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Sufi, Barelvi Clerics Hail Popular Front of India Ban by Centre: ‘Nation Bigger Than Any Institution or Idea’

New Age Islam News Bureau

28 September 2022


Popular Front of India


• Sinhala Buddhist Monk, Galagodaatte Gnanasara, Who Led Hate Speech against Muslims Attends Saudi National Day Event in Colombo

• Hindus for Labour Says Party Would Strengthen Bilateral Ties between India, Pakistan In Light Of the Leicester Violence

• Iran Police Say Will Oppose Protests over Mahsa Amini’s Death with ‘All Their Might’

• Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Named Prime Minister, A Post Traditionally Held by the King: Royal Decree



• Goddess Sharada Gets Saree Worth ₹8 Lakh with Gold Zari from Muslim Cleric in Karnataka's Mangaluru

• Kerala Congress, Indian Union Muslim League Welcome PFI Ban: ‘Which Islam Has Persuaded Them To Adopt The Path Of Violence?’

• Muslim Leaders Split Over RSS Chief Meetings, From Persons He Met, To Issues They Chose

• "Ban RSS Too," Says Kerala Opposition, Welcomes Move against Popular Front

• PWD Carries Out Encroachment Removal Drive at Bhoori Bhatyari Mosque In Central Delhi

• Why patrons of Kashmiriyat don’t want ‘Ishwar with Allah’ in Kashmiri schools

• MP Government Asks Garba Events' Organisers to Check Ids After Minister Brings Up 'Love Jihad'

• Jaish-e-Mohammad duo killed in Kulgam gunfight

• Telangana: Tehreek Muslim Shabban to hold month long anti-drug abuse events


South Asia

• Taliban Claims Pakistan Receives Hefty Money for Permitting US Airstrikes on Afghanistan

• Pakistan Army, Taliban Involved In Narco Trade: NATO Report

• Taliban Negative Developments Outweigh Positives: UNAMA Acting Head at UNSC



• Türkiye rescues 118 irregular migrants after illegal Greek pushback

• London mayor on anti-Iran riots: Completely unacceptable



• Calls for Holding Emergency Arab League Meeting on Al-Aqsa Mosque

• Youths in Gaza feel hopeless about getting jobs in next 15 years

• Turkey summons German envoy after senior politician likens Erdogan to ‘sewer rat’

• UN nuclear chief meets with Iran lead negotiator

• Hamas: Unrelenting violations at al-Aqsa could detonate entire Middle East


Arab World

• Lebanon says Vatican defrocks convicted paedophile priest

• Lebanon parliament to convene to elect new president despite lack of consensus

• Iraq closes roads, bridges in Baghdad ahead of parliamentary session

• Bin Salman signed hackers deal with US general before Khashoggi murder: Report

• Iraq FM: Baghdad aims to evolve Iran-Saudi Arabia reconciliation meetings to ‘foreign ministers level’



• Transgender Act: Senate to Consult Scholars, Islamic Council If Required, Says Senate Chairman

• Pakistan PM may flag audio leaks on 'graft' a threat to natl security

• Pakistan Church demands criminalizing torture

• Bilawal warns of consequences to Taliban isolation

• Imran vows next long march will be ‘final battle’

• Four ‘terrorists’ of banned outfit killed in gun battle with CTD in Quetta

• Pakistan-US ties no longer hyphenated with Afghanistan, India: FM Bilawal



• Islamic Centre Organises Special Prayer For Tinubu’s Presidential Ambition

• Lagos, Sultan task Muslims on unity, peaceful coexistence

• US warns Sudan of consequences if it hosts Russian military base

• Nigerian children hit by malnutrition crisis: Doctors Without Borders

• Kenya’s new president unveils Cabinet


North America

• Outrage Mounts over 'Soft' Treatment of Islamic Terrorist Responsible For Abuse and Deaths of Four Americans

• Secretary-General of Muslim Council of Elders meets President of the Gambia in New York

• Blinken defends Pakistan arms sales against Indian criticism

• US capital declares October as Turkish Heritage Month

• US OKs potential sale of rounds for Abrams tanks to Kuwait


Southeast Asia

• PAS Spiritual Adviser Says Party Open To Negotiate With Non-Muslims So Long As They Agree With Ummah Unity

• PAS firmly committed to PN, Muhyiddin reiterates

• In 1MDB trial, defence argues that Saudi royalty’s promised US$100m ‘gift’ behind RM60.6m transfer to Najib's account in 2011

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Sufi, Barelvi Clerics Hail Popular Front of India Ban by Centre: ‘Nation Bigger Than Any Institution or Idea’


Popular Front of India


Sep 28, 2022

The Sufi and Barelvi clerics on Wednesday hailed the Centre's decision to impose a ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI) and several of its associates for their alleged terror activities. The All India Sufi Sajjadanashin Council (AISSC) chairman said in a statement that everyone should show patience if the action has been taken to curb extremism.

“The All India Sufi Sajjadanashin Council believes that if this action has been taken for compliance with the law and the prevention of terrorism, then everyone should work patiently on it, this step of the government and investigative agencies should be welcomed,” the statement read.

The Sufi clerics stressed that the nation is bigger than any institution or idea, adding that if anyone talks about breaking the country, then he has no right to live here.

“The All India Sufi Sajjadanashin Council is always committed to the unity, sovereignty and peace of the country and will continue to raise its voice against the anti-national forces in future also.” it added.

Maulana Shahabuddin Razvi Barelvi, the president of All India Muslim Jamaat, also issued a video statement, calling the decision the right step to curb extremism.

The Barelvi Ulema had earlier called for a ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI) for its alleged terror-related activities which prompted nationwide raids by NIA, ED and state police at premises linked to its leaders. Maulana Razvi had stressed that the raids have made it clear that the Islamist fundamentalist organization has been “involved in communal riots in various states across the country.”

The Barelvi sect from Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly demanded the central government to impose an immediate ban on such organizations to protect the unity and integrity of the country. Maulana Barelvi also supported the action taken by the government to tighten the noose around terror activities across India.

“It is important to ban such organisations,” he said, adding that the actions taken by the government of India have his “full support.”

Source: Hindustan Times

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Sinhala Buddhist Monk, Galagodaatte Gnanasara, Who Led Hate Speech against Muslims Attends Saudi National Day Event in Colombo


Sinhala Buddhist Monk, Galagodaatte Gnanasara


27 September 2022

Sri Lanka’s notorious Buddhist monk Galagodaatte Gnanasara of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) had participated in the Saudi National Day event organised by the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Colombo.

He was seen seated with diplomats and holding discussions with them and others at the event.

The BBS said that the Gnanasara was invited to attend the event as a special guest.

Gnanasara, a former convict, is notorious for his bigotry and violence, having been found guilty of threatening the wife of Prageeth Eknaligoda; a critic of the then government in 2010. He was released from prison following a presidential pardon.

He has previously campaigned against having Halal products in Sri Lanka and has repeatedly spoken out against the island's Muslims and Tamils. In 2014, prior to the anti-Muslim riots, he told a cheering Sinhala nationalist crowd in Aluthgama that “if one marakkalaya ( Muslim) lays a hand on a Sinhalese that will be the end of all of them”. The resulting violence killed four people and left 80 injured, with hundreds left homeless. Amongst the sites attacked were mosques, Muslim homes, businesses, and even a nursery.

Gnanasara has vehemently opposed Tamil’s rights to self-determination, threatening last year of a “river of blood”.

“We will not allow the Tamils to find a solution through devolution. If they demand a separate state again, a river of blood will flow in the North and East.”

Source: Tamil Guardian

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Hindus for Labour Says Party Would Strengthen Bilateral Ties between India, Pakistan In Light Of the Leicester Violence


Photo: Live Journal


Sep 28, 2022

LONDON: Hindus for Labour is calling for a future Labour government to strengthen bilateral relations between India and Pakistan in order to build strong communities in Britain, particularly in light of the Leicester violence.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Labour conference in Liverpool on Monday night, Dr Neeraj Patil, chair of Hindus for Labour, said: “Good bilateral relations between the two countries are essential for India and Pakistan to build strong communities here in the UK because our communities are deeply connected with their native countries, and most of us have extended families in that part of the world.”

He added: “The recent disturbances in Leicester and Birmingham are a testimony and a strong case for a future Labour administration to improve bilateral ties between the two great nations because the subcontinental issues always had an impact on the communities here.”

“We may practice different religions, but there is more in common that unites us than divides us. That is the religion of cricket and Bollywood,” Patil said at the event, titled: “The role of Great Britain in promoting bilateral relations between India and Pakistan.”

“A future Labour government must encourage diplomacy and dialogue between the two nations instead of allowing our parliamentarians from India and Pakistan to make rival statements in the debating chamber at Westminster.”

He added that the Indian and Pakistani communities had always supported Labour because it “was the voice for racial equality”. “We have to campaign within our communities to re-engage our communities with our Labour party,” he said. “As Labour party members, we are concerned about the swing of British Hindu voters to the Conservative party.”

He claimed the Kashmir motion passed at the party conference in September 2019 was “misrepresented to the British Hindu communities as anti-Hindu and anti-India”.

Source: Times Of India

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Iran Police Say Will Oppose Protests over Mahsa Amini’s Death With ‘All Their Might’


People attend a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic Republic’s “morality police,” in Tehran, Iran, on September 21, 2022.


28 September, 2022

Iran’s police command warned on Wednesday that the force would come down hard on protests that erupted nearly two weeks ago over the death of a young woman in custody.

Dozens of people have been killed since nightly demonstrations erupted after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, died after being arrested in Tehran for allegedly breaching the Islamic Republic’s strict rules on hijab headscarves and modest clothing.

“Today, the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran and some rioters seek to disrupt the order, security and comfort of the nation using any pretext,” the police command said in a statement.

“Police officers will oppose with all their might the conspiracies of counter-revolutionaries and hostile elements, and deal firmly with those who disrupt public order and security anywhere in the country,” it said, quoted by Fars news agency.

Fars news agency said on Tuesday that “around 60” people had been killed since Amini’s death on September 16, up from the official toll of 41 authorities reported on Saturday.

Officials said Monday they had made more than 1,200 arrests, including of activists, lawyers and journalists.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Named Prime Minister, A Post Traditionally Held by the King: Royal Decree


Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman


Sep 27, 2022

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has been named prime minister, a post traditionally held by the king, in a government shuffle announced Tuesday. Prince Mohammed, who has already been the kingdom's de facto ruler for several years, previously served as deputy prime minister under King Salman as well as defence minister.

He is being replaced as defence minister by his younger brother, Khalid bin Salman, who was deputy defence minister.

The heads of other critical ministries, including interior, foreign and energy, remained in place, according to a royal decree from King Salman published by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Prince Mohammed, who turned 37 last month, has been first in line to succeed his father as king since 2017.

Saudi Arabia has for years sought to quell speculation over the health of the 86-year-old king, who has ruled the world's top oil exporter since 2015.

In 2017, it dismissed reports and mounting speculation that the king was planning to abdicate in favour of Prince Mohammed.

King Salman has been hospitalised twice this year, most recently a one-week stay in May that involved tests including a colonoscopy, according to state media.

Sweeping changes

Prince Mohammed became defence minister in 2015, a key step in a swift consolidation of power.

In that role he has overseen Saudi Arabia's military activities in Yemen, where the kingdom leads a coalition backing the internationally recognised government in its fight against Iran-aligned Huthi rebels.

He has also become the public face of a sweeping reform agenda known as Vision 2030.

Changes have included granting women the right to drive, opening cinemas, welcoming foreign tourists, defanging the religious police and hosting pop stars and high-profile heavyweight fights and other sporting events.

Yet he has also jailed critics and, in a sweeping purge of the nation's elite, detained and threatened some 200 princes and businessmen in Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton hotel in a 2017 anti-corruption crackdown that tightened his grip on power.

He gained global notoriety for the 2018 killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.

Last year, US President Joe Biden declassified an intelligence report that found Prince Mohammed had approved the operation against Khashoggi, an assertion Saudi authorities deny.

But the spike in energy prices triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine spurred a number of Western leaders to travel to Saudi Arabia to appeal for ramped-up oil production, notably then-UK prime minister Boris Johnson and Biden himself, who swallowed an earlier vow to make the Saudi leadership a "pariah".

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz became the latest major leader to visit the kingdom this past weekend.

Source: Times Of India

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 Goddess Sharada gets saree worth ₹8 lakh with gold zari from Muslim cleric in Karnataka's Mangaluru

Sep 27, 2022

The idol of Goddess Sharada in Mangaluru is set to be dressed in a saree with gold embroidery worth ₹8 lakh at the centenary celebrations of the Sharada Mahotsava, thanks to Muslim weavers from Gyanvapi, Uttar Pradesh.

The idol of the goddess, which was installed at the Acharya Mutt of Sri Venkataramana Temple in Mangaluru on Monday, will be draped in the eight-metre long, deep green Banarasi silk saree for the ‘Shobhayatra’, which is scheduled for October 6. The goddess is usually dressed in Banarasi silk sarees with silver zari, which cost around ₹2 lakh, The Times of India reported.

Goddess Sharada's sarees are sponsored by Sudheer Pai of Kulyadikars every year, and he decided to sponsor a gold zari saree to mark the 100th year of celebrations. A group of Muslim weavers hand-made this saree, which took them around a month and half, local reports said. The saree has around 2,600 gold flower designs, and carries 11 pavans (Sovereigns) of gold and 700 grams of silver in total.

Here are some first looks of goddess Sharada in Mangaluru:

Devotees have also sponsored a silver pedestal and a 11-foot tall silver ‘prabhavali’ for the goddess, while her wooden mantapa has been renovated at ₹10 lakh, according to The Times of India.

The Navaratri celebrations are set to be grand this year at Mangaluru with feasts to be offered to around 30,000 devotees who take part in the ‘Sahasra Chandika Havana’ to be held from Tuesday till October 2 at ₹50 lakh.

Mangaluru typically celebrates Navaratri by worshipping goddess Sharada, and the twin districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi saw all of their temples decked up for the festival this year.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Kerala Congress, Indian Union Muslim League Welcome PFI Ban: ‘Which Islam Has Persuaded Them To Adopt The Path Of Violence?’

Sep 28, 2022

Kerala Congress and its coalition partner Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) on Wednesday welcomed the Centre's decision to ban the Popular Front of India (PFI) for its alleged terror-related activities but also demanded similar action against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party. IUML leader M K Muneer strongly condemned the activities of the outlawed PFI saying the radical outfit had misinterpreted the Quran and persuaded the community members to adopt the path of violence.

He alleged that the extremist organisation tried to mislead the young generation and create division and hatred in the society, reported PTI.

"All Islamic scholars in the state have strongly condemned the extremist ideologies. But, outfits like PFI have made even tiny children raise contemptuous slogans. Which Islam has persuaded them to do so?" the Kozhikode South MLA asked, as quoted by PTI.

Sharing similar views, senior Congress leader and former state home minister Ramesh Chennithala said the ban on PFI was a "good thing".

"RSS should also be banned like this. In Kerala, both majority communalism and minority communalism should be equally opposed. Both the outfits have flared up communal hatred and thus tried to create division in the society," he said.

Kerala recently witnessed violent protests by the PFI following the nationwide crackdown on people affiliated with the group. Agitated activists pelted stones at public transport buses, destroyed shops and vehicles and threatened the general public.

Taking suo-motu cognizance, the Kerala High Court deemed the protest illegal and initiated a case saying the flash protest was prima facie a contempt of court. The court also directed the state administration to take strong action against those who violate the 2019 court order banning hartals.

The ministry of home affairs banned the PFI saying the central government is of the opinion that the Islamist outfit and its affiliates have been involved in subversive activities.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Muslim Leaders Split Over RSS Chief Meetings, From Persons He Met, To Issues They Chose

By Esha Roy

September 27, 2022

Muslim organisations are split over the recent meeting between RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and representatives of the community. While some have welcomed the chance at increased dialogue, calling it the need of the hour, others feel the meeting was no more than “optics”.

Last month, five eminent members of the Muslim community — former chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi, former Lt Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung, RLD vice-president Shaheed Siddiqui, former AMU Vice Chancellor and Lt General (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah, and businessman Saeed Shervani – had met Bhagwat, where the two sides took up each other’s concerns and resolved to have periodic such meetings.

Last week, Bhagwat followed this up with a meeting with the Chief Imam of the All India Imam Organisation (AIIO), Umer Ilyasi, at a mosque. Ilyasi, who referred to Bhagwat as “rashtra pita” after the meeting, told The Indian Express that the talks hoped to create “communal harmony”.

Questioning these gestures, the executive member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), Qasim Rasool Ilyas, told The Indian Express that if Bhagwat and the RSS really wanted to reach out to the Muslim community, they would get in touch with organisations that actually have influence and following — such as the AIMPLB or the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind or the Jamaat-e-Islami.

“Bhagwat has never got in touch with us or any of these organisations in the past 20 years,” Ilyas said.

He also questioned the issues raised at the meetings with the RSS. “All those who have met Bhagwat from the Muslim community have said that these meetings have been convivial. But the fact is that in the past eight years (of the Modi government), there have been hate speeches against Muslims in India, open calls for Muslim genocide, threats of rape against Mulsim women, as well as a controversy surrounding the hijab and issues around mosques like Gyanvapi. Bhagwat has never issued statements around these issues. Nor has the BJP-led government, to which the RSS is a mentor. The RSS has not instructed that these activities against the Muslim community stop, nor has it instructed the government to take any action. In that case, these goodwill meetings are just hollow gestures,” Ilyas said, adding: “Its (the RSS’s) silence is louder than its so-called outreach.”

Members across organisations also point out that Chief Imam Umer Ilyas, with whom Bhagwat met, has little standing within the Muslim community. One member said Ilyas was not even a recognised Islamic scholar. Another said he has always been “pro-government” so as to ensure perks and benefits for imams.

The AIIO claims to be “the largest Muslim organisation in India”, representing half-a-million imams across three lakh mosques in India.

A Muslim leader who did not want to be identified said: “When the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992, the Muslim community across India that had always supported the Congress, boycotted the party. In order to bring the community back within its fold, then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao approached Ilyasi’s father Jamil Ahmed Ilyasi, who formed the AIIO. It was Jamil Ahmed who got the government to give salaries to imams. Otherwise these salaries were given by foundations and through donations. Ever since, the AIIO has always been close to the ruling party. They don’t hold a standing in the community.”

Umer Ilyas, in fact, has met Prime Minister Narendra Modi too on several occasions, after their first meeting in 2018, as well as Home Minister Amit Shah. He has shared the platform with movie star Amitabh Bachhan and met prominent Hindu spiritual leaders including Jagadish Vasudev (Sadhguru) and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Other leaders, however, feel that raising doubts about Ilyas’s credentials is missing the point, and that building bridges with the RSS is much-needed for a community that now feels constantly under attack.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind secretary Niaz Ahmed Farooqui said they “welcome Bhagwat’s initiative”. “The RSS should have reached out earlier. The RSS has a strong influence in the country; whether this influence is right or wrong is another matter. But we don’t believe that even the RSS wants the country to be divided, disunited.’’

Farooqui added that the Muslim community needs to focus on “real” issues. “One of our main concerns in recent times has been the backwardness of Muslims, and the lack of opportunities for the community, especially in terms of education and employment. The community is so distracted and occupied with other issues that it is not concentrating on what is important. Even if the meeting was simply symbolic, it was still a step forward,” he said.

Darul Uloom Deoband’s Arshad Madani, who is also the president of one of the two factions of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, himself met Bhagwat three years ago. “These meetings have always taken place, there is nothing new,’’ he said, adding that his meeting with the RSS chief was also held in a “good atmosphere’’. Bhagwat has “nothing against Muslims”.

However, Madani refused to disclose the specifics of his meeting with Bhagwat.

Among the Muslim leaders who has been the most vocal against the recent RSS meeting is AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi. He called the five who met Bhagwat “Muslim elites’’ out of touch with reality.

Addressing some of the accusations against the five of them in an opinion piece in The Indian Express, Quraishi wrote: “Do we represent the community? Maybe not. Nobody has elected or selected us. But we are also the community. We have our perceptions and observations. It was our individual initiative. Are we elitist? Possibly… We are not illiterate. We are equally aware of the ground realities: Incidents of lynching; calls for genocide; rapes; economic boycott; questioning of voting rights, and discrimination in getting houses or jobs.”

Sources in the RSS say similar meetings are planned in the coming days. A source said: “The RSS has been reaching out to the Muslim community since 2002, so there is nothing new in that (that was the year, post the Gujarat riots, that the Muslim Rashtriya Manch was started by the RSS). What you are seeing now is the impact of 20 years of work. Of course, both the RSS and Muslim organisations feel the need for dialogue more now, which is why we are seeing increased meetings by the RSS chief. When problems arise, then dialogue is the only way to resolve them. Unless you meet, how can you resolve issues?”

Source: Indian Express

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"Ban RSS Too," Says Kerala Opposition, Welcomes Move Against Popular Front

September 28, 2022

Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress in Kerala and its coalition partner Indian Union Muslim League or IUML today welcomed Centre's decision to ban Popular Front of India or PFI for its alleged terror activities, but said that RSS should also be banned.

Strongly condemning the activities of the PFI, senior IUML (Muslim League) leader MK Muneer said the radical outfit had misinterpreted the Quran and persuaded the community members to adopt the path of violence.

"The Popular Front of India or PFI not only tried to mislead the young generation but also tried to create division and hatred in the society," he said in Kozhikode.

"All Islamic scholars in the state have strongly condemned the extremist ideologies. But, outfits like PFI have made even tiny children raise contemptuous slogans. Which Islam has persuaded them to do so?" the legislator asked.

Stating that IUML has always opposed the deeds of both RSS and PFI-SDPI, Mr Muneer said the respective communities should reject the communal ideologies of such outfits.

Sharing similar views, senior Congress leader and former state home minister Ramesh Chennithala said the Centre's decision to ban PFI was a "good thing".

"RSS should also be banned like this. In Kerala, both majority communalism and minority communalism should be equally opposed. Both the outfits have flared up communal hatred and thus tried to create division in the society," he said.

Mr Chennithala said Congress is a party which has taken a strong stand against spread of communalism by both the majority and minority communities.

The recent dawn-to-dusk protest called by the PFI turned violent, affecting normal life in many parts of Kerala as agitated activists pelted stones at public transport buses, destroyed shops and vehicles and threatened the general public.

The protest was called by the PFI to protest against the raids in offices and residences of its leaders and their subsequent arrests on September 22 by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and other agencies for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.

In a notification issued late Tuesday night, the Union Home Ministry banned the PFI saying the central government is of the opinion that the Islamist outfit and its affiliates have been involved in subversive activities, thereby disturbing public order and undermining constitutional set up of the country and encouraging and enforcing a terror-based regressive regime.

Source: ND TV

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PWD carries out encroachment removal drive at Bhoori Bhatyari mosque in central Delhi

Sep 27, 2022

New Delhi: The Public Works Department undertook an encroachment removal exercise outside the Bhoori Bhatiyari mosque or Madrasa Reshamiya Masjid located on the Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg near Khooni Darwaza amidst heavy police presence during the early hours of Tuesday morning. During the exercise, the portion of BSZ Marg was barricaded by the police to prevent any protest. A senior PWD official said that some encroachments in the form of metallic frame, washing area and storage area was present outside the mosque which has been removed during the exercise. “The main compound or the wall of the mosque has not been touched. Only the extensions and temporary structures on the footpath were taken down after providing due notices. There has been no resistance during the drive which was completed before the regular commuting hours,” PWD official said.

A representative from the mosque committee, who requested anonymity, said that a notice for removal of encroachment was pasted outside the mosque on Monday night. “The officials along with large number of police personnel arrived around 6:00am on Tuesday. We were all asked to stay inside the complex and the wudu area and the metallic frame was broken. Before this, we were not informed that the structures were illegal. They were not obstructing any vehicular or pedestrian movement,” he said. Another mosque representative said they are considering moving to the court against this action.

The notice issued by the executive engineer of the PWD (Central and New Delhi) to the management authority of the mosque dated 26 September 2022 states: “It is hereby informed that there is encroachment in Right of Way of Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg in front of Madarasa Reshamiya Masjid. it is directed that the encroachment must be removed on 26 September 2022 otherwise the same will be removed by the government.”

Source: Hindustan Times

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Why patrons of Kashmiriyat don’t want ‘Ishwar with Allah’ in Kashmiri schools

Akshita Bhadauria

September 27, 2022

The Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU), an umbrella organisation of around 30 Islamic religious and educational bodies in Jammu & Kashmir, has called for the ban on bhajans and Surya Namaskars in schools, claiming that they are hurting the religious sentiments of the Muslim community. The demand followed PDP chief and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s mischievous claims a few days back that Muslim students were being forced to sing Hindu bhajans in Kashmiri schools.

The MMU, led by Jamia Masjid chief cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, expressed dissatisfaction against imposing activities in the name of “yoga and morning prayers” in educational institutions, claiming that Muslim students were forced to sing bhajans and, at times, Surya Namaskar.

The accusation is rather ironic given the fact that the bhajan in the line of fire is Mahatma Gandhi’s all-inclusive prayer ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’. Students were told to practice the bhajan for the Mahatma’s 153rd birth anniversary on 2 October.

Interestingly, in a bid to achieve reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims, Mahatma Gandhi had allegedly meddled with the original hymn sometimes referred to as ‘Ram Dhun’; he inserted the word ‘Allah’ to make it an all-inclusive prayer. While the original hymn read, ‘Raghupati Raghav Rajaram, Patit Pavan Sitaram, Sundar Vigrah Meghshyam, Ganga Tulsi Shaligram,’ Gandhi’s secular version read, ‘Ishwar Allah Tero Naam.’

Despite this, the Islamists, including those who portrayed themselves as mainstream and secular, have rejected the bhajan, calling it a threat to their ‘Muslim identity’. So, for these Kashmir-based Islamists, who invoke India’s Constitution and constitutionalism, and often swear by secularism, Kashmiriyat is a one-way street. Syncretism is good till Islamic identity remains supreme and untampered.

The incident, however, is just the tip of the iceberg.

Other incidents: From Jharkhand to Gujarat

In July this year, some members of the Muslim community in Jharkhand’s Garhwa got a school prayer being offered for years, changed. They declared that since 75 per cent of the population is from the Muslim community, the prayer should be ‘as per them’. Succumbing to the pressure, the school administration changed the prayer. Not just that, the students of some 100 primary schools in Karmatand, Narayanpur and Jamtara blocks in the Jamtara district of Jharkhand now get weekly offs on Fridays instead of Sundays.

Similarly, as the nation was immersed in the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, nine government teachers in the Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir were suspended for not hoisting the National Flag of India in their schools on 15 August. Worse, a Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) flag was hoisted in a government Urdu primary school in Nalanda, Bihar.

Let’s look at another example where there has been a strong effort to strengthen religious studies in madrasas while opposing every bit of religious element of the majority in the formal education system.

The education department of Gujarat had, on 17 March this year, issued a resolution that mandated the Bhagavad Gita for the students of Classes VI to XII from the academic year 2022-23. Almost instantly, a petition was filed by Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind Gujarat and Jamiat Ulama Welfare Trust challenging the government’s resolution on grounds of it being contrary to the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and sought the resolution be declared unconstitutional. Taking advantage of the obvious loopholes, senior advocate Mihir Joshi argued on the behalf of the petitioner that the resolution is contrary to Articles 25, 28 and 51A (f) of the Constitution.

He argued while Article 25 refers to “freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion”, Article 28 states that no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of state funds. Joshi further advocated, “The question is whether it should be just one religious book, to give primacy to the book of one religion for values and principles of Indian culture when it has to be composite. Indian culture is a vast array of what it comprises.”

Here comes another tale of irony. While the Islamic bodies demand ‘no one religion should be given supremacy considering India is a land of varied cultures,’ a controversy erupted in Maharashtra in 2015, when the government announced labelling madrasas that only educate students on Islam without offering other subjects such as maths and science as ‘non-schools.’

Al Jazeera went to the extent of publishing misleading headlines which said, “Indian state de-recognises madrasa education.”

Seeping into our state system

An article published in The Print in 2020 had expressed ‘displeasure’ over an RSS-backed coaching institute, claiming a 61 per cent success rate in the year’s civil services exams while minority institutes like Jamia and Zakat Foundation were facing heat over the rising number of Muslims cracking the Civil Services Examination. The article titled “RSS-backed IAS institute has been quietly grooming ‘nationalist’ civil servants since 1986”, sheepishly indicated how it was ‘unholy’ to train nationalist aspirants.

The article, however, did not tie in well with a contrary report published by the Hindustan Times in 2019 which claimed that the civil services coaching centre in Mumbai’s Haj House, which until then had limited success in pushing the Muslim youth toward civil services, got a boost after three of its alumni were recently selected by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). “Ever since the UPSC results were declared [on 5 April], we have been receiving inquiry calls from all across the country. I still get around 50 calls every day,” said a Haj Committee of India (HCI) official.

Not just coaching, there have been attempts to even command forceful space in the administrative space. According to an OpIndia report, the linguistic department of the Jharkhand government in a fresh notification has removed Bhojpuri and Magahi as regional languages for the Dhanbad and Bokaro districts of Jharkhand with Urdu featuring in the list. Interestingly, while Urdu found a place as a regional language in all the 24 districts of Jharkhand, Hindi has not been recognised as a regional language even in a single district of the state.

So, if the Islamic body can approve the change of prayers, replace Indic languages with Urdu in schools and even involve school children to participate in evangelical activities, why have they objected to ‘secular prayers?’ Only to oppose the ‘majoritarian state?’

Source: Firstpost

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MP government asks Garba events' organisers to check IDs after minister brings up 'Love Jihad'

September 27, 2022

Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh government has asked Garba organisers to check the identity cards of people before allowing them entry into the dance pandals, days after a state minister claimed such events had become a means of ‘Love Jihad’.

“Navratri, the festival of worship of Maa Durga, is the centre of our faith. In a bid to maintain peace and harmony on such a holy occasion, the organisers have been instructed to provide entry in the Garba events only after checking the ID cards,” state Home Minister Narottam Mishra told reporters on Tuesday.

Traditional Garba dance events are organised during the nine-day Navratri festival which started on Monday.

Mishra, who is the state government’s spokesperson, said there should be no unpleasant situation on such an occasion, hence the identity cards of people should be checked.

“Everyone can come to offer prayers to the Goddess”, he added.

On 8 September, Culture Minister Usha Thakur suggested that entry into Garba dance venues in the state during the Navratri festival should be allowed only after checking of ID cards to prevent “Love Jihad”.

“The Garba organisers are now watchful. Those who come to Garba events should bring identity cards. No one (should be allowed) without identity cards. This is advice for all. Garbas had become a means of Love Jihad”, she said.

Source: Firstpost

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Jaish-e-Mohammad duo killed in Kulgam gunfight

Sep 28, 2022

SRINAGAR: Two local Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists were shot dead in an anti-terror operation in Awhatto area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after a Pakistani terrorist linked to the same outfit was killed in another encounter in the district’s Batapora village.

The slain JeM duo was identified as Mohammad Shafi Ganie of Kulgam’s Batpora and Mohammad Asif Wani alias Yawar of Kulgam’s Takia Gopalpora area. Both were categorised terrorists involved in several terror crimes, said ADGP (Kashmir Zone) Vijay Kumar.

Police seized two AK rifles and ammunition from the spot of the gunfight, the ADGP said.

Source: Times Of India

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Telangana: Tehreek Muslim Shabban to hold month long anti-drug abuse events

Shaista Khan

27th September 2022

Hyderabad; The Tehreek Muslim Shabban along with other organizations in connection with the Milad un Nabi celebrations will hold month-long anti-drug abuse programmes in the state.

Rabi al Awwal is the third month of the Islamic calender and on the 12th day of the month, Prophet Mohammed was born. The month holds high importance for Muslims.

Mohd Mustaq Malik, president of Tehreek Muslim Shabban said teenagers, youngsters and young men are addicted to different forms of drug abuse and addicted to ganja, whitener, and other psychotropic and narcotic substances. Due to regular use, lives are getting ruined and families landing in problems.

Source: Siasat Daily

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South Asia


Taliban Claims Pakistan Receives Hefty Money for Permitting US Airstrikes on Afghanistan

By Saqalain Eqbal

27 Sep 2022

Taliban government authorities assert that US drones invaded Afghanistan through the airspace of Pakistan. They claim that Pakistan receives millions of dollars in return.

In a meeting commemorating World Tourism Day, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, Political Deputy of the Taliban government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, claimed that Pakistan had allowed the US to use its airspace so that American drones could enter Afghanistan.

The top Taliban official also said that Pakistan receives a substantial amount of money in exchange for enabling US drones to utilize its airspace to airstrike Afghanistan.

He maintained that they have evidence, and videos, at their disposal to back their claims of how Pakistan has given the US access to its airspace.

Although Stanekzai acknowledged Pakistan’s economic crisis, he stressed that it should not exploit Afghanistan’s situation to alleviate its precarious economic situation.

Previously, the Taliban Minister of Defense, Mullah Yaqoub Mujahid accused Pakistan of allowing its airspace and territory to be used by the US’s drones.

However, Pakistan refuted the Taliban minister’s claims calling them “conjectural allegations”, and a violation of the norms of “responsible” diplomatic conduct.

Source: Khaama Press

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Pakistan Army, Taliban Involved In Narco Trade: NATO Report

September 28, 2022

Brussels: The unholy nexus of the Pakistan Army and the Taliban's involvement in the narco trade was revealed by the NATO Defence Education Enhancement Program (DEEP) report.

According to this 2022 report titled "Narco-Insecurity, Inc, the convergence of Pakistan and Afghanistan narco-trade was made possible with the help of Pakistan's military spy agency the ISI, which launched several covert operations with sympathetic jihadist groups, all of whom relied heavily on narcotics trafficking to fund their operations," reported South Asia Press.

The illegal narcotics trade constitutes one of the main financial sources of the insurgency groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but, more importantly, it feeds narco-terror, globally.

Moreover, Af-Pak heroin networks, drug lords and their nexus with the Taliban and Pakistani military present a principal impediment to security, state-building, and democratic governance in Afghanistan and the region.

Pakistan's role in drug proliferation is validated by a number of arrests of its nationals in other countries on charges of drug trafficking.

It is reported that Pakistan has established smuggling networks over the last years into India - and especially within the Kashmir valley - so as to ensure a steady supply of narcotics and weapons, reported South Asia Press.

The central aim of this NATO academic report written by David R Winston is to analyse the growth of the narcotics industry stemming from Afghanistan as well as Pakistan and the nexus that has formed between narcotics trafficking and terrorism.

The Taliban have long used narcotics as their main source of revenue. Without the poppy crop, they may never have grown to be the massive organisation that they are today that was capable of toppling the Ghani government, as per the writer.

With the control of Afghanistan by the Taliban last year, the terror group has acquired control over the opium cultivation in the country, reported South Asia Press.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) November 2021 Report, Afghanistan accounted for around 85 per cent of global opium production in the year 2020 and supplied approximately 80 per cent of the world's opium consumers.

The total value of opiates (opium, morphine, and heroin) was 9 per cent to 14 per cent of Afghanistan's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020. Methamphetamine and cannabis are two other major drugs that have expanded production in Afghanistan in recent years, reported South Asia Press.

With Pakistan sharing 2,400 kilometres of the largely porous border with Afghanistan, it has served as a transit corridor for drug traffickers. According to independent estimates, more than 40 per cent of Afghan drugs transit Pakistan before they reach the international markets.

Tonnes of opiates and meth are trafficked from Afghanistan to the Torkham border crossing, Ghulam Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, from where they are sent to Lahore and Faisalabad, reassembled into huge consignments, reported South Asia Press.

Source: ND TV

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Taliban Negative Developments Outweigh Positives: UNAMA Acting Head at UNSC

By Saqalain Eqbal

28 Sep 2022

While briefing the UN Security Council, Markus Potzel, the Acting Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said that the Taliban has made some positive developments, nonetheless, they are outweighed by the negatives.

In the UN Security Council’s session that convened on September 27 to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, Potzel said that many in the international community are losing patience with a strategy of engagement with the Taliban.

Potzel brought up the unaddressed subject of the re-opening of girls’ schools in Afghanistan as one of the major negatives, indicating that the decision has been made and is maintained by the Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada.

Hardliners surrounding the supreme leader, according to Potzel, support the decision, but the majority of the group questions it, whether they are unable or unwilling to change it.

With a rise in criminality and armed attacks, the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General also voiced concern about the presence and activities of the Islamic State Khurasan Province (ISKP).

The UN representative claimed that even though the Taliban disregarded UNAMA’s warnings, the ISKP showed the terrorist organization’s capability to do far more than just launch rockets across the Afghan border and assassinate Taliban officials.

The Taliban’s lack of commitment to counterterrorism is also demonstrated, in Potzel’s assessment, by the fact that the leader of al-Qaeda was residing in the Afghan capital.

The UN Security Council was also briefed on the “tenuous” economic situation of Afghanistan. Potzel claimed that the details behind the Taliban claims of increased exports and revenue are “opaque.”

The people of Afghanistan are not represented as the all-male hardliners’ reluctance to form an inclusive government remains unsolved. A continued lack of transparency and inclusivity in the Taliban government continues to undermine the will of the people.

Source: Khaama Press

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Türkiye rescues 118 irregular migrants after illegal Greek pushback

Sabri Kesen 


Coast Guard units in Türkiye’s western Mugla province rescued 118 irregular migrants after Greek authorities pushed them into Turkish territorial waters Tuesday.

Turkish Coast Guard units rescued a total of 45 migrants off the coast of Marmaris on three boats, according to the Coast Guard Command.

Moreover, after receiving information that there was a group of irregular migrants on two rubber boats and a lifeboat off the coast of Datca district in Mugla, teams were dispatched to the area and 73 migrants were rescued.

A human smuggler, who arranged their dangerous journey, was on one of the boats and Turkish authorities arrested him later.

All of the migrants were transferred to provincial migration offices, while security forces also detained two suspects for human smuggling.

Türkiye has been a key transit point for asylum seekers aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

Human rights groups and media outlets have frequently reported on illegal pushbacks and other human rights breaches by Greek authorities.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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London mayor on anti-Iran riots: Completely unacceptable

28 September 2022

London's Mayor Sadiq Khan rages against the anti-Iran riots that broke out across the British capital earlier, which turned exceptionally violent, injuring a number of police officers.

"The scenes that took place last night were completely unacceptable," the official tweeted on Monday, calling for "the selfish minority," which was responsible for the violence, to "be brought to justice."

Footage that emerged from the melee showed angry crowds shouting and pushing officers, who had formed a cordon in front of the Iranian Embassy in Princes Gate, Knightsbridge, The Guardian reported.

Video captured from the violent events also showed "altercations among those in the crowd, and two officers wrestling a protester to the ground, who had broken through the police line," the daily said.

Scotland Yard said several Metropolitan police officers had sustained injuries during the clashes, "including broken bones."

The London mayor added, "On behalf of all Londoners, I wish all the officers injured a swift recovery and urge anyone with information on those involved to call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously."

"Violence and attacks on our police and communities will never be tolerated," he observed.

The riots took place after the death in police custody of a young Iranian woman in Tehran earlier this month.

Anti-Iranian Western officials have been trying to hijack the tragedy to promote anarchy and "regime change" rallies inside Iran, although, the Islamic Republic's highest authorities have ordered a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of the woman, who has been named as 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

Tweeting on Tuesday, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nasser Kan'ani, condemned the "reprehensible paradox" that lied behind the incitement to violence on the part of the Western officials.

Kan'ani reminded that it was the selfsame officials, who had been seeking to "bring the Iranian nation to its knees" through their "maximum pressure campaign" and "destructive sanctions."

The "maximum pressure" drive began under former US president Donald Trump.

Source: Press TV

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Calls for holding emergency Arab League meeting on Al-Aqsa Mosque

September 27, 2022

Over 100 political parties, organisations, groups and youth initiatives around the world yesterday called on the Arab League to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the escalating Israeli aggression on Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In a statement the bodies condemned Israeli settler raids of Al-Aqsa Mosque which have escalated in the run up to the Jewish holidays.

In their statement, the signatories stressed the importance of holding an emergency Arab League summit and a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) to condemn and reject the "escalating Jewish raids, and to activate diplomacy to prevent Israeli violations."

Source: Middle East Monitor

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Youths in Gaza feel hopeless about getting jobs in next 15 years

27 September, 2022

More than 40 percent of young people living in Gaza think they have no hope of finding a job in the next fifteen years, due to the continuous conflict in the area, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Two thirds of people between 18 and 29 in Gaza are dependent on their families for income, according to a survey released on Tuesday by the ICRC. Nearly everyone surveyed by the NGO believes that “the next phase of their lives will continue to be defined by the same critical challenges they have faced in recent years.”

“Wars and closure have negatively impacted all youths in Gaza, not just me,” Laith Rashdan, a 25-year-old university graduate, told the ICRC.

Restrictions by Israel on the movement of goods and people over the last 15 years has “significantly contributed to a steady deterioration in the economic and humanitarian situation in Gaza,” the ICRC said.

“All we ask for is to live normally like others worldwide. We want to be able to move freely, travel, and have decent jobs,” Nouran Al-Zaeem, 23, told the ICRC.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkey summons German envoy after senior politician likens Erdogan to ‘sewer rat’

27 September, 2022

Turkey’s foreign ministry summoned the German ambassador to Ankara on Tuesday to protest over comments made by a senior German politician who likened President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to a “little sewer rat.”

“We condemn in the strongest terms the insulting statements made by Wolfgang Kubicki, the vice-speaker of the German Federal Parliament, about our president (Erdogan) in a speech during he Lower Saxony state election campaign,” Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a statement.

“(Kubicki) is completely devoid of political morality and responsibility,” Bilgic said, adding that such “indecent statements essentially give an idea of Kubicki’s political and moral level, and reveal his vulgarity.”

Contacted by Reuters, Kubicki confirmed making the comment during an election campaign rally while trying to draw attention to a rise in the number of illegal migrants moving from Turkey along the so-called Balkan route toward Germany.

“A sewer rat is a small, cute, but at the same time clever and crafty creature that also appears in children’s stories,” Kubicki said, citing the popular animated movie “Ratatouille” as an example.

Kubicki, a lawmaker from the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), one of the parties in Germany’s ruling coalition, said Erdogan had made a good deal for Turkey when he agreed to curb the number of refugees entering the European Union in 2015.

“But at the same time we must note that the wave of refugees along the Balkan route (from Turkey) is again increasing, which is a challenge for German foreign and domestic policy,” he said.

Turkey is a candidate for EU membership but negotiations have long been stalled amid disagreements on a number of issues including Ankara’s human rights record, migration and geopolitics.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UN nuclear chief meets with Iran lead negotiator

27 September, 2022

The chief of the UN's nuclear watchdog said Monday he had met with the head of Iran's atomic energy agency, as attempts to revive the country's nuclear deal stall.

Efforts to salvage a tattered 2015 agreement -- which offered an easing of international sanctions in exchange for a drastic limitation of Iran's nuclear activities -- have flailed since then-president Donald Trump had America withdraw from it in 2018.

The United States reimposed biting sanctions, provoking Tehran into stepping back from its nuclear commitments, greatly increasing its stock of enriched uranium and turning off monitoring cameras operated by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

But after months of friction the two sides met face-to-face in Vienna.

“Dialogue has restarted with Iran on clarification of outstanding safeguards issues,” Rafael Grossi tweeted Monday.

He said he had met with Mohammad Eslami -- who is also vice president -- on the sidelines of the IAEA's annual conference, and posted a picture of the two men shaking hands.

The UN watchdog has been pressing Iran to give answers on the presence of nuclear material at three undeclared sites, and this key sticking point led to a resolution that criticised Iran being passed at a June meeting of the IAEA's board of governors.

Eslami told state television last week that he would meet with Grossi and said he hoped to “put an end... to the false accusations about certain (nuclear) sites stemming from political pressure and psychological operations exerted against Iran.”

Iran has repeatedly said it wants the IAEA to drop its interest in the three sites -- a position that the nuclear watchdog says lacks credibility.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Hamas: Unrelenting violations at al-Aqsa could detonate entire Middle East

27 September 2022

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has severely censured the Israeli regime and extremist Jewish settlers for their unrelenting violations at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds, saying such acts of desecration could lead to an uncontrollable explosion of Muslim nations’ wrath.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said in a statement on Tuesday that the Israeli regime insists on provoking the feelings of Palestinian people and all Muslim nations through escalating violations of the sanctity of the al-Aqsa Mosque.

“The acts of provocation against the sacred site are all considered an utter disregard for the sentiments of Muslims across the world. The unrelenting violations could lead to an uncontrollable explosion and unleash the wrath of all Muslim nations,” he added.

Earlier in the day, dozens of Israeli settlers intruded into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound under the protection of the regime’s forces as Jews celebrated their New Year, Rosh Hashanah.

Palestine’s official Wafa news agency quoted eyewitnesses as saying that the settlers broke into the site through the Moroccan Gate, also known as Maghariba Gate.

They then embarked on a provocative tour inside the compound and performed Talmudic rituals.

Israeli right-wing groups have called for the storming of the site so as to increase Jewish presence there as Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah from Monday until Wednesday.

The extremist right-wing groups openly call for turning al-Aqsa into a Jewish worship area and tearing down the Islamic shrines in order to build a Jewish temple on the location.

Hardline Israeli legislators and settlers regularly storm the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied city, a provocative move that infuriates Palestinians. Such mass settler break-ins almost always take place at the behest of Tel Aviv-backed temple groups and under the auspices of the Israeli police in al-Quds.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque.

In July, Israeli settlers broke into the compound ahead of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha. Israeli forces also attacked Muslim worshipers, fired tear gas canisters at them, and detained a number of them.

The Israeli regime enables the Jewish visitation of al-Aqsa despite the fact that an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government in the wake of Israel’s occupation of East al-Quds in 1967 prohibits non-Muslim worship at the compound.

Back in early October last year, an Israeli court upheld a ban on Jewish prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, after an earlier lower court’s decision stirred outrage among Palestinians and across the Muslim world.

Judge of the district court in al-Quds Aryeh Romanov on October 8 confirmed that Jews are barred from worshiping openly at the site and only Muslims are permitted to pray there.

In May 2021, frequent acts of violence against Palestinian worshipers at al-Aqsa led to an 11-day war between Palestinian resistance groups in the besieged Gaza Strip and the Israeli regime, during which the regime killed at least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children.

Source: Press TV

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Arab World


Lebanon says Vatican defrocks convicted paedophile priest

27 September, 2022

An elderly Lebanese priest found guilty in France of sexually assaulting children has been defrocked by the Vatican, the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon said Tuesday.

APECL said it was notified of the Vatican’s decision to demote Mansour Labaky to “secular status.”

“We pray... for the victims of sexual assault,” it said.

In 2021, a French court sentenced Labaky to 15 years in prison after convicting him in absentia for sexually abusing girls in a dormitory he opened and managed for Lebanese orphans in Douvres-la-Delivrande in the Normandy region of northern France between 1991 and 1998.

Labaky, 82, resides in Lebanon which does not extradite its nationals.

An international arrest warrant was issued against him in April 2016, but Beirut has not taken action.

Labaky has repeatedly denied the charges against him.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Lebanon parliament to convene to elect new president despite lack of consensus

27 September, 2022

Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri will call for a session to elect a new president on September 29, state media reported, despite no political consensus on a candidate and dim chances of a successful vote.

President Michel Aoun’s six-year term ends on October 31, and politicians have voiced concern about no successor being found - warning of even greater institutional deadlock given that Lebanon has also been without a fully functioning government since May.

The session will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, the state-run National News Agency reported.

The votes of two-thirds of lawmakers in the 128-member legislature are required for a candidate to be successful in the first round of voting, after which a simple majority suffices.

Aoun came to power after a 29-month presidential vacuum in which parliament was unable to agree on electing a president.

The stalemate ended with a series of deals that secured victory for Aoun and his Iran-backed ally Hezbollah.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iraq closes roads, bridges in Baghdad ahead of parliamentary session

Haydar Karaalp  



The Iraqi government ordered the closure of several main roads and bridges in the capital Baghdad on Tuesday ahead of a session of parliament.

Due to supporters of influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr taking to the streets ahead of the session, security forces closed all roads and bridges leading to the Green Zone to traffic with tanks.

Parliament will convene Wednesday and evaluate the resignation of the Speaker of the Assembly, Mohammed al-Halbousi, and elect the first deputy speaker.

Al-Halbousi tendered his resignation Monday amid a months-long political crisis in Iraq.

The Coordination Framework, a coalition of groups close to Iran, and most parliamentary blocs will vote against al-Halbousi’s resignation, Fadi al-Shammari, a member of the National Wisdom Movement led by Shia politician Ammar al-Hakim, told Anadolu Agency.

“Wednesday’s session will be a vote of confidence on the parliament speaker,” he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Bin Salman signed hackers deal with US general before Khashoggi murder: Report

27 September 2022

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), and a cyber institute led by one of his top aides who oversaw the killing of prominent dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, reportedly signed a deal with the former head of the US National Security Agency (NSA) months before the gruesome murder.

According to a report published by American non-profit news organization The Intercept, retired General Keith Alexander’s company IronNet signed an agreement with the Prince Mohammed Bin Salman College of Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Technologies-- a school set up to train Saudi cyber intelligence agents—led by Saud al-Qahtani at a ceremony in Washington, DC in early 2018.

“The strategic agreement will ensure [Saudi Arabia is] benefiting from the experience of an advisory team comprising senior officers who had held senior positions in the Cyber Command of the US Department of Defense,” Qahtani’s representative at the signing said at the time. 

The deal was made as part of efforts to step up the kingdom’s cyber capabilities amid a campaign against the kingdom’s critics abroad, and to train the next generation of Saudi hackers to take on its enemies.

Khashoggi, who was murdered and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, used to be a vocal critic of the Saudi regime and the crown prince.

The then Washington Post columnist received a series of threatening messages, including one from Qahtani, warning him to remain silent.

According to reports, he was lured into the diplomatic mission under the pretext of being provided with papers for his wedding. It was there that a team dispatched by Qahtani suffocated and dismembered the Saudi journalist while his fiancé waited outside for him.

The assassination brought widespread condemnation on Bin Salman, who has publicly denied any knowledge of the operation.

The Intercept revealed that IronNet's agreement tied to the alleged mastermind behind the killing of Khashoggi is not listed on its website, and it is not known if the business relationship still stands, or what the extent of it ever was.

The Saudi Arabia relationship, according to former IronNet employees, has largely been shrouded in secrecy, even within the firm. The report revealed that several other US firms with recruits from the US Air Force, Army and NSA, are also selling cyber spyware to the kingdom.

In 2019, a Saudi court cleared Qahtani of any charges in connection with the assassination. Five other members of the hit squad were given death sentences and four more sentenced to prison terms of 24 years. However, human rights activists have since described the sentences as a mockery.

The CIA and MI6 both believe Qahtani had been the central figure in Khashoggi’s assassination.

He is also said to have been central in the high-profile purge of princes and senior officials across Saudi Arabia, ordered by bin Salman without formal charges or any legal process, the hacking of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos’s mobile phone and a directive to hack two Guardian reporters in 2019.

Source: Press TV

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Iraq FM: Baghdad aims to evolve Iran-Saudi Arabia reconciliation meetings to ‘foreign ministers level’

27 September 2022

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, whose country has hosted reconciliation talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, says Baghdad is currently working with Tehran and Riyadh to help boost the representation of the two sides in the talks from security and intelligence levels to foreign ministerial level.

In an interview with Iraq’s Rudaw television, Hussein said Iraq continued to mediate the process of negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which is aimed at fixing the troubled ties between the two Persian Gulf neighbors.

“So far, there have been five meetings (between Iran and Saudi Arabia) in Baghdad, but they were at the intelligence and security levels,” said the top Iraqi diplomat.

“Since I met the Iranian and Saudi parties, we are working to change it to the level of foreign ministers, but this discussion is continuing. Let’s wait and see what happens next,” he added.

Hussein announced in July that Tehran and Riyadh had agreed to hold the first “public” meeting in years at the level of foreign ministers in Baghdad. However, the top Iraqi diplomat later said additional details and points of discussions for the meeting were unavailable.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian appreciated at that time the “constructive” role of Iraq in advancing regional dialog and said there has been “progress” in the last five rounds of talks with Saudi Arabia.

Amir-Abdollahian said he had told Iraqi mediators that Tehran was ready for a new political and security phase with Riyadh, expressing hope that the measure would “eventually lead to the return of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran relations to normal.

Meanwhile, Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, announced on Saturday that his country intended to establish close and friendly relationship with Iran since representatives from both states had held several rounds of talks in the Iraqi capital.

He, however, added that there were still differences with Tehran that currently precluded him from meeting with his Iranian counterpart.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the Saudi execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, stormed its embassy in Tehran.

The kingdom then pursued a confrontational foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic, especially during the administration of former US president Donald Trump, with whom the Saudi rulers shared close ties.

Saudi Arabia appears to have recently changed course, showing willingness through diplomatic channels and third parties to mend fences with Tehran and resume bilateral relations.

Source: Press TV

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Transgender Act: Senate to Consult Scholars, Islamic Council If Required, Says Senate Chairman

SEPTEMBER 27, 2022

The committee established to consider the newly presented revisions to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, according to Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, will appropriately engage religious scholars and the Council of Islamic Ideology if needed.

“The Senate will never do anything against the Islamic laws,” Sanjrani said.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmed has filed the amendments to the Act which are currently being weighed by the Senate committee.

Strongly advising against unnecessarily politicising the issue, he stressed that in case of any controversy, the government was determined to follow the consultation’s course.

Regarding PML-N leader Ishaq Dar’s return, Senator Sanjrani said he had not contacted him yet. “Dar can come and take the oath, we have no objection to it,” he stated.

The Act

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act was passed by Pakistan’s Parliament in 2018. The law prohibits discrimination against transgender people in schools, workplaces and public spaces, as well as ensures their right to vote, inherit property and run for public office.

Politicians from religious political parties, including Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Pakistan, sparked controversy this year by arguing that the law is incompatible with Islamic principles and has to be changed right away.

Social media users and conservative politicians accuse the law of permitting gender-reassignment surgeries, same-sex marriages, and cross-dressing. They also claim that since 2018, when the law was passed, over 23,000 people have changed their genders.

The claim that the law will allow men to change their gender to female and female to men on official documents is incorrect.

The law clearly defines a “transgender person” as one who is “intersex” with a mixture of male and female genital features or a eunuch assigned the male gender at birth but undergoes castration or a trans person whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.

The Rules to the Act further clarify that a transgender person will have to approach the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for a change of name or gender on identity documents, as per their self-perceived identity. And NADRA will only alter their gender from Female to the category “X” or Male to the category “X”.

“X” symbolises the third sex in Pakistan, a classification specially created for the trans community on the orders of the Supreme Court in 2009.

Source: Daily Times Pakistan

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Pakistan PM may flag audio leaks on 'graft' a threat to natl security

Sep 28, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Targeted by the opposition over audio leaks purportedly suggesting he sought favours on behalf of his family from a senior federal official, beleaguered Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif will hold a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) on Wednesday to discuss matters related to national security.

The leaked audios that triggered a storm on social media have added to the pressures Shehbaz has been facing while leading a dozen-strong coalition that survives with a razor-thin majority in parliament.

The opposition, led by former PM Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), has been coming hard at Shehbaz, his friends and family members, terming his purported chat with a federal secretary proof of asking for favours to a son-in-law of Maryam Nawaz, ex-PM Nawaz Sharif’s daughter.

Security experts see the audio leaks as a lapse of grave proportions under the watch of institutions tasked with protecting the PM. Interior minister Rana Sanaullah told reporters on Tuesday that the ISI and another agency had completed the initial inquiry and a report regarding the audio leaks would be presented to the NSC.

"The leaks could be the result of phone hacking, or someone might have installed a recording devices If the recordings are obtained through bugging, then it's a serious matter," the minister said even as investigators extended the ambit of the probe to staff deployed at the PM's residence and secretariat.

Leaked audios and videos of political leaders had surfaced in Pakistan in the past too. In two audio clips that surfaced on social media, former finance minister Shaukat Tarin is allegedly heard directing PTI's provincial finance ministers in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to tell the federal government and the IMF that they would not be able to implement the global lender's terms in their respective provinces due to the havoc wrought by floods.

Earlier videos of provincial lawmakers allegedly receiving money in return for their votes during senate elections had triggered a political storm. These were followed by a 2019 video showing slain judge Arshad Malik purportedly admitting he was pressured and blackmailed into convicting ex-PM Nawaz.

Source: Times Of India

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Pakistan Church demands criminalizing torture

September 27, 2022

Catholic leaders in Pakistan are calling for police reforms and a law to criminalize police brutality pointing to a disproportionately high number of Christians dying in police custody.

The call for reform came after the death of 52-year-old Catholic Bashir Masih in police custody late evening on Sept. 17, hours after he was arrested after being accused of stealing.

Masih is the 17th Christian killed in police stations and jails since 2010, shows the records of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

“Police reforms are needed for modern and scientific methods of investigation,” Kashif Aslam, deputy director of the Catholic Bishops' National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), said.

Law enforcement agencies “must shift away from inhumane methods of investigation and extraction of confessions through torture, arbitrary arrests, and detention,” he told UCA News.

Rights groups say widespread methods of police torture include beatings with batons and leather straps, stretching and crushing legs with metal rods, sexual violence, prolonged sleep deprivation and causing severe mental anguish such as forcing detainees to watch other people being tortured.

On Aug. 1, the National Assembly passed the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment) Act, which will for the first time criminalize torture by security forces. However, it is still pending with the Senate Standing Committee on the Interior.

Aslam urged the Senate to expedite passing the bill that would make torture a criminal offense.

The latest torture victim Masih, a father of five, was arrested after being accused of stealing a vehicle on the complaint of Imitiaz Cheema, his former boss and a brick kiln owner.

Masih, from Zafarwali village in Punjab province, worked as a rickshaw driver when he was arrested.

His body was left in a government Hospital in Sambrial area, near the police station where he was questioned.

Sarfraz Arshad, his nephew, told UCA News that a ward boy in the hospital, “on condition of anonymity, reported two policemen and a person in plainclothes leaving the body at the hospital. There was bleeding from the back of his head. His thighs and legs bore injuries. His wrists and shoulders carried wounds as well.”

“My uncle left Cheema about four years ago after he was accused of facilitating the friendship between their housemaid and a workshop owner. Although the Muslim maid testified against it, Cheema held a grudge," Arshad said.

Human rights groups say criminal suspects from marginalized groups remain at particular risk of such abuses.

A report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) says that Christian minorities top the victims of police torture and death.

In the past 12 years between 2010 and 2022, at least 21 members of religious minorities died in police stations and jails of which 17 were Christians.

The others include three Hindus and a Sikh.

Three Christians were killed in 2019, two in 2017 and 2015.

Almost all of these Christians were killed in Punjab province where most of Pakistan’s Christians live.

In 2020, a total of 65,467 cases were registered against the police for a variety of transgressions. These included 152 officers receiving penalties for deaths in custody, claims the HRCP report.

“They think it is sawab [spiritual merit] to beat Christians. They wanted us to convert to Islam or testify against our priests and arrest them as well. We all became friends behind bars and were horrified after seeing two people die for want of medical treatment,” said Sunil Shehzad, who suffered police torture.

He was among 41 Christians arrested in 2015 for the murder of two Muslims wrongly suspected of carrying out church bombings in the area of Youhanabad on the outskirts of Lahore. The Catholic rickshaw driver is still haunted by the five years of police torture.

Father Khalid Rashid Asi, director of the NCJP in the Faisalabad diocese, said: “Police must protect and save lives instead of torturing and taking the law into their own hands. Both Church and civil society are angry and tired of thana [police station] culture. Many work as henchmen of politicians and enjoy immunity from the law.”

He said many Muslims have also become victims of police in Punjab where custodial deaths are common. The reforms must focus on their training and police academies should ensure higher education of the candidates, Father Asi added.

Source: UCA News

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Bilawal warns of consequences to Taliban isolation

September 28, 2022

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari wants the world to engage the Taliban, and has warned of dangerous consequences if Afghanistan’s rulers are again isolated.

In an interview with AFP on a visit to Washington, Bilawal cautioned against creating “parallel governance” after the United States, distrustful of the Taliban, put Afghanistan’s frozen assets in a professional fund in Switzerland.

“We’ve learned from the past that when we wash our hands and turn our backs, we end up creating unintended consequences and more problems for ourselves,” Bilawal said on Tuesday.

“I believe that our concerns of an economic collapse, of an exodus of refugees, of a threat of new recruits for organisations such as ISIS-K and others, outweigh concerns that there may be about their financial institutions,” he added.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had expressed similar views while addressing the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly last week.

In contrast to some previous officials, Bilawal offered no warm words for the Taliban in the interview with AFP.

But he said the Taliban needed “political space” on concerns such as women’s rights, which have been sharply curtailed.

“Throughout history, theocratic, autocratic regimes haven’t exactly tended to expand rights at times of economic strife,” he said. “In fact, they tend to hold on to cultural issues and other issues to engage their population.”

The US came away unpersuaded from a series of talks with the Taliban and in August said they had violated promises by welcoming Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was found at a house in Kabul and killed in a US strike.

‘Great power rivalries’

Bilawal, the Oxford-educated 34-year-old scion of a preeminent political dynasty, took office five months ago amid political turbulence after a no-confidence vote saw the ouster of former prime minister Imran Khan.

The strife comes as the country is ravaged by floods that have submerged one-third of the country, displacing millions.

At a meeting Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised long-term support. In a message less welcome by Pakistan, the top US diplomat also called on Islamabad to ask China to restructure debt accumulated as Beijing builds billions of dollars of infrastructure in a quest for Indian Ocean port access.

Asked about Blinken’s remarks, Bilawal said he has had “very productive conversations” with China and said he hoped that assistance after the historic floods “does not fall prey to great power rivalries and geostrategic issues”.

With Beijing seen by many Pakistanis as an uncritical ally, successive governments in Islamabad have rebuffed US calls to weigh in on the mass incarceration of Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim people, a campaign Washington calls genocide.

“I’m sure that the United States would like for us to comment more on China’s internal affairs,” Bilawal said.

“But maybe if we start by addressing disputes that are recognised by bodies such as the United Nations as disputes of an international nature, that would be more productive.”

He was referring to the Kashmir issue, which has triggered two of the three full-fledged wars between India and Pakistan.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist, in 2019 stripped Muslim-majority occupied Kashmir of its historic autonomy and opened the way for other Indian citizens to live there.

Bilawal recalled that when the PPP was in power in 2010, it moved to open trade with India, then led by prime minister Manmohan Singh.

Source: Dawn

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Imran vows next long march will be ‘final battle’

Mohammad Ashfaq

September 28, 2022

PESHAWAR: PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday said his party’s upcoming long march on Islamabad would be “the final one”, after which there will be fair and transparent general elections.

“The plan is only in kaptan’s [Mr Khan’s] mind and no one knows about it yet,” he told a joint convention of the Insaf Student Federation and youth.

Criticising Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Mr Khan said he teargassed peaceful protesters, including women and children, when the PTI marched on Islamabad in May.

However, he warned that this time no police, tear gas, rubber bullets, or even Rangers would be able to stop the protesters as the party will come to the capital “with full preparation”.

Predicts next audio leak to be about CEC; calls Dar’s return ‘result of a deal, NRO’

He once again asked the crowd to be fully prepared for the march and wait for his call and urged them to visit schools, universities and go door-to-door to mobilise people for the march.

Talking about the string of leaked audios surfacing from Prime Minister Office, he claimed that the next leak would concern the chief election commissioner.

“Another audio leak will be released soon in which the daughter [Maryam Nawaz] tells her father [Nawaz Sharif] that the Chief Election Commissoner has assured that Imran Khan will be disqualified in the Toshakhana case,” said Mr Khan while addressing another event, organised by local traders.

Referring to the return of PML-N leader and former finance minister Ishaq Dar, Mr Khan said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif arrived from the US on Monday night along with an absconder.

“The absconder who plundered money from the country and when the NAB questioned him he ran away in the prime minister’s plane.”

The PTI chairman claimed that Mr Dar has returned after making a deal and he was given an NRO — a reference to not prosecute him under cases of corruption against him.

Censuring the government over falling exports, he said no country could achieve prosperity without exports, and China, Indonesia and Malaysia have become richer by increasing their exports. He reiterated that when his government was ousted from power in March, the economy was improving at an unprecedented speed.

Source: Dawn

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Four ‘terrorists’ of banned outfit killed in gun battle with CTD in Quetta

Saleem Shahid

September 28, 2022

QUETTA: Four suspected terrorists of the banned Jamaatul Ahrar were killed in a gun battle with a team of Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of police in Hazar-Ganji area of the provincial capital on Tuesday.

The CTD personnel intercepted a truck, on a tip-off about drugs being smuggled to Karachi, at Gulzarabad checkpoint on the outskirts of Quetta, a CTD spokesperson said.

Instead of stopping, the men travelling in the truck opened fire on the CTD personnel, triggering an exchange of fire that continued for half an hour, leaving four terrorists dead.

Upon searching the truck, 27 kilograms of fine quality heroin was recovered from secret compartments meant to hide drugs for smuggling.

“The four terrorists killed in the gunfight belong to banned Jamaatul Ahrar,” the spokesman said, adding that further investigation was in progress.

Source: Dawn

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Pakistan-US ties no longer hyphenated with Afghanistan, India: FM Bilawal

September 27, 2022

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that Pakistan-US ties were no longer hyphenated with Afghanistan and India as Washington and Islamabad were discussing ways to enhance trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.

“Not only I am presently surprised but I am absolutely impressed by the new foreign policy approach of the US towards Pakistan,” said Bilawal while responding to a question related to Pakistan-US ties at Wilson Centre in Washington.

“There is also an increased feeling in our [Pak-US] interaction that we are no longer hyphenated — Af-Pak or Pak-India. Only Pak-US that’s a good thing,” he remarked.

Bilawal said Pakistan and US have for long time seen each other through the prism of Afghanistan. “It is heartening to know that [this time] during engagements with [US officials] we just didn’t think and talked about Afghanistan. We talked about enhancing trade and economic cooperation,” he remarked.

Bilawal also cited a recent visit of US Special Representative on Business and Commercial Affairs Dilawar Syed to Pakistan, saying that bilateral ties between the two countries were improving.

“We had an incredibly pleasant conversation not only recently but from the first day I took over as foreign minister,” said Bilawal while responding to a question about his meeting with US Secretary of State Blinken.

While responding to a question that some sections of the media were reporting that “US schooled Pakistan” on maintaining ties with India and China, Bilawal dismissed the reports, saying “he [Blinken] is an incredible human being and can never talk in such tone”.

The foreign minister said that maintaining relations with India were difficult today than it was in 2010 as “Mr Modi is not Mr Manmohan Singh”.

“He [Modi] is quiet actively engaged in taking India away from its secular roots in line with his Hindutva ideology.”

PM Narendra Modi-led regime is violating human rights in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and trying to covert Muslim-majority region into a Hindu majority one.

Speaking about Afghanistan, Bilawal urged the international community to increase engagement with the interim-government led by Taliban to increase their capability to take on terrorists outfit.

On dealing with the menace of climate change, Bilawal said world cannot save the planet unless US and China work together.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Islamic centre organises special prayer for Tinubu’s presidential ambition

By Adekunle Yusuf

Sep 28, 2022

The Islamic Cultural Centre, Markaz Iwo, Osun State, has organised a special prayer for the success of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in next year’s general elections. The three-month special prayer, which was held alongside the Islamic Centre’s Quran graduation ceremony, had many top clerics and students of the institution in all its branches pray for Tinubu’s victory in the 2023 presidential election.

The national president of the Sharia Council of Nigeria, Shaykh Hadiyatullah Abdulrasheed and other top Muslim scholars attended the prayer session. A renowned Islamic scholar, Shaykh Wazeer Adekilekun, who delivered a lecture during the event, charged Nigerians to pray for peaceful elections and a smooth transition next year. “Prayer is essential for any laudable project that one may undertake in life, especially for those who believe in the efficacy of prayers; definitely prayer is better than a curse.”

“Shaykh Hadiyatullah Abdulrasheed was on the seat; while an outstanding Islamic scholar of note, Shaykh Wazeer Adekilekun, was the guest lecturer. Without any iota of doubt, Wazeer performed creditably. Mr. Ismail Biodun Akande deputised on behalf of Alhaji Tunde Rahman, the chief host on that day, and many seasoned politicians honoured his invitation with their presence.

The manager and Chief Imam of Al-markaz Al-Islamiy Al-thaqofy, Khalifa Mudeer Qasim Abdulrahman, said: “Since Tinubu is our reliable man, he deserves our support as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) enjoins us to love our brothers as we love ourselves.”

Source: The Nation Online Nigeria

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Lagos, Sultan task Muslims on unity, peaceful coexistence

By Waliat Musa

28 September 2022

Lagos State Deputy Governor Obafemi Hazat and Sultan of Sokoto/President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, have charged Muslims on unity and peaceful coexistence.

Speaking in Lagos at the N10 billion endowment fundraising organised by the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN), Hamzat, who delivered a goodwill message on belhalf of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, stressed that no one should discriminate against another on account of religion.

He expressed concerns over the alarming religious intolerance in Nigeria. On his part, the Sultan said while outright uniformity cannot be attained, Muslims must remain united without allowing extraneous factors to come in between them.

He recalled how he was part of the formation of MUSWEN.

“I was in Ibadan in 2008 when it was established. Alhamdulilah today, we are gathered for this very important event in the effort to move MUSWEN forward. I’m part of the MUSWEN history,” Abubakar III submitted.

Source: Guardian Nigeria

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US warns Sudan of consequences if it hosts Russian military base

Ahmad Osama Satti 



The US ambassador to Sudan has warned of consequences if the northeast African country allows the establishment of a Russian military base on the Red Sea coast.

In an interview with the Tayyar newspaper, John Godfrey said "there are some reports that Russia is trying to implement the agreement it signed with ousted President Omar al-Bashir in 2017 to establish a military base along the Red Sea.”

He warned that such a move will isolate Sudan from the international community and undermine the country's interests.

"All countries have a sovereign right to decide which other countries to partner with, but these choices have consequences, of course," Godfrey said.

He added that the US can be a good partner, but that will be possible by the creation of a new civilian-led government and a transitional framework that will take the country back to the path of democracy.

During a visit to Moscow in November 2017 by President Bashir, who was overthrown in 2019 by a military coup, the two countries signed cooperation agreements on military training, experience sharing, and the entry of warships into the ports of the two countries.

According to Russia Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Nov. 16, 2020 approved the establishment of a Russian naval base in Sudan capable of accommodating nuclear-powered vessels.

Sudanese army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Mohamed Osman al-Hussein said in a statement three days later that "there is no full agreement with Russia on the establishment of a naval base in the Red Sea, but our military cooperation has been extended."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Nigerian children hit by malnutrition crisis: Doctors Without Borders

Hassan Isilow  


An international medical charity said Tuesday that it is witnessing a catastrophic health crisis in northwest Nigeria because of the extraordinarily high numbers of children being treated with malnutrition.

Doctors Without Borders, also known by its French acronym, MSF, said in a statement since January, teams, in collaboration with Nigerian health authorities, have treated nearly 100,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition.

“We have also admitted about 17,000 children requiring hospital care in 10 inpatient centres in Kano, Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Kebbi states,” it said in a statement.

MSF appealed to the UN to include northwest Nigeria in a humanitarian response plan and it said the international community must urgently respond to the emergency.

Some of the factors believed to have led to a sharp increase in malnutrition in the region include insecurity, climate change and global inflation of food prices in a post-coronavirus pandemic world.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Kenya’s new president unveils Cabinet

Andrew Wasike 



Kenya's new President William Ruto named his 22-member Cabinet on Tuesday.

This came shortly after he chaired his first Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, which was attended by all transitioning former Cabinet secretaries from former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government.

Ruto named Musalia Mudavadi as the prime cabinet secretary. Mudavadi will be the most senior official in his government after the president and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

Mudavadi, who served as the seventh Vice-President of Kenya in 2002, will assist the president and the deputy president in the coordination and supervision of government ministries and state departments.

Alfred Mutua was named the foreign affairs cabinet secretary, Moses Kuria the cabinet secretary for trade, and Rebecca Miano the cabinet secretary for the East African Community (EAC) affairs in Kenya.

Other notable cabinet secretaries included Kithure Kindiki (interior security), Njuguna Ndung'u (treasury), Peninah Malonza (tourism), Mithika Linturi (agriculture), Ezekiel Machogu (education), Susan Wafula (health), Roselinda Soipan Tuya (environment) and Aden Duale (defense).

Source: Anadolu Agency

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North America


Outrage mounts over 'soft' treatment of Islamic terrorist responsible for abuse and deaths of four Americans


September 27, 2022

Sudanese-born former British national El Shafee Elsheikh joined ISIS and committed atrocities in Iraq and Syria between 2012 and 2015. Elsheikh was personally involved in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of 26 journalists and aid workers, including four Americans. Spared the death penalty by former U.S. Attorney General William Barr so that British prosecutors would cooperate, the Islamic terrorist was ultimately brought to the U.S. to stand trial. He was subsequently given eight life sentences by a U.S. District Court in Virginia on August 19.

Although he was expected to spend the rest of his days in solitary confinement at an American supermax prison, the Daily Mail reported that he has been assigned to a laxer prison where he may be permitted to fraternize with other prisoners. This revelation has stoked outrage as well as fears that the 34-year-old terrorist may radicalize some of the prison population.

The terrorist will reportedly avoid the supermax on account of his lawyers suggesting he has exhibited "signs of mental and physical deterioration from his present and past detention." The lawyers reportedly cited several instances of prisoner suicides at supermax prison ADX Florence as additional cause for concern.

Research director at the Centre for Crime Prevention David Spencer told the MailOnline, "If it's special treatment for him and it's on the grounds of his mental health it looks soft in light of what he's done and the impact of his horrific actions on his victims and their loved ones."

Spencer noted that the decision not to confine Elsheikh to the supermax prison where other such terrorists and murderers posing threats to national security are kept demonstrates "a lack of consistency."

One U.S. prison insider told the Mirror that the victims' families have no idea how Elsheikh, the highest-profile ISIS fighter to stand trial in the U.S., avoided the supermax prison. "They were sure he was to see out his days at ADX, but they have now been told he has been sent to the lesser penitentiary. It's a huge kick in the teeth."

The difference

ADX Florence, dubbed the "Alcatraz of the Rockies," is America's highest-security "supermax" prison. Run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, ADX Florence is home to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who committed the Boston Marathon bombing; Theodore Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber; Ramzi Yousef, the architect of the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing; Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman; and a handful of other terrorists and violent degenerates.

The prison's 410 or so inmates are confined to single-person 7'x12' cells for 23 hours a day. In prisoners' single hour outside their concrete boxes, they are shackled and placed in a concrete ditch, ten steps wide.

ADX Florence inmates eat and sleep alone.

The Islamic hate preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri reportedly begged to be released, clawing on his door to get out. Hamza's lawyers deemed the prison's conditions "inhuman and degrading."

Elsheikh has reportedly been spared internment in ADX Florence, whose "inhuman" conditions are far more humane than those he subjected his victims to. Instead, he will spend his sentence at USP Florence High.

USP Florence High, located on the same site, is home to 638 inmates. Unlike ADX Florence, which is a super-maximum security prison/administrative maximum "control-unit" prison," Florence High is a high-security federal prison. The prison has visitation, educational program areas, a barbershop, a commissary, a chapel, and an exercise area.

Unlike ADX Florence, Florence High enables interaction among inmates and keeps prisoners in a less restrictive environment.

The crimes

Raj Parekh, lead prosecutor and first assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, had requested that Elsheikh's punishment reflect the Islamic terror group's engagement in "the systematic torture and abuse of their victims, ultimately resulting in the horrific deaths of at least eight American, British and Japanese citizens, among others, including gruesome executions that were videotaped and broadcast globally."

Elsheikh's captives were tortured in a variety of ways, including waterboarding, mock executions, food deprivation, electric shocks, and prolonged beatings. Some of those who survived the tortures were pitted to fight one another. Many were executed on camera. Videos of their beheadings were widely circulated on social media.

Elsheikh received his guilty verdict for hostage taking and conspiracy to commit murder in April.

Judge T.S. Ellis III said the terrorist's conduct could only be described as "horrific, barbaric, brutal, callous, and, of course, criminal."

The radicalization risk

In England, the nation to which Elsheikh had fled as a child refugee, prisons are hotbeds for Islamic extremism and radicalization.

In 2014, former chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick, who had spent time in over 40 jails, said he observed a trend of inmates convicted of terrorism offenses trying to influence and pressure others.

Counterterrorism expert Ian Acheson, tasked with investigating the spread of Islamic extremism, indicated that Islamic hate literature proliferated in prisons. "My team found evidence that jihadist radicalization is such a serious problem inside some of Britain's jails that it threatens prison legitimacy."

A number of terror attacks in Britain were executed by criminals who had been radicalized in U.K. prisons.

When the current prime minister of Britain, Liz Truss, then the justice minister, examined the trend, she noted, "We cannot have a situation where we have extremist prisoners influencing others who are vulnerable to those messages."

Islamists like Anjem Choudary, linked to a network of violent jihadists and brutal slayings, often find a receptive audience behind bars. Choudary, who ultimately was placed in solitary confinement, had radicalized a wave of Muslims and encouraged them to wage jihad.

Former al Qaeda recruiter Jesse Morton claimed in 2016 that "when I was incarcerated for terrorist-related crimes, [radicalization] went on very frequently in general, mainstream or medium or high-security prisons as well."

While radicalization in prison remains a problem in Britain, the U.S. has by no means been immune.

Former Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) acknowledged, "Over the years, our Federal prisons have become a breeding ground for radicalization."

Prison radicalization expert Mark Hamm, a professor at Indiana State University, told, "It is not the sheer number of prisoners following extremist interpretations of religious doctrines that poses a threat ... Rather, it is the potential for the single individual to become radicalized."

While not immune to prison radicalization, a 2018 George Washington University policy paper indicated that American prisons like ADX Florence benefit from "isolation strategies."

Source: The Blaze

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Secretary-General of Muslim Council of Elders meets President of the Gambia in New York


NEW YORK, 27th September, 2022 (WAM) -- The Secretary-General General of the Muslim Council of Elders Mohamed Abdelsalam has met President Adama Barrow of the Gambia as part of the latter’s participation at the 77th session of United Nations General Assembly taking place in New York City.

During the meeting, the Gambian President expressed his appreciation of the Muslim Council of Elders and its Chairman, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb. He particularly pointed to the Council’s efforts in promoting dialogue between different religious groups and cultures. President Barrow expressed a willingness to cooperate with the Council on matters related to maintaining peace and dialogue in Africa.

The President of the West African nation also noted Egypt and Al-Azhar’s role in supporting Gambia and other African nations on all fronts. He described Egypt as a source of support and inspiration to all African nations, particularly in the fields of religious studies and peaceful coexistence.

Source: WAM

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Blinken defends Pakistan arms sales against Indian criticism

September 28, 2022

US State Secretary Antony Blinken on Tuesday defended military sales to Pakistan after criticism from growing US partner India, which considers itself the target of Islamabad’s F-16 planes.

Blinken met in the US capital with India’s foreign minister a day after separate talks with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

The US-Pakistan alliance, born out of the Cold War, has frayed over Islamabad’s relationship with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

The top US diplomat defended a $450 million F-16 deal for Pakistan approved earlier in September, saying the package was for the maintenance of Pakistan’s existing fleet.

The package does not include the sale of any new capabilities, weapons, or munitions and is aimed at the sustenance of Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 programme.

“These are not new planes, new systems, new weapons. It’s sustaining what they have,” the US state secretary told a news conference with his Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

“Pakistan’s programme bolsters its capability to deal with terrorist threats emanating from Pakistan or from the region. It’s in no one’s interests that those threats be able to go forward with impunity, and so this capability that Pakistan has had can benefit all of us in dealing with terrorism,” Blinken said.

He added that the US had a “responsibility and an obligation to whomever we provide military equipment to make sure that it’s maintained and sustained. That’s our obligation”.

When asked to elaborate on the terrorism threats and the need for F-16s to counter them, Blinken said: “There are clear terrorism threats that continue to emanate from Pakistan itself as well as from neighbouring countries.

“And whether it is TTP (Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan) that may be targeting Pakistan, whether it’s ISIS-Khorasan, whether it’s Al-Qaeda, I think the threats are clear, well-known, and we all have an interest in making sure that we have the means to deal with them. And that’s what this is about.”

To another question about his discussion with FM Bilawal on improving ties between Pakistan and India, his advice to Pakistan in this regard and the latter’s response, Blinken said it would not be appropriate to “characterise Pakistan’s response”.

“More broadly, we always encourage our friends to resolve their differences through diplomacy, through dialogue. That hasn’t changed. It won’t change. It would not be appropriate for me to characterise Pakistan’s response, just as I wouldn’t characterise our friend’s response in a similar conversation,” he said.

Jaishankar did not criticise Blinken in public but on Sunday, speaking at a reception for the Indian community in the United States, he said of the US position, “You’re not fooling anybody.”

“For someone to say, I’m doing this because it’s for counter-terrorism when you’re talking of an aircraft like the capability of the F-16, everybody knows where they are deployed,” he said.

“Very honestly, it’s a relationship that has neither ended up serving Pakistan well nor serving American interests well,” he said.

Previously, the Indian defence minister had also conveyed reservations over the F-16 deal with his counterpart in Washington.

“I conveyed India’s concern at the recent US decision to provide a sustenance package for Pakistans F-16 fleet,” Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had written on Twitter following what he called a “warm and productive” telephone conversation with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

FO urges India to refrain from commenting on Pakistan-US ties

For its part, Pakistan has strongly urged India to refrain from commenting on the bilateral ties between the United States and Pakistan.

Responding to Jaishankar’s remarks from Sunday, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmed said in a statement that Pakistan had a “longstanding and broad-based relationship” with the US, which had been vital in promoting peace, security, and stability in the region.

The spokesperson called for India to “respect basic norms of inter-state relations”.

“India also needs serious introspection of its diplomatic conduct,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bilawal also commented on India’s reaction to the military sale package during an address at a Washington-based think tank, Woodrow Wilson Centre.

“Obviously, Indians are going to be upset, let them be, kiya karein (what do we do),” he said.

Separately, in a weekly briefing on Monday, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price while answering a question on Jaishankar’s comments said that the US didn’t view its relationship with Pakistan and India as in relation to one another.

“These are both partners of ours with different points of emphasis in each, and we look to both as partners because we do have in many cases shared values, we do have in many cases shared interests.”

$450m military sale package

Earlier this month, a press release by the US Defence Secu­rity Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said the government of Pakistan had requested to consolidate prior F-16 sustainment and support cases to support the Pakistan Air Force F-16 fleet by reducing duplicate case activities and adding additional continued support elements.

The follow-on support for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet would include participation in F-16 Aircraft Structural Integrity Programme; Electronic Combat International Security Assistance Programme; International Engine Management Programme; and Engine Component Improvement Programme, and other technical coordination groups, the press release added.

The support would also include aircraft and engine hardware and software modifications and support; aircraft and engine spare repair/return parts; accessories and support equipment; classified and unclassified software and software support; publications, manuals, and technical documentation; precision measurement, calibration, lab equipment, and technical support services; studies and surveys; and other related elements of aircraft maintenance and programme support.

Separately, a notification sent by the DSCA to US Congress said: “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by allowing Pakistan to retain interoperability with US and partner forces in ongoing counterterrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations.

“The proposed sale will continue the sustainment of Pakistan’s F-16 fleet, which greatly improves Pakistan’s ability to support counterterrorism operations through its robust air-to-ground capability. Pakistan will have no difficulty absorbing these articles and services into its armed forces.”

Source: Dawn

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US capital declares October as Turkish Heritage Month

Servet Günerigök  



The mayor of Washington, DC issued a proclamation Tuesday declaring October as Turkish Heritage Month.

Muriel Bowser noted in her proclamation that Turkish Heritage Month was first celebrated in the US capital 11 years ago, which she said was a "way to build bridges and strengthen friendships among Turkish and non-Turkish Americans".

She said the US and Türkiye "have traditionally been strong allies, and Americans of Turkish descent in the District of Columbia have played a significant role in the educational, cultural, economic, and civic development of our community."

Washington, DC and Ankara are sister cities and more than 20,000 Turkish-Americans live in the capital and neighboring states, said Bowser.

October also hosts traditional a Turkish Festival in the capital, organized by the American Turkish Association of DC, or ATA-DC.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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US OKs potential sale of rounds for Abrams tanks to Kuwait

28 September, 2022

The US State Department has approved the potential sale of operational and training rounds for M1A2 Abrams tanks to Kuwait in a deal valued at up to $250 million, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

The Pentagon said the Kuwaiti government had requested to buy the ammunition and related equipment, and the proposed sale would improve Kuwait's ability to meet current and future regional threats.

The equipment would provide Kuwait with the ability to deter and defend against land-based threats, and help protect border regions and key land-based infrastructure, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The proposed sale would not require the assignment of any additional US government or contractor representatives to Kuwait, nor would it have any adverse impact on US defense readiness, the Pentagon added.

The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified the US Congress of the possible sale on Tuesday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Southeast Asia


PAS spiritual adviser says party open to negotiate with non-Muslims so long as they agree with ummah unity

By Zarrah Morden

28 Sep 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Hashim Jasin has rejected views that the Islamist party is racist or extremist, saying it is willing to engage non-Muslims as long as they will agree to its agenda of uniting the ummah.

He said the ummah unity agenda is not exclusive to Malay Muslim parties like its Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition partner or former foe-turned-ally Umno, news portal Malaysiakini reported today.

“Any party that agrees with the ummah unity agenda, we can negotiate with. In fact, we can even negotiate with non-Muslims.

“We are open to negotiations,” he was quoted as saying.

The word ummah of Arabic origin means community but is commonly used in Malaysia specifically to mean Muslims who are also widely perceived to be Malays.

PAS has repeatedly stressed that ummah unity is key to Malaysia’s stability and wellbeing.

Despite Hashim’s assertion, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has accused non-Muslims and non-Bumiputera of making up the majority of the “roots of corruption”.

“If we want to deal with corruption we must first tackle it from the grass roots. If not it will eventually become a disease. These groups who chase illicit gains are the ones who eventually control the economy.

“They then damage our politics as they are the roots for corruption and the majority of them are non-Muslims and non-Bumiputera,” the Marang MP wrote in an August 20 Facebook entry.

Hashim has also cautioned Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for calling Umno their PN coalition’s “main enemy” in the coming general election, saying it could hinder efforts to unite the ummah.

Source: Malay Mail

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PAS firmly committed to PN, Muhyiddin reiterates

'Ainin Wan Salleh

September 27, 2022

PUTRAJAYA: PAS will be sticking with Perikatan Nasional (PN) in the coming general election (GE15), reiterates the coalition’s chairman, Muhyiddin Yassin.

“PAS is still firmly committed to carrying on with PN. There is no issue about the party wanting to leave the coalition,” the Bersatu president said at a press conference.

He was responding to a question about his meeting with PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and several other PN leaders last night.

Following the meeting, he said, they agreed to expedite seat negotiations among PN component parties. The coalition will also be embarking on a “Jelajah Prihatin” roadshow around the country soon.

The two-hour meeting was also attended by Bersatu deputy president Ahmad Faizal Azumu, vice-president Radzi Jidin and PAS vice-president Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar.

Muhyiddin also brushed off PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan’s rejection of his labelling of Barisan Nasional being PN’s “main enemy” in GE15.

“Our (Bersatu and PAS) relationship is solid. Whatever statements issued by whoever, that’s up to them. Maybe they were instigated, God knows,” he said.

Takiyuddin had said the labelling of any Malay-Muslim grouping as “the main enemy” was inappropriate and unreasonable if that party was a consensus partner in a coalition government.

Muhyiddin also said there was no outcome or decision reached at a recent meeting between Hadi and Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“That’s what Hadi informed me. There’s nothing to hide, nothing came out of their meeting,” he said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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In 1MDB trial, defence argues that Saudi royalty’s promised US$100m ‘gift’ behind RM60.6m transfer to Najib's account in 2011

By Ida Lim

28 Sep 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — The transfer of some RM60.6 million into Datuk Seri Najib personal AmIslamic bank account in 2011 is actually part of the promised gift of US$100 million made by the Saudi royal family, lawyers for the former prime minister argued at the High Court here today.

Defence lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed made this suggestion during his client's trial over the misappropriation of RM2.28 billion of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds.

He was cross-examining AmIslamic bank Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager R. Uma Devi who was testifying as the 37th prosecution witness and asked her about the money totalling over RM60.6 million that entered Najib's AmIslamic account with the account number ending 9694 through two transactions of RM30,449,929.97 on February 24, 2011 and RM30,179,909.46 on June 14, 2011.

Wan Aizuddin produced in court a letter dated February 1, 2011 allegedly signed off by Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud and addressed to Najib.

The defence lawyer even read out the entire letter, including the portion where the sender told Najib. “In view of the friendship that we have developed over the years and your new ideas as a modern Islamic leader, I hereby grant you a sum of United States Dollar One Hundred Million (US$100,000,000) Only ("Gift") which shall be remitted to you at such times and in such manner as I deem fit”.

Aizuddin: Now looking at this letter, February 1, 2011, what this person basically says, he is sending over money totalling US$100 million, this is what the letter says, yes? Would you agree?

Uma Devi: Yes. Wan Aizuddin tried to suggest the two transactions totalling RM60.6 million in 2011 were part of the US$100 million promised gift, but Uma Devi replied that she would not be able to make such a conclusion or confirmation based only on the documents shown to her so far.

Aizuddin: And based on the account statement and the two transactions I have shown you together with the SWIFT documents, you would agree with me there is a possibility or rather a irresistible conclusion that this would be the reason why the money was sent – it was a personal gift, it was a donation?

Uma Devi: I can't conclude in that manner, because the amount differs first and foremost. And I'm not sure whether this had been given to the bank prior to the transaction, so I can't conclude that, I can't confirm that.

Wan Aizuddin then suggested that if the letter had been sighted by AmBank staff, the bank would have been aware that the RM60.6 million that were sent to Najib's account in 2011 “were in fact from Saudi and is in fact part of the gift that has been promised by the Saudi royal family”. But Uma Devi replied: “I do not know”.

Among other things, the purported February 1, 2011 letter to Najib on the alleged gift of US$100 million had stated: “This letter is issued as a gesture of good faith and for clarification, I do not expect to receive any personal benefit whether directly or indirectly as a result of the Gift. The Gift should not in any event be construed as an act of corruption since this is against the practice of Islam and I personally do not encourage such practices in any manner whatsoever. This is merely a personal token of appreciation and I am hoping the Gift would encourage you to continue with your good work to promote Islam around the world.”

Wan Aizuddin did not say who Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud is, but referred to the alleged gift as being promised by the Saudi royal family.

Najib was seen wearing a dark brown suit today with a lattice-pattern tie, and was also spotted sipping on a cup from coffee chain outlet Gloria Jeans in the courtroom while waiting for his trial to start.

Source: Malay Mail

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