing” even as a child but her parents “disapproved” of her hobby.

“I was married off to a man in Meerut in 2017 but domestic strife led to our separation. I eventually moved back to my native village around two years ago to live with my mother. There, my brother, Farman Khan, and his friend, Rahul, uploaded a video of me singing on YouTube. Lakhs of people watched and liked it. We have made several such videos since then. I am earning a good amount of money from it.”

Her mother, Fatima Begum, said, “My daughter is talented and is raising her child on her own by singing songs. People always object when they see a Muslim girl singing, but they don’t see that she has to look after her son as well. She sings all kinds of songs, be it Bhajans or Qawwalis. She also performs namaz. She is doing this for her livelihood.”

Source: Times Of India

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The School Discontinued the Practice of Reciting Verses from Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam In the Assembly, after Controversy on Islamic Verses Erupts


Representative Photo/ The Week


August 01, 2022

A private school here stopped the recitation of religious prayers in the morning assembly after a row erupted over allegations that the students were being compelled to recite Islamic verses.

The school also said they have discontinued the practice of reciting verses from different religions, including Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam, in the assembly, and now only national anthem will be sung.

The school authorities clarified that prayers of all religions were recited at the school during the morning assembly as part of the 'Sarva Dharma Samman' (all religions are equal) ideology.

The controversy erupted after a parent tweeted that the students at Florets International School were compelled to recite the 'Kalma Tayyab' during the morning assembly following which the district administration ordered a probe.

Assistant CP (Seesamau) Nishank Sharma told PTI that after the tweet went viral, the information was shared with the district magistrate and other senior officials, who were directed to look into the matter.

Sharma, along with Additional City Magistrate-III Jiyalal Saroj, reached the school and sorted out the issue amicably.

“We questioned the school managing director Sumeet Makhija who clarified that prayers of all four religions were recited at the school during the morning assembly as part of the 'Sarva Dharma Samman' ideology," the ACP said.

Makhija noted that the school, established about two decades ago, had been encouraging the recital of 'Gayatri Mantra', 'Gurubani' and 'Duaa', which are part of Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and other religious verses, in the morning assembly to teach the students that all religions are equal.

The practice has been going on for over a decade, but suddenly some parents and people affiliated with right-wing groups objected to the practice, said ACM-III Saroj.

The school diary has verses of all major religions, including Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianity and Islam. There is surely no intention of promoting any one religion, Makhija asserted.

“From today, we have stopped reciting these prayers and started singing only the national anthem," he said.

City's additional DM Atul Kumar told media that a written complaint was received and the police were asked to investigate the matter and take action accordingly.

The school also declared a holiday on Monday owing to the controversy.

Source: The Week

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Al Qaeda Leader Zawahiri Killed In US Drone Strike In Afghanistan Over The Weekend: Joe Biden


Osama bin Laden sits with his adviser Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian linked to the al Qaeda network, during an interview with Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir (not pictured) in an image supplied by Dawn newspaper November 10, 2001. Hamid Mir/Editor/Ausaf Newspaper for Daily Dawn/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo


August 2, 2022

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a US strike in Afghanistan over the weekend, American President Joe Biden said on Monday.

Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who had a $25 million bounty on his head, helped coordinate the Sept 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the United States carried out a drone strike in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday morning at 6:18am local time.

"Now justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more," Biden said in remarks from the White House. "We never back down."

US intelligence determined with "high confidence" that the man killed was Zawahiri, a senior administration official told reporters. No other casualties occurred.

"Zawahiri continued to pose an active threat to US persons, interests and national security," the official said on a conference call. "His death deals a significant blow to al Qaeda and will degrade the group's ability to operate."

There were rumors of Zawahiri's death several times in recent years, and he was long reported to have been in poor health.

His death raises questions about whether Zawahiri received sanctuary from the Taliban following their takeover of Kabul in August 2021. The official said senior Taliban officials were aware of his presence in the city.

The drone attack is the first known US strike inside Afghanistan since US troops and diplomats left the country in August 2021.

In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that a strike took place and strongly condemned it, calling it a violation of "international principles."

The senior US official said finding Zawahiri was the result of persistent counterterrorism work. The United States identified this year that Zawahiri's wife, daughter and her children had relocated to a safe house in Kabul, then identified that Zawahiri was there as well, the official said.

"Once Zawahiri arrived at the location, we are not aware of him ever leaving the safe house," the official said. He was identified multiple times on the balcony, where he was ultimately struck. He continued to produce videos from the house and some may be released after his death, the official said.

In the last few weeks, Biden convened officials to scrutinise the intelligence. He was updated throughout May and June and was briefed on July 1 on a proposed operation by intelligence leaders. On July 25, he received an updated report and authorised the strike once an opportunity was available.

A loud explosion echoed through Kabul early Sunday morning.

"A house was hit by a rocket in Sherpoor. There were no casualties as the house was empty," Abdul Nafi Takor, spokesman of the interior ministry, said earlier.

One Taliban source, requesting anonymity, said there had been reports of at least one drone flying over Kabul that morning.

With other senior al Qaeda members, Zawahiri is believed to have plotted the October 12, 2000, attack on the USS Cole naval vessel in Yemen which killed 17 US sailors and injured more than 30 others, the Rewards for Justice website said.

He was indicted in the United States for his role in the August 7, 1998, bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people and wounded more than 5,000 others.

Both bin laden and Zawahiri eluded capture when US-led forces toppled Afghanistan’s Taliban government in late 2001 following the Sept 11 attacks on the United States.

Source: Dawn

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Haqqani Network Tried To Conceal Al-Qaida Leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri Was At Safe House In Kabul: Report


Ayman al-Zawahri (left) at a news conference with Osama bin Laden in Khost, Afghanistan. File | Photo Credit: AP


Aug 2, 2022

NEW YORK: Members of the dreaded terror group Haqqani network tried to conceal that al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri who was killed in a US drone strike was at a safe house in Kabul and restricted access to the site, a media report said on Tuesday.

An American drone strike killed al-Zawahiri, a key plotter of the 9/11 terrorist attacks who took over as the leader of al-Qaida after Osama bin Laden's death, at a safe house in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden announced on Monday.

Al-Zawahri was the No. 2 in al-Qaida when the group conducted the September 11 terror attacks, and American officials considered him a central plotter. While he lacked the charismatic leadership of bin Laden, he profoundly shaped al-Qaida and its terrorist movements with his writing and arguments.

"After the US drone strike that killed al-Zawahiri, members of the terror group Haqqani network had tried to conceal that the al-Qaida leader was at the house in Kabul, which reportedly was owned by a top aide to Sirajuddin Haqqani, and restricted access to the site,” The New York Times reported.

The report citing a senior administration official said that according to one American analyst, the “house that was struck was owned by a top aide to Sirajuddin Haqqani,” who is now the interior minister in the Taliban government in Kabul.

The Haqqani network is an Islamist terror outfit founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, who emerged as a top Afghan warlord and insurgent commander during the anti-Soviet war.

The report added that the United States had “multiple intelligence threads” confirming that al-Zawahiri was killed in the strike.

Al-Zawahiri was long believed to have been living in Pakistan.

“That he was killed in Kabul is a testament to not only the porous border between the two countries but also to al Qaida's decades-long use of facilities, houses, buildings and compounds throughout both countries,” the report said, citing a US official.

“And unlike the relatively sleepy city of Abbottabad, Pakistan, where Bin Laden was killed by a commando raid in 2011, his successor apparently spent the last weeks of his life right smack in the Afghan capital,” it said.

The report further said that American intelligence sources had learned earlier this year that al-Zawahiri's wife, daughter and grandchildren had relocated to a house in Kabul.

“American intelligence agencies grew increasingly confident that al-Zawahiri was at the house as well. As they did in the case of Bin Laden, intelligence officials used different sources and methods to build a so-called pattern of life that confirmed his presence,” the report said, quoting officials.

“Once al-Zawahiri arrived at the location, American officials were never aware of him leaving, and he was observed for sustained periods on the balcony where he was ultimately struck,” it said.

Al-Zawahiri was killed by an R9X, a “Hellfire missile armed with long blades aimed at killing targets with kinetic energy to minimize major collateral damage.”

The US claims that the Taliban violated the peace agreement by letting al-Zawahiri into the country. The Taliban claims the US violated the peace agreement by conducting a strike.

Source: Times Of India

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Saudi Arabia Welcomes Announcement on Killing Of al-Qaeda leader al-Zawahri


Ayman al-Zawahiri/ Image: AP


02 August, 2022

Saudi Arabia welcomed the US announcement that a CIA drone strike killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan, the foreign ministry said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The US Department of State announced on Monday that the US had killed al-Zawahiri, one of the world's most-wanted terrorists and a mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks, in a drone strike in Kabul.

On Tuesday, the Kingdom welcomed the announcement, with the statement from the foreign ministry reading: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia welcomed the announcement by US President Joe Biden of the targeting and killing of the terrorist leader of al-Qaeda Ayman al-Zawahiri.”

The Saudi foreign ministry said he was “considered one of the leaders of terrorism that led the planning and execution of heinous terrorist operations in the United States, Saudi Arabia and a number of other countries of the world.”

“Thousands of innocent people of different nationalities and religions, including Saudi citizens, were killed,” the statement said.

“The Kingdom's government stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation and concerted international efforts to combat and eradicate terrorism, calling on all countries to cooperate in this framework to protect innocent people from terrorist organizations.”

In a press statement, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that US President Joe Biden last year committed to the American people that, following the withdrawal of US forces, the United States would “continue to protect our country and act against terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan.”

The statement added: “The President made clear that we would not hesitate to protect the Homeland. With the operation that delivered justice to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of of al-Qaeda, we have made good on that commitment, and we will continue to do so in the face of any future threats.”

“We were able to do so in this instance — and will be positioned to do so going forward — as a result of the skill and professionalism of our intelligence and counterterrorism community colleagues, for whom the President and I are deeply grateful.”

The statement said that by hosting and sheltering the leader of al-Qaeda in Kabul, the Taliban “grossly violated the Doha Agreement and repeated assurances to the world that they would not allow Afghan territory to be used by terrorists to threaten the security of other countries.”

It added: “They also betrayed the Afghan people and their own stated desire for recognition from and normalization with the international community.”

“In the face of the Taliban’s unwillingness or inability to abide by their commitments, we will continue to support the Afghan people with robust humanitarian assistance and to advocate for the protection of their human rights, especially of women and girls.”

“The world is a safer place following the death of al-Zawahiri, and the United States will continue to act resolutely against those who would threaten our country, our people, or our allies and partners.”

Egyptian-born al-Zawahiri took over al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces in Pakistan in 2011, and had a $25 million US bounty on his head.

A senior US administration official said al-Zawahiri was on the balcony of a house in Kabul when he was targeted with two Hellfire missiles, an hour after sunrise on July 31.

Source: Al Arabiya

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As Bangladeshi Terror Module Busted in Assam, Police Reveal Arrested Madrasa Teacher Trained Students in Jihad

AUGUST 01, 2022

The Morigaon module of Bangladesh-based Ansar Ul Bangla Team (ABT) operations in Assam is emerging as one of the most vital and dangerous terror modules busted by the Assam police and central investigating agencies so far.

After 19 students from the Jamiul Huda Madrasa were questioned by the National Investigation Team (NIA) team probing the ABT module in Morigaon on July 31, the Assam Police and the central agencies have interrogated the head of the madrasa, Mufti Mustafa, who along with another suspect, is in police custody.

“The investigation so far has been satisfactory. There is a common link with the Bhopal ABT, Tripura and Barpeta operations of Ansar Ul Bangla. Financial links have been established. Jihadi training material have been viewed in the electronic device of Mufti Mustafa. We are now looking as to how many students were shown these videos by Mufti and what influence does these have on the students. Mustafa has been sharing these videos, which have operation and training content of Taliban to motivate students at his madrasa. We are examining other madrasas of the state too, however, it will be difficult to divulge further,” said GP Singh, Special Director General of Assam Police.

Singh also said the police have other madrasas on radar and once evidence against them are found, action will be taken.

The Jamiul Madrasa has been sealed along with another one in Dhing in Nagaon district of Assam for indulging in anti-national activities. One Hananul Islam was picked up by the Barpeta police on July 31 on the suspicion of having links with the ABT. With this, there have been nine arrests in Barpeta district alone in the last four days.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had clarified that two madrasas have already been sealed and more will likely be under the scanner. “Wherever we have got complaints against madrasas and its teacher, we have taken an in-principle decision that we will close them down and will ask the students to go to a nearby school. In Assam, we do not have government madrasas.”

Sarma stressed that the government has already shut down 750 madrasas but religious madrasas will continue to operate.

Source: News18

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Humanity above Manmade Barriers: Mosque and Temples Unite To Raise Funds for Cancer Patient

K.M. Rakesh, Bangalore  


When a mosque in Kerala’s Malappuram district appealed for funds towards the treatment of a cancer-stricken teenage girl, two neighbouring temples immediately came forward to help, setting what the imam termed an example of “how humanity can rise above manmade barriers”.

Together, the temples and the mosque collected Rs 1.48 crore in just a few days, with people across the district and elsewhere in the state contributing. The money will help not just cancer patient Hanna, 18, but scores of other ailing people.

The Alukkal Juma Masjid, Kuttipurathukavu Bhagavathy Temple and Narasimha Moorthy Temple have been coexisting for decades just a hundred-odd metres from one other in Kottakkal village.

“About 10 days ago, we informed the temple committees about the plight of Syedalavi (auto-rickshaw driver and Hanna’s father) who has absolutely no means of providing medical care for his daughter,” the imam of the mosque, Ismail Baqavi Kottakkal, told The Telegraph on Monday.

“The two temple committees immediately offered to help the family, providing a great example of communal harmony and brotherhood.”

The temples pitched in with Rs 50,000 and Rs 27,000 from their own coffers, formed a joint committee with the mosque authorities, and issued an appeal for funds for Hanna on various social media platforms.

Of the money collected so far, with donations from members of all communities, Rs 70 lakh has been earmarked for Hanna who is undergoing treatment at a private hospital in neighbouring Kozhikode.

The remaining Rs 78 lakh was distributed on Monday among more than 60 beneficiaries --- 12 from the village and the rest from across the state -- identified with help from civil society organisations.

“The beneficiaries of the cash donations we made today too were picked without regard to their religion or caste,” the vice-chairman of the Bhagavathy Temple, Arumukan Naduvathu, told this newspaper.

Arumukan, a CPM member, said: “Members of Left parties, the Congress, Indian Union Muslim League and the BJP came together to (donate money and) make this possible.”

The imam said communal harmony had always been the hallmark of Kerala and Malappuram, although the Muslim-majority district is frequently subjected to vilification by some media outlets and Right-wing social media users who blow up stray incidents in the area.

“I know Malappuram gets a lot of negative press. But Hindus, Muslims and Christians have lived here in harmony for centuries,” the Imam said.

“I agree there are some communal elements on all sides who whip up certain issues. But this fund-raising is an example of how humanity can rise above all such manmade barriers.”

Ajith Kottarathil, secretary of the Bhagavathy temple committee, too said Malappuram abounded in examples of communal amity, adding that the speed with which the funds were collected was nevertheless surprising.

“Everything was so quick and in keeping with the urgency to raise funds for Hanna’s treatment. This is a small village where arranging this kind of money is impossible for most families,” he said.

“That’s why all of us readily stepped in when the mosque committee informed us about the child.”

He said some people had donated gold jewellery.

Hanna’s family members were at the hospital and could not be reached for comment.

Malappuram had witnessed another example of communal amity on April 7 when the Sree Mahavishnu Temple in Vaniyannur, near Tirur, organised an iftar gathering on its premises for more than 200 Muslims.

This was because, unlike other years, local Muslims had been unable to participate in the annual community feast organised at the temple on its consecration day, April 6. The feast was held during the daytime, and the Muslims were observing the Ramazan fast.

So, the following day after sundown, the temple served the traditional Kerala vegetarian meal, sadya, to Muslims.

Source: Telegraph India

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NIA detains three for ‘links’ with handlers of Islamic State

Aug 02, 2022

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has detained three people in Karnataka for their alleged links with Islamic State (IS) handlers, an official in the know of matter said on Monday. The detentions in Karnataka were part of a nationwide raid conducted by the anti-terror agency on Sunday.

In Karnataka, the raids were conducted in Bhatkal area of Uttara Kannada district and two places in Tumakuru district. Officials of the state police said that NIA had sought local police support in two cases.

The first raid in the state was reported in Tumkuru where a college student was taken in for questioning by the NIA. The suspect was identified as Sajid Makrani, a native of Maharashtra. He is a third-year student in an Unani college in Tumkuru, said police.

“Around 20 officials raided his house at 4 am. The raid lasted for about six hours, following which he was taken to Bengaluru. He was questioned till 9 pm and later released after issuing a notice to appear before NIA for questioning in New Delhi,” said an official in the know of the developments.

It is alleged that the student was in touch with the IS handlers. The nature of his alleged involvement with IS remains unknown.

Police have also taken in the owner of the house — identified as Rangaswamy — where Sajid and four others were living on rent.

The second raid took place in Bhatakal, where the central agency detained two brothers and served them notice to appear for inquiry in Delhi. Abdul Muktadir and his brother Mohammad, residents of Bhatkal main road were taken into custody at 5 am on Sunday.

The duo was taken to Manki in Uttara Kannada for interrogation. “They run a printing shop. They were questioned for getting in touch with IS handlers. They have also translated some Islamic state literature from Arabic to local languages, including Kannada and had posted the same on social media,” an official said.

The raids come after sleuths of the Central Crime Branch (CCB) arrested one Adil alias Zuba from Tamil Nadu’s Salem last week. This arrest was based on details provided by the first suspect, Akthar Hussain, 23,a native of Assam, who was on a central intelligence agency’s watch and was taken in custody on July 24 by the CCB from Bengaluru’s Tilak Nagar area.

An officer, who didn’t want to be named, said the suspects were in touch with Al-Qaeda members using an instant messaging application. “The accused had tried to establish contacts in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. They were also attempting to approach the Muslim youth on social media and motivate them to carry out activities on their behalf,” said the official.

“We have found evidence that they were in touch with Al-Qaeda and wanted to be suicide bombers. We are now trying to verify the claim and the central agencies will be roped in for the same,” said the officer.

According to Bengaluru police commissioner, Pratap Reddy interrogation of the suspects is underway. “Following the inputs from central agencies, the arrest was made. We have collected evidence regarding members of the radicalised groups in Bengaluru. An FIR has been registered in connection with the case. We can’t reveal any more details as of now. We will provide the details after we present the facts before the courts,” said Reddy.

CCB officials meanwhile said that Akthar has been booked under Section 121 of the Indian Penal Code on charges of waging war against the country and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. “We are working closely with the central agency to probe if there are more links to this network,” he said.

The prime suspect Akhtar was allegedly radicalised after watching videos and browsing radical content. After his arrest, the CCB produced him before a special court, which remanded him to 10 days of police custody.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Aligarh Muslim University to remove Pakistani authors' books from syllabus

Siraj Qureshi


August 1, 2022

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) managing committee has decided to remove the books of Pakistani authors Maulana Abul Ala Maududi and Syed Qutub from the syllabus.

These books were included in the syllabus of the Department of Islamic Studies. These books were taught in AMU’s BA and MA classes.

A senior AMU staff told India Today that "This decision has been taken in response to a recent letter that was written by social activist and academician Madhu Kishwar, along with some other academicians, to PM Modi, in which the books of these authors were demanded not to be taught to the students. The academicians had not just named the AMU, but also the Jamia Milia Islamia and Hamdard Universities, claiming that all these universities had books written by Pakistani authors in their curriculum."

Some academicians have also alleged that Maulana Maududi, an Islamic scholar, was known for his anti-Hindu statements and to have books written by such a disputed character in the curriculum was in itself courting controversy.

Source: India Today

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NIA conducts searches at multiple locations across country in two separate Islamic State-related cases

August 1, 2022

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Sunday conducted searches at 13 locations across six states in a case related to Islamic State conspiracy to spread terror in the country.

“NIA conducted searches at 13 premises of suspects in 6 states viz. Bhopal and Raisen districts in Madhya Pradesh; Bharuch, Surat, Navsari and Ahmedabad districts in Gujarat; Arariya district in Bihar; Bhatkal and Tumkur City districts in Karnataka; Kolhapur and Nanded districts in Maharashtra; and Deoband district in Uttar Pradesh in the case pertaining to activities of ISIS. The case was registered suo-moto by NIA on 25.06.2022 under sections 153A & 153B of IPC and sections 18, 18B, 38, 39 & 40 of UA(P) Act,” a statement from the NIA read.

The agency said searches have led to seizure of “incriminating documents/material”.

The NIA Sunday also conducted searches in Trivandrum district in Kerala in a case pertaining to the arrest of one Sathik Batcha alias ICAMA Sathik, who was arrested along with four others in Tamil Nadu in February this year.

According to the NIA, the accused had hatched a conspiracy for threatening the general public and police officials and also attempted to murder police personnel during the checking of their Scorpio car when they were intercepted on February 21, 2022.

“The accused persons were also involved in inciting hatred for secession of a part of India and had intended to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India by forming outfits like ‘Khilafah Party of India’, ‘Khilafah Front of India’, ‘Intellectual Students of India (ISI)’ and associating themselves with the proscribed terrorist organisations ISIS/Daesh and Al Qaeda,” the NIA said in a statement.

The case was earlier registered by Tamil Nadu police and later taken over by the NIA.

Source: Indian Express

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North America


Blinken says Taliban ‘grossly’ violated Doha agreement by sheltering Zawahiri

02 August, 2022

The Taliban “grossly” violated the Doha Agreement by hosting and sheltering al-Qaeda’s top leader Ayman al-Zawahri, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday.

The US killed leader al-Zawahri in a strike in Afghanistan over the weekend, President Joe Biden said on Monday, the biggest blow to the militant group since its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.

Source: Al Arabiya

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How the CIA identified and killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri

Aug 2, 2022

WASHINGTON: Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a US strike in Afghanistan over the weekend, the biggest blow to the militant group since its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.

Zawahiri had been in hiding for years and the operation to locate and kill him was the result of "careful patient and persistent" work by the counter-terrorism and intelligence community, a senior administration official told reporters.

Until the US announcement, Zawahiri had been rumored variously to be in Pakistan's tribal area or inside Afghanistan.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official provided the following details on the operation:

* For several years, the US government had been aware of a network that it assessed supported Zawahiri, and over the past year, following the United States' withdrawal from Afghanistan, officials had been watching for indications of al-Qaida's presence in the country.

This year, officials identified that Zawahiri's family - his wife, his daughter and her children - had relocated to a safe house in Kabul and subsequently identified Zawahiri at the same location.

* Over several months, intelligence officials grew more confident that they had correctly identified Zawahiri at the Kabul safe house and in early April started briefing senior administration officials. Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor, subsequently briefed President Joe Biden.

"We were able to build a pattern of life through multiple independent sources of information to inform the operation," the official said.

Once Zawahiri arrived at the Kabul safe house, officials were not aware of him leaving it and they identified him on its balcony - where he was ultimately struck - on multiple occasions, the official said.

* Officials investigated the construction and nature of the safe house and scrutinized its occupants to ensure the United States could confidently conduct an operation to kill Zawahiri without threatening the structural integrity of the building and minimizing the risk to civilians and Zawahiri's family, the official said.

* In recent weeks, the president convened meetings with key advisors and Cabinet members to scrutinize the intelligence and evaluate the best course of action. On July 1, Biden was briefed on a proposed operation in the White House Situation Room by members of his cabinet including CIA Director William Burns

Biden "asked detailed questions about what we knew and how we knew it" and closely examined a model of the safe house the intelligence community had built and brought to the meeting.

He asked about lighting, weather, construction materials, and other factors that could affect the success of the operation, the official said. The president also requested analysis of the potential ramifications of a strike in Kabul.

* A tight circle of senior inter-agency lawyers examined the intelligence reporting and confirmed that Zawahiri was a lawful target based on his continuing leadership of al-Qaida.

On July 25, the president convened his key Cabinet members and advisors to receive a final briefing and discuss how killing Zawahiri would affect America's relationship with the Taliban, among other issues, the official said. After soliciting views from others in the room, Biden authorized "a precise tailored air strike" on the condition that it minimize the risk of civilian casualties.

Source: Times Of India

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Ayman al-Zawahiri death: Did US use secret 'flying ginsu' missile?

Aug 2, 2022

WASHINGTON: Notorious al-Qaida head Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed by two missiles fired at his Kabul home -- but pictures showed no sign of an explosion, and US officials say no one else was harmed.

That points to the use again by the United States of the macabre Hellfire R9X, a warhead-less missile believed equipped with six razor-like blades extending from the fuselage that slices through its target but does not explode.

Never publicly acknowledged by the Pentagon or CIA -- the two US agencies known to undertake targeted assassinations of extremist leaders -- the R9X first appeared in March 2017 when al-Qaida senior leader Abu al-Khayr al-Masri was killed by a drone strike while traveling in a car in Syria.

Photos of the vehicle showed a large hole through the roof, with the car's metal, and all of the interior, including its occupants, physically shredded. But the front and rear of the car appeared completely intact.

Up until then, Hellfire missiles -- fired by drones in targeted attacks -- were known for powerful explosions and often extensive collateral damage and deaths.

Since 2017, a handful of other finely-targeted attacks show similar results.

Details of the mysterious weapon leaked out, and it was dubbed the "flying ginsu," after a famous 1980s television commercial for ostensibly Japanese kitchen knives that would cut cleanly through aluminum cans and remain perfectly sharp.

Also called the "ninja bomb," the missile has become the US munition of choice for killing leaders of extremist groups while avoiding civilian casualties.

That is apparently what happened with Zawahiri.

A US official told reporters that on the morning of July 31, Zawahiri was standing alone on the balcony of his Kabul residence, when a US drone launched the two Hellfires.

Apparent photographs of the building show windows blown out on one floor, but the rest of the building, including windows on other floors, still in place.

Source: Times Of India

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Two Presidents, Two Al-Qaeda Leaders & Similar Strikes: How US Followed Bin Laden's Blueprint to Kill Ayman al-Zawahiri

AUGUST 02, 2022

The US announced killing Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists and a mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks, in a drone strike in Kabul.

A senior US official said Zawahiri was on the balcony of a house in Kabul when he was targeted with two Hellfire missiles, an hour after sunrise on July 31, and that there had been no US boots on the ground in Afghanistan. Biden said he gave the final go-ahead for the high-precision strike and said justice has been delivered.

Despite a $25 million US bounty on his head, Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was apparently hiding in Afghanistan at a home in Kabul following Taliban’s takeover. However, the US government had not given up its pursuit of one of the planners of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the heir to Osama bin Laden.

The officials described the operation as meticulously planned as that which killed bin Laden in his Pakistan hideout in 2011.


The missile attack to kill the Al-Qaeda chief was similar to the operation to eliminate Osama bin Laden. Laden, the Al-Qaeda commander, was killed in a dramatic night-time raid by US helicopters and troops on his hideout in Abbottabad near Pakistani capital, Islamabad in 2011.

Bin Laden had been living in seclusion for at least five years in Abbottabad before he was killed in a firefight, shot in the head, following which his body was recovered and buried at sea.

However, this time the strike was carried out without any ground support. The strike involved a US drone, armed with two precision-guided Hellfire missiles, which were launched at 6:18 am Sunday, Kabul time.

The missiles appear not to have been ordinary Hellfires, whose high explosives could have destroyed the home. The post-strike photographs of the building showed only a few windows on one floor blown out, and the rest intact.

Obama said that no civilian was killed in the strike and there were no deaths among the family members.

The so-called “flying ginsu" missile has been used a half-dozen or more times by US forces to kill other jihadist group leaders without hurting bystanders.


In 2011, President Barack Obama announced Osama bin Laden in a military operation in Afghanistan.

In a televised address, the US President said, “It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory… Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability… After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”

Obama invoked the horrors of the 9/11 attacks and reiterated that revenge has been taken.

“We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense… And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot,” Obama added.

On the other hand, announcing the death of the second al-Qaida leader, President Joe Biden in a televised address said, “This terrorist leader is no more… He will never again, never again, allow Afghanistan to become a terrorist safe haven because he is gone and we’re going to make sure that nothing else happens.”

He expressed hope that the killing of the al-Qaida leader brings “one more measure of closure" to families of the victims of September 11, 2001, attacks on the US.

Obama got a second term as a Democrat President in 2012 and a significant credit for the success goes to the killing of Bin Laden in 2011.

Biden, who has been witnessing wavering support, especially post Covid-19 pandemic, would also look to carry out the success to make way for a second term.


The missile attack to kill Zawahiri was carried out a time when the US had already withdrawn its troops from Afghanistan in 2021 following Taliban takeover.

The attack was to be carried out through missile with no ground support. Therefore, the security officials studied the construction of the home, aiming to hit Zawahiri without threatening the building’s structural integrity and minimize risk to civilians.

Defence and intelligence officials finalized the plan in June and presented it to Biden in the White House on July 1, using a detailed model of the residence, as was done before the bin Laden raid. Biden asked detailed questions on the structure, weather issues, and the risk to civilians, the official said.

Finally, on July 25, Biden, still ill with Covid-19, made the decision. It took place with key cabinet officials joining the final briefing, like in April, 2011 White House meeting where president Barack Obama decided to deploy US special operations troops to enter Pakistan and get bin Laden.

At that time Biden was vice president, and he expressed doubts. The risks of things going wrong were high, bin Laden had not been clearly identified, and relations with Pakistan could be at stake.

Source: News18

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US issues new Iran-related sanctions as nuclear deal talks remain stalled

01 August, 2022

The US announced on Monday new designations against companies and a vessel for violating Iran-related sanctions as talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal remain at a standstill.

Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson admitted that the sanctions were part of a pressure campaign to get Iran back into full compliance with the now-defunct Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Until such time as Iran is ready to return to full implementation of its commitments, we will continue to enforce sanctions on the illicit sale of Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals,” he said.

The companies sanctioned were allegedly used by Iran’s Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industry Commercial Co. (PGPICC) to facilitate the sale of tens of millions of dollars’ worth of Iranian petroleum from Iran to East Asia, the Treasury Department said.

Four of the companies are based in China, 1 in Singapore and another in the UAE. The LPG tanker sanctioned is Panama flagged and called “Glory Harvest.”

The State Department also announced the designation of two entities that purchased, acquired, sold, transported, or marketed Iranian petroleum and petroleum products, including providing logistical support to the Iranian petroleum trade.

Source: Al Arabiya

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US secretary of state backs EU proposal aimed at salvaging Iran nuclear deal

Darren Lyn  



US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday backed a proposal from the European Union to try and salvage the Iran nuclear deal.

"It's very consistent with something that they put forward in March that we've we agreed to," said Blinken. "But it remains to be seen whether Iran is willing and able to move forward."

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was established in 2015, but the US withdrew from the deal in 2018 under former President Donald Trump.

Blinken has indicated that the US is "prepared to move forward on the basis of what's been agreed," but hopes of reviving the deal are uncertain as Iran continues to breach its commitments under the JCPOA and grows its nuclear arsenal.

"It is not a perfect agreement, but it addresses all essential elements and includes hard-won compromises by all sides," said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who has been facilitating the negotiations.

"Decisions need to be taken now to seize this unique opportunity to succeed, and to free up the great potential of a fully implemented deal. I see no other comprehensive or effective alternative within reach," he added.

Iran has indicated that it is ready "to conclude the negotiations in a short order, should the other side be ready to do the same."

"We shared our proposed ideas, both on substance & form, to pave the way for a swift conclusion of Vienna negotiations which were aimed at fixing the damaging complicated situation caused by the U.S. unilateral & unlawful withdrawal," Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani tweeted on Sunday.

"We work closely with our JCPOA partners... to give another chance to the U.S. to demonstrate good faith & act responsibly."

Blinken said "the EU has put forward a best proposal based on many, many months of discussions, negotiations, conversations.”

"We continue to believe...that would be the best path forward -- a return to compliance on both sides to the JCPOA, to make sure that we are putting Iran's nuclear program back in a box and averting any kind of crisis."

Blinken's words come as the US and Israel are conducting joint military exercises in the Red Sea.

Three US Navy vessels -- including a small destroyer with air-to-air missiles, cruise missiles for long-range land attacks and torpedoes -- are working with two Israeli vessels in the joint maritime drills.

“The exercise is a bilateral training event between US Fifth Fleet and Israeli naval forces that focuses on mission planning, maritime interdiction and other drills at sea,” the US Navy said in a statement.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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US mediator hopeful of Lebanon-Israel border demarcation deal

Wassim Seif El Din  


US mediator Amos Hochstein voiced hope Monday of reaching an agreement on maritime border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel in coming weeks.

The US envoy held talks in Beirut with Lebanese President Michel, Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

"I remain optimistic that we can make continuous progress as we have over the last several weeks and I look forward to coming back to the region and being able to make the final arrangements," Hochstein told reporters.

On Sunday, Lebanese Energy Minister Walid Fayad said the US mediator presented a new proposal for demarcating maritime border with Israel.

The proposal calls for maintaining Lebanon's complete right in the disputed Qana gas field along with a change on line 23, a change that eventually would allow ceding part of the disputed Karish gas field to Israel.

Lebanon and Israel are engaged in a dispute over a maritime area that is 860 square kilometers (332 square miles), according to maps sent by both counties to the UN in 2011.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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South Asia


No Tolerance for Premarital Relationships; Taliban Flogs Three People Accused of Adultery

By Saqalain Eqbal

01 Aug 2022

According to Taliban local officials in Nangarhar province, in eastern Afghanistan, three people—two men and one woman—were reportedly flogged publicly for committing adultery.

The newsletter of the Taliban governor’s office in Nangarhar province states that these three individuals, who shared a residence, were tried and sentenced after being detained on suspicion of having an illegal sexual relationship.

Each of these three people reportedly received 39 lashes in public, according to the publication.

The newsletter about the implementation of this sentence states that “they were flogged in front of people in public so that it would serve as a lesson to others.”

As for flogging, the Taliban has previously flogged people accused of adultery, fornication and theft in the southern province of Kandahar.

Nearly a month ago, three individuals in the province of Kandahar were subjected to 39 flogs for allegedly committing adultery and theft.

Public executions and public floggings, in the opinion of an Afghan legal scholar, are inevitable as a result of the Taliban’s reforms to Afghanistan’s justice system, which are based on their strict interpretation of Islamic law, particularly when it comes to “crimes against God.”

Human Rights Watch, on the other hand, sees the Taliban’s Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice as a “notorious symbol of abuse”, especially for Afghan women and girls.

Source: Khaama Press

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Taliban Condemns US Airstrike In Kabul That Killed Al Qaeda Chief

August 2, 2022

Kabul: The United States carried out a drone strike on a residence in Kabul over the weekend, the Taliban's chief spokesman said on Monday.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that the attack took place on Sunday and condemned it as a violation of "international principles" and the 2020 agreement on a US troop withdrawal.

Source: ND TV

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Joint Committee for Preventing Border Skirmishes to be Formed by Iran & Taliban

By Saqalain Eqbal

01 Aug 2022

Hassan Kazemi Qomi, Iran’s special representative for Afghanistan, stated that a meeting was held with Iranian representatives and the Ministry of Defense of the Taliban government, announcing the formation of a joint committee to prevent border clashes.

The meeting followed a border fight between the forces of Iran and Afghanistan’s Taliban on Sunday, July 31, that resulted in one death from the Afghan side.

Iran’s Special Representative for Afghanistan tweeted on Sunday that the Taliban government’s Ministry of Defense had discussed avoiding hostilities, and armed clashes and establishing a joint committee to prevent repeating similar actions during a discussion with the border forces.

At least one person was killed on the Afghanistan side of the border clashes on Sunday between Taliban fighters and Iranian border guards, according to a police official in Afghanistan.

The Iranian media cited Maysam Barazandeh, the governor of the Iranian border region of Hirmand, as stating that the fight had ceased and no one had been injured on the Iranian side.

One Taliban soldier was killed and another was wounded in the clash, according to Taliban border commander Mohammad Ebrahim Hewad, which took place in the Darwish area of the Kang district in Nimruz province, which borders Iran.

TOLOnews quoted Hewad saying that the clash was started by the Iranian border guards.

The Iranian media, however, claims that violence started when Taliban militants invaded Iranian territory in Hirmand, a town in the Iranian province of Sistan and Balochistan, and sought to raise their flag.

Since the Taliban’s armed occupation of Afghanistan in August 2021, other similar occurrences have occurred, on the Iranian, Pakistani and Tajik borders.

Source: Khaama Press

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Taliban accuses global community of violating Afghan women’s dignity

1 August, 2022

Kabul [Afghanistan], August 1 (ANI): Taliban on Monday accused the international community of trying to violate Afghan women’s dignity under the guise of human rights.

Acting Minister of Vice and Virtue, Mohammad Khalid Hanafi, speaking to a gathering in the northern province of Faryab, said that human rights have been violated mostly by the international community in Afghanistan, reported Tolo News.

“The world wants to violate the dignity of our sisters and make them indecent and exposed. What type of right is this? The international community wants a guy and girl to be sitting in one chair–neither our nation, nor our beliefs and religion supports this,” he said.

The allegations come amid deteriorating conditions of women under Taliban in Afghanistan. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released a report which highlighted that women’s rights have eroded in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover.

The report stated that the erosion of women’s rights has been one of the most notable aspects of the de facto administration to date. Before the Taliban came to power, women and girls have progressively had their rights to fully participate in education, the workplace and other aspects of public and daily life.

However, these rights have been restricted and in many cases completely taken away following the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban.

A decision taken by the Taliban prevented girls from returning to secondary school which meant that a generation of girls will not complete their full 12 years of basic education. At the same time, access to justice for victims of gender-based violence has been limited by the dissolution of dedicated reporting pathways, justice mechanisms and shelters, it added.

Referring to the physical appearance of some Taliban forces, Hanafi said that some parts of the decree of the Islamic Emirate’s supreme leader are not obeyed, reported Tolo News.

The Vice and Virtue minister also called on government employees to adjust their appearance based on Sharia.

“All employees that are in the provinces, districts and ministries should make their appearances according to Islamic values,” Hanafi said.

He said that after the Taliban swept into power, the women are observing the hijab “100 per cent,” reported Tolo News.

“To the Mujahedeen, who are in the security department, corps and intelligence department or they are in the Department of Vice and Virtue or the Department of Education, and their hair is long; this is disobedience, and we are obliged to make the appearance of the Mujahideen based on Sharia,” he said.

Meanwhile, the religious clerics who participated in the gathering expressed their demands from the Islamic Emirate.

“The hair (length) which the Mujahedeen of the Islamic Emirate wear should be based on Sharia,” said Zainul Abideen, an Islamic cleric.

Source: The Print

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Request India and Pakistan to Resolve Issues and Open Trade Vistas: Taliban Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani

By: Manoj Gupta

AUGUST 02, 2022

In an exclusive interview to News18, Taliban leader and Afghanistan’s interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani made an appeal to India and Pakistan to resolve outstanding issues coming in the way of reopening trade avenues in the region. The interview was conducted just a kilometer from the Sherpur location where Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri would be killed in a US strike two days later.

Wishing for economic stability in the region, Haqqani said the fiscal crisis plaguing neighbour Pakistan can be addressed with help from other Asian nations. “These days, Pakistan too is facing economic crisis. We are closely associated with Pakistan as a neighbouring country. We wish its problem diminishes with the passage of time. Asian countries can play a vital and indispensable role in Pakistan getting over the crisis it is currently facing… Their (Asian countries) role can lessen the burden of Afghanistan too,” Haqqani said.

Asked about Afghanistan’s relations with Iran and Pakistan, the Taliban leader said: “It is the need of the hour that the promises we made to the world, neighbours, in the region, in pursuit of these goals… We are striving hard to have friendly and cordial relations with the neighbouring countries.”

“We have established peace and a secure environment. So we request both countries (Pakistan and India) that they resolve their issues and open the vistas of trade. Moreover, we the people of Afghanistan need cooperation from both the countries,” Haqqani said.

Speaking about the unprovoked firing by Pakistan along the Durand Line which separates the two countries, Haqqani said the Afghan government has formed teams to carry out investigations. “Issues have cropped up in the last 20 years and we are working on them sincerely. We have formed teams to carry out surveys, investigations and research.”

Pakistan has enjoyed good relations with the Afghan Taliban for years even though Pakistan was officially an ally of the United States during its 20-year occupation of Afghanistan.

But as Pakistan grapples with violence by Pakistani Islamists and separatists, its appeals to the Taliban to control their side of the border have not brought the action it hopes to see. Increasingly frustrated, Pakistani officials have been pressing the Taliban to deny space and resources to the militants.

In Kabul, the Taliban reject suggestions Afghan territory is used for attacks into Pakistan and hope talks can solve the problem.
Source: News18

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Myanmar violence, Ukraine war loom over ASEAN meetings

August 02, 2022

PHNOM PENH: Southeast Asian foreign ministers are gathering in the Cambodian capital for meetings addressing persisting violence in Myanmar and other issues, joined by top diplomats from the United States, China, Russia and other world powers amid tensions over the invasion of Ukraine and concerns over Beijing’s growing ambitions in the region.

The meeting in Phnom Penh of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will see US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov together at the same venue for the second time in a month, though it’s not clear whether the two will meet.

The two did not meet separately when they both attended the Group of 20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Bali, Indonesia, in early July. But they had their first direct contact since before Russia invaded Ukraine in a phone call Friday, when Blinken urged Moscow to accept a deal to release American detainees Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan and discussed other issues.

Also attending is Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Many have urged Beijing to use its partnership with Russia to push for an end to the conflict in Ukraine and to help promote peace and a return to civilian rule in Myanmar after a February 2021 coup sparked mass protests and an armed resistance.

The meetings come at a time of tension between Washington and Beijing as the US pushes back against China’s growing economic and military influence in the Asia-Pacific.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is touring the region and may visit Taiwan. That has heightened friction further, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian cautioning last week that “those who play with fire will perish by it.”

Communist-ruled China considers Taiwan its own territory, and has said it might reclaim the island by force if it deems it necessary. The US follows a “one China” policy in which it recognizes Beijing as the government of China yet maintains informal relations and defense ties with Taiwan.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, its impact on global food and energy prices and escalating China-US friction are of high concern for the 10 ASEAN nations, said Susannah Patton, director of the Southeast Asia Program for Australia’s Lowy Institute.

“This is one of the first regional meetings of foreign ministers to have been held in person since 2019, so for the United States, China and even Russia, meetings like this are a really important opportunity to demonstrate their support for ASEAN and present their own narratives about their commitment to regional security and prosperity,” she said.

Blinken, Wang and Lavrov have all been jockeying for influence recently in multiple foreign trips. Following the meetings, Blinken heads to the Philippines and then on to Africa.

Biden hosted ASEAN leaders at the White House in May at the group’s first-ever summit in Washington. During those meetings, Biden announced he was nominating one of his top national security aides as ambassador to the group, underscoring the Asia-Pacific region’s importance to the US.

The ASEAN meetings also bring together some countries that have, or are negotiating, partnerships with ASEAN, including India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Australia, in particular, has highlighted the importance of the ASEAN nations, with Foreign Minister Penny Wong saying last month that they should see new alliances, including the “Quad” group of Australia, US, India and New Japan and the “AUKUS” group of Australia, the United Kingdom and the US, as beneficial to the region.

“ASEAN centrality means that we will always think about our security in the context of your security,” she said at a forum in Singapore.

Source: Arab News

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Arab World


Ayman al-Zawahiri: From Cairo physician to al-Qaida leader

Aug 2, 2022

DUBAI: Ayman al-Zawahiri succeeded Osama bin Laden as al-Qaida leader after years as its main organiser and strategist, but his lack of charisma and competition from rival militants Islamic State hobbled his ability to inspire sizeable attacks on the West.

Zawahiri, 71, was killed in a U.S. drone strike, U.S. President Joe Biden said on live television on Monday evening. U.S. officials said the attack took place on Sunday in the Afghan capital Kabul.

In the years following bin Laden's death in 2011, U.S. air strikes killed a succession of Zawahiri's deputies, weakening the veteran Egyptian militant's ability to coordinate globally.

He had watched as al-Qaida was effectively sidelined by the 2011 Arab revolts, launched mainly by middle-class activists and intellectuals opposed to decades of autocracy.

Despite a reputation as an inflexible and combative personality, Zawahiri managed to nurture loosely affiliated groups around the world that grew to wage devastating insurgencies, some of them rooted in turmoil arising from the Arab Spring. The violence destabilised a number of countries across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

But al-Qaida's days as the centrally directed, hierarchical network of plotters that attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, were long gone. Instead, militancy returned to its roots in local-level conflicts, driven by a mix of local grievances and incitement by transnational jihadi networks using social media.

Zawahiri's origins in Islamist militancy went back decades.

The first time the world heard of him was when he stood in a courtroom cage after the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat in 1981.

"We have sacrificed and we are still ready for more sacrifices until the victory of Islam," shouted Zawahiri, wearing a white robe, as fellow defendants enraged by Sadat's peace treaty with Israel chanted slogans.

Zawahiri served a three-year jail term for illegal arms possession, but was acquitted of the main charges.

A trained surgeon - one of his pseudonyms was The Doctor - Zawahiri went to Pakistan on his release where he worked with the Red Crescent treating Islamist mujahideen guerrillas wounded in Afghanistan fighting Soviet forces.

During that period, he became acquainted with bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi who had joined the Afghan resistance.

Taking over the leadership of Islamic Jihad in Egypt in 1993, Zawahiri was a leading figure in a campaign in the mid-1990s to overthrow the government and set up a purist Islamic state. More than 1,200 Egyptians were killed.

Egyptian authorities mounted a crackdown on Islamic Jihad after an assassination attempt on President Hosni Mubarak in June of 1995 in Addis Ababa. The greying, white-turbaned Zawahiri responded by ordering a 1995 attack on the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad. Two cars filled with explosives rammed through the compound's gates, killing 16 people.

In 1999, an Egyptian military court sentenced Zawahiri to death in absentia. By then he was living the spartan life of a militant after helping Bin Laden to form al-Qaida.

A videotape aired by Al Jazeera in 2003 showed the two men walking on a rocky mountainside - an image that Western intelligence hoped would provide clues on their whereabouts.


For years Zawahiri was believed to be hiding along the forbidding border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This year, U.S. officials identified that Zawahiri's family - his wife, his daughter and her children - had relocated to a safe house in Kabul and subsequently identified Zawahiri at the same location, a senior administration official said.

He was killed in a drone attack when he came out on the balcony of the house on Sunday morning, the official said. No one else was hurt.

Zawahiri assumed leadership of al-Qaida in 2011 after U.S. Navy Seals killed bin Laden in his hideout in Pakistan. Since then he repeatedly called for global jihad, with an Ak-47 as his side during video messages.

In a eulogy for bin Laden, Zawahiri promised to pursue attacks on the West, recalling the Saudi-born militant’s threat that "you will not dream of security until we live it as a reality and until you leave the lands of the Muslims".

As it turned out, the emergence of the even more hardline Islamic State in 2014-2019 in Iraq and Syria drew as much, if not more, attention from Western counter-terrorism authorities.

Zawahiri often tried to stir passions among Muslims by commenting online about sensitive issues such as U.S. policies in the Middle East or Israeli actions against Palestinians, but his delivery was seen as lacking bin Laden's magnetism.

On a practical level, Zawahiri is believed to have been involved in some of al-Qaida's biggest operations, helping organise the 2001 attacks, when airliners hijacked by al-Qaida were used to kill 3,000 people in the United States.

He was indicted for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The FBI put a $25 million bounty on his head on its most wanted list.


Zawahiri did not emerge from Cairo's slums, like others drawn to militant groups who promised a noble cause. Born in 1951 to a prominent Cairo family, Zawahiri was a grandson of the grand imam of Al Azhar, one of Islam's most important mosques.

Zawahiri was raised in Cairo’s leafy Maadi suburb, a place favoured by expatriates from the Western nations he railed against. The son of a pharmacology professor, Zawahiri first embraced Islamic fundamentalism at the age of 15.

He was inspired by the revolutionary ideas of Egyptian writer Sayyid Qutb, an Islamist executed in 1966 on charges of trying to overthrow the state.

People who studied with Zawahiri at Cairo University’s Faculty of Medicine in the 1970s describe a lively young man who went to the cinema, listened to music and joked with friends.

“When he came out of prison he was a completely different person,” said a doctor who studied with Zawahiri and declined to be named.

In the courtroom cage after the assassination of Sadat at a military parade, Zawahiri addressed the international press, saying militants had suffered from severe torture including whippings and attacks by wild dogs in prison.

Source: Times Of India

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Sharia does not forbid use of visa cards in purchases: Former Grand Mufti

August 1, 2022

The former Grand Mufti and a member of the Al-Azhar Council of Senior Scholars in Al-Azhar, Ali Gomaa, denied a fatwa attributed to him about forbidding the use of visa cards in making purchases and then paying the money back to banks in installments.

In a statement to Masrawy, Gomaa denied making the statement.

“If a person makes a purchase using a Visa Card and pays the same amount [they borrowed] to the bank before the end of the grace period, it is permissible, but if they pay after the end of the grace period it is not permissible and forbidden,” websites quoted Gomaa as saying.

Source: Egypt Independent

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Thousands of anti-Sadr demonstrators protest parliament occupation

01 August, 2022

Thousands of demonstrators opposed to Iraq's powerful cleric Moqtada al-Sadr staged a protest on Monday at the edge of Baghdad's fortified government zone, where Sadr's supporters were holding an open-ended occupation of Iraq's parliament.

The rival Shia Muslim groups are affiliated with heavily armed militias, raising fears of clashes as tension soars over the failure to form a government nearly 10 months after an October election - the country's longest post-election deadlock.

Sadr's opponents include a grouping of parties and militias mostly aligned with Iran. That grouping, known as the Shia Coordination Framework, said Monday's protest aimed to protect state institutions against the civil unrest of the Sadrists.

Outside Baghdad's Green Zone, which houses the parliament building which Sadr's supporters took over last week, the protesters threw stones at police. From behind concrete barriers, police responded by spraying them with water.

“We'll stay here if we’re told, and march in if we’re told,” said one of the protesters, Abu Ahmed al-Basri, a 58-year-old teacher from Basra, waving a banner calling for the downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi - who remains as caretaker until a new government is formed.

Supporters of Sadr said they were awaiting his command.

“We're ready for whatever Sadr orders,” said Kadhim Haitham, on his way to join the parliament sit-in. “We're against the Framework. All they've got is statements and no popular support.”

Sadr supporters stormed parliament with ease twice last week as security forces stood back.

A commander of a pro-Iran militia said he feared clashes on Monday and hoped calm heads would prevail.

“The situation in Iraq is very tough. We hope God will deliver us from fighting among the brothers. If things devolve, it will ruin the whole region,” the commander said, declining to be named as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Sadr came first in the October election, but withdrew all his lawmakers from parliament after he failed to form a government that excluded his Shia rivals.

He has since exerted political pressure through his masses of loyal followers, mostly working-class Shias from poor neighborhoods in Baghdad and across southern Iraq, the heartland of the country's Shia majority.

Sadr's actions have prevented his rivals, including bitter foe, ex-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, from forming a government. Parliament must choose a president and premier and cannot convene while it is occupied by Sadr's followers.

The Sadrists have called for new elections and an end to the political system that has existed since the US-led invasion which toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Al-Sadr movement rejects call for dialogue amid protests in Iraq

Raed Hamed  



The movement of Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has rejected a call by the head of a rival group for dialogue amid rising tensions across the country.   

Hadi al-Ameri, the head of the Shia Al-Fatah coalition, earlier called on al-Sadr to engage in dialogue amid protests by supporters against the nomination of a new prime minister. 

But Ahmed al-Mutayri, the head of al-Sadr movement’s political bureau, rejected the call and urged al-Ameri to withdraw from the Coordination Framework, a coalition of groups close to Iran. 

“Any dialogue is conditional on the withdrawal of al-Ameri and his group from the Coordination Framework,” he added. 

Tension escalated across Iraq in recent days following the nomination of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as a new prime minister by the Coordination Framework, a move that triggered protests by al-Sadr’s supporters. 

Source: Anadolu Agency

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86 Syrian civilians killed in July: Rights group

Mohammad Mistou  


A Syrian rights group said Monday it documented the killing of 86 civilians, including children and women, in July.   

In a statement, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said 21 children and eight women were among the victims. 

Five of the victims were tortured to death, the NGO added. 

According to the rights group, 18 civilians were killed in regime and Russian attacks, while 57 victims lost their lives in attacks by other groups. 

The NGO said 14 civilians, including six children, died in landmine explosions. 

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Supporters of pro-Iran groups protest near Baghdad’s Green Zone

Haydar Karaalp 



Supporters of Iraqi groups close to Iran staged demonstrations in the capital Baghdad on Monday amid attempts to storm the fortified Green Zone.

Supporters of the Coordination Framework bypassed three military checkpoints and rallied at the gate of the Green Zone, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter at the scene.

Security forces intervened to break up the crowd, using water cannons to prevent protesters from storming the zone, he said.

Demonstrators chanted slogans against Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and in support of former Premier Nouri al-Maliki. 

For his part, Qais Khazali, the leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, a powerful Shia faction, called on protesters to withdraw from the area, a call heeded by demonstrators.

Tension escalated across Iraq in recent days following the nomination of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as a new prime minister by the Coordination Framework amid protests by supporters of influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Persecution of Ahmadiyya community continues in Pakistan, PML-Q issues new eviction diktat

1 August, 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], August 1 (ANI): The issue of persecution of the Ahmadiyya community surfaced again in Pakistan’s Punjab province after Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) Punjab Vice President Malik Ilyas Awan’s called to have them evicted from Khushab and their security withdrawn on the grounds that they should be restricted to Chenab Nagar.

Awan on July 30 wrote an application to the Deputy Commissioner of Khushab wherein he wrote that security to Qadianis/Ahmadiyyas is a mockery of the Pakistan Constitution, which must be stopped, local media reported.

“It is requested that Qadianis cannot worship freely in the Islamic state of Pakistan. During Bhutto Shaheed’s government, an area in Chenab Nagar had been allocated for a particular period under an agreement. They cannot do worship outside this area,” he wrote.

Pakistan is more phobic of the Ahmadiyya sect and its interpretation of Islam than most other nations where the community is present.

Ahmadis number about 4 million in Pakistan, but the community has been forbidden to call itself Muslim since 1974 by the Pakistani Constitution which considers them “infidels”.

Resultantly, Ahmadis are not even allowed to call their houses of prayer “mosques,” while basic religious practices associated with Islam are forbidden for them.

Awan in a letter to DC Khushab further stated that Pakistan is an Islamic state, while Namaz prayers are offered and preaching is carried out every Friday at the house of Tariq Wirk, located in Joharabad New Satellite Town which is totally against the constitution of the Islamic state.

He also said that the presence of Ahmadiyyas in the area is adversely impacting the environment of the children.

“It is requested that their (Ahmadiyyas) security must be lifted immediately and enquiry be held in this regard. Those who don’t have faith in the finality of prophethood must be ousted from the district,” wrote Awan.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Monday strongly condemned PML-Q Punjab Vice President Malik Ilyas Awan’s call to have the local Ahmadiyya community evicted from Khushab and their security withdrawn.

“The ghettoisation of this long-persecuted community must cease. No authority has the right to dictate where any citizen chooses to live,” said HRCP.

The HRCP further stressed that no authority has the right to dictate where any citizen chooses to live.

“The state is under a constitutional responsibility to protect the Ahmadiyya community’s right to life, to live where they choose and to profess their faith safely,” added HRCP.

It also raised concern over the incitement to violence implicit in the PML-Q leader’s demand.

The Ahmadi community faces persecution in Pakistan in the form of hate crimes and mob violence and their schools, mosques and public events like wedding parties are usual targets.

These incidents are further aided by institutional apathy which prevents any action against the attackers, reported JustEarth news.

They remain the most vulnerable prey of Pakistan’s violent blasphemy laws, with at least 13 Ahmadis killed and 40 wounded since 2017 owing to their identity.

Source: The Print

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ECP Says Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf of Imran Khan Received 'Prohibited Funds' From 34 Foreign Nationals

August 02, 2022

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) received 'prohibited funds' from 34 foreign nationals and issued the party a show cause notice.

A three-member bench of the ECP announced the unanimous verdict — reserved in June earlier this year.

The electoral watchdog declared that 13 'unknown' accounts have been found linked to the party and the submissions by PTI chief Imran Khan was also 'inaccurate and wrong'.

“This Commission is constrained to hold that Mr Imran Khan failed to discharge his obligations as mandated under the Pakistani Statutes. The Chairman PTI has or successive five years (2008-2009 to 2012-2013) under review and examination has submitted Form-1 and signed a Certificate which is not consistent with [the] accounting information before us which has been gathered and complied on the basis of information obtained from Banks through [the] State Bank of Pakistan," said the judgement by the ECP.

“Mr Imran Khan for the five years under review has filed submissions which were grossly inaccurate and wrong. Even during the course of Scrutiny and Hearing by this Commission, PTI continued to conceal and withhold complete and full disclosure of [the] source of its funds."

Imran had personally issued certificates to the ECP in regards to Article 13(2) of the PPO to the effect that PTI “does not receive funds from prohibited sources”, meaning thereby that the PTI is not a foreign-aided political party.

The election commission, in its verdict, also stated the party violated Article 17 of the Constitution.

'Battle between truth and strength'

The petitioner of the case, PTI founding member Akbar S Babar, spoke to the media after the verdict's announcement and thanked God and his late mother for "victory" in "this battle".

"We were fighting against a mountain. This was a battle of truth versus strength and we were victorious."

Babar stated that there was no personal benefit for him in this case, rather the nation benefitted as Pakistani politics needed a pivotal change so that political parties were tested under the law.

He thanked the ECP, stating that we [the people] had to trust and strengthen state institutions.

"We were tested many times over these past eight years but this very same election commission has agreed with all my arguments."

Reiterating the decision of the electoral watchdog, Babar maintained that the ECP had agreed that the PTI received funding from foreign individuals and companies and that several certificates submitted by Imran were "fake".

"Imran Khan used to threaten PTI, would insult the chief of the election commission and attack people personally", he claimed, adding that he believed this was "fascism".

He claimed that the ECP's decision was a step towards uprooting PTI's "fascism".

'Not a case of foreign funding'

PTI leader Farrukh Habib said that the party has maintained that "this was not a foreign funding case, this was a case about prohibited funding".

He further stated that those who propelled the narrative of the case being about "foreign funding" have been severely disappointed that the PTI was not banned today, it was only served a show cause notice.

"We will give a sufficient reply to the notice", he concluded.

Maleeka Bokhari, talking to the media after Habib, said media groups against the PTI and the coalition parties of PDM had "lost hope" today.

She claimed that the PTI was not the kind of party to accept foreign funding, however, the "propaganda" against it was furthered for years.

According to Bokhari, investigation committees were formed in 2018 to inquire into PTI funding but their reports were never made public because they proved nothing against the party. She maintained that the "biggest democratic party in Pakistan" was being pushed to the corner through a constitutional institution.

She asked PDM leaders to show their bank accounts, alleging that Benazir Bhutto had said that the PML-N felled her government with Osama Bin Laden's money and questioned why did the JUI-F had received funding from Libya's Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.

"All of this should have been done within the law, however, it is sad that these parties cannot match the PTI constitutionally and legally".

PTI's Fawad Chaudhry thanked those who fought the case for the last eight years.

"PTI is Pakistan's only party that conducts proper public funding drives. No other political party does this", the former information minister said.

He maintained that the case was about funding from 2008 to 2013 and that the PTI had collected approximately Rs3-4 billion, a major part of which came from overseas Pakistanis.

"I don't understand why PML-N, PPP, JUI have made overseas Pakistanis their enemy when we consider them the backbone of our economy", he said adding that the party will still rely on them for funding.

'Your politics have been buried'

Shiekh Rashid, a close ally of Imran, said after today the politics of PDM will be "buried". He expressed confidence that the case, if it is taken to the Supreme Court, will be done with in a single hearing.

He further said that the ECP should also decide on the funding cases of PML-N and PPP. "Nawaz Sharif took funds from al-Qaeda's Osama bin Laden."

When asked if there was any 'back-channel diplomacy', Rashid said he does not know of any such developments but politicians "never close their doors".

"Imran Khan is a popular voice of the people."

Security in the federal capital was placed on high alert before the much-awaited verdict. Extra contingents of police and riot police forces were deployed to avoid any untoward incident.

Before the verdict's announcement, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said the decision of the ECP will be in accordance with earlier court judgements, and the electoral watchdog will decide against the three main political parties of Pakistan - PTI, PML-N and PPP.

The former information added that political decisions "will be made by the people and not the ECP".

Govt presses ECP to give verdict

he development came as constituent parties of the coalition government led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had been calling upon the ECP to announce the verdict in the case at the earliest.

Leaders of the ruling coalition from the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Friday met senior officials of the ECP, including the chief election commissioner (CEC), in an effort to convince the electoral body to announce its verdict reserved in the prohibited funding case involving the PTI.

Addressing a news conference after the meeting, PML-N leader and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the joint delegation spoke with the ECP officials, urging them to “decide the case of prohibited foreign funding as soon as possible”.

“The prohibited funding case has been ongoing for eight years,” he had said. “The election law says that if a party takes money from a foreign individual, it has to be declared.”

Subsequently, the PTI announced to file a ‘judicial reference’ against CEC Sikander Sultan Raja and other members of the ECP for allegedly violating the code of conduct.

Imran announces 'peaceful protest' outside ECP

Meanwhile, PTI chief and former prime minister Imran Khan continued his tirade against the electoral body Monday and announced to hold a peaceful protest outside of the ECP on Thursday, demanding Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja’s resignation.

Addressing the members at the PTI's national council meeting in the federal capital, he demanded that the election commission refrains from conducting the next general elections under any circumstances.

The party chairperson said that he will hold elections within his party after the general elections to ensure meritocracy.

The former prime minister said that he wanted electronic voting machines (EVMs) for free and fair elections but the chief election commissioner (CEC) tried every way possible to sabotage it.

"The ruling parties disagreed with holding elections through EVMs because they wanted to rig the elections. Before the by-elections in Punjab, our party was the only one preparing to stop the polls from getting rigged," he added.

A day earlier, the PTI chief had a day earlier formally directed his legal team to initiate the process of filing the reference against the CEC and ECP members for meeting a delegation of the ruling alliance and discussing the prohibited funding case against PTI with them.

SC judgment on foreign funding

The Supreme Court has already discussed in detail the question of foreign funding in its 2017 judgment on a petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi, who had sought the disqualification of Imran Khan.

The SC bench led by the former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, while making a distinction between a ‘foreign aided’ party and ‘prohibited funding’, referred to the case on December 16, 2017, to the ECP for a probe.

The judgment noted that it is the duty of the ECP to scrutinise accounts of political parties on the touchstone of Article 6(3) of the PPO read in the light of Article 17(3) of the Constitution.

However, the apex court in its judgment had noted that it is not the case that the PTI was formed or organised at the instance of any government or political party of a foreign country or is affiliated to or associated with any government or political party of a foreign country, or receives any aid, financial or otherwise, from any government or political party of a foreign country.

Source: Tribune Pakistan

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Pak army helicopter with 6 senior officers on relief mission feared crashed in Balochistan province

Aug 2, 2022

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistan army aviation helicopter carrying six senior military officers, including a top commander of XII Corps, is feared to have crashed while on a flood relief operation in Balochistan province after losing contact with air traffic control.

"A Pakistan army aviation helicopter which was on flood relief operations in Lasbela, Balochistan lost contact with ATC. 6 individuals were on board including Commander 12 Corps who was supervising flood relief operations in Balochistan. The search operation is underway," Major General Babar Iftikhar, director general Inter-Services Public Relations -- the media wing of Pakistan's armed forces -- said in a tweet on Monday.

The Pakistan army is yet to confirm the crash.

They have so far confirmed the news of the helicopter going missing.

A police source, however, said that the helicopter apparently crashed near a place called Sassi Pannu in a mountainous region in Lasbela.

The six individuals on board included the Commander XII Corps Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali, who was supervising the flood relief operations in Balochistan province.

The others on board included Major Syed the pilot, Major Talha the co-pilot, director-general of Coast Guards Brigadier Amjad, Engineer Brigadier Khalid and Chief Naik Mudassir.

Deputy inspector-General Khuzdar Pervez Imrani conceded that the area where the helicopter reportedly went missing was mountainous terrain, without jeep paths, complicating search operations.

Pakistan prime minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed concern over the incident.

“The reports of a missing helicopter of Army Aviation are very concerning. The whole nation bows in front of Allah for safety and return of personnel involved in flood relief operations," he tweeted.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan tweeted: “Disturbing news of army aviation helicopter missing and praying for all those on board.”

Heavy rains and flash floods have wreaked havoc in Balochistan, claiming 147 lives.

Source: Times Of India

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Pakistan, Chinese armies ‘brothers in arms’: COAS

August 2, 2022

RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday said the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) of China and the Pakistan Army were brothers in arms and their relationship would continue to contribute towards safeguarding their collective interests.

General Bajwa was the chief guest at ceremony to mark the 95th anniversary of the founding of the PLA at the General Headquarters (GHQ). The ceremony was also attended by Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong, embassy officials and officers from the tri-services.

According to a statement by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the COAS felicitated the PLA and lauded its role in China’s defence, security and nation building.

The COAS said that the relationship between Pakistan and China was “unique and robust and has proven its resilience in the face of challenges.”

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Rong said that China and Pakistan were iron brothers, all-weather friends and strategic partners.

Source: Dawn

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TikTok Creator Portal launched in Pakistan

Shazia Hasan

August 2, 2022

KARACHI: TikTok laun­ched its Creator Portal in Pakistan on Monday, a one-stop shop for educational res­o­urces on content creation for creators on its platform.

The portal, which can be accessed on the TikTok account @tiktokcreatorspakistan, is a series of videos that will provide guidance, tips and tricks to help creators maximise their in-app presence and take their videos to the next level.

It will help creators dive deeper into modules such as storytelling, community bu­i­l­­ding and creative effects, aimed at inspiring and diversifying content creation on the platform.

A TikTok statement said: “Creators are the heart and soul of TikTok. They make the application a welcoming place where millions of people come for entertainment, learning and fun, and TikTok offers anyone a chance to reach an audience, without needing to be a celebrity or social influencer with a large following. While becoming a creator is as simple as tapping a few buttons, thriving as a creator takes time, dedication and some education. With the different tools, analytics, effects and creative ideas to balance on a TikTok account, making a strategy for creating content can be daunting.

Source: Dawn

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Another batch of Punjab police officers marked for ‘Azadi March violence’ removed

Asif Chaudhry

August 2, 2022

LAHORE: The Punjab government removed Punjab CTD DIG retired Capt Sohail Chaudhry from his post within a day and surrendered his services to Islamabad.

An official privy to the Punjab government told Dawn on Monday that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leadership had marked 30 police officers for their “controversial” actions during the May 25 Azadi March.

Some of them were labelled as being close to the top leadership of the PML-N.

According to the source, former Lahore DIG Sohail Chaudhry, Additional IG Usman Anwar and former capital city police officer Bilal Siddique Kamyana were at the top of the list.

On Monday, the government also removed Mr Anwar and repatriated him to Islamabad. He was posted during the tenure of the PML-N in Punjab on the recommendations of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Being an additional IG (AIG) of the special branch, he was said to be a highly influential police officer and directly reported the police matters to then chief minister Hamza Shehbaz.

Mr Chaudhry was first removed from his post of DIG Operations Lahore on July 31 and posted in the CTD on the recommendations by Inspector General of Police Faisal Shahkar.

Mr Shahkar defended Mr Chaudhry’s posting in the province and convinced the chief minister that any decision like sending him out of the province would be tantamount to ‘victimization’ and consequently, the Services & General Administration Department issued a notification of his appointment as the CTD DIG of Punjab on July 31. The following day, he was surrendered to Islamabad.

Earlier, PTI spokesperson Shahbaz Gill re-tweeted a photo of Mr Chaudhry in “uniform” from his official account with comments: ‘The way Sohail Chaudhry violated laws, it was shameful’. He added the PTI would not forget his ‘actions’, leaving a message to wait for the law to take a course against the police officer.

Following his transfer, Mr Gill again tweeted the notification wherein the services of Mr Chaudhry were surrendered to the establishment division in Islamabad. He wrote: “Now there will be the accountability of those who insulted women, resorted to violence against children and lawyers. Legal action will be taken against them. This is the first step. Now the law will take its course. Khan did not forget May 25. Will not forget”.

Police circles say that the government in Punjab was victimizing the police officers with ‘politically motivated decisions.

In addition to this, the Punjab government also reshuffled 10 more police officers making three of them officials on special duty (OSDs).

According to the notification, Muzafargharrh DPO retired Capt Tariq Walait, investigation SP Ziaullah and Lahore police headquarters SP Awais Malik were removed from their posts and directed to report to the Central Police Office.

Multan city division SP Ahmad Nawaz Shah was transferred and posted as Muzaffargarh DPO; awaiting posting Syed Ali Nasir Rizvi was transferred and posted as AIG Operations at CPO and retired Capt Mansoor Aman was transferred and posted as the special branch SSP.

Source: Dawn

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Pashtun jirga concludes another round of talks with TTP in Kabul

Tahir Khan

August 1, 2022

A 12-member Pashtun jirga wrapped up another round of talks with leaders of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Kabul on Monday, in a bid to resolve issues regarding the merger of tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and modalities for the return of the group’s members.

Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif, who led the tribal elders, dispelled the impression of a deadlock in the talks and told that the three-day talks were held in a “conducive environment” in which both sides addressed each other's reservations.

“The negotiations did not fail but are continuing. Failure and success will be judged when the process reaches an end," he said, clarifying that the talks would fail when either side decides to halt the process.

"But this is not the case," he added. “We had interactions with the TTP and the officials of the Islamic Emirate. We met the TTP separately and also together with the officials of the Islamic Emirate,” he said.

Barrister Saif, however, declined to share further details of the meetings, adding that the negotiations were underway "smoothly".

When asked about the TTP’s demand for restoration of the status of ex-FATA, he said “both sides have shared their reservations and are trying to address them.”

The Pakistani delegation had left for Kabul on July 30 for its second round of TTP leadership. The previous round of talks was held on June 1-2.

Saif told that the TTP reiterated its demand of the restoration of the previous status of the tribal areas.

Earlier, the TTP had said that it did not accept the merger of ex-FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. FATA was merged with the province in May 2018 through a constitutional amendment.

Source: Dawn

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Bosnia deports first batch migrants back to Pakistan

August 1, 2022

SARAJEVO: Bosnia and Herzegovina has deported the first group of migrants from Pakistan back to their home country, said the Ministry of Security of that nation on Sunday.

Sarajevo thus became the first country on the western Balkans migration route to deport migrants without residence permits.

The deportation process was enabled due to the Readmission Agreement, signed between BiH and Pakistan in November 2020, and the protocol on implementation of this agreement that came into force in July 2021, the ministry said.

The deportation “demonstrates the determination of Sarajevo to oppose all forms of illegal migrations and send back all who don’t meet requirements for receiving international protection,” said the ministry.

More groups are expected to be deported soon, the ministry added.

Since 2015, tens of thousands of refugees and migrants have been trying to make their way into the countries of the European Union (EU) via the Balkan Route, one of the main migratory paths into Europe.

A total of 3,865 migrants have been registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the January-April period, about 5 percent less year on year. Of the total migrants registered by Bosnian authorities, about 76 percent come from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, according to the ministry.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Iran Arrests Members of Israeli-Linked Baha'i Spying Group


"The detainees were directly linked to an Israeli regime-backed group called Bait Al-Adl based in the occupied territories," the statement read.

The intelligence ministry statement added that, according to the obtained evidence, the Bait Al-Adl gave instructions to the detained group in Iran in order to revive Bahaism in the country.

"The group was tasked with promoting Bahaism in educational centers at different levels, particularly in the kindergarten across the country," the statement said.

The statement noted that the Iran-based group held different meetings with the Israeli regime-backed group and briefed it on their activities to incite protests against Hijab rules in Iran.

Although members of the Baha’i sect have admitted to their crimes in various cases, the West, specially the United States, claims that Iran has violated their human rights due to its attempts to stop the illegal activities of the cult.

Iran has in recent month identified and arrested several members of spy networks affiliated to foreign secret services.

The Iranian Intelligence Ministry announced on Saturday that the country's security agents have detained a Swedish national on charges of espionage.

"The suspect has a history of travelling to the Israeli-occupied territories prior to visits to Iran," the statement read.

Back in mid-May, Iran arrested two French spies for attempting to stoke chaos and social disorder in the country during protests by teachers. The two French nationals, Cécile Kohler, 37, and Jacqeus Paris, 69, traveled to Iran in late April as tourists but turned out to be spies for the Western agencies.

The duo attempted to foment instability and social disorder in late May when some teachers took to the streets in peaceful protests to demand fair wages and better working conditions, according to the intelligence ministry.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran: N. Deal within Reach, Needs US Realistic Approach


"If the US is realistic and has the necessary flexibility in possible future talks, reaching an agreement will not be far from reach," Amir Abdollahian stated on Monday after attending a meeting with the lawmakers at the Iranian parliament.

He emphsized that Iran is serious about reaching a good, strong and durable agreement.

The Iranian foreign minister briefed lawmakers on the latest developments of nuclear negotiations on the removal of anti-Tehran sanctions.

The top diplomat noted that the lawmakers had told him that they are not optimistic about the future of talks since Western parties do not intend to live up to their commitments under the accord.

He said that he ensured the MPs that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will certainly pursue talks with utmost sensitivity to make sure the Iranian people's inalienable rights will be preserved.

"The framework of the negotiations, the red lines and the goal of the talks are clear, and that Iran has announced its readiness to attend talks in Vienna at a specified date after it completes assessing the approaches," Amir Abdollahian added.

Amirabdollahian stressed that the Foreign Ministry, as the responsible body for the revival negotiations, is pursuing the negotiations with accuracy to uphold the Iranian nation’s rights.

"It is important for Iran that its red lines are completely considered in a future agreement," the official added.

The foreign minister also stated that Tehran has over the past four months exchanged messages with Washington through the EU over the removal of sanctions, and now Borrell has prepared a draft of stances by different parties, presenting it as the proposal of the European Union coordinator.

All the parties are currently assessing the proposal in their capitals, Amir Abdollahian continued.

Spokesman: Iran Never to Negotiate Under Threat

— Fars News Agency (@EnglishFars) August 1, 2022

On Sunday, Iran's Top Negotiator and Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Baqeri Kani said that Tehran is ready for a final push so the nuclear negotiations produce results in as short a time as possible if the Western side is prepared to make a similar move.

Baqeri Kani tweeted that Iran has shared its “proposed ideas, both on substance and form, to pave the way for a swift conclusion of Vienna negotiations".

He explained that Tehran and the P4+1 group of countries have been in talks in the Austrian capital with the purpose of “fixing the damaging complicated situation caused by the US unilateral and unlawful withdrawal” from the deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), back in 2018.

The senior Iranian diplomat emphasized that Iran is working closely with its JCPOA partners, in particular the European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell as the coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission.

Baqeri Kani added such cooperation aims to “give another chance to the US to demonstrate good faith and act responsibly".

“As Iran, we stand ready to conclude the negotiations in a short order, should the other side be ready to do the same,” the top diplomat continued.

Iranian officials say the ball is in the US' court, and the administration of President Joe Biden should assure Tehran that it will not repeat Donald Trump's past mistakes.

Iran and the five remaining parties to the nuclear deal have held several rounds of negotiations since April last year to restore the agreement, which was unilaterally abandoned by Trump in May 2018.

In quitting the agreement, Trump restored sanctions on Iran as part of what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign against the country. Those sanctions are being enforced to this day by the Biden administration, even though it has repeatedly acknowledged that the policy has been a mistake and a failure.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Spokesman: Iran Believes Iraq’s Security Tantamount to Regional Stability


“Iran closely follows up the ongoing developments in the neighboring Iraq, and it has always laid emphasis on the restoration of security and stability in Iraq,” Kana’ani said.

He pointed out that what is currently happening in Iraq shows that is the result of domestic political differences in that country, and said, “We believe Iraq’s political parties can peacefully continue their activities within the framework of that country’s constitution and with mutual respect.”

Kana’ani reiterated that the Islamic Republic of Iran has always respected the Iraqi people’s choice and it has always said that dialogue is the best way to settle differences in that country.

In a relevant development last month, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein in a telephone conversation underlined the need for expanding mutual cooperation between the two countries in different fields.

During the phone conversation on Monday, Amir Abdolahian and Hussein explored avenues for bolstering and reinvigorating bilateral relations in various areas.

Amir Abdollahian congratulated his Iraqi counterpart on the Islamic occasions of Eid-al-Adha and Eid Al-Ghadir.

The top Iranian diplomat, meantime, appreciated Iraq's efforts and constructive role in the formation and advancement of regional dialogues in order to strengthen stability, security and development in the region.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Afghanistan Promises to Respect Iran's Water Rights


Amir Abdollahian said that the Iranian energy and foreign ministries are following up the issue and a delegation from the energy ministry will soon visit Afghanistan for talks with officials there.

In a relevant development on Thursday, the Iranian foreign minister raised the issue during a phone conversation with Acting Foreign Minister of Taliban Amir Khan Muttaqi. 

Amir Abdollahian highlighted the recent precipitations to prevent any pretext, urging the Taliban government not to raise artificial issues to violate Iran’s right to Helmand waters.

In a relevant development last moth, Amir Abdollahian in a phone conversation with Muttaqi called for an ultimate settlement of the dispute between the two countries over water rights.

During the conversation, Amir Abdollahian conferred on the long-standing dispute over shared water resources with the Afghan official, making a "serious demand" for settlement of the dispute in line with the agreement between the two sides.

The top Iranian diplomat, meantime, pointed out that a high-ranking delegation from Iran's Ministry of Energy would pay a visit to Afghanistan to investigate and remove the existing obstacles and consult with Afghan authorities about Iran's water share.

Muttaqi welcomed the continuation of consultations on the matter as well as dispatching of an expert team by the Iranian government that would pursue the issue.

The top Iranian diplomat had last month warned that Iran will take legal measures if the Taliban fail to secure its water rights “because the supplement of Iran’s water rights from Hirmand [River] plays a decisive role in our strategic policy towards Afghanistan’s acting Taliban government”.

Days after his statement, a member of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee announced that a delegation will travel to Afghanistan to hold talks with the Taliban officials on the water-sharing dispute and other issues.

The two neighboring countries have been locked in a protracted water dispute, which has prevented them from realizing the vast potential of their bilateral trade ties.

At the heart of the dispute is the Hirmand River, which originates in the Hindu Kush Mountains near Kabul and flows 700 miles (1,126 kilometers) south before flowing into Hamoun wetlands, located in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province.

The two countries signed a water-sharing accord on the Hirmand River in 1973, under which Afghanistan pledged to deliver an average of 820 million cubic meters of water per annum to Iran.

Iran has repeatedly criticized Afghanistan for failing to honor the agreement in letter and spirit.

Source: Fars News Agency

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AEOI Chief Underlines Iran's Opposition to Military N. Drive Despite Capability


"As Mr. [Seyed Kamal] Kharazi [Head of Iran's Strategic Foreign Relations Council] stated, Iran has the technical ability to build an atomic bomb, but such a program is not on agenda," Eslami told FNA.

The nuclear chief highlighted that these accusations are being raised by "the Zionist regime to deceive the public opinion".

Tehran says it is refining uranium only for civilian energy uses, adding all nuclear activities of Iran are under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the IAEA’s verification activities and reports have proved the peaceful nature of the country’s nuclear program.

Iranian officials have numerously stressed that the country has not been and is not after developing nuclear weapons.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Eslami noted the possible military dimension (PMD) accusations leveled by the West against Iran’s nuclear program stem from the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist group and the Tel Aviv regime.

"After withdrawing from the nuclear deal, the Western side to the agreement raised false accusations again. Therefore, it was decided to turn off all the JCPOA-related cameras," he stated.

"If the other side decides to return to the accord, then should not raise such false accusations," he stated, 0therwise, they should not take the time of the other parties.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has on many occasions stated the Islamic Republic considers the pursuit and possession of nuclear weapons "a grave sin" from every logical, religious and theoretical standpoint.

In April 2010, Ayatollah Khamenei issued a fatwa declaring that the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons are all haram (religiously banned).

"Iran is not after a nuclear bomb. Why would Iran want a nuclear bomb? Moreover, when an atomic bomb is detonated, it does not just kill enemies. Rather, it kills innocent people as well, and this goes against Islamic beliefs and the principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran. An atomic bomb does not discriminate between good and bad people, and it is not something that the Islamic Republic would use," a part of the fatwa said.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Sweden Deprives Iranian Citizen Hamid Nouri from Reading Persian Translation of Verdict


Nouri said in a phone call with the Iranian Embassy in Sweden on Sunday that he has not succeeded in reading the verdict of his life imprisonment because he has been given Swedish-language version of the verdict, while he had only 21 days to protest the court's first ruling.

According to, the Sweden judiciary system held 92 hearing sessions and sentenced the Iranian national to life imprisonment 18 days ago, while the trial was not held based on legal procedures.

Nouri, a former Iranian judiciary employee who has been in solitary confinement in Sweden since 2019, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Sweden on Thursday.

Nouri was arrested upon arrival in Sweden at Stockholm Airport in November 2019 and immediately imprisoned. He has been held in solitary confinement for over two years.

Swedish prosecutors have requested the maximum penalty of life imprisonment for Nouri, accusing the former Iranian judiciary official of prisoner abuse.

The charges against Nouri stem from allegations leveled against him by members of the anti-Iran Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist group. Nouri has vehemently rejected the allegations.

Swedish judicial authorities have been preventing Nouri from contacting his family since moving him to a different detention center.

Upon arrest, he was forbidden for around eight months from making phone calls to his family members, and barred from meeting them in person for two years.

Also in May, Iran’s Judiciary Spokesman Zabihollah Khodayian said that Hamid Nouri who is deprived of human rights is being tried in a politically-driven trial in Sweden.

Nouri’s trial couldn’t be described as judicial because it is political and lacks international and even Sweden's national legal standards, Khodayian said.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Top IRGC Commander: US Political Territory Shrinking


“America’s political territory is dwindling,” Major General Salami said in a meeting with the IRGC’s political directors.

He pointed to the US failures in Afghanistan, Syria, and Egypt, as well as various plots the US pursued in vain in cooperation with the Israeli regime, and stated, “These cases are signs that herald a big event, which is the [total] defeat of the US.”

The United States is drawing constant plans to install puppet governments but all such schemes are collapsing “like dominos”, he continued.

“Enemies are currently unable to help each other and are disintegrated and disunited,” the IRGC chief added.

The top commander also said both Saudi Arabia and the US are unable to do anything for each other, adding, “Saudi Arabia, which used to help America with money, has lost its ability to solve its own economic problems today.”

Referring to the so-called Donald Trump’s “Maximum Pressure Campaign” against Tehran, Maj. Gen. Salami Stated, “When we are in an economic war but we do not look like a defeated country, it is a sign of victory."

The military official said that the Iranian people deeply believe that the country is heading towards power and progress.

Pointing to US President’s visit to the Middle East earlier this month, the IRGC commander emphasized that the trip failed to bring about any achievement for Washington.

Iran says Israel is the primary source of instability in West Asia, and the United States remains responsible for the instability in the region as long as its wrong and crisis-making policies are not rectified.

Iranian officials have repeatedly reiterated the need for foreign troops to leave West Asia, emphasizing that Tehran will never back down on its stance in this regard.

Tehran has also underlined the necessity for the settlement of the crises and problems in the region through collective cooperation among the regional states, and underscored that the presence of foreigners is harmful.

Recently, Tehran urged the neighboring countries to be extremely vigilant about any US-Israeli plan that clearly aims to disturb the stability and order of the region.

On Thursday, President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi said military option has been excluded from enemies’ policies towards Iran due to the country’s might, and added that the regional countries enjoy safety because of Tehran's power.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Israeli troops arrest West Bank militant, Palestinian killed in raid

02 August, 2022

Israeli troops killed a Palestinian during a raid on a flashpoint West Bank town in which they arrested a local leader of the Islamic extremist militant group, the health ministry and residents said.

There were no immediate details on the identity of the man slain in Jenin, which has seen regular raids by Israel since several local men carried out a spree of deadly street attacks in its cities earlier this year.

An Israeli police spokesperson said commandos disguised as Palestinians entered Jenin to make two arrests and came under fire. They shot back, hitting several gunmen, and left without suffering casualties, the spokesperson added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Israel signals no change on nuclear policy as US reaffirms anti-proliferation drive

01 August, 2022

Israel signaled it would not change policy around its assumed nuclear arsenal on Monday as Washington affirmed a global treaty designed to roll back the spread of such weaponry.

The rare, if veiled, remarks by Prime Minister Yair Lapid came as countries party to the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) met in New York for a periodic review conference.

Israel has not signed the voluntary NPT, which offers access to atomic energy in exchange for the forswearing of nuclear weaponry.

It has been leading regional calls for world powers to crack down on NPT-signatory Iran's suspected use of civilian nuclear technologies as cover for military designs. Tehran denies wrongdoing.

Addressing the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, Lapid spoke of the country's “defensive and offensive capabilities, and what is referred to in the foreign media as 'other capabilities'“.

“These other capabilities keep us alive and will keep us alive as long as we and our children our here,” he said, according to a transcript from his office.

Under a decades-old ambiguity policy designed to deter surrounding enemies while avoiding provocations that can spur arms races, Israel neither confirms nor denies having nuclear weaponry.

Scholars believe it does, having acquired the first bomb in late 1966. Israeli journalists, circumscribed by military censorship, often refer cryptically to such capabilities or cite foreign media reporting on them.

Israel's official reticence has also helped stave off scrutiny by the US, which is formally committed to encouraging NPT observance.

“The US reaffirms our commitment to preserving and strengthening this critical treaty for future generations,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted as he attended the first day of the NPT conference.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Al-Mishri re-elected head of Libya’s High Council of State



Libya’s High Council of State on Monday re-elected Khaled Al-Mishri as its head for a fifth term.

Al-Mishri obtained 65 votes out of 118, while his rival, Al-Ajili Abu Sedil, came second with 50 votes in a second round of voting, according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent. Three council members abstained from voting.

Five candidates had taken part in the first round of voting in which Al-Mishri got 45 votes and Abu Sedil won 34 votes.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Algeria President Tebboune talks of joining Russia-linked BRICS group

01 August, 2022

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has suggested that his country, Africa’s largest natural gas exporter, could join the BRICS economic group that includes Russia and China.

Tebboune’s comment comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin -- whose country is hit with Western sanctions over its Ukraine invasion -- in June called on BRICS leaders to move towards “formation of a truly multipolar system of inter-government relations.”

The BRICS group also includes the major emerging economies of Brazil, India, and South Africa.

“The BRICS interest us” as an alternative to traditional power centers, Tebboune said in a televised interview late on Sunday. “They constitute an economic and political force.”

He underlined that there was no need to “get ahead of things” but promised “good news.”

The president added that his North African country meets “a good part” of the economic criteria for joining the bloc.

BRICS members currently account for nearly a quarter of the world’s gross domestic product.

Tebboune participated in a BRICS virtual summit at the end of June, when Putin called on leaders of the group to cooperate in the face of “selfish actions” from the West.

Sanctions over Ukraine have pushed Putin to seek new markets and strengthen ties with countries in Africa and Asia.

Algiers abstained when the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution in March demanding Russia immediately withdraw from Ukraine.

China, India, and South Africa also abstained.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Somalia, UN agencies call for efforts to promote breastfeeding for child health

Mohammed Dhaysane  



Somalia, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization on Monday called for concerted efforts to ensure breastfeeding-friendly environments in all health facilities and workplaces to help improve breastfeeding in the country to boost nutrition and health of Somali children.

“We are calling on parents, families, community leaders, policymakers and development partners to actively step up capacity and transform systems at all levels to support breastfeeding adequately,” Somalia’s Health Minister Fawziya Abikar Nur said in a statement in connection with World Breastfeeding Week, marked annually from Aug. 1-7 in more than 120 countries.

She stressed the need for all support systems, from family, community and health facilities, to be educated to ensure support for mothers to optimally breastfeed their babies.

“This includes breastfeeding right from birth through early initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of the child’s life, and continued breastfeeding up to two years and beyond,” she said.

Wafaa Saeed, a UNICEF representative in Somalia, said breastfeeding provides children the best start in life.

“Breast milk helps prevent infections, promotes bonding between mother and child, regardless of setting, and provides food and nutrition security to infants from the very beginning of life, contributing to the food security of the whole family,” she said.

In a fragile country like Somalia, affected by conflict and recurring emergencies such as drought, COVID-19, and other diseases, breastfeeding is an effective way to ensure child health and survival, she added.

Citing latest government data, the statement said only 34% of babies under six months are exclusively breastfed in Somalia.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Fuel truck explosion kills 7 in southern Libya

Walid Abdullah  



Seven people were killed when a fuel tanker truck caught fire and exploded in southern Libya on Monday, according to a local source.   

More than 40 people were also injured in the incident which took place in the town of Bent Bayya, the source told Anadolu Agency. 

The source said the truck caught fire as local residents were attempting to take leaked fuel after it broke down. 

There is a shortage of fuel in Libya’s southern region amid high prices. 

Source: Anadolu Agency

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France Uses Controversial Law To Expel Moroccan Imam Iquioussen

Safaa Kasraoui

July 29, 2022

Rabat - France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that his country is set to expel Moroccan imam Hassan Iquioussen.

The minister publicly accused the France-born Moroccan imam of adopting “hate speech against the values of France, contrary to our principles of secularism and equality between women and men.”

The Moroccan imam was born in France to Moroccan parents in 1964 in Denain, in northeastern France.

The imam has been publishing YouTube videos viewed by roughly ten thousand followers.

French news outlet Le Point said that France’s decision to expel the imam was taken after Iquioussen’s request to renew his ten-year residence permit. France has withdrawn his nationality due to his publicly stated positions.

News reports are suggesting that France is now attempting to use its controversial “separatism law” of August 2021  to reject his residence permit renewal.

Marianne news outlet reported  that his lawyer announced that Iquioussen received a document of his expulsion procedure on May 3.

France sparked outrage for the introduction of the new law that many human rights and Islamophobia-oriented organizations have described as targetting thecountry’s Muslim minority..

The “separatism law” was part of Macron’s program intended to counter terrorism after several horrific attacks in France. The law however received global criticism for potentially further dividing the country, and making its 3.3  million Muslim citizens (roughly 5% of the population) a scapegoat for growing economic and political tensions within the nation.

In 2021, news outlet the Conversation said the new separatism law “ stigmatizes minorities and could backfire badly.”

Source: Morocco World News

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Turkish foreign minister stresses importance of peace, stability in Balkans

Seda Sevencan 


Türkiye’s foreign minister held separate phone calls Sunday with his Kosovar and Serbian counterparts as tensions between Serbia and Kosovo continued to rise.

Mevlut Cavusoglu stressed that “common sense must prevail” in the region, according to a statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Underlining the importance that Türkiye attaches to peace and stability in the Balkans, Cavusoglu said Ankara is ready to do its part to reduce tensions.

Tension between Serbia and Kosovo rose on Sunday ahead of a new Kosovar law set to come into effect Monday making it mandatory for everyone, including Serbs living in Kosovo, to have a Kosovo ID card and plate.

According to local media, air raid sirens were heard along near the Kosovo/Serbian border as Kosovo is set to restrict border crossings.

Albin Kurti, Kosovo’s prime minister, blamed the president of Serbia for increased tension and possible border conflicts between Serbia’s Army and the Kosovar police, decrying planned “fear” and threats in neighboring Serbia.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Southeast Asia


Indonesia Muslim Scholars Congress Seeking to Raise Awareness about Climate Change Impacts

July 29, 2022

The forum, called the Muslim Congress for a Sustainable Indonesia, began on Thursday at the Grand Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta, the largest in the country, with a treatise on the leaders’ recommendations set to be issued on Friday.

The participants include representatives of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the country’s top Muslim clerical body, as well as from Nadhlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, the nation’s two largest Muslim organizations.

Attendees also include scholars from Gadjah Mada University’s department of politics and governance, as well as from the Istiqlal Global Fund (IGF) – a philanthropic body run by the mosque.

“The purpose of this activity is to unite Muslims in a common forum, to seek and develop solutions to the climate crisis, both in mitigation and adaptation,” said Muhammad Ali Yusuf, a congress leader, in a press statement on Thursday.

While a number of Muslim groups had already established environmental initiatives, Ali said, many had failed to reach the wider community.

The congress’s treatise is to be read out on Friday before being ceremonially handed to Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, a former MUI leader.

Aside from Ma’ruf, Friday’s treatise ceremony will include Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, NU chairman Yahya Cholil Staquf, Muhammadiyah chairman Haedar Nashir and MUI secretary general Amirsyah Tambunan.

In late 2021, the association responsible for the congress conducted a number of studies and public opinion polls on climate change. The group also held three focus group discussions earlier this year, which focused on the role of young people in fighting climate change and on equitable sustainable development, among other topics.

Religious organizations and figures continue to be central to the country’s environment conservation and sustainability efforts, due in large part to the trust much of the public places in these institutions. A 2020 survey by the Communications and Information Ministry, for instance, found that Indonesian citizens placed the most trust in information sourced from religious figures.
Source: IQNA

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New Perak Mufti Wan Zahidi intends to continue predecessor Harussani’s legacy

01 Aug 2022

IPOH, Aug 1 — The newly-appointed Mufti of Perak Datuk Wan Zahidi Wan Teh intends to continue the legacy of his predecessor, the late Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, in protecting the sanctity of Islam in the state.

Wan Zahidi, who clocked in at his new office at 8.30am today, said he was grateful and honoured to have received the instrument of appointment from the Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah last Saturday.

“Alhamdulillah, I’m grateful for the chance to return to his state to serve and to spread true teachings of Islam, while tackling all issues related to the religion.

“The late Dr Harussani and I were old friends, ever since he was appointed as Perak Mufti and I am honoured to be chosen to continue his legacy. I intend to follow in his footsteps,” he told reporters here.

The Gerik-born new Perak Mufti is a prominent Islamic thinker who made a great contribution to the world of academia, research, education and human capital development.

Wan Zahidi has held various important positions such as Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim) consultant, Rector of Darul Ridzuan Islamic College, Mufti of the Federal Territory and Senior Honorary Fellow of the Islamic University of Malaysia.

Source: Malay Mail

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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Lands In Malaysia Amid China Rage: Report

August 02, 2022

Kuala Lumpur: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, Malaysian state media reported, her second stop in an Asian tour that has sparked rage in Beijing over a possible stop in Taiwan.

Beijing views Taiwan as its territory and has indicated through repeated warnings that it would view the visit as a major provocation.

Pelosi landed at a Malaysian air force base ahead of meetings with the prime minister and the speaker of the lower house of parliament, state news agency Bernama reported.

After Singapore and Malaysia, her itinerary includes stops in South Korea and Japan -- but the prospect of a Taiwan visit has dominated attention.

While President Joe Biden's administration is understood to be opposed to a Taiwan stop by Pelosi, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said she was entitled to go where she pleased.

"The speaker has the right to visit Taiwan," he told reporters.

"There is no reason for Beijing to turn a potential visit consistent with longstanding US policies into some sort of crisis."

Kirby cited intelligence that China was preparing possible military provocations that could include firing missiles in the Taiwan Strait or "large-scale" incursions into Taiwanese airspace.

He said Pelosi was travelling on a military aircraft and that while Washington does not fear a direct attack, it "raises the stakes of a miscalculation".

Kirby reiterated, however, that US policy was unchanged toward Taiwan.

This means support for its self-ruling government, while diplomatically recognising Beijing over Taipei and opposing a formal independence declaration by Taiwan or a forceful takeover by China.

Taiwan's government has remained silent on the prospect of a Pelosi visit.

Premier Su Tseng-chang did not confirm the visit on Tuesday when asked by reporters but thanked Pelosi for her support.

And Taiwanese newspaper Liberty Times cited unnamed sources as saying Pelosi would land on the island Tuesday night, then meet Tsai the next day before departing in the afternoon.

More warnings from China

Taiwan's 23 million people have long lived with the possibility of an invasion, but the threat has intensified under Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In a call with Biden last week, Xi warned the United States against "playing with fire" on Taiwan.

And on Monday, China's ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Hun, said such a visit would be "very much dangerous, very much provocative".

If it happens, "China will take firm and strong measures to safeguard our sovereignty and territorial integrity", he said.

Source: ND TV

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Tough to avoid 3-cornered fight for Malay parties, says Khairuddin

August 2, 2022

PETALING JAYA: It will be difficult for Malay-Muslim parties to avoid three-cornered fights come election time, says former PAS leader Khairuddin Aman Razali.

Nonetheless, the former minister said these parties should continue building some form of togetherness in the name of Muslim unity, while contentions in the political arena should just be taken as healthy competition.

In a Facebook post, Khairuddin called for a shift to more mature politics, saying there was a need to move away from personal attacks to fair and factual political criticism.

He said mature politics should seek to be principled, solution-centric, rational and professional, while prioritising the people.

Though the Muafakat Nasional (MN) pact between PAS and Umno had fizzled out, the Kuala Nerus MP said it could still be used as a platform for the two parties to cooperate such as for the welfare of the needy.

“As long as the joint (Barisan Nasional-Perikatan Nasional) government is still functioning at the federal level, there will be room for this cooperation to be strengthened,” he said.

Yesterday, PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the Islamic party was yet to give up on its goal to unite the ummah through its pact with Umno.

On the topic of the next general election (GE15), Tuan Ibrahim said PAS was still open to talks as they wanted to work with both Umno and Bersatu.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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No ‘specific’ assets sold for EPF withdrawal schemes, says minister

August 2, 2022

PETALING JAYA: The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) did not liquidate any specific asset to fund the i-Lestari, i-Sinar and i-Citra schemes as well as the final one-off RM10,000 special withdrawal facility last April.

In a written parliamentary reply, finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said EPF had liquidated assets based on the “ordinary course of business” to cover the withdrawal schemes.

“Any purchase or sale of EPF’s assets is subject to investment portfolio rebalancing based on EPF’s strategic asset allocation (SAA) and is aimed at generating real income that can be distributed in dividend payments to members,” he said.

He said EPF’s management of asset liquidation was based on strategic asset allocation to reduce the impact of the withdrawal facilities on its portfolio.

With assets worth over RM1 trillion, he said, EPF always ensured that it had sufficient funds to foot the costs of withdrawals and expenditures.

He was responding to Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Semporna) who asked the minister to list the specific domestic and foreign assets that EPF had to liquidate to fund the withdrawal facilities.

On March 14, Tengku Zafrul said EPF would have to liquidate more of its overseas assets while halting domestic investments to cover the cost of another withdrawal facility.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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